73. Expound the next article.
This is: “On the third day He rose again from the dead.” By this He declared Himself the conqueror of death and sin, for by His resurrection He swallowed up death, broke the fetters of the devil, and destroyed all his powers (1 Pet. 3:22).
The resurrection is the heart of Christianity; if there is no resurrection, Christianity is dead. Paul said that in 1 Cor. 15:17-18:
“And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those who also have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.”
The reason for this is that everything that makes the gospel good news is linked in some way to the resurrection. Our justification is linked to the resurrection (Rom. 4:25). Our forgiveness of sins is linked to the resurrection (Acts 10:39-43). Our sanctification is linked to the resurrection (Rom. 6:9-11). Our glorification is linked to the resurrection (Rom. 8:10-11).
Why is our salvation so dependent on the resurrection? Calvin writes, “By this he declared Himself the conqueror of death and sin.” All creation is under a curse, that we all experience death because of human sin (Gen. 2:17, 3:19; Rom. 6:23). We need someone who can conquer sin and free us from the curse of death. Jesus’ resurrection proved that he not only provided the wrath-satisfying payment for our sins, but also that he had authority over death. Satan and his minions are all subjected to the Lord Jesus (1 Pet. 3:22), and the great hope is that one day our Lord will take Satan, his demons, death and the grave and throw them into the lake of fire (1 Cor. 15:25-26; Rev. 20:7-10, 14).
Thus, when we say, “Christ is risen,” we are not just reciting words. We are proclaiming that he is truly our one and only Savior/King, and we are putting all his enemies on notice, for the Conqueror is coming to crush the enemy (Gen. 3:15).