Dear radio friends,
Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. Upon that confession of faith is based all of our salvation. Because we have a risen, living Savior, the child of God is justified. There is nothing that can condemn us. Because Jesus Christ is risen, the child of God is raised to a new, spiritual life. Because Jesus lives as the risen Lord, the child of God, too, shall be raised from the dead and his body shall be fashioned like unto His glorious body.
You see, the truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the foundation of the Christian faith and belief. He or she who, by the grace of God, believes the resurrection of Jesus Christ believes the gospel. And believing the gospel of Jesus Christ, he shall, without doubt, find eternal life therein.
We read in I Corinthians 15:3, 4, “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” By this faith, faith in the crucified and risen Savior, we are saved. Believing in the glorious truth of the resurrection today, we are more than conquerors through Him who is risen and who has died for us.
But as unthinkable and horrible as it may sound to one possessing faith in the risen Lord, also this truth of the resurrection is denied. Men want novelties. Men do not want the clear and certain sounds of the gospel. Those certain sounds of the gospel are incarnate deity, that is, the Son of God made flesh; atoning death, that is, Jesus dying for His people; literal resurrection, Jesus Christ risen bodily from the dead. Modern man exalts his reason and his intellect above all of these sound truths and calls them all “myth.” This comes into the church. The most basic spiritual manna, the most basic truths of the gospel – more and more the church no longer believes them as facts. That was true in Paul’s day. Paul had to say, in I Corinthians 15, “How say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?” There were those in Corinth who denied a physical resurrection. In the church of Ephesus, Paul warns Timothy of a man called Hymanaeus and another, Alexander. And their word, he says to Timothy, “will eat as doth a canker, … who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.” Already in Paul’s day men tried to take away the resurrection, to deny the reality, to make it something mystical. So, we are told, the resurrection of Jesus Christ was invented by the early church. They wanted Him back so badly that they imagined this story. And we believe, they say, that Christ is risen all right, that is, He lives in the memory as an embodiment of new hope and human expectations.
Now, be very clear, that if you or I depart from the truth of the real resurrection of Jesus Christ, or any truth made known in the Bible, we have lost our salvation. If we deny this truth, we tear the bowels out of the gospel and we are left only with a carcass, a carcass called “external Christianity,” stuffed with speculations and uncertainty. But what saith the Scripture? I Corinthians 15, “If the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ (that is, died in the faith of Jesus) are perished … and we are of all men most miserable.” Shall we negotiate today on the truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead? Shall we, perhaps, discuss the impact on Christianity if certain concessions are made on this truth? Shall we do that? God forbid! The Word of God is clear. A dead Savior, a Savior who is not risen, is no savior. If Christ did not arise, then the gospel is a hoax. And the preaching of the gospel is a lie. And, besides, it is useless. But God declares with all of His power and sovereignty: “Now is Christ risen from the dead.” And therefore, with a holy jealousy and with uncompromising insistence, we declare today, in His behalf, “Christ is risen from the dead.” II Timothy 2:8, “Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel.” Acts 4:33, “And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.”
Our faith is sure because Jesus is risen from the dead.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ declares to us that we are justified. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a declaration made by God to the child of God saying, “You are righteous, you are no more in your sins, you are no more guilty before God.” When God raised His Son, and God did that, then God made a declaration of the righteousness of His people in the work of Jesus Christ. We need to see that, first of all, in the resurrection.
That depends, of course, upon the fact of the resurrection, upon the fact of the physical and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. That physical and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ was not invented by the disciples but was a real and physical resurrection from the dead. And more, the Scripture tells us that Jesus Christ arose as the Head or representative of His church. Upon the basis of that fact, the declaration is made now to the church and to all those who are given to belong to Jesus Christ, that they are righteous in Christ.
The Bible is very desirous to bring this home to our souls. We read in Romans 4:25, “Who (that is, Christ) was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” Jesus Christ was delivered over to the cross. Why? Because of our offences. He went to the cross to suffer for our sins. But then Jesus Christ was raised. Why? On account of our justification. The word “justification” means to be made right with God. In other words, the Bible is saying this: “Because on the cross Jesus had really paid for our sins. Now, when Jesus Christ is risen, God is declaring to His people that their sins have been paid in the cross of Jesus Christ.”
In Romans 8:34 the apostle says, “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again.” The apostle says, “Who is going to condemn us? Who is going to bring a charge against the child of God? Their sins have been paid. How do we know that their sins have been paid? Christ is risen again!” The resurrection is the declaration of God that the work of Jesus Christ was accepted, was successful, that work that He did upon the cross. If God did not raise His Son from the dead, then God would be saying to us, “The work that He attempted to do on the cross was not satisfactory. He belongs in the grave. He is a failure. But He is no failure for He is risen.” Therefore, with His resurrection comes the testimony of God to the heart of every child of God today: We are justified. Christ, on the cross, has accomplished our full redemption. We have a risen Savior, and the fact of His resurrection is the declaration of God: “You, my child, are right before Me in Christ.”
But there is more. The resurrection of Jesus Christ also brings this truth, that we now shall live in Him. Jesus said these words in John 14: “Because I live, ye shall live also.” He was telling us that His resurrection will be the life that will be worked in us in our spiritual rebirth. That is what Peter is referring to in I Peter 1:3, where he says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again (that is, to be born again) unto a lively hope (now note the words) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” He is saying there that Christ’s resurrection is the powerhouse which generates our spiritual rebirth. His resurrection did not only affect the removal of our sins and our standing before God. It is not only a declaration that we are innocent. But His resurrection affects our spiritual being before God. By the power of His resurrection we, who are dead sinners, are now made alive unto God in Christ. The resurrection is the proof, then, that we are justified. And it is the power of our new and holy life. The resurrection of Christ is the power of our spiritual rebirth. Thus the Scriptures teach that that resurrection life of Christ is what is implanted in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.
So Jesus could say in John 11:25, 26, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” That meant something more than just the resurrection of the body at the last day. He was not just saying, “Martha, at the last day the bodies of the believers are going to be raised from the dead.” But He was saying to her (and Martha knew this), “All who are brought into faith attachment with me, with Jesus Christ, have eternal life.” They have it right now. They will never die, that is, they have implanted in their souls the life of Jesus Christ so that if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (I Cor. 5:17), old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. Or, Romans 6:4, “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Because of our union to Christ we, now, have His resurrection life. We are risen with Christ. We are alive.
Let us understand that. We still have, as Christians, our sinful flesh. But the resurrection life of Jesus Christ has changed our spiritual center. Eternal life now is within us. Therefore, that life of Christ becomes the center of our life, and that is seen especially in repentance. The life of Jesus Christ, the resurrection life of Jesus Christ right now, is seen in repentance: that you see your sins; that you weep over those sins; that you cry out to God to be delivered from the power of those sins; and you desire, by the grace of God, to live a new and holy life. Is that true of you? Is that true of you personally? That is the resurrection life of Jesus Christ. Apart from that life of Christ in you, you would never know that, you would never say that. But because He is risen and His life is implanted in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, now also we are alive unto God, as expressed in repentance and a yearning to be pleasing to God. Is that true of you? Then you are risen with Christ. Christ, the resurrected Christ – His life is within you. Therefore, you shall never die. You have passed from the realm of spiritual death into spiritual life.
But there is something more, yet. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is also a pledge. It is a pledge of our physical, bodily resurrection as the people of God. When God raised Jesus on the third day, God declared something. God declared that He was going to raise also the body of His servants. Today we are in the body of this present death, and with these eyes and ears we cannot see and hear where Jesus is gone up into the heavens. In the body that we have now we suffer the effects of sin and death. We have His life, His spiritual life, within us, but we are in the body of this present death and we go through many trials and through death itself. According to the will of God, many burdens are placed upon us, and we struggle against our sins and we yearn for that day when we shall be delivered and be with Him. But now, in the resurrection of Christ, God also gives us this pledge: “I will raise up your body to make that body like unto Christ’s body.” The resurrection of Christ is, first of all, a pledge of God saying, “I will come again and I will take you to be where I am, into My Father’s house of many mansions.”
When Christ arose, He said to us, “I have not forgotten you. When all is done and you are prepared for your place in glory, I, the risen Lord Jesus Christ, will come for you, will come for you upon a death bed.” Christ, the risen Christ, says to us today as His children, “You are going to die (unless the world ends first in the return of Jesus Christ). But when you die, you will not die alone. (Jesus died alone, but you shall not die alone.) I will be there.” By the power of His resurrection He will receive us into the presence of God. Our sin will be no more. We shall be brought into the presence of the eternal God. It will be glorious.
But more. By His resurrection He also pledges that in the great day, the last day, the day of His return to this earth, He will raise our bodies from the dead. And He will make those bodies like unto His glorious body. We shall have immortality in the body. This present body, which is turning to dust and which is dying – death comes to this present body and severs all earthly ties and removes us from our place on the earth and it is gone. Those bodies, laid in the grave or destroyed by fire, shall nevertheless be raised. They shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye. Jesus said, “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the grave shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”
Christ will raise our bodies. All of this rests upon the fact of His own resurrection. All of this, that is, the proof that our sins are paid, the power of a new and holy life within us, and the pledge of the resurrection – all of these things rest upon the fact that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. If Christ is not risen from the dead today, you have no hope. You would be yet in your sins. You would be a slave of evil and would perish body and soul in the flames of hell. But now is Christ risen from the dead and become the first fruits of them that slept.
That is the gospel. Christ is the pledge that all His own shall be raised up even as He was, to incorruption and honor, glory, immortality, and victory. Therefore, in the resurrection of Christ we challenge the grave. “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” Christ has been there. But He is not there anymore. He is risen! And grave and death, sin and hell, sin’s dominion are broken from the child of God. The bars are torn away and our souls arise in liberty.
Do you believe these things? Do you know these things by faith? Have you found them in the holy Scriptures? Is this your faith? That is always the question that is left when the gospel of the risen Lord is preached: Believest thou this? If you do not, if you are so proud as to reject it and so conceited as to ignore it, and if you say simply, “Well, I listened to the program. We heard some, perhaps, new things, interesting, that old Christian stuff” – if that is your response, then the only thing that is in your life is fear, a fearful reckoning when the Lord, the risen Lord Jesus Christ, whose eyes are as flames of fire and whose feet are as shining brass, will stand before you in death and you will be naked.
But all who, by the grace of God, place their trust in the risen Savior today, who, by His grace, believe this gospel, the word to you from the risen Lord is: “Fear not ye. For ye seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here. He is risen. He is risen from the dead.” We believe that by grace! And, believing, we have eternal life in His name.
Father in heaven, we thank Thee for the wonderful gospel of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Again we ask Thee to bind to our hearts this glorious truth through Jesus Christ. Amen.