Posted by: reformedmusings | March 23, 2008

He is Risen!

He is risen!

He is risen indeed!

Life has been extremely busy, but I didn’t want our Lord’s resurrection to go without posting something to His glory.

I often ask my Sunday school students why Jesus couldn’t come down from heaven on Thursday night, have dinner with 12 of His closest buddies, suffer and die on the cross on Friday, rise from the dead on Sunday, then return to heaven after the Eagles game?

While the complete answer considers several aspects of Jesus’ life, the most important is the character of that life. Jesus lived life as we do, was tempted as we are, yet without sin (Heb 4:14, 15). He lived a perfect life, a life that we could never live. In a phrase, He is perfectly righteous.

That perfect life made Him the perfect sacrifice. Because the Father is perfectly just, there is no forgiveness without paying a penalty, which in the case of sin, which is cosmic treason, requires the shedding of blood (Heb 9:20-23). Jesus paid the full price for our sins, a penal debt that we could never pay ourselves, once and for all time (Heb 9:24-28).

But being forgiven isn’t enough. The would merely make us innocent–a passive state of being. Jesus said that unless our righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, we will never see heaven (Mat 5:20). So, we need more than innocence, we need perfect righteousness (a positive state) because God tells us that we must stand perfect before Him (Deut 18:13). We cannot do this ourselves (Gal 2:16). We need a Savior.

The answer came on that first Easter. Since death is the wages of sin (Rom 6:23), and Jesus never sinned (Heb 4:15), and the Father is perfectly just (2 Tim 4:8), then the Father could not leave the Son in the grave. Jesus resurrection vindicated His perfect righteousness and perfect sacrifice, dramatically demonstrating the Father’s gracious acceptance of Jesus perfect life (active obedience) and sacrifice (passive obedience) on behalf of His chosen elect (1 Cor 5:21a).

Further, Jesus perfect righteousness–His active obedience to the law of God–is credited to us (1 Cor 5:21). For those who God chose before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4), called the “elect,” He graciously accepts Jesus’ perfect righteousness on their behalf and gives all the riches of Christ’s inheritance–not because of anything that we did or are, but because of what Jesus did for us, apprehended by us through faith, and even that a gift of God (Eph 2:1-9). We contribute nothing but our need.

Jesus resurrection provides the kingpin in our salvation. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, we would still be dead in our sins, lost forever and justly condemned for eternity because of our cosmic treason against our Creator. 1 Cor 15:19-21 (ESV):

19 If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. 20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.

Peter, the apostle who denied Jesus three times and argued against the cross in the first place, sums this wonderful news up exceedingly well at the beginning of his first letter:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Pet 1:3-5, ESV)

Note that you are being guarded by God’s power, not your own, and solely by God’s grace through faith in the resurrected Christ. There’s that sola fide again!

So on Easter, we celebrate the confirmation of our salvation in the vindication of our Savior. We stand before the Father covered by the perfectly righteousness of our Savior, both now and for eternity. Hallelujah!

He is risen!

He is risen indeed!

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