Transformed by the Resurrection: Sanctification

Transformed by the Resurrection: Sanctification April 19, 2024

Helping hand to climb your personal mountain
Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay

Jesus requires an obedience that is not merely external but comes from a transformed heart. He is at work within us causing us to obey him.

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.  Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

COLOSSIANS 3:1–10

I remember trying to explain grace to a room full of children at Sunday School. Without warning, I took a large chocolate bar and gave it to the child who had been misbehaving the most all morning. The look of surprise and pleasure on the child’s face told me he understood that this was far from what he deserved. A chorus of howls from the other children of “That’s totally not fair!” told me they had grasped it too. “Exactly,” I said. “That’s grace!” In response to this the boy immediately began to behave well and continued to do so for the rest of the morning.

When we appreciate the grace that we have received and understand the inward change that has happened to us, it will affect every aspect of our lives. Christians will find their drinking habits, their sex life, their relationships, and their attitudes toward work and authority transformed. In short, every aspect of their behavior will begin to change. We are not passive in this process but work to become what we already are. We have been changed by an encounter with Jesus who is not the long-dead subject of a historical biography but is very much alive today. There are several different motivations for us to cooperate with God in our fight against sin. We will briefly consider several of them before homing in on one that is less frequently spoken about.

FREEDOM TO SERVE

The most common way humans try to be good is to find a set of rules and try to obey them.  This seems like a sensible idea at first as right living can seem like a list of things we should not do.  Even the Old Testament can encourage this viewpoint as it contains many laws, including of course the ten commandments the vast majority of which are expressed as actions that are prohibited.

As Christians we often aim to create a hedge of extra rules around those that are contained in the Bible. So, for example, many Christians in the past felt like they should not watch movies because that would protect them against the temptation to sin contained in them.  Some would go even further and say they should not even go anywhere near a cinema or own a TV as a further way of hiding temptation from them.

There are two problems with this approach. The first is that the legalism that results means that we are indistinguishable from people from other religions. Pride in our holiness can result if we feel we are doing well. It is all too tempting to look down our noses at those we feel area less obedient to the rules we have set. This can hamper evangelism as the impression is given that we think we are better than others and hate those who have different lifestyles to our own.

The second problem is that the drive to appear good to others can lead to an external obedience but a secret disobedience. Our hearts might not truly be in our attempts to be good. And all too often those who are most strident in their condemnation of certain sins have been found to be secretly committing those very sins. The fear of being rejected by their peers has led many, including some prominent Christian leaders, to hide their struggle against sin until they are found out in huge scandalous sins. Perhaps if Christians were a bit more tolerant and understanding of the fact that none of us are perfect, and a bit more willing to share our weakness and temptations with each other we would see fewer of the scandals that have sadly become very regular in the fifteen years since I finished writing the first edition of this book.

You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”?  Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them.   These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires. (Colossians 2:20-23, NLT)

The NIV translates the last phrase to say that rules “lack any value in restraining” our sin. We need something more powerful than mere external rules.

Jesus himself tells us “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15). But he asks from us an obedience that is not merely external but comes from a transformed heart. He is at work within us causing us to obey him. Time after time he commands us to do things that are humanly impossible and require us to have a new power at work within us.

Jesus doesn’t put an impossible burden on us of external laws to crush us. On the contrary he says “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

It is our foundational relationship with the risen Jesus that will lead to us offering heartfelt obedience to him and from a change that comes first to our innermost being we will then find that our external behaviour changes too.  Jesus tells us that the secret to a changed life is in our relationship with him. Jesus tells us to be born again (John 3:7), repent and believe, listen to his voice (Matthew 7:24), abide in him (John 15:4–5), love him (John 8:42), worship him (Matthew 14:33), trust him (Mark 5:36), love him (John 8:42), and receive the help we need from the Spirit he has sent to us (John 7:37-39). It is only as he enables us to do all these impossible things that he asks of us that we will be able to follow him (John 8:12)

This new way of living by a relationship with the risen Christ is miles apart from following laws externally placed on us. We are no longer bound by rules and regulations, which lead to death (see Romans 8:2). Laws teach us that we cannot perfectly obey them in our own strength no matter how hard we try. We are free from the law but are, however, bound to the resurrected Christ. We have promised to follow him.

Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. (Romans 7:4)

We therefore follow Jesus by becoming like him. We learn to love him and love others like he does, and we become humble and compassionate like he is.

LIVE APPROPRIATELY

Knowing that God has declared us righteous, we should not live as we used to:

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called. (Ephesians 4:1)

We have already died to sin; so we should consider ourselves free from its grasp and walk away from it (Romans 6:1–11). There are sometimes simple but radical things we can do to set ourselves free. Obviously being free from sin is more than just walking away but this is a crucial aspect.

WORK OUT WHAT GOD WORKS IN

Those whom the Lord declares to be righteous are righteous indeed. He will also ensure that their behavior becomes righteous. While conversion is a work entirely of God’s doing, we cooperate in eradicating sin in our lives.

Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12–13)

There is a world of difference between fighting to live a holy life by the power of the Holy Spirit and a legalistic, fear-filled attempt to please God. God is already pleased with the Christian. We are not working to become worthy to be called his children; we are already considered worthy. As Tim Keller explains, “Religion operates on the principle: I obey, therefore I am accepted. The gospel operates on the principle: I am accepted through Christ, therefore I obey.”[1]

CONSIDER CHRIST’S EXAMPLE

Paul urges us in Philippians 2 to carefully consider the work of Jesus on the cross. This will fill us with a sense of the seriousness and weight of our own guilt. It causes us to be humble and to demonstrate our gratitude to Christ by following his example. Our worship consists of offering our bodies to God (Romans 12:1–2).

CONSIDER THE EFFECTS OF SIN

Joseph reminded Potiphar’s wife that the sex she wanted them to recklessly enjoy would affect her husband who had been kind to him. This led him to literally run from temptation (see Genesis 39). Many sins require us to be in the wrong place at the wrong time to commit them and can sometimes be avoided by simply removing ourselves from the situation.

STUDY THE SCRIPTURES

God’s Word teaches us to be wise and avoid temptation (2 Timothy 3:16–17). We are also told that it is by the power of the Spirit at work in us, linked to the resurrection of Jesus, that we defeat sin.

SET OUR MINDS ON SPIRITUAL THINGS

“Those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit” (Romans 8:5).

As we saw in the verses that opened this chapter, we are urged to be heavenly minded. This is so we can be of earthly use. We focus on the worth of our risen Savior, his many wonderful attributes, and our future resurrection. By gazing on the resurrected Jesus we will be transformed and will find that Jesus himself is at work in us, changing our appetites and desires. Being born again is a radical transformation, as Paul tells us:

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6)

In the presence of light, darkness disappears. What is the light? It is the revelation of the nature of God to us through his Son, Jesus. Looking into the depths of this revelation changes us:

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. (2 Corinthians 3:18)

Jesus is at work changing every believer to be more like himself. Not every Christian is changed to the same degree. Many Christians lose the wonder of Jesus and forget to gaze on him. Thus often the new Christians are the ones who seem most enthusiastic in their love for God. We almost don’t want to spoil them by telling them of the cynicism and settling down that we assume is associated with “maturity.”

Maybe you know some Christians who have refused to walk this path of early excitement and change followed by a long, slow plateau or even spiritual decline. The longer they have lived, the more they feel they must thank Jesus for, and their passion only increases. Such older Christians seem to glow with the presence of Jesus. It is not too late. The resurrected Jesus himself is inviting us, calling us, imploring us. He wants us to return to our first love, and if we do, we will find that our love for the things of this world will dim once more, and we will be changed to another degree of glory. May God help more of us to share in the glory that only a lifetime of loving our Savior can produce.

The more we gaze upon the risen, glorified King Jesus, the more we will become like him. The more we see Jesus for who he is, the more we will be made into his image. Our current knowledge is at best partial. “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12). Our current partial knowledge of God will be swallowed up and replaced with a full knowledge of him. Ultimately there will be a day when we will see Jesus face-to-face, and in an instant our transformation will be complete.

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2)

In the meantime, even our imperfect knowledge of Christ leads to change. John Piper has written:

One of the most important principles that guides the way I preach and what I preach . . . is this: true gospel change of a person’s character comes from steady gazing at the glory of Jesus. . . . We become like what we treasure enough to spend time focusing on. Some say, “Seeing is believing.” This text says, “Seeing is becoming.” You become like what you behold.

The implication of this for preaching is that, if I aim for us as a church to be transformed from one degree of glory to another—to become more and more like Jesus—then I should hold up Jesus again and again for you to gaze at. . . . The primary way of gazing on Christ today is through his Word. That is the clear implication of these words in [Revelation 1:11]: “Write in a book what you see and send it to the . . . churches.” Why else write in a book what he saw except to transmit to the readers some of that same experience?[2]

GETTING A RIGHT IMAGE OF JESUS

Our biggest problem is that we do not see Jesus as he is. If we could desire him, treasure him, delight in him, be satisfied in him, cherish him, savor him, value him, revere him, esteem and admire him as much as he deserves, we would want to follow him as our Lord in every area of our life, and sin would instantly lose its appeal. One of the most important ways for us to deal with sin in our lives is to get a clear picture of Jesus in our minds and hearts. Jesus shares every attribute with God and is therefore not to be messed around with, argued with, or treated with contempt. It is as we contemplate Jesus and his resurrection that we will be changed.

Surely what we have been discussing is related to what Jesus was referring to when he urged us to abide in him (John 15).

Don’t underestimate the potential that simply meditating on the fact that Jesus rose from the dead has to empower and transform us. I am not only speaking of the emotional outpouring that often accompanies such a revelation. I am talking about a deep impact on our soul that weans us from our sinful desires and thrills us with our Lord in all his glory.

If we only contemplate Jesus experiencing terrible suffering on the cross, there is a danger that we might even feel sorry for him. Jesus does not need our pity. He wants our worship, adoration, and celebration as the rightfully installed King of the universe! Contemplating the resurrection and glorification of Jesus helps us recognize him for who he really is. Whenever we seek his face, we see glimpses of his glory, and our transformation into his likeness continues. We are not talking about merely constructing a mental image of what Jesus looked like as a man. The Bible does not place much significance on how Jesus looked on earth. Isaiah prophetically describes Jesus, the incarnate man: “He had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2).

The one who eternally was beautiful beyond description laid that aside. Isaiah also describes what the crucified Jesus looked like. It is not a pleasant depiction: “His appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind” (Isaiah 52:14).

While we are commanded to remember the sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross, we are also called to gaze upon his glory, seek his face, and meditate on him. While on earth, the fullness of his glory was hidden. Now Jesus is reigning in majesty, and his full glory and beauty are once again on display. This is the accurate picture of Jesus, the Jesus of eternity, who briefly visited us and made the ultimate sacrifice for us and who is now seated at the right hand of God. He prayed before he was arrested, “And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed” (John 17:5).

It is Jesus who reveals God to us. There are several times recorded in the Old Testament when God was revealed to people. However, John tells us, “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known” (John 1:18). This is consistent with what God said to Moses: “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live” (Exodus 33:20). Who then did the Old Testament saints see?

When discussing the encounter with God in Isaiah 6, John tells us, “Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him” (John 12:41). From the context of John’s Gospel it is clear that the word “he” here is referring to Jesus himself. We can conclude that every appearance of God in the Old Testament was actually an appearance of Jesus. As Jesus himself said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me” (John 12:44–45).

When Abraham received promises from God and interceded with him, it was Jesus he saw. When Jacob saw God (Genesis 32:24–30), it was Jesus who wrestled with him. When Moses conversed with God face-to-face, it was Jesus who treated him as a friend, and it was Jesus who was like a devouring fire (Exodus 33:11; 24:17). When Ezekiel saw the cloud of glory, it was Christ himself who shone so brightly (Ezekiel 10:4–5).

JOHN’S REVELATION OF THE GLORIFIED JESUS

John’s final book is described as “the revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants the things that must soon take place” (Revelation 1:1). Jesus, with his glory now unveiled, confronted the disciple whom he loved, who had rested his head on his chest. John recorded for us the following description of what he saw:

Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.” (Revelation 1:12–18)

This was Jesus, full of all glory, risen from the dead, ascended on high! The description is graphic and compelling, but its poetic nature means that we can’t form a complete picture of what he actually looked like.

Jesus Is Still a Man

Although glorious and 100 percent God, Jesus also remains eternally 100 percent a man and hence dignifies mankind. Not only did God become man, a man is now ruling in heaven as God. Because he took his resurrected body to heaven, the earth was a few pounds lighter when Jesus left. Jesus, the man who is also God, stands before the throne of God forever pleading our case. We ourselves do not enter the Trinity, still less become “gods,” but we will obtain a body like his. He is the firstborn of the new creation. Everything about him is glorious. Jesus is the one mediator between man and God—he is both the Son of Man and the Ancient of Days.

Jesus’ Robe

Jesus is wearing a long robe, which suggests the robe of Jesus seen in Isaiah 6 filling the temple. The robe makes us think of kingship and his presence, which fills heaven and earth. The golden sash he is wearing around his waist is an ancient mark of authority.

The Whiteness of His Hair

Jesus’ hair is described as white as wool. There are many references in the Bible to the color white. At the Transfiguration, Jesus’ “clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them” (Mark 9:3; see also Luke 9:28–35). White symbolizes complete purity. Jesus is entirely holy and without sin. When Jesus saves us and we become Christians, it is as if our clothes become pure white. God sees us as pure and sinless, just like Jesus. Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, the price was paid for our sin, and God now sees us as perfect. By trusting in Jesus and repenting of our sins, God rids us of all traces of guilt.

This is important because many Christians struggle with condemnation and feelings of guilt. Many disqualify themselves from serving because they feel they “are not good enough.” They do not want to bless others because they feel they somehow have no right. They feel trapped in anxiety and depression, never fully understanding that God sees them as guiltless, that Christians “have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14). We have been made pure like Jesus. God sees us as sinless and spotless. “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool” (Isaiah 1:18). Paul exclaimed, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

By considering fully the glorious purity of our Lord Jesus in his radiant state and the Scriptures that tell us that God now sees us like he sees his Son, we will be able to grasp our total cleansing from sin. This will transform our lives, removing our guilt.

His Blazing Eyes

Jesus’ eyes flash like fire. One glance of some people’s eyes can make your knees go to jelly—and I am not referring to a teenage boy when the prettiest girl in the school looks at him! The authoritative look of the judge, the glance of the parent, the disapproving glare of an employer can all make us tremble. Jesus’ eye is watching you. He can see everything. He can look through walls. His vision penetrates the heart: “For the Lordsees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

Those eyes say, “I love you, but do not mess with me.” They are confident, authoritative, but also gentle and full of love. Too often we relate to Jesus in our mind’s eye as our best friend, a heavenly boyfriend, or a Father Christmas in the sky. We need to see his majesty, glory, authority, power, and wrath against sin. Just one glance from Jesus would be enough to cause our weak, timid, overly gentle, soft caricatures of Jesus to disappear in an instant.

Jesus’ Feet

Even Jesus’ feet exude strength and authority. For such an important part of our bodies, our feet can be weak, and pretty ugly at times. They are also incredibly vulnerable. If just one small stone gets in your shoe, you may feel like you can’t walk another step. Jesus’ feet are made instead of solid bronze. He cannot be crippled or harmed. Heaven is Jesus’ throne, and the earth is his footstool (Isaiah 66:1). He has complete authority over the whole earth and everything in it (Acts 17:24).

Jesus’ Voice

The thing that would both terrify you and thrill you most about Jesus would be his voice. Oh what a voice! It is like thunder, louder than waves crashing on a beach, dwarfing the roar of Niagara Falls, and shaking the world. “Let there be light!” he said, and there was. When he says, “A new heaven and a new earth,” the end will come. When he says “No!” to Satan, the Devil is unable to resist him. What Jesus says is always done: “So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).

No one can succeed in challenging him. We need to completely submit to his will. When he speaks something into being in your life, it will happen. When he says, “This one is forgiven,” you are forgiven.

Not only do Jesus’ words make things happen, they are also able to discern our motives and attitudes. When we read the Bible, we can be convicted to the very core of our being by the word of God. Our deepest motives and attitudes are uncovered by the words of Jesus:

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

God’s Word is referred to in Ephesians 6:17 as “the sword of the Spirit,” our only offensive weapon. Jesus himself is fighting for us. We are never alone in our struggles: “For the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory” (Deuteronomy 20:4).

This should encourage us when we undergo trials and persecution. Jesus is the victor. He always wins. As the psalmist says, “Who is this King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle!” (Psalm 24:8).

Charles Wesley understood this, writing in his great hymn “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing”:

He speaks, and, listening to His voice,

New life the dead receive,

The mournful, broken hearts rejoice,

The humble poor believe.

Hear him, ye deaf; His praise, ye dumb,

Your loosened tongues employ;

Ye blind, behold your Savior come,

And leap, ye lame, for joy.

Jesus’ Face

In biblical Hebrew, a word frequently translated in English as God’s presence literally means to “see one’s face.”[3] Jesus’ face is as bright as the sun in full strength. “It was humanly impossible to look Jesus in the face.”[4] When Moses met with Jesus, he returned with a shining face so that he had to wear a veil so others could look at him (Exodus 34:35). Jesus’ face shining on us represents blessing and favor.

The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. (Numbers 6:25)

Make your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love! (Psalm 31:16)

As we meditate on Jesus’ shining face, our own faces begin to reflect him. We can probably think of Christians who look like this. If we want to be transformed into the image of Jesus, we need to gaze on and meditate on his face, cry out to him to shine his face upon us, and allow his glory to be reflected in our own. Our inward character change even begins to affect our external appearance.

JESUS THE WARRIOR

John shares a second picture with us of Jesus as a powerful figure:

Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. (Revelation 19:11–16)

This describes Jesus as a powerful general riding out to war and striking fear into the hearts of his enemies. It is an image that we can worship just as much as the more gentle image of Jesus seen in many artistic portrayals.

OUR RESPONSE TO THE RISEN JESUS

The only appropriate response to Jesus is like that of John. Immediately this Jew who had been schooled in worshipping only the one God fell on his face as though dead to worship his best friend. This was the Son of God in all his glory. Who could stand before him? This revelation of the glory and majesty of Jesus had shaken him to his core. The only appropriate reaction was reverence, awe, and wonder.

We must never become casual in our relationship with Jesus. He wants us to know him and to love him and at the same time to have a fear of him. What is this fear of God? It is the respect that comes from knowing and understanding that we are men and he is God. We are the created ones, and he is the Creator. It is understanding that God’s ways are best, and our decisions may not always be right. It is believing all of God’s promises of love and faithfulness even when our circumstances are difficult. It is not daring to deny God by disbelieving his Word. As the proverb says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight” (Proverbs 9:10).

We have nothing to give him. We are helpless before him and need his help to even stand. Some foolish people get angry with God and say, “When I get to heaven I will have a few questions for him to answer!”

If Jesus were to walk into your room today, you would not be able to remain in your seat. When we see him we too will fall on our faces before Jesus to worship him. His nuclear-hot holiness burns up every trace of sin. We are right to fear him. When the Bible tells us to fear him, it means simply that—fear him. Sometimes people say they are afraid of God. We might need to tell some of them that they are not frightened enough.

The passage does not end there. Instead we see that amazing word “but” (Revelation 1:17). Few words are more welcome than but in the right place. John is terrified in the presence of the fearsome, risen Christ. He is on his face. He may be thinking, “That’s it, I am undone.” At that very moment the passage tells us, “But he laid his right hand on me.” What is Jesus going to do? Is he going to kill him? Is he angry with him? Is he going to scold him for not being good enough? Does he say, “Be afraid, be very afraid”? No; rather he says, “Fear not.” The Bible is full of commands to fear God. But when God turns up on the scene, he always seems to say, “Do not be afraid!” The reason for this is that God wants us to fear him but not to be terrified of him. Jesus tells John he has no need to fear. Why? Because of what Jesus has just done for him—he has reached out and touched him. Why? Because he is the one who died for John. He is the one who was raised for John. He is the one who holds the keys of death and hell in his hands. If he says you are one of his, then the Devil can’t touch you. If he says, “This one belongs to me,” then the door of hell is locked to you and heaven is open wide.

This is the Jesus we come to today—the living one, the fearsome one, and yet the loving one, who delights in reaching his hand out and touching you. When he touches you, amazing things happen. Do you need Jesus to touch you? Do you need your guilt to be removed? He died so you could be forgiven. Do you feel dirty because of your sin or because of the sin someone committed against you? His blood cleanses you from all shame. Do you need healing? He is the healer. Do you need a victory in your personal life? Do you need his help in your relationships or in your work? This Jesus is the triumphant one, and nothing can stop him from acting on your behalf. Even as we wait for the fulfillment of his promises, we can begin to receive some of them right now.

CONCLUSION

Jesus prayed, “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24). The psalmist also understood the importance of savoring the Lord’s glory:

One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. (Psalm 27:4)

When David wrote the Psalms, he was relishing an experience of God in this life and not only looking forward to the future: “I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory” (Psalm 63:2). We may not be able to experience this in its entirety today, but we can see Christ, especially in the pages of the Bible. Paul describes how this transformation occurs:

We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. . . . So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. (Romans 6:4–13)

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Chapter One:

Chapter Two:

Chapter Three:

Resurrection: Fact or Fiction? Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?

Chapter Four:

Chapter Five:

Chapter Six:

Chapter Seven:

Resurrection in the Gospels

Chapter Eight:

What Did the Resurrection Do for Us? The Sermons of Acts

Chapter Nine: 

Raised For Our Justification: What does Romans 4:25 mean?

Chapter Ten:

Resurrected with Jesus

 

REFERENCES

 

[1]Tim Keller, Redeemer Vision Paper 1; http://www.redeemer2.com/visioncampaign/papers/Vision_Paper_1-The_Gospel-The_Key_to_Change.pdf.

 

[2]John Piper, “A Year-End Look at Jesus Christ”; http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/ScriptureIndex/17/822_A_YearEnd_Look_at_Jesus_Christ/.

 

[3] Francis Brown, Samuel Rolles Driver, and Charles Augustus Briggs, Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon, electronic edition (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, 2000), 816.

 

[4] Simon J. Kistemaker and William Hendriksen, Exposition of the Book of Revelation, New Testament Commentary, Vol. 20 (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953–2001), 98.

 

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