We’ve been going through an old list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism published in 1648. In particular we’ve been looking at how Christ was exalted by his resurrection. We’ve seen that Christ was exalted by moving from a dead state to a living state and by the fact that all three members of the Trinity raised him. We’ve also seen that Christ’s resurrection declared that he was the Son of God and had satisfied divine justice. Today I want to demonstrate that Christ’s resurrection exalts him as it shows he has defeated death.
Death is the great enemy of man. Death first entered this world with the actions of Adam and Eve. Adam was warned by God that if he ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil he would die: ‘And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die”‘ (Genesis 2:16-17).
And that’s precisely what has happened since. Adam died. Eve died. Their children died. And everyone else has died because everyone else has sinned. Paul says: ‘Therefore, just as 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).
Yet, this old enemy death has been defeated by Christ. How is that possible? The Son of God himself became human, took our sin upon his shoulders and then died the death we deserve. And in doing so defeated death for us. Hebrews says: ‘Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil–and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death’ (Hebrews 2:14-15).
But how do you know that Jesus has defeated death. By the fact that he came back from the dead! If Jesus had not defeated death, he would still be dead. But instead his resurrection exalts him as the one who is victorious over death.
What does that mean for you? It means you no longer have to fear death. Hebrews tells you that in the passage above. But how do you get rid of fear of death? By trusting in Christ. As soon as you trust in Christ for the forgiveness of sins you have eternal life. When you die, that is not the end, you will be raised one day. John says: ‘everyone who believes in him [Jesus] may have eternal life’ (John 3:15).
Death may have come through Adam, but now life comes through Christ. Paul says: ‘For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!’ (Romans 5:15).
So by his resurrection Christ was greatly exalted. His resurrection proclaimed him the conqueror of death – a victor like no other!
Do you believe in Christ and have defeated death through him? Do you exalt Christ as a result?