Consider that typical solid citizen of the neighborhood driving into her garage after a long day. Her marriage of twenty-some years has ebbed as well as scraped bottom, but she and her husband have worked through the rough times. Although she occasionally had shared the infamous “little white lie” and was guilty on occasion of gossiping, she regards herself as a good person. With this conviction firmly in hand, heaven is a given, she thinks. She even believes Jesus died upon the cross for her. Unfortunately, there just never seems enough time to learn more. Has she even heard of being raised with Christ? Should someone mention it, a polite smile is all that it would evoke.
Even “small sin” contamination involves being spiritually dead. Perhaps it is easier to perceive our desperate spiritual need when addiction or some terrible sin has crushed our human spirit. Being raised with Christ may not seem all that glamorous or compelling, until someone discovers what it means for today and for eternity — it all began with a crucifixion.
Roughly two thousand years earlier as temple guards seized and bound him, Jesus had uttered the words, “this is your hour — when darkness reigns.”/1 Under the cloak of darkness, an illegal trial convened. Then as dawn broke, Jesus had been dragged before the governing authorities who were hounded until the condemnation had finally been granted, “crucify him.”
Mirky blackness enveloped the sky for three hours as the body of Jesus hung upon a sturdy wooden cross. Finally, with a shout, life was extinguished. Jesus had died.
On the first day of the week, God’s power raised Jesus’ corpse to life, shattering the shackles of death, making it possible for each one of us to be raised with him. He rose to possess a glorious indestructible life and to sit on the Father’s right hand above all authority and power. With Jesus’ resurrection comes hope for our lives!
Whenever God’s people remember Jesus’ resurrection, it is appropriate to also reflect upon what it means to be raised with Christ. First, being raised with Christ holds meaning for our lives now. Those who have relied upon Jesus’s death have died with Christ, crucifying themselves to the lifestyle of pursuing evil desires./2 Furthermore, Jesus performed a surgery upon them, cutting off their sinful past, thus freeing them from their guilt and deserved condemnation./3 God’s power then raised them up with Christ, granting spiritual life./4 Those who have been raised up with Christ are to be committed to serving God and living by the Spirit in setting their minds on what pleases the Spirit./5 Therefore, dying with Christ entails repenting, receiving forgiveness, as well as gaining both spiritual life and guidance for living.
Second, since Jesus arose to die no more, those who have been raised with Christ can anticipate being resurrected or transformed when Jesus returns so that they too will possess glory and an imperishable life!/6 What a wonderful Savior!
When the present and future implications of being raised with Christ are considered, what a total makeover! How awesome to be raised with Christ! Certainly this is the hope our world needs today and for tomorrow.
Being raised with Christ may sound a bit bland or even odd to the untrained ear, until discovery reveals what it means for today and for eternity. To be the self-proclaimed proverbial basically good person but without Christ can be particularly insidious since interest in the subject will probably hover around zero. If only those who thought that they are good enough without Christ really knew!
1 Luke 22:53
2 Romans 6:1-7; 2 Corinthians 5:15; Galatians 5:24
3 Colossians 2:11-13
4 Ephesians 1:18-20; 2:4-6; Colossians 2:12-13
5 Colossians 3:1-3; Galatians 5:24,25; 6:8; Romans 6:13,22; 8:5
6 Colossians 3:1,4; 1 Corinthians 15:42,43,52
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