April 9, 2021

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Romans 8:34b-35a

Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?

 

As Christians we often focus on the amazing fact that Jesus laid down His life for us, and rightly so! How do you get your head around that kind of love and sacrifice? Jesus’ willingness to die on the cross for my sin has been a wellspring of comfort to me.

But Christ’s death is only one part of the gospel, and is arguably not even the most important part. As Paul writes in our passage today, Jesus indeed is the One who died for us, but “more than that, who was raised” as well! The violence of the crucifixion, the beauty and nobility of laying down one’s life for another, these are concepts we can readily understand. We can relate to pain and sacrifice because we know them in our lives already. But this concept of being “raised” – that’s a bit harder for us to grasp.

Because of that, many Christians unfortunately get stuck on the first part of the gospel (“death”) and tend to miss the second part (“life”). Yes, pain is part of life and we must endure it, but enduring agony is not meant to be the sum of our Christian experience. God intends joy, renewal and fresh beginnings for us as well. Jesus did not come only to die for us – He came to defeat death, darkness and sin, and then go before us into new life! As Christians and adopted children of God, we are made into new creations in Christ. We need not fear death, Jesus has defeated death. God brings renewal into our daily lives in all sorts of ways, and someday we will be raised again as Jesus was, and we will spend eternity with the One who cared enough to come save us. As Job proclaimed so many centuries ago: 

For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God… (Job 19:25-27)

Why did God do all this? Because we belong to Him. That’s it. We are His, and He loves us, that much. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ”, indeed! This is what we celebrate at Easter. Hallelujah! Christ the Lord is risen again!

As you quiet yourself today before the Lord, consider if you enjoy God’s freshness and renewal in any way in your life? Why or why not? And how do you think God wants to “make all things new” in your life going forward? Ask Him to give you a fresh vision for your own future, a future of resurrection to new life!

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