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Identifying With Christ

 Today many Christians celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Without examining the pagan connection of “Easter,” I would like to suggest that our celebration of the resurrected Christ should connect on a more personal level.    The Apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, instructed the Church in a more complete understanding of the doctrine of the resurrection.  Writing to the Church at Corinth Paul informed the believer that, “…as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22).  By this profound statement, Paul laid the groundwork for the doctrine of the Passion and Resurrection of Christ.  According to the inspired account, “…Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day…” (1 Corinthians 15:3b, 4a).  This gives us a historic account of the concluding days of Christ’s earthly ministry.  Nothing should be added nor removed from the invariable description of Christ’s fulfilled assignment, as described by the apostle.  However, as indicated by the passage quoted, there is more to the story than just a commemorative account.   Today’s celebration of the resurrection of Christ presents the believer as a mere spectator.  We observe and scrutinize the chronological description of the resurrection of Christ, while we neglect to identify with the resurrected Savior. The purpose of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection was to bring the sinner into a regenerate condition whereby one could be revitalized in “…righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:24b).   Christ died for our sins, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection…” (Philippians 3:10a).  Again, the Apostle Paul writes to the believers,  “…we are buried with him [Christ] by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). What a glorious statement!  Through baptism we are revitalized, renewed, regenerated to walk in the “newness of life.”  “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: [creation] old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).  The Word of God tells us that Christ died for our offences, i.e. the blood of Christ removes the sin; and the resurrection of Christ brings justification and regeneration (Romans 4:25).  Paul said, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (1 Corinthians 15:19).  The question begs to be asked: Why?  The answer is found in 1 Corinthians 15:17, “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; you are yet in your sins.” (Emphases added).  Thus the doctrine of the resurrection stands complete.   Romans 10:9, 10 are frequently used when leading a sinner to Christ.  There is nothing wrong with using these verses, as long as we understand the implication of the statement. The Apostle Paul previously stated; “For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, [through baptism] we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.  For he that is dead is freed from sin.  Now if we be dead with Christ, [through baptism] we believe that we shall also live with him” (Romans 6:5-8).   The Great Commission from Christ to the Church states, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…” (Matthew 28:19, 20a).     The doctrine of the resurrection stands complete when we recognize the historical fact of Christ’s resurrection, and the results in our lives through baptismal participation.  This is proper communication with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ our Savior.   As we celebrate the resurrection of Christ, let us not leave off the importance of why Christ died and was resurrected.  The reason brings depth to the hearer, and hope to the heart, eager to respond and follow Christ.

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