On the cross, Jesus took upon Himself the sentence of death that was due to each of us and yielded up His soul as the sin offering on our behalf, thereby expiating our guilt. Then on the third day, God the Father set aside the unjust decisions of the two human courts (Jewish and Roman) that had condemned Jesus to death, and vindicated the righteousness of his Son by raising Him from the dead. But what’s the importance of His resurrection – and what does it means for each of us?
The first thing that we need to see is that the resurrection of Jesus, who was our representative, is the sure seal upon God’s offer of forgiveness and salvation through Jesus.
In Romans 4:18–22, Paul explains how Abraham’s faith in God’s promise was “credited to him as righteousness.” Then he continues with an application to us also as believers today:
The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. Romans 4:23–25
The word justification is a technical theological word. Perhaps the best explanation of what it means to be justified is this: Justified means “just-as-if-I’d never sinned,” because Christ’s sinless righteousness is imputed or credited to us through our faith.
In Romans 4:25 Paul tells us that Christ “was delivered up because of our offences, and was raised because of our justification.” This is evidence that the sinner’s justification is dependent upon Christ being raised again from the dead. Had Christ remained upon the cross or in the tomb, God’s promise to the sinner of salvation and eternal life could never have been fulfilled. It is only the risen Christ, received and confessed by faith, who brings to the sinner pardon, peace, eternal life and victory over sin: “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus [or Jesus as Lord] and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
Here salvation is stated to be dependent upon two things: first, openly confessing Jesus as Lord; second, believing in the heart that God raised Jesus from the dead. Thus, saving faith includes faith in the resurrection. There can be no salvation for those who do not believe in the resurrection of Christ. If Christ has not risen from the dead, then He has no power to pardon or to save the sinner. But if He is risen, as the Scripture states, then this is logical proof of His power to pardon and to save.
The absolute, logical necessity of Christ’s resurrection as a basis of God’s offer of salvation is stated again by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:14, 17: “And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty [or vain] and your faith is also empty [or vain]. . . . And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; and you are still in your sins.”
Some Christians have the attitude that all we receive through salvation is here and now. Specifically, we are going to get healing, prosperity, and all sorts of blessings. But Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:19 that if our expectations are limited only to this life then “we are of all men the most to be pitied. If there is no resurrection, then we are miserable. We have no hope. The grave is our goal, and the grave is our end.
But thank God there is a resurrection!
This Reflection is taken from