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Christ Our Resurrection
“Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.” (Exodus 3:6)
When Moses turned aside to see the great sight that was before him, when the Lord God appeared to him in the burning bush, God made a tremendous revelation of himself. He said, “I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” What is revealed in those words? What do they teach? There are several things here revealed by our God that are as obvious as they are delightful and precious.
First, the Lord God declared, “I am the God.” He, and he alone is God. There is none like him and none beside him. He who is the God is eternal, sovereign, holy and self-existent, the Creator, Ruler and Sustainer of all things. Next, the Lord God identified himself as the God of Moses’ father. — “I am the God of thy father,” the God his father and mother trusted, the God they taught him to trust. What a blessed privilege and honor it is for a child to be born into the home of a man and women chosen, redeemed, and saved by the God of all grace, and to be raised in the nurture and admonition of the Lord!
Then, the Lord God identified himself as “the God of Abraham.” Abraham was the eminent reminder to Israel, and should be to us, of God’s covenant, and all the promises and blessings of it. The Lord was saying, “Moses, you can count on me; you can trust me; you can believe me. I am the God who is faithful and true, the God who ever remembers his covenant.
Then, the Lord revealed himself to Moses as “the God of Isaac.” What do you think of when you think of Isaac? The first thing that comes to my mind every time I hear or read the name “Isaac” is substitution and provision. Isaac is forever a picture of Christ our Savior as Jehovah-jireh — The Lord will Provide. Isaac is forever fixed as an emblem of substitutionary redemption and the bounteous, unfailing mercy, love, and grace of God flowing to our souls through the precious blood of Christ, the Lamb of God!
And I love the next word by which the Lord God revealed himself to Moses. — “I am the God of Jacob.” He chooses to identify himself in his glory as “the God of Jacob”. He does so because “He delighteth in mercy!” When I think of Jacob, I think of grace, free, unmerited, undeserved grace, the grace of sovereign, electing love, omnipotent, conquering, irresistible, saving grace, immutable, indestructible, preserving grace!
The God of the Living
Those things, it seems to me, are obvious. But, in Luke 20 our Lord Jesus Christ, the One speaking to Moses in Exodus 3, explains the meaning of his words. The Herodians, the Pharisees, and the Sadducees tried to entrap our Savior by what they thought were questions he could not answer, without either denying his doctrine or giving them a justified excuse for killing him. What fools little men are when they imagine that they are smarter than God!
The Sadducees, who denied the doctrine of the resurrection, dreamed up an impossible situation, and asked the Lord Jesus whose wife a woman would be in the resurrection if she had been married to seven brothers who had died. Our Savior did not honor their foolish question by answering their imaginary quibble. Instead, he seized the opportunity to teach us what he revealed to Moses in Exodus 3:6.
“And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. Now that the dead are raised, even Moses showed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.” (Luke 20:34-38)
He who is God, he who is our God is the God of the living, not of the dead. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were thought by all to have been dead, dead for a very long time. As far as the eye of man could see, they were dead. They certainly appeared to be dead; but they were and are living. I find something personally sweet and glorious in that. — When it appears to all others, and more so to me than to anyone else, that I am dead, Christ is my life, and I live in him and by him! When I was spiritually dead in myself, I was alive in him (Ephesians 2:4-5). And now, though I often appear dead, I live, because Christ who is my Life lives.
In Luke 20 the Lord Jesus Christ here declares that his people, God’s elect, all who trust him, are a people who shall be accounted worthy to obtain the next world of heavenly glory, being made by grace equal to the angels of God, and more, being the children of God (John 1:12), we are “the children of the resurrection!” Then he says, “That is what I showed Moses at the bush; if you knew the Scriptures and the power of God, you would know that.” That which Moses later spoke of as “the good will of him that dwelt in the bush” is the complete salvation of all God’s elect in and by the Lord Jesus Christ in resurrection glory. This is exactly what the Lord Jesus taught Martha in John 11.
“Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” (John 11:21-26)
Martha’s response to the Savior’s words demonstrated her confident faith in him as the long expected Messiah. — “She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world” (John 11:27).
Because I have seen the good will of him that dwelt in the bush, because I know and believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the Son of God, I live in hope of the resurrection. With Paul, I say, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (1 Corinthians 15:19). That does not mean that the believer’s life in this world is a sad, morbid existence. Neither does it mean that it is really more delightful and pleasurable to live in this world without faith. And it certainly does not mean, that were it not for the hope of eternal glory, the people of God would prefer not to live as they do in obedience and submission to our heavenly Father. We do not serve God for gain!
When Paul says, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable,” he simply means this: — If there were no eternal life in Christ, no eternal bliss of life with Christ in glory, and no resurrection, then the believer would be the most miserably frustrated person in the world. We would never have that which we most earnestly desire. We would never see the end of our hope. We would never embrace Christ, or be embraced by him. We would never see our Redeemer. Such a thought is the most distressing thought I have ever entertained. Nothing could be more cruel and miserable than to live in hope of seeing Christ, being like Christ, and spending eternity in the presence of Christ, only to die like a dog!
“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” — What a horrible, unbearable thought! What a tormenting supposition! But it is not so. I live in hope of the resurrection; and my hope is both sure and steadfast. — “For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me” (Job 19:25-27). In sickness I am calm, in sorrow I am peaceful, in trial and affliction I am at ease, in bereavement I am confident, and I hope to die in confidence and joy, because I live in hope of the resurrection.
Our assurance of the resurrection is much more than belief in a point of orthodoxy. It is faith in and hope in a Person. Christ is himself our Resurrection. This is not some fool’s philosophy. It is not a mere religious tranquilizer by which we are able to cope with the trials of life. This is the calm, confident assurance of the believer’s heart. It is the necessary, inevitable result of God given faith in Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ is the resurrection and the life of all who trust him; and all who trust him shall in the last day be resurrected with him.
We have been resurrected with Christ representatively, both as our covenant Surety before the world began and as our covenant Surety in time (Romans 8:29-30; Ephesians 2:5-6). When the Lord Jesus Christ arose from the grave, he arose as our Representative. All that he has done and all that he has experienced, all of God’s elect have done and experienced in him, by virtue of our representative union with him. His obedience to the law was our obedience (Romans 5:12, 18-21). His death as a penal sacrifice for sin was our death (Romans 6:6-7, 9-11; 7:4). This is our atonement. His resurrection was our resurrection. This is our life!
The resurrection of Christ is an indisputable fact of revelation and history, upon which we rest our souls (1 Corinthians 15:1-8). Disprove the resurrection, and you disprove the gospel. “If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17). And the bodily, physical resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ necessitates the resurrection of all who are in Christ. That which has been done for us representatively must be experienced by us personally. We are members of Christ’s mystical body, the church. If one member of the body were lost, the body would be maimed (1 Corinthians 12:12, 27). If one member of the body were lost, the Head would not be complete (Ephesians 1:22-23). These bodies of ours must be fashioned like unto his glorious body (Philippians 3:21; John 17:24). Christ was raised as the firstfruits of them that sleep (1 Corinthians 15:20). The full harvest must follow. Christ is the last Adam. As we have born the image of our first covenant head, we must bear the image of the second (1 Corinthians 15:21-23, 47-49). And Christ has obtained the victory over all that could hinder the glorious resurrection of his people: sin, death, hell, the grave, and the devil (Colossians 2:13-15; Hebrews 2:14-15). Above all else, the covenant engagements of Christ, as the Surety of God’s elect, will not be complete until the hour of our resurrection (John 6:37-40).
We live in hope of the resurrection, because we have experienced the resurrection of Christ in regeneration. The new birth is nothing less than a resurrection from the dead. To be born again by the Spirit of God is the first resurrection (Revelation 20:6; John 5:25; 11:25-26; Ephesians 2:1-4).
“You ask me how I know He lives? —
He lives within my heart!”
Having been raised from spiritual death to spiritual life in and by the Son of God, we live in anticipation of resurrection glory.
We live in hope of the resurrection, because we believe the revelation of God concerning the resurrection (John 5:28-29). “Whosoever liveth and believeth on me shall never die.” God’s elect never die. There shall be a resurrection of life at the second coming of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:35-44, 51-58; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). This is not some imaginary secret rapture, but a glorious resurrection.
There shall also be a resurrection of damnation (John 5:29). The wicked and unbelieving shall be raised by the power of Christ in order to be judged and condemned. The believer shall be raised by virtue of his union with Christ in order to be judged and rewarded with everlasting glory. The wicked shall be raised in wrath. The believing shall be raised in love. The wicked shall be raised for execution. The righteous shall be raised for a wedding. “Prepare to meet thy God!” Soon we will stand before the living God in judgment (2 Corinthians 5:10-11). I am “looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life,” because of “the good will of him that dwelt in the bush,” because Christ is the Resurrection and the Life.