On Easter, also known as Resurrection Sunday, millions of Christians world-wide celebrate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Family and friends gather and fellowship over a grand Easter meal. As I think on the past Easters I’ve shared with my family, many fond memories come to mind. As believers, however, the most joyous part of Easter is meditating on the significance of Christ’s Resurrection.
The apostle Paul writes to the Corinthian believers
In 1 Corinthians 15, the Apostle Paul is correcting erroneous teaching that was circulating among the church at Corinth that there is no physical resurrection of believers who have died in Christ. He builds his case on the fact that Jesus was physically raised from the dead.
He asks the rhetorical question, “If Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? (1 Cor 15:12)” In other words, if Jesus has been resurrected, and you claim to preach and follow Christ, how can some of you say that we won’t be resurrected?
Paul later shows that the basis of our faith is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If Christ hasn’t been resurrected, then our message is dead and unfounded. If our message is dead, then our faith is in vain and “empty” (1 Cor 15:13-14). Without Christ’s resurrection, there is no forgiveness of sins, and thus there wouldn’t be any reconciliation between man and God.
Man would still be lost in sin, and would have to suffer the eternal consequences. Praise be to God, however, we know that Christ indeed has resurrected from the dead, and now sits at the right hand of God the Father (Rom 8:34)!
Christ’s resurrection is the foundation of our hope
Jesus Christ’s resurrection is the bedrock on which our faith and hope rests. The Scriptures teach that Christ “was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Rom 4:25 ESV). In other words, Christ took the punishment for our sins by absorbing God’s wrath, experiencing separation from God the Father, and dying a physical death.
His resurrection, however, was the miracle that secured forgiveness and a right standing before God for all who believe. Christ’s death was one side of His saving work, while His resurrection was the other.
What we have because of the resurrection
Because of what Christ did, we as believers can enjoy full access to God (Eph 2:18), being co-heirs and rulers with Christ in the age to come (Rom 8:17), and being blessed with every spiritual blessing (Eph 1:3). We will also be glorified with Him when God restores the universe to a new perfect condition (Rom 8:18-21).
In that day, God will remove all tears, pain, and suffering (Rev 21:4). In addition, Christ’s death and resurrection was the means by which He would be propitiation for the sins of whole world (1 John 2:2), thus opening the way to specifically save all people who would repent and believe in Him (Acts 20:21, Rom 10:9-10).
Believers can also look forward to a new body that will be perfect, immortal, and incorruptible (1 Cor 15:42-53 and 2 Cor 5:1-5). It will be glorious like the Lord’s own body, and who knows what amazing things we will be able to enjoy and do in such a new state! After dead believers are resurrected, we will all be gathered to be with the Lord in His loving, glorious, and divine presence forever (1 Thess 4:17).
Thankfulness for Our Hope
We have much to be thankful for when we consider Christ’s sacrifice. He went through what none of us will have to face – being forsaken by God because of our sin. He absorbed the punishment we deserved. It’s impossible to fully understand the magnitude of this event. God’s only Son became sin for us, and died for us so that we could live. It’s the greatest love story ever told!
Christ’s resurrection is our sign that we too shall be raised again. Even creation shall experience a resurrection of sorts – being taken from a damaged and decaying state, and brought to new vibrancy and perfection forever.
So take time to be thankful for the resurrection of Jesus Christ and what it means to you. Let that encourage you to live for the Lord with all your heart while still on this side of Heaven. It’s a glorious truth that shouldn’t just be celebrated only on Easter Sunday, but every day for a follower of Christ.