I trust you had a joyous time yesterday celebrating Jesus’ resurrection. What a blessed hope we as believers in Jesus Christ have. We are not followers of a religious teacher who died and remains in the grave. We serve a risen Savior. Hallelujah, “He’s alive and I’m forgiven! Heaven’s gates are opened wide!”
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is more than important to Christianity; it is central. Without the resurrection of Christ, Christianity would be only a hopeless religion perpetrated by a person who claimed to be God and who falsely promised that He would rise from the dead. All New Testament truth stands or falls based on the resurrection of Christ. According to Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, if there is no resurrection, then: Christ is not risen, our preaching is vain, our faith is vain, Paul and the Apostles were false witnesses, we are still in our sins, the dead in Christ have perished, Christians are the most miserable persons on earth (I Cor. 15:12-19). “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man (Adam) came death, by a man (Jesus Christ) also came the resurrection of the dead” (vv. 20,21). He’s alive and I’m forgiven. And because He lives, I have: the presence of His resurrected life, the power of His resurrected life, the purpose of His resurrected life.
Because He lives, I have the PRESENCE of His resurrected life. Jesus had prophesied that He would return to live in the disciples (Jn. 14:18,20,28; 16:7). That’s why it was to their advantage that He leave and send the Holy Spirit through whom He and the Father would come to live in each believer (cf Jn. 7:37-39). But in order for the life of Christ to be imparted to us, He first had to die and be raised and return to His Father and send the Holy Spirit (Jn. 12:24). Also, if Christ is to live His resurrected life in us, we must receive Him, invite Him in as Savior and Lord (Jn. 1:11,12). Saul of Tarsus (who became Paul the missionary) did that as a result of His meeting the risen Savior when he was headed to Damascus to persecute believers. He was then able to share this testimony: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me” (Gal. 2:20). No matter what our circumstances, no matter how great a problem we face, no matter where we go—“For this we have Jesus,” and He will never leave or forsake us (Heb. 13:5). He is our friend at all times (Jn. 15:14,15) and we need not fear (I Jn. 4:4).
Because He lives, I also have the POWER of His resurrected life (Jn. 14:12). Paul said, “I can do all things through Him (Christ) who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13). The power is not something from within ourselves but rather comes through the Holy Spirit coming to live within (Acts 1: 8), and through the Holy Spirit, Christ living in me. We are saved from the penalty of sin through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, but we are saved from the power of sin through the life Jesus lives in us, as we submit to His control (Ro. 5:10). When Christ comes into our life as we are born anew (Jn. 3:3), we are a new creation in Christ (II Cor. 5:17), and batteries are included! We are empowered, and enabled to serve.
Because He lives, I have the PURPOSE of His resurrected life. The meaning of life is incomplete without Christ. There’s always a missing ingredient no matter how successful we are at our ventures. We lack the real purpose and direction in our life if we are going it alone without Him. We are like a ship without a rudder. Unless we build our life on the Lord Jesus Christ, we are building on sand. We need a solid foundation on which to build our marriage, our education, our job…etc., and “other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid which is Jesus Christ” (I Cor. 3:11). So, just what is His purpose for our life? He didn’t save us just to take us to heaven, but to conform us to His image (Ro. 8:29), and that we might be His witnesses, His ambassadors (II Cor. 5:20), and that we might be salt and light in this decaying, dark world (Mt. 5:13-16).
What difference has it made and does it make in your life that Jesus rose from the grave? Do you know that Christ lives in you? Are you experiencing His power in and through your life? Does your life have purpose and direction? Because He lives, all of that is possible. Praise God, He’s alive and I have a new life in Him, and with His living in me, I have the power to do all He desires for me to do, and have a real purpose for living: to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Mt. 6:33). How about you?