As resurrection Sunday approaches, I couldn't help thinking about the resurrection of Christ. This Sunday morning, Luke Hitz, Amanda Hitz, my wife and I will be singing a song from the Wilds called Resurrection anthem which is based on 1 Corinthians 15. The song basically answers the question "if Jesus has not risen" what would our lives be like. If Jesus has not risen then our faith is worthless because He could not conquer death and if he could not conquer death we are still in our sins. But Jesus did rise from the dead and conquer death.
The truth of the resurrection isn't intended to be a passive theological concept that we all believe; it is meant to have a practical impact on our lives. My favorite bible verse of all time is Phil 3:10 which says:
That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings being made conformable to His death.
Christs resurrection and its power are something that Paul desired to know personally. Those with a passing knowledge of Greek will no doubt have heard that there are multiple different words for the word "know" in Greek. In this passage, the word for "know" is a derivative of γινωσκω (ginosko) which speaks of an experiential knowledge. According to Kenneth Wuest,
Paul wants to come to know the Lord Jesus in that fulness of experimental knowledge which is only wrought by being like Him.
This isn't a head knowledge, this is knowledge gained by experience: relationship. In the text, he desires to know three things: 1. The Person of Christ 2. The Power of His Resurrection and 3. The Fellowship of His Sufferings. Today we are going to just focus in on the second point because it is Easter.
The Power of His Resurrection
The power that raised Christ up from the dead is the same power that we experience in our own lives. In fact according to Romans 6:3-4 ("Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life") we take part in Christs death, burial and resurrection.
Just as there are multiple words for "to know" in Greek there are multiple words for "power" in Greek. This power is the type that can overcome obstacles. It is more the power that we think of in a traditional sense. Christ, in dying on the cross, overcame the obstacle of death. He overcame the obstacle of the sealed tomb. He overcame our sin. This is the power of His resurrection. But what does it mean to experience the power of His resurrection? Scriptures give us an insight into some of what that means.
Experiencing the Power of His resurrection
1. Raised to New Life
Romans 6 teaches that by our participating in Christ's death, burial and resurrection spiritually we have been raised into newness of life. One of the most fundamental truths of the believer's new life is that Christ lives in us through His Holy Spirit. Gal 2:20 says that the Christ now lives in me, but what does this mean for me practically? The power to live for the Lord is found not in trying harder and being stronger, but in allowing Christ to live through us.
2. Freed from sin
Romans 6:7 teaches that by our death, burial and resurrection with Christ, we have been set free from the power of sin. Does this mean that we never sin? Our obvious experience shows us otherwise. The meaning here is not that we stop sinning, but that we don't have to be a slave to sin anymore. We are free not to sin. Imagine for years and years you have been paying rent on a lease to own house and the day that you finally are able to pay of the house comes. From that day on, you never need to make another payment to that landlord. Now imagine if after you paid off that house, you chose to continue paying the landlord money for the house. Crazy huh? That honestly is how most Christians live. We are free from sin and Satan and yet we continue to go back and choose to sin. In Christ, we are freed from sin by His resurrection.
3. Higher Affections
Col 3:1 says, "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above..." This verse is not a passive result of being risen with Christ, but it is a logical outflow of having been risen with Christ. Since we have been risen with Him, our sights should be on higher things. Our heart should desire spiritual things. There is a problem with a believer who never wants anything to do with God, church or spiritual things. That believer is not living in the truth of Christ's resurrection and what He has done for us.
4. Bring forth fruit
So often in Fundamental circles fruit is equated with winning people to the Lord and while this may be an aspect of fruit, it is not the most common concept associated with bearing fruit in the New Testament. Romans 7:4 says that Christ was raised from the dead "that we should bring forth fruit unto God." Vs 6 of this passage seems to define that fruit as "serving in newness of Spirit." It is a life of service produced by the Holy Spirit living in us. Elsewhere, we see fruit referring to what the Spirit produces in our lives (Gal 5:22-23). Here fruit is service, but it is also love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness. Christ's resurrection power is the power which enables us to show forth this fruit.
How often are we truly loving people? If this is one of those fruits of the Spirit and part of experiencing the power of His resurrection in our lives, where are we missing a true experience of that power. A really heart searching booklet was written by Amy Carmichael missionary to India of days gone by called "If." The book makes a series of statements in the form of "If I have done..... then I know nothing of Calvary's love" form. One example of these statements is found in the quote below.
If I take offence easily; if I am content to continue in cold unfriendliness, though friendship be possible, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
These are challenges statements that will make us really evaluate the level of how much we are experiencing Christ's resurrection power in our lives. When we see the weakness in ourselves, we must stop and ask ourselves are we truly walking in His spirit. So, my prayer this morning is that I will seek to have this heart cry and walk in the power of His resurrection. In Him, we have all things we need for life and godliness.
Wuest, Kenneth S. Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: For the English Reader. Vol. 5. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997. Print.