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The Best News Ever

April 1995 | by James Montgomery Boice

There Is one true God

In the first place, it proves that there is a God and that the God of the Bible is the true God. Reuben A. Torrey, who often spoke and wrote well on these themes, put it this way: ‘Every effect must have an adequate cause … and the only cause adequate to account for the resurrection of Christ is God, the God of the Bible. While here on earth, as everyone who has carefully read the story of his life knows, our Lord Jesus went up and down the land proclaiming God, the God of the Bible, “the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” as he loved to call him, the God of the Old Testament as well as the New. He said that men would put him to death, that they would put him to death by crucifixion, and he gave many details as to what the manner of his death would be. He further said that after his body had been in the grave three days and three nights, God, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, the God of the Bible, the God of the Old Testament as well as the God of the New Testament, would raise him from the dead. This was a great claim to make. It was an apparently impossible claim. For centuries men had come and men had gone, men had lived and men had died, and so far as human knowledge founded upon definite observation and experience was concerned, that was the end of them. But this man Jesus does not hesitate to claim that his experience will be directly contrary to the uniform experience of long, long centuries …

The Centurion by James Tissot
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‘That was certainly an acid test of the existence of the God he preached, and his God stood the test. He did exactly the apparently impossible thing that our Lord Jesus said he would do … The fact that Jesus was thus miraculously and marvelously raised makes it certain that the God who did it really exists and that the God he preached is the true God.’ Jesus Christ is Lord; secondly, the resurrection of Jesus Christ proves the deity of our Lord. When Jesus lived upon earth he claimed to be equal to God and that God, his God, would raise him from the dead three days after his execution by the Roman authorities. If he was wrong in this, his claim was either the raving of a deranged man or blasphemy. If he was right, the resurrection would be God’s way of substantiating the claim. Did he substantiate it? Did Jesus rise from the dead? Yes, he did! So the resurrection is God’s seal on Christ’s claim to divinity. This is why Paul, who knew that Jesus had been raised, writes that Jesus was ‘declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead’ (Romans 1:4). This is good news! If Jesus Christ is God, then God is like Jesus. It means that God is not distant, arbitrary, or unreal. He is a God who loves us and who came to earth to give himself a ransom for our sins.

All who believe are justified

Then, too, the resurrection proves that all who believe in Jesus Christ are justified before God. Paul teaches this in Romans also, for he states that Jesus ‘was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification’ (Romans 4:25). How does this happen? Jesus had claimed that his death would atone for man’s sin. He said that he had come ‘to give his life a ransom for many’ (Matthew 20:28). He died as he said. But the question still remained: Can it be true that the death of this one man is acceptable to God on behalf of others? Suppose he had sinned? In that case, he would have been dying for his own sin rather than the sins of others. Did he sin? Or was his atonement accepted? Three days pass. Christ rises. Thus, his claim is established. God has shown by the resurrection that Christ was sinless and that he has accepted his atonement.

Torrey wrote on this point, ‘When Jesus died, he died as my representative, and I died in him; when he arose, he rose as my representative, and I arose in him; when he ascended up on high and took his place at the right hand of the Father in glory, he ascended as my representative and I ascended in him, and today I am seated in Christ with God in the heavenlies. I look at the cross of Christ, and I know that atonement has been made for my sins; I look at the open sepulchre and the risen and ascended Lord, and I know the atonement has been accepted. There no longer remains a single sin on me, no matter how many or how great my sins may have been.’

They have power over sin

The resurrection of Jesus Christ also proves that the believer in Christ can have a supernatural victory over sin in this life, for Jesus lives to provide supernatural power to do it. This is an argument developed in the sixth chapter of Romans. In the opening verses of that chapter Paul writes, ‘Therefore, we are buried with him by baptism into death, that as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life’ (Romans 6:4). This means that by faith all who believe in Christ are united to Christ so that his power becomes available to them. We may be weak and utterly helpless, unable to resist temptation for a single minute. But he is strong, and he lives to give help and deliverance. Victory is never a question of our strength, but of his power. His power is what we need.

Image by Simon/Pixabay
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Torrey, whom I have just quoted, tells a story that illustrates this point. He tells of four men who were once climbing the most difficult face of the Matterhorn. There was a guide, a tourist, a second guide, and a second tourist, all roped together. As they went over a particularly difficult place, the lower tourist lost his footing and went over the side. The sudden pull on the rope carried the lower guide with him, and he carried the other tourist along also. Three men were dangling over the cliff. But the guide who was in the lead, feeling the first pull upon the rope, drove his axe into the ice, braced his feet, and held fast. The first tourist then regained his footing, the guide regained his, and the lower tourist followed. They then went on and up in safety.

So it is in this life. As the human race ascended the icy cliffs of life, the first Adam lost his footing and tumbled headlong over the abyss. He pulled the next man after him, and the next and the next until the whole race hung in deadly peril. But the last Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ, kept his footing. He stood fast. Thus, all who are united to him by a living faith are secure and can regain the path.

We shall live also

Finally, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is evidence for our own resurrection and of a life with Jesus in glory beyond the grave. Jesus said when he was here on earth, ‘I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also’ (John 14:2-3). He is preparing that place now. Can we trust him? Was he telling the truth? The resurrection vindicates these claims. The end of this life is not a question mark; it is Jesus, and we shall be with him.