Read an Excerpt
There is power in the gospel to set people completely free from the destructive power of sin and to fill their lives with all the fullness of God. That gospel includes the cross, the resurrection, and the sending of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. All three are equally important for the believer to understand and experience.
This book will focus on the power of the resurrection as the necessary completion of the work accomplished on the cross. As much as the cross has been a central theme for believers throughout the ages, without the resurrection, the cross is meaningless. If there were only the cross, sin would win—as the apostle Paul made clear:
"If Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ ave perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable." (1 Corinthians 15:17–19)
The resurrection is proof of Christ’s victory over sin and our hope of salvation. The resurrection, however, is not a doctrine to be pondered but an invitation to experience the living Christ in your life. And that’s the reason for this book. If you don’t appropriate all that God has provided through the resurrection, it’s of no value to your life. We want you to do more than gain knowledge of the resurrection; we want you to experience the resurrection in your daily walk with the risen Christ. For the resurrection is not just an event that occurred in the first century. It continues to impact lives to this day.
In reality, not only was Christ resurrected— you too are raised to new life when you’re in Him. This is the gift of God to all who put their faith in His Son. In Paul’s words about his relationship to Jesus Christ, he said he wanted to “know Him and the power of His resurrection” (Philippians 3:10). This word know is more than head knowledge. It’s experiential, and it touches every part of your life.
If you watch the life of the average Christian, you’ll see little or no evidence of this incredible resurrection power that raised Christ from the dead. But this is exactly the power that’s available to all who have accepted the risen Christ into their lives as their Lord and Savior.
Consider the encouragement about this resurrection power that Paul gave to the church in Ephesus as he offered his prayer for them:"…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power
and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all." (Ephesians 1:17–23)
The resurrection power that raised Christ from the dead, then seated Him at the right hand of the Father and put Him over all principalities and powers, is the same power given to us. Should that make a difference in our lives? Should we be afraid of spiritual warfare? Is there anything we cannot overcome if we’re walking with Christ?
Listen carefully: the battle is won! Don’t believe Satan’s lie that we have to do battle with him. Simply tell him, “You’ve already been defeated! And the same power that defeated you is the same power that now resides in my life.” Don’t get caught up in the fad of spiritual warfare that keeps you so busy fighting Satan that you have no time to follow Christ. The war’s over! This is the practical expression of the resurrection, and it’s available to you.
When you become a Christian, you’re set in a wholly different dimension in which you can see what others don’t see. As Jesus told His disciples, “It has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given” (Matthew 13:11). If you’ve been given ability to understand the mysteries of God, are you using your spiritual senses to detect the activity of God? Or do you act like the world, ignoring God until you need Him to bail you out of a crisis? You need to know what God is doing and then make whatever adjustment is needed to participate in His redemptive activity.
As a Christian, you’re to be a witness for Christ—a visible demonstration of every truth God has said. But the religious culture in which we live encourages us just to practice religious activity. As a result, we misunderstand our relationship with God and miss out on experiencing His power. Unfortunately, many Christians are living way below their potential, believing they’ll never be anything but ordinary. But, as Christians, we’re children of God! If we’re faithful in a little, He can make us rulers over much. You’ve been given the opportunity to function in the realm of resurrection power—the most exciting life you could ever imagine.
What then could God do in your life if He knew you were wholly yielded to Him? What could He do in you and through you if you believed He has already blessed you with every spiritual blessing, delivered you out of the kingdom of darkness, and taken you who were dead in sin and made you fully alive in Christ. Are you willing to let Him use you? Or are you settling for the ordinary—satisfied with being insignificant?
THE LIVING WORD
As we consider the event of the resurrection and its present impact our guide to a deeper understanding of what God has done on our behalf. They contain an accurate account of the resurrection event and its timeless application to believers today. As you seek to experience the power of the resurrection in your life, you can anticipate the living Word of God revealing to you the riches of God’s provision.
All you need to know about the resurrection is found in the Scriptures, and the Holy Spirit will apply them directly to your life. The key is not to “discover” truth, but to come with an open heart, into which the Holy Spirit will reveal truth. And that truth will set you free. Remember, studying the resurrection is not an academic exercise. Our focus is not merely information, but application. True faith is based not upon knowing about Christ, but upon experiencing Him in our daily lives. A dry, scholastic, impersonal knowledge of God does not bring life. True knowledge of God is always personal, powerful, and life changing. If you aren’t willing to allow Christ to make significant changes in your life, this book is not for you.
The first step in this journey is knowledge. You must know the truth and understand what God has done in the resurrection. Second, you must believe it’s true for your life. The Holy Spirit has been assigned to help you accept the truth as real, by testifying to your spirit that what you’re seeing is true. Third, you must receive the truth into your life. It isn’t good enough to know the truth or even believe the truth. You must embrace it as yours.
Last, you must live the truth. That means taking what you’ve learned and acting upon it—making it a part of your daily life. Move through this entire process, and you’ll find new life in Christ—a life beyond anything you could imagine.
Abraham was someone who went through this process of living out his faith. “He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore ‘it was accounted to him for righteousness’” (Romans 4:20–22). Like Abraham, when you hear the truth of God in His Word, believe it with all your heart and hold on to it. Ask Him to implement it in your life. Have the determination of Paul, whose life goal included this: “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10–11).
So many Christians are missing out on abundant life in Christ because they haven’t understood how the resurrection completes the cross. The resurrection is the key that unlocks the door, the validation code giving us access to what Christ accomplished on the cross. And it will profoundly transform your life. So get ready for new life in Christ.
From the Hardcover edition.