Transition to Life in the Spirit

Today’s lesson from The Power of the Gospel, titled The Power of the Resurrection, was hard to follow. At least, it was to me. This was my second time to go through it, but I still failed to see the overall purpose or meaning behind it.  Don’t get me wrong – the information was good. I just wasn’t able to fit this piece into the puzzle of the entire course. If I remember correctly, the lessons immediately following this one go back and take this lesson’s ideas and expand on them to make a bigger point.  I hope so, anyway! That said, this post will be short(er), as all I will be doing is summarizing the lesson.

At the beginning of 1 Corinthians 15, Paul outlines what he says is the foundation of the Gospel message:

Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures… (v. 1-4)

The most important things to understand from the Gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. The lesson points out that we usually understand the importance of Christ’s death, and probably His burial, since we are drilled from the moment we are first witnessed to or preached to that Christ’s blood was necessary as an atonement for our sins. But we often misunderstand the power that comes from Christ’s resurrection.  It’s important that we understand all 3 of these aspects to the Gospel message, and that identify with them. The lesson summarized it this way:

  1. In Christ’s death, your sins have been wiped out forever.
  2. In Christ’s burial, your old life has also been buried.
  3. In Christ’s resurrection, you are raised to a new life in the Spirit.**

The death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, and consequently our death to sin and new life in the Spirit, is a theme that runs right through the Gospel:

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. (Romans 6:6-8)

For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:9-11)

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. (2 Corinthians 5:14-15)

For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:19-20)

“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)

These are just a small sample of the wide array of passages that talk about our death in Christ’s death, the death of the Old Self and our old way of life, and that talk about our new life in Christ’s resurrected life. This new life represents a radical change in the way we live – “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Colossians 3:1-2).

The lesson continued by talking about how Baptism is “an active illustration of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ” and the power of God that is opened up to us in this new life we have in Christ.**  But I’m going to conclude here, and say that we will pick up with this tomorrow. As I have written this summary, and as I start to remember what the following lessons are about, I think I am starting to see where this lesson fits in to the course as a whole after all. I think the lesson served as a transition, to help us understand the New Life that is the focus of the second half of the Gospel.

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