The centrality of the resurrection

The death of our LORD Jesus Christ is foundational to our faith.  The resurrection should be just as foundational.  We should spend just as much time preaching that Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead as we preach that Jesus died for our sins.  Resurrection Sunday is a day that we highlight that truth, but do we forget about it the rest of the year?  Is the preaching that we hear throughout the year that Jesus died for our sins?  That shouldn’t be all there is to preaching the message of salvation.

Consider the book of Romans.  How central is the doctrine of the resurrection to what Paul is proclaiming as the way of salvation in this treatise?  He starts off in Romans 1:1-6 in identifying the person of Jesus Christ.  Does he mention His death here?  No.  But look at verse 4.  “…was declared to be the Son of God in power… by His resurrection from the dead…”  Amazing!  It is the resurrection that proves that Jesus is the Son of God.  Without the resurrection, that proof would be lacking.

Consider the doctrine of justification.  What is it about Christ that justifies us?  His death?  Only in part.  Consider Romans 4 which tells of justification by faith.  The chapter concludes this way, “It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.”  The passage continues in chapter 5 stating, “Therefore since we have been justified by faith” (through the resurrection) “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  This makes better sense of Romans 5:10, “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his” (resurrection) “life.”

Our entire behavior is centered around the resurrection of Christ from the dead.  Consider Romans 6.  “What shall we say then?  Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?  By no means!  How can we who died to sin still live in it?  Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.  For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.  We know that our  old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.  For one who has died has been set free from sin.  Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.  We know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.  For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.  So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”  This resurrection life thought is carried over in Romans 7:4, 8:11, and even 11:15.  This means that the reconciliation of the nation of Israel to Jesus Christ will result in the first resurrection.

One of my favorite verses is Hebrews 7:16.  Here it is in KJV.  15 And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchizedek there ariseth another priest, 16 Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.  17 For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.  Here it is in the ESV.  15 This becomes even more evident when another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life.  For it is witnessed of him, “You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.” We as partakers of the nature of the priest with no beginning or ending, we now have that power of an endless life.  We are priests as He is a priest, with the power of an endless resurrection life.  Let’s preach the death of Christ, but let’s preach the resurrection as well.

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

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