Christ’s Resurrection Is the Amen of His Promises

Christ’s Resurrection Is the Amen of His Promises April 29, 2024

The physical resurrection of Jesus is the cornerstone of redemption. Without it and what it means—an eternal future for fully restored humans dwelling on a fully restored Earth—there’s no Christianity.

If this event is historically true, it makes all other religions false, because Jesus claimed to be the only way to God. To prove this, He predicted He would rise three days after His death. And He did. John Boys (1571–1625), the Dean of Canterbury, put it beautifully: “The resurrection of Christ is the Amen of all His promises.”

The major Christian creeds not only affirm the past resurrection of Jesus, but the consequent future resurrection of His people. They state, “I believe in the resurrection of the body.” But I have found in many conversations that Christians tend to spiritualize the resurrection of the dead, effectively denying it.

Ironically, there are believers who would die rather than deny the resurrection, yet they don’t understand or believe what the doctrine of the resurrection actually means! Despite the centrality of the resurrection in Scripture and church history, many of them have never been clearly taught its meaning, so they imagine they’ll live forever in a disembodied state made for angels.

But this viewpoint is self-contradictory. A nonphysical resurrection is like a sunless sunrise. There’s no such thing. Resurrection means we will have bodies! If we didn’t have bodies, we wouldn’t be resurrected.

Christ’s resurrection body demonstrated what our own will be like: “See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have” (Luke 24:39).

John S. Whale wrote, “Belief in the resurrection is not an appendage to the Christian faith; it is the Christian faith.” The Apostle Paul considered the resurrection essential to the Christian faith. It’s no coincidence that Paul’s detailed defense of the physical resurrection was written to the church at Corinth. Corinthian believers were immersed in the Greek philosophies of Platonism and dualism, which perceived a dichotomy between the spiritual and physical realms.

Paul said if Christ didn’t rise from the dead, we’re still in our sins—meaning we’re bound for Hell, not Heaven: “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Corinthians 15:17-19).

Our ministry sometimes hears from readers who are surprised by the implications of what the resurrection means, or who say, “I never understood this before!” Not long ago, a commenter on my Facebook page wrote, “Only God knows what form we will take. Just having the faith and belief that we are going to a better place is consoling. Hallelujah if we are given opportunities for reunions!”

Another person responded, “It’s explained scripturally that we will have resurrected physical bodies. We aren’t spirits in [the eternal] Heaven.”

The first commenter said, “Where does it say that? I have been really struggling believing that my spouse won’t know me or my sister or parents, etc. Praying for some remembrance of our earthly life!”

Our EPM staff followed up by sharing several articles, including:

The Spiritual Body: A Real Body

Meet the Resurrected You

Will We Recognize Each Other in Heaven?

Where in Scripture Are We Reassured That We Will Have the Comfort of Making up Lost Time with Loved Ones in Eternity?

If we don’t get the doctrine of the resurrection of the body right, we’ll get nothing else right concerning our eternal future. (And our grief over the deaths of our believing friends and family will be far more difficult if we can’t anticipate embodied reunion with them on the physical New Earth!)

It’s therefore critical that we not merely affirm the resurrection of the dead as a point of doctrine but that we understand the meaning and eternal implications of the resurrection we affirm. This includes the fact that the resurrection has implications for not only humans, but also animals and forests and lakes and rivers—for all God created. As Anthony Hoekema explains, “The kingdom of God…does not mean merely the salvation of certain individuals…it means nothing less than the complete renewal of the entire cosmos.”

“We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:22-23, NIV).

“Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.” (Acts 3:19-21)

Photo: Unsplash

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