The Implications of the Resurrection for Daily Life
Read 1 Cor. 15:50-57 and Romans 6:5-23)
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.”
We often view the resurrection of Christ as crucial to our hope for eternal life, and rightfully so. The resurrection of Christ provides the foundation for giving us confidence that in Christ we have victory over death and confidence that we have eternal life. But we often leave the resurrection in the realm of eternal hope but has no present implications for our daily life. Yet for Paul, the resurrection of Christ was intensely practical and had enormous significance for our everyday life and conduct. Not only is the resurrection the foundation of our hope, but it is also the foundation for moral, ethical, and daily life.
The issue goes far beyond just the matter of physical death. Physical death is the result of sin and the effects that sin had upon human existence. When Christ rose from the dead, he not only broke the domination of physical death, more importantly, he broke the dominance of spiritual death. When Paul states that the resurrection of Christ brought victory, he is speaking of the spiritual victory over the power of sin rather than just the victory over the clutches of our mortality. However, in the present, we still do not experience the full extent of that victory, for we still face the reality of death and the present struggle with sin (Romans 6:5-6). But in the final resurrection, we will be changed, and the “perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality” (15:53). Then is when we fully realize the extent of our freedom from the consequences of breaking God’s moral law (vs. 56).
While the full reality of our victory over the effects of sin awaits our resurrection, for Paul, this future hope then leads us to the present change in our moral conduction and our focus in life. Instead of allowing sin and its appeal to dominate us still, we are free to instead focus upon the proclamation of the gospel. Because of the hope of the resurrection of Christ, we are to have a new perspective. This begins with the great commission, which is what God calls us to fulfill. When we focus on proclaiming the gospel, then we have an eternal effect.
Furthermore, as Paul points out in Romans 6:5-6, this new perspective also changes our moral and ethical conduct. We are no longer slaves to sin and its impulses. Instead, we are now to be righteousness instruments. Instead of following the morality and practices of the world we live in, we are not free to live according to God’s standards. For Paul, ultimate freedom, which Christ’s death and resurrection achieved, is not the freedom to do as we please or pursue the passions we desire. When we follow our sinful passions, we do not discover freedom; instead, we become further enslaved. What Christ achieved was now the freedom to pursue the righteousness of Christ. In our initial creation, God created us to reflect his image. But that reflection becomes marred by sin. Instead of reflecting and becoming like him, we became sinful. However, when we embrace the salvation of Christ accomplished in his death and resurrection, we no longer are controlled by sin. We are now free to fulfill God’s original intent, and that is to become like Christ. If the hope of the resurrection of Christ only gives us hope in death, we miss the point. The hope of the resurrection of Christ gives us a new purpose in the present—to become what God intended by becoming like Christ.