Paul's Passing Thoughts

Most Christians Really Don’t Understand Easter Sunday, and Worse Yet Some Do

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on April 2, 2018

Unfortunate

Most churchgoers know that Easter Sunday is a big deal, but they really don’t know why. They greet each other on the big day and exclaim excitingly, He has risen! Most churches experience double the normal attendance. The assumption would be that everyone knows what the drama is all about, but they don’t. If you venture to ask, you will usually hear something like this: “Jesus died for our sins and was resurrected.”

Note that the reason for Christ’s death is stated, but no reason in particular for why He was resurrected. That’s because they think it’s really cool that Jesus was resurrected, and they think it’s cool because that’s what they are supposed to think.

That isn’t commendable, but worse yet, some do know the orthodox explanation for the resurrection. It goes something like this: “Jesus was resurrected to verify God was satisfied with the quality of sacrifice.” Or, “He was resurrected to defeat death.” Or, “He was resurrected to make our resurrection possible.” But again, concerning all of these, how so? We are going to be resurrected just because He was? What’s the connection to the first part of the gospel, viz, His death?

At any rate, orthodoxy states that the resurrection verified that Christ kept the law perfectly, and therefore, He died to pay the penalty for our sins, and His resurrection verified that he kept the law perfectly which means that this perfect law-keeping can now be imputed to us for a righteousness substitution. We may refer to this as double imputation or double substitution. Rather than being confused about the resurrection, these particular churchians believe an egregious lie which is worse than being confused.

First, this is not a justification/righteousness apart from the law, and it subtly suggests that Christ obtained a sacrificial quality of righteousness through the law when the Bible states that “NO man is justified by the law.” That would include Christ. Thirdly, it suggests that there is life in the law, or that the law can give life, when the Bible plainly states otherwise. Fifthly, God is one, that is, the one and only life-giver, and this angle would make the law a second seed, or in other words, a fourth member of the Trinity. Sixthly, if righteousness is only substituted because perfect law-keeping is the standard for righteousness/justification, even Christians are still under law which is the biblical definition of a lost person. Seventh, this all necessarily requires an ongoing satisfaction of “the righteous demands of the law” in order to maintain justification. This list is not comprehensive but helps one to begin grasping the depth of blasphemy regarding the aforementioned understanding of the resurrection.

Romans 4:25 explains the significance of the resurrection and its connection to Christ’s death. There are two “for[s]” in the passage. It tells what the death was for, and what the resurrection was for. “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification” NIV.

That’s the gospel. That’s justification by new birth. Christ established our new birth to be obtained through faith alone. “You must be born again.” He was resurrected FOR OUR justification. His resurrection didn’t verify His own righteousness, it made the gift of new birth possible for mankind.

To prevent confusion about the law in this matter, it should be said that the new birth changes the believer’s relationship to the law. In one respect, the law is ended. Technically, Christ died on the cross to end the law in a legal sense. The law’s jurisdiction in regard to its ability to indict was vacated. If justification, as orthodoxy states, is a “legal declaration,” that’s a problem because the law’s jurisdiction over the believer isn’t vacated. Any soteriology that still recognizes the legal requirements of the law on a believer propagates an under-law gospel.

This is accomplished through one side of Spirit baptism in which we die with Christ. Like any other dead person, that person is no longer obligated to the law. In our resurrection with Christ, we now seek the same law as our guide for loving God and others. The law can no longer indict us, but only serves to inform our sanctification and life as God’s literal offspring.

Our resurrection with Christ doesn’t merely declare us righteous, it MAKES us righteous because God’s seed is within us. Therefore, we can no longer sin because we are no longer under the law (see 1John), and where there is no law, there is no sin (see Romans). Furthermore, in the same way that the old man fulfilled the condemnation of the law with every offence against it, the born-again believer fulfills the law with every act of love. The old man only receives lesser or more degrees of condemnation while the believer only receives lesser or more degrees of reward. This doesn’t mean the Christian is not subject to present consequences for errant behavior, but it does mean “there is NOW NO condemnation for those in Christ.”

Think about this: though the Bible states explicitly that Christ was resurrected for our justification, when was the last time, if ever, you heard that in church? As a churchian for 30 plus years, I can tell you I never did. On the cross, when Jesus said, “it is finished” (teleo), that is better translated, “it is ended.” That is, sin. That is, the law, “…by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross” (Col 2:14).

This is repentance unto salvation; this is turning from your old life to the new. And this is our assurance; there is no law to judge us. There is now no condemnation, and therefore, nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.

Unfortunately, scholars are able to nuance the question of our righteousness as a state of being and dance around it. If we are truly God’s just children, what do we need the religious experts for? But regardless of any argument, the fact remains that there is no law to judge us, and “where there is no law, there is no sin.” And if there is no sin, we are just. Even if we are not inherently just as a state of being through the new birth, which we, in fact, are, the same would be true regardless because Christ ended the law. It shouldn’t surprise us that God’s plan of salvation has every objection answered once we understand it.

There is no “present sin” because the law is ended.

paul

Prayer

One Response

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  1. John said, on April 2, 2018 at 12:36 PM

    Fantastic piece, and much better than that evil, evil chocolate Easter egg I had this morning. What an anti-Calvinist pagan I am. Someone, pass me some more chocolate. Now.

    Like


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