[The following article is a “guest post” (i.e., not written by me, but heartily endorsed by me). I have made only slight changes to the original article].
God says in Mark 16:16 that those who do not believe the gospel are unregenerate. He says in 1 Corinthians 15:4 that the gospel includes the truth
“that He was raised the third day, according to the Scriptures.”
What does it mean that Jesus Christ was “raised the third day, according to the Scriptures”? This article will go into the life-and-death truth of The Resurrection.
Many different stripes of professing Christians believe in a “resurrection” of a “christ.” Ask any false religionist who comes in the name of Christianity, from a Roman Catholic to a Mormon to a Russellite to a Campbellite to an Arminian, if he believes in “the resurrection of Christ,” and you will hear an answer in the affirmative. Does this mean that any of these false religionists believe the one true Resurrection of the one true gospel? Of course not.
One’s profession of belief in “the resurrection of Christ” means nothing unless we find out what one MEANS by “the resurrection of Christ.”
Ask a Russellite (Jehovah’s Witness) what he means by “the resurrection of Christ,” and you will find that he says that his “jesus christ” was a mere man who offered a “corresponding ransom” and did not undergo a bodily resurrection but rose as a “spirit creature.” Ask an Arminian what he means by “the resurrection of Christ,” and you will find that his “jesus christ” rose from the dead even after not accomplishing full atonement and not ensuring new life and final glory for everyone for whom he died. You will find that his “god” raised his “jesus” from the dead even when his law and justice was not satisfied in full and when death was not completely conquered.
In this article, we will describe THE Resurrection which is the TRUE Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Resurrection that is found in the one true gospel of Jesus Christ. We will contrast it with some who say they believe in the resurrection but who do not believe in the MEANING of the resurrection.
Is it enough to merely profess belief of the historical FACT that Jesus Christ was killed and then came back from the dead? What does a belief that Jesus Christ was “raised the third day, according to the Scriptures” really MEAN?
In order to establish the meaning of The Resurrection, the doctrine of The Atonement must be established. When Paul declared the gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:3, the first doctrine he declared was “that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures.” If one does not truly believe “that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures,” then one cannot truly believe “that He was raised the third day, according to the Scriptures.” … [The] article entitled “Gospel Atonement” explained the meaning of the doctrine “that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures.”
Jesus Christ, the God-man mediator, as a representative and substitute of His people, in His bloody death on the cross, accomplished full pardon, full redemption, full propitiation, and full reconciliation for everyone whom He represented. The Atonement is the very heart of the gospel. All who believe in a “jesus christ” who died for everyone without exception do not believe in The Atonement.
This leads to the primary significance and meaning of The Resurrection. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is proof that God the Father was totally satisfied with the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. He was totally satisfied because Jesus Christ accomplished exactly what He set out to accomplish, which was the full salvation of everyone whom He came to save. Jesus Christ fully satisfied the demands of God’s law and justice on behalf of everyone for whom He died. Had Jesus Christ not fully accomplished salvation for everyone for whom He died, He would not have conquered death, and He would have remained in the grave. The reason Jesus Christ could not be held by death is that He had totally, absolutely defeated death in fully atoning for the sins of His people.
If there is or will be even one person for whom Christ died who is suffering or will suffer the second death, then death was not defeated, and Jesus Christ was not raised as the victor over death.
To truly believe and preach The Resurrection is to believe and preach the full, accomplished atonement of Jesus Christ with which God the Father was fully satisfied that was effectual to save everyone whom Christ represented. God the Father exalted Jesus Christ at His right hand as the Savior of His people who made full purification of their sins. There would have been no resurrection and no exaltation had there been even one person for whom Christ died who would end up in hell.
“[But] God raised [Him] up, loosing the throes of death, because it was not possible for Him to be held by it” (Acts 2:24).
“This Jesus, God raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Then being exalted to the right hand of God, and receiving the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father, He poured out this which you now see and hear. … Then assuredly, let all [the] house of Israel acknowledge that God made Him both Lord and Christ, this same Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2:32-36).
“The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you seized, hanging [Him] on a tree. This One God [has] exalted [as] a Ruler and Savior to His right [hand], to give to Israel repentance and remission of sins” (Acts 5:30-31).
“But God raised Him from [the] dead; who appeared for many days to those coming up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are witnesses of Him to the people. And we preach the gospel to you, the promise made to the fathers, that this God has fulfilled to us, their children, raising up Jesus, as also it has been written in the second Psalm, You are My Son, today I have begotten You. And that He raised Him from [the] dead, no more being about to return to corruption, so He has said, I will give you the holy things of faithful David. So He also said in another, You will not give Your Holy One to see corruption. For having served [his] own generation by the counsel of God, David truly fell asleep and was added to his fathers and saw corruption. But [He] whom God raised up, [this One] did not see corruption. Then let it be known to you, men, brothers, that through this One remission of sin is announced to you” (Acts 13:30-38).
“… His Son who came of the seed of David according to flesh, who was marked out [the] Son of God in power, according to [the] Spirit of holiness, by [the] resurrection of [the] dead, Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 1:3-4).
“… Him who has raised our Lord Jesus from [the] dead, who was delivered because of our deviations, and was raised because of our justification” (Romans 4:24-25).
“Who [is he] condemning? [It is] Christ who has died, but rather also [is] raised, who also is at [the] right [hand] of God, who also makes intercession on our behalf” (Romans 8:34).
“and He died for all, that the living ones may live no more to themselves, but to the [One] having died for them and having been raised” (2 Corinthians 5:15).
“… according to the working of His mighty strength which He worked in Christ [in] raising Him from [the] dead; yea, [He] seated [Him] al His right hand in the heavenlies, far above all rule, and authority, and power, and lordship, and every name having been named, not only in this age, but also in the coming [age], and He put all [things] under His feet and gave Him [to be] Head over all [things] to the Assembly, which is His body: the fullness of the [One] filling all things in all” (Ephesians 1:19-23).
“… His Son from Heaven, whom He raised from [the] dead, Jesus, the [One] delivering us from the coming wrath” (1 Thessalonians 1:10).
“Remember Jesus Christ, having been raised from [the] dead, of [the] seed of David, according to my gospel” (2 Timothy 2:8).
“who being the shining splendor of [His] glory, and the express image of His essence, and upholding all things by the Word of His power, having made purification of our sins through Himself, [He] sat down on [the] right of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, He has inherited a name more excellent than they” (Hebrews 1:3-4).
Related to this is the doctrine of quickening by the power of the resurrection and the identification of God’s people with Christ in His resurrection. Because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, all for whom Jesus Christ died and rose again will be brought to newness of life through the resurrection power of Jesus Christ.
There is not a single person for whom Jesus Christ died and rose again who will remain dead in his sins. The resurrection of Jesus Christ ensured that all whom He represented will be spiritually raised to a new life in Jesus Christ. Had Jesus Christ not been raised, then no one would be raised to new life, and all would remain totally depraved, dead in sin.
To truly believe and preach The Resurrection is to believe and preach that all for whom Jesus Christ died and was raised will be raised to newness of life by the power of The Resurrection and will thus be set free from sin so they no longer live in sin and no longer serve sin.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, The [one] who hears My Word, and believes the [One] who has sent Me, has everlasting life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. Truly, truly, I say to you that an hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and the ones hearing will live” (John 5:24-25).
“For if [while] being reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Romans 5:10).
“What then shall we say? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Let it not be! We who died to sin, how shall we still live in it? Or are you ignorant that all who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore, we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that as Christ was raised up from [the] dead by the glory of the Father, so also we should walk in newness of life. For if we have been joined together in the likeness of His death, so also shall we be in the resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with [Him], that the body of sin might be nullified, so that we no longer serve sin. For the [one] that died has been justified from sin. But if we died with Christ, we believe that also we shall live with Him, knowing that Christ being raised from [the] dead dies no more; death no longer lords it over Him. For in that He died, He died to sin once for all; but in that He lives, He lives to God. So also you count yourselves to be truly dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Then do not let sin reign in your mortal body, to obey it in its lusts. Neither present your members [as] instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as [one] living from [the] dead, and your members instruments of righteousness to God. For your sin shall not lord it over you, for you are not under Law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under Law, but under grace? Let it not be! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves [as] slaves for obedience, you are slaves to whom you obey, whether of sin to death, or obedience to righteousness? But thanks [be] to God that you were slaves of sin, but you obeyed from [the] heart the form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you were enslaved to righteousness. I speak as a man on account of the weakness of your flesh. For as you presented your members [as] slaves to uncleanness and to lawless act unto lawless act, so now yield your members as slaves to righteousness unto sanctification. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free as to righteousness. Therefore what fruit did you have then [in the things] over which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things [is] death. But now having been set free from sin, and having been enslaved to God, you have your fruit unto sanctification, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin [is] death, but the gift of God [is] everlasting life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:1-23).
“For the love of Christ constrains us, having judged this, that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that the living ones may live no more to themselves, but to the [One] having died for them and having been raised. So as we now know no one according to flesh, but even if we have known Christ according to flesh, yet now we no longer know [Him so]. So that if anyone is in Christ, [he] is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new!” (2 Corinthians 5:14-17).
“And what [is] the surpassing greatness of His power toward us, the ones believing according to the working of His mighty strength which He worked in Christ [in] raising Him from [the] dead; yea, [He] seated [Him] at His right hand in the heavenlies” (Ephesians 1:19-20).
“And you being dead in deviations and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit now working in the sons of disobedience, among whom we also all conducted ourselves in times past in the lusts of our flesh, doing the things willed of the flesh and of the understanding, and were by nature the children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love [with] which He loved us, even we being dead in deviations, [He] made us alive together with Christ (by grace you are being saved), and raised [us] up together and seated [us] together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus, that He might demonstrate in the ages coming on, the exceeding great riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:1-7).
“But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss because of Christ. But, no, rather I also count all things to be loss because of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count [them to be] trash, that I might gain Christ and be found in Him; not having my own righteousness of Law, but through the faith of Christ, [having] the righteousness of God on faith, to know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, having been conformed to His death” (Philippians 3:7-10).
“For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and having been filled, you are in Him, who is the Head of all rule and authority, in whom also you were circumcised with a circumcision not made by hands, in the putting off of the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, being buried with Him in baptism, in whom also you were raised through the faith of the working of God, raising Him from among the dead. And you, being dead in the deviations and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all the deviations, blotting out the handwriting in the ordinances against us, which was contrary to us, even [He] has taken it out of the midst, nailing it to the cross; having stripped the rulers and the authorities, He made a show of them in public, triumphing [over] them in it.” (Colossians 2:9-15).
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ, that true Gospel Resurrection, is the firstfruit, the guarantee, the earnest of the resurrection of God’s people in final glory. All for whom Christ died and rose again will one day rise to be glorified together with Jesus Christ. There is not a single person for whom Christ died and rose again who will not be raised to everlasting life in heaven. Jesus Christ will lose NONE of those whom the Father had given Him, and He will raise them up at the last day. Had Jesus Christ not been raised, then there would be no resurrection of the dead, and all would remain in the grave. To truly believe and preach The Resurrection is to believe and preach that all for whom Jesus Christ died and was raised will be raised to a new, glorified body in heaven that will be free from sin.
“All that the Father gives to Me shall come to Me, and the [one] coming to Me I will in no way cast out. For I have come down out of Heaven, not that I should do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me. And this is the will of the Father sending Me, that of all that He has given Me, I shall not lose [any] of it, but shall raise it up in the last day. And this is the will of the [One] sending Me, that everyone seeing the Son and believing into Him should have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day. … No one is able to come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up in the last day. … The one partaking of My flesh and drinking of My blood has everlasting life, and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:37-54).
“But if the Spirit of the [One] having raised Jesus from [the] dead dwells in you, the [One] having raised the Christ from [the] dead will also make your mortal bodies live through the indwelling of His Spirit in you” (Romans 8:11).
“And God both raised up the Lord, and [He] will raise us up through His power” (1 Corinthians 6:14).
“But if Christ is proclaimed, that He was raised from [the] dead, how do some among you say that there is not a resurrection of the dead? But if there is not a resurrection of the dead, neither has Christ been raised. But if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation [is] worthless, and your faith is also worthless. And also we are found [to be] false witnesses of God, because we witnessed as to God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if the dead ones are not raised. For if [the] dead are not raised, Christ has not been raised. But if Christ has not been raised, your faith [is] foolish; you are still in your sins. And then those that fell asleep in Christ were lost. If we only have hope in Christ in this life, we are of all men most miserable. But now Christ has been raised from [the] dead; He became the firstfruit of those having fallen asleep. For since death [is] through man, also through a Man [is] a resurrection of [the] dead; for as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in [his] own order: Christ, the firstfruit; afterward those of Christ at His coming” (1 Corinthians 15:12-23).
“Knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up through Jesus, and will present [us] with you” (2 Corinthians 4:14).
“and to await His Son from Heaven, whom He raised from [the] dead, Jesus, the [One] delivering us from the coming wrath” (1 Thessalonians 1:10).
“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will also bring with Him all those who have fallen asleep through Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 4:14).
“Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, He according to His great mercy having regenerated us to a living hope through [the] resurrection of Jesus Christ from [the] dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and unfading, having been kept in Heaven for you [the ones] in [the] power of God being guarded through faith to a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:3-5).
Finally, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ proves that He is the Son of God, the very God-man, who is now alive and will come a second time. Had Christ not been raised, it would have shown him to be a mere man, and there would be no return of Christ. To truly believe and preach The Resurrection is to believe and preach that Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man, who will come again to judge the world.
“Because He set a day in which He is going to judge the habitable world in righteousness, by a Man whom He appointed, having given proof to all [by] raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:31).
“who was marked out [the] Son of God in power, according to [the] Spirit of holiness, by [the] resurrection of [the] dead, Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 1:4).
“Paul, an apostle, not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God [the] Father, the [One] raising Him from [the] dead” (Galatians 1:1).
Compare this Resurrection, the True Resurrection found in the gospel, to the resurrections put forth by two false religions that come in the name of Christ.
Consider the resurrection of the “christ” of universal atonement. The “christ” of universal atonement died for everyone without exception. Firstly, what does the resurrection of this “christ” signify? It signifies that their “god” was satisfied with less than full remission of sins; their “god” was satisfied with an “atonement” that did not actually accomplish the salvation of anyone, that did not fully satisfy law and justice, that was actually a failure for all whom this “christ” died who end up in hell. It signifies that death was not fully conquered, since many of those for whom this “christ” died will suffer the second death.
Secondly, the resurrection of this “christ” did not ensure that all whom he represented will be spiritually raised to a new life. The power of this resurrection does not quicken all for whom this “christ” died and rose again. Millions for whom this “christ” died will never be brought from spiritual death to spiritual life. Thirdly, the resurrection of this “christ” did not ensure and guarantee that all whom he represented will be resurrected to everlasting life in heaven. This “christ” is not the firstfruit of all whom he represented. There are some for whom this “christ” died and rose again who will burn in hell for eternity. The resurrection of the “christ” of universal atonement is a sham, a fake, a fraud, a counterfeit.
There is another group of people, this time who claim to believe the doctrines of grace, who also deny The One True Resurrection. These are people who say that a regenerate person remains totally depraved, remains a slave to sin, and is not a new creature. They say that the heart of a regenerate person remains deceitful and desperately wicked. They say that regenerate people continue to live in sin and even continue to confess a false gospel in their flesh. These people deny that the old man was crucified with Christ and that all regenerate people have risen with Christ to newness of life by the power of Christ’s resurrection and are new creatures in Christ. To them, the resurrection does not ensure that God’s people are set free from sin and enslaved to righteousness while they live here on earth. They deny The Resurrection as much as the universal atonement advocates do.
God says that
“if you confess [the] Lord Jesus with your mouth, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from [the] dead, you will be saved. For with [the] heart [one] believes unto righteousness, and with [the] mouth [one] confesses unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).
Those who are saved believe in their heart that God raised the Lord Jesus from the dead. They believe that Jesus is the Son of God, the God-man mediator, who will come again to judge the world in righteousness. They believe that God the Father was totally satisfied with the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, because Jesus Christ fully satisfied the demands of God’s law and justice, fully conquered death, and fully accomplished the salvation of everyone for whom He lived, died, and rose again. They believe that all for whom Jesus Christ died and rose again will be brought to newness of life through the resurrection power of Jesus Christ, ensuring that all whom He represented will be spiritually raised to a new life in Jesus Christ and will be set free from sin so they no longer live in sin, no longer serve sin, and are no longer totally depraved. They believe that all for whom Christ died and rose again will one day rise to be glorified together with Jesus Christ in heaven.
Do you believe in The Resurrection of Jesus Christ?