Confessing the Risen Christ in You
by Dean Briggs
Today, Easter Sunday, we celebrate the signature event of human history. On the cross, sin was atoned for. The power of the curse was broken. But something even more astonishing happened three days later. And that’s what we’re celebrating today!
On that third day, from the grave, death itself was defeated. The door to union with God was open. True spiritual life was possible again. Fifty days later, even as God had once taken a lump of sculpted earth in the garden of Eden and breathed dirt into life, the life with which Jesus rose would blow with the power of His Holy Spirit and fill the lungs of formerly dead people, animating a new existence on the earth: the Body of Christ. You and me.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4–6 ESV)
Ponder the ramifications of this, the audacity of these claims. Though we walk the earth, you and I, mere humans, we are seated in heavenly realms by virtue of the extravagant gift of God and His resplendent sacrifice and triumph in Christ. The Ephesians 2:6 verse unveils one of the great mysteries of the faith, though we hardly ponder its full weight. Though COVID-19 spreads, though economies fall, should the birth pangs begin or the Lord tarry, we are established in Christ. A resurrected human man, not a disembodied spirit, sits on the throne of heaven. The longstanding chasm between God and man, between divine life and human brokenness, has been forever bridged. We are no longer separated. His life is ours, and our spirit is now at home in heavenly realms. We possess Him and He possesses us.
Consider the greeting and response that is part of our Christian heritage on Easter:
“He is risen!” you declare enthusiastically.
“He is risen, indeed!” I reply with joy.
This is a simple, beautiful tradition. I practice it with my family. But I wish we went further. It is one thing—good and right—to place our faith in the shocking historical fact of a man resurrected from the dead and ascended to the right hand of God. It is another to see, believe, and confess that He extends the privilege of His resurrected position to our present life. Consider the power of our confession if we added one more phrase to our Easter greeting:
“He is risen!” you say.
“Risen, indeed. And I have been raised with Him!” I reply.
“With”—what a powerful joining word! What does it mean to be raised in resurrection “with Him”? Among many wonderful things, it means we are included (not tangential to His victory) to such a degree that it is as if we, ourselves, won it. His experience of victory is ours. His raising is our raising.
If we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. (Romans 6:5 ESV)
Christ bore the cross alone but took us into His bosom as a true substitution for humanity so that His death would be counted as ours. Not only in death but also in resurrection, Christ became us. Thus, we are with Him still, and His resurrection is our assurance not only of victory over death but of a radical degree of life now (Romans 4:25; 1 Corinthians 6:14; Colossians 2:12–13).
They say confession is good for the soul. If that is true of releasing our sins in confession, how much more to appropriate grace and truth? To confess our position in Christ may seem radical, but it is actually a vital part of sanctification. It is part of renewing our mind. With the heart, we believe; but with the mouth, we confess (Romans 10:9). When we confess the truth of God’s Word, the internal landscape of our soul expands into territory we are meant to possess and inherit. The promise becomes practice; the practice becomes possession. And what bridges these realities? The pronouncement. How much identity and spiritual authority are we meant to walk in yet rarely ponder or process, much less pronounce? It may seem shocking, but we are no longer merely human. We have been reborn as a new species. Adam started one race. The second Adam started another. (1 Corinthians 15:22, 45).
This Easter, boast in God’s wild, radical love and supreme triumph over sin and death by making bold confessions of what Jesus achieved through His death and resurrection. Make them out loud. Look in the mirror and speak aloud the following truths:
I am forgiven of all my confessed sins (1 John 1:9).
I am at this very moment seated with Christ in heaven (Ephesians 2:6).
I have been justified, completely forgiven and made righteous (Romans 5:1).
Two thousand years ago, I spiritually died with Christ on the cross, and by that act have
been declared dead to the power of sin’s rule over my life (Romans 6:1–6).
I am a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).
I am righteous and holy (Ephesians 4:24).
I am a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20).
I am hidden with Christ in God, and in that place, I am kept safe (Colossians 3:3).
I am chosen of God, holy and dearly loved (Colossians 3:12; 1 Thessalonians 1:4).
“He is risen!” we cry together.
“Risen, indeed. And we have been raised with Him!”
Which of these bold confessions you need to make the most during this time?
For more from Dean, we recommend his message Have You Seen Him Whom My Soul Loves? See how God’s love story in the Song of Solomon can awaken our hearts to be fully alive for Jesus. Watch the full message from Forerunner Church here >>
Dean is happily married to Jeanie, and the proud father of eight grown children. His books include Ekklesia Rising, Consumed, the visionary, two-part Partakers of the Divine, and the YA fantasy series, Legends of Karac Tor. He also co-authored The Jesus Fast with Lou Engle, now available in multiple languages. A former pastor and church planter, Dean is a consultant, dreamer, and Bible teacher. As part of the senior leadership of IHOPKC, he travels and speaks around the world. The Briggs live in the midwest.