If you confess with
your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart God raised Him from the
dead you will be saved (Rom 10:9).
We’ve all confessed (give assent to or acknowledge) with
our mouths that Jesus is Lord and understand its importance to our
salvation, but what about the “believe in your heart” portion of the verse?
In Romans 10:10
Paul goes on to say that it’s with our heart that we believe and are
justified. The Greek word translated justify is from
dikaios which means to be innocent
or holy. The King James translates this word “believe unto righteousness”
meaning that our belief in the resurrection is what brings us our
righteousness, allowing God to regard us as though we’re innocent of any sin
and therefore holy.
The notion of a bodily resurrection is as old as the
Bible itself. It’s contained in what is arguably the earliest written book
of the Bible.
I know that my
Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after
my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will
see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!
King David knew he would see his newly deceased infant
son again (2 Sam 12:22-23) and
both Isaiah 26:20-21 and
Daniel 12:2 promise a bodily
resurrection at the end of the age.
The Church in Corinth had difficulty understanding this
so in 1 Cor. 15 Paul devoted a
whole chapter to their questions about resurrection going as far as to
state, “If Christ has not been raised
your faith is futile, you are still in your sins” (1
Cor 15:7). Yet today many who call themselves Christian still don’t
believe it. Liberal theology does not require belief in a bodily
resurrection, and even among Evangelicals it’s sometimes spiritualized away.
We know that if we believe the Bible we are required to believe in a bodily
resurrection, but do we know why it’s required?
There’s More Here
Than Meets the Eye
John the Baptist introduced Jesus as the Lamb of God Who
takes away the sins of world (John
1:29), not just the sins of the Jews or even of those Jews and Gentiles
present at the time, but the sins of the world. Every violation of God’s law
that ever had been or ever would be committed was to be dealt with. Of
course this didn’t mean that the world would no longer be a sinful place, or
that everyone would be saved, but that the penalty for the sins of the world
would be borne by the Lamb of God for the benefit of all who chose to accept
it. Here’s how it happened.
In Roman crucifixions a sign was posted above the head of
the one being executed listing the broken laws for which his life was being
taken. It was meant as a deterrent for those watching the public executions.
In Jesus’ case the sign said “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews”
indicating his crime against Rome was treason. In
Col 2:13-14 we’re told that in
the spiritual realm another sign was also posted. It listed all the sins
that mankind ever had or ever would commit. It explained why His life was
really being taken.
When you were dead
in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you
alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written
code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to
us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross (Col 2:13-14).
Notice it says He forgave us all our sins. Not just the
ones we committed before we were saved, and not just the ones we commit by
accident. He forgave all of our sins, even those we commit willfully and
says that Jesus offered for all time one sacrifice for sin and then sat down
at the right hand of God, because by that one sacrifice He has made us
perfect forever. His death took place on one specific day in time, but its
effect applies across the span of time to all the days of every man. We only
have to ask for God’s forgiveness to receive it.
But Jesus actually did much more than bear the punishment
due us. 2 Cor 5:21 says that
God made Him who had no sin to be sin
for us so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. In other
words, while on the cross He became the physical embodiment of sin. God can
not dwell in the presence of sin, nor even look upon it (Haba 1:13) and so He had to turn away, separating Himself from His
Son. For 3 hours light was taken from the world and for the first time in
eternity the 2 were not 1.
If the ultimate punishment for sin is complete separation
from God, Jesus suffered it then. It was the only time in the entire ordeal
that He complained, crying, “My God,
My God, why have you forsaken Me?” (Matt
27:45-46) When He had died, His punishment over, He no longer
personified sin and the light was restored.
What’s The Point?
After His resurrection, Jesus looked like other men to
His disciples and the 500 eyewitnesses who saw Him (1 Cor. 15:6). He walked with His disciples, talked with them, ate
with them and permitted them to touch Him to assure themselves He was not
just a spirit, but a man with flesh and bone (Luke
24:36-43). His was a bodily resurrection. Later He ascended into heaven
to sit at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
Now here’s the point. Remember, God cannot be in the
presence of sin or even look upon it (Haba
1:13). Jesus had taken upon himself every sin of mankind, past, present,
and future. If even one was left unpaid by His death, Jesus couldn’t be in
God’s presence and would still be in the grave (Rom
6:23). His resurrection is proof of yours. If you cannot believe that
God raised Jesus from the dead then you cannot believe that all your sins
are forgiven and that He will raise you up.
But Christ has
indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen
asleep. For since death came through a man the resurrection of the dead
comes also through a man. For in Adam all die so in Christ all will be made
alive (1 Cor. 15:20-22).
On that Sunday morning in April of 32AD, as the sun was
rising, the priests in the Temple were preparing for the festival that
always begins on the morning after the first Sabbath after Passover. It was
First Fruits, signifying the beginning of the spring harvest for the Nation
And Mary was going to the tomb with some other women to
complete the burial process that had been interrupted by the holy days
following the crucifixion. But the tomb was empty. The Son had risen, the
First Fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
That empty tomb was the clearest sign we have ever
received that the Lord had accomplished His mission. The Lamb of God had
indeed taken away the sin of the world, all of it.
The essential gospel is that Jesus died for our sins, was
buried, and that He was raised on the third day (1 Cor. 15:3-4). Believing this is the only qualification for
salvation. We are sinners in need of a savior. Jesus died for
our sins, and to prove that His death was sufficient for us, God
raised Him from the dead on the third day. Believing in our heart that God
raised Him from the dead is our assurance that He will raise us, too.