Power of the Resurrection

“If a man dies, will he live again? All the days of my struggle I will wait Until my change comes.” (Job 14:14)

Job did not fear death. He may have thought that in this time of his life that death would be a relief from the trials and struggles that he was having. Job had faith that God would raise him to a new life at the appointed time, the first resurrection. Job was secure in his redemption and he trusted God to forgive him, save him, and resurrect him into a new life. Job also new by his faith that life in the Kingdom of God would be so far superior to his physical life here in the world. “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth. “Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God; Whom I myself shall behold, And whom my eyes will see and not another. My heart faints within me!” (Job 19:25-27)

For the Christian, the follower of Jesus Christ, Easter is a time of remembrance of the great victory over man’s the greatest fear, that of death. It is not an uncommon occurrence in the bible for one to be raised from the dead. We have seen it in the recorded history of the Old and New Testaments. Those who were raised from the dead lived to die again. Only One, Jesus Christ gained complete victory over death on the third day after His crucifixion. Jesus in His physical body was fully dead on the cross. He was buried in the grave and descended into hades to set the captives free. On the third day He was raised by the power of God and lives, and shall live for eternity. What does this mean to you? Have you thought of the great promise this holds for you? Are you willing to trust Jesus that He will raise you from the grave at the appointed time? Are you willing to give up the wisp of time here in this world to service unto Him for an eternity in the Kingdom of God? It is only possible through the righteous life, the atoning blood, and the resurrection of Jesus.

The resurrection of Jesus is the assurance of our future. Jesus died on the cross, was buried and rose again from the grave. It is His promise to us, His followers, that He will through His work give us eternal life in the Kingdom. “And I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.” (John 10:28) There is no other faith a man can have that promises eternal life.

The Apostle Paul writes to the Corinthian Church, “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.” (1 Corinthians 15:20) Jesus is the first fruit raised from the dead. He is the sample of the great grace that God has given to His Children. The Resurrection of Jesus is a foretaste of what is to come for each of us. It is a glimpse of the faith that we have in Him that we also shall be raised from the grave at the appointed time.

This is the significance of Jesus as the first fruit. Jesus will present us, the Church His bride, to the Father. The whole of the Church will be judged by the Father according to the standard of His Son our Savior. We also know that in some way we will resemble His resurrection body. “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” (1 John 3:2) If we read further in Chapter 15 of 1 Corinthians we will see the order of resurrection. Jesus as the first fruit. This is God’s grace doing that for us that which we cannot do. Then those who are His will be resurrected, you and me to live eternally in the Kingdom of God. Then all wicked unrighteousness will be destroyed and we shall live forever in God’s divine righteousness.

The resurrection of Jesus is a proof of the coming final judgement. In this world the system of justice is often perverted and neglected. We look across the world and wonder how such forms of justice can stand. We see everywhere the weak and poor are mistreated by the powerful and affluent. There are times the people are feared to enter into the courts of judgment to seek a fair hearing. Millions of dollars are spent to seek lawyers who often times can be persuaded to slant their arguments for a bribe. When Jesus comes with His saints and the heavenly host He will judge in righteousness. “But they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.” (1 Peter 4:5) For the books are kept in heaven and all of mankind is recorded history and the books will be balanced. God’s justice will prevail and there will be no twist to fate.

In the resurrection of Jesus we have the hope and power to live the Christian life in the image of Him who lives through us. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:11) No man living in this world can live a righteous life. But through the power of His Spirit we can sin less. We cannot be sinless in our own abilities because we have the inherent sin nature of the flesh. But in the power of the new self which has been given to us we can. “And have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him.” (Colossians 3:10) We can sin less by walking in His Spirit in submission. “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16)

Through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit we can become altogether different people. In Christ all things are new and in the power of His Spirit we can become more and more like Him and work out our salvation to become the reflection of the Lord we serve. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) Many struggle to live the Christian life and it is a struggle. But the greatest battle is with the old self. That can be won as God through His Spirit will give you the power to live the Christian life in preparation for the appointed time of your resurrection to eternal life.

Thomas N Kirkpatrick, First Baptist Church of Durant, April 12, 2017

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