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Why the Resurrection Matters to Christians

Why the Resurrection Matters to Christians
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The truth of Jesus’ resurrection from death after crucifixion is strongly supported by a variety of evidence. [1] However, the importance of the resurrection claim is not merely academic; the fact that Jesus rose from the grave has real, practical implications and should impact the everyday lives of Christian believers.

Beyond merely understanding that Jesus rose from the dead, is the question of why Jesus chose to willingly go through crucifixion, death, and resurrection in the first place. The Gospels make clear that Jesus willingly allowed himself to be seized by the authorities and crucified (For example, Matthew 16:21 reads, “From that time Jesus began to point out to His disciples that it was necessary for Him to go to Jerusalem and to suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and to be killed, and to be raised up on the third day.”).

Paul explains that the reason for Jesus’ sacrifice was to pay the price owed by the sins of humanity, saying in Romans 4:25:

“[Jesus] was delivered over because of our wrongdoings, and was raised because of our justification.”

As a result, Christians “participate in the death and resurrection of Jesus” [2] in a personal way; it is for the individual believer’s own sin which Jesus chose to die and each believer is personally impacted by the resurrection. It is not that the sins of mankind simply caused the death of Jesus, but rather that Jesus chose to sacrifice himself to pay the price for those sins, so that:

“In [Jesus] we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our wrongdoings, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.” (Ephesians 1:7-8)

This forgiveness brings about eternal life, a re-unification of believers with their Creator after death. As a practical response, Christians need not fear death. Although the fear of death is common to mankind (and not without reason), [3] Jesus provides Christians with the knowledge in the here-and-now that their eternal future is secure (as in 1 John 5:13). Christians can not only “internalize the truth of eternal life” to abate the fear of death, but should adopt “God’s heavenly perspective.” [4]

This outlook, described in Hebrews 11 (among other places), encourages the believer to live a life geared towards their eternal future. Rather than becoming bogged down by concerns of the day, or wasting time chasing temporary “worldly” goals (in pursuit of money, worldly power, etc), Christians should orient their lives towards the pursuit and service of the God they will ultimately be reunited with and spend eternity in the company of. The life of a Christian believer should be centered around doing the will of God. While attaining these attitudes may be easier said than done, Jesus’ resurrection provides a perspective on eternity which can be played out with the practical lives of Christians in this life. In Colossians 3 the Apostle Paul writes:

“Therefore, if you have been raised with Christ, keep seeking the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on the things that are above, not on the things that are on earth…Whatever you do in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”[5]

Jesus’ very-real death and resurrection leads to a just-as-real hope for an eternity with him.

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The resurrection grants real hope for fallen mankind, and should motivate Christians to communicate the truth of that hope with the fallen world around them. Click To Tweet

This hope ought to have practical implications for Christian believers. New Testament scholar Anthony C. Thornhill explains Christianity should result in a “radical commitment to emulate the person of Christ… [shown] clearly in the assertion that men will know Jesus’ disciples by their love (John 13:35), not only for God, but also for others.” [6] The resurrection grants real hope for fallen mankind, and should motivate Christians to communicate the truth of that hope with the fallen world around them.

[1] Gary R. Habermas and Michael R. Licona, The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 2004), 48-80. See also, Glenn Siniscalchi, “Early Christian Worship and the Historical Argument for Jesus’ Resurrection,” New Blackfriars, vol. 93, No. 1048 (November 2012), 710-732.
[2] Anthony C. Thornhill, “The Resurrection of Jesus and Spiritual (Trans)Formation,” Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care, Vol. 5, No. 2 (2012), 244.
[3] Gary R. Habermas, The Risen Jesus and Future Hope (Lanham: The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc, 2003), 174-175.
[4] Habermas, The Risen Jesus and Future Hope, 179-181.
[5] Colossians 3:1-2, 17.
[6] Thornhill, “The Resurrection of Jesus and Spiritual (Trans)Formation,” 256.

 

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Written By

Jimmy Wallace (J. Warner's son) holds a BA in Psychology (from UCLA) and is currently completing his MA in Theology - Applied Apologetics (from Colorado Christian University).

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Robert Landbeck

    February 12, 2022 at 10:48 am

    Of coure there is another way to view the idea of ‘Resurrection’. That is to say that the resurrection of Jesus may have been to confirm God’s willingness to intervene directly into the natural world to reveal himself to those obedient to his will, Law and covenant. Which would suggest the the possibility of a perfect, literal truth for faith, which may very well have been his intention. What’s missing is the right ‘Law’. Probably the original command given unto Adam from which he and thus mankind fell from spiritual beings to material, from ‘life’ and knowledge of God to spiritual death and ignorance. Could two thousand years of Christology have it all wrong?

  2. Janice Liggins

    March 6, 2022 at 3:02 pm

    Through his resurrection we are free. God has already overcome the world, so there is nothing in the world that can keep us from doing what the Lord wants us to do.

  3. Janice Liggins

    March 6, 2022 at 3:06 pm

    This is a beautiful article. My favorite quote was “In [Jesus] we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our wrongdoings, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.” (Ephesians 1:7-8) I trully believe that through His resurrection we are free. God has already overcome the world, so there is nothing in the world that can keep us from doing what the Lord wants us to do.

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