Volume. XXVI, No. 41
Sunday, 08 April 2012


The Benefits of the Resurrection of Christ


Introduction

Today is Easter Sunday. It is the Sunday that the Christian Churches around the world have set aside to commemorate and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. There is a very real sense in which we do that each Sunday of the year. And yet, there is one day each year on which we particularly remember the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The resurrection of Christ is the cornerstone of Christian faith and the foundation of our belief. If there were no resurrection of Christ from the dead, there would be no Christianity. As the Apostle Paul put it, “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17). But Christ has been raised from the dead, and the Christian faith has now endured for nearly two thousand years. What is it about the resurrection that has shaped history and transformed so many lives the way it has? What are the benefits of Christ’s resurrection? There are at least three points I would like to consider with you.

Justification (Romans 4:25-5:2)

The first benefit of Christ’s resurrection is justification. The resurrection of Christ means it is enough – enough to atone for the sin of the whole world but sufficient only to the elect; enough to reconcile the people of God to Him, enough to present us holy in God’s presence. In a nutshell, Christ won; sin, death, and the devil lost – that’s the good news of the empty tomb! The resurrection also means Christ proved Himself righteous to the Father, so that through faith His people now can share in His righteousness imputed to us. That is why the Apostle Paul wrote that Christ "was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” (Romans 4:25) As we celebrate Good Friday, one thing we must remember is that the cross and the empty tomb cannot be separated. The two events are dependent upon each other. Together they demonstrate that Christ’s payment for sin has been accepted by God and His victory is ours. Christ, through his own resurrection from the dead, came to assure men that there is life after death and that all men who believe on His name are to receive a resurrected body! Assurance of resurrection is directly related to the resurrection of Christ from the dead. There are, however, three benefits to justification according to the Apostle Paul:

Peace with God (Romans 5:1)

The first benefit of justification is seen in the opening verse of the fifth chapter of the book of Romans where Paul mentions peace with God. Since we have been justified by faith, the first result, the Apostle says, is we have peace with God. If we have really believed on Christ, we will have peace with God. If we are justified we are a member of His family, “for as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” (John 1:12) There is no longer any enmity between us and God. We are at peace with Him. We are no longer held in dreadful fear of God: fear for judgment and condemnation. We don\'t have to worry about dying and facing God. The prospect of death does not hold a terrifying fear over us because we know we have peace with Christ Jesus, our Lord. Because we are justified, we have lost our terrifying awe of God. We now have an intimate love relationship with Him, yet fearing Him reverentially as our Lord and our Father. Perfect love casts out all fear. It is now a loving relationship with God because we have been reconciled to Him.

Access (Romans 5:2)

The Apostle Paul wrote, “By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Since Christ alone is the way of access unto the Father, (John 10:9; 14:6) man can only be introduced into a continuing state of grace through Christ Jesus – there is no other way! The word translated “access” appears only here in Romans 5:2 and two other passages (Ephesians 2:18 and 3:12) all of which teach the same truth. This Greek word was sometimes used of a landingstage, so that here grace is seen as a “safe harbor” into which the ship of man’s soul is drawn and safely moored. Our Lord is the only Mediator needed or accepted, (1 Timothy 2:5). It is only by the grace of God that man is brought to savingly believe, (Romans 4:16) but having been brought to a state of faith, that very faith becomes the means of further access into grace as John wrote, “…of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.” (John 1:16) The saints\' hopes are certainties because they are all based upon Christ’s promises which cannot be thwarted. What a promise and privilege we have in Christ Jesus!

Adoption (Romans 8:14)

Thirdly and finally, justification affords us adoption, sweet acceptance by God. The Apostle Paul wrote, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Romans 8:14; cf. 8:19, Galatians 4:6). Adoption is the doctrine which makes all of justification. We are made "sons of God" by grace through faith. There are two words in the Greek for the word "son". The first, teknon denotes one born into a family by natural birth. The second word, huios describes one who has legally been declared a son. In the Jewish tradition, at age thirteen a boy becomes barmitzvah and enters manhood. In this celebration the Jewish boy passes from being merely teknon to being huios. He now assumes all the responsibilities and enjoys all the rights and privileges of being a full fledged son of the covenant. We, by being justified and adopted, are not only generic children of God, but are regarded as full sons of God. Because of this we call Him "Abba Father" (Galatians 4:6) and have the responsibility to obey Him, and the privilege to love Him as “our” Father!

Sanctification (Philippians 1:6)

The second benefit of Christ’s resurrection is sanctification. Louis Berkhof defines sanctification as "that gracious and continuous operation of the Holy Spirit by which He purifies the sinner, renews his whole nature in the image of God, and enables him to perform good works." God is the primary mover in our sanctification. Paul wrote to the Phillipians that "He who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1:6).

Ever since God made us alive in Christ, the Holy Spirit has been busy sanctifying us. That sanctifying work is a resurrection benefit. By His resurrection power, the Spirit of God “wrings” the neck of the old man of sin within us. Every day, the Spirit moves us to fight sin and our old man of sin: we must fight it, (2 Timothy 4:7) put it to death, (Colossians 3:5) sometimes flee from it, (2 Timothy 2:22) and ignore its beckoning and lures (Ephesians 6:11) by the power of Christ’s Spirit. That’s part of our sanctification or the work of the Holy Spirit within us applying Christ’s resurrection power to our daily living!

Yet, bear in mind that sanctification is the continuation of the work of the Holy Spirit after regeneration. It is not merely the "turning over of a new leaf", our making ourselves better, but God being actively involved in our spiritual growth and walk with Him. Change is temporary but transformation is forever. God strengthens His people and uses various means to excite our faith. The Word of God is the primary means of grace which we must utilise to win the daily fight. We will not, we cannot, grow in grace if we refuse to study God’s precious, inspired, infallible, inerrant and all sufficient Word of God! It is unfortunate that more and more people today are susceptible to being "tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine." (Ephesians 4:14)Satanic cults, religious cults (ie. that pretend to be Christian churches) and false gods are widely accepted and tolerated, and welcomed, all because of a rejection and refusal to study, believe and apply the Word of God. Nowadays, adult Christians do not know God’s Word as much as children of faith did back in the 19th and early 20th centuries! The rise of liberalism, modernism, rationalism and easy-believism in today’s churches is directly related to this. Our Lord said worship must be done "in spirit and truth" (John 4:23). This "truth" includes doctrinal truth, which is impossible without diligent Bible study. The Bible connects spiritual life with truth. The church of Christ cannot meaningfully unite together if God’s truth is ignored and undermined. The Bible is also regarded as a quickening power, as it promotes obedience, prevents and purges sin, and produces a hatred for sin and a love for truth. Revival would be impossible to occur if God’s people have grown cold toward diligently studying and searching His Word as in the days of king Josiah. (2 Kings 22:10,11) D. L. Moody, on the inside cover of his Bible, wrote "This book will keep me from sin, or sin will keep me from this book." Our sanctification is inseparably linked to our study of the Bible.

Therefore, hearing the Word preached on Sundays also plays a large part in our growth as Christians, as does fellowship with other members of faith. None of these activities should be neglected. And while these all are very crucial to our growth in the Lord, they should not be regarded as ends in themselves. God is sovereign. He is the King who is in control of everything, but we are responsible for our actions, and so must determine in our hearts to become holy. As the Scripture says, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:23) We must determine to die to sin and not lead a lifestyle of sinfulness. We should strive to live a new life in the Lord and seek to please Him by obeying His Word. This is our chief duty as well as our desire. God has saved us to glorify Him or to be a living memorial to Him, to honour Him so that His glorious attributes and character may be reflected through how we live our lives here on earth. We must, in our hearts and minds, determine to do these things, while seeing that it is God who sovereignly enables us and helps us to “be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.” (Colossians 1:9b-10)

Glorification (Romans 8:29-30)

The third benefit of Christ’s resurrection is glorification. The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:29-30, 29 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” The glorification of the saints, Paul mentioned at the end of verse 30, is the end of that “Golden Chain of Salvation” that begins with God’s foreknowing and predestination.

Let it be noted first of all that "foreknow" is the same Greek word rendered "foreordained" in 1 Peter 1:20, and this is its meaning here. And the “foreknowledge" is not of the actions of certain ones (ie. people who are susceptible to receive Christ), but rather of their persons, so that by no stretch of the imagination can this be in reference to foreseen faith as God looks through the corridor of time. Faith is not a "whom," but a “which.” (eg. Jude 3) And again it must be noted that there is no room for loss or accumulation between the links of this “Golden Chain of Salvation.” Repeatedly the formula is "whom ...them," "whom ...them," "whom ...them” as you can see in verses 29 to 30 of Romans 8. So, Paul could not have been referring to people’s faith when he said, “For whom he did foreknow,” but people (ie. the elect) whom God foreknew and predestinated to be saved.

Glorification results from justification as Romans 4:25-5:2 and 8:30 indicate so it is guaranteed by the grace of God, which is the power behind all of God’s dealings with His elect. It also results from God’s eternal election and predestination, which are but two links further back in this chain of grace. Thus, if a man would be sure of his glorification, he must make sure of his calling and election, which alone guarantees his abundant entrance into the Lord’s everlasting kingdom of glory.

Conclusion

Dear friends, on this Easter Sunday, what will you do with Christ, the Son of God? Will you repent of sin against God, and joyfully trust His Son to be your sovereign Lord and Saviour? Or will you try to make it on your own? Millions daily trust in their own ability, and so, put themselves under the curse of God because of their inability to perfectly measure up to His requirements (Galatians. 3:10). The attempt is an act of self-worship, which is idolatry, and so, brings down God’s curse (Jeremiah 17:5). What will your eternal state be, dear friends? Will it be eternal glory with Christ or eternal shame with Satan and all the other rebels? It all depends upon whether you are associated with Christ through faith in His redeeming work! Will you trust the finished work of Our Lord done on the cross at Calvary? Will you turn to the Lord and trust Him as your Lord and Saviour on this Easter Lord’s Day? Call upon His name and be ye saved before it is too late!

                                                                                                                                                                     Pastor Weng


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

Announcements

*Kitchen Roster Next Lord’s Day: Team Leader: Bro Cong Pham.

*Session wishes all worshippers & visitors a Blessed Resurrection.

*There is no Fellowship or Lunch after Worship Service at The Stone Mansion. 

*Warm Welcome to our Camp Speaker, Rev Chee Boon Lim, & Children’s Speaker, Mrs Onn Nah Lim.

*Hope Bookstore - Closed today.

*Basic Bible Knowledge (BBK) Class starts next Sunday. Anyone interested in the Christian faith, baptism, or reaffirmation of faith, please register with Ps Weng.

*“History and Theology of Calvinism” Class by Ps Weng starts next Sunday. Anyone interested, please let Ps Weng know.

 

Looking Ahead

*Sunday School Picnic, 5 May

*26th Anniversary Thanksgiving Service, 27 May.

 

Praise & Thanksgivings

1. Journey mercies: Rev Chee Boon & Mrs Onn Nah Lim; Dn Tony & Sis Sally Law; Bro Chilton & Sis Emily Chong & family; Bros Raymond Ang, Kuan Pang Loh, Joseph Selvanayagam, John Wong, Lucas Yiew (Adl) & Raphael Ng (Adl/Goolwa); Sisters Lee Lan Chong, Rosalie Gan, Gillian Ong, Elise Shin, Mary Ting (Adl) & Tina Kour & family (China); Campers (Wellington); & others who have arrived at their destinations.

2. Church Activities - over the past week.

3. Job - Bro Jonathan Liao (in Canberra).

4. God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.

5. Visitors & new worshippers.

 

Prayer Items

1. Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev George van Buuren; Rev & Mrs James White; Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser; Bro Len & Sis Margaret Pearson; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Auntie Oei; Bro Elton Law; Sisters Lynette Booth, Mabella Booth, Margaret Hooper, Lai Kheng Chiong (KL), Myung Ki, Irena Kurek-Braden (NSW), Choon Fong Lee (KL), Lehia Paauwe (Per), & Susan Varadi; Mr Swee Liang Ng (Bro Raphael’s father); Mr Mang Soo Ong (Sis Gillian Ong’s father); Mr Wong (Dn Wai Kin Wong’s father); Mrs Maggie D’Mello (Mumbai) & Mrs. Chuilin Yap (Malacca); & others in affliction.

2. Sis Nary Li’s pregnancy - good health.

3. Cambodia Missions - Rev Moses Hahn & Ministry; Pr Zhang & Ministry (Sihanoukville).

4. Ministry in New Life BPC (London): Ps & Sis Ki. Ps Ki’s Ministry in S’pore.

5. Batam Missions - Sis Ang Liang Phoa & Ministry.

6. God’s Comfort - who are grieving.

7. iSketch&Tell Studio, YouTube Ministry - Pr HS Lim (Melb).

8. IBPFM (USA) - Rev Keith Coleman, Board & missionaries in India, South America & USA.

9. Ps & Sis Weng - Ministry in Hope BPC.

10. Hopefuls in S’pore; In Kuching: Teo family.

11. House of Hope, Cebu, The Philippines - Ministry to drug addicts.

12. Journey mercies: Ps Okman & Sis Myung Ki (Lond); Rev Chee Boon & Mrs Onn Nah Lim (S’pore); Bro John & Sis Josephine Wong & Stephen (Melb); Bros Raymond Ang (Pinnaroo) & Raphael Ng (Goolwa); Sisters Arum Han (Whyalla) & Rosalie Gan (Melb); Campers (Adl); & others who are travelling.

13. Logos International School (Phnom Penh) - Bro Peter Koo.

14. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin & Korean.

15. Health in final stage of pregnancy & smooth labour: Sis Bernadette Ng.

16. Uni Placements: Bro Samuel Ki (Broken Hill) & Sis Arum Han (Whyalla).

17. Full time Job - Sisters Michelle Lee & Corinne Teng.

18. Easter Family Bible Camp - Speaker: Rev Chee Boon Lim; Children’s programme: Mrs Onn Nah Lim; Camp committee & campers; God’s blessing.

19.  Australia - people to repent & to come to Christ.

 

 

 

 

© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063