In a nutshell, my hope for the resurrection is that it be prioritized, remembered, embraced and identified for what it truly is – our Christian hope.
I hope it is prioritized…
In a week, that the Supreme Court examines DOMA and the gay marriage agenda is at the forefront, I fear that holy week has taken a back seat. Whatever challenges this hot-button topic brings to bear on the church it pales in comparison to remembrance of the signifying event in Christianity.
And it is our priority because the resurrection shows that God is sovereign over the events of this life.
I hope it is remembered…
The resurrection gets so much attention at Easter time. But afterwards we go back to the cross. We embrace the cross, look to the cross, cling to the cross. Christ paid a tremendous sacrifice on the cross, serving as the subtitutionary sacrifice for our sins. It is there that the penalty of sin was paid. But our hope is in the resurrection because that is where our forgiven sins is truly expunged and new life experienced. As Paul reminds us,
Therefore, we have been buried with him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in the newness of life. For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of his resurrection. (Romans 6:4-5)
I suspect that the resurrection gets buried in the shadow of the cross because of what Tim Challies writes here, that we become more focused on putting off our sin than putting on the new man. But that is where are hope for Christ-likeness resides – in the new man, which comes by way of life in Christ because he is risen and sits at the Father’s right hand. That is resurrection!
This Christian life is one of continually putting off the old man with all its traits and putting on the new man. But our ultimate desire is not to be not-sinful but to be truly godly. We are not to aim at being not-sinful but to aim at being marked by Christian character. We experience the greatest success in battling sin when our desire is not only to stop sinning but to have our lives marked by the opposite character trait. The thief needs to do more than stop stealing; he needs to learn to be generous. The porn-addicted young man needs to do more than stop looking at pornography; he needs to learn to love and honor younger women as sisters. The angry mom needs to do more than stop lashing out at her children; she needs to learn to display patience and kindness. In each case the aim is not to stop sinning, but to be a display of Christ-like character.
Let’s keep the resurrection at the forefront after Sunday to put on Christ.
I hope it is embraced…
The resurrection of Christ points ahead to our bodily resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:20-49) and acknowledgment that what is experienced in the present is not all there is. If there’s anything that the pains of contemporary society should reveal is that creation is groaning and longing for new life (Romans 8:19-22). And so we groan, in the already-but-not yet, “even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.” (Romans 8:23-24). So we embrace the resurrection looking forward to the day when groaning, pain, death, dying, disease, evil, discouragement, tragedy and every form of godless evil ceases (Revelation 21:1-4)
Because it matters so much…
Even at a time when at a time when we should be most hopeful, we can be endlessly distracted, discouraged or fearful. But my hope is that we look to the resurrection of Christ…because it is our hope.
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