by Tim Hall
If one is raised from the dead, dramatic differences should follow.
“If? Are you questioning whether or not Jesus Christ was raised from the dead?” That might well be the reaction of some after reading the title of this article.
We’re in that time of the year in which Christendom celebrates in various ways Jesus’ resurrection. Though our methods of honoring that event may differ, we are in agreement with the groundbreaking (no pun intended) nature of it. No, we’re not questioning whether Jesus was raised from the dead. We’re convinced it really happened.
What we question is that which Paul questioned: Has there been a resurrection from the dead in our lives? Can evidence of that resurrection be found?
Here is how Paul phrased the idea: “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1,2, NKJV).
But how could we have been raised? We’ve never died – have we?
In the previous chapter, Paul noted the death that should have taken place:
“Buried with him in baptism, in which you also were raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he has made alive together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses” (Colossians 2:12,13).
We all inevitably choose sin (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8). In doing so we choose death, separation from God. But Jesus’ death on the cross and subsequent resurrection made possible our resurrection, Paul said. Some of us have responded to that opportunity. In baptism we laid to rest the old way of life (sin), and were raised to walk in a new path (righteousness).
Here’s the problem: Some who have gone through the vital acts of obedience do not show the difference that a resurrection should make. Their language is still laced with profanity; their values still reflect a love of sinful pleasures; their interests continue to be primarily selfish. Have these really been raised from the dead?
A nearly-identical passage is found in Romans 6. Paul again compared our conversion to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Note especially verse 4: “Therefore we were buried with him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
Why did God raise us from the grave of baptism? So that our lives would be new.
As we contemplate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from physical death, let’s not fail to contemplate our own situation. Have we followed through on the pledge we made at baptism?