Christ the Lord is risen! Hallelujah! As the hymn says, “because He lives I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future and life is worth the living just because He lives.” Jesus died and Jesus rose again from the dead. Because Jesus is alive we do not have to fear death. We do not have to fear death—not because we have made peace with death—but because Jesus has defeated death (1 Cor 15:26) and we have made peace with Him. Jesus’ resurrection is important because it serves as proof that He is the Messiah, the Son of God. Because Jesus rose from the dead, all who are Christians shall rise from the dead as well to a new and glorious life. Those who have died in Christ before resurrection day will come with Jesus on resurrection day (1 Thess 4:14) and “we who are still alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so we will always be with the Lord” (1 Thess 4:17). Let’s consider this further.
Resurrection is Different
First, in speaking of resurrection, here are a few ways the resurrection life is different from our current earthly life: we have new bodies and death is defeated.
Body is New. The first main difference is that our earthly bodies are cast away and we are given new, glorified bodies. Our current bodies are mortal, perishable, and suffer from the effects of sin. Physically, we suffer from sickness, broken bones, diseases, death, etc. Mentally, we suffer from depression, mourning, grief, etc. Our new bodies are immortal and imperishable and will not suffer from the effects of sin. There will be no more sickness and there will be no more tears or grief. We cannot imagine a world free from the effects of sin, but it is promised to us from our Lord Jesus Christ.
Death is Gone. Jesus said those who attain this resurrection “cannot die anymore” (Luke 20:36). The reason given is that “they are like angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection” (Luke 20:36). This does not mean that we become angels, but like the angels, we will live forever. Being freed from the bondage of sin, we are freed from death. Our bodies are incapable of dying, therefore, as Jesus said, we cannot die.
Resurrection is Similar
Second, here are a few ways the resurrection life is similar to our current earthly life: I am still me and I still belong to God.
I Am Still Me. Those who attain the resurrection of the righteous remain themselves. What this means is that you are embodied souls. We are beings with an eternal soul residing in a mortal body. When our mortal body dies, our eternal soul resides in the presence of Jesus until the resurrection. At the resurrection, our eternal soul resides in an eternal body. Consider Jesus’ answer to the Sadducees in Luke 20:38: “He is not God of the dead, but of the living, because all are living with Him.” When God spoke from the burning bush, He said He is “the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob” (Luke 20:37). In other words, He speaks of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as living, not dead. Their souls are living even though their mortal bodies long ago perished.
I Am Still God’s. When God spoke of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, He spoke of them not only as alive, but He reiterated His relationship with them. Death did not part them from God and our death does not part us from God. No matter what happens, God will always call us His children because He is a loving Father. Jesus promised the thief on the cross, “I assure you: Today you will be with Me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). We have a personal relationship with Jesus. Nothing, not even death, “will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:39).
Resurrection is Bestowed
Third, resurrection is not earned by us but bestowed upon us. You must be “counted worthy to take part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead” (Luke 20:35).
Not By Works. To be counted worthy you must have the righteousness of Christ: being born again (John 3:3). The Bible is clear that we cannot earn salvation. Our works are nothing more than a “polluted garment” (Isaiah 64:6) in God’s sight and “no one is righteous” (Rom 3:10). We cannot merit resurrection through our good works because it is obtainable only through Christ.
By Grace through Faith. If we cannot obtain resurrection by our works, how shall we obtain it? Resurrection is attained by grace through faith (Eph 2:8-9). You belong to God and He will never leave you nor forsake you (Heb 13:5). Resurrection is granted by God’s grace through faith in Him. How then are we saved? You admit to God that you are a sinner and repent. You believe that Jesus is God’s own Son, and you confess your faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Jesus said, “This is the will of Him who sent Me: that I should lose none of those He has given Me but should raise them up on the last day” (John 6:39).
Resurrection is Essential
What will happen to you when you die? Jesus said, “Anyone who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not come under judgment but has passed from death to life” (John 5:24). He also said, “Those who have done wicked things, to the resurrection of judgment” (John 5:29). Will you enter into the paradise prepared for you or will you enter into judgment (see Matt 25)? If you are not a Christian, “We plead on Christ’s behalf, ‘Be reconciled to God.’ He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor 5:20-21). If you are not a Christian, today is a good day to receive eternal life. Repent of your sin and receive Christ as your Savior.
If you are a Christian, rejoice! Today is a good day to be alive because Jesus is alive! You have received eternal life through Jesus. I love how the hymn comforts us with God’s truth:
And then one day I’ll cross the river
And I’ll fight life’s final war with pain
And then as death gives way to victory
I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He reigns
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