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Because He Lives

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On Easter Sunday we sang the song, “Because He Lives.” This song was written by Bill and Gloria Gaither and published 50 years ago – in 1971. It has been a favorite hymn for many. It’s especially fitting to sing on Easter Sunday (at the top of your lungs!) since the resurrection of Jesus changes everything. The background of the song is interesting, as in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, there was much  chaos in the world: wars, racial division, political strife, assassinations, and a loss of confidence in leadership in the world. While much of our world looks different 50 years later, there is also a sense in which the world seems very similar to how it was back then. 

In the midst of these challenges in the world, as well as some specific challenges in their lives, the Gaithers experienced a profound peace as they reflected on the fact that God gave His Son. They, too, were expecting a child, and the truth that Jesus had come into the world and  was risen from the dead gave them hope to be able to face tomorrow. Over the past 50 years, many others have been blessed by these words. 

In addition to this song, another place I like to look for comfort and hope due to the truth of Jesus’s resurrection is the Heidelberg Catechism – written even longer ago (1563) in a time in which people were experiencing a whole different set of trying circumstances that led to the need to explore the reasons for hope and comfort in life and in death. I think the Catechism helps us see even more why the resurrection changes everything, why fear is gone and we can face tomorrow.

Question & Answer 45 of the Catechism is this:

Q: How does Christ’s resurrection benefit us?
A: First, by his resurrection he has overcome death, so that he might make us share in the righteousness he obtained for us by his death. Second, by his power we too are already raised to a new life. Third, Christ’s resurrection is a sure pledge to us of our blessed resurrection”

I want to explore the three reasons the resurrection benefits us.

Because He Lives . . . I am Righteous
It says first that Jesus’s resurrection makes us “share in the righteousness he obtained for us by his death.” This is the reminder that because Jesus rose, it shows us that his death was a sufficient and acceptable sacrifice for our sins. If he did not rise from the dead, we would not be justified and right with God (see Romans 4:25); if there is no resurrection, we are still in our sins (see 1 Corinthians 15:16-20). Because he lives, I am forgiven of my sins and granted the righteousness of Jesus; God sees my sin placed on the cross and now clothes me with Jesus’s righteousness. I no longer need to earn God’s love or acceptance – Jesus has done it for me and I am assured of it – Because He Lives!

Because He Lives . . . I am Renewed
The second benefit listed in the Heidelberg Catechism is this: “by his power we too are already raised to a new life.” This is the idea that we are not just forgiven of our sins, but that the Spirit of God is inside of us and moves us to put to death the sinful behaviors that marked our lives; we are justified (declared right before God) and also sanctified (made holy). We have died to sin and now are able to live righteously, as Paul tells us in places like Romans 6:5-11 and Colossians 3:1-4. The promise is not that we will always have perfect obedience, but we do see that obedience is possible. I can overcome sin and live the way that God desires me to do so – Because He Lives! 

Because He Lives . . . I will be Resurrected
The third and final implication of the resurrection noted in the Heidelberg Catechism is that “Christ’s resurrection is a sure pledge to us of our blessed resurrection.” Jesus is the firstfruits, the firstborn from the dead – showing us that we too will be raised from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:12-23), as the same Spirit that raised Jesus will also raise us (Romans 8:11). We believe in the resurrection of the body – the resurrection of our bodies when Christ returns. The theological term for this is glorication – our bodies will be raised like Jesus and we will be like him (see Philppians 3:20-21). This is a reminder that we will still experience pain, suffering, and death in this life, but that is not the end of the story as we will be raised again along with all those who believe in Jesus. Death is not the end of us – Because He Lives!

And So Much More . . .
Those three truths are connected to the resurrection of Jesus – and there would be more as this is the foundation of our faith. Because of the resurrection, we are justified, are being sanctified, and will be glorified. These truths are why fears in this world can be overcome. This does not happen easily, so we have to go back to the resurrection each day to remember this truth. We can face tomorrow and know that life is worth the living because He lives. This is as true today as it was 50 years ago when the Gaithers wrote their song – and over 450 years ago when the Heidelberg Catechism was written. It is not just true on Easter, but everyday. Let us live our lives with hope – Because our Savior lives! 

Questions about the Bible or theology? Email them to Pastor Brian at Theology@WeAreFaith.org. You can also request to receive weekly emails with our blog posts by filling out the information on the right side.

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He Gets Us

Though Jesus walked the earth 2,000 years ago, He still knows about the problems you face today. Not only does Jesus know what plagues us as a culture, He gets us. Jesus can relate. He was tempted, too. He was disrespected, too. He was doubted, too. He mourned, too. He suffered, too.

Faith Church is joining other churches in the Chicagoland area for the series, He Gets Us. We’ll explore that Jesus knows about our insecurity, exhaustion, anxiety, guilt, loneliness and grief. Join us for this new series as we find assurance in knowing we aren’t alone in this world. We have a Savior who gets us and cares about what we are feeling.

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