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The Resurrection

By David A. DePra

I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. (John 11:25-26)

Resurrection is victory over death. Resurrection is not merely life – it is life FROM OUT OF death. Thus, by definition, death has been conquered, overcome, and defeated, if there has been a true resurrection.

In one sense of the word, when Jesus raised people from the dead, there was a victory over death. But in those cases, there was simply a reversal of death, and the one raised was raised to the same old life as before. This is not the case with resurrection in Christ. Resurrection in Christ is unto a NEW kind and quality of life. More specifically, resurrection in Christ is unto HIS life – it is unto Him AS our life.

Many of us still think that Jesus died and was raised to appease the anger of God, and to improve the human race. We think that all He did was to give the human race a chance for a clean start. No. This is serious error. Jesus did not come to improve the human race. Rather, He came to END IT through death. Unless we see this we will never understand the redemption. Jesus was the LAST Adam – the entire human race was perfected only IN HIM -- and then He presented Himself as the Lamb without sin. He was crucified. Thus, the entire Adamic human race ended at the Cross. It has no future but death.

The resurrection, therefore, was the birth of a NEW race – we are NEW creatures in Christ Jesus. This is surely NEW life – but it is a different KIND of life. A new creature in Christ is a person who has been raised with Christ, and thus, one in whom Christ Himself dwells. This new kind of life – i.e., eternal life – is resurrection life. Resurrection life in Christ is more than simply a kind of life that cannot die. Rather, it carries VICTORY OVER DEATH.


Jesus Christ came to destroy all of the works of Satan. The last enemy is death. This victory was sealed when God raised Him from out of the dead. But this same Jesus dwells in us. Thus, all that He is through that resurrection dwells in us. In Christ, we share – if we will believe and yield – full victory.

Christ, Our Life

Jesus said, "I AM the resurrection." He did not merely say that He came to raise a few people from the dead, or to teach about resurrection. He said I AM. This won’t make much sense until we realize that Christianity means Christ IS our life – Christianity is CHRIST IN US – and Christ in us equals Christ AS our life. Thus, He IS our resurrection. In short, Jesus did not merely raise us from the dead. Rather, we are raised IN HIM. He made Himself one with us in spirit, and the moment He did, He became our life – He became our resurrection.

Have we realized that if we are in Jesus Christ, that His presence in us by the Holy Spirit is the ONLY life we have? And that He is all that resurrection means to us? His presence in us is completely victory over death, yes, but victory over all that belongs to the realm of sin and death.

We know that freedom from sin begins with the Cross. Only if we are crucified with Christ is it possible to be set free from the power of the sin nature. Only if we are crucified with Christ is resurrection life possible. Omit the Cross, neglect the Cross, deny the Cross, and you are deceived. But having said that, the Christian LIFE is not lived in the power of the Cross. It is lived in the power of His resurrection.

If I try to live the Christian life without the foundation of the Cross I will fail. I will live in darkness because without the foundation of the Cross I will not be living in HIS life, but will be trying to live in my own. So we must absolutely have as our foundation the reality of Christ crucified. But upon that foundation we must live in the resurrection life of Jesus Christ.

The Cross breaks the power of the old life. But the Cross alone does not impart to us NEW life. For new life there must come the resurrection that the Cross makes possible. And that resurrection is not unto a thing, or a condition, or unto merely a power. It is new life IN Christ Jesus. By virtue of us being raised in Him, He becomes our resurrection and our life. It is therefore in the power of resurrection life in Christ, who is in us by the Spirit, that we live the Christian life.

Now, having said all of these things, we really need to realize that what we are talking about here is not doctrine. The doctrines explain these truths. But we are talking about a Person who dwells in us. Jesus Christ crucified and Jesus Christ raised are the same Person. Thus, both realities are IN HIM.

The Lazarus Principle

You will note that when Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick, He did not rush over to Bethel before it was too late. No. Rather, He deliberately waited until Lazarus died. There is a principle in this story. God must wait until all of our hope in ourselves, or in anything else, dies – and then, and only then, can there be a resurrection.

The reason that this is so is not because of some religious tenet that God one day sat down and established. No. It is because of the nature of things. If there is to be a true resurrection – where Christ alone is our life, and where the will of God is our only will – then all else must be allowed to die. Otherwise, what is raised will not be of God. You cannot have TWO lives. You cannot serve TWO masters.

So what is being illustrated in this story is not the obvious fact that it is never too late for God. That is included. But the underlying principle is that there cannot be resurrection until there is a death. This ought to be an encouragement because it means that if your life is falling apart around you it is unto a resurrection. It means that if God is allowing your life to be taken out of your hands that it is not a sign that something is wrong. It is a sign that something is right – He intends something better, and upon a completely OTHER basis, that of Christ.

This is a Truth stated over and over again in the NT. Jesus said, "Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it. But whoever loses it for My sake will find it."

But so often when we apply these Truths, we tend to limit their application to things, situations, and our lot in life. We say, "God is letting this situation deteriorate because He has some THING better for me." Well, that is secondary. God’s primary purpose in these matters is not to give us a better situation. It is not for the situation to die. Rather, it is for US to die. God wants to establish us on a totally different basis – that of the life of Jesus Christ. Any situation that needs to be changed can only be changed if the foundation of our life itself is changed.

It is God’s will that Christ be our life – in every way. He wants us to completely die to our life – to everything about ourselves as the basis for our living, and as the basis for our life before God. Thus, when our Lazarus is sick and we call upon God for help, this is why He may be silent to us. God wants our Lazarus – who is US in any matter – He wants to wait for him to die. Then He can come and raise us up upon the resurrection life we have in Christ.

The Presence of Christ

Resurrection life is impossible unless Christ is our life. It is impossible unless we have lost our life – or are at least in the process of doing so. To the extent that we continue to live before God on the basis of ourselves, there will be no power. But if we lose our lives, then we will, "know Him, and the power of His resurrection."

The power of His resurrection is not a THING God hands us to use in the performing of miracles. No. The power of His resurrection is Christ in us – free to operate according to the will of God – because we have come under the Cross. And the power of His resurrection is not only the power of life, but it is the power of a life that has fully overcome death and all the things of death.

If we want the power of His resurrection to be made manifest, then Christ has to be brought into a situation, and we have to let go. But we have to do this, not because we think it is a technique we must follow to get desired results, but we have to do it BY FAITH – we have to do it because we are absolutely committed to Jesus Christ.

There is nothing that is impossible for God. But we need to get out of the way. We need to put under the Cross our interests, our agenda, and our personal pride. We need to let His life operate unto the will of God and the glory of God.

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