The Significance of the Resurrection – Part 2
Man made new – the death of the old man.
...and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.
– 1 Corinthians 15:17
Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.
– Romans 6:4-7
...having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.
– Colossians 2:12
Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
– 2 Corinthians 5:17
OBSERVE & CONSIDER
In the previous lesson, we considered what the Apostle Paul wrote about the resurrection of Jesus in 1 Corinthians 15:14-19. In this lesson, we will continue our study of the resurrection, starting with one verse from that passage. From verse 17 above, we read that if Christ was not raised from the dead, then we are still in our sins. Let’s dig deeper at this precise place.
Recall from Lesson 18 that sin has infected every person since Adam. Now some people have the idea they can rid themselves of sin by living a good life, by becoming an increasingly better person. This is not what the Bible teaches. According to the Bible, the only way to deal with sin is to judge it and put it to death (Romans 8:13), and that is what Jesus accomplished by His death on the cross.
Now notice from Romans 6:5-6 above, that in some sense, when Jesus was crucified, you (your old self) were crucified with Him. As you think about this concept, it may be helpful to keep in mind that because God is not limited by time and space, what God accomplishes in time and space is not limited by the ordinary constraints of time and space. Hence, in some way, though you might not fully grasp it now, Jesus took you with Him to the cross, even though you had not yet been born.
Also, it is important to note that when the Bible uses the term old self (or old man), it is referring to who you were before trusting Jesus to pay for your sin and reconcile you to God. In other words, “old self” refers to who you were as a person under the penalty and the power of sin. So as we carefully read verses 6 and 7, we see that your old self was crucified together with Christ so that “your body of sin might be done away with,” so that you “should no longer be a slave to sin,” but rather be “freed from sin.” God deals with sin by taking you (your old self) to the grave. And continuing with verse 7, “He who has died is freed from sin.” It is a good thing to be freed from the power of sin, but it is not good if we remain dead in a grave. That is why the resurrection is so important!
Notice from Romans 6:5 and from Colossians 2:12, that not only were we crucified with Jesus, but we were also raised with Him–raised to walk in “newness of life” (Romans 6:4)! And from 2 Corinthians 5:17, we find that that if we are in Christ (having found our refuge in Him), then we are new creatures; old things have passed away! If you have been raised with Jesus, then your old self (who you used to be) is still in the grave, and you have been made a new person with a new identity in Christ!
Now you may be thinking, “But wait a minute, I still struggle with sin. How can this be if I died to sin?” The Apostle Paul deals with this question in depth in Romans 7:8. Very basically Paul explains that there is still sin in your flesh (Romans 7:18-23), but you are no longer hopelessly subject to its influence (Romans 8:12). You are now free to live victoriously over sin by the power of God in you. And this is possible because of the resurrection!
The resurrection we have studied in Romans 6:4-6 is basically a spiritual resurrection; one in which having been made dead to sin, we are then made alive to God (Romans 6:11). The Bible also teaches that one day all those who trust in Jesus will have a literal physical resurrection in which they receive a brand new body like His (1 Corinthians 15:50-53) that is not corrupted with sin. This resurrection body will be capable of living forever in heaven (1 Corinthians 15:40-44). Again, this is made possible by the resurrection of Jesus who has gone before us!
So how significant is the resurrection? To summarize, it was the cross that freed us from the penalty of sin. But it was our spiritual resurrection with Jesus that has made it possible for us to live free from the power of sin. And it will be our physical resurrection because of Jesus that ultimately and finally frees us from the presence of sin!
ASK & REFLECT
Has this lesson helped you to better understand the meaning of our opening verse, 1 Corinthians 15:17? If so, explain how. If not, try to explain where your understanding falls short.
Has your view of the significance of the resurrection changed after these past few lessons? Explain.
DECIDE & DO
This lesson contained a lot of spiritual “meat.” If you haven’t quite digested it, then keep chewing! Read it again, prayerfully. Set aside some time to read through Romans 5, 6, 7 and 8. Study the material on the recommended links below. The truth that is before you has the power to free you in ways you never knew were possible!
For Further Study
- John Piper, But Christ Has Been Raised, You Are Not Still In Your Sins (A Sermon Dated Easter Sunday, April 3, 1994). (© Desiring God Ministries, 2006). (http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/but-christ-has-been-raised-you-are-not-still-in-your-sins). Retrieved November 29, 2006.
- Ray C. Stedman, Romans. (© Ray Stedman Ministries). (http://www.raystedman.org/new-testament/romans). Retrieved November 30, 2006. For an in–depth study of Romans, this series of sermons by Ray C. Stedman should prove invaluable, especially as those on Romans 5–8 relate to this lesson.
- Bill Gillham, We’re Totally Forgiven. (© Lifetime Guarantee Ministries, 1997–2006).(http://www.lifetime.org/author/bill/) (http://brotherheart.wordpress.com/articles-by-bill-gillham/were-totally-forgiven/). Retrieved August 20, 2013.
- Bill Gillham, The World’s Best Kept Secret. (© Lifetime Guarantee Ministries, 1997–2006). (http://www.lifetime.org/author/bill/). Retrieved December 1, 2006.
- Bill Gillham, Lifetime Guarantee. Harvest House Publishers, 1993.