The Assurance of the Resurrection
“Regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Romans 1:3-4 (NIVUK)
The Apostle Paul begins his letter to the Romans, quoted above, by emphasising both the humanity and divinity of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ humanity is confirmed by his descendancy from King David, which is also a proof of his Messiahship.
The resurrection established Jesus’ identity as the Son of God; it is a proof of Jesus’ divinity and of the power of God. Jesus himself gives further information about his own death and resurrection, “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life–only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” (John 10:17-18) The fact that Jesus had the power and authority to lay down his life and to take it up again was proof of his divinity and of his Sonship.
Christ died bearing the sins of the world but he was not raised still bearing those sins. The resurrection proves that Christ has conquered death, “For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.” (Romans 6:9). But in order to conquer death he needed to deal with the cause of his death—our sin. Christ’s resurrection proves he has conquered both death and its cause—sin. The apostle Paul makes the point in 1 Corinthians 15:17 that if Christ is not risen then sin has not been dealt with, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” The cross needs to be interpreted through the lens of Christ’s resurrection and ascension.
Jesus lived and died in the assured confidence that he would rise again, as he declared, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” (John 2:19) Christians have the assurance from God that that same power that raised Jesus will, at the appropriate time, also raise us from the dead. “By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also.” (1Corinthians 6:14) “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” (Philippians 3:20-21)
Father, we thank you for the assurance we have of the forgiveness of sins and of eternal life through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Study by Eddie Marsh
Grace Communion, Sheffield
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