[In this post, we will examine the third and most central resurrection reality]
Resurrection Reality #3: Believers Stand Forgiven
This is the most crucial point of them all. Paul argues, if Christ has not been raised, then the Corinthian believers are still in their sins! This is the most terrifying part of Paul’s argument. John Piper picks up on the horror of this when he says, “If God holds our sins against us then there is no hope of anything else from God. The foundation for every other blessing from God is that God won’t hold our sins against us. Everything hangs on forgiveness.”
If Christ has not been raised, then his death was like that of so many others. There are no saving benefits tied to the death of Jesus if he was not raised from the dead. Without the resurrection, Jesus’ death was merely a crucifixion. The crucifixion of Jesus becomes the cross of Christ when the tomb is found empty! The cross secures forgiveness of sins and the resurrection pronounces the forgiveness of sins! Jesus’ resurrection assures that the sins of those he died for are forever forgiven. The Bible most frequently speaks of Jesus’ resurrection as being passive. This means that it was the Father who raised the Son. This is because the resurrection is the Father’s “Amen!” to the work of the Son on the cross. The resurrection is a public statement by the Father that he is fully satisfied with the Savior’s substitutionary sacrifice on the cross for our sins. R.C. Sproul says it this way, “Then there was a major burst of glory when God shook the whole earth and brought His Son back from the dead in order to indicate that He was completely satisfied with His Son’s work.”
Non-Christian, your greatest need this morning is the forgiveness of your sins. If you are not in Christ by faith, then you stand guilty in your sin before a holy God. John 3:36 says that all who do not believe in the Son remain under the wrath of God. Because of the perfect holiness of God, the wrath of God will be poured out on all rebels, on all sinners who are outside the grace of God in Jesus. But praise God that in his perfect love, in his great grace, he sent his Son to bear the wrath of God in your place. Jesus took the cup of God’s wrath, drank it to the dregs, tossed it on the ground and cried out “It is finished!” And in the resurrection, the Father shouts with him, “Yes it is!”
This is the greatest news in the whole world. The God you have defamed and hated gives you himself through his Son! Jesus has been raised! Believe in this risen Savior and your sins will be forever forgiven!
Because Jesus has been raised from the dead, you are no longer in your sins! So, why do we live as if Jesus has not been raised by allowing sin to take us captive? Why do we not fight sin with every fiber in our being? Why do we allow sin to reign over us as if we are its slaves? Indeed, you are a slave to sin, you are dead in your sins, and you are under God’s wrath if Jesus has not been raised. But Christ has been raised! Find lasting joy in the assurance of your forgiveness by Christ’s resurrection. Find lasting joy in the grace-empowered war you wage against sin in your life. The life that is not wasted is the life that trusts in Jesus for forgiveness of sins. The words of a hymn written by Keith and Kristyn Getty capture the essence of this third point well:
Oh, to see my name
Written in the wounds,
For through Your suffering I am free.
Death is crushed to death;
Life is mine to live,
Won through Your selfless love.
This, the pow’r of the cross:
Son of God—slain for us.
What a love! What a cost!
We stand forgiven at the cross.