The resurrection is more than just an historical miracle or a theological explanation and therefore must be understood as a living reality for the Christian.
Jesus death on the cross was a corrective or remedial action which was necessary to remedy man from the problem of man’s deficiency not just his sins. What was this human deficiency you ask? The human race deficiency was that man was not a man as God intended man to be. What qualifies or disqualified mankind from being man as God intended?
Adam and Eve who (represented mankind) was given the choice of life and death in the Garden of Eden. God had told Adam to eat freely of the “tree of Life,” which was the choice of life, to experience the very Life of God. It was God’s desire and design that man derive his life from God. (Man is never on his own doing his own thing but is always deriving spiritual life from one of two sources, either God or Satan).
In order for there to be a choice there was the ‘necessary opposite’ of the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” God warned Adam not to eat of this tree due to the death consequence of doing so (“but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die” (Gen. 2:17). To eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil would cause man to experience spiritual death, something that was not God’s intention for man. In essence the choice would determine what spiritual source Adam (and all of us, as Adam was representative man for the human race) would derive from, either God or Satan. Adam’s disobedience choice is known as the Fall of Man.
The Gospel is God’s remedy for man’s disobedient choice and the catastrophic consequences which resulted. Jesus Christ the Son of God became flesh (“…And the Word became flesh” John 1:14, the incarnation), to become the alternative representative man for humanity and die in man’s place.
He was willing to submit to death, though He was “without sin” (“…For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin…” Heb. 4:15; “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” II Cor. 5:21), so that as representative man (“…The last Adam became a life-giving spirit…” 1 Cor. 15:45) He might become our substitute and assume the death consequences of our (man’s) sin (“…For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son…” Rom. 5:10), and by His Divine Life overcome the “power of death” (“…that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil…” Heb. 2:14), and make His life available to humanity again (“…much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life…” Rom. 5:10).
Why did Jesus die for you? How you answer this question makes a huge difference. How do you interpret the death of Jesus? Was God the Father an offended deity who was angry due to our sin and thus demanded that a penalty of death be paid for sin before He would forgive us (mankind)? This is the popular view of the crucifixion, which is portrayed in movies and the preaching of our day, which casts God as an angry, bloodthirsty, death-dealing God who poured out His disciplinary wrath and judgment upon His own Son, Jesus, Why? Because someone must pay the price for man’s sin! While God the Father is seen as angry judge, Jesus is portrayed as a loving and forgiving God who was willing to show us grace and appease a judgmental God and redeem us from the consequences of our sin. Jesus is the mercy side of God and the Father is the justice side of God.
What does this kind of perspective do to our view of God? It divides the Father and the Son and severs the Loving Trinity into a distorted God whom people are afraid. The Father is seen as being against us; the Son is for us. The Son is acting as our legal advocate attempting to convince the Father, the Judge, to let us off the hook. What a tragic twisting of the Oneness of the Triune God who is Love.
The truth is that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are always One and In Union with each other and as a result have the same purpose, which is to restore humanity to God’s original intent. God is for us and not against us or angry with us, never has been and never will be! God is grace and love and His intent has always been to deal with the death consequences of “the one having the power of death” (Heb. 2:14) by defeating Satan “once and for all” (“…He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.” Heb. 9:2) in behalf of mankind.
In order for Jesus Christ to restore man to God’s original intent, “…Christ in you…” Col. 1:27; “…Christ lives in me…” Gal. 2:20; “…For to me, to live is Christ…” Phil 1:21 the restoration of God’s life to man required that Christ take our spiritually died condition and the sinful consequence thereof. Jesus could not give us His life and identity for us, unless He first took our spiritual death and sinful identity and dealt the death blow to it (“For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit” 1 Pet. 3:8). God gave His Life FOR us, in order to give His Life TO us, in order that He might LIVE His Life THROUGH us!
In the Fall of Man, Adam lost the indwelling life and presence of God “…BUT God so loved the world that He gave…” (John 3:16)! God’s redemption and restorative grace would not tolerate the “one having the power of death” (Heb. 2:14) to hold man hostage forever (II Tim. 2:26).
Jesus willingness to die on the cross was the undoing of Satan’s death consequences. Jesus “Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Phil. 2:8), “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (II Cor. 5:21). “But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power” (Acts 2:24), what was “the agony of death” that we were freed from? It was the spiritual dead condition that we were born into, which Jesus put to death “the one having the power of death, that is the devil” (Heb. 2:14), “…The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8).
On the cross, Jesus exclaimed, “Tetelestai – It is Finished!” His obedience unto death allowed for His resurrection life to be the restorative reality for mankind.
God’s ultimate purpose was to give us His life! In the resurrection of Jesus life, He overcame death, God overcame Satan.
The resurrection is the living reality wherein the living Lord Jesus is presently indwelling Christians and living out His resurrection life in Christian behavior, TODAY! Sadly many will survey the historical cross of Christ and His resurrection 2000 years ago without a living reality of what it means to be a Christ-one with the resurrection of Christ as life both now and forever.
In declaring the purpose of His coming, Jesus said, “I came that you might have life, and have it more abundantly” (Jn. 10:10). It was the resurrection that provided man with the opportunity to be restored with His life to all who are willing to receive. As Paul wrote, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul. The last Adam (Jesus) became a life-giving spirit” (I Cor. 15:45). Paul wrote, “As in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive” (I Cor. 15:22).
All men are united spiritually with either Adam or Christ, in either spiritual death or spiritual life. The “last Adam,” Jesus Christ, came to die on our behalf and offer His resurrected life which was poured out at Pentecostal, the “life-giving Spirit” to once again allow man to be and to live as God intended man to live. Paul wrote, “the Spirit gives life” (II Cor. 3:6) which is the risen and living Lord Jesus who now functions as the “Spirit of Christ” (Rom. 8:9) restoring man to spiritual life function as God designed.
This resurrection life is the Spirit of Christ who is Eternal Life. “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3). This Eternal life that the resurrected Lord Jesus makes available to mankind is Himself. “I AM the resurrection and the life” (Rom. 11:25), Jesus said to Martha, “I AM the way, the truth, and the life” (Jn. 14:6). Mankind’s greatest need is the restoration of the presence of God’s life in their spirit to energize their behavior to the glory of God. John declared, “He that has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life” (I Jn. 5:12).
The most important question that man should ask is, how do I partake of this resurrection life of Jesus? Peter answers the question when he writes, to be “born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (I Pet. 1:3). Jesus knowing His calling and purpose for coming to earth spoke these words to Nicodemus, “You must be born again” (Jn. 3:7). “Unless one is born from above” (Jn. 3:3), and receives the resurrection life of Jesus Christ being filled with God’s presence man cannot be man as God intended man to be.
One of the best known scripture verses is what Jesus spoke to Nicodemus and it still remains His invitation today, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (Jn. 3:16).
So what does it mean to believe? It is to receive, “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (Jn. 1:12,13). Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life” (Jn. 5:24). If any man believes and receives the One who is the Resurrection and the Life he shall “passed out of death into life” (I Jn. 3:14). Our gospel is one of resurrection life, “You were raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead… He made you alive together with Him” (Col. 2:12, 13).
The Christian is a Christ-one, “Christ is our life” (Col. 3:4). The Christian life is the Christ life dwelling within us and functioning through us. Christianity is Christ – living His resurrection life in and thorough us. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Pet. 1:3). The Resurrection – The Living Reality of Christ In You.
Saturday, June 11, 2016