All Christians, it’s assumed, know the saying, “Friday’s come... but Sunday’s still coming.” This alludes to the fact that redemption in Jesus has come, meaning the disconnection from God, because of the original sin, has been amended—“It is finished” (John 19:30)—yet there is still our final consummation in God to look forward to.
This twofold, now-but-not-yet, feature of theology also has a sister—that through one human being (Adam) we were separated from God, and now through another human being (Jesus) we’re reconnected with God:
“For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ.”
~1 Corinthians 15:21-22 (NRSV)
There is the twofold reality for every Christian: yes, they are a sinner, saved by the holy action implicit of the work of the cross, yet also they are raised, like Jesus was, into the new life reality. They were sunken, yet now are resurrected.
And the revealing feature is we’re both of these, every moment. In the saved state—we’re raised to new life, yet we may momentarily regress, as a fact of our sin, yet we may also equally be raised, again, to resurrection through repentance. Indeed, many might argue, and correctly so, that we have been raised—once for all time.
Yet, we’re still blessed to experience what it feels like to be separated from God’s Presence when we’re found in sin. Forgiveness, and the experience of God’s Presence, however, is but a prayer away.
Holding Two Realities Together
There is somewhat a concern for an overemphasis on the cross—the Friday event—to the detriment or negation of the resurrection theology. There is also, in some cases, the overweighted significance toward the resurrection, downgrading the work of the cross.
Such concerns are well founded when they leave out critical parts of an equally important twofold gospel message. As Jesus was both fully human and fully Divine, also, we can be fully involved as sinners, yet fully raised as children of God. Certainly, this is our reality. This connection does not, in any way, assume Jesus sinned, but that he identifies with our sin having lived in human life.
We cannot focus on the cross or the resurrection too much unless we negate either in the heightening of one over the other. Still, it is fine to focus on one at a time. Yet, both realities consume us in that, though we’re saved—once for all time—we’re still sinners.
There are two realities for the Christian—whilst they are a sinner, they have been saved. The cross and the resurrection are equally meaningful. And whilst they relate with the hopelessness within their sin, they also relate to the victory achieved for them through their Lord Jesus. They are no longer defined by their sin.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.