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WHAT THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS MEANS TO ME
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The resurrection of Jesus means different things to different people, to some it is the hope and seal of eternal salvation, to others it is a blatant lie which never happened and there are others who are indifferent about it. As a person I fall into the first category. The Bible teaches that it’s the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that accomplished our salvation for us. He took our place in death; He went to Sheol or the world of the dead and overcame death itself. Through His death and resurrection He won eternal life for us.
To understand the significance of Jesus Resurrection, I think we should first consider the reason He had to die. The Apostle John one of Jesus’ closest associates said this about the purpose of His coming to earth ‘For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil’. 1 John 3:8. Jesus’ primary purpose for coming to earth was to destroy the works of the devil. To get to the root of this, I think we should look at and find out what the works of the devil is.
The Chapter we just quoted from should be able to help us in answering this question, verse 5 says about Jesus that ‘And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin’. Looking at the whole of verse eight, He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Verse five of 1 John 3 clearly states that Jesus was manifested to take away our sins, it then follows that the works of satan referred to in the subsequent verse eight refers to sin. Satan’s major work is sin, all other works stem from it. In dealing with the issue of sin and by taking away the sin of the whole world, Jesus is out rightly destroying the works of satan.
Having established that the major problem is sin, the next question would then be what is sin? The word Sin has its first occurrence in our English Bible in Genesis 4:7. It is the record of a conversation between God and Cain and since the Old Testament was written in Hebrew, looking at the original Hebrew word used will go a long way in helping our understanding of the subject. The Hebrew word used is the word Chatta’ah and it means offence. In the New Testament many Greek words were used to describe what in English we refer to as sin, chief among them is the word hamartia which also means offence. Offence is simply defined as violation or breaking of a social or moral rule; transgression; sin. Sin is therefore the violation of a rule and in this case it is the rule of God that was violated.
However the issue of sin goes beyond that of mere violation of rules, when man sinned, He sold himself to the devil as a slave. By violating God’s law Adam voluntarily handed himself over to and got enslaved by satan. This change of side is what the bible describes when it says for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. By joining satan’s camp, man acquired what is described as the sin nature, it is this nature that brings forth sins. There are many words used for this nature in the Bible and two commons ones are the flesh and the Old Man. Romans 5:12, 7:14, 1 John 1:8 and Psalm 51:5 all talk about this nature. It is this nature that Jesus has come to conquer in us. Everything He did on the cross was to take humanity out of this cursed nature and its consequences.
The bible says in 2nd Corinthians 5:17 that ‘Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new’. The man and woman, boy or girl who surrenders their lives to Christ have become new creatures, at salvation they acquired a new nature which was not there before. They ceased to be sinners and become saints of God. A saint is not a person in heaven, in the New Testament language, a saint is anyone who is in Christ, whether they are alive on earth or are resting in the Lord. Old things refer to the old nature of man which we all got from birth, King David talking about this nature in Psalms 51: 5 said ‘Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.’ We all came to the world with this nature; that is why a toddler tells a lie without being taught how to, that is why men wage war against each other for selfish purpose and yet justify it. It is our nature, we cannot do anything about it, just as a dog cannot but bark, Man cannot but exhibit this nature of sin, we have not control over it.
This nature has a good and bad side. It makes some people into holier than thou moralists and below the ladder but not worse that this moralists are perverse people of all sorts. Paul has a list of some of the things found at the bottom of the ladder of the human nature, here are some of them.
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21.
The Message version of the Bible paraphrases it into the English I understand and I think my buddies all over the world will comprehend it too, here is goes
It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on.
The list is extensive and is further covered in other parts of the scripures, in the previous paragraph I mentioned that there are 2 sides to this sin nature, the good and the bad, (please note that the good is in italics). The truth however is this; the sin nature is the sin nature and at its root lays rebellion against God and His ways. The consequence of this nature is eternal death or separation from God in the Lake of fire. The Bible teaches that the lake of fire was prepared for satan and his fellow rebellious spirts, it is not human friendly and was not prepared for human soul. However those who take sides with satan by refusing to accept Jesus as the Son of God and live according to His ways are doomed to suffer with satan. The bible describes this place as one of eternal torment where the fire never goes out for ever.
Man cannot do any thing about His going to hell or the Lake of fire, the nature man acquired due to Adam’s fall is that of satan, but God has provided a way of escape and He is called Jesus. The most popular passage of scripture sums it all up
This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person's failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him. John 3:16-18. The Message.
The reason people will go to hell or eternal damnation is not because they lie or commit abortion or any other grievous sin, but because they refuse to believe in Jesus as God’s Son. This sadly is the case in most places today, in the west people say there is no God and so if there is no God the argument of the Son of God is defeated before it even starts. In the other places Jesus is seen as only a prophet and nothing more, while some others see Him as a guru, and a holy man. However way we see Jesus, the only way that guarantees eternal life is to see Him the right way, as God’ Son, the only means of salvation available to mankind.
Contrary to what some teach, Jesus is not a way to God, He is the way to God. Speaking to Thomas the Bible records that ‘Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.’ John 14:6. Jesus is the way to God, there is no other way. The death He died is for all of humanity from Muslims to the man practicing the most primitive religion in the Amazon jungle or Africa. Jesus died to set us all free from the nature of Sin and to give us a new life.
Therefore the resurrection of Jesus sets me free from Sin and gives me a new Life. Yes in this life, I will still need to battle the desires of the flesh, but my new life from God will always have the upper hand as I submit to God. I can say with David that in Sin did my mother conceive me and that through Adam’s blood line I inherited death, but I can also say with Paul that I am a new creature through the second Adam the Man Jesus Christ. I am not the Old Oyin I am a new one born in Christ and heading towards God’s kingdom. I am not a sinner, when I sin God’s Spirit in me corrects me, I am a Saint one who is righteous in God and I will bounce back from every sin, 1st John 1:8-9. And so it is written, the first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 1st Corinthians 15:45. Christ the second Adam is a quickening Spirit and hence I am quickened by Him.
There is a common misconception today that we are all sinners regardless of salvation or not. I think the people who are of this opinion are looking at the wrong side of things. At salvation we are adopted into God’s household as His Children, He gives us His righteousness or in plain language He puts us in right standing with Him and gives us a new nature, His nature. We are given eternal life and are given the Holy Spirit as a seal of eternal life. We become His Children. However we need to continually submit to the leading of His Holy Spirit in order to live as out our new nature. That is why the Apostle Paul said ‘This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.’ Galatians 5:16. This simply means that if we don’t walk in the Spirit (live our lives in line with God’s word and conscious of Him) we will fulfill the desires of the flesh.
Fulfilling the desires of the flesh is very dangerous because it opens the door for the devil to come in and torment us, it also blindfolds us into going into apostasy which is the disbelief of Christ’ work of salvation by a person who once believed in Him. While committing sin does not automatically throw a Child of God out of God’s family, it carries the danger of leading such to deny Christ and hence become unsaved thereby doomed for hell.
Our duty as believers in Christ then is to guard our heart with all diligence, be careful to obey God’s Spirit, and always strive to know Christ and live right. In the case of trespassing God’s word, we should turn back from the sin and ask for God’s forgiveness. Christ died in our place and resurrected to give us life, at baptism (which should follow salvation) we identify with His death and resurrection. We are dipped into water to signify our burial with Him and are brought out of the same to mark our resurrection into new life. The old has gone the new has come. Salvation has never been easier, God taking our place in death, making us righteous and guiding us into a life of holiness on our way to eternal bliss. To me Oyinlade Itunu-Abitogun that is what the resurrection of Jesus Christ means. It is so amazing that even Isaac Newton’s song which he penned probably after leaving my country with a ship full of would – be salves cannot fully express it.
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.
'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
The world shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun refuse to shine;
But God, who called me here below,
Shall be forever mine.
When we've been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we'd first begun.
© 1772, John Newton.
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