Theology 101

Christ’s Resurrection & the Joy of Life

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As we survey the media landscape, it is easy to become discouraged when we witness suffering and evil throughout the world. However, the Easter season is a wonderful time for Christians because it reminds us of where our hope and joy are found. It reminds us that the pain we witness and experience is not the end of the story. Christ’s resurrection is a powerful reminder that we are overcomers through him.

While in an imprisoned state, the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Philippi and used very strong language to describe the joy of life in perspective of the resurrection. He wrote:

“Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:18-21, ESV).

Even through his suffering, Paul continued to rejoice because he knew that his life belonged to Christ. Whether he lived or died, Paul realized there was nothing that could steal his joy or his eternal inheritance. It is important to remember that his ability to rejoice during difficulties was only possible, and logical, because of Christ’s suffering and resurrection. Through his own pain, Paul could identify with Christ’s suffering, but it is Christ’s resurrection that provided Paul with the ability to rejoice.

He knew that his imprisoned state was not permanent, but his relationship with the resurrected Christ was eternal. This is why he confidently declared, “to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Paul’s eventual death was not the end of the story, but it was the beginning of an eternal inheritance full of joy and absent of suffering. Just as it was for Paul, Christ’s resurrection continues to be the source of joy for every person who puts their faith in Christ.

As we celebrate the Easter season, may we remember a few important things. This fallen world is not our permanent residence, but we have an inheritance with Christ that is made possible because of his resurrection. As we focus on the reality of our resurrected Savior, it puts all of life in proper perspective. Yes, suffering is real (and hard), but it also is not permanent for the person whose faith is in Christ.

Considering eternity with Christ, we can rejoice in our suffering because he is greater than anything we could ever experience in this life. Also, as was true for the Apostle Paul, our mandate is to live for Christ and our inheritance is the gain we will receive when passing from this life into the next.

Without the resurrection, there would be no hope or cause for rejoicing, but the reality of the resurrection gives us the ability to rejoice in all circumstances. Again, “to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Take some time to meditate on those words. All too often, the busyness of Easter can cause us to miss out on the significance of Christ’s sacrifice. Let us not become so busy that we lose perspective on life during this time. Christ has risen, and our hope and joy are alive in him.

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