The Resurrection Worked, too.
To say the cross is enough and the cross worked is not to diminish or neglect the resurrection and ascension of Christ. When Paul said that he preached Christ and him crucified, he implied that he also preached Christ’ resurrection (see 1 Cor. 15:1-11). Without the resurrection, the cross would be pointless.
Scripture teaches that through the resurrected life of Christ, we are saved (Rom. 4:25; 5:9). Further, it is our confession that Jesus was raised from the dead that saves us (Rom. 10:9) and Jesus’ resurrection is the core of the gospel message (1 Cor. 15:4). The cross brings about our total forgiveness, cleansing, and freedom from God’s judgment of sins. But the resurrection brings us new life in Christ.
Those who misunderstand our total forgiveness neglect an important aspect of the new covenant—our new identity. God did not only forgive us and free us. He also gave us his Son’s indwelling life, and a new identity in him. That is why our total forgiveness is safe. That is why this message is not a “license to sin” or dangerous. It is our new identity and our total forgiveness that makes this message good news and safe.
One of the most neglected aspects of the gospel is Christ in us. But it is even more than Christ in us. It is Christ united to us. Scripture tells us that we are one spirit with Christ (1 Cor. 6:17). And that we are united to him (Rom. 6:5). On the first day of our relationship with Jesus we become as connected and near to God as we will ever be.
When we showed up on planet earth, we were all dead. We needed life. And Jesus came to give us his life. He did this by crucifying our old self and raising us to life with a new self that is united to him (Gal. 2:20; Rom. 6:6).
Christ is literally our life (Col. 3:4). He is not merely a historical figure that we follow. Nor is he just a person we acknowledge once a week. He is our everything. He is the reason we can live, move, and have our being (Acts 17:28). That is why Christianity is not about bad people becoming good. It is about dead people becoming alive. What we needed was not a new set of rules. What we needed was life – Jesus’ life.
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