By Ron Bartanen
As a ship would need an anchor to prevent it from being driven by the wind and waves onto a rugged, rock-infested shore and destroyed, without exception we all need an anchor for our lives to keep us from the storms of life that would destroy us. Our faith in Christ is just such an anchor—and especially we would view the resurrection of Christ in this regard. While all religions have their revered founders and gurus, all are powerless against the winds of time that would drive us onto the shores of God’s judgment. Only Christianity has a founder who died for our sins and been raised from the dead. Death is not the ultimate conqueror. Though even Jesus, in death, willingly gave up His spirit into the Father’s hands, yet, as a verse in one of our hymns declares, “Death could not keep his prey.” He arose in triumph over death, and holds within His hands “the keys of hell (hades) and of death” (Rev. 1:18). Ours is not a dead savior, but the Living One. Without the assurance of a living Savior, we would be at the mercy of all that is spiritually destructive to our souls. We would not even be assured of who Jesus is—the Son of God. After all, anyone could make the claim. Of Jesus alone can it be said that He was “declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection of Jesus from the dead” (Romans 1:4). We know who He is because of His resurrection.
Without His resurrection we would have no assurance of our own. Death would be the great ultimate destroyer. But because He was raised, we, too, will be raised. In 1 Corinthians 15, the apostle Paul linked our resurrection to His, saying, “If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain: ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man (Adam) came death, by man (Christ) came also the resurrection of the dead” (15:17-20). Hebrews 6:19-20a compares His resurrection to the believer’s anchor, declaring, “which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil, whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus.” This hope is secure—“within the veil,” that is, beyond the veil of death into heaven itself, where the risen Christ has entered as the “forerunner”, preparing the way for our resurrection. Our eternal welfare is established only in the crucified, risen and glorified Son of God. For the believer, it is as one hymn declares: “We have an anchor that keeps the soul, Steadfast and sure while the ages roll….”
The greatest question we could ask is: Is your faith anchored and made secure in Christ. Have you accepted Him, who, by the grace of God, “tasted death for every man?” (Hebrews 2:9) Have you identified yourself with Him in being “buried with Him in baptism” and raised with Him to walk “in newness of life” (Rom. 6:3-4). Is it your hope to continue that walk till you share in “the likeness of His resurrection” (6:5)?—to share His glory?
- Ronald Bartanen preaches for Arthur Church of Christ, Arthur, IL. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://arthurcoc.com/