God's New Creation Was Launched in the Resurrection of Christ!
As we stated in a previous article, Christians should celebrate the Resurrection daily and not just annually at Easter because it is the day in which the “SON” came out of the tomb and all of history was changed forever in that historical event.
Sam Gamgee, a fictional character in J. R. R. Tolkien's, The Lord of the Rings is speaking: "Gandalf! I thought you were dead! But then I thought I was dead myself. Is everything sad going to come untrue?" The resurrection is the answer to Sam Gamgee’s question. Yes, everything sad is going to come untrue.
John 11:25-26, “Jesus said to Martha, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?’”
Colossians 1:18, “…[The Messiah] is the firstborn from the dead, that in everything He might be preeminent."
Jesus is the resurrection and the life, the beginning of the new creation, and because of His successful labors affirmed by His bodily resurrection, one day everything sad is going to come untrue. “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
What Does the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ Mean?
A. It means that God’s new creation is launched upon a surprised world, pointing ahead to the redemption and the renewal of the entire creation.
1. Jesus is risen, therefore God’s new world has begun.
2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." This passage reveals that the new heaven and new earth of Revelation 21-22 is not wholly future. This kind of language is used to describe aspects of Christ's present work of salvation (cf. 2 Cor 5:17; Gal. 6:15), But neither is it wholly present. The whole creation will not be completely free from corruption until the Second Coming (cf. Rom. 8:19-23). It is the progressive aspect of the redemption of creation. Sin affected more than the souls of men; it affected all of creation. In Revelation 21-22, we see that the redemptive work of Christ is as worldwide in scope as were the effects of God's curse. The original purpose of God for creation will finally be accomplished. At the Second Advent the current temporal order will end and the consummate New Creation will be established (2 Pet. 3:8-13) as the perfect and glorious manifestation of full redemption. The New Creation parallels in this respect the Resurrection: when sinners are converted, they are spiritually resurrected (Eph. 2:6; 1 John 3:14) with a view to their final bodily resurrection (John 5:24-28).
The gospel proclaims that at His first coming, Jesus brought to end the old world order of a holy land and holy places. Jerusalem, representative of the nation of Israel and Judaism, with its temple, sacrificial system, priesthood, special feast days, etc, became obsolete by fulfillment and the New Creation, with its New Covenant of the kingdom of God, was established. (Hebrews 8:13: "In that He says, "A NEW COVENANT," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.")
The new creation based upon the standards of the new covenant is operative now because the final, complete, decisive, lasting act of divine salvation happened when Jesus, the Messiah, came, lived, died, was buried, rose again, and ascended back to heaven. He was the final Adam (Romans 5:12-21), and the final prophet like Moses (Acts 3:22; 7:37), the final and ultimate Israel (Matthew 4:1-11), the final high priest (Hebrews 7:23-24), the final Passover sacrifice (1 Corinthians 5:7), the final manna from heaven (John 6:31-32), the final suffering servant of Isaiah 53 (Mark 10:45), and the final Son of Man of Daniel 7 (Matthew 24:30). His blood was the blood of the promised final new covenant in Jeremiah 31:31 (Luke 22:20). He therefore was the final, decisive “Yes” and “Amen” to all God’s promises (2 Corinthians 1:20).
2. Jesus is risen, therefore, God’s verdict against His people has been transposed into God’s vindication of us.
3. Jesus is risen, therefore the kingdom has been definitively established, is being progressively extended, and will be finally victoriously consummated.
4. Jesus is risen, therefore, the tyrants and despots of the world should tremble and quiver – because God has exalted Jesus and every knee will bow before him.
5. Jesus is risen, therefore the true Israel of God has been restored and the plan for the nation is fulfilled in him.
The scriptures teach that Jesus is the ultimate Israel. In Matthew 2:15 the Holy Spirit quotes a verse referring to national Israel, "Out of Egypt I called my son" (Hosea 11:1) and says Jesus fulfills this prophecy! We are being told Jesus is the true faithful Israel of God. He alone is worthy of the covenant blessings. Messiah is the supreme seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:16). Paul explicitly says: "The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say 'and to his seeds', meaning many people, but 'and to his seed' meaning one person, who is Messiah". It is only through faith in Jesus that we come into the fullness of the promise to Abraham. This is to the Jew first, and also as for Gentiles.
6. Jesus is risen, therefore, death has been defeated.
7. Jesus is risen, therefore, creation groans in anticipation of the final reversal and removal of the curse.
8. Jesus is risen, therefore, we will be raised also to live forever in God’s new creation.
9. Jesus is risen, therefore, we are to go and make disciples in his name.
B. The resurrection means that we have the task of proclaiming, embodying, and demonstrating before the world exactly what this new creation is and what it looks like.
Paul concludes his great resurrection dissertation in 1 Corinthians 15, not by saying, “So let’s celebrate the bliss of heaven that awaits us.” He says, “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and steadfast, always enthusiastic about the Lord’s work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”
In other words, resurrection means mission.
What then is the resurrection of Christ about? What is it we celebrate on a special day we call Easter? Among other things, it testifies to God’s faithfulness to Israel, it shows that God has launched the most ambitious phase of his plan to repossess the world for himself, it means that death is not Lord but Jesus Christ is Lord, our condemnation has been changed into vindication, the new creation has begun, and we labor in the task of bringing the life of heaven to bear upon this sin cursed earth!
His resurrection should fill His people with a confidence that is not based upon things getting better, or men fixing everything. Our confidence should rest in the power of the gospel, which is good news based upon the successful labors of Christ at His First Advent, and the present ministry of the Holy Spirit in His empowering the People of God with the Word of God, so they are expecting to see the ever-increasing victories of the kingdom of God grow more and more.
As "kerux" or heralds of the King, we announce that through the death, resurrection, ascension, and enthronement of King Jesus in Heaven, a new order of things has come into being. Not just something in an individual’s heart, but a new reality in history. The fullness of time has come; a new creation has been birthed; the long-anticipated age of the Spirit foretold by Joel has arrived. Now the last days of this present evil age has come as well as the new world order of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit because of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. The reason to believe and repent isn’t just to go to heaven when you die, get peace in your heart now, or a have happier marriage and better kids. The reason to repent and believe is quite simple, “God made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” and this being true there are no other options other than rebellion and more religion; repent or perish!
In Christ, we are truly the people of the New World Order; the people of a New Age, a New Heaven and New Earth, a New Israel, a New Kingdom, a New Jerusalem, a New Sanctuary, and of a New Inheritance! Because resurrection life is abundantly available and powerfully active, our uplook to King Jesus can be rightly focused and our outlook for ministry can be fruitfully exercised! When resurrection power fills me this hour, our obedience will be active and our outreach will be progressive, our prayers will be effective, our joy will be contagious, and our hope will be motivating!
“Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:20-21).