“And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.” -1 Corinthians 15:17-19, ESV
I know that this past Sunday was Resurrection Sunday. However, I didn’t post anything about the Resurrection and besides, every(Sun)day is Resurrection (Sun)day for Christians. Scripture tells us if the Resurrection is not true then our faith is futile, we are still in our sins, and we have no ultimate hope. Christ’s complete work (Incarnation, perfect life, crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, and return) is necessary for our salvation. We are, at times, prone to emphasize one aspect at the expense of another. Today, I want to focus on the Resurrection and how it specifically deals with our sin (Rom. 4:25, 1 Cor. 15:17).
Bruce Ware in his book, The Man Christ Jesus offers a succinct argument for why the Resurrection is necessary for freeing us fully and finally from sin. Ware states that sin’s penalty is death and sin’s greatest power is death. Death is somewhat taboo in our culture. We don’t want to discuss it and we often deceive ourselves, living as if we will be the one who will finally cheat death. When we are faced with death our response is often to trivialize it making baseless comments that offer empty comfort. Yet, as was noted in last week’s post, Christ confronted sin and death. Ware wrote:
…Christ’s death for our sin must both pay sin’s penalty and conquer sin’s power. But since sin’s penalty is death, if it is true that Christ has “died for our sin,” what is the necessary expression that Christ has paid the penalty of sin fully? He must rise from the dead. If he remains in a grave dead, then the penalty of sin is still being paid, and thus its payment has not been made fully.
If he remains in a grave dead, then sin’s power is greater than his, and rather than conquering sin, he is subject to it and its hold on him. The only way to show that the power of sin is conquered completely is that Christ was raised from the dead. This shows that Christ’s power is greater than the greatest power sin has. Christ’s resurrection demonstrates that Christ has completely, decisively, and once for all triumphed over sin and its greatest power!
Another way to say it is; when Christ said, “it is finished” on the cross, He was saying that He had exhausted the Father’s wrath for sin. He then gave up His spirit and died (John 19:30). Jesus paid the penalty for sin! In the Resurrection the Father is saying; “Payment received…paid in full.”
“For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” –Romans 8:2, ESV