5 Things That the Resurrection Changes
Pastor Oliver highlights five changes that Jesus' resurrection make to a believer's life.
I spoke last Sunday from Luke's Gospel about the risen Jesus Christ and how His resurrection changes everything. How has Jesus being raised to life by the power of God changed everything? What difference does Jesus' resurrection make to the believer's life? I put forward the following five things that the Resurrection changes.
1. From wavering doubt to sure certainty
Luke writes in Luke 24:27, 44; and Acts 3:18 that Jesus' life and suffering through crucifixion, death and resurrection fulfilled Old Testament prophecies. Some scholars put the number of predictions fulfilled conservatively at some 300 plus. The last of the Old Testament writings were written about 400 years before the birth of Christ. By the inspiration of the Spirit of God, the Old Testament prophets wrote predictively about the Messiah's person and work. Jesus Christ fulfils all of them. This proves that Jesus is the promised Messiah. Luke's Gospel also wrote that the post-resurrection Jesus was seen by many. Jesus raised to life was witnessed by at least the 11 disciples and Cleopas and his friend. In addition, the Apostle Paul wrote that Jesus had appeared at one point to 500 witnesses (1 Cor 15:6). The four Gospels were written within a generation of the life of Jesus. This means that it was possible for the people reading the Gospels to verify facts with the original witnesses: some who were still alive in the days when the Gospels were received. These fulfilled predictions and eye-witnesses serve to remove doubts and strengthen our certainty that Jesus was the promised deliverer. My friends, in what ways would Jesus' resurrection strengthen your faith as you waver between faith and unbelief?
2. From sin-guilt to freedom and forgiveness
Another thing that Jesus' resurrection does is that it guarantees that our sins are indeed forgiven. Paul states the fact of the resurrection and tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:17, "And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile, and you are still in your sins." Paul advances the argument that Jesus Christ has been raised. Therefore, we can be assured that what Jesus told us about our sins being forgiven is true. Jesus' resurrection gives proof that our sins are paid for. When we placed our faith in Jesus, the penalty for our sins is paid for. Our sins are forgiven when Jesus died in our place on the cross. What this means for us is that we can experience forgiveness and freedom from guilt. My friends, in what ways Jesus' resurrection would help you battle your sin-guilt?
3. From the fear of death to faith in our being raised to life
Death is certain in this broken world for all of us. Many would fear our coming demise. But Paul tells us that death has been conquered. In his final words about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 that because Jesus has been raised, death has been defeated.
"O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?"
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
For believers, we have experienced the death of death in the death of Jesus Christ. And Jesus has been raised to life, giving us eternal life when we turn to faith in Him. Death is no longer a full-stop to our existence. Rather, it ushers us into life everlasting with our heavenly Father. My friends, how would Jesus' resurrection help you overcome anxiety as you face illness and possibly death?
4. From discouragement amid suffering to anticipating coming glory
All of us will face suffering and discouragement in this lifetime. This is expected in this fallen, broken world. But we do not lose heart. Paul, in what to me is one of the most precious words in Scripture tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18:
"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal."
Paul weighs the suffering and affliction and regards them as momentary and transient. It pales in comparison to the eternal weight of glory that awaits believers. Let that sink in. Jesus' resurrection guarantees that believers would share in the glory beyond comparison that awaits us when Jesus Christ returns, or when we leave and meet him face to face. There we will dwell with Him in everlasting joy in the presence of God. My friends, how would Jesus' resurrection strengthen your heart amid our suffering?
5. From dread despair to living hope
Lastly, the Apostle Peter, one of the first witnesses to the resurrected Jesus, writes in 1 Peter 1:3-9 that we have a living hope. Peter tells us, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you," Peter tells us that Jesus' resurrection gives us a new living hope. Through Jesus' resurrection, we now have an inheritance: eternal life that is kept for us in heaven. It is an assured guarantee. In our Singaporean phrasing, it is "chopped, stamped, confirmed". Because it is guaranteed, we can move from despair to a living hope in the resurrected Jesus Christ. My friends, how would Jesus' resurrection move you from despair to living hope this day? Jesus being raised indeed changes everything!