Consequences of the Resurrection
Over the past couple of months, we have looked at consequences of the resurrection of Christ which are true for us presently, positionally and practically. We now move on to think of what it means for our future. As far as the world is concerned, the resurrection has a very solemn implication – it is the proof that God will judge it, as Paul brought before his audience in Athens. “Because He hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead” (Acts 17:31, KJV). For believers, however, His resurrection has an altogether different result. It means that those who die in Christ will be resurrected, and all believers, whether dead or alive at His return, will be changed, to be like Him. We will look at this glorious truth, from a number of angles.
The Glorious Prospect
Peter wrote, God “hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” This hope, which is contingent upon the resurrection of Christ, is exceedingly bright – “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you” (1Peter 1:3-4, KJV).
The Glorious Parallel
In 1 Corinthians 15, a delightful chaper on resurrection, Paul draws a parallel between what has come in through Adam, and what has come in through Christ. “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1Cor 15:21-22, KJV). We all became subject to death because of Adam; but, just as surely, if we die, we will all experience resurrection, because of Christ.
The Glorious Priority
In Acts 26:23, Paul states that “Christ should suffer, and that He should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.” He was not the first person ever to be raised, but He was the first to rise in His own power, and the first never to die again. Any previous raisings were but a partial and temporary victory over death. His was total, as He rose in a body that would never die. So He is the first to experience resurrection life – the first of many, including ourselves.
The Glorious Picture
The fact that there is an order in resurrection is taught even more explicitly in 1 Corinthians 15, and is beautifully portrayed in a picture from the Old Testament. “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept” (1Cor 15:20, KJV). The sheaf of firstfruits, which was waved before the Lord (Lev 23:9-14) had the priority in time, and was also the pledge of the entire harvest that was to follow. It is indeed a precious type of the resurrection of Christ and of the fact that it will produce a harvest of many people. “But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming” (1Cor 15:23, KJV).
The Glorious Proof
Can we be sure this will take place? Yes, we can, and, once more, that assurance is directly linked to the resurrection of Christ. Paul gives us the grounds for our confidence in Romans 8:11. “But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.” The “if” is not of doubt, but of argument, that is, “since the Spirit … dwells in you.” Paul’s reasoning is clear: the fact that each believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God – the God Who raised up Christ – gives us total assurance that the One Who raised Christ will also quicken us. Whether the “by” here means He will quicken us “because” the Spirit indwells us (the Spirit is the guarantee of it), or the Spirit is the One through Whom God will do it (the Spirit is the agency of it) need not concern us unduly, for both are gloriously true.
The Glorious Power
Does God have the power to do this? He most certainly does, and, once again, the resurrection of Christ is adduced as the assurance of this. “And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by His own power” (1Cor 6:14, KJV). Anyone who doubts the power of God to raise the dead should see that He did it for Christ, and He has no less ability to do it for us.
The Glorious Presentation
The resurrection of Christ also gives Paul confidence as to what will follow his resurrection. “Knowing that He which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you” (2Cor 4:14, KJV). Whatever the rest of his life in this world holds for him, he knows the same God Who raised Christ will raise him, and he and the Corinthians will all stand together in the presence of God. Death divides the people of God for a little while, but the resurrection assures us there will be a day of reunion when we are presented together to Him.
The Glorious Preservation
The resurrection is the assurance of what we are saved for, but it is also the assurance of what we are saved from. We “wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come” (1Thes 1:10, KJV). We will face neither the wrath of God for eternity, nor the Tribulation wrath coming upon the world. God’s Son is our Deliverer from it all, and He has been raised from the dead, so we will never experience the wrath of God, in any form.