Resurrection: Accepting the Consequences of God’s Greatest Act of Peacemaking
By David Edling, Senior Ministry Consultant (retired) for Peacemaker Ministries
If you are familiar with Peacemaker Ministries’ materials, you know that “accept the consequences” is one of the Seven A’s of Confession. When we confess our sin completely, we show that our confession is sincere by taking responsibility for the harm we have caused. In other words, we willingly “accept the consequences.”
Similarly, when we confess Christ as our Lord and Savior, we show that our profession of faith is sincere by accepting the consequences. But what does that really mean? As Easter approaches, I have been thinking about how accepting God’s gift of eternal life in Christ also means accepting the “consequence” that it was my sin that made Christ’s death on the cross necessary. Realizing this was, for me, the first step in recognizing my need for a Savior who could completely and effectively take responsibility for my sin and its harmful effects. The sacrifice for my sin could not be borne by me, but only by the One who knew no sin. Therefore, only Jesus Christ, the spotless Lamb, could be offered as an acceptable sacrifice, reconciling me with God the Father (see Revelation 5).
This is the gospel—the good news that the consequences of my sins are paid for and forgiven in Christ, because he alone is worthy. All who have stopped trusting in their own worthless sacrifice and have placed their trust in Christ for eternal life know this to be true.
But how often do we stop to think about the other consequence, the present consequence of the resurrection? This is not what I usually consider when I think of accepting the consequences of the gospel. And yet this is the very reality the apostle Paul highlights when he teaches about the good news.
Consider 1 Corinthians 15:16-17: “For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” And verse 19: “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” I enjoy the benefit of his sacrifice for my sin right now—a present consequence of Christ’s resurrection nearly 2000 years ago. How can this be?
The answer can be found in the mystery of our spiritual union with Christ. Paul explains, “Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection” (Rom. 6:3-5, emphasis added). Christ’s resurrection is the proof that I will be raised—just as he was raised. The present consequence I accept as a result of God’s peacemaking in Christ is the certainty of my own resurrection! What a consequence! I will be raised again!
The present reality of my future resurrection also has other consequences today. According to Romans 6:10-11, “The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Being “dead to sin and alive to God” means that as I boldly accept the consequences of my resurrection life, I will therefore also “live to God” by resisting the temptation to escape or attack in the midst of conflict, and humbly confessing whenever I sin and hurt others. Being a peacemaker is a natural outcome of the resurrection.
As we celebrate the resurrection of Christ this Easter, we will have that special opportunity to remember the present consequence of being dead to sin and alive to God. As a fellow resurrection being, join with me and accept the consequences of the greatest act of peacemaking ever displayed—the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus, King of kings, Lord of lords, and Peacemaker of peacemakers.
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21