Almost any Christian can tell you, “Jesus died for my sins.” But, surprisingly, few can say what His resurrection means in their daily life. They know certain parts of the story—that Jesus died and rose again—but not enough to apply God’s powerful truths to the way they live and believe. And that makes all the difference in the world.
Christ’s resurrection has radical consequences not just for eternal life but for everyday life. What is the purpose of the resurrection? Most of us associate it with eternal life, not with daily life on earth. How is the resurrection significant in our marriage, our job, our family? How does it affect a life inundated by 200 data messages a day, a life harried with errands, chores, obligations, demands?
Paul reminds us that Christ’s death, burial and resurrection are of first importance. “It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Romans 4:24-25, ESV,my emphasis). What does Paul mean when he says Jesus was raised so that we might be justified?
Justification has to do with newness of life. Without it, we would be stuck in an unchanging cycle of sin and forgiveness. Think about the practical weight that sin carries in our lives. How many times have you lain awake at night grieving over something awful you’ve said or done? Shame, guilt and condemnation come with everyday life; we can’t get away from it. Yet Paul tells us Jesus was “delivered up” to cleanse us of these very things.
So, is it enough to be forgiven of our sins? That’s where the last part of the verse comes in: Jesus was “raised for our justification.” Not only are our trespasses gone, but we are justified—meaning, it’s as if we had never committed those sins. Now we are a delight in God’s eyes. In short, we are resurrected into newness of life—every day!
What a great and powerful truth. Yet, Christians often don’t experience this newness in everyday life. I admit there are days when I say to my wife, Kelly, “Is this really newness of life? I’m frustrated, cranky, disappointed.” Try as we might, we don’t personally possess the power to renew our lives. We can’t simply make ourselves new. That comes from Jesus alone—and it’s through what is called resurrection power.