When you walk into certain churches you will see sculptures and pictures of Jesus hanging on the cross. The crucifixion is celebrated as the most powerful event in the history of man. However, the crucifixion was only one part of the redemptive work of Jesus. While His body was buried in the grave, the spirit of Jesus was at work defeating the wicked powers of Satan’s kingdom and taking back the authority that Adam had relinquished in Eden. On the third day after His death, Jesus rose from the grave and ascended into Heaven to present His blood as a sacrifice for our sin. The act of resurrection is as much a part of our redemptive work as the sacrifice of the cross. The resurrection provides for us the empowerment and grace to live in victory and freedom in this life.
I believe the three works of redemption represent the completion of Christ’s work in our lives. The cross deals with our past sin. We are all born into sin. The Bible says that we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Our own works can never qualify us to be righteous with God. The work of the cross qualifies us when we receive Christ as our Savior. We cannot save ourselves from damnation, Jesus became cursed for us on the cross and took our place to pay our ransom and save us from God’s wrath. All believers are overwhelmed with joy when they receive the work of the cross. The realization that their sins are forgiven and they have an eternal home in God’s presence gives birth to a life of thanksgiving.
The cross deals with our past and our eternity, but what about the present? Jesus did not stop at the cross, so why do so many believers stop seeking more once they receive their eternal security? During the three days He was in the grave, Jesus restored our authority in this lifetime. The Bible says He spoiled principalities and powers and made a show of them openly through His triumph. When God originally created Adam, Adam was given authority over everything on the Earth. When Adam obeyed Lucifer in the Garden of Eden, he essentially made mankind subject to the rule of Satan. That’s why Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:4 that Satan is “the god of this age.” In John 12:31 Jesus called him, “the god of this world.” However, when Jesus rose from the grave He said, “All authority in heaven and earth has been given unto me. I have the keys of hell and of death.” He already had authority in heaven, now he had it on the Earth. The next thing He said to His disciples was, “Therefore go make disciples of all nations.”
A triumph is a parade that is held after an army and it’s warriors have defeated a rival nation. They would parade the leaders of that nation and all of the wealth that they gained through the streets of cities in their homeland. The victory was shared with the entire nation and everyone that was a citizen rejoiced because it was a victory that also affected them. Upon defeating Satan, Jesus held a triumph. His conquest and authority belongs to the members of His kingdom. Our world is a mess because God is not ruling over this world. However, He does rule over His kingdom, and the members of His kingdom have authority over Satan. Beyond the cross Jesus made us more than conquerors. He said we have power to tread upon serpents and scorpions and all power of the enemy. This is available to us on this side of heaven. Although God is not in control of everything in this world, He is in control of those who make Him their Lord and He is in control of the places that we invite the reign of His kingdom to be involved.
If you are merely interested in having your ticket punched for that great gospel bus that will lead you into eternity, you are missing out on a marvelous opportunity to enjoy the glory of God in this life. After He rose from the grave, He empowered us through the Holy Spirit and sat down at the right hand of God to intercede on our behalf. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says that if we receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness we can reign in this life. The Bible says that He has made us all kings and priests. Kings rule over their world. Jesus is called the King of Kings. We are the kings that He reigns over. Don’t stop at the cross. Don’t be satisfied with only having eternal security. Seek the authority of God provided through the grave and the resurrection. Seek the grace available to overcome the challenges in this world.
Paul said that the kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. We boast of our righteousness, but where is the peace and joy in the Holy Spirit? God doesn’t want us to be miserable until we meet Him in Heaven. Jesus said the kingdom of God is within you. Peace and joy should be within you. We are to be the light of this world that draws other people to God. People are not drawn to misery, but to joy and peace. Receive the full work and gift of Christ’s redemption. Christ in you is the hope of glory. You don’t have to wait until you die physically to experience this glory. We are changed into the image of Christ from glory to glory. Seek that glory today.