By Francis Frangipane
Let there be no question, Christ's crucifixion and subsequent resurrection are the cornerstone realities of our faith. Upon these two united events the most vital truths of Christianity unfold. Indeed, if Christ did not die upon the cross, there would be no atonement. If He did not rise from death as He foretold, then all He taught would become suspect. He would have been yet another philosopher/prophet who lived and died a tragic death.
Yet, Jesus demonstrated that He was the "Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead" (Romans 1:4). Christ's resurrection broadcast throughout time and eternity that One more than a prophet died for mankind's sins. It was God on earth who prayed to God in heaven, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."
Is this not the reason why we celebrate the miracle of the empty tomb? God Himself came to earth to rescue mankind from damnation! Christ's crucifixion was the covenant act, securing full payment for mankind's sin by His blood. His resurrection was the inaugural act of heaven, heralding the beginning of a new dispensation of grace and power.
The Nature of the Power
If we believe in Jesus Christ and accept His sacrifice for our sins, we receive two things pledged to us by God: forgiveness for our sins and resurrection power through the Holy Spirit. This power is not limited to our ultimate resurrection of the dead, but it is something we can walk in now.
Martha, at the tomb of her dead brother Lazarus, dutifully acknowledged a future resurrection (see John 11:24). Yet, what Jesus told her caused a revolution in her thinking. He said, "I am the resurrection and the life" (John 11:25), thus bringing the power of resurrection into the immediacy of her dire circumstances. He then demonstrated that resurrection was a "now" reality by raising Lazarus from the grave!
Beloved, the church today needs to grasp this truth: resurrection power is not confined to a future date; it is available right now in the person of Christ Himself! Everyone living in union with Jesus Christ has access also to the power of His resurrection. Even as divine forgiveness has been granted us through Christ's crucifixion, so resurrection power accompanies us through Christ's resurrection. Resident within us is Holy Spirit power. God Himself is eternally committed to direct and correct us, to lift and restore us until we stand before Him in eternity.
"But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you" (Romans 8:11). From the moment you received Christ, the Holy Spirit has been giving "life to your mortal bodies," the same life that conquered death for Jesus.
Just as it was "impossible for [Christ] to be held" by the power of death (see Acts 2:24), so also is it impossible for the death in us to block Christ from rising in our hearts! Indeed, if Jesus could conquer death and ascend triumphantly from His grave, He can conquer the realm of death, darkness and sin that exists in us as we keep faith in Him.
Resurrection Access Through Faith
Two keys unlock the power of resurrection life. The first is our faith. Indeed, "This is the victory that has overcome the world - our faith" (1 John 5:4). We must believe in Christ and confidently trust His power, especially when we fail or experience overwhelming circumstances or demonic attack. We may not know how God will rescue us, but we must believe He will. We may look as dead as Lazarus in the grave, but we must remember: the same power that raised Lazarus dwells with us!
Have you been through conflict, fear or loss? It is time to believe in the resurrection power of Christ. Has a loved one fallen prey to battle, sin or discouragement? Take faith! Christ is He "who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist" (Romans 4:17).
I have come to believe that, no matter what I go through, I will emerge more like Christ on the other side. I trust resurrection power to carry me through! Jesus is not only my Lord and Savior, He is also as the "resurrector" of my life.
You also have been through much, yet even when you had no strength in yourself, God Himself carried you through. Your very life bears witness that resurrection power has renewed and restored you, in spite of the battles you've faced. Faith, your deep-seated trust in God, secures you in the flow of resurrection power.
When Paul wrote, "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good" (Rom 8:28), he was speaking of abiding in a continuum of resurrection life that transformed everything he experienced into something good. This is the power of resurrection: the working of all things for good.
The Second Key
The second essential to unlocking resurrection power is to carry the cross of Christ. If we are to truly follow the Lord Jesus, we must also walk with Him in His call of redemption. Like Jesus, we will face death for the sake of love. It is this that leads to greater fruitfulness and power.
The cross also puts to death our fears, lusts and lack of love, and to carry the cross is to agree that something in us must die for Christ to live. Thus Paul wrote, "that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death" (Philippians 3:10). If we will know the power of His resurrection, we must embrace the fellowship of His sufferings.
For those who have received the resurrected Christ, let us remember: we have been raised up with Him. God has seated us with Him in heavenly places. Our spirits are already positioned in resurrected life. Let us not accept the illusion that we are here alone. Even as we shall soon celebrate the resurrection of Christ, let us obtain the substance of His resurrection power now by faith. Let us release it's power through love. And let us remember: it is impossible for death to contain Him.