The person who does not know what death is does not know either what resurrection is. In order to take the resurrection seriously, we must also take death seriously. The Christian belief in the resurrection of the body did not arise from philosophical speculations or wishful thinking like the notion of the immortality of the soul.
It arose from the conviction that such an event had actually already taken place with the resurrection of Jesus from among the dead. The resurrection is proof that Jesus is who he claimed to be, and that his sacrifice was pleasing to God. As long as Jesus lay in the tomb, he was just another tragic religious figure who suffered a martyr’s death.
In fact, Paul tells us that the resurrection is the greatest display of God’s power ever to be demonstrated, nor can it ever be surpassed. Our decree of judicial perfection in the eyes of God comes not through Jesus’ death for our sins, but through our union with Jesus’ resurrection life.
Paul’s statement that Jesus’ resurrection was “the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep,” the expression “first fruits” has little meaning for today’s urban dwellers. In Bible times, it had a rich meaning because it referred to the first produce of the harvest, which was offered in sacrifice to God to express gratitude for granting a new harvest.
Thus, the first fruits, which were brought to the Temple, were seen not as mere hope of a new harvest, but as its actual beginning. Jesus’ resurrection, then, is “the first fruits” in the sense that it has made the resurrection of believers not a mere possibility, but a certainty.
God planned that his son become sin for the world which his son did indeed become, but when it comes to being made the righteousness of God IN Christ, what response is necessary in order for a person to be made the righteousness of God by being placed INTO CHRIST? BELIEF in what God’s son accomplished where sins are concerned is that required response, it is very simple when we understand the difference in Reconciliation and Righteousness.
Not everyone has been baptized into Christ even though Christ, by himself, purged his or her sins when his blood dripped on God’s Ark. If Christ purged only the sins of believers, then Christ did not become a ransom for all, faith in what Christ accomplished where your sins are concerned is the requirement to be placed into Christ and have Christ’s test score placed on your paper.
Paul wanted to be found clothed in the righteousness that comes from being placed INTO Jesus Christ rather than to be found wearing the righteousness that came from his performance. Paul knew that the righteousness related to his performance would never measure up to the level of God’s righteousness.
The reality of reconciliation is the good news that Satan would gladly give up his pitchfork to keep people from believing today, and he has been very successful through what Paul calls “ministers of righteousness” in doing that very thing.
Satan only needs to focus on today to keep people in a lost condition is The Reality of Reconciliation, he does not need to go any further than that. If Satan can keep that glorious truth hidden by blinding people's eyes to it through a message that keeps sin on the table of God’s justice where that sin has already been put away, that turns Paul’s glorious gospel into a not so glorious gospel after all! Many people are living in their minds today with probation rather than salvation.