The Resurrection – Dilemma or Hope?

“The Year Man Becomes Immortal” 2045

This was the title on the cover sheet of the February 21st issue of Time Magazine.

This lengthy article written by Lev Grossman described Raymond Kurzweil’s vision of a time when technology becomes so rapid and profound, it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history. Kurzweil believes that by 2045 humanity will create superhuman intelligence where we can scan our consciousness into computers and enter a virtual existence or swap our dying bodies for immortal robots. He goes on to say, “We ditch Darwin and take charge of our own evolution. Indefinite life extension becomes a reality; people die only if they choose to. Death loses its sting once and for all.” Kurzweil says he hopes to bring his dead father back to life.

For the Christian such thinking seems absurd as it ignores some of the clearest and simplest teachings of the Bible, namely the fabric rupturing reality, in human history, of Jesus Christ’s resurrection and the hope of the resurrection faithfully taught throughout Church history. It also conveniently fails to address the cause of death which is sin, and the only cure made available to mankind through Jesus Christ.

However, to those influenced by modernism, who have rejected the supernatural (and made God like man), and to those who have bought into the lie of the postmodern meta-narrative, that reality is that which is real to you, such thinking is acceptable. Like Kurzweil everybody wants the story of life to end, “And they lived happily ever after.”

Consider with me three realities of the Resurrection so that you might truly know God’s provision to a life lived happily ever after.

1. The Resurrection of Our Bodies!

Only 36 % of Americans believe in a literal bodily resurrection? What about you?

Jesus said: “The Son of Man [that’s Jesus] is going to be delivered into the hands of men; and they will kill Him, and He will be raised on the third day.” (Matthew 17:22–23)

When Jesus speaks of the resurrection He is saying that there is a day coming when every person who has ever lived and died will be raised bodily from the dead some to life everlasting and the joys of heaven and some to everlasting judgment and the fires of hell.

By His own testimony He states, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live even if he dies.” (John 11:25)

The testimony of the angel to the two Mary’s who came to the tomb on the morning after the Sabbath is profoundly unmistakable as to a physical resurrection. He said to them, “He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying” (Matthew 28:6)

The empty tomb stands as concrete evidence in support of a bodily resurrection.

The Apostle Paul answers the Corinthians, who were curious as to what the resurrected body would be like, that our resurrected bodies will be very different in composition. He asks them to picture the difference between a seed and the plant that grows from that seed. The plant may come from the seed but it is entirely different in composition, so it will be in the resurrection of the saints.

“So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.” (1 Corinthians 15:42–44)

So, the Bible clearly speaks of a bodily resurrection. A resurrection that transforms the body of our humble estate into a glorious body fit for the rigors of heaven. It will be a body that is imperishable, not perishable, heavenly not earthly.

2. The Resurrection Dilemma!

“Have you ever stopped and considered the horrendous problem there is if there is such a thing as a bodily resurrection – as life after death?”

The dictionary defines “dilemma” as a situation with unsatisfactory choices: That is a situation in which somebody must choose one of two or more unsatisfactory alternatives.

You either choose to believe the resurrection or you don’t. Both these choices leave mankind drowning in a lake of despair.

The dilemma of the resurrection is demonstrated in Matthew 27:62-66 where the Chief priests and the Pharisees asked Pilate to set a guard over the tomb because they knew that before he was crucified Jesus had said that death would not hold Him. That He would spend three days and nights in the grave and then He would rise from the dead.

So on Pilate’s provision they positioned a Roman guard, placed a large stone over the entrance of the tomb, and put Caesar’s seal on that stone. Breaking the seal would have meant instant death either for the one breaking it or for the men in the Roman guard.

The dilemma of the believing the resurrection is twofold:

Firstly, it would authenticate the person, teaching, and work of Jesus Christ. If He rose from the dead then everything else He said becomes true. Secondly, it would mean that mankind would now be accountable to God as to how they have lived out the life God gave them.

Neither of these two realities are acceptable options for Christ-rejecting, and God-hating human hearts.

There is a logical progression which leads to this dilemma. It goes like this…

• If there is such a thing as a resurrection then it means there must be someone with the ability or means to overpower death and grant eternal life.
• If someone has that kind of power then they must be themselves immortal because the only thing stopping man from living forever is death itself, and if you have power over death then they must be by nature immortal, imperishable, and eternal.
• Therefore, the promise of the resurrection from the dead and immortality requires an equal or greater cause.
• The Bibles teaches that the cause behind the resurrection of the dead is an infinite being who is able to bring about this reality.
• The Bible calls this being GOD!

So, when the Bible speaks of the resurrection is speaks of an infinite holy God who created all men and to whom all men must give an account of their lives.

Now to some this is not a problem in their minds because they don’t know the true nature of God, or the true nature of man.

These people are like a child who stumbles upon an old undetonated bomb in a war torn country and doesn’t know the nature of the devise but thinks it would be OK to pick it up and take it home for show and tell at school.

God by nature is Holy and Perfect (1 Sam. 2:2; Psalm 99:3; 1 Tim. 6:16). God in his holiness and justice must deal with every imperfection, every lie, every injustice, every evil thought or attitude. Otherwise He would not be a just God. God is a JUST God who will punish all iniquity and sin (Psalm 37:28; Isa 30:18). You see sin is not merely that we have broken some laws but that we have offended a holy God who demands our total allegiance. He expects that we love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Anything less demonstrates dishonor to Him as God and prideful self-righteous human dependence.

Now most of us think that we are good people, right?

Well let me help you test that goodness by the perfect standard of the 10 Commandments. Let’s see if you pass God’s goodness test and so have the right to enter His kingdom.

The 9th commandment says, “You shall not lie.” Can you say that you have always told the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth? If not, what would that make you? (A Liar)
The 8th commandment says, “You shall not steal.” Can you say that you have never stolen or taken from someone what is not yours? If not, what would that make you? (A Thief)
The 6th commandment says, “You shall not kill.” Jesus said that he is angry with his brother has committed murder in his heart. Can you say that you have never been angry with your brother or sister and wished them dead? If not this would make you a murderer at heart.
The 7th commandment says, “You shall not commit adultery.” Jesus said he who looks with lust upon a woman (man) has committed adultery in his (her) heart. Have you ever looked with sexual lust on a woman or a man? If you have this would make you an adulterer at heart.
The 3rd commandment says, “You shall not take the name of the Lord in vain.” Can you say that you have never spoken God’s name in a flippant or careless way? The Bible calls this blasphemy.

So then, if you were to be judge by God according to His standard of the 10 commandments would you be found guilty or innocent. And if you are found guilty, which the Bible says all men are, then would you go to heaven or to hell?

If you answered hell in your heart then God bless you for being honest before God who knows. Does this concern you? It should! It concerned God enough to provide a way for sinful man to be saved

Herein is the dilemma. If you say there is a resurrection then this means you as a lawbreaker and sinner will face God’s holy judgment and be found condemned forever. On the other hand to deny the resurrection is to bring upon the human race a sickening meaninglessness to human existence, a condemnation and surrender to death.

This brings me to the third point and its good news in light of such bad news.

3. The Resurrection Hope!

In contrast to such a debilitating defeat of humanity the resurrection means there is one who has vanquished the enemy of death.

Jesus came to remove the curse of death by becoming a curse for us. He left heaven came down to the earth, and offered Himself freely to God as a sacrifice on the cross to satisfy God’s holy wrath against sinners. He comes into a world enslaved to sin and death and by His own power gives Himself to God the Father as a ransom price to redeem us from the slave market of sin.

He died that we might live. He endured the cross and the grave so that we might go free from the fear of death. He rose from the dead as a testimony of His power over those things that hold us captive. He now is able to provide the solution to the problem of our sins. God is now justly able to offer forgiveness and mercy based on Jesus becoming our substitute and bearing in His own body the Fathers wrath against our sins.

All we need to do is turn from our sin and trust totally in the finished work of Jesus as God’s gift to us. In so doing we surrender our life, or as Jesus said, “lose our life for His sake” and then, and only then, will we find it. Jesus becomes to us both Lord and Savior. This gift of life, forgiveness of sins, and peace with God brings overwhelming joy!

When the Lord Jesus cried out in victory “It is finished,” from the cross, divine justice was satisfied, mercy was granted, atonement was achieved, expiation was completed, sin was forgiven, the debt was cancelled, guilt was removed, redemption was paid, reconciliation was accomplished,

When Jesus rose from the dead three days and three nights later Satan was defeated, death was conquered, salvation was secured, hope was cemented, and joy was provided forevermore. The resurrection proves this salvation offer is genuine, and so heaven is opened and genuine believers are set free from sin to worship and live their lives for God!

Jesus alone is the name that saves (Acts 4:12). The way of salvation is not by a set of does or don’ts, it is not by works, but by the grace of God Himself (Ephesians 2:8-9). God lovingly gave His Son to die in our place, so that we might be brought back into a right relationship with Him.

“But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” (Galatians 4:4–5)

Jesus is Alive! He is Risen just as He said He would! The gift of forgiveness of sins, and an eternal home in the Fathers house is extended to you. Oh joy, glorious joy for the one whose sin is covered, who is now adopted into the family of God. Eternal love and joy become his possession, and no one will ever be able to take these realities of the resurrection away.

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