Christ Resurrection, My Justification
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scriptures: Matthew 28:1-8, Romans 5:1-11
Sunday 16th April 2017
On this Easter Sunday morning, I would like to share a message with you, titled: Christ Resurrection, My Justification.
Let’s read from Matthew 28:1-8: ‘Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.” So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.’
The resurrection story unfolded as a new day began. After the dark hours of the crucifixion, resurrection ensued. Here is the message of resurrection that we can learn from – no matter how dark the season we may be going through may look, there is still hope in our future. The night seasons of life do not last forever, so don’t give up.
Resurrection has only occurred once in history, when Jesus arose from the grave, with a brand new life. We may have read and possibly witnessed the resuscitation of a person who may have been medically certified dead, but their restoration was simply for the continuation of the life they had before.
The events of Easter did not end on the cross, or in the tomb. Despite all that was done to ensure his death – nailing to the cross, the piercing of his sides, and the burial in the tomb, Jesus still rose up from the grave. So, if you are going through the valley of the shadow of death, be assured that it is not over, until the Lord says so.
As the two ladies – both named Mary approached the grave to see where Jesus was laid, the bible records that the stone at the entrance of the tomb had been rolled away by an angel after an earthquake. It was Heaven’s way of giving them access to see that the Lord had risen from the grave. In the same way, I declare that Heaven will intervene in your situation today in Jesus name!
The enemy did all he could to hinder the resurrection. The Pharisees and Scribes drafted in soldiers to guard the tomb, to ensure that no one stole Jesus’ body away. Here is Matthew 27: 62-66: ‘On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, saying, “Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise.’ Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead.’ So the last deception will be worse than the first.” Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard.’ In the same way, I declare that no stone or the enemy’s plot against your destiny will be big enough to stop you in Jesus name!
Again, the bible speaks about the angel’s declaration as he addressed the women: Matthew 28:6 reads: ‘He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay’. The angel announced that Christ is risen. Our victory as Christians is real – victory of sickness, oppression, poverty and all that the devil may throw at us. Resurrection is our hope and the basis of our faith. It is the basis why we gather every Sunday to worship God. It is the basis of our lives.
Let’s get an in-depth understanding of resurrection – We already know that the more we understand a concept, the better we will be at living our lives from that standpoint. Let’s read 1 Corinthians 15:12-20: ‘But tell me this—since we preach that Christ rose from the dead, why are some of you saying there will be no resurrection of the dead? For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless. And we apostles would all be lying about God—for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave. But that can’t be true if there is no resurrection of the dead. And if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died’ (NLT).
From this passage in 1 Corinthians, St. Paul was writing to draw our attention to the significance of the resurrection of Christ. Here are some of points to put this in perspective:
(a) God gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead: The Zoe life of God is now within us as a result of Christ’s resurrection. Here is Ephesians 2:4-6: ‘But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus’. The nature of God is with us, and we are seated with Christ, above all negativities.
(b) The Resurrection confirms that Jesus is the Son of God: Out of mockery, the Jews asked Christ if He was the son of God, but the resurrection confirms Christ’s deity unreservedly. Here is Romans 1:3-5: ‘The Good News is about his Son. In his earthly life he was born into King David’s family line, and he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord. Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority as apostles to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name’ (NLT).
(c) Resurrection confirms our victory over death and Hell: Revelation 1: 18 reads: ‘I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave’ (NLT). Jesus is alive and He has the victory over the devil and all he may throw your way.
(d) Resurrection establishes our justification: Romans 4:25 reads: ‘who (Jesus) was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification’. Here is the NIV rendition: ‘He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification’. Justification is a legal term – God summoned humanity before Him for our sins – those sins were then transferred to Jesus Christ when he died on the cross. Christ became our substitute, and the weight of our sins was placed on Jesus. Those sins were completely judged for which Christ died; the full penalty for our sins was paid for by Jesus. So instead of our sins, God now sees Christ’s righteousness, as He himself is sinless. Consequently, Christ was raised from the dead by God and given a new life. He was justified. Here is 1 Timothy 3:16: ‘And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory’. Since Jesus is risen from the dead, we were also raised with him as outlined in Ephesians 2. By raising up Christ, God also justified us. Biblical justification connotes two things, namely: Being declared not guilty, with the forgiveness of our sins, and being declared righteous.
In rounding up, here are some benefits of justification. (1) Peace with God: Romans 5:1 reads: ‘Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us’. (2) Access to Grace: Romans 5:2 reads: ‘through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (3) Hope: Romans 5:3-5 reads: ‘We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love’ (NLT). (4) No More Condemnation: Here is Romans 5:9: ‘And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation’ (NLT). And lastly (5) Friendship with God: Here is Romans 5:10-11: ‘For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God’ (NLT).
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