Any Christian will tell you, “Jesus died for my sins.” They know certain parts of the story — that Jesus died and rose again — but I’ve learned that few can tell you what his resurrection means in their daily life. They fail to apply God’s powerful truths to the way they live and believe, and that makes all the difference in the world.
What is the purpose of the resurrection? Most of us associate it with eternal life, but not with daily life. How is the resurrection significant in your marriage, your job, your family? How does it affect a life inundated by more than 200 data messages per day, a life harried by errands, chores, obligations, demands?
Paul reminds us that Christ’s death, burial and resurrection are of first importance: “It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Romans 4:24-25, ESV, my emphasis). So, what does Paul mean when he says Jesus was raised so that we might be justified?
Justification has to do with newness of life. Without it, we would be stuck in an unchanging cycle of sin and forgiveness. Think about the weight that sin carried in our lives. Shame, guilt, condemnation come with everyday life; we can’t get away from it. Yet Paul tells us that Jesus was “delivered up” to cleanse us of these very sins.
This verse tells us that not only are our trespasses gone, but we are justified, meaning that it’s as if we had never committed those sins. Now we are a delight in God’s eyes, resurrected into newness of life every day!
What a great and powerful truth. Yet Christians often don’t experience this newness in everyday life. Jesus finished the work, he rose again, and he has blessed us with newness of life. In claiming his resurrection power, we can put it on like a suit of clothes. “When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory’” (1 Corinthians 15:54, NIV).
The power of the resurrection is that Jesus is alive. He breathes into us his own Spirit and empowers us to bring his good news — the blessed hope — to all who are lost and afraid.