“The forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body…”
The essence of the gospel is the work of Jesus Christ. Christ has secured forgiveness through his death and resurrection. Our promise includes sharing in the richness of this state of forgiveness and resurrection. Forgiveness has the power to break the chains of bondage that weigh down the human soul. Only God himself can forgive sins as he is the one who is eternally offended by man’s transgression. Only he can remove the separation between man and himself. Man needs forgiveness. We do not need more knowledge or more enlightenment. Ignorance is not our problem, rather, sin remains the essence of man’s predicament.
Today man continues to deceive himself in thinking that no forgiveness is needed for his present state. Man is not essentially good. On the contrary, he is essentially bad. This does not mean that man is a bad creation nor does it mean that the physicality of mankind is evil, instead it is our thoughts and wills that carry the mark of dissipation. Scripture indeed testifies to the sinful state of mankind. While freely choosing to do many good things, man is incapable of amending his ultimate wound, that is, separation from God. Only God himself can and has done this in the body of his Son, Jesus Christ.
Christians believe in forgiveness for we have been forgiven. Forgiveness is a state of reality for a believer in Christ; we have entered into the realm of being forgiven. We are constantly being made new by the work of the Holy Spirit which will culminate in the bodily resurrection of believers to reign one day alongside our God and Lord for God’s dwelling place is with mankind. The Christian hope lies not in soul-body dismemberment but rather in the full realization of our bodies into a glorified state. Christ’s resurrection inaugurated this event.
The forgiveness of sins and the resurrection of the body are two realities for the life of the believer. We don’t have forgiveness without the resurrection. Our hope is built on this; that our sins are forgiven and that we will at one point in the future be resurrected unto new life. Imagine a complete, whole, and idealized life where there is no crying and there is no pain. Envision a life with no disease or cancerous intrusions. As believers, our lives do and will mirror that of the Savior. For we have died and been buried through the work of Christ, we too will be share in the resurrection of Christ Jesus. This is the gospel in which we take confidence. Without the forgiveness of sins and resurrection, there is no gospel.