And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! (1 Corinthians 15:17, NKJV).
What does the resurrection of Christ accomplish that his cross didn’t?
1. The resurrection puts the stamp of truth on all of Christ’s other claims.
If he hadn’t risen, there’d be lingering doubts over the rest of his claims. Was he truly the Son of God? Of one essence with the Father? Was he truly a triumphant Savior? Did he really possess the authority to forgive sins?
Anyone can make those claims. Many have.
But only one has followed through on the claim he would rise from the dead. Gives a lot of credence to everything else he said, don’t you think? The resurrection is the eternal Neener Neener to the haters of Christ.
2. The resurrection puts the final nail in the devil’s coffin.
The heel of Christ is lifted, and the final gigantic stomp of the celestial boot will soon crush Satan’s head. The victory has been won; it’s just a matter of time before the cranial crunching rattles the cosmos. When Christ was laid in the tomb, the concentrated powers of evil conspired to keep him there. With a flick of his bicep, Christ threw them down, and up from the grave he arose!
far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. (Ephesians 1:21, NKJV).
Had Christ stayed in the grave, the victory over Satan, sin, death, and hell would not be complete. But Christ is risen, that we may say:
“O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:55, NKJV).
3. The resurrection provides a Life-giving Federal Head.
Salvation works by identification. Through our first birth, we are identified with fallen Adam. As he was before God after his sin, so are we. His sin is our sin. His guilt is our guilt. His corruption is our corruption. We inherit Adam’s guilt and Adam’s defiled human nature. We are “in Adam,” as Scripture teaches (Romans 5:12,ff, and…)
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:22, NKJV).
Adam is the divinely appointed leader of a vast tribe — whose members all share his moral profile: wrecked by sin and under condemnation from a holy God. This moral profile is a recipe for death: physical, spiritual, and eternal. In theology, Adam is called the “Federal Head” of the human race, still in their sins. To God, we look just like fallen Adam. He sees us In Adam.
Into that bleak scene burst forth the Risen Savior. He finished with sin and set it aside once for all. He now lives by the power of an indestructible life. God invites the human race to associate with Christ. To choose a new tribe with a new tribal leader. To consciously switch from the federal headship of death-dealing Adam to the federal-headship of the life-giving Christ.
Through our first birth, we are identified with fallen Adam. But through our second birth — our spiritual birth from above — we are identified with the risen Christ. You must be born again (John 3:3).
Because he lives, he can impart life to his tribe.
Because he reigns, he can impart royalty to his tribe.
Because he revels in his Father’s love, he can impart divine acceptance to his tribe.
He lives forever to impart to his people his own status, his own riches, and his own glory. God sees you in Christ. He sees you through Christ colored lenses. He loves you as he loves Christ. He blesses you as he blesses Christ. He feels about you just as he feels about Christ. You share the identity, status, privileges, and possessions of your federal head, Christ Jesus.
Had Christ not risen from the dead, there would have been no alternative to our status in Adam; no alternative federal head. But Christ is risen, and the race of man is divided into two great confederacies: those in Adam and those in Christ.
One brings death; the other brings life. Who is your Federal Head?
4. The resurrection puts Christianity in a class by itself.
5. The resurrection certifies life after death.
Here is our confidence that death is not the end. One has gone beyond the grave and returned to speak of it. We do not snuff out like a candle — we continue as our same selves, with our memories, our personality, our selfhood intact. The body may be laid into a tomb even as “into thy hands I commit my spirit.”
I will see my dad again. I will see my loved ones who have died in Christ again. I will dance with them on streets of gold. This world, this life, is not the ultimate reality for me. I have a home in the heavens. I inherit a kingdom which cannot be shaken. The resurrection of Christ abides forever as the portal to a dimension beyond this space-time continuum.
Here is hope for a bright tomorrow. Confidence in a land where God will wipe every tear from our eyes. And the certainty that evil does not get a cosmic last laugh. God wins. Life triumphs. The Savior conquers all.
Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed.
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