If you believe in the resurrection of the Messiah, it changes everything. There is no middle ground.
Take some implications for Paul, who came to believe on the Damascus Road that Jesus was indeed God’s promised Messiah who had been raised from the dead.
1) His view of God is transformed:
The mystery of the gospel (which had NOT been revealed before the resurrection) is that God has chosen to effect salvation in and through the death and resurrection of his Son by the power of the Spirit. The cross is the supreme act of love by the Triune God. Paul’s Christology is as exalted as can be imagined. The saving purposes of God are centered in and through Jesus. Jesus is revealed to be the reigning Lord who alone is worthy of worship, love, and wholehearted obedience.
2) His view of God’s people is transformed.
Since Jesus the Christ is raised from the dead and is Lord of all, the saving significance of his death is relevant to ALL people. The entire story of Israel has reached its climax and fulfillment in Jesus, but he is not a Messiah only of the Jews but for the whole world. God’s people are now made up of all who believe in and follow Jesus – whether they are Jews who follow the Law or Gentiles who do not.
3) His view of the future is transformed
Since Jesus is raised from the dead, his resurrection proves God’s victory over sin and death. All who are ‘in Christ’ are guaranteed to follow the same path of resurrection to new life. Christian hope is of resurrection life in a new resurrection body within a renewed creation.
4) His view of his own life and identity is transformed
No longer does Paul the Pharisee seek to persecute the fledgling Christian movement but becomes its champion to the Gentiles. Whatever was dearest to him – his religious identity within Judaism – becomes of relatively zero importance in light of the resurrection. His life is changed forever, shaped around proclaiming, persuading, talking and writing about the glorious good news of the victory of God in Christ – whatever the cost to himself personally. Nothing is more important than sharing the gospel of the life, death and resurrection of the Lord.
5) His view of a life pleasing to God is transformed
Rather than a life under Torah being the goal of a holy life, now, in light of the resurrection, the goal of life is to be conformed to the image of Jesus. The Torah can’t achieve this, only the Spirit of God can bring new resurrection life. It is through faith in Christ that sins are forgiven and new life entered into by the Spirit. It is life in the Spirit that fulfills the Law, pleases God and leads to a transformed life of love and joy, lived out of thankfulness and response to God’s redeeming love.
That’s a lot of transformation. Nothing for Paul was ever the same again. Nothing for any of the first disciples was ever the same again. The world changed on that first Easter Sunday.
It continues to call you and me to deeper worship of God, a transformed community of fellow believers, a transformed hope, a transformed identity and purpose, and a transformed life in the power of the Spirit ….
Best wishes for a joyful Easter Sunday!