Originally posted here.
In the first post we looked at the supreme importance of the death and resurrection of Christ. We saw that it is of first importance for living the Christian life. Without Christ’s death and resurrection and saving faith in it, we are not able to live out God’s calling to holiness and love nor would we desire to do so if our living is not based on the foundation of what God has done in Christ and our gratitude for it. Secondly, we looked at how the death and resurrection of Christ is of first importance for studying and understanding other biblical truths. We began by looking at forgiveness. If we neglect or diminish the accomplishment made by Christ in His work we will not truly understand the forgiveness of God and all that was required before He could forgive.
Of First Importance for Understanding All Biblical Truth continued…
Another example where the death and resurrection of Christ is of first importance for understanding biblical truth is our sinfulness. Rather than elevating our sinfulness, as some do to God’s forgiveness when they neglect the necessity of Christ’s death and resurrection, some seek to eliminate the pervasive effects of sin on mankind. When this is done, man is elevated to be able to do much more than the Bible says he can do without the aid of God’s grace and it diminishes the power and necessity of the death and resurrection. But this is not how the Bible portrays man or the work of Christ. When we look at how the Scriptures speak of what Christ did for sinners, we get a clearer picture of how radically we have been affected by sin and how much we needed the Savior and His work. God’s Word says that Christ died and was raised that we might be given new life (1 Peter 1:3-5; Ephesians 2:1-10; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21), be freed from slavery to sin (Romans 6; John 8:31-36), be saved from God’s wrath (Romans 5:6-9), be reconciled to God (Romans 5:10-11; Ephesians 2:11-22; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20), be delivered from the law (Acts 13:34-39; Galatians 3:10-14; Romans 7:4-6, 8:1-8), be delivered from our sin debt (Colossians 2:13-15; Acts 3:18-19), and much more. The Bible is clear in showing that apart from Christ the entire human race is dead in sin, enslaved to sin, under and awaiting God’s wrath, separated and enemies of God, bound to obeying the law perfectly, and owners of a debt we cannot pay. All of this and more, Christ came in the likeness of man, live a perfect life, died in our place and was raised from the dead, showing the acceptance and finality of His work. If we neglect the death and resurrection of Christ for the sake of elevating or softening another biblical truth we will loose the glory of the work of Christ done on our behalf. Let us not “neglect such a great salvation!” Christ’s death and resurrection is of first importance for the right understanding of all biblical truth.
Of First Importance for Everyday Life
Lastly, the third aspect of the importance of the death and resurrection of Christ is its relevance for everyday of every year. Easter, just as Christmas, is not to just be celebrated once a year, but it is to be the focus of our hearts all year long. This is essentially what it means for Christ’s work to be of first importance. We are not to only praise God for the death and resurrection of Christ on Resurrection Sunday, but it is to be our heart’s song everyday. It is the reason we can sing and glory in God. It will be the theme of our singing for eternity. Revelation 5:9-10 proclaims:
“And they sang a new song, saying,
“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.”
The work of Christ is not only to be the foundation from which we sing every song but also the foundation by which we live everyday. It radically changes the way in which we experience life. Because of the death and resurrection of Christ we have hope not just for the future but even today. In Christ we now have victory over death, for it is no longer our enemy. 1 Corinthians 15:54-57 declares, “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
We also have hope for the future, for just as Jesus was raised from the dead we know that all who are in Christ will be made like Him. 1 John 3:2-3 says, “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” And lastly we have hope in the midst of suffering in this world. 2 Corinthians 4:8-11, 14, 16-18 proclaims:
“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh…knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence…. So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
All of our worship and all of our hope finds its source in the death and resurrection of Christ. Let it ring true in your heart everyday of the year.
May we always be mindful of that which is of first importance: Christ’s death and resurrection.