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by bruno sebrechts  
3/23/2021 / Bible Studies

God Raised Christ: God's Stamp of Approval on His Work of Redemption

The resurrection of Christ was unique and so much more than, for example, the resuscitation of Lazarus. Since God created the heavens and the earth through his word, his ability to raise Christ from the dead is not surprising. The special significance of this event is that God demonstrates his approval of Christ’s holiness (Acts 2:27), the authority of his claims (Acts 17:31), and the legitimacy to lead others as their Savior into new, eternal life (Acts 3:15). For he has conquered the curse of death by dying with a mortal, weak body, and by being raised with same body—but now renewed, glorious, and immortal.

Jesus’ resurrection opened the gates to a new world, with Jesus as the trailblazer, pioneer, and leader of his followers. As Messiah, he had declared that he was the way and the resurrection for all who would believe in him (John 11:25; 14:6). He rose from the dead as the “firstfruit” of those who would be brought from death to eternal life (1 Cor 15:20).

The “Supreme Court” of the universe—the sum of all God's ordinances and rulings—declared in the resurrection and exaltation of Christ that he was morally and principally entitled to start a new world, a new creation. Christ was condemned and crucified for his claims to be the Messiah and the unique Son of God (Matt 26:64-66). His resurrection implies a divine vindication; otherwise God—who raised him—would be guilty of condoning false claims: "God exalted him to be a Prince and a Savior, to give … remission of sins” (Acts 5:31; cf. 1 Cor 15:17). A good administrator will only appoint a properly qualified executor, and here the infallible God adds his signature under Christ’s finished work, declaring that he is the perfect Life-Giver for all who will follow (Rom 6:4-10; 8:11: 1 Cor 15:45-49). [1]

Christ’s message and promises were validated by his resurrection, and for six weeks he appeared to his disciples, explaining them the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3). The powers of darkness on earth would not be wiped out immediately. Their complete doom and humiliation will come at the end, as God allows them to reveal their full character. The followers of Christ have their share in this work of humiliating the evil powers when they confirm the extraordinary victory of Christ by their faith and sufferings.[2]

Unbelievers do not share this victory, because they are imprisoned with chains of ignorance and spiritual blindness. In a legal sense, the dark powers are fully defeated and disarmed, but while their own weapons are destroyed, they eagerly use whatever weapon they still get from humanity.[3] On the individual level, their power is broken wherever they are confronted with faith in the victory of Christ. The ball is now in the court of humanity.

Consequences for the Believer

The powers of darkness had been defeated by the humble Savior, through his crucifixion and resurrection, and not by human wisdom, effort, or philosophy. His way was the exact opposite of how the serpent gained his foothold—by seductive words and lies.

The cross requires our humility. It is not a religious symbol to use lightly. We are called to worship the Lamb (Rev 5:13) and to follow him wherever he will lead us (Rev 14:4). The follower of Christ should not seek special knowledge or special positions. He should put all hope in Christ, “the hope of glory" (Col 1:27).

When we accept Christ in faith, his Spirit begins an ongoing and mighty work in us. Genuine faith does not require us to cling to a mental conviction in order to achieve what we want. It is rather a trusting response to Christ’s gracious offer, accompanied by a willingness to obey his word: “Put on the new man that is being renewed in knowledge after the image of his Creator” (Col 3:10).

Whenever spiritual warfare is based merely on “authority” and the “fight” against demons instead of the centrality of Christ’s redemptive work, it misses its appropriate basis.

God’s principles are:

  • not based on force or violence; but by God’s Spirit (Zech 4:6),
  • no formal rituals; but doing God’s will (Acts 19:13–16),
  • not mental power; but trusting faith (Acts 3:12).

Christ experienced all of our human pain and sufferings (Isa 53:4), including the torment of demonic powers. And though he was never even slightly influenced by demons, he was nailed to a shameful cross by people driven by the demonic world—their voices crying out to crucify him. He was burdened with scorn, hatred, and agony. But in full surrender to the Father, he proved to be invincible, showing the way to true victory even in the most humiliating circumstances.

Experiential Consequences

Besides the objective “legal” consequences of our salvation, there are subjective and personal experiences.

We all have sinned and thus built up a burden of guilt. For example, if you cause a loved one serious damage that you cannot fully recover, guilt can weigh on you. But guilt becomes bearable when you know that the injured party not only forgives, but willingly bears the pain you caused, even offering compensation to anyone else involved.

To offer forgiveness is to be willing to suffer personal pain, even a degree of vicarious suffering. This is precisely what God's love did in Christ, in response to the pain that we have inflicted on him and his creation. He is willing to suffer, and also able to compensate the damage we have done to others (or others to us), in due time, which makes a future kingdom of peace possible.

The entry of sin, guilt, and death into the world led to all sorts of fears and protective mechanisms (Gen 3:7, 10).[4] Even if we suppress those fears for however long, we remain deprived of inner freedom. Jesus died "that through death he might bring to nothing him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might deliver all of them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage" (Heb 2:14–15).

In Scripture, death contrasts with glorious eternal life. It surpasses physical demise to include the emptiness created by the irretrievable loss of all that we value but cannot keep. This emptiness binds humanity to a life of ephemeral dreams and illusions. The cross and resurrection not only provide the legal basis for redemption in providing an amnesty, but by bringing us into fellowship with Christ—the source of eternal life—they also deliver us from an empty, vain existence.

Text is available in Spanish, Portuguese, French, Dutch, Chinese, Russian, Arabic and Farsi. 

For a general treatment of the theme of spiritual deliverance, see
"Light In Our Darkness, Essentials of Spiritual Deliverance" –
 Bruno Sebrechts.­­­
Humble Joy Publishing  ISBN 9789083136400.
Spanish Edition ISBN

 [1] “The argument of the New Testament is that when God raised his Son from the dead, he was proclaiming to the whole world, I am satisfied in him: I am satisfied in the work he has done.” Martyn Lloyd-Jones, 'The Assurance of Our Salvation' (Wheaton: Crossway, 2000), 492.

[2] “Why Not Wipe Out Satan? The Son of God, Jesus Christ, will be more highly honored in the end because he defeats Satan through long-suffering, patience, humility, servanthood, suffering, and death, rather than through raw power.” Online: John Piper;
“Just as a criminal justice system is exposed in its shortcomings when it executes an innocent person, so much more were the cosmic powers exposed and defeated when they crucified the sinless Lord of glory. The victory celebrated is, at its heart, not a victory of a more powerful being over a less powerful being …; it is a victory of holy, righteous, and creative love over the destructive forces of evil. But as Paul’s statements in other contexts will make it plain, he does not mean that the cross was the last chapter in the warfare against the powers of this age.” Tremper Longman III & Daniel Reid, 'God is a Warrior' (Carlisle: Paternoster Press, 1995), 150-151.

[3] E.g., Rev 17:13, where the kings of the earth transfer their power and authority to the beast. The principle of curses also illustrates how evil powers can make use of human instigation.

[4] “Sensory-deprivation experiments tell us that man and all higher mammals desperately need some experiencing at all times— without it, they will start hallucinating experiences. Then they will go insane. Then, sometime later, they will die.” Dr. Win Wenger, 'How to Increase Your Intelligence' (East Aurora, NY: D.O.K., 1987), 16.

Bruno Sebrechts is a counselor and Bible teacher with over twenty-five years of pastoral experience. He saw God at work, especially in the healing and deliverance of the most damaged believers. His writings are the result of his extensive experience and continuous study.

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