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New Horizons

April, 2001: Because Jesus Lives

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Contents

Christ's Resurrection: Fact and Factor

Have you ever gotten the impression that the resurrection of Christ is sort of an afterthought? We know that the death of Christ is the center and focus of God's salvation for us, but do we think about his resurrection only around "Easter"?

In addition, we often think of Christ's resurrection as an historical fact, but forget the implications of that fact for our lives. I am convinced that Christ's resurrection is central to the Christian life. I believe that it is indispensable to every aspect of our salvation. It is not only a fact, but also a factor in all that we experience as Christians. Read more

It Is Sown in Dishonor, It Is Raised in Glory

Romantic death is rare. More common are involuntary groanings and screams of pain. The ignominy of dying is pathetic. It is more often hellish than heroic.

Dishonor

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The Raising of Levi

Go back to the town of Capernaum of old. Ask the people in town, "Who is your chief sinner?" Who would they point out? One of their likeliest candidates would be the man sitting in the tax collector's booth—Levi. If you are a small boy and you've done something wrong, you may hear your father say, "Don't do that! You don't want to grow up to be a criminal, do you?" In New Testament times, your father may have said, "You don't want to grow up to be a tax collector, do you?" That's right! They bunched the tax collectors together with the criminals, with the murderers and the thieves. And Levi chose to be a tax collector.

The Problem of Our Sin

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Resurrection Living

It should be stated from the outset that Paul wrote his epistles as a pastor to the churches. In the Reformed tradition, we honor Paul as a very articulate theologian. I am not minimizing this approach. Indeed, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul carried the central doctrines of our holy faith to the heights of theological precision. Even so, it is sometimes overlooked that Paul's letters were pastoral. In fact, he is the pastor of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He pastors the church—the flock of Christ—in resurrection living! In truth, the resurrection of Christ is the central topic of Paul's letters. It is the essential event which controls his entire ministry.

The Centrality of Christ's Resurrection

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Resurrecting the Resurrection

One of the undoubted articles of our historic Christian faith is surely the resurrection of the body. And it is my contention that in selecting this item of biblical teaching rather than the destiny of the soul at death, the ancient Apostles' Creed correctly reflects the emphasis of the Bible.

Paul the apostle, for example, makes it very clear that his central focus for the future was not on what we call the intermediate state—when the soul is absent from the body and present with the Lord—but the final state, when he will have part in the resurrection! For "indeed," he says, "I also count all things loss ... that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, ... that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, ... if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead" (Phil. 3:8-11). Read more

 
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