On Monday, we discussed the significance of the resurrection (to read that entry, click here). The resurrection had to happen. If the resurrection didn't happen–if Jesus failed to rise again–then our faith would essentially be worthless. But praise God, the cross and resurrection did happen, just as God said they would. And now, those of us in Christ have a living hope. Those of us in Christ share the victory Jesus claimed 2,000 years ago. Because of the resurrection, we have victory over the devil, over sin, over death, and over our flesh. Yes, we have a glorious future to look forward to in the new heavens and the new earth, but on this side of the cross right now, we have the indwelling Spirit. The Spirit dwells in believers (Romans 8)! Just as God dwelled among His people in the tabernacle and the temple in the Old Testament, God dwells in us. There is intimacy between God and His people right now!
So we can live in light of the resurrection by walking by the Spirit.
We are no longer enslaved to sin. In fact, we are now empowered by the Spirit to fight sin. We partner with the Spirit in killing our sin (the "mortification of the flesh"). And though it sounds negative, this is the way to joy because it's growing in Christlikeness. Keeping in step with the Spirit is a joyful experience, and it is rooted in love.
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith.1 John 5:3-4 (italics mine)
For those in Christ, His commandments are not burdensome! They are motivated by a deep, abiding love for God. We have victory because of our faith–because of Christ! The gospel-centered life isn't a grind; it is a beautiful, intimate relationship with God. Consider the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). These are good things that all of us want, and it is the Spirit of God in us who produces it in us. It is for those who "belong to Christ Jesus" and "have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires" (Galatians 5:24). And it is those who belong to Christ who continue to "keep in step with the Spirit" (Galatians 5:25).
Putting our flesh to death (killing our sin) can be a painful process. It can be a slow process. However, it is a process that leads to joy. It is a process sustained by Christ. It is only by God's grace that we're able to do this at all! 1 Corinthians 15:10 says we work hard because of the grace of God within us! The fact that we're empowered by the Spirit to fill the flesh and walk in step by the Spirit is His grace! "It is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13, italics mine). Living in light of the resurrection is growing in godliness. It's no longer living enslaved to the things of this world, our flesh, or our sin. Praise God that we get to experience resurrection life right now!
We also live in light of the resurrection by keeping our eyes fixed on the future glory that is ours in Christ. Our future glorification impacts our day to day living if we fix our eyes on Christ. It impacts our lives if we meditate on His law day and night because that is how we come to understand and experience the hope that comes from embracing who God is. That is how we know and receive the promises He gives His people.
Living in light of the resurrection means living in full confidence that there's good that awaits us. It is a good that is irrevocably ours in Christ. And in order to live in light of this, we have to keep the gospel ever before us. We have to daily remind ourselves of our future glorification in Christ. We have to go to the Word of God daily to produce a paradigm-shift that informs our day to day living. If we live in this way, we will find ourselves:
- Being generous with our time, energy, and resources.
- Worrying less about the things of this world because our minds are set on the faithfulness of God.
- Encouraging others open-handedly because our identities are secure in Christ.
- Working hard and doing all things as unto the Lord.
All of life is worship. This gives meaning to changing diapers and cleaning toilets and doing laundry. This gives meaning to having a desk-job in corporate America. This gives meaning to the mundane things in our lives and the monumental. It doesn't matter exactly what we're doing because when we're living in light of the resurrection, all of our lives are worship. We know we have a future glory awaiting for us and have nothing to lose. This is why we hold the things of this world loosely: we're holding fast to the sure promises of God instead!
Friends, living in light of the resurrection means we live with hope that Jesus is exactly who He says He is. It means we live in such a way that says we believe that salvation was accomplished on the cross and a future inheritance is awaiting us. It means we understand that victory and glory are ours in Christ. It means we live like this is not our home. And while we do, we fight our sin. We partner with the Spirit in growing in godliness, knowing that He who began a good work in us will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).
Let's not forget that the gospel knows no bounds. Its truth and beauty and power cannot be contained. This past Easter was a testament to that truth: the gospel unites our hearts and minds. Though we may be a part for a season due to a global pandemic, we will continue declaring together that HE IS RISEN, HE IS RISEN INDEED!