I have been invited to speak to a MOPS group at our church this week. The theme is Easter, so, instead of just going over the Easter story again, I decided to add a twist to the lesson and ask “what is the significance of Christ’s resurrection for me on a daily basis?”. Can you answer that question? You see, the resurrection of Christ is something that we commemorate once a year yet celebrate daily. What is the daily importance of Christ’s resurrection? The apostle Paul explains this to us in Romans 6. Now that you have had a chance to read the text, I would like to walk through the points of why the resurrection of Christ has daily significance for me as a believer.
I. Facts about Jesus’ resurrection
I was raised with the notion that it was OK to ask questions, and it was OK to say, I’m not sure. I believe, but I’m not quite so certain about the resurrection. (Peter Jennings)
“According to the laws of legal evidence used in courts of law, there is more evidence for the historical fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ than for just about any other event in history.” (Dr. Simon Greenleaf (a very famous Harvard University professor of Law))
Dr. Frank Morrison (a rationalistic lawyer) decided to take three years off from his law practice in order to try to disprove the resurrection of Jesus Christ. After three years of intense study, he found that the sheer weight of the evidence compelled him to conclude that Jesus Christ actually did rise from the dead. As a consequence he wrote the famous book entitled “Who Moved the Stone?”
Now that we have seen the fact that the resurrection of Christ is a fact, let’s dive in to what it means. According to Paul, Jesus was raised from the dead through the glory of God. How is God glorified through the resurrection of Christ? What makes His resurrection different from the other resurrections in the Bible? Lazarus was raised after being in the grave 4 days. We will discover this answer later on in the text. In fact, verse 9 explains one of the differences. Jesus will never die again. He is Master over death. Lazarus was resurrected but he later died again. When Jesus died, He died to sin once for all people. He offers something to us in our battle over sin. He died to sin and was raised to live for God. I Peter 2 says that:
21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,
We, as believers, are to follow in the footsteps of Christ. He died to sin and resurrected to live for God. We are to follow in His example. The word for example used in the passage is “carbon copy”. Literally, we are to follow in His path step by step. When we follow in His steps, something happens to us in our battle with sin. Do you know what it is? Let’s discover the answer for ourselves.
II. Portrait of a believer
Paul begins to describe the significance of the resurrection by asking some rhetorical questions.
- Should we believe that we make grace look better by continuing in sin as believers? The logic is, the more we sin, the bigger grace has to abound in order to cover our sin so therefore, we make grace look better by continuing to live in sin. Those who were using this teaching as an excuse for their continued slavery to sin did not understand Christ’s message in John 8:30-36. Jesus came to set us free from our slavery to sin.
- Can we still live in sin if we have died to it? The question that arises is, “how do we die to sin since we go on living in a body that is under the influence of our sin nature?”. Paul gives the answer.
- When we come to Christ and accept Him as Lord and Savior, we are born again. Paul uses a word picture to describe this process. Spiritually speaking, we are conformed to the likeness of Jesus death and burial. We are immersed into His death. Remember, He died to sin and was raised to live for God. When we accept Christ, symbolically, we die to our sins and sin nature the way that Christ physically died. We are resurrected spiritually speaking, to walk in obedience to God.
- Our sin nature is crucified with Christ. Sin’s power over us is broken. We are no longer slaves to sin. Sin no longer is master over us. Because of the resurrection of Christ, we are now able to overcome sin. We can now say no to temptation and sin. We are free.
- We died with Him and now we live with Him. We live like Him. We walk in a newness of life. We still live in a body of flesh and constantly have to battle our sin nature but the difference is, now we have the power and ability to say no, something that we did not have before.
Has this ever happened to you? This is what happens to us when we are born again. God gives us the ability to say no to our sins. He sets us free from sin’s devastating grip on us. Now, just because you have been set free does not mean that you will automatically say no to temptation and sin. You still have to make a choice moment by moment to say no to temptation and sin and that is why Paul ends this section with some challenges to the believers.
III. Commands given to the believers
The first thing that you have to do if you want to overcome temptation and sin is to consider yourself dead to sin. When tempted, you must remind yourself that you have died to sin and it no longer has power over you. You will still be tempted, on a daily basis so you must constantly remind yourself that in the area of sin, you are dead. If you say no to one thing then according to the laws of nature, you have to say yes to something else. You consciously choose to say no to sin and yes to God. Before, you did not have a choice but now you do. You move from being a slave to sin to being a slave to God. Sin can no longer reign in your mortal body because its grip has been loosened and you have been set free. Live as a free person. Do not walk back under sin’s bondage. Sin will still tempt you buy you no longer have to obey. You can now say no. Keep yourself away from things that will tempt you. It is like the man who had started a new diet. He was doing well but one day he was late for work and when he walked in the office he had chocolate doughnut crumbs on his face and shirt. His coworkers asked what had happened. He explained that as he passed the doughnut shop on the way to work, he was tempted to pull in and decided he would get out if there were an open parking space. He said after 45 minutes of circling the lot one opened up so he had to keep his word. It’s a funny story but I am sure you can see the implications in the area of temptation and sin. Instead of setting yourself up to fall into temptation and sin, be active in serving the Lord to keep your body and mind occupied. Remember king David got in trouble when he was idle. The same can happen to us. If you are actively serving the Lord then you will not have time to fall into temptation and sin. The enemy is cunning and does not try and attack you when you are on guard, he just waits until you “relax”.
Is the resurrection of Christ as reality that you live out daily? What is your relationship to sin? Do you excuse your slavery to sin or do you realize that those chains have been broken and sin is no longer master over you? Have you been born again? If you have never been born again then sin is still your master and that will be manifested in your obedience to sin. Once you have been set free, sin’s power is broken and you have the ability to say no. Are you living according to this reality or are you like the prisoner who stays in his cell even though the door has been unlocked? The resurrection of Christ is a fact that directly impacts us on a daily basis. May God help us live in the light of this reality by choosing to say no to temptation and sin moment by moment and yes to God. Serve Him and He will keep you busy so that you will not have time to fall into temptation and sin. May God help us in this daily battle.