Alive Because He Is

I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”  -John 11:25-26

“Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”  -Romans 6:3-4

Jesus resurrection

Rosemary Rutherford, "The Empty Tomb, Crucifixion, Resurrection," c. 1971, St. Mary's Church, Hinderclay, Suffolk, England

The death and resurrection of Jesus form the entire basis of Christianity, for it is through these two historical events that God reconciled mankind to himself—crushing the power of sin and death, which had held us separate, once and for all—and laid the foundation for the New Creation.  There are a lot of theological buzzwords associated with the Easter message—atonement, redemption, justification, imputation of righteousness, regeneration—but today I’d like to single in, just for a moment, on the liberating impact of Jesus’ death and resurrection.  Jesus liberates, for sure.  But from what, and to what?  From death, to life.  From sin, to righteousness.  From meaninglessness, to purpose.  Jesus cuts us loose from everything that ties us down to death, and he can do that because whereas death was supposed to be our end, our destiny, he made it his instead.  But rather than stopping there, crushed and defeated, Jesus rose from the grave, to new life, and in doing so defeated death on our behalf.  He defeated it with the power of himself, because he is Life.  And it is this Life to which he calls us—the powerful, transformative, all-redeeming Life that he is.

It’s important to remember that without the resurrection, Jesus’ death would have meant nothing.  In his book Vintage Jesus, Mark Driscoll writes, “If the cross were the only work, then we’d be forgiven corpses.  But through the resurrection, the very life of God has broken into this world to give us life that is new in character and eternal in duration.” Jesus’ resurrection gives us NEW LIFE, and not just a new life that we can look forward to in the hereafter, but new life in the here and now, on Earth.  For me, Jesus’ resurrection means that sin and death no longer have control over me.  Jesus has released me from their oppression, their threats, and freed me to live a full and abundant life to his glory.  I need only die to myself and cling to him.

This Easter, I praise God for making me, through the work of his Son, a new creation—for liberating me not only from enslavement and eternal death, but to a life of substance, joy, and hope.  Christ the Lord is risen today—Alleluia!  And because he is, I am, too!

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