The Resurrected Life

Posted on September 2, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Devotional Reflections

The foundational principle of our salvation is the substitutionary death of Christ. It is the basic concept that is central to our faith. It may defy our ability to understand how the death and resurrection of Jesus more than 2,000 years ago can be effectual in redeeming us from the penalty of sin, but that is a reality abundantly affirmed throughout Scripture. When we come to Christ in repentance and faith, we identify with His death on the cross. The blood He shed is payment for the penalty of our sin; we, in essence, die with Christ in order to be counted as righteous in the sight of God.

That is the beautiful picture symbolized by water baptism which, by the way, is the biblical public profession of faith. It portrays that we personally have died with Christ, the old life of sin is buried and gone, and we are resurrected to a new life in Him. Therefore, the life we live from that point on is no longer our life, it is a new life of Christ living in us. Just as we cannot attain righteousness and be saved by our own efforts and works, neither can we live a Christian life through our own efforts. Many are disillusioned by the continuing struggle with their sin nature because they are saved by faith but then try to live out the Christian life in the flesh, failing to realize they are participants in the resurrection of Christ as well as His death.

If pressed to choose among my many favorite life verses, I think Galatians 2:20 would always come out on top–”I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.” That verse graphically describes both how we become a Christian and then live the Christian life; it is no longer us but a Christ-life because He lives within us.

If we can accept the substitutionary death of Christ, why is it that we have a problem accepting the substitutionary life of Christ that is the result of His resurrection and ours. We have literally been resurrected to a new life that is as real as the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave. This is explicitly explained in Romans 6:3-4. “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We are 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.” We need to understand this passage is not speaking of water baptism but our immersion into Christ and His death and resurrection; water baptism symbolizes, portrays and testifies to this spiritual reality.

Because of our identification with Christ’s death and resurrection, notice what happens to that old sin nature in the verses that follow–”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. (That is not a reference to a future glorified resurrection in heaven but a resurrection of our mortal bodies here and now!) 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 one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him” (Rom. 6:5-8).

Notice what is said about that old sin nature–it has been crucified (it is dead), it is nothing, we are no longer enslaved to it, we are set from sin. If we believe we are saved from the penalty of sin by faith, we need to also believe we live with Him. It is the same faith by which we are saved and delivered from the power of sin because we have been resurrected with Christ to a new life in Him!

This may not seem to be a reality in our life from day to day. It may not reflect how we feel or our normal experience. I think the Apostle Paul anticipates this response to this beautiful truth so he tells us in Romans 6:11 that we should consider it a reality. “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” God’s word is truth, so think of reality from His perspective–we have been resurrected to a new life; it is as real as having died with Christ!

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