Understanding the Red Letters Part 13
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies’ ” (John 11:25). Jesus is the resurrection and the life. I like to put these two terms together and call the life Jesus promised His believers “resurrection life”. Resurrection life has a longevity (eternal) and a quality (abundant) based on the promises of God.
Resurrection life delivers a promise about our past – we have been set free from the penalty of sin. Resurrection life holds a promise about our future – life with Jesus forever because our sins are forgiven. And resurrection life delivers a promise about our present – freedom from the power of sin in our walk today.
Let us focus for a minute on the present promise. The apostles, over and over, emphasize that our daily walk in the Christian life is empowered by the resurrection life of Christ living inside us. To develop that theme, let’s take a quick tour through the book of Romans as one example to see what the resurrection of Christ accomplished in us.
First, as the foundation for our faith, the resurrection sealed Jesus’ identity as the Christ, the Son of God. “…His Son was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and was declared with power to be the Son of God by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:3-4). Jesus’ resurrection from the dead declared with power that He is who He said He is, Christ, the Son of God.
And in an almost unbelievable connection, we were buried and raised with Christ. “We have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin” (Romans 6:4-7).
This “newness of life” that we are to walk in is literally the resurrected life of Christ (“in the likeness of His resurrection”) living itself out in us. And one of the beautiful outcomes of Christ living His resurrected life in us is that “we are no longer slaves to sin”. We have been set free from sin’s power. But how do we tap into this resurrected life and experience its power?
“However you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, since indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. And since Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But since 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 indwells you” (Romans 8:9-11).
The Spirit of God who raised Christ from the dead dwells inside you. It could not be more clear. Twice in verse 11 alone, Paul refers to the Christ’s resurrection life living in you by the presence of His Holy Spirit. This is the promise of a life set free from sin’s power. It is fueled, it is energized by the Holy Spirit living in you. This is the new covenant.
And all of this is true because Christ is raised from the dead. The apostles, in their early sermons in the first few chapters of the book of Acts, consistently proclaimed Christ’s resurrection. The empty tomb is a powerful point of apologetics as we defend our faith and defend the identity of Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God. But the resurrection was so much more. It sealed your past; forgiveness and the penalty for your sins taken away. It sealed your future; an eternity in the presence of Jesus. And it has a promise for your present; a life set free from sin’s power.