Mike McClellan

This Sunday is Easter Sunday, celebrated by Christians the world over in recognition of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. While the coming of Christ into the world celebrated at Christmas redefined world history as we know it, it is in fact the resurrection that secures the benefits for those who would believe.

For those who have placed their faith and trust in this Jesus, and for those who are still deciding, I encourage you to consider the implications of a resurrected, living, Savior.

Because he lives, I can have freedom from the past.

In 1 Corinthians 15, the Apostle Paul argues that the resurrection is the key to believers enjoying freedom from the sins of our past. He states in verse 17, “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.”

However, the Bible is clear that it was the shedding of blood by Christ himself that paid the debt of sin we all owe (Romans 5:9; Ephesians 1:7). How then do we reconcile these statements?

The argument runs thus, the resurrection was the reward for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross; if Jesus only died but was not resurrected, then his sacrifice is somehow deficient in that it failed to achieve its intended purpose, and therefore we are still in our sin.

Fortunately, as Paul states in verse 20, “in fact Christ has been raised from the dead,” a fact attested to by upwards of 500 people (1 Corinthians 15:6). Therefore, by trusting in his sufficient sacrifice, and believing in the resurrection which he gained, I can be set free from the guilt and associated judgment of my sinful past (Romans 10:9-10).

Because he lives, I can have peace in the present. Lest we think that our faith in Christ is only a backward leaning one, consider this present reality.

With the resurrection of Christ comes peace in our present because, having dealt with the consequences of our past and secured our eternal future, we are freed to live in peace with God. Paul continues in 1 Cor. 15:21-22 by saying, “For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.”

The result of our sin is death (Romans 6:23), a consequence under which we live every day, but through the resurrection of Christ those who believe have been freed from that consequence and look forward to an eternal future devoid of judgment. No longer are we under condemnation, but we have been set free by our reconciliation to God (Romans 8:1-4).

Because he lives, I can have hope for the future. My sin dealt with, my present reality secured in peace through reconciliation, I can now set my focus to the hope that lies in my future. Because he lives, I will live too, forever, imperishable, and perfect (1 Corinthians 15:42-44). No longer am I bound by the limitations of my physical body, no more pain, no more suffering, no more fear. And upon Jesus’ return I will be transformed in the blink of an eye (1 Corinthians 15:52) and raised in glory to join him who has gone before me.

If Christ is not raised from the dead, then we are dead in our sins, but in fact Christ is raised and that provides us the freedom, peace, and hope that Jesus earned for us. The only remaining point is one of response. Will you appropriate these blessings in your own life by believing the gospel of Jesus Christ? If so, then you can say with us, “Because he lives, I can live too.”

The Rev. Mike McClellan is pastor of Cross Roads Church, Southern Baptist Convention, in Poncha Springs.

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