The Role of the Resurrection
April 1, 2018 Pastor: Don Green
Topic: Sunday Sermons
Well, it's a joyful opportunity for us, isn't it, to gather around such exalted themes as the death and the resurrection of Christ here this morning. It's a glorious time to remember that a gracious Savior came from heaven in order to accomplish redemption for his people; to sing of glories that ours is the cross, the grave, the skies; to realize that there is a triumphant hope that belongs to those that truly belong to our Lord Jesus. This is a wonderful day to remember all that our Lord has accomplished on our behalf and I'm grateful for every one of you that have come to join to share in this time together with us. We realize that there are other places that you could be at this hour. The one in particular that comes to my mind, I'm glad that you're not there. It's another church, so-called, in another place, but I was on their social media site just kind of seeing what they were doing recently and I saw - it sickens me to talk about it, in one sense - saw their picture of their Easter Bunny, their promises of a massive egg hunt on their church grounds, I suppose, promises of fireworks and all that, and I'll put it this way: I don't mind that they want to do that. I really don't. The thing that I mind is that they call themselves a church as they do that in the name of Easter. It trivializes everything, and to put a bunny in the center of your discussions when the Lord Jesus should be at the center instead, is really really sad, if not indeed blasphemous.
So what we want to do this morning is to set those kinds of trivialities of earthly carnality aside and to come to God's word and see what God's word says about the resurrection and about the centrality of what it means for the Christian faith, and what I want to do is to take you to the book of Romans, a place that we went many years ago at the very start of our church on our first Resurrection Day celebration together, and I want to survey just a few passages from Romans to show you how the resurrection of Jesus Christ is woven through every aspect of your salvation. It is not possible to think about any aspect of your Christian faith, of your salvation apart from the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is that central. It is that important. As Dane said earlier, it is the foundation and the cornerstone upon which we believe. If Christ is not raised from the dead, our faith is in vain. We are wasting our time if the resurrection is not true. But the resurrection is true and Scripture premises everything about our redemption on its reality.
So what I want to do is just turn to Romans and we're going to sweep through some passages here this morning. The book of Romans systematically explains the nature of God's salvation. Scripture tells us that God will one day judge sinners in his wrath, and if you would turn even to Romans 1 as we survey a couple of familiar passages to kind of lay the groundwork for what we want to say today, in Romans 1:18 it says, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them." God is angry. God is wrathful towards this world and all men in it because they suppress the knowledge of him that he has imprinted upon creation and has imprinted upon the conscience of the human heart. Men reject that, push it away, suppress it, hold it down lest it would come to light and convict them of their sin.
Look at verse 20, "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures." Scripture says that men understand that there has been a revelation of God made to them in the skies and in the Scriptures and in their conscience, and yet they reject that. They defy that and they refuse to give honor to God and they refuse to give him thanks for his position in the universe, for his provision in their lives, and most horribly, they reject the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and Scripture says that that brings about severe judgment, and that this is a wrath that abides upon all men everywhere at all times. Even though they have differing degrees of revelation, everyone everywhere has done this. There is a universal condemnation pronounced upon the entire human race individually and collectively because of its rebellion against God, and he is not pleased. His wrath abides upon that.
If you look at chapter 2, verse 5, Paul says, "But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each person according to his deeds." This is serious. This is what the church should be proclaiming and talking about, not bunnies and eggs and fireworks. This is a misplaced frivolity that is a tragedy to be making that the centerpiece of any kind of remembrance of the Resurrection Day.
Look over at Romans 3:10. How are people, I ask you, how are people supposed to take the Gospel seriously? How they supposed to take Christ seriously, wrath seriously, the offer of salvation seriously, if you treat it as a triviality like that? As you treat it as something that you could get at Walmart? Verse 10 of Romans 3 says, "as it is written, 'There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, there is not even one.'"
Now friend, if you're here, you're visiting, you're not a Christian, I want you to know I say these things in love and with sympathy to you. You know, as I like to say, I'm not your enemy because I tell you the truth. I'm not your enemy because I tell you things that make you uncomfortable. Scripture brings these things to our minds and Scripture testifies to us as a revelation from God about what the real nature of mankind and what the real nature of your unsaved soul is like: guilty, condemned and under the wrath of God. So we need to take this seriously. Scripture testifies that man in his natural condition is dead, he is in bondage to sin and, therefore, he needs to be rescued. If he dies in his unforgiven state, he faces an eternal judgment at the hands of God in the destructive flames of hell.
So this matters. These things are of great eternal consequence of which we speak here today and the joy of it is, what makes this glorious is that God has not left us and abandoned us to that judgment. God has not left us. He has sent Christ into the world to seek and to save that which has been lost. It is the message of the Gospel that the Lord Jesus Christ came into this world to save sinners just like you, and that the offer of salvation is freely made to everyone who would believe in Christ.
Now, how do we know that's true? What's the certificate of authenticity? What is the stamp of authority that would tell us that that's the true message by which any man can be delivered from his sin? Well, Scripture tells us to look to the resurrection. Scripture points us again and again and again the resurrection of Christ as the grounds upon which you can believe and know that Christ is able to save your soul, and that's what we want to look at here this morning. The resurrection certifies that Jesus Christ is able to save you to the uttermost, and if you are here in Christ today, praise the Lord for that. The resurrection certifies to you that your salvation is certain. It is complete. It is final. It is irrevocable. It will not be taken away. You are secure in Christ and that is certified to you by the resurrection.
So let's look and see what the book of Romans has to say about this. First of all, the resurrection, if you're taking notes today, this would be your first point to write down. First of all, the resurrection establishes the deity of Christ. The resurrection establishes the deity of Christ. In other words, the resurrection proves that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. It establishes that he is God the Son; that he is the fullness of deity in bodily form, Colossians 2.
Now, during his earthly ministry, Jesus claimed to be God. He said in the Gospel of John, he says, "The one who has seen me has seen the Father." There is no distinction. There is no difference in essence. The essence of God the Father is the exact same essence that is the reality of Jesus Christ. Jesus claimed to be God and what Scripture tells us is that the resurrection authenticates that claim that he made. The resurrection proves that he was God in human flesh.
Look at Romans 1. We'll look at the opening verses here. Romans 1:1, "Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures." And what is that Gospel about? "Concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh," and here it is, verse 4, "who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord."
Now, our Lord Jesus during his earthly ministry performed mighty miracles. He taught with great authority so that those who heard him said, "Never has a man spoken as this man does." But beloved, do you see that if Christ had died and remained dead, that it all would have been in vain? That there would be nothing to distinguish him from every other person who came and claimed to speak for God? The resurrection, on the other hand, declares his deity. It puts the stamp of authenticity on everything that he did and taught because there is a uniqueness certified to Christ by the resurrection that is not true of anyone else. Not true of Mohammed. Not true of any Pope. Not true of any other charlatan that has come professing to be a spokesman for God. Not true of Buddha. Christ is risen from the dead and that distinguishes him from everyone else and that shows and certifies that his claim to be deity was true.
Now, let's ask this question in light of that. We see the grandeur of Christ, we see him certified as the Son of God, we see him raised from the dead, which no one else can do. Sometimes I'll make the point, you know, and sometimes it helps to remember our helplessness in face of death. We go to a graveside of a loved one, we miss them, we would love to be able to see them again in this life, and yet the grave shows our utter powerlessness. We cannot raise them. We cannot bring them back. We don't have that power in ourselves. Christ is not bound by such limitations. He entered into death and he came out of the grave. He came out on the other side. He is utterly distinct in that way and, therefore, has a claim on your belief, has a claim on your allegiance, as a claim on your repentance, and the resurrection gives you supernatural confidence that you can trust him to save you to the uttermost; that your soul is in good hands; that even as you think about the temporal nature of your earthly life, that when your life is in the hands of Christ, it is in the hands of one who has conquered death and, therefore, death has no fear for you. Praise God for that.
Look over at the Gospel of John 20. The question is how does this impact you? What is your response to the resurrection? What is your response to the risen Christ? There is only one proper response and the Gospel of John was written to reveal Christ and in its revelation, it shows us the way to respond to him in light of his resurrection. John 20:26 says, "After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them." Thomas you remember, of course, was doubtful. He said, "I will not believe that he is raised from the dead until I see him myself." And after eight days, "Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, 'Peace be with you.' Then He said to Thomas," I love the personal direct nature of that, he said to Thomas directly, "Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing." And what was Thomas's response? What is your response today in response to the resurrection of Christ? Verse 28, "Thomas answered and said to Him, 'My Lord and my God!'"
You see the resurrected Christ not physically but revealed to your mind and certified by the attesting power of the Holy Spirit and it is presented to you that this Christ is real, he is alive, he is the way, the truth and the life, and what is your response to move from death to life? It is to receive him. It is to bow before him. It is to acknowledge him from the depth of your being, "My Lord. My Sovereign. My God. I receive you. I submit to you. I believe in your resurrection and I trust you with my soul." The resurrection establishes that. Jesus Christ is Lord and God and we see in Scripture what the call is in response to that.
You see, the resurrection is not something that you can just casually pass by as if you were driving down a road and you pass a general store and you say, "I'm not going to stop there." The resurrection closes off the road of your life and says this calls for a decision. What will you do with the resurrected Christ? The only proper response is to bow before him and to receive him by faith. To say, "I'll think about it later," is to harden your heart in rejection. Don't flatter yourself to say, "I'll consider this later but not right now. I've got other things right now." No, a sovereign King has presented himself and is presenting himself to you through his word and says, "Come to me." When a sovereign King speaks to you, your response is one of obedience, of response and reception. To say later is to say no and to harden your heart with no guarantee that another opportunity to receive him will be presented to you again.
Why would you do that? My friend, why would you do that? Why would you gamble with eternity for the sake of a few more dalliances in sin? A few more days of autonomy? Why would you gamble away eternity when the one Savior is presented to you and calls you, for the sake of a few days here on earth of loving sin just a little longer? Realize that the resurrection comes and places a claim on your soul that you will be held accountable for in how you respond. So my friend, I invite you to come to Christ by faith to receive him for the one who alone can save you from your sins. He's willing. He's gracious. It's why he came. He's a Savior of love to those who respond to him. He's a Savior of grace and mercy and kindness. He'll receive you too right now. Wouldn't that make the greatest of Resurrection Days? So the resurrection establishes the deity of Christ and, therefore, establishes his prerogative to claim your soul, to command and to summon your soul to him.
Well, secondly, the resurrection does something else. When you come to faith in Christ, what happens in your spiritual account? Well, secondly, the resurrection establishes our justification. The resurrection establishes our justification and that may be a new word for a few of you, some of you, and if so that's okay. Let me just explain what that means. Justification is a legal term that means that God declares the believing sinner righteous in his sight. God makes a declaration that the one who has put his faith in Christ is now fully accepted with all of his sins forgiven into the holy realm of God. Justification is a statement that God receives you as righteous because he accepts the righteousness of Christ in your place. You're not righteous on your own and you cannot make yourself righteous. You might as well give that thought up. You cannot approach God at any point in any time and say, "I'm good enough for you." No one is good enough for a holy God. No one attains to that perfect standard of perfection through their own self-effort. You have to receive it as a gift. You receive it by receiving Christ. You see, God wants not some kind of halfhearted imperfect obedience presented to him as the offering that makes you acceptable to him. It's not like that. God has appointed one way by which he may be approached and that one way is through faith in Jesus Christ, and for the one who puts his faith in Christ, God forgives all of his sins and declares him righteous based on the righteousness of Christ and Christ alone.
What does that have to do with the resurrection? It is the resurrection that establishes that to the believing heart. Look at Romans 4. It illustrates this justification by faith from a couple of Old Testament examples, the life of David and the life of Abraham in Romans 4, and it speaks about how Abraham believed God. In verse 18, Romans 4:18 it says, "In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, 'So shall your descendants be.'" Verse 19, "Without becoming weak in faith [Abraham] contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah's womb; yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God," verse 21, "and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform." Now watch this, it's describing Abraham's faith as it existed back in the book of Genesis. God had made promises to him and Abraham believed them even though there were physical reasons to think that what God had said could not come to pass. Abraham put that aside and believed the promise of God. He did not work for that, he believed in the promise of God, and what was the result of that? What did God do in response to his faith? Verse 22, "Therefore it was also credited to him as righteousness." It was not works that God demanded from Abraham, it was faith, and what Scripture says is that it is faith today also that God requires, faith in his Son, that would be the instrument by which you could be delivered from his coming judgment of which we spoke earlier. Verse 23 of Romans 4, "Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited." This perfect righteousness credited to your account, "as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead." You see the resurrection being linked inextricably with the reality of justification. Verse 25, "He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification. Therefore," chapter 5, verse 1, "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Friends, when Jesus Christ died, he paid the penalty of death in full. God accepted that sacrifice that Christ made on behalf of others. He didn't make it on behalf of himself, he was sinless. There was no deceit in his mouth. Christ did not have to die for any sins that he had committed because he committed none, therefore, we know that he gave himself over to death on behalf of of others, on behalf of others who would believe in him. He was making a sacrifice for your sin to appease and remove the wrath of God from you.
What does all that have to do with the resurrection? It means this: God accepted the sacrifice that Christ made. God accepted his sacrifice. It is sufficient. It pleases God. It is everything that he wanted in order to reconcile a sinner to himself and the question is how do we know that? How can we know that for sure? How can we bank our eternal destiny on something that we cannot see, touch or feel? How can we do that? This is beyond the realm of sight. Well, God established for all time the invisible act of accepting Christ's sacrifice, he establishes that invisible act by the visible act of his resurrection. There is a worldwide testimony over the millennia, Christ is raised from the dead, and there is a singular testimony in that resurrection that God has accepted the sacrifice that Christ made for sinners at the cross at Calvary. It is sufficient. It is what he requires and it is done.
God publicly showed that death had no claim on Christ because Christ was released from death itself. He came out of the grave, as we read earlier, appeared to 500 witnesses at the time. This was not done in a corner. This was not a stage show trick. When Thomas saw the hands and side of Jesus, he saw a living man with mortal wounds and he believed in response, and Jesus said, "Thomas, have you seen and believed? Blessed are those who don't see and believe." His resurrection is the certification that God has accepted the sacrifice.
When it says there, look at Romans 4:25, when it says there that he was raised because of our justification, it means this: it means that God accepts and approves true believers in Christ in the same way that he approves of Christ himself. That's how perfect our standing is with God when our faith is in Christ alone because God takes the full merit of Christ and places it on our account, and every sin that we have ever committed or ever will commit, he placed on Christ and punished at the cross so that it is no longer a barrier to acceptance and reception by a holy God, and what certifies that to us is that Christ offered the sacrifice on the cross and God raised him from the dead. So to speak, "Well done, my Son. I'm pleased. I approve and I will accept everyone who puts their faith in you alone." That's what the resurrection tells us.
Do you see, Christian friend, brother and sister in Christ, do you see the glory of what the resurrection means for you? It is the certification that God accepts you in Christ, that there is no further work to be done. There is no merit that you have to bring in addition to Christ. Don't even try. Forsake any thought to that. Rest your hope in Christ and Christ alone because God has already declared by the resurrection that that's what pleases him.
So the resurrection establishes our justification. That's wonderful, isn't it? But do you know what? It gets better. It gets better. It gets better and especially in this veil of tears that we walk through that we call earthly life, it would be nice to know that we had some kind of purpose and some kind of power that helps us to transcend the sorrows and the difficulties and the challenges that we face in this life. Do you realize, my friend, that the resurrection is the answer to that as well? That once your account is settled with God and you are reconciled to him in Christ, that it doesn't stop there but it continues on, it continues on as you live? In light of your conversion, you live a converted life.
And the resurrection does this, point 3: the resurrection provides for our sanctification. It provides for our sanctification. Now, we're using a lot of multisyllabic words here today but they are biblical terms, easily understood, in one sense. Sanctification is the believer's progressive growth in holiness, the progressive growth in holiness of a Christian as the Holy Spirit conforms our character to the image of Christ.
Now friends, as Christians, we are responsible to pursue spiritual growth. In fact, Scripture commands us to do so. 2 Peter 3:18, a verse that always echoes in my mind over the course of time says, "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." We are commanded to grow and we are commanded to put our effort into that; to apply ourselves to spiritual growth. But that's not our focus for this morning. Our focus for this morning is this: is that you are not alone, my brother, my sister in Christ, you are not alone in your pursuit of sanctification which is often quite difficult as we wrestle with the flesh. What Scripture teaches us is that God, for those of you that are in Christ, God has given to you resurrection power in salvation to live that transformed life.
Look at Romans 6. Sanctification is not some kind of self-effort alone. Sanctification is provided for us in the resurrection of Christ as well. Romans 6:4 says this, "Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death," a statement that the old man has died and now we are a new man in Christ, "so that," with this purpose, "as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin." What Paul is saying here is that your old man that was in bondage to sin has died. It died in union with Christ and now you are raised to new spiritual life in Christ and, therefore, you have the power to live a new life that is provided for you by the resurrection power that you share with Christ Jesus. Friends, it may seem like a distant thought for some of you as you battle your flesh from day to day, but if you are a Christian, you share in the resurrection power of Christ. You have power to increasingly overcome sin in your life. You are not left on your own.
Look at verse 8 of Romans 6, he says, "Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God." He says Christ has been raised from the dead. Death is no longer master over him. Sin was never a part of him but the penalty of sin is death and Christ has conquered even death, and because you are joined to Christ, verse 11, "Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts."
Beloved, you have been brought, if you are a Christian, you have been brought into a complete and perfect union with the Lord Jesus Christ in a way that means that you share in his spiritual resources. He has gladly shared the power that raised him from the dead, he has gladly shared that with you in a spiritual way. One day, as we'll see in a moment, we'll also share in his physical resurrection as well, but that's not the point here at the moment. You have been born again. You have been born from above. The Spirit of God dwells within you and has given you a new nature that has changed you and that change, that new nature, is fueled by the same power that raised Christ from the dead, that same power is at work in your spiritual life as a Christian today. That's why Christians are recognized in part by the new life that they live.
Now, I understand that you're like me and you have days where sin just seems to cling to you and it doesn't seem like you're living a supernatural spiritual life. I get that. Let me encourage you with a word here: that those days, those seasons in life, are not an indication that Christ has abandoned you, they are not an indication that you have lost your salvation. If you wrestle with sin and you are concerned about holiness and you love Christ and it concerns you that sin displeases him, those things are not a mark that you're not a Christian. Those days do not contradict the reality of what we are speaking about here and we know that because the Apostle Paul goes on and says in Romans 7:15, he himself had his own struggle with sin as a Christian; that the resurrection power had not eradicated sin or completely eliminated it from his life. He still had the battle. Verse 15, he says, of Romans 7, he says, "what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not."
Beloved, let me in a pastoral way here, let me clarify something that may be of help to many of you. Resurrection power in salvation, resurrection power in your sanctification, is not seen in unbroken spiritual victory, in a continual spiritual ecstasy that never ceases. Resurrection power does not exempt you from the trials of life. It does not exempt you from all manner of spiritual struggle. That's not the point of resurrection power. It does not eliminate the struggle, what it does, resurrection power breaks the controlling power of sin in your life. It gives you a new perspective on sin. Whereas before you loved it, now you hate it. Now you want to be separate from it. In resurrection power, you find that the Christ of the Bible is sweeter to you over time. In resurrection power, you find that the Bible is sweeter to you over time; that you grow in understanding; that you grow in love for Christ; that you grow in anticipation of your eternal glory with him. It doesn't eliminate all the struggles but it imparts to you a new mind that thinks entirely differently about God, about Christ, about glory, about your perspective on this world, about your love for sin, your prior love for sin, and these things grow and capture your affections more and more over time even though you fall short along the way. You see, it's a mistake of the most profound order to think that resurrection power means that you are giddy all the time; that you are happy all the time. It's not like that. That's not reality and if you have a wrong perception of what resurrection power is and does, if you have a wrong expectation about it, you'll think wrongly about your whole Christian life.
Paul struggled. You struggle. I struggle. This is not a denial of resurrection power, we just need to realize that it manifests itself in a way that's different than what we sometimes expect. And beloved, when you find in your heart a persevering desire to know Christ, you find a persevering and increasing and a lasting desire to know him and to love him, you find in your heart a desire for righteousness even though you sometimes fall short and you struggle in the conflict, beloved, that is the mark of the resurrection because that is utterly foreign and utterly unnatural to the unsaved man, and that desire to love Christ, that desire to know Christ, becomes the mark of what the resurrection brings.
Paul spoke of this in Philippians 3 when he said, "I count all things to be loss," Philippians 3:8, you don't need to turn there, "I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord," that's resurrection, "for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ." Do you see the transformation of perspective? He says, "Everything that was once dear to me in life, everything that I once thought counted as my righteousness before God, I regard it as dung, as rubbish, as unfit for consideration so that I may gain Christ and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and," you know it, don't you? "The power of His resurrection." The power of his resurrection driving his desires for Christ, driving his desires to know him by faith. His love for Christ and his reliance on Christ and his value of Christ being the mark of the power of the resurrection that was at work in him and an utter denial of the things that he once held dear and marked to his spiritual benefit.
That's resurrection power. That's the resurrection power at work in your sanctification transforming your inner man. Not necessarily giving you a life of ease, certainly not giving you your best life now, but rather giving you desires for heavenly things that are utterly foreign to this world and growing in them and cherishing them more day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year. So friends, I ask you: are those desires at work somewhere in your heart? If so, you can say, "The resurrection is providing for my sanctification. There is a power at work in me that this world does not give because I love things that are foreign to this world and are foreign to my former life."
That's sweet but it gets better. But it gets better. You know, it's great to be able to look at Christ in light of the resurrection and to have it certified to your heart, "He is the eternal Son of God. That is full deity in human flesh that I'm looking at. I know who the Lord of the Universe is. That's great." It's even better to take that and to say, "And I know that I am justified before God by that Christ who is raised from the dead. It's great." It's even better to be able to understand something of what the resurrection produces and to say, "I see that in my heart. I really belong to him. I have a love for him that I never knew before. I have a love for him that my unsaved friends and family think is foolish and I don't care. I don't care that they tell me to stop. I don't care that they try to intimidate me to silence. I don't care because I love him. It's more precious to me than anything."
Those things are great. His deity, justification, sanctification, but it gets better. It gets better in light of the resurrection. This is a gift that doesn't stop giving to us because, point 4: the resurrection guarantees our glorification. The resurrection guarantees our glorification. Glorification is, you could say, the final step in our salvation. Perhaps more accurately you could say it is the ultimate goal of our salvation, and this is part of why Easter Bunny egg hunts just drive me insane at a time like this. I want to flip tables, is what I want to do right now when I think about that because of the triviality that it injects into the most glorious things of all of eternity. The goal of salvation is your ultimate secure presence in the Shekinah presence of God and that is what the resurrection guarantees. We celebrate Resurrection Day, we remember it because it is the down payment on our final deliverance and our safe arrival into glory.
Scripture teaches us that when you die as a Christian, I'm speaking distinctly here, I'm not making promises to unbelievers, this doesn't belong to you as long as you refuse Christ, but for us brothers and sisters in Christ, when you die, your spirit goes to be with Christ even as your body is lowered into the grave. It goes instantly to be with Christ and when Christ returns for his church, one day still future to us now, he will raise us from the grave and give us resurrection bodies that are like his.
Look at Romans 8:28, Paul says, "we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." Probably too often we stop there and don't read the rest of the context. Verse 29, "For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined," watch this, watch this inseparable link, "these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified." If God has saved you, he will also glorify you in the end, so much so, so great is the certainty, that it can be spoken as a past tense event. You will be glorified if you are in Christ. You will be made like him. You will be with him in heaven. You will have a resurrected body in the end that is free from sin, that is free from the mortal ills of this life, never to remember again the things that troubled you here on earth, and somehow, Scripture says 1 John 3:2, "we will be like Him," we will be like him, "because we will see Him just as He is."
That's the ultimate transformation, the ultimate glorification that is yet ahead and what I want you to see is this in Romans 8, watch how Paul ties that to the resurrection and how the resurrection is the guarantee of that glorious outcome for all of us who know Christ in the end. Look at verse 31, "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?" How could it go bad for us? Verse 32, "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?" Look, if God gave Christ, if God gave his own Son in the past in order that you might be saved, don't you understand that that means if he's given his Son, it means that he's going to give every benefit that pertains to his Son as well still to come? There can be nothing that falls to the wayside. There can be no one who is in Christ who can be lost. If he has given you Christ, he'll give you everything else as well. Isn't that glorious? Michael, isn't that glorious?
Verse 33, "Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns?" Who can come along and condemn us if God has already accepted us in Christ? If we have been declared justified in Christ by God himself, there is no one else who can contradict the judgment. Your position and your future are utterly secure in Christ. God has already declared his intention toward those who believe and it is seen in Christ, it is seen in the cross, it is seen in the resurrection, it is seen in his ascension. That's what belongs to us in Christ. That's great.
But in verse 33, "Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us." Christ is raised from the dead. There is no power on earth, there is no power in hell that can hinder his purposes. If he has saved you, he will bring you to glory, and just as he was raised from the dead, one day you will be raised from the dead as well. No fear in life. No fear in death. This is the power of Christ in me.
The best part of your salvation, beloved - hear me on this, if you would, by which I mean give me some eye contact, huh? Thank you. The best part of your salvation if you are in Christ is still to come. This isn't the best part, what we have now. The best part is still to come. God will raise you in perfection, never again to sin, never again to fear, never again to grieve, never again to die. That's what lies ahead for those of us that are in Christ. That's what the resurrection certifies to us. It's guaranteed. The outcome is certain because there is no power that can hinder our Christ, and our Christ is our brother, and our brother has deemed it fitting, pleasing to him that we would be with him forever in heaven.
2 Corinthians 4:14 says, "He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus." Nothing will be better than that. Nothing will be better than that. His deity, our justification, our sanctification, our glorification, God has given us a comprehensive gift of deliverance in Christ that secures our eternal well-being and bliss in a way that nothing can be taken away. Nothing can be better than that. Nothing.
Well, one thing could make it better. One thing could make that better and that would be if each one of you were there with us. If those of you who are here, watching on the live stream, and you don't belong to Christ, it would make it better from our perspective, it would make it better for you if you were there with us. Have you been saved by the risen Christ? Friend, the offer of the Gospel is for everyone who will believe.
Look at Romans 10. We'll close with this. Romans 10. And even in the free offer of the Gospel, that if you believe you will be saved, we find the resurrection at the heart of the appeal. Romans 10:8 says, "But what does it say? 'The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart'--that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation." Verse 13, "whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved."
My unsaved friend, Christ is calling you today. He's calling you now through his word, inviting you to come for salvation, to come out of this world and to be saved in this glorious way of which we have been speaking to you here this morning. He is calling you, the question is will you call on him to save your soul? Today is the acceptable day of salvation. Today is the day for you to come to Christ, to put off all of your excuses, to put off all of your delays, to put off all of your love for sin, and to come in simple faith to Christ for it says, Scripture says, whoever believes in him will be saved. That can be yours today too. Will you repent and believe in Christ?
Let's pray together.
Father, we thank you for the glory of the resurrection. We thank you for all that it means for the reality of our salvation. Our Christ is Lord. You have justified us by faith in him. You are sanctifying us. One day you will glorify us. And Lord, as those who share in Christ as believers in Christ, we glory and we rejoice today and we thank you for that but, Father, as you have given time, as you have delayed the return of Christ just a little bit longer, Father, we pray that you would look down, as it were, and gather in more for the harvest, bring more souls in to Christ even from among those that are in this room, Lord. O God, won't you act by your Spirit upon each heart that no one would walk from this room still dead in sin? May every one in this room, O God, turn to Christ and say, "God, save me in Christ," and they could walk out new men with a new destiny and a new life their present possession. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.
Thanks for listening to Pastor Don Green from Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. You can find church information, Don's complete sermon library and other helpful materials at thetruthpulpit.com. This message is copyrighted by Don Green. All rights