Torch, Spring 1979

6 THE POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION James T. Jeremiah ~e bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is more than a beautiful thought or a religious concept. It is an historical fact. It is a fact so persuasive that many who have sought to disprove it have been converted to Christ by the truth they have discovered. Theological liberals have said that Christ's disciples only imagined that Christ arose from the dead, but the Bible record makes it quite clear that at first the disciples did not believe in the resurrection. Men do not imagine what they do not believe. When the early Christians were convinced by the many infallible proofs of the resurrection (Acts 1:3 ), it made a great difference in their lives. It made courageous men out of cowards and willing martyrs out of those who had forsaken Him at the cross. This change in itself is a strong proof of the fact that He rose from the dead. The resurrection of Christ has similar transforming power for men today. Jesus said, "The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live" (John 5:25). This refers to a present day resurrection in the experience of every person who receives Christ as Saviour. The Lord said of this salvation experience, "Because I live, ye shall live also" (John 14:19). Paul prayed that the Ephesian Christians might understand "what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places" (Eph. 1:19-20; cf Eph. 2:6). Today, everyone who has experienced the new birth has experienced the resurrection power of Christ. Like everything else in the Christian life, this great truth becomes a reality in our daily living only as we accept it by faith and reckon its power to be ours. Someone said, "If a man does not know a flower by name and a poem by heart, it is no indictment of the beauty of a rose or the charm of the poem." If we bear the name of Christ, but give no other evidence of our relationship to Him, if we go through the forms of godliness, but live powerless lives, it is a thousand reproaches to us. To be powerless when Christ has made all power available to us is to be in a state for which we have no excuse that is not self-incriminating. Paul testified that he had "won" or "gained" Christ and was "found in him" (Phil. 3:8, 9). And yet he said, "That I might know him and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death" (Phil. 3: 10). Even though the apostle had a saving knowledge of Christ, he desired a deeper personal experience of the resurrection power of Christ. In commenting on this truth, Merrill C. Tenney writes, "He wanted to enter into the very life of Christ to experience it with Him, and thus to gain as full an understanding of His person as possible." He wanted to know Him, not simply know about Him. To know Him in this way is to know the power of His resurrection-the power which raised Him from the dead. It is the power which is inherent in His resurrection and available to the believer through identification with Him. That power can and should become effective in His saints, enabling them to overcome the resistance of all that is contrary to godliness. Through faith we are "justified by his blood" (Rom. 5:9), and "saved by his life" (Rom. 5:10). His death delivers us from the penalty of sin. The resurrected, living Christ saves us from the power of sin. Thus, the resurrection of Christ enables the Christian to be victorious over sin. "When a man is dead, he is freed from the claims of sin, so if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him" (Rom. 6:7, 8; Williams.) Adam committed one sin which doomed the whole human