Resurrection Makes the Difference

Acts 23

by melody keena

Paul was brought before the Sanhedrin on false charges but He let the Holy Spirit lead his defense. The Sanhedrin was made up of Sadducees and Pharisees, two groups of religious leaders with very different beliefs. Paul came from a long line of Pharisees and they believed in the ultimate bodily resurrection of the dead.  The Sadducees did not, because they only used the first five books of the Bible and there is no clear teaching there about resurrection.  By bringing up the fact that he believed in the resurrection, Paul both gained supporters and an opportunity to share about the resurrected Christ. At night Jesus came and encouraged and protected Paul to let him bring the good news to others in authority. 

But what kind of difference does resurrection really make? If there is no resurrection then there is no life after death, no heaven or hell.  That is what the Sadducees believed and that is life without hope (I Peter 1:3). It is an excuse to try and get all you can out of life because there is no “tomorrow” or ultimate judgment for how you live.  If there is no resurrection, then Christ (I Corinthians 15:12) did not triumph over the grave and take the keys to hell. 

Revelation 1:18 (NIV2011)  18  I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

If Jesus did not finish the work of paying for our sins, there would have been no forgiveness for sins or way back to right relationship with God. Without resurrection, Christ would still be dead and no better than any of the other “gods” that are dead too.  Without resurrection, Jesus would not be in heaven defending those that follow Him before God, and the Holy Spirit would not have come. 

1 John 2:1 (AMP)   MY LITTLE children, I write you these things so that you may not violate God's law and sin. But if anyone should sin, we have an Advocate (One Who will intercede for us) with the Father—[it is] Jesus Christ [the all] righteous [upright, just, Who conforms to the Father's will in every purpose, thought, and action].

Without the Holy Spirit, we would have no comforter, guide, teacher, One to draw sinners to God, and much more.

John 14:26 (AMP)  26  But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you.

Praise God, He did resurrect Jesus! Jesus' resurrection is the power that changes us and frees us from the chains of sin.  The same power God used to raise Christ is at work in us.

Romans 6:4-6 (AMP)   We were buried therefore with Him by the baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious [power] of the Father, so we too might [habitually] live and behave in newness of life.   For if we have become one with Him by sharing a death like His, we shall also be [one with Him in sharing] His resurrection [by a new life lived for God].   We know that our old (unrenewed) self was nailed to the cross with Him in order that [our] body [which is the instrument] of sin might be made ineffective and inactive for evil, that we might no longer be the slaves of sin.

And God will ultimately give us new bodies and enable us to live forever with Him in heaven.

2 Corinthians 5:1-2 (MSG)   For instance, we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven—God-made, not handmade   —and we'll never have to relocate our "tents" again. Sometimes we can hardly wait to move—and so we cry out in frustration. Compared to what's coming, living conditions around here seem like a stopover in an unfurnished shack, and we're tired of it! We've been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies!

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