Christ’s resurrection is not just something that happened in the past. There is resurrection today just as much as there was back then, after Christ’s death...
So many Christians seem exclusively concerned with the life beyond. They are under the illusion that God stays eternally in heaven. They think that we are condemned to endure the pain of suffering for the time we live on this small orb called earth. And after our life here we will be either condemned or blessed, depending on our religious belief. And so it goes on throughout the ages – and we are content to leave it at that.
But this is nothing but unbelief. If all we aspire to is to get out of this world in order to be free in the next, then we are paying tribute to sin and death. We are also showing the greatest disdain for the scriptures when we reject the joyous hope of God’s coming reign, when we simply resign ourselves to our fate on this earth, letting things continue as they are. Because our religious lives are so bankrupt, we think that God is also bankrupt and unable to accomplish his will on earth.
Tell me, which of the two are more central to the message of the Bible: our death and flight into heaven, or God’s future reign here on earth. From the first to the last chapter, the Bible deals with the coming of God into this world. There is so little about this business of dying. Every word in the Bible guarantees the deeds of God right here where I stand. Down here is where Jesus appeared, not above in the invisible world, not around the throne of God.
Here on earth is where he won the victory, and it is right here that we may find him. We should lay claim to our right on this earth – the right to victory over sin and death here on earth – not because of our faith, but because of God’s power to make things right…
Our task, therefore, is to demonstrate the power of the resurrection…This power is not so far away, because Christ is alive. He cares about the earth as much as for the heavens. Otherwise we would never know his reality. His resurrection would be history, but not a reality, and we could never conceive of anything becoming different. At best, we would think that his resurrected life was some spiritual thing that we human beings could not understand. That’s not what it is. His victory is within our reach…
Therefore we must not focus on the evils and imperfections of this world. Nor are we to try to figure out how this or that matter is going to turn out. If we try to pursue higher goals by the usual methods or even with extraordinary works of love, we will accomplish nothing for God’s kingdom. In every case where we want to help someone along, we must find our strength in Christ.
Those who think things have to be done by human ways and means are wrong (2 Corinthians 10:3-4). If that is the way we are supposed to approach our situation, we are beaten. God’s kingdom remains far off if it depends on what we do or what we may yet accomplish. Indeed, we can spoil the work that God does through us if we think it depends on our strength. If Christ is victorious, then our happiness depends upon God exercising his power, not we exercising ours (Psalm 92:4).
Our redemption, then, consists of deeds that we can do nothing to bring about. It is thus not so much a question of our wanting to be converted. The first and most important thing is that God gathers us in. On the day when we have breathed our last and stand before God, we shall be amazed at how much God has done for us and how he has used his power to save us, despite our will.
Whoever is truly in Christ experiences an abundant variety of divine powers, and is so filled with the sense of them that it is natural to live by them. Indeed, these powers of life can come to us, powers that other people would never think possible. That is what it means to be risen with Christ and to go forth in his victory.
This article is an excerpt from our free ebook Jesus is the Victor.