Life After Easter!

Another Easter Sunday has come and gone. Multiplied millions of worshipers gathered across the globe to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Hearts were inspired by the victory of a risen Savior and gatherings, large and small, were filled with joyous music centered on the power of a reigning Lord.

But now, it’s another Monday. So how do we translate the commemoration of Easter into the daily fabric of our often-mundane day-to-day experience?

This past week, in my coaching groups, we prayed through Romans 8:1-11 as we sought to truly apply the profound truths of this passage. The section culminates with these words: “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you” (v. 11). With this promise in mind, let’s embrace the reality of what life after Easter can, and should, look like for the follower of Jesus.

Life Free of Condemnation

Paul begins this amazing chapter with this declaration: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (v. 1). In the immediate and general context we are assured that, while we struggle in this life because we are still in this earthly body that is susceptible to a fallen world, we are in fact free from God’s just judgment of our sin because of the completed work of Jesus Christ. One commentator summarized it well: “No condemnation (“punishment”) awaits those who are in Christ Jesus, as a result of their faith and identification with Him (John 5:24). They are justified, declared righteous, and therefore stand in His grace (Romans 5:2) and not under His wrath (1:18), and possess eternal life (5:17–18, 21).”[1] Regardless of our personal failures and frustrations in life, we can anchor our soul by faith in this truth – and must do so, to live in the light of a risen Jesus.

Life According to a New Law

Now Paul tells us WHY this is true. “For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (vv. 2-4). The application of this is simply that our best fleshly and religious efforts never can meet God’s standard of right living. But the work of Jesus has now met that standard and, by our faith in Him, we are now possessed and empowered by a new reality. It is the law or principle of the life of the Holy Spirit in us. Just as a helium balloon transcends the law of gravity, so the indwelling power of the Spirit frees us from the condemnation and power of sin’s rule in our lives.

Life Guided by a Mindset

Now we have an important and daily responsibility. Here is how Paul described it: “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (vv. 6-8).

Notice the repeated focus on “setting the mind.” This is a present tense, moment-by-moment resolve to “keep on being mindful of or aspiring for”[2] the reality of the life of the Holy Spirit. One writer describes it as “thorough going concentration.” He notes, “When the things of God dominate one’s outlook, when one is constantly responsive to the direction of the Spirit, then there is life.”[3] This is our daily calling to experience post-Easter power.

The mark of an unsaved person is that their mind is set on the things of the flesh -- like religious duty, self-effort, and self-will. The result is spiritual death, hostility toward God, and a total failure to please Him. The press of this fallen world and the daily attacks of Satan seek to entice even true believers to focus their minds in this way.

But our true reality is the life of the Spirit. By setting our minds on His power and work in us, we experience the promised and prevailing “life and peace” provided by a risen Lord. This is God’s expectation and provision for you today.

Life From the Inside Out

Now, because Christ is risen and His Spirit is given to His followers, we are destined to live a victorious and righteous life. Paul reiterates, “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you” (vv. 9-11).

Notice the assurance that the Father who raised Jesus from the dead will now “give life” to us. This is not self-generated. This is not the product of dutiful, religious effort. This is the ongoing gift of God. Just as in our salvation, so now in our daily life, we must be reminded “this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). I say it often and am reminded now, “The Holy Spirit IS the ‘how to’ of the Christian life.” He is the power of the resurrected Jesus living in and through us.

So, right now, the Father is GIVING His resurrection life to His people. This is the promise of abundant life (John 10:10) in and through our frail and often-failing bodies. Of course, you and I must receive and cherish this life. It is not complicated. We must be renewed in the Scriptures each day. We must abide in Him in intimate prayer. We must conscientiously practice the presence of the all-sufficient Spirit. In this way we can set our minds today and every day on the promise and power of the Spirit of the resurrected Jesus – IN us. And we know that someday, He will also give life to our mortality, through a resurrected body, so that we may forever worship Him in the total freedom that is ours in Christ Jesus.

Copyright ©2017 Daniel Henderson. All rights reserved.

[1] Witmer, J. A. (1985). Romans. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 469). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[2] Ibid. (Vol. 2, p. 470).

[3] Morris, L. (1988). The Epistle to the Romans (p. 306). Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press.

Comments(1) Login to Post Comments

Ronald Vining on Apr 17, 2017 8:20am

You are spot on Brother! Thank You!

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