He is Risen
We look at what it means to be “saved by his life,” and our Lord Jesus's role in strengthening and encouraging us.
Consider these words of Peter on the Day of Pentecost:
This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.
But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. (Acts 2:22-24 NIV).
Peter states that Jesus of Nazareth was approved or accredited by God and that the miracles, wonders, and signs done by him were from God and performed among them through our Lord Jesus. He also tells us that God raised him to life again after his cruel and horrible death because the grave could not hold him. Jesus was raised to a new life that was now a spirit power, unlimited in space and time.
Yet Hebrews 13:8 tells us that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
If he is now unlimited in space and time, our Lord Jesus can be with each of us today. The empty tomb tells us that “He is risen.” And if he is a risen Lord, he can be to us a saving Lord Jesus, a living Lord Jesus, and an indwelling Lord Jesus.
A Risen Lord Jesus is a Saving Lord Jesus
A risen Lord Jesus implies that he once lived, was dead, placed in a tomb, and after three days was raised to life again. Our salvation would not be possible if he had not been raised to life. Nothing that is an integral part of our being saved would be available to us today.
our Lord Jesus can be with each of us today
There would be no forgiveness of sins, no justification or possibility of being made right with God, and no reconciliation or means of finding peace with God. There would be no redemption from the bondage of sin all mankind is subject to and no adoption of each of us as sons and daughters of our Father in heaven. Jesus would not be “our Lord and Savior” but one more failed Messiah.
But God’s love for His only begotten son and His love for the people He created left no room for a failed Messiah. God expresses His overwhelming love for us in John 3:16 (KJV):
In John, we are told the love he had for His Father motivated Jesus to live a sinless life and then die a cruel, horrible death at the hands of murderous Roman soldiers inspired by scheming Jewish religious leaders. It was that love that kept him doing what his Father commanded. Jesus said, “I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father.” (John 14:31 ESV).
His sacrifice and the empty tomb, which proclaims, “He is risen,” set forth the reality that we can, with our repentance and belief, change our relationship with God, and by signifying our death to sin through baptism, we can begin life anew with our Lord Jesus as healer and restorer.
With joy, we can know that our sins are forgiven and confidently accept that we have been justified or made right with the Father. Our Lord’s sacrifice has brought about a reconciliation and helped us find peace with God. Listen to what Paul says of the freedom from sin that Christ brings.
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. (Rom 6:22 ESV).
It is John who speaks to us of the wonderful experience of becoming part of the family, an experience often celebrated at a baptism with the singing of the song “Welcome to the Family.” John writes of that occasion,
Our Lord Jesus is truly and wonderfully a saving Lord Jesus.
A Risen Lord Jesus is a Living Lord Jesus
A risen Lord Jesus is playing an active role in our lives. In Romans 5:10 we read the following words, “We were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall his life save us.” (ESV). We have discussed the role that the death of his Son played in our salvation. Now we want to look at what it means to be “saved by his life,” and our Lord Jesus’s role in strengthening and encouraging us.
A risen Lord Jesus is playing an active role in our lives.
Consider these words from the first epistle of John: “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.” (1 John 5:11 NKJV). The Greek word translated as life in both instances in this passage is the same, zoe, and it can apply to both our lives now and in the future.
Bible dictionaries convey the thoughts of a “life real and genuine, a life active and vigorous, devoted to God” and “of the absolute fulness of life, both essential and ethical.” John is encouraging us to “continue to love one another.” He goes on to state that “love comes from God,” and “God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live (zoe) through Him.” (1 John 4:9 NKJV).
To grasp this concept, we must see a living, active, and loving Lord Jesus Christ, a Lord Jesus so close to us daily that we can walk beside him, accepting his yoke and letting him help carry our burdens. The Lord Jesus promised those few disciples who gathered around him that he would come to them in a different form and assured them of his presence with the words, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matt 28:20 NKJV).
Think for a moment about the role of the High Priest that Jesus plays now.
Also, Hebrews 2:18 assures us that he is very much a living Lord Jesus, who knows us and can help us: “Because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” (ESV).
Jesus is just as desirous to intercede in our lives and help us when we are tempted as he helped Peter overcome his guilt and go on to accomplish great things to God’s glory.
Paul, in a number of places, talks about the Lord Jesus giving him strength: “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:13 ESV). Also, to Timothy, “I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord.” (1 Tim 1:12 ESV). In Ephesians, he writes about the,
according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,
far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named,
not only in this age but also in the one to come.
And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. (Eph 1:19-23 ESV).
Yahweh has elevated His son to a high and exalted position at His right hand and placed him as head over all things. Jesus Christ is our head. The Father has put us in the loving arms of his beloved Son, who loves and knows us. Our God is working through Jesus to encourage and strengthen, to help us breathe in that zoe life that helps us see and feel his own zoe life, and through this closeness, this relationship, we can become “saved by his life.”
The benediction to the Book of Hebrews may help sum up these thoughts and help us realize that a risen Lord Jesus is a living, active, and dynamic Lord Jesus who can be as alive to us as we allow him.
A Risen Lord Jesus is an Indwelling Lord Jesus
How would we define the word indwelling, especially when it’s not directly used in Scripture? Perhaps the best way to grasp the meaning of the words is to look at a few Scriptures that use the words.
This is the power of the Father that Paul sees as empowering the believers by giving them the inner strength to grow and endure. Having been given that inner strength, Paul says, “Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him.” The King James Version says, “dwell in your hearts by faith,” but the NLT translates the Greek word pistis as “as you trust in him,” indicating that it’s your faith or your belief in the Lord Jesus that determines whether he dwells in your heart or not.
Let’s now examine the words of Jesus himself. In John 15, he speaks of the true vine and begins this section with the words, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.” A branch of a vine cannot bear fruit by itself. It needs to remain connected to the vine to bear fruit. Jesus applies this agricultural principle to one’s spiritual growth and sets forth the importance of the relationship if we hope to bear fruit to the glory of the Father.
This is the power of the Father… the inner strength to grow and endure.
By the way, this is a two-way relationship, as is clearly stated in the passage, “Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit.” (John 15:5). Note also that Jesus states that without him we can do nothing. This verse serves as a reality check on what we can accomplish without our living Lord Jesus.
Consider the passages that use the words “Christ in you.” Paul wrote, “But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” (Rom 8:10 ESV).To the Corinthians, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” (2 Cor 13:5 ESV).
Think about that beautiful passage in Galatians, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal 2:20 ESV).
Jesus also revealed to his disciples before he left with them for the garden of Gethsemane that he would not leave them as orphans but that he would come to them. He reassured them with these words and reiterated the close relationship he would continue to have with them. (John 14:18-20 ESV).
One writer has said regarding all of these Scriptural passages that talk in one way or another about abiding in, dwelling in, or living in:
“Let me say in the plainest, simplest, strongest way I can, that the dwelling of Christ in the believing heart is to be regarded as plain, literal fact—it is not to be weakened down into any idea of participation in his likeness, following his example or the like. A dead Plato may so influence his followers, but that is not how a living Christ influences his disciples.”
We have looked at our risen Lord Jesus as a saving Lord Jesus, feeling his overwhelming love for his Father and for us. We have accepted that love with repentance, baptism, and commitment.
We have looked at our risen Lord Jesus as a living Lord Jesus, who can fill us with that zoe life and love that “comes from God,” who “sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live (zoe) through him.”
We looked at the highest level of a personal relationship that can be attained when we saw the risen Lord Jesus as an indwelling Lord Jesus. An indwelling Lord Jesus is about a life where we “will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Jesus tells us “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 ESV). Through our relationship with our Lord Jesus, we rejoice in the “fulness of life and power that comes from God.” (Eph 3:19 NLT)
Paul writes to these new believers the following encouraging passage,
Through our Lord, we have an overwhelming victory!
Moorestown Ecclesia, NJ