We all too often consign the implications of the resurrection to the future. Thinking that it is a future reality only, that does not impact our present state here on earth, but that is not quite so. In fact, the opposite is true. Believing Jesus Christ rose from the dead has immediate and present implications.
If you haven’t read John’s excellent reflection on the death of Christ, you can read it here>> (Reflecting on the death of Christ) this short article builds on the wonderful truths John shared in his article.
Let me state the obvious first. As a Christian, believing in the resurrection means that you believe Jesus Christ died. If he died, so did you (Rom 6:6) and if you died in and with Christ, then that frees you from the bondage of sin (Rom 6:7).
While His death finished the work of atonement, the resurrection grants Christians a new life (Rom 6:4). This new life is not just in the future, at the consummation of all things, but it is also during your earthly stay, the life you’re living right now.
This new life is also called being a “slave to righteousness” (Rom 6:16,18). The apostle Paul explains what this means when he says that it is now unfathomable and preposterous for a person who calls himself a Christian to continue to live like no real thing has happened to them (Rom 6:12,14) because it has if they are united to Christ and have died with him. If they have not been crucified in Christ as Paul said, then this change hasn’t happened for that person. In which case, they are still under the bondage of sin (Rom 6:16,19).
For whoever still presents the members of his body (including thoughts and words) to sin as instruments of unrighteousness never died with Jesus, nor was buried with him, nor rose with Him to a new life. This means Christ has not paid for that person’s sins and they are still under the debt and guilt of their sins.
You should be fearful of dying if this describes you because there is only one thing you’ll meet if you die in your sins: God’s wrath in full measure.
Of course, the apostle isn’t saying a Christian is sinless, but that a Christian sins less. They are no longer under the dominion of sin and being ruled by it. This is why he implores us in Romans 6:12, “Do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts.”
If you believe in the death and resurrection of Christ, then it means you also have crucified the flesh and its lusts (Gal 5:24) and are empowered by the same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead to live righteous and holy lives now, right now in this world.
I’ll end this short exhortation with a quote;
There is no imagination wherewith man is besotted, more foolish, none so pernicious, as this-that persons not purified, not sanctified, not made holy in their life, should afterwards be taken into the state of blessedness which consists in the enjoyment of God…Holiness is indeed perfected in heaven: but the beginning of it is invariably confined to this world.John Owen