The In-ness of the Resurrection

“I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen.” Rev. 1:18 (NKJV)
“You died and your life is hidden with Christ in God” Col 3:3 (CEB)
“Give to my son Solomon a heart of peace.” 1 Cor. 29:19 (LEB)

by Dr. Bill Ury
National Ambassador for Holiness

I shall never forget the moment a troubled young Christian woman blurted out, “We don’t need the resurrection. Jesus did everything for us on the cross!” I was so stunned by her blunt assertion that all of my years of training got lost in a flurry of emotion, and I didn’t respond. But countless times since then I have responded to her in my heart.

E. Stanley Jones described my life before sanctification when he noted that we Christians would rather celebrate Christmas than Pentecost; we would rather have God “with us” than “in us.” And that is what I failed to say to my friend.

Easter is the vindication of all that Jesus did to pardon my sin. He did pay the price for my rebellion, but He also took my death and gave me His resurrected Life. The cross was a necessary act of judgment. But the victory over the death that my sins produced is won by His being raised from the dead.

Now, by the power of His risen life and through His Spirit at Pentecost (our next major celebration) the One Who is Eternal Life is offering not only to pay my debt but to dwell in me in all of His fullness. That is why the earliest disciples couldn’t stop talking about Jesus being raised from the dead. What they offered was not a program or a plan of salvation but the Person—Jesus of Nazareth—who was dead but now is alive. They weren’t merely describing a set of good and true ideas; they actually believed in the living presence and power of Jesus. They introduced everyone to Him just as if He were standing there.

I wonder if we live that way. Paul says we are hidden in Christ. To be “in Christ” is to dwell completely in Him. We are chosen in Him, born again in Him, grow in Him, walk in Him, live in Him. “In” indicates we live through Him, by means of Him, through His agency. We are so lost in His life that it is not clear where we stop, and He starts. I think of this every time we sing, “This is the air I breathe.”

Jesus was not merely fixing a problem on the cross, He was offering His very Life, eternal in quality to all of us. Where we had forced alienation, He offered an intimate reconciliation, a oneness. That is why we emphasize the full personal work of the Savior. Everybody loves peace. What joy when someone who has opposed Jesus finds by grace that there is no more enmity between him or her and Christ. But many Christians live with deep anxiety about ongoing self-interest and failures.

There is a phrase in Hebrew that has helped me to connect justification and sanctification. It is “to have a whole heart.” Literally, it is to have a heart at peace (lev — heart, shalem — peace). He has come to bring our nature, our desires, our drives into an inner harmony. But that moral tranquility can only come if He is present in the power of His risen Life. He is my Peace because where He is all conflict must be dealt with. He is with us and in us in every battle of life, but if I insist on disobeying Him then I risk the rejection of the Life He is.

Perhaps my friend was unwittingly expressing a limited view of Who Jesus is, that sadly is quite widespread. The Army’s best evangelism and service is offering Jesus, the Life of the world. And we share that most effectively when our hearts are not filled with self-love but with the Savior whose undefeatable Life informs every response.

 

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