And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
It is Easter today, but Easter is not really a very commercialized or publicized holiday where I am, and Easter this year is considerably earlier than usual, so to be honest, the Christ-has-risen message didn’t quite hit home. Hence this meditation, I guess, on the significance of Christ having risen. What did it mean? What does it mean, for us? In 2 Cor 5 Paul launched a passionate defense of the conduct of the apostles [2 Cor 5:12], and clarifies that the way they live is solely down to the staunch belief that this was the reason why Christ died on the cross for them [2 Cor 5:14-15] – so that they could live again as a new creation [2 Cor 5:17|Article], and do live for God and not for themselves. It is a mentality that the world will view as out of their minds [2 Cor 5:13], but they no longer look at matters from the world’s view [2 Cor 5:16]. The death – and the revival of Christ – changed the way the apostles lived.
That Christ is risen is something that has been mentioned a number of times in the New Testament – especially with many of the New Testament authors being witnesses to the death and the subsequent revival of Christ.
And he died for all – When he died, he died for us, men, so that we may live. To live, in the Bible, is not merely to breathe and to function, but to be live and be free from sin. His death for us was not meant to tie us into guilt or obligation to him – For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. [John 3:17] It was an act of salvation.
that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them – Because he died for us, we should live for him. Because through his death we are free from sin, hence we should live for him. Because by his death we are given a new beginning, hence we should change our ways to center around him. The apostles were full-time workers for God’s kingdom, even though the likes of Paul was known to tent-make as well and didn’t need to depend on the charity of the churches. In the lives of the apostles they were so Christ-centric and all their activities revolved around the message, the gospel and the church. Indeed, they no longer lived for themselves but for him who died for them. The best hint, perhaps, is from the fact that most of the apostles died as martyrs for God’s kingdom’s cause.
who died for them and was raised again – There are two parts to this process – firstly his death, second his revival. Well, obviously, but let’s look at them in greater detail. The death of Christ meant a lot – it was a necessary sacrifice, it was necessary for blood to be shed, it was necessary for a life to be ended, it was necessary for Christ to be crucified – one of the worst ways to die. And of course, without the death of Christ there wouldn’t be a revival to talk about anyway. But without his revival, it would perhaps be completely meaningless to worship him. His revival is significant in showing that he conquers death; he has the power over death; and that he is a living God. If he had merely died, but not revived again, how would he be different from the many martyrs from the Bible? How would he be any different from the idols that others worship? No – the key to his difference is demonstrated by his revival. This is an omnipotent god – the god of Gods, the king of kings. Jesus wasn’t just a martyr. No other martyr would die and revive again. That wouldn’t be much of a martyrdom, would it?
If you life didn’t change after knowing that Christ died for you and why, something is probably quite wrong. We probably won’t be like the apostles – who gave their entire lives to God, even in their career paths. We can live entirely for God even without serving full-time. If all the Christians in the world are pastors and missionaries, then who’s going to spread the gospel to the marketplace and the heartlands? Jesus died for you to wash away your sins. Don’t start sinning again. Don’t waste the new beginning Christ has given you. Don’t waste the faith God had in you – that he would send his son to die for you. Reconcile yourself with God.