by Sharon Merhalski
” He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead;” Matthew 28:6-7
This was an interesting question for me to ponder. I wrestled with the concept for weeks. One by one I had to let God change my mind about many ‘absolutes’ that aren’t so absolute in His Word.
The first ‘absolute’ that pinned me to the ‘mat’ was the vantage point I was living my life from. I seemed frozen in time and awash with the question…are you living at the cross or at the tomb? God, through His Word, helped me to understand that I was actually living in the three-day span of time between these two events in the life of Jesus Christ.
Some may ask what on earth are you talking about? What I am talking about is living with my sins forgiven, the penalty paid in full, with my chosen focus on my wretched state that nailed Christ to the cross: Unworthy, deserving Hell, expecting God’s punishment. OR living in all the New Testament says after Christ’s resurrection from the dead: In His power of the Holy Spirit, joint-heirs with Christ, with Satan already defeated…living my life as “the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus” fulfilling the great commission to share God’s salvation and glory as I invest in all of the daily living needs of those around me.” (Elaborated on below*.)
Well, for me, I came to the realization that for the most part I was living in the three day span of time between Christ’s death and resurrection: Most of the time I was past seeing myself as an unworthy worm deserving Hell. Most of the time I realized that this stinking-thinking grieved the Holy Spirit and was a slap in the face to my Abba Father who sent His only begotten Son to pay my sin debt in full in order to make me a ” priest” for His service. Most of the time I was living my life sitting at the foot of the cross agonizing over my sins that nailed my Saviour to that tree while yearning for the shout and the trump of God so I could get out of the living conditions here on earth. Some of the time I placed my focus on others around me, wanting to glorify God and be used to build His Kingdom. Some of the time I was plugged into living my life in the power of the Resurrection, the power of the Holy Spirit to give me victory in every situation in my life. I came to the conclusion that too-often my Christian vantage point caused me to live a ‘bi-polar’ Christian life…waffling between living living at the foot of Christ’s Cross and Christ’s Resurrection.
I hope the following further explains what on earth I am talking about. –Sharon Merhalski
Begin to live in the realm of the resurrected life. What does that mean?
“What we need then are not “Bible believing” or even “resurrection believing” Christians” but Jesus following, resurrection living disciples.
Resurrection is about justice, freedom and God’s new creation. To share in Christ’s resurrection is to be empowered by God to be witnesses to and participants in God’s preaching of peace not as some purely inner spirituality but as part of a whole new creation and to live in a way that is paradoxical — bringing into question the social norms of the time but also the start of a new creation that is lived out in the midst of confusion and pain, violence and political conflict.
So what does living in the resurrection look like?
• The issue is one of the practice of hope. There is a deep connection between peacemaking and hope. We do not have to use violence to make things come out right. Patience, compassion and a non-violence – all are elements of hope.
• Living beyond our means – living with open hands in both giving and receiving – not needing to control or force the outcome. Learning to live generously.
• Embodied life – how could a resurrection life be a ‘spiritual’ life detached from the body. Expressed by Jesus in the sharing of meals – Jesus is recognized in the breaking of the bread. Resurrection is about living practicing for a new heaven and a new earth now.
• Living out God’s coming kingdom now – practicing – living the new creation now – wherever there are signs of brokenness, destruction and injustice trying to find practical ways to address them.
• Seeking the justice that God desires now.
• Living with the freedom that we are not controlled finally by the state or the powers of violence, rather witnesses to God’s coming kingdom of peace.
The ‘kingdom’ of which Jesus speaks is an entirely new order of relationships grounded in mutual forgiveness, open table fellowship, the sharing of wealth, peaceable politics, healing for the sick, welcome for the stranger, and good news for the poor.”–by Simon Barrow