Lesson 8 -- second quarter 2000
April 23, 2000
© Copyright 2000, Christian Light Publications
"To rejoice and live in the reality of the resurrection" makes for such a glorious-sounding lesson aim. And for most of us, rejoicing in the resurrection's reality isn't all that difficult if we can focus our minds long enough. Living in that reality? Well, that can be such a markedly different story, eh? Perhaps we can help ourselves a little by reviewing the significance Christ's resurrection should have for us.
Confidence. How many words have I preached and written in the defense and proclamation of the Gospel of Christ? I'm only one among millions! And how many millions have lived their lives and suffered their deaths with full confidence in the faith? Christians can do this with such zeal, commitment and confidence only because of the resurrection. "And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain" (verse 14).
Hope. I suppose most folks know how it works to survive a week (or month or year) on the basis and in anticipation of something. Hope keeps us going...until that event or whatever is at last realized. Then that hope does us no more good. (If that hoped-for thing is not realized, then we have a different batch of problems!) The hope of the Christian is of vastly greater reach because of the resurrection of Jesus. "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable" (1 Corinthians 15:19). "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" (1 Peter 1:3).
Expectation. The phone rang. Upon picking up the receiver, I heard the teacher's desperate voice. The computer had locked up and she feared losing all her hard work. When she remembered I had recovered from a similar mishap, her expectations soared for her own predicament. In a minuscule way this helps us understand why Jesus' resurrection gives us expectations for our own. "For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead" (1 Corinthians 15:21). We can look forward to eternal incorruption, glory and power in a spiritual body (1 Corinthians 15:42-44).
Justification. I suppose few people know the frequent battlings of my heart against such evils as lust and bitterness, suspicion and materialism. How tired I get of the offenses! But thanks be to God, I am doing better. He has forgiven me every time, I know. But the Lord's resurrection offers me more: "Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification" (Romans 4:25). Do you get this one?! Because of His resurrection, our sinning life gradually gives way to a victorious life. Praise Him!
I challenge you to find other "consequences" of the resurrection in the life of the believer. (You might continue on with Romans 5:1 as well as Philippians 3:10.)
And ask the Father to make this a real part of your life...you know, what happens to you daily.
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