The resurrection pertains to our salvation, but also to out our sanctification. When a Christian sets his hope both in our past death and resurrection in union with Christ, and our future resurrection at His appearing, there will be a change in our lives. The former makes the change, and the latter motivates a change. Let us examine both of these. Read and be blessed on this glorious Easter
As for our union with Christ and our response:
This is the chapter on union with Christ and contains so much practical application. Paul wrote this to combat the thought of continuing to sin after being saved because God would continue to be gracious (Rom. 5:21-6:1). He blows that idea away! It is foolish beyond foolishness!
Look at what Paul considers the result of our union with Christ in His resurrection:
Verse 2- We have died to sin. The result? We shall no longer live in sin.
Verse 4- Christ was raised from the dead. The result? We will walk in newness of life.
Verse 6- Our old self was crucified with Christ. The result? We are no longer slaves of sin. The body of sin is rendered powerless.
Verse 7- We have died, presumably with Christ. The result? We are freed from sin.
Verses 10-11- Christ died to sin and lives to God. The result? We are dead to sin and made alive to God.
Verse 12- Christ died to sin and lives to God. The result? We are to present our members to God for righteousness.
Verse 14- We are now under grace. Verse 18- We are now slaves of righteousness.
Verse 22- We are now enslaved to God.
This chapter contains both the forsaking of sin due to our union with Christ in His death, and our partaking in righteous deeds due to our union with Christ in His resurrection.
United with Christ in death: “For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God,” (Col. 3:3). The application comes from just before this in verse 2. We will no longer set our minds on the things that are on earth, but will rather set them on the things above.
Further, in verses 5, and 8-9 we see lists of sinful deeds which we must put off. In both cases we are given the reason for this putting off. In verse 5, it is because we are dead to those deeds. In verses 8 and 9, we are to lay aside these deeds because our old self has also been laid aside. Thus our death with Christ means a death to our flesh and their control over us.
United with Christ in resurrection: “You have been raised with Christ,” (Col. 3:1); “Christ is your life,” (Col 3:4). Along with this discontinuation of sinful deeds comes the dawning of new righteous needs. This starts in verse 12 where we are called chosen, holy, and beloved. It is “as” (key word) these people that we do these things. Being that we are chosen, holy, and beloved, we will do what a chosen, holy, beloved person does! It goes beyond this, however, for the thought goes back to verse 10. We have put on the new self and are being renewed to a true knowledge. This is the fuel for the fire! The new creation we become through Jesus’ resurrection is empowered by the Spirit to bear fruit for God.
Ephesians 2:5-6 “[God] even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
We were raised up with Him. He was just writing at the end of chapter 1 about how the power of God raised up Christ and seated Him at the right hand of God. This chapter starts off with our state before God’s grace, then describes the means of our salvation, and finally the aftermath. He brings it back around to show that God raises us up and seats us at His right hand too. This will help us see what our new life through Christ should be like. We will see both what we no longer do, and what we begin to do.
Verse 1- “you were dead in your trespasses,” (also in verse 5).
Verse 2- “you walked according to…the world…the devil…etc.”
Verse 3- “we all lived in and indulged the lusts of our flesh…”
That was our state before we were raised with Him. We were enslaved by sin.
So what is the purpose of God’s saving and raising us with Christ? Deeds–God created us for good works. The last phrase in verse 10 is also important: “that we would walk in them.” Does that sound familiar? It is contrasting verse 2. Before salvation we walked in the flesh, but now we walk in good works.
As for the future resurrection and our response:
2 Corinthians 4:14– “…He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you.”
This context is all about Paul’s ministry, and the sufferings therein. Throughout all of his being afflicted, perplexed, persecution, being struck down, dying as Jesus did, being delivered over to death (2 Cor. 4:7-12). To get him through, he was looking forward to “the things unseen” (v. 18), which includes glory far beyond all comparison (v. 17). He was looking forward to the day when he would be presented before God with them (v. 14).
This view is similar to how Paul considered the Thessalonian church his crown of exultation, and his glory and joy when Christ returns (1 Thes. 2:19). There will be reward for all of his preaching; an imperishable wreath for which he beats his body (1 Cor. 9:24-27).
Therefore, looking ahead to the reward and relief at the return of Christ will drive the believer toward ministry. The blessed hope of the resurrection will help realign our thinking to look for heavenly reward instead of earthly comforts.
1 Thessalonians 4:14– “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.”
This here is Paul’s teaching concerning those who are asleep (v. 13). He is writing this to the church in order that they do not grieve as those without hope (v. 13). Paul says in his first letter to the Corinthians that, “if Christ has not been raised…then those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished,” (1 Cor. 15:17-18). Yet because of the resurrection of Christ there is hope that “the dead will be raised imperishable” (1 Cor. 15:52)!
This contrast of grieving and hope reminds me of my old workplace. Any time somebody in our plant or the plant in Florida would lose a family member, all of us would sign a card. Most of my coworkers would write, Sorry for your loss, or, I am thinking of you. Now, I’m not saying they don’t care about the families, but what hope does that give? So what if somebody in New York is thinking of you? That won’t bring their mother back! So I always wrote in the cards, There is hope in the resurrection of Christ.
So again, we do not grieve as the world does at the death of a believer. In light of the future resurrection, we ought to “comfort one another with these words” (1 Thes. 4:18). In light of the salvation through Christ we have in the future, we ought “to encourage one another and build up one another” (1 Thes. 5:11).
Philippians 3:21– “He will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.”
The thought goes back to verse 17 where Paul exhorts them, “Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.” There are two truths that lead him to say this. The first is the poor example of the evil men in verses 18-19 (For many walk…), and the second is our possession and blessing in verse 20 (For our citizenship is in heaven). Thus I think he is working both forward and backward in his speech. “We should follow the apostles’ examples because there are evil men whose end is destruction, and because we have a future hope.” That’s one way to put it, going forward. The other, going in reverse, would be “Jesus is returning one day, and when He does He will change us; therefore, let us live a righteous life as the apostles did!”
1 John 3:2– “We know that when He appears, we will be like Him.”
Just after this he states, “Everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself…” In light of Christ’s return, and our subsequent resurrection and glory, we ought to live pure lives! This same exhortation is found right before this, in 2:28. He tells his readers to abide in Christ in light of His appearing. We do not want to shrink away from Him in shame when He comes back.