In the bulletin on Good Friday I wrote an article on the importance of Jesus’ death. We saw that Jesus’ death is significant because it is through Jesus’ death that we can have forgiveness of sins. But why do we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus at Easter too? Shouldn’t the focus simply be on the cross as that is where sin is paid for? Today I want to show that the resurrection is of crucial importance because it guarantees that Jesus really did pay for our sin on the cross.
If we are to understand the importance of Jesus’ resurrection, we must firstly understand death. The Bible teaches us that death is the result of sin: ‘For the wages of sin is death’ (Romans 6:23). Do you want to live forever? Don’t sin, and you won’t die. That’s the secret of eternal life. But the problem is we all have inherited original sin from Adam, our first parent, and we all commit actual sins ourselves too: ‘…sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned’ (Romans 5:12).
So to overcome death, we must first overcome sin. And this is what Jesus says he does at the cross for you: ‘ He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed’ (1 Peter 2:24). But why should you believe that Jesus has indeed taken away your sin so you can overcome death? After all anyone can say that your sins are forgiven and that you’re going to live forever, but that doesn’t mean that your sins are actually forgiven and you have eternal life. The person could be lying or deluded that they have the power to forgive sins when they don’t. The test is whether that person who claims to wipe away sin, can defeat death which is the result of sin. If you can overcome death, then you must have overcome sin.
So the crucial question is, did Jesus defeat death and thus prove that he had defeated sin? Yes. The gospel accounts are clear that Jesus came back to life and is still alive today, proving that Jesus has justified us – we have been declared legally righteous before God because of Jesus and not legally unrighteous because of our sin. This is what Paul means when he says about Jesus: ‘He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.’ (Romans 4:25). Thus the resurrection is essential for the Christian. For without it, we are still dead in our sins. No wonder we celebrate the resurrection at Easter!
Do you trust in Jesus’ death for your sins and know that they have been paid for because you also know that Jesus has been raised from the dead?