Word of the Month

The Resurrection Life

April 2001

The Son of God, who had triumphed over hell, death and the grave with his resurrection, gave his Apostles the full authority and commission to baptize with water and spirit on earth, prior to his Ascension. Through the sealing, the Holy Spirit produces a new creature and resurrection life in mankind. Christ's resurrection is in turn the key to the resurrection of those that have been baptized with the spirit on the day of his promised return.

Apostle Paul indicated that Christ was resurrected "from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept" (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:20). Firstfruits are generally considered to be those fruits that ripened first, among others. Now if Christ is the firstfruit, then it is important for us to become like him in nature: the new creature that was laid into us must mature and ripen. Thereby it is essential that we remain in the Godly light, that illuminates and warms us. The prophet Isaiah said: "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." (cf. Isaiah 60:1). This word, which was directed towards the coming of the Messiah, is ultimately fulfilled in each divine service, when God's word is proclaimed and the grace proceeding forth from Jesus' sacrifice is active. In this light, everything within us that must mature for the day of the Lord can grow.

Through his sacrifice on the cross, Jesus Christ established the foundation for the redemption of mankind who had fallen into sin, and through his resurrection, the glorious victory over death was sealed. All this occurred, so that "your faith and hope might be in God", as Apostle Peter confirmed in his first epistle (cf. 1 Peter 1:21), and that thereby, in accordance with Jesus' promise, we can achieve eternal fellowship with God. Faith and hope are the driving power on the way to this goal. Out of hope grows faith. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God, as the Apostle Paul stated (cf. Romans 10:17). However, there are certain prerequisites to put faith onto a firm footing. The first is to recognize the full significance of God's work and plan of salvation. For only those who know which way God has laid for the salvation of mankind can believe in it. To this a childlike trust in God's leadership must be added. And lastly, it is essential to accept the word prompted by the Spirit and to convert it into deed.

Over and above this, let us avail ourselves of the always new offer of forgiveness of sins and the grace that crowns all things, assimilate the body and blood of Jesus that we receive in the Holy Communion; then the new creature within us can grow and ripen, then the condition of our soul becomes ever closer to the nature of Jesus, then the power of the resurrection impels us into glory, wherein we are permitted to enter when the Lord comes again and takes his own unto himself. That will be our "Easter"!

(Excerpt from a divine service of the Chief Apostle)