Saturday, July 26, 2008

Is Knowing the Resurrection of Christ Important?

The Resurrection Factor

By Abraham Israel

What is the theological [study or knowing of God] significance of Christ's Bodily resurrection?

If we ask the same question to the disciples of Jesus during the first century, what would have been their answer be? To the core, it means everything to them. The disciples thought when Jesus died on the cross, all their hope about the kingdom of God established in Israel, with Jesus as their Messianic king and they as His friends with authority was gone. They felt miserable and hopeless. Even Apostle Paul felt the same way if it had not been for the one thing, the resurrection of Christ. He said, “But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.” (1 Cor 15:13-14). Here Paul is speaking about the object of our faith. The object of our faith is the risen Christ who is in heaven, who has promised us that we will be resurrected back to life in our physical body, through His life and power in the coming day of resurrection of all believers during the rapture of the Church. By believing and living in hope with love toward God and man, is the one thing that makes us receive the life of Jesus which is eternal life (Rom 1:17). A life without end. If this should happen in reality, then our body which is under the bondage of corruption must be revived with the very life of God [i.e. without sickness, pain and death of spirit, soul and body]. This is what Jesus does through His Spirit who lives in us the moment we believe in Jesus Christ which will fully be fulfilled on the day of rapture.

God raised Jesus as an object of our faith. We cannot have faith in faith because faith needs an object to believe and a direction to look towards. Even the gospel is preached to the unbelievers with Christ crucified and Christ [as risen from the dead] as the central theme of the message of the gospel in which they believe and put their hope. God has made Salvation so simple and significant that anybody who believes in Jesus will be saved. Another important significance of Christ’s bodily resurrection is, only when someone believes in the message of Christ’s Bodily resurrection, then only the Holy Spirit can come in to their life and quicken their mortal bodies thus providing healing to one’s spirit, soul and body (Rom 8:11). Paul wrote his whole theological argument in his epistles based on the Bodily resurrection of Jesus. Thus an unbeliever cannot become a Christian without this message of Christ’s bodily resurrection and a believer cannot continue to be a Christian because it is all the work of faith based on the Bodily resurrection of Jesus. This proves the importance of the message of the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The Atonement and the resurrection work of Christ

The early church got it right when compared to the present time, their understanding about the ‘Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ’. They considered the Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ as a,

i. Victory over Satan,

ii. Meeting the just demands of Divine law,

iii. Offering of a sacrifice and

iv. The reversal of the sin of Adam.

First of all we must understand that the Atonement and the Resurrection work of Christ was planned by God even before the foundation of this world (1 Peter 1:20). The Holy Trinity had discussed and Jesus voluntarily agreed, the Father God approved and the Holy Spirit executed it (John 10:17,18). When God began the adventure of creating the earth, he took the risk of creating a free moral being and also took the risk of placing angels as the spiritual guardian over their lives (Matt 18:10;Psalm 91:11;34:7). Because of the risk involved in creating a free willed moral being, He knew that if something goes wrong He would need a back up plan of rescue, so He had a pre-determined plan of blue print which centered around the sacrifice of Jesus (Acts 2:23; Heb 4:3; Rev 13:8). He loved us humans so much that He was ready to step in to this planet earth to become one of us to rescue us from the devastation of the wrong choice if ever Adam would choose it because of his free will, which became true in the garden of Eden (Heb 2:16-17; Gen 3:1-19; Rom 5:12 ). Oh what a love! One of the reason that God gave aid to us Humans and not angels was because the rebellion of angels was a conscious decision without any outside influence (Rev 12:3-4). But Humans were deceived in to rebellion with a conscious choice, but with an outside influence [i.e. Satan and his Demons] (Genesis 3:1-8).

Jesus Christ was considered slain from the foundation of the world [Note: not before the foundation of the world] because I believe that was the time when Satan and his deceived minions rebelled against God because of Satan's intense craving for worship and his prideful thinking (Job 38:6-7; Gen 1:1-2; Isaiah 14:13-17; Ezek 28:12-19; Matt 4:8-11; Rev 12:3-4; 13:8) [To know in details the fall of Satan and the succeeding war that is waged ever since that time, read the following article => The War-Saints Against Satan]. Even when God started executing the project planet earth, according to Him [i.e. in His mind] Christ His Son was already slain because Christ surrendered His will to the Father to fulfill His project at that time itself. This is such a reality to God, that the moment a person surrenders His will to do a particular thing that God says [i.e. In this case only if something wrong happens], according to God it is like already done. Christ voluntarily surrendered His will as God Almighty, to the Father even before the creation of the planet to fulfill God the Fathers plan as a servant participant (Genesis 1:1-5; Col 1:15-20). So only in the Gospel of John once His earthly mission was about to be completed, Jesus said to the Father, “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” (John 17:4-5). The scripture also speaks, “Therefore, when He [Jesus Christ] came into the world [i.e. before becoming a baby in the womb of Mary to come in to the world system of governance (Matt 4:8-11)], He said: “Sacrifice and offering [blood of bulls and goats] You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me [where? Down on planet earth]. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I [Jesus Christ] said, ‘Behold, I have come— In the volume of the book it is written of Me— To do Your will, O God.’” (Heb 10:5-7). Thus the Bible clearly shows that God had planned and set the time for Christ’s coming to the earth as a sacrificial lamb to offer Himself for the sin of the world (Heb 1:1,2;John 1:29). It did not cost us anything, but it did cost God His very own Son.

It is not a religious rites that Jews had been following by keeping the law and sacrificing bulls and goats, but it is a shadow of the good things to come [when Messiah comes] and not the very image of the things (Heb 10:1-4). The good things include God having forgiven them in the Old Testament time itself by their faith in God by their Sacrificial Atonement of Blood, all the true saints who lived during the O.T times believed that their Messiah will come one day and make atonement for their sins, because of this faith they had in Jesus the Messiah, they were raised in their new resurrected body when Jesus rose from the dead (Ps 79:9;65:3,4; Isaiah 26:19;Matt 27:52-53).

It was God the Father’s will that Jesus Christ [the Son of God] should come to the earth and offer Himself, so that every person who believed and will believe in God should be redeemed and have eternal life. God decided to forgive the erring humanity once for all thorough this one perfect sacrifice for all generations (Heb 10:12). From this we know that this unique sacrifice was initiated and ordained by God and not by any man’s will (Gen 3:21; Gen 4:2-7;Heb 11:4;Gen 8:20-21). We know that God is personal to each and every one of us. Each man is born once and dies once in this earthly realm. Thus as a perfect substitute for each and every one of us, He [Jesus] was born once in this earth and died once and rose again to live forever, thus giving us the hope that we will also live forever like Him because through Him we who believed Him have been forgiven by God for all our sins.

This is the ultimate reason, Jesus visited this earth once as a God-man and died for us once (Heb 9:27-28), or else He needs to come and die for every man in every generation from the foundation of the world (Heb 9:26). Jesus did not sacrifice Himself to fulfill the demands made by the devil, but by a just God who justified the ungodly by His Son’s sacrifice (Rom 4:5). Jesus gave up His rights and privileges [God’s sovereignty which He used in the past] and became a man in his likeness (Phil 2:7). Even though He became a man, He was still God in the flesh (John 14:8-11). As the Bible says, “who [Jesus], being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” (Phil 2:6-8). Jesus voluntarily took the form of a bondservant to God by coming in the likeness of men (Is 49:6). By obeying the perfect will of God the Father, Jesus died on the cross and got forsaken for a moment as a substitute for a sinner [i.e. a person of lawlessness] (Mark 14:36;Phil 2:8). Hence the central reason for Jesus Christ to visit this planet earth is to die on the cross as atonement [compensation] for our sins.

The other important thing to understand is that the law made nothing perfect (Heb 7:19). As many as are working the works of the law are under a curse because no one can truly keep the law without breaking one of it, which is equal to breaking all of it (Gal 3:10;James 2:10). The law was not given for us to keep it, the law was given for Jesus Christ to fulfill it through His life and death so that by having faith in Him and His atoning work we are Blessed (Matt 5:17;Gal 3:10-14). The law is a tutor which brings us to Christ, giving us the understanding that we cannot keep the law by our own effort. The law will make us realize our inability to please God by ourselves and by our own good works (Gal 3:23-24).

Once we come to Christ, we will receive faith in Him which will automatically please God, thus after we come to Him we don’t need the tutor because we will find our master in Christ (Gal 3:25). The law will keep us under guard to keep us from being lawless before we come to Christ. But once we come to Christ we don’t need the law completely because after we come in to a living relationship with God through Christ, It is He who will live His life in us and through us and the very life of God will flow in us and through us as His sons (Gal 4:4-6). Jesus Christ came to this earth 2000 years ago and fulfilled all the law of God by His perfect obedience without breaking even one law, even one time. So through Him now we can reach God the Father because of the relationship that Jesus has established for us by getting us adopted in to the family of God. Thus we can boldly call God as “Our Father” and He will respond to us immediately as “My child”.

The resurrection of Christ is the central message that gives us hope and assurance of eternal life as Christians. It is the other half of the work of Christ for us. Christ not only died on the Cross for our sins, but also rose again or else there is no hope that we will live eternally like Him (1 Cor 15:1-4, 12-19;Luke 24:36-43;Acts 1:11). If Christ is not risen, we will still be in our sins because for a promise to be effective the one who promises should die. After a testament come in to force by the death of a person, He must come alive for that promise to be fulfilled for others if that same blessing is to be given to others (Heb 9:16-22, 26-28). Hence through the risen Christ only we can have the assurance and faith for our future.

Through one man’s disobedience all have fallen short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23). Through one man’s obedience all were made righteous (Rom 5:19). God is speaking in 1 Cor 15:47,45 in context of the creation of Man. Here God is speaking that “through Jesus Christ the restoration of the image of God in man is restored [i.e. all were made righteous].” (1 Cor 15:49;Rom 5:19;8:29).God not only justified us, but made us the very righteousness of God [i.e. having the very character of God in the inner man] through recreating the perfect spirit man inside us which is exactly in the image of God, for those of us who have believed in Jesus (Rom 5:1;2 Cor 5:21;Heb 12:23;Eph 4:24).

The most important thing to be understood in the fall of man and the salvation of man is that, even though Adam was perfect in the Garden of Eden, he had a will to obey God in which he disobeyed. After the fall of man he still has a will through which he can choose to obey God by choosing to accept God’s remedy for the restoration of mankind to Himself through Jesus Christ, which is God’s will for mankind’s redemption. God never imposes His will on anybody. So only, the false doctrine of universal salvation [i.e. universal salvation of men by God making all of them righteous without them taking a choice to follow God] is absolutely a nonsense theory. This kind of theory is absolutely out of God’s will for mankind. From the above we can conclude that the work of Christ [i.e. Christ’s Atonement Death and His Resurrection] is the basis of our Christian Faith. Praise the Lord!


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