Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | April 4, 2015

“He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.”

This is a special Easter devotion.

“He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.”  Romans 4:25.

———————-

What is the meaning of Easter?  What was the purpose of the resurrection of Christ? 

Sadly, too many churches are content to deliver only the same simple message:  “He is risen!  He lives!”.

The focus too often is only on the joy and glory of Christ escaping the bonds of death.  For example, consider the classic song:  “Up from the Grave, He Arose”.  The following lyrics summarize this central and dominant theme that you too often leave the service without much more:

“Up from the grace, He arose

With a mighty triumph o’er His foes

He arose a Victor from the dark domain

And He lives forever with His saints to reign

He arose!  He arose!

Hallelujah!  Christ arose!”  

As stimulating as that music is and as true the message is, this song and most Easter services do not focus sufficiently on the following most important meaning of Easter.

“He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.”  Romans 4:25.

Christ was raised to show our justification!  Christ was raised to give us hope that one day we will be resurrected too!

“But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.”  1 Corinthians 15:20.

Consider that Christ did not need to prove His immortality by rising from the grave.  Christ did not need to come to earth to be glorified.

Christ came to earth, died, and rose from the dead so that we would be justified, so that we would be resurrected.

Consider the very strong language of 1 Corinthians 15:12-17.

“Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?  But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised;  and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised.  For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised;  and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.”  1 Corinthians 15:12-17.

In other words, we should not separate Christ’s resurrection from what it means for us:  namely, our justification and our resurrection.

Here is what the Heidelberg Catechism states in part:

17. Lord’s Day

Q. 45.  What does the “resurrection” of Christ profit us?

A.  First, by his resurrection he has overcome death, that he might make us partakers of that righteousness which he had purchased for us by his death;  (a) secondly, we are also by his power raised up to a new life; (b) and lastly, the resurrection of Christ is a sure pledge of our blessed resurrection. (c)

(a) 1 Cor.15:16; Rom.4:25; 1 Pet.1:3. (b) Rom.6:4; Col.3:1,3;

Eph.2:5,6. (c) 1 Cor.15:12,20,21; Rom.8:11.

In conclusion, there is true joy for us in Easter in this hope and focus on what the resurrection of Christ means to us:  our justification, our resurrection, and our salvation.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the deadto obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”  1 Peter 1:3.

“But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory.  O death, where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting?”  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law;  but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  1 Corinthians 15:54-57.


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