Living Hope in the Resurrection
This is the meaning of the words by St. Paul: "Christ was raised for our justification." Here Paul turns my eyes away from my sins and directs them to Christ, for if I look at my sins, they will destroy me. Therefore I must look unto Christ who has taken my sins upon himself, crushed the head of the serpent and become the blessing. Now they no longer burden my conscience, but rest upon Christ, whom they desire to destroy. Let us see how they treat him. They hurl him to the ground and kill him. 0 God; where is now my Christ and my Saviour? But then God appears, delivers Christ and makes him alive; and not only does he make him alive, but he translates him into heaven and lets him rule over all. What has now become of sin? There it lies under his feet. If I then cling to this, I have a cheerful conscience like Christ, because I am without sin. Now I can defy death, the devil, sin and hell to do me any harm. As I am a child of Adam, they can indeed accomplish it that I must die. But since Christ has taken my sins upon himself, has died for them, has suffered himself to be slain on account of my sins, they can no longer harm me.
Martin Luther 1520
A living hope. This last Sunday we looked at that phrase as written in 1 Peter 1, he caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we discovered that this living hope is intended to be a practical daily benefit to the follower of Christ. The phrase in the greek indicates a current, alive hope. A living, breathing daily sustenance that carries us in our walk. And that is what the lesson of the resurrection should be to us.
See, we as Christians, face challenges everyday. Challenges in our relationships, in our finances, we face temptations of the flesh that work to undermine our faith and the response to the challenges are not discovered in "good advice" but in reflecting on and applying the lessons of Christ's Gospel.
Christ's resurrection teaches us the temporal nature of this life, that we have an eternal life to which we are called and therefore the trials of the life can be endured. It shows us that we have been adopted as sons and daughters of the Most High King and therefore we have an eternal inheritance secure in our walk with him empowering us to run to him in all circumstances not having to live in fear or shame. And Luther identifies, in his sermon on the resurrection, the living hope that our sins are crushed under the foot of the risen Savior and this hope allows us to "have a cheerful conscience" empowering us to defy the allure of sin in our lives.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ holds for us the Spirit empowered answer to all of the struggles of life, may we this week reflect on His resurrection for strength to overcome.