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9 Fruits of the Holy Spirit (9) Fruit of Gentleness
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쏝ut the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Gal. 5:22-23 ...
       
 
  
 

The Lord of Resurrection

Manmin News   No. 116
8726
April 13, 2008


"So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, 'Peace be with you.' And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord" (John 20:19-20).

We shall explore today how the providence of salvation was achieved through the resurrection of our Lord and investigate the evidence of resurrection.

1.The Providence of Salvation Achieved through the Resurrection of Our Lord

Ever since Adam and Eve were driven out from the Garden of Eden following their disobedience, all their descendants born in this world are sinners from birth with sinful attributes. They also keep sinning throughout their lives. According to the law of the spiritual realm, "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23) and here, "death" refers to the spiritual death by which one is eternally tormented in hell.
The God of love sent His Only Begotten Son, Jesus to save mankind. The enemy devil was also aware of the coming of the Savior and for that reason, they instigated evildoers in Old Testament times to persecute, imprison, and kill men of God. Upon beginning His public ministry, the enemy devil also prompted the Pharisees and priests to have Jesus killed time and again.
However, no harm could be inflicted upon Jesus by evildoers before the time of God's choosing arrived. When that time did arrive and with God's permission, Jesus was captured by evildoers, mercilessly afflicted, and brutally killed on a cross.
It appeared to people that through death, Jesus the Savior and the Son of God was defeated without even being able to save Himself. This, however, was a secret that had been hidden before the ages, wisdom of God who accomplished the providence of salvation. The enemy devil became victims to its own schemes.
According to the law of the spiritual realm that dictates, "The wages of sin is death," Adam had to hand over to the enemy devil his authority to rule over the earth following his act of sin. From that point on, the enemy devil ruled as it pleased and mankind became its slaves. Therefore, all descendants of Adam the sinner were to suffer the torment, agony, and affliction given to them by the enemy devil and end up in hell after their life in this world ended.
Only to sinners can the punishment of death be sentenced. However, the enemy devil had the sinless Jesus killed. As Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, He is not a descendant of Adam. He did not have the original sin and, as He carried out in perfection all of God's law, Jesus also had no self-committed sins. The enemy devil violated the law of the spiritual realm by charging Jesus to be a sinner and subjecting Him to a cruel death on the cross.
Yet, the sinless Jesus had no reason to be bound to death. Shattering the authority of death of the enemy devil, Jesus resurrected. For the price of having violated the law of the spiritual realm, the enemy devil and Satan had to relinquish the right of death over not only Jesus Himself but all those whose sins are forgiven through their faith in Jesus Christ.
The resurrected Lord still lives today. The true meaning of "resurrection" refers to "coming back to life after death, and never facing death throughout eternity." There had been no such resurrection prior to Jesus Christ and such resurrection is possible only through Jesus Christ the first fruits of resurrection (John 11:25-26).
In resurrection, there are spiritual resurrection and physical resurrection. "Spiritual resurrection" refers to the revival of the spirit, which has been dead on account of sin, after one accepts Jesus as his Savior and receives the Holy Spirit.
What, then, is "physical resurrection"? The journey of the life of a believer who faces death does not end at returning to a handful of dust. At the Lord's Second Advent, the body will be resurrected into a spiritual body, combined in the air with the spirit that descends to this world alongside the Lord, and formed into a perfect form of spirit, soul, and body (1 Corinthians 15:51-53, 44). The body that is visible to our eyes perishes but its restoration into a spiritual body is referred to as "physical resurrection."
Therefore, children of God first undergo spiritual resurrection, followed by physical resurrection. After the physical resurrection is completed, they don a resurrected body. God's children alive at the time of the Lord's Second Advent will be changed into spiritual bodies the moment they are lifted into the air alive.

2.Irrefutable Evidence of the Resurrection of Our Lord

God has made it possible for mankind to believe in resurrection through the way in which He created the nature (Romans 1:20). For instance, we see that the metamorphosis of insects goes from a squirming larva to a chrysalis to a vastly differently-shaped imago. The squirming maggot becomes a cricket or a fly. On the earth that has been parched during winter months, buds sprout in springtime and when a grain of wheat falls to the ground, it bears much fruit. Even from the providence of God manifested in the nature, we can tell that resurrection is an irrefutable fact.
History also testifies to the resurrection of our Lord Jesus. Among the historical documents preserved from the times of the Roman Empire is a report submitted to the emperor by Governor Pontius Pilate on the resurrection of Jesus. According to this report, Pilate had a sufficient amount of troops guard the tomb of Jesus but a few days later, the tomb was empty. Upon investigating further, the troops who had been guarding the tomb reported to having seen a soft and beautiful emanating from above the tomb and having felt they saw a group of people who had already been dead dressed in shrouds and shouting in joy. At the same time, the troops heard beautiful sounds from their surroundings and above, and felt songs of praising God filling up the whole world.
In addition, many individuals including Mary Magdalene and Jesus' disciples saw the resurrected Jesus in person. It is easy to find even today the irrefutable evidence of resurrection of the Lord in our midst.

3.Fathers of Faith as Witnesses to the Resurrected Lord

Many people saw the resurrected Lord but not everyone could see Him; only the good and pure-hearted individuals could see the resurrected Jesus.
Mary Magdalene, the first individual to see the resurrected Jesus, was a good-hearted woman whose heart never wavered or changed in gratitude of Jesus' grace and love after first meeting with him. She expressed her gratitude not only with her words and heart but by serving Jesus with everything she possessed. Mary Magdalene also put into practice the love she had received from the Lord. Mary the virgin and other women could also see the resurrected Lord as they believed in and followed Jesus without a change of heart.
When Jesus was captured, His disciples abandoned Him and fled in fear. Peter repented immediately and followed Jesus from a distance when He carried the cross. John, who remained with Jesus to the end at the cross was requested by Jesus to serve Mary the virgin in His stead. This is why when Mary Magdalene delivered the news of Jesus' resurrection, Peter and John could run to Jesus' tomb and find that "the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself" (John 20:7). That evening, they also saw the resurrected Lord and again by the Sea of Galilee.
The resurrected Lord appeared not simply to everybody but just to good-hearted people. This is true not only of Jesus' times but our times as well.

4.Changes that Occurred to People Who Saw the Lord of Resurrection

The first thing that transpired to those who saw the risen Lord is the destruction of their fleshly thoughts. They saw Jesus die on the cross but He came back to life, and this alone was incomprehensible. It is an event that cannot be elaborated by the thought and any theories devised by man. The Lord's resurrection made sure that they realized man's thought is utterly worthless before the works of God.
They also came to possess the faith by which they could now believe that nothing was impossible by the power of God; they came to realize that the weaknesses of man does not pose a problem before Him. They were filled with joy and gratitude of the providence of God who allowed Jesus to conquer death and prevail through resurrection, and they could endure any difficulties in their hope of resurrection. Furthermore, once they realized that they could also resurrect upon witnessing the resurrected Lord, they no longer feared the loss of their lives. This is how the witnesses to Jesus' resurrection became wholly different witnesses of the Lord.
Seized by his own fleshly thoughts and fear when Jesus was captured, Peter vehemently denied even the knowledge of Jesus when the high priest's servant recognized him. After seeing the resurrected the Lord, however, Peter received the Holy Spirit and boldly testified to the Lord (Acts 4:5-12).
During the era of the early churches, persecution of Christians was severe: the Roman government confiscated the Scriptures, set churches on fire, and systematically captured and executed Christians (Hebrews 11:33-38). The reason members of the early churches could hold fast to their faith was because they had seen the resurrected Lord, while who were not firsthand witnesses to the resurrection of the Lord could believe in the resurrected Lord through the works of the Holy Spirit.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, may each of you magnify God in an earnest hope for heaven through the indisputable faith in resurrection, in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ I pray!


 

 

 
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