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Implications of the Resurrection Part 1

July 16, 2012

This past weekend I led a Sunday School class on the resurrection of Jesus and our hope of resurrection at his second coming. I thought it would be beneficial to look more closely at some of the implications of the resurrection as I ease my way back into blogging after VBS and taking some vacation time. So, join me over the next few weeks as we look at why and how the resurrection shapes our lives.

It is always good to look at Paul’s writing when speaking on the resurrection. For Paul, the resurrection was of first importance (1 Cor. 15:3). You lose the resurrection, you loose everything. According to Paul, if we live in light of anything but the resurrection, then we are to be pitied (1 Cor 15:19).

For all of us, we are historically removed from events. Even events that occurred not so long ago (i.e. 9/11) do not have the same meaning to us as when we first experienced or saw them. This is a completely natural process, but one worth reflecting upon. It is not as if the facts of 9/11 have changed, but the way that it shapes our lives (for most of us) is nowhere near as drastic as on 9/12.

The same is true for the resurrection. The facts have not changed, but as the historical distance grows we can feel disconnected from the event and the implications therein. This is why reading Paul can be so beneficial. He saw Jesus resurrected (1 Cor. 15:8). The implications for his life were in Technicolor. His life can and should serve as a re-orientation of ours. If we don’t go through this re-orientation, the historical drift will happen and the meaning of the resurrection for our lives will become increasingly blurry.

With that said, the first implication of the resurrection that I see has to do with Jesus as our firstfruits (1 Cor. 15:20). This is a confusing statement for many of us who are unfamiliar with agricultural language. The firstfruits of a crop literally are the first pieces of fruit to come of the vine. If these first pieces are good, the whole crop is likely to be good. If they are not…well…then better luck next year.

So, what to do with the statement of Jesus as our firstfruits? At least three things come to mind:

  • If Jesus is our firstfruits, then the outlook is exponentially wonderful. He is the sweetest, most fantastic thing I could ever imagine. Therefore, what is to come after him will be glorious.
  • If the above statement is true, which Paul affirms elsewhere in Romans 8:18, then the inheritance talked about in Colossians 1:12 and Ephesians 1:18 must be so glorious they are worth banking everything on…even life itself.
  • In addition, if the first statement is true then the outlook for those outside of Christ is equally as bad as the outlook for those inside of Christ is good. Romans 1:19 says that what is true about God has been made plain to everyone so that nobody can have an excuse on the last day. Both the living and the dead will be raised on that day and be judged according the book of life. If you are outside of Christ, do not be lured into thinking that you will automatically experience the glories of heaven. Nothing could be further from the truth. Christ as our firstfruits demands obedience because of the hope we have in him.

 

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