“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God” (Col 3:1).
“I believe” are words that have become seldom used. Believe in what? Doubt has permeated thought life to the point that few understand what to believe. The world has become a world without absolutes. The bedrock of absolute truth has dissolved into the murky water of relativism. As this dissolving has occurred, instead of moral values based in the unchanging Word, we glimpse the human element of self-aggrandizement and the deprecation of restraint. We live what we believe; when there is belief in the absolute truth and authority of the Word, then the character of God is revealed and distinctive moral principles guide us. Our society has dismantled the moral code of God and has replaced it with thinking that says all truth is relative to the time and the interpretation of where and when we live. It is a culture that boldly declares the Bible is unbelievable. It is a culture that has produced the destruction of marriage as God designed it and the destruction of the innocence of babies and children. It has left large segments of our society prey to the whims of our violent, unrestrained, “yea hath God said” world.
In the midst of this murkiness, the highest satisfaction in the human experience is accomplished by the four words, “I believe in God.” This includes the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, the personal spiritual resurrection to a life of obedience to Jesus, and the future hope of a personal bodily resurrection and the general resurrection of the righteous. Belief in the unchanging God who has written an unchanging Word, in which He declares that death is not the end but an enemy that will be overcome, gives hope for the future. People who do not believe in these absolutes live in the murkiness of humanism and its doubt-driven fatalism, whose principles shift with the fads, the philosophy, and the lifestyle of society around them. These people are given to self-gratification and the immediate selfish pleasure of the here and now.
The potential of the resurrection is implied in the confidence of the apostle Paul in Second Timothy 1:11–12, “Where unto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”
Human experience is punctuated with weakness and uncertainty. We are uncertain about the economy, politics, health, and many other things. The apostle Paul had absolute belief that his potential was in the absolute keeping power of God. His potential as a preacher, apostle, and teacher was in the absolute fact of Whom he believed. He was absolutely convinced that the power of God would keep him as he traveled in the dangerous towns and roads of Rome and even in the perilous “regions beyond.”
Christians are a people of resurrection potential; it has infused into life the potential of the humanly impossible. No longer should we feel limited when God says, “Go into all the world,” “come out from among them,” “return good for evil,” “do good to those who hate you,” etc. The potential of Christian life is in the object of our belief, the omnipotent God Who can resurrect the dead. The cause for courage is, “I know whom I have believed,” for, “he is able”!
Jesus at Caesarea Philippi declared that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the church. What spiritual fortitude this should build in us as we labor in the work of the church! Following God’s plan, the church will prevail. The church’s invincibility is evidenced in the resurrection.
Belief in the resurrection instigates a behavior change that is driven by the transforming power of God that defies conventional worldly wisdom. Romans 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Exposure of the body is driven by, and has no standard but, the shifting principles of imaginative fashion designers. We must insist on God’s standard of holiness in this area for ourselves, our children, and church members. Resurrection thinking will not accommodate half steps away from God’s standards of no outward adorning and no costly array. We will continue in God’s plan of headship, with the outward sign being the covered head, not the hair, as the prominent feature of a godly woman’s head.
Church leaders who have risen with Christ will seek to maintain and enforce God’s standard of holiness in a meek but decisive manner. They are aware of the subtle deviations of the crafty design of the devil, who tempts with the lie that says we can have one foot in the door of the church and the other in the world. Computers and handheld devices that have open access to the web are fascinating to the young, and seemingly important to the business men. At what spiritual price do they come? Can we afford to be lethargic and apathetic in the administration of our standard of these things? Are these things so important that the supposed need overrides the time tested method of caution?
Someone has said Satan has proposed the impossible, that we can serve God and mammon. Halfway Christianity is no Christianity at all. The question that burns into our consciousness is, “How can we be halfway resurrected?” The provision of Christ’s death and resurrection insure that we indeed can say, “I believe in the resurrection.”
“Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead diet. no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 6:911).
The absolute of the resurrection gives basis to the way we think; reckoning ourselves to be dead but alive gives us a way of thinking that not only inspires us, but gives us the ability and the potential to succeed in Christian experience. “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins” (1Cor 15:17).
Can we say that “I believe” in the absolute of the incomprehensible power of the resurrection?
“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1Th 4:14-18).
He is risen indeed!