The Resurrection: Why is it Necessary?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, April 3, 2015 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

This weekend, many people will celebrate Easter Sunday. Most who have some sort of religious background understand what the day is for: celebrating the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. When I say that, I am talking about “head knowledge” of what the event is about, but how many of us really understand why we celebrate this day? More so, what is the point? Most Christians can give a standard, textbook answer, but let’s dig a little deeper.

My pastor is giving a five-week series on “The Resurrection: So why?” Why do we celebrate the Resurrection? Why it is important for us to believe in the Resurrection? If God forgave us from our sins, why is this so important? Many people can cite historical proof that it happened, but what separates this event from any other event in the Bible? Why so much focus on this instead of any other one event? The key is this: the resurrection is the lynchpin of Christianity. Without it, the whole thing falls apart. Everything in Scripture points to these three days in world history: the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. So my pastor asked for my help. From a philosophical standpoint, what makes the resurrection so crucial to making Christianity work?

Many of the top apologetics groups for Biblical Christianity have a tendency of emphasizing creation, because the creation account is absolutely foundational to everything that follows. Creation by itself means nothing, but it gives the starting point for a full story: a story where the cross and the resurrection are the climax. A detailed treatise on the creation is outside the scope of this post, but let me summarize the two critical details: There used to be a perfect world, where there was no sin, no death, no pain, and man had a pure, intimate relationship with God. But then sin entered the world. Adam and Eve rebelled against God and decided to do their own thing. And our world has been going downhill ever since.

There is much more to what went on in this rebellion than merely eating a piece of fruit. Before sin, man was under God’s Law. They only had one rule to follow. Anything else was fair game. But when they sinned, when they rebelled against God, they decided to live under another Law, even if they did not realize the implications of it. In 1 Samuel 8, Israel asked for new leadership. They did not want to be under God’s direct rule. They wanted a king that would be a political figure head above them like the other nations. They did not understand what they were asking for but they got it anyway. When Adam and Eve sinned, they came under a new law: the law of sin and death.

Adam and Eve’s sin opened the door for all corruption to come into the earth. It impacted and affected all of creation. But what Adam and Eve gave us was a propensity to sin. Each of us has sinned and we have done so willingly. That makes each of us guilty. Paul emphasizes this point repeatedly here in Romans 3:23, Romans 5:12, Romans 5:16-17, and again in 1 Corinthians 15:22. Now, we know that all have sinned and because of Romans 6:23, we know that the wages of sin is death. The just payment for sin is death. If I have not make it clear yet, let me say it this way: there is only one thing God owes us, and that is death. He does not owe you anything besides death.

But how can a loving God allow us to die just for a few sins? Before we can make a judgment on who God is, we have to understand who God is. God is a God of love, but he is also a God of justice. He is pure and holy, and if God were to merely allow our sin to roam free, his mere presence would annihilate us. And let me be honest here. A loving God who is not just is not loving. God is not a man that he should lie. And because legally we are under the jurisdiction of the law of sin and death, and because God is a God of integrity, he cannot violate his laws to rescue us. God cannot just say “You are forgiven” and merely leave it at that. Wait, isn’t that what Jesus said? “Your sins are forgiven”? Let’s look at the context of that statement. Jesus is the one who said that and he said that knowing he was going to be the one paying the debt. So yes, he could say it.

A great picture of this situation was depicted in CS Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Edmund had betrayed his siblings and exposed them to the White Witch. Edmund had no idea that his actions should cost him his life, but Aslan, the image of Jesus, took the payment for him. But here is a very interesting comment that the White Witch makes right before she kills Aslan. She tells him that even in giving her his life, he would save no one. Even though the punishment for treachery was paid, that would not stop her from taking the children in battle. The Deep Magic was appeased, but the Witch still had the military might over Narnia. Think about that.

Jesus came to die for our sins. That is what Good Friday is all about - recognizing the day that Jesus died. But isn’t that enough? Jesus paid for our sin by dying in our place. The debt is paid. So why do we need the resurrection? By dying, Jesus paid the debt, but that left Jesus remaining under the dominion of Satan, under the law of sin and death. This is where the resurrection comes in. In Romans 6:8-9 we learn that death no longer had dominion over Christ. How did that happen? How did Jesus who submitted himself to the law of sin and death by dying on the cross, legally break free from it without violating his character? Through the resurrection.

The resurrection is what broke the law of sin and death. Just as Aslan’s resurrection caused the Stone Table to crack, Jesus’ resurrection broke the power of death. Also look at Hebrews 2:14 and 1 John 3:8. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil, to break the power of sin and death. The cross alone could not do it. We need the resurrection to have that break to have that legal freedom from sin and death. When we are under Adam, as we are born into this world, we are under the law of sin and death. But when we are born again, when God quickens us as per John 5:21, the law of sin and death is broken and we are under a new law, the law of grace.

The resurrection is the lynchpin in the whole thing that makes everything work. Without the resurrection, Satan and his power of death remain intact. It is the resurrection that breaks it. Because God is a God of integrity, he cannot violate his own laws to rescue us. But as Aslan created Deeper Magic, God set a law that was part of his plan from the very beginning, to break the power of Satan. And because God legally broke the power of sin and death, Satan cannot accuse him of cheating, nor can he illegally steal us back.

The resurrection is also what separates Christianity from every other religion. Many religions have a hero dying for the people. But every one of those heroes, if real, is still dead. Christianity is the only religion where the hero of the story has an empty tomb. Jesus is not dead. He is alive and that proves Christianity is true above any other religion out there.

If we are in Christ, if we are born again under his law of grace, it does mean we will die as he died, but it also means we will rise again as he rose. The whole chapter of 1 Corinthians 15 deals with the resurrection, not just of Christ but of us. This does mean we need to die to ourselves… daily. Laying down our will, mind, emotions, choices, entertainment sources, family, friends, jobs, money, reputation, bodies, everything to be used as God pleases. But remember the context. We lay them down, let them die at the cross, and God will resurrect them. It won’t be in the same fashion or condition they were in. We will have a new will, new emotions, new choices, and new sources for entertainment. We will have a new outlook on our family. We will have new friends. Our outlook on our jobs, our money, and our reputation will be different. And though our body will die, it too will see the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit.

The enemy came to take life. Jesus came to give it back and to break the power of the enemy. Why is the resurrection so important? Because that is what seals the deal. That is what makes the entire thing work. Everything else either leads to this point or looks back to this point. If the resurrection did not happen, we are to be pitied among all men. There is so much more that we can say about the resurrection and how to apply it. Whole books have been written on it and even then they have hardly scratched the surface of what the resurrection means. But if you get nothing else from this post, understand this: the resurrection did occur. No other event in recorded history can be confirmed like the resurrection has been. And because we now know why the resurrection is critical to Christianity and because we know it did happen, we know that Christianity is true and that every word recorded in Scripture is also true. This is all because of the resurrection. This one event validates the entire thing and no other single evidence confirms the Bible as the truth like the resurrection. Do you believe the record? I do.

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