In the first post in this series (click here to go there), I made the statement that sometimes it’s easier to believe in the historical fact of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, than it is to believe in what the resurrection implies and accomplishes.
The resurrection of Jesus has two HUGE implications that make the actual fact a hard pill to swallow for many folks.
Deep within the reasonings of many non-believers is a rejection of these implications. In other words, it’s not just the supernatural claim of a literal bodily resurrection that offends peoples’ minds. It’s the accompanying effects and implications that are more greatly opposed. And here’s where the rub is:
Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection is clearly proclaimed by the Bible to be the only way that sinners can return to their Creator and Heavenly Father. And this is because it is the only way anyone’s sins can be forgiven. And since everyone is a sinner, this one source of true salvation is binding upon every human.
I realize how narrow this is. It’s comparable to saying, “Unless you breathe oxygen you will all die.” It’s a very narrow claim, binding upon all, but nonetheless true. It’s a reality with an implication we all must deal with: everyone will one day stop breathing oxygen…and will die.
There are NO exceptions to this.
Even Jesus died in such a way;
And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father into Your hands I commit My spirit.” Having said this, He breathed His last. (Luke 23:46)
The Bible makes it unmistakably clear. Jesus entered sinlessly into the human condition and then died for and because of our sins. As a sinless person, fully God and fully man, He willingly took upon Himself our sins so that we could be forgiven and take on His righteousness – by humble faith.
It may seem unbelievable. It may seem too impossible.
But the reality that He was raised from the dead to die no more is a very stubborn fact!
Therefore, having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness through a man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31)
“He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.” (Romans 4:25)
There is implied in the death and resurrection of Jesus some difficult news and some very good news.
The bad news is that all have sinned and if left to themselves will physically die in a state of spiritual and moral alienation from the Living God. And God is going to raise up every person who has died in all human history. Jesus’ resurrection proves this. No one will escape giving an account for their stubborn refusal to acknowledge their sins and thus their need for God’s mercy. Many people hope that when they die they simply will rot in the grave and cease to exist forever. But the resurrection of Jesus shows that there is no escaping giving a full account of our life to God some day.
The good news is that Jesus died to not only prove the dead will be raised, but that those who trust in Him can be raised in His spotless righteousness! If your sins were placed upon Jesus at the cross, then upon accepting Christ as your Savior, His death becomes the full payment for your many sins. By trusting His atoning death and justifying resurrection, you can start a new life now and no longer fear death when it comes.
So there are at least two very difficult implications regarding Jesus’ death and resurrection. The first calls for repentance. I must accept the fact that Jesus died because of me. He died for sinners who could not save themselves. I have to own that. I am too lost, too pridefully blinded, to save myself. He is my only hope. That’s a humbling realization. Most of the world fights this reality. Many people oppose the fact of Christ’s resurrection primarily because of this. If Jesus is raised to die no more then I will someday face Him and give an account for my idolatry and selfishness. And people don’t want to deal with that.
But for those who humble themselves and confess their sins and their need of a Savior, another implication explodes into view: the empty tomb! Jesus who died for the payment of our sins has also been raised! This calls for faith. I am commanded by God to accept and trust that Christ’s payment was more than sufficient to take away all of my sins! Hence, the Scriptures tell us: “He was raised because of our justification.”
Everyone who puts their trust in Him is declared forgiven and righteous in God’s sight forever!
Believe it or not, for some people this good news is even harder to embrace than the bad news spoken of earlier.
They know they’ve screwed up. They know they’re not worthy. They’ve made a terrible mess of their life and their guilt and shame are palpable. But the resurrection of Jesus from the dead declares to all who will believe in Him: YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY FORGIVEN. You sins are washed away and will never be remembered or brought up again. You can totally be at peace with God now. He is not angry with you any longer. There is a brand new identity for your “in Christ.”
This is the Good News declared and implied through Jesus’ death and resurrection. I pray that you have come to believe and have received the blessing of reconciliation with God through Christ.