This week, the attention of every Christian begins to turn towards the vibrant celebration that Easter Sunday will be. Even as we approach Good Friday, we do so with the sure and certain knowledge that, to quote the old preacher, “Sunday’s coming!”
Echoing 1 Corinthians 15, John Stott writes,
“Christianity is in its very essence a resurrection religion. The concept of resurrection lies at its heart. If you remove it, Christianity is destroyed.”
When you think about it, belief in the resurrection of Jesus is what defines Christianity. Paul says,
“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)
This is why I offer the following definition of a Christian in Raised with Christ: someone who believes in the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ and lives in light of the implications of that event.
A Neglected Foundation
However, we often neglect the resurrection in our preaching, reading, conversations, and even our evangelism throughout the rest of the year. If we mention the resurrection at all, it is in the context of arguing for its historicity.
It's good to be able to explain why we believe Jesus is alive, and I'd encourage you to download a free chapter from Raised With Christ available entitled, "Did Jesus really rise from the dead?”
But it's also important for us to remind ourselves of the many implications of the resurrection. We see, for example, that the preaching of Acts is remarkably centered on the resurrection, which is credited with accomplishing the following:
- The sending of the Spirit (Acts 2:33)
- Physical healings (Acts 3:15–16)
- The conversion of sinners (Acts 3:26)
- Salvation by union with Jesus (Acts 4:11–12)
- Jesus’s role as the leader of his church (Acts 5:30–31; 9)
- Forgiveness of sins (Acts 5:30–31)
- Comfort for the dying (Acts 7)
- The commissioning of gospel messengers (Acts 9; 10:42)
- Freedom from the penalty and power of sin (Acts 13:37–39)
- Assurance that the gospel is true (Acts 17:31)
- Our own resurrection (Acts 17:31)
- Jesus’s future judgment of this world (Acts 17:31)
No wonder Paul said, “It is with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial” (Acts 23:6), and his judge summarized: “They had certain points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus, who was dead, but whom Paul asserted to be alive” (Acts 25:19).
Not Just the Cross
The resurrection plays a crucial role in our salvation, which we often forget. Romans 4:25 tells us that Jesus was “raised for our justification.” Often times, commentaries simply skip over that phrase—a phrase which is worthy of much contemplation—and we erroneously assume that it was the Cross alone that accomplished the forgiveness of sins.
The resurrection of Jesus also leads directly to a resurrection inside each of us (Ephesians 2:4-6, 2 Timothy 2:11, 1 Peter 1:3, 2 Corinthians 5:17). This means that the very same power that raised Jesus from the dead is pulsating inside the arteries and veins of every true Christian.
God puts the risen life of Jesus in us so that we have a new desire to kill sin (1 John 3:9, Romans 6, Colossians 3:1-11) and begin to truly change (2 Corinthians 3:18, Revelation 1).
As we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus this Easter, let's resolve to make every Sunday a resurrection Sunday, living in all the good that the resurrection accomplishes for us each day.