Oftentimes the resurrection is used by preachers and theologians alike to defend the historical account of Christ’s resurrection and to defend the deity of Jesus. While both of these are truthful realities, they miss the most important aspect of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and His purpose for having risen from the dead. The ultimate objective and hope of the Christian Gospel, which was accomplished in the resurrection of Jesus Christ have a much greater purpose than simply getting into heaven and having a glorified body. It is to allow for the restoration of God’s life to man in Jesus Christ, allowing His life to be lived out in our behaviour NOW, on the way to heaven.
All Christian theologians agree that there are three main events of Jesus’ life; the incarnation, the crucifixion, and the resurrection. The incarnation was necessary so that the Son of God could identify with humanity as the God-man - fully God and fully man. Jesus had to be fully man because only a man could be tempted and only a man could die. The crucifixion was necessary because Jesus Christ had to voluntarily submit to death in order to vicariously and substitutionally take the death consequences of all sin upon Himself. The resurrection was necessary to enact the restoration of God’s life in man by a restorative spiritual rebirth.
It's important to emphasize that the incarnation and crucifixion are not the whole story! If the incarnation and crucifixion were the only acts of God on man’s behalf, then the gospel would cease to be good news. God's declaration to man would be, "I came, I fixed the problem of sin, you are fixed, now go and do a better job of living than you've been doing." That is not good news! That is tragic teaching! The incarnation and crucifixion alone serve only to condemn man all the more. Man's greatest need is Resurrection Life!
Christianity is not a message of merely what has been and what will be, it is the message of what IS; the vital dynamic of the resurrected “I AM” of God, who restores the whole of creation. If we do not understand how the historical event of Jesus’ resurrection connects to the living reality of Jesus Christ in us by the indwelling presence of His Spirit, then we do not understand the gospel.
The Resurrection defines the Christian faith.
I Pet. 1:3 states that “God according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
We appropriate and receive Christ’s resurrection life by FAITH, which is our receptivity to His activity. The Resurrection is the basis of everything that can be legitimately called Christian. It is only by the indwelling activity of the risen Lord Jesus that the dynamic life of Christ continues to affect the Christian. Apart from the Resurrection, there is no gospel, no spiritual life, no salvation, no righteousness, no holiness, no hope, and no godliness. Resurrection Life forces the character of Christ out and into Christian behaviour, right NOW.
Apart from the Resurrection, there is no Christian living.
All of God’s promises and man’s expectations are realized in the resurrection Life of Jesus Christ in us! As stated in Col 1:27, the riches of the glory of this mystery is Christ in you, the hope of glory.