The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the well from which the fountain of new life springs. If you are united to Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection then you possess this new living water in your innermost being (Jn 7:38). This is the reason you have an internal longing, a craving, a powerful, and unquenchable desire to know God and pursue God.
If, however, you are not united to Christ by repentant, submissive faith then you do not possess this supernatural life within, but instead yours is a powerless substitute, a counterfeit “life,” which is really just glorified death. This is the reason you do not possess an internal drive for God, but must instead be nudged, dragged, or constantly motivated by others who want you to be spiritual more than you want it for yourself.
Such is the frustrated life of the man, or woman, who is trying so hard to live like a Christian without being a Christian. Such is the powerlessness of the one who is trying to live for Christ without possessing new life in Christ, who is “holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power” (2 Tim 3:5).
According to a new Rasmussen Report, published this past weekend, 77% of Americans believe Jesus rose from the dead. And yet the moral state of our nation and the church fails to coincide with this so-called belief. Instead, this survey result illustrates a frightening reality. People may believe the historical facts of the gospel without being saved by the gospel. A person may make a profession of faith in Christ, but in reality not possess Christ. A person may be spiritual without being spiritually alive.
Therefore, my aim in this post is to clarify your belief of what it really means to be saved—to be alive in Christ—which is a fruit of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. In order to do so, I lay out for you four implications of the resurrection that you absolutely must understand. Moreover, you must not merely understand them, but they must become the reality in which you live.
Below, I direct you to several portions of Scripture to connect some theological dots for you. These include eternally-significant truths—truths that when believed, or disbelieved, determine spiritual life or spiritual death, eternal heaven or eternal hell.
- There is new life in Jesus Christ. Like the Samaritan woman who met Jesus at the well (Jn 4), we must each individually meet Jesus there—at the well of living water—at the fountain of spiritual life. In short, we must be born again, which is only possible through the resurrection of Christ. Study 1 Peter 1:3-5.
- This new life is birthed by the Holy Spirit alone through the gospel. Just as no person conceives himself, or herself, so he or she must be born from above—by God. This is the work of the Holy Spirit through the instrument of gospel preaching (Rom 10:17; James 1:18). But how does the Holy Spirit do this supernatural work within a person? Study John 3:1-21.
- Those who are born again are supernaturally empowered within to live in newness of life. The result of the Holy Spirit causing a sinner to be born again includes the implantation of Himself as the power for living the Christian life. This is not a power imposed from outside, but a never-ending supply of living water within the heart and soul. This internal power replaces the sinner’s outward pressures to conform to others and need to be motivated by others ultimately. Study Ephesians 2:8-10; 4:20-24. Can you say with the apostle, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Gal 2:20)?
- The final consummation of this newness of life is eternal life. Eternal life in Jesus Christ is not merely the gift that God grants to sinners after a lifetime of trying their hardest to please Him but falling short. It is the natural outcome of the sanctifying power of the new life planted within at the moment of true conversion. Study Romans 6:20-23.
Jesus Christ is risen! Are you risen? I do not ask if you have made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. Why? Because a profession of faith is not the most critical issue. But I will ask this: Do you possess Jesus Christ? And does He possess you? Is your version of “the Christian life” empowered from within, supernaturally? Or is your spirituality motivated externally by the rigorous disciplines of religion? Are you merely driven by personal performance or by pressure from others? Do you possess new life? Is there an unquenchable desire within you—separate from anyone else—to know God, to love God, to pursue God? Have you experienced a new beginning, a new birth, the inner transformation that supernaturally changes your “I wants” and your “I wills”?
Jesus Christ rose from the grave to give you new life. Do you possess this new life? If so, are you walking in it?
[Originally posted April 2012]