From Death to Life

During this time of year, it’s common for congregations to talk about the resurrection and the meaning it has for us. This topic is central to our Christian theology.  Romans 4:17 calls this power of resurrection as unique to deity, and, if we say we believe in the message and life of Christ, then we accept the resurrection of Christ by faith. It is proof of God’s power, and it is offered as proof of our own future resurrection in I Thessalonians 4:17-18 and I Corinthians 15:16 and on.

Life from Death

For the resurrection to happen, Jesus first had to die and spend those three days in the tomb. You cannot separate the revival of Christ from his death. In Romans 4:25 treats these as inseparable subjects. His blood atones for our trespasses, and the resurrection seals our justification. In Matthew 16:21, Jesus begins teaching of His future sufferings after Peter’s confession of His deity. He continues this in Matthew 17:22-23 and in Matthew 20:17-19.

This fits the pattern of blood sacrifice for redemption. Exodus 12:5 begins this pattern with the introduction of the Passover sheep. Leviticus 16:7 begins instructions for the atonement day sacrifice. Isaiah 53 ties this type of sacrifice to a servant Messiah. Jesus is the sacrificial lamb who bears our iniquities in death. In John 1:36, John the Baptist calls Jesus the Lamb of God.

Hebrews 9:13-14 as well as I John 1:7 tell us that His blood cleanses. Romans 5:8-9 says the blood justifies us. Ephesians 1:6-7 records that we have redemption in His death. I Peter 1:18-19 states that Christ’s blood redeems (or repurchases) us, and Colossians 1:20 concludes that Jesus reconciles us to God in His death.

Conclusion: From Death to Life

For Christ to rise again, He first had to die. In this, He opened our way to God, but sin makes us dead to God. However, we also can rise again. Romans 6:2-3 likens our baptism to a death that is resurrected into a new life. It is a spiritual reenactment of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. This theme carries through much of the rest of chapter, reinforcing this separation from sin and unifying with Christ. Our sinful selves are buried in a grave of water, and we are raised to a new life – preparing for another resurrection coming with Christ’s return.

lesson by Tim Smelser