Summary: The resurrection of Jesus Christ provides us with both the help and hope we need.
It was June 18, 1815, the Battle of Waterloo. The French under the command of Napoleon were fighting the allied forces of the British, Dutch, and Germans under the command of Wellington. The people of England depended on a system of signals to find out how the battle was going. One of these signals was on the tower of Winchester Cathedral.
Late in the day it flashed the signal: “WELLINGTON DEFEATED.” Just at that moment a fog cloud made it impossible to read the message. The news of defeat quickly spread throughout the city. The whole countryside was sad and gloomy when they heard the news that their country had lost the war. Suddenly, the fog lifted, and the remainder of the message could be read. The message had four words, not two. The complete message was: “WELLINGTON DEFEATED THE ENEMY!” It took only a few minutes for the good news to spread. Sorrow was turned into joy, defeat was turned into victory!
Such is the nature of the victory Jesus won through His resurrection. After His crucifixion, the fog of disappointment and misunderstanding had crept in on His disciples. “Christ defeated” was all they knew. But on the third day the fog of disappointment and misunderstanding lifted, and the world received the complete message: “Christ defeated death!” Defeat was turned into victory!
As we reflect today on the victory that was won over sin, Satan, death, and Hell by our Savior’s crucifixion and resurrection, I want us to see how the victory of the resurrection provides what we need to live victoriously.
1. Through the resurrection, we are provided with help - v. 17
A. The help we need to be right with God.
Paul rightly observes that if Christ has not been raised from the dead, we are still in our sins, and are thus, kept from being right with God.
Sin keeps us from being right with God for two reasons:
1) Because of our sin, we are unacceptable.
“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” - Romans 3:23 (NLT)
“The glory of God” refers to way God lives. Hamartia, sin, refers to falling short of the ideal, to missing the mark in the way we live.
Note that Paul tells us that sin is not like a disease that some contract and others escape. Some may self-righteously think they are better than others because of outward appearance - but we have all been soiled by sin. Sin is universal, and perhaps this is one reason why so many people live in denial. So many are sinning so frequently that it is a way of life! It has become acceptable because everybody is doing it!
But it is not acceptable to God; and because mankind is so associated with sin, we are unacceptable to God.
2) Because of our sin, God is unapproachable.
Because God is holy, sinful man can have nothing to do with Him. We can never be good enough to enter into His presence. We are cut off from a relationship with God, the source of all life. Consequently, all that is left for mankind to know is death.
This is what God warned Adam and Eve about if they chose to go their own way rather than God’s way.
“And the LORD God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.’” - Genesis 2:16-17 (NIV)
Literally, God said, “dying, you will die.” In other words, through
making this choice to go his own way as opposed to God’s way, man would immediately experience spiritual death, in that his relationship would be broken with God, the source of all life, and eventually he would experience physical death.
Death is the only logical result when one walks away from life! Not only did Adam and Eve experience this penalty for sin, but it has been passed along to the entire human race.
“Through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.” - Romans 5:12 (NASB)
Consequently, the human race, left on their own are under the
condemnation of sin, which is death! We are all “dead men walking.”
“That’s what Christ did definitively: suffered because of others’ sins, the Righteous One for the unrighteous ones. He went through it all - was put to death and then made alive - to bring us to God.” - 1 Peter 3:18 (The Message)
Our Savior’s resurrection demonstrated that He had fully paid the
penalty for our sin - death - so we wouldn’t have to.
During World War II, a young paratrooper wrote his mother, “Stop worrying about me. I joined the parachutists to fight. I