|Taking Every Thought Captive|
Practical Ramifications of the Resurrection of Christ
By Massimo Lorenzini
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (John 11:25).
Foundational Truths Concerning the Resurrection of Christ
Secular journalists love to present the false dichotomy of faith versus fact. As if they are two mutually exclusive categories. But faith is always founded on fact. Faith is only as good as its object. Faith itself cannot do anything. It’s the object of our faith that counts. As Christians, we do not believe the Bible because we want to, even though the facts are against it. We believe it because it is the truth of God. We are staking our entire earthly and eternal lives on the veracity of the Bible. As one author noted,
The historicity of the Bible is more important to the Christian than anything in the world, because, as [Gleason] Archer points out, “One cannot allow for error in history-science without also ending up with error in doctrine.” Thus, the honest Christian must scrutinize the Bible more closely than its harshest critics.
The Bible is a book of history. It records the acts of God to redeem fallen humanity in real time-space history. All of the doctrines of the Bible are based on historical events: Creation of the universe; creation of man and woman and the institution of marriage; the fall of man into sin; the curse placed on creation, man, and the serpent; the revelation of God to the patriarchs; the flood; the origin of the nations at the tower of Babel; the origin of the nation of Israel through Abraham; the exodus out of Egypt; the wilderness wanderings; the conquest of the promised land; the kingdom years from Saul through Zedekiah; the exile and return of the Jews into the land; the coming of the Messiah—His crucifixion, burial, and resurrection; the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost; the spread of the gospel throughout the Roman Empire on up until the present era; and the bodily return of Christ to establish His physical reign on earth for 1,000 years are all historical events that God is using to manifest His glory in the earth.
The Bible clearly teaches that Christ rose from the dead in a glorified body and after forty days He ascended back to the heaven and is now seated at the right hand of God. The eyewitness testimony is that this actually happened in history. The resurrection of Christ is reality, not just symbolic metaphor for some spiritual principle. Without the historicity of the Bible in general and the resurrection of Christ in particular, we have no hope.
The resurrection of Christ is the cornerstone of the Christian faith. Without it, our faith is vain.
1 Cor 15:12-57 12 Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. 15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up--if in fact the dead do not rise. 16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.
The Relevance of the Resurrection to Us
The resurrection of Christ confirms His claims as a prophet of God and Lord because Jesus repeatedly predicted His death and resurrection.
Matt 16:21 From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.
John 10:17-18 17 Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father."
Luke 18:31-34 31 Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished. 32 For He will be delivered to the Gentiles and will be mocked and insulted and spit upon. 33 They will scourge Him and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again." 34 But they understood none of these things; this saying was hidden from them, and they did not know the things which were spoken.
Luke 24:1-8 1 Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them,* came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. 2 But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. 3 Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. 5 Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, "Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, 7 saying, 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.' " 8 And they remembered His words.
The resurrection of Christ confirms His role as Savior and Lord and compels His followers to be witnesses of it to all.
Luke 24:44-48 44 Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me." 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. 46 Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things.
Our regeneration is based on the resurrection of Christ. Though we still have bodies that are subject to weakness and death, “resurrection life” is given to us initially when we are converted.
1 Pet 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
Eph 2:5-7 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Our justification is based on the resurrection of Christ.
Rom 4:25 who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of [or, for] our justification.
God, in effect, declared His approval of Christ’s redemptive work by raising Him from the dead.
We can experience this resurrection life now. Paul prayed for the believers to know . . .
Eph 1:19-20 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places.
We will experience complete resurrection life when we are glorified.
Rom 8:10-11 10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
Rom 8:10, NLT Since Christ lives within you, even though your body will die because of sin, your spirit is alive because you have been made right with God.
1 Cor 6:14 And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power.
1 Cor 15:20-26,51-57 20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming. 24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.
51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed-- 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." 55 "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?" 56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ethical Implications of Resurrection Life
Implications for unbelievers.
Acts 17:30-31 30 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead."
Implications for believers.
1 Cor 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
Rom 6:4, 11 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. . . . 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Col 3 1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, 7 in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.
8 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.
12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
18 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. 20 Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. 22 Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. 23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. 25 But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.
 Scripture taken from the New King James Version.