P. Samuel Manoharam
Christ said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die" (Jn.11:25-26).
No one has ever made such an extraordinary and authoritative claim. The physical resurrection of Christ was the greatest historical event and the cornerstone of Christianity. It is well said, "God has introduced a new dynamics into the course of human existence, capable of transforming it from a purposeless round of failure into a progressive march towards triumph."
Christ not only died for all the sinners of the world, but also marvellously rose from the dead, conquering death and Satan. Through Christ's death and resurrection, the power of sin, which has been pulling us away from God, was finally broken, thereby destroying the very source of the cancer of sin once and for all. At the cross, Christ took the penalty of our sin upon Himself; at the resurrection, He demonstrated a decisive victory over death and Satan.
The resurrection of Christ has many implications: 1) It assures us about the past; what Christ victoriously achieved on the cross is effective for us to experience, 2) It assures us about the present; His power is with us now, giving us the fullness of life 3) It assures us about the future; our present life does not end in 'death' but there is life beyond the grave, eternal glory in heaven.
'I In Christ' And' Christ In Me'
In Christ's death, the emphasis is on 'I in Christ', which means, I am buried and included in Christ's death. In Christ's resurrection, the emphasis is on 'Christ in me', which means, Christ's resurrection gives me new life. Christ's death and resurrection are all-inclusive. This means, God has included every one of us in Christ, and in dealing with Christ He has dealt with every one of us. Christ's sacrifice offers pardon for our sins; His resurrection gives us victory over sin and temptations. As 'crucified' believers, this can be our daily experience if we reckon ourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus (Rom.6:11-14). There can be no spiritual experience pleasing to God apart from this. This is the practical way for Christians to live in this Satan-dominated world.
Death and resurrection of Christ are God's radical remedy for the deadly sin. The cross of Christ was the means God used to deal a death blow to the sin nature of man that manifests itself in his ungodly behaviour. Resurrection was the means God used to impart to us all that was necessary for us to live the new life, the life of Christ, in the spirit. Resurrection stands at the threshold of the new creation. Through it, God brought into being a new, regenerated life. Our regeneration is based on Christ's resurrection. Regeneration is planting of Christ's life in us by the Holy Spirit.
In conquering sin and death, God has done an incomparably great work in us; He has set us free from Satan's power and dominion. However, Christ's sacrifice on the cross does not bring automatic forgiveness for our sins but rather we need to accept God's forgiveness offered freely in Christ as a gift. Satan still has some power remaining, but his days are numbered and finally his destruction by God is certain, at the appointed time, as promised by Him.
Accepting the results of the death and resurrection of Christ into our own life is not easy, because it involves accepting God's rule in our life. This means, we should be willing for God to change us and mould us according to the ways of His kingdom. We should be willing to allow God to cleanse those dark, sinful areas of our lives. We should be prepared to re-order our priorities so that 'self' no longer rules in us but Christ is given the central place. This also means that life for the Christian is a spiritual battle against Satan and his evil power. There will be a constant inner battle within us between light (Christ) and darkness (Devil). The resurrection power of Christ gives us tremendous strength and confidence to confront all that is evil within us. With the power of the Holy Spirit we can live out the values of God's kingdom. This power can touch even our mortal and frail bodies, constantly energising them to glorify God.
Beginning Of Eternal Life
Christ's death and resurrection has paved the way for man to enter heaven. The truth of our belief in Christ should be borne out by our conduct that reflects Christ's glory on others. This new quality of life starts the moment we receive Christ into our heart and goes on into eternity. Our life on earth is relatively short, but eternity will never end. This is the fullness of life which Christ promised for us to enjoy eternally through His resurrection power. Eternal life is God's gift. We cannot earn it in any other way. Christ is the only one who can bring us into an eternal relationship with God.
Dynamic Christian Living
Christ's resurrection power is available to every Christian every day of his life. It is an overcoming power to conquer sin and temptations. Christ's resurrection power will enable us to triumph over the world, the flesh and the Devil. The resurrection life has spiritual power that gives us joy, peace and strength even in the midst of life's turmoil and problems.
Relationship With Christ
Christ is standing at the door of your heart, knocking. He is waiting for your response. He wants to come in and rule your life. All you have to do is turn away from sin (repent), open the door of your heart and let Him in. Christ will never force His way into your life. He has given you freedom to choose. It is up to you whether or not to open the door to Him. If you open the door, He will come in and set up His kingdom within you. He will never leave you. This wonderful experience should be followed by a healthy Christian growth and maturity, which is possible only with the help of the Holy Spirit, through Scripture reading, praying, meditating, witnessing and walking in His ways.
Christ wants us to become His living saints through His resurrection power. By being in intimate fellowship with Him, we can gradually become giants of faith, powerfully witnessing for Christ.
Irrespective of their colour, race, tribe and nationality, people throughout the ages have had a marvellous experience of relationship with the risen Christ. They are experiencing His love, His power, His presence, testifying that He is indeed alive and that His resurrection is a fact. Shall we also join them in testifying to the world that Christ is risen, that He is alive today and is the true God?
Someone has said it beautifully, "In a world that is without God and without hope, in the rising of Jesus from the dead we celebrate the birthday of hope." Charles Spurgeon wrote, "Jesus said He would rise from the dead and He did; He said that His people also shall rise, and they will. Jesus always keeps His word." What a wonderful hope of glory for us to be with Christ in heaven forever!
Are you experiencing Christ's resurrection power in your life?