by: Jeff Poppinga
Dear Faith Baptist Family,
Good afternoon! The Lord is risen! The Lord is risen indeed!
Easter is behind us if we think of it only as a day but it is not behind us if we understand it as a new reality ushered in by Jesus Christ who is the resurrection and the life (see John 11:25-26). Jesus says, "Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades" (Rev 1:17b-18). Paul writes, "We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God" (Rom 6:9-10). Instead of thinking of Christ as having been resurrected, it may be more accurate to refer to him as the Resurrected Christ--He is alive forevermore and will never die again!!!
The resurrection of Christ is not a simple event of the past. Yes, the resurrection took place in the past but it is an event that has an effect on present reality which will find completion in a future resurrection. The resurrected Christ gives new life to all who receive him now. Paul describes it this way in Galatians 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." In Romans 6:4 he writes, "We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life." This new life we NOW live through the Resurrected Christ is pointing us forward to the day when our bodies will be resurrected for "this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality" (1 Cor 15:53). Jesus Christ will one day "transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body" (Phil 3:21a).
As believers we confess that Christ died, that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day (see 1 Cor 15:3-4). These are facts about Christ that we believe but being a believer is more than agreeing to certain facts about Christ; it is about receiving the Resurrected Christ and thus receiving new life in Christ.
When we receive the Resurrected Christ we can sing "He lives, He lives! Christ Jesus lives today! He walks with me and talks with me along life's narrow way. He lives, He lives, salvation to impart! You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart!" (Chorus to He Lives by Alfred Ackley)