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Life: But now … victory

• The Bible Studies for Life lesson for April 20 focuses on 1 Corinthians 15:20-28.

Many people question the need for a Savior. Others say Jesus was a great prophet or a good teacher, but he died and still is dead. Still others think this resurrection thing is a little far fetched. Why does resurrection matter anyway?

For centuries, the church has declared: “He is risen. He is risen, indeed.” The Apostle Paul’s argument in this week’s passage is that without Christ’s resurrection, we are still lost in our sin and spiritually dead (1 Corinthians 15:17). We celebrate his resurrection because “Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20). His victory is our hope.

Adam’s sin ... mine

A biblical worldview believes sin separates man from God. Sin came into the world with one act of disobedience. Adam and Eve were enjoying a perfect relationship with their Creator in the garden. There was no shame, grief, anger, adultery, lust, lying, murder, theft or any other sin we struggle with in our lives.

But it all changed when they gave in to the temptation to eat the forbidden fruit. Genesis 3 records the exchange between the tempter and Adam and Eve. It’s almost as if the tempter said: “Go ahead. Eat the fruit. It won’t kill you. How could God be good and deny you the fruit from this one tree? He doesn’t want you to eat it because he knows you will be like him. You will know the difference between good and evil.”

Adam had no idea what “evil” was, because it had not entered the world yet. God knew. With the one act of disobedience, sin and death entered the world. Adam’s sin changed the life of every person who ever has or ever will live on planet Earth.

We cannot be too harsh on Adam because we, too, are sinners. We, too, have turned our backs on our Creator and done what we think is right in our own eyes. We ignore the teachings of the one who knew what he intended our lives to be.

Romans 5:12 reads, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.“ Paul affirms the same thought in 1 Corinthians 15:21-22. Adam’s sin brought death to all humankind.

Christ’s resurrection ... our victory

Aren’t you glad the story doesn’t end there? A biblical worldview believes the perfect sacrifice of our sinless Savior paid the penalty for our sin. Paul called Jesus “the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20).

Lazarus and Jarius’ daughter are two examples of people Jesus raised from the dead. The difference between them and Jesus is that they died again. The Son of Man was crucified on a cross and buried in a borrowed tomb. But on the third day, the grave no longer could hold him, and the resurrected Christ burst forth victorious. He was resurrected once and for all. No more death because Jesus broke its power.

His resurrection guarantees we also will be resurrected. Even as he is alive, those who belong to Christ also will experience the same life he lives.

Not only are we raised to eternal life, the enemy is put under the feet of Christ. Sin and death were defeated on the cross. Jesus crushed them. When the time is fulfilled for Christ to return, the enemy will be totally defeated and evil will be no more. The one who deceived Adam and Eve in the garden finally will be finished. The relationship God desired with his creation will be fully restored.

We only have to hear a news report to understand the enemy still deceives and destroys. There is strife in our homes. Murder, robbery, greed, immoral behavior, lying and all manner of evil seem rampant in our world. It is hard to see the victory when we are in the midst of the battle.

But victory is ours because we belong to Christ. As you consider this passage, begin by giving thanks for the redemptive work of God in your own life. Consider what your life was like when you were spiritually dead. How has Christ changed you?

Too many people in our world never have encountered an authentic disciple of Jesus. They know people who go to church, but they want to see someone who lives in the victory Christ has won for those who belong to him. Where do you still need to experience the resurrection power that raised Christ from the grave?

The story is told of a missionary who went to a remote part of Africa to share the good news of Jesus Christ. As he spoke with the chief of the village, the man said, “If this Jesus is so powerful, what took you so long to come and tell us?”

Who in your sphere of influence is asking that same question? If you have experienced the victory he won for you, tell someone. You can start with these words, “He is risen!”

 
 
 
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