In our first post in the series, we explored what resurrection really is. In our last post, we discussed how the foundational meaning of the resurrection is that Jesus is King over everything and everyone.
In this post we will explore what is probably the most understood and common meaning of the resurrection: salvation. Probably the earliest summary of the Gospel that we have, in the New Testament or otherwise, is what Paul says in 1st Corinthians 15:2-5: “By this Gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you…that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared…” Jesus died for our sins, Jesus was buried, Jesus was raised, and Jesus made public appearances–this is the Gospel.
If you think about it, all four of those events-death, burial, resurrection, appearances-rise or fall with the resurrection. Of course the death was needed and necessary, but the death without the resurrection is incomplete, imperfect, perhaps even a failure. The burial happened to show that Jesus was really dead, so that when he was raised, there would be no mistaking the miracle. And the appearances were to confirm that Jesus really was alive after he really was dead. The earliest summary of the Gospel, by which we are saved, revolves around the resurrection.
In Romans 5, Paul talks about how sin entered the world through one man, and when sin entered the world, so did death. Then in verse 14, Paul says “Death reigned from the time of Adam…” Then, Paul says, sin brought condemnation, but God’s gift-the life, death and resurrection of Jesus-brought justification. Then verse 17, “For if, by the sin of one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!”
Notice the language of kingship and reigning that Paul uses. In our last post we talked about Jesus being given the name above all names as a result of the resurrection. What does this new king do as he takes the throne? He abolishes sin and death. Sin and death reign no more. Where there used to be sin and death, Jesus now reigns. And King Jesus offers forgiveness for sin. But not only that–he offers life, even now, for all those who would “receive God’s abundant provision of grace”. Would you receive it?