More Than Death
March 25, 2016 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
Today, being Good Friday, we remember and celebrate one of the greatest events of all of history: the death of Jesus Christ. So many truths and realities are wrapped up in this one day event: the justice and holiness of God in punishing sin, the love and mercy of God in forgiving sinners, the perfect obedience and submission of the Son of God, the mysterious dynamics of the Trinity on the cross, the fulfillment of a plan and covenant ratified in eternity past, the glorious atonement by substitution, and more. There is good reason that the cross has become one of the central symbols of the Christian faith.
The richness and depth of the glory of the cross of Christ is astonishing. This truth makes it all the more astonishing when the apostle Paul says “more than that” in referring to the death of Christ. Christ has done more than just die and that is just as astonishing. Hear Paul in Romans 8:34, “Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died – more than that, who was raised – who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” There is a unity to the work of Christ and his death plays one part. Let’s consider the other, just as astonishing, works of Christ.
1. Christ was raised. Of course we’ll celebrate the resurrection on Sunday. But do we realize, though, how the resurrection changes everything? Often we think the resurrection hope is merely for the future: we will be raised with an eternal body just like Jesus. Paul’s writings, though, emphasize that the resurrection of Christ changes our lives now. “Just as Christ was raised from the dead, we too might walk in the newness of life” (Rom. 6:4). Being united to Christ in his death and resurrection makes us different. We are being transformed and conformed to his image.
2. Christ is at the right hand of God. This may seem like a passive, give-the-guy-a-break type of statement. But it is just the opposite. The right hand of God is the place of rule and authority in all the earth. Christ reigns as king. Either we submit to his rule and enjoy the benefits of his kingdom or we are subjected to his judgment. Paul answers his question in Romans 8:34, “Who is to condemn?” The rightful king of all. The good news is that this king has laid down his life to rescue us from our rebellion against him. Now we find great joy and comfort in knowing he is sovereign over all.
3. Christ is interceding for us. Jesus wants more for us than just the forgiveness of sins. His death and resurrection provide all that we need for salvation, but he continues to intercede for us that we would not loss heart, that we would persevere, that the evil one would not be victorious over us. Christ is our advocate to the end. Therefore Paul can celebrate, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?... [nothing] will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:35, 39).
As you remember Christ death today, do not lose sight of the whole work of Christ on your behalf. There are many reasons for great joy today.