The NT has much to say about the importance of Jesus’ resurrection in our sanctification.
We are to live daily at the entrance to the empty tomb.
Let’s look at four key NT texts on the role of Jesus’ resurrection in our sanctification.
Paul aimed to know Christ “and the power of His resurrection.” And he desired to “attain to the resurrection of the dead.”
Humans have harnessed electric power, solar power, wind power, and nuclear power. But there is no power that approaches that of God’s power. He is omnipotent. And He unleashed His power when He raised the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead.
That same resurrection power, Paul says, is available to Christians.
The reason why we can live transformed lives is because of the power of His resurrection. The person who lives at the entrance to the empty tomb is tapping into Jesus’ resurrection power moment by moment.
To know Christ now means first of all to know “the power of his resurrection,” that is, the power that comes to believers on the basis of Christ’s resurrection…Very early on the church recognized that the Resurrection (Christ’s) had already set the future in motion. Paul in particular saw the implications of this reality, which are spelled out in some detail in 1 Corinthians 15. The resurrection of Jesus, he argues there, makes our future resurrection both necessary and inevitable: necessary, because even though death has been de-fanged as it were, it still remains as God’s and our final enemy, but it will cease to be with our resurrection; and inevitable, because Christ’s resurrection set something in motion as “first-fruits” that guarantees the final harvest. Precisely because of the latter (Christ’s resurrection as guaranteeing ours), Paul understands the life of the future to be already at work in the present (Fee, Philippians, pp. 329-330, emphasis added).
The believer is called to walk in newness of life because Jesus’ death and resurrection makes that possible. We should walk in newness of life because God has given us a share in Jesus’ death and resurrection (Rom 6:5). We died with Him and we were raised with Him. See verses 11-13. Because He lives, we can live righteously.
Doug Moo comments,
[Paul]…makes it clear that the believer is, in this life, already benefiting from the power and influence of [Jesus’] resurrection; see especially 6:11, where believers are called to consider themselves “alive to God” in a fashion parallel to Christ’s resurrection (vv. 8–10), and 6:12, where believers are called those who are “alive from the dead.” In light of these considerations, “just as…so also” probably here has a causal flavor: “because Christ has been raised, we can and should walk in newness of life.” Paul, in other words, grounds the believer’s present participation in life in the spiritual power of Christ’s resurrection” (Moo, Romans, p. 367, emphasis added).
Most translations of this verse say, “raised for our justification.” However, the Greek word here is not the word for righteousness (dikaiosunē), a word that sometimes refers to justification. Instead, it is a related word, dikaiōsis, which has a different meaning (used only here and in Rom 5:18). It means righteous actions. In other words, Romans 4:25 means that Jesus was raised so that we might live righteously. Romans 4:25 introduces the sanctification section of Romans (chaps. 5-8).
Though Doug Moo translates dikaiōsis as justification, his explanation sounds like he agrees with me:
As Jesus’ death provides the necessary grounds on which God’s justifying action can proceed, so his resurrection, by vindicating Christ and freeing him forever from the influence of sin (cf. 6:10), provides for the ongoing power over sins experienced by the believer in union with Christ” (Moo, Romans, p. 290, emphasis added).
2 Corinthians 1:9
We should not trust in ourselves, “but in God who raises the dead.” Our trials and afflictions should remind us of Jesus’ resurrection, our coming resurrection, and the power of God behind resurrection. God’s resurrection power is not only available for us after we die, but while we live!
In his commentary on 2 Corinthians, Garland comments,
God is the one who raised the crucified Jesus from the dead (Rom 8:1; 10:9; Gal 1:1; Col 2:12; 1 Thess 1:10). Paul does not trust himself to just any god in general but to the one God who raised Jesus from the dead. He therefore does not take the abundant suffering that comes his way with a gloomy stoicism but with a sense of triumph because of the power of Christ’s resurrection. That resurrection insures his own, and he now interprets all that happens to him in life from that perspective (Garland, 2 Corinthians, p. 81, emphasis added).
The resurrection of Jesus is crucial to our sanctification. We can and should walk in newness of life because the power of Jesus’ resurrection flows in us who believe in Him for everlasting life.
“Because He lives, I can face tomorrow” are more than the words of a popular song. Those words capture the teaching of Scripture.