“We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin…For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
-Romans 6:4-5; 10-11
Whether it’s Resurrection Sunday or any other day, I don’t usually contemplate my own spiritual resurrection. This is a fact I sometimes even willingly forget, to my shame, when I give in to temptation. But it is one of the most important facts of Christ’s resurrection. Because he was raised to a new life, I’ve been raised to a new life!
This means I have a new identity. This happened once and for all. In a single glorious instance in my past story, I went from a spiritually dead man to a spiritually living one. I may feel dead sometimes, but that feeling is a lie. I’m most in tune with reality when I feel alive.
This means I have no excuses. I have no excuse to sin especially. This makes the times I do sin even more terrible. I’m suspending my true nature and lying to myself by suppressing the good work Christ has done in me when I willfully break his commands. For the Christian, “being myself” means “being holy.” And that’s because of the resurrection of Christ. God help me be true to my new nature!
This means I have no reason to be lazy in good works. A living man does stuff. A living man has things to do. And the resurrected, living Christian follows his savior in doing the work of God. I should be the kind of guy who’s hard to keep up with, who moves from one good work to another with cheerful, living energy. Because I’ve been raised in Christ to newness of life, I have more to do than sitting on a couch playing video games: I have life to live.
This means I have hope. This is a stupidly resilient hope: a hope that is resurrected again and again like the phoenix. A Christian can look at even the most depraved person and entertain real hope for him or her, hope grounded in the reality of the power of Christ’s resurrection. Dead is about as far gone as a person can get. And if Christ can raise the dead, there is nobody beyond His reach.
Perhaps even better, I can’t be beyond his reach! Those times I fall, even into the same old evils I should have learned to leave alone years ago, do not render me a hopeless case. Because of the resurrection, I can have newness of life. There have been times I felt too far gone, times I wondered if what I just did killed my soul, times I doubted my numb heart would ever feel alive again. But because of the undying reality of the spiritual resurrection I experience in Christ, an undeniable fact has happened already: I can never give up on being the man God resurrected me to be. A living man gets up when he falls down.
Rejoice! Because of Christ’s resurrection, I have an undying hope that lives beyond circumstances. If my job is lost, if my country seems lost, if my relationships break, if I lose the ones I love, even if I face physical death myself, I have a permanent reason for a living hope. I’m a living man with a new identity of hope, no matter what life looks like on the outside.
Hallelujah, Christ is Risen indeed! And I am raised with Christ, to a newness of life. Let’s be true to ourselves this year, resurrected brothers and sisters. Go out, proclaim Christ’s good news, and live!