How does Christ’s resurrection benefit us?
First, by His resurrection He has overcome death, so that He might make us share in the righteousness He won for us by His death. Second, by His power we too are already now resurrected to new life. Third, Christ’s resurrection is a guarantee of our glorious resurrection.
“If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” 1 Corinthians 15:17. These are strong words from the Apostle Paul regarding the resurrection of Jesus from the dead; the event we celebrate on Easter Sunday.
Often, in church, we talk about how Jesus died for our sins on the cross. Far too often, that’s all the further that the mention of His work goes for us. Jesus’ death is a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. Certainly, this is true and I wouldn’t want to discount this event or the suffering that Christ endured for us in the least. As we discussed last week, the events of the last 24 hours of Jesus’ life cannot be overstated.
However, Jesus’ death doesn’t amount to much without His resurrection from the death. The Resurrection is the most important event in history. Without it, Jesus’ death does not accomplish the forgiveness of sins, His sacrifice is not sufficient, and His work is incomplete. Without the resurrection, our death is still the ultimate end for us, even if the punishment for our sins had been taken by Him.
Paul goes on to say that if Christ is not raised, not only is the Christian faith futile, those that teach it are liars and are to be pitied. What a bold and honest statement from the most influential Christian in all human history.
“But Christ has indeed been raised from the death…” 1 Corinthians 15:20. This is the foundation of the hope that we have! Jesus’ death paid for our sins; His resurrection conquers the ultimate punishment for our sins. By His resurrection, we are assured that He is the all-sufficient sacrifice, that His work is complete, and that the wrath of God has been satisfied. We know this because the consequences of sin have been removed.
C.S. Lewis, in his book “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” captures this so clearly in the conversation Aslan has with Lucy and Susan after coming back from the dead:
“…though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of Time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and darkness before Time dawned, she would have read a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who has committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards.”
Yes, an innocent victim taking the place of a traitor, though the Resurrection is no magic… it is the sheer power of God on display in Christ Jesus. It is the ultimate will of God being played out before the eyes of the entire cosmos and impacting the entire universe. There is no place or time in which the Resurrection’s significance does not touch and is not felt. All of this was decreed before the foundations of the earth when only the Triune God existed, and all of it was done for us. Thanks be to God!!