If the resurrection of Christ is true it changes everything! If Jesus Christ really did rise from the dead then it changes how we are to respond to His teaching, how we are to live in this world, how we are to respond to our troubles, and how we are to hope for the future. The resurrection is world, philosophy, and life altering! Paul touches on the significance of the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15, and there he calls us to rejoice and celebrate and thank God because of the resurrection of Christ. We ought to thank God because through the resurrection we have victory over all our greatest enemies.
The Christian has three great enemies: Satan, sin, and death. These three tend to work in tandem, for Satan loves to both tempt us to future sin and remind us of our past sin. He throws sin in our faces in order to keep us in bondage. And death is an ever-present reminder of sin, since it is a result of the Fall – part of God’s curse on humanity for their original sin. Paul says it this way in 1 Corinthians 15, “the sting of death is sin” (v. 56). This phrase is really a summation of Paul’s more developed argument in Romans 5. In that book and chapter he connects sin and death by showing the universality of the one as evidence for the universality of the other. So, we read:
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned (Rom. 5:12)
Death is evidence of man’s sinfulness. “All have sinned,” Paul says (Rom. 3:23). Death is the heartbreaking reminder of sin’s presence in our world and in our own lives. But the resurrection changes everything.
Even in Romans 5 Paul begins to unpack the hope and victory of the resurrection of Christ. He says:
But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. 16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. 17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. (Rom. 5:15-19)
Paul is busting at the seems to celebrate the truth of Christ’s transforming power over death and sin. There is victory in our lives because Christ has been raised from the dead!
In 1 Corinthians 15 he urges us, in light of this truth to thank God. Praise God for the victory He has won on our behalf! He writes:
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. 15:57)
Victory abounds to believers because of “our Lord Jesus Christ.” So, the New Testament teaches us that because of Christ the Christian’s three great enemies have been defeated. We are told that “sin no longer has dominion over you” (Rom. 6:14). We find that death has been put to death, it has no sting (1 Cor. 15:55). And Satan can be resisted and forced to flee us (James 4:7).
Perhaps you are like me. There are days where my sin is so discouraging and deflating and maddening. Days where I cannot wait until I no longer give in to temptation and disobey God. There are days where I cannot wait until my foe, the Devil, is cast into eternal darkness far from me. There are days where I long for the realization of eternity and the end of death, tears, and sorrow. Thank God, friends, that these longings will one day be reality. Thank God that through Jesus Christ we have victory over Satan, Sin, and Death!