Resurrection: What has Jesus’ resurrection accomplished for Christians?
Jesus’ resurrection reveals him as our messiah king. In the Davidic covenant,1 God the Father promised that his Son, Jesus Christ, would be raised up from David’s lineage to rule over an everlasting kingdom. Paul reveals that this was fulfilled at the resurrection of Jesus: “Concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.”2 Now that the risen Christ has been installed as our messiah king, we can rest assured that one day Jesus will return to establish his throne on the earth and rule over his kingdom, which extends to all of creation.
Furthermore, following Jesus’ resurrection, an angel declared, “He is not here, for he has risen, as he said.”3 Therefore, the resurrection is proof that Jesus’ teaching was and is truth that we can trust. Practically, Jesus’ resurrection gives us confidence in his other promises that we are waiting to see fulfilled, such as his returning one day to judge sinners4 and reward saints.5 The Bible often speaks of our being united with Christ by his resurrection,6 being raised with Christ,7 and enjoying the same powerful Holy Spirit that raised Christ.8 In so doing, the Bible is stressing the innumerable blessings and benefits conferred on believers because of Jesus’ resurrection.
Paul stresses the fact that through Jesus’ death and resurrection we have forgiveness of sins.9 Because of Jesus, those with faith in him can live with the great joy of knowing that all their sins—past, present, and future—have been forgiven once and for all by Jesus Christ. Furthermore, as the power of Jesus’ resurrection works itself out in our sanctification, we grow in holiness, learning to live in victory over sin, until one day upon our own resurrection we will live forever, free from the presence, power, and practice of all sin. Elsewhere, Jesus’ resurrection is spoken of as the source of our justification, thereby enabling us, though sinners, to be declared righteous in the sight of God. Paul explicitly states that Jesus was “raised for our justification.”10
Regarding our future, Jesus’ resurrection is the precedent and pattern of our own: “Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”11 As his body was resurrected in complete health, so too will we rise and never experience pain, injury, or death ever again. This is because through the resurrection, Jesus has put death to death.
Additionally, Wright makes the insightful observation that “the message of the resurrection is that this present world matters.”12 Because Jesus rose from death physically, we learn that God through Christ intends to reclaim and restore all that he made in creation and saw corrupted through the fall. Our eternity will be spent in a world much like the one enjoyed by our first parents in Eden, because the earth has been reclaimed and restored by God through Jesus’ resurrection.
The full effects of Jesus’ resurrection will be seen one day, following Jesus’ return. The time between Jesus’ resurrection and our resurrection is a lengthy season of love, grace, and mercy as news of the gospel goes forth, inviting sinners to repent of sin and enjoy the present and future salvation of Jesus Christ. Paul preached just this fact and the urgent need for sinners to repent: “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”13 In closing, no one can remain neutral regarding Jesus’ resurrection. The claim is too staggering, the event is too earthshaking, the implications are too significant, and the matter is too serious. We must each either receive or reject it as truth for us, and to remain indifferent or undecided is to reject it.
Do you believe that Jesus Christ died and rose for your sins? What are you most looking forward to after the resurrection of the dead?