Fleming Rutledge wrote, “There is only one new human being, and he is Jesus Christ. He is the new man who is able to create a new humanity. It is in his story that all our stories are remade” (Not Ashamed of the Gospel).
By becoming human, suffering and dying in our place, and rising from the dead, Jesus has taken our stories into His Story. He stands at the head of a new humanity: all who are His through faith, repentance, baptism, and discipleship are raised up from death in sin, united with God through the gift of the Holy Spirit, and promised to be participants in the resurrection unto eternal life.
Good Friday and Easter are Jesus’ story. He died on the cross on Good Friday, and He rose from death on Easter Sunday. But if we belong to Christ, then Good Friday and Easter are our story also. “Or have you forgotten that when we became Christians and were baptized to become one with Christ Jesus, we died with him? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism… Our old selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives” (Romans 6:3-4a, 6, NLT). According to this passage we who belong to Christ “died with him,” “died and were buried with Christ,” and “were crucified with Christ.” By being united to Jesus through faith, repentance, and baptism we were incorporated into the events of Good Friday. We – that is, our old selves which were slaves to sin – died with Christ on the cross and were buried with Christ in the grave.
In just the same way our story has also been taken up into Jesus’ Easter story. “And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives… And since we died with Christ, we know we will also share his new life” (Romans 6:4b, 8, NLT). Through faith, repentance, and baptism we have been united to Christ’s resurrection as well as his death. We are no longer dead in sin. We have been raised up with Christ (Ephesians 2:4-6). Now we live new lives. We are no longer under the mastery of sin or the law. Instead, we are slaves to God who live under the power of grace (Romans 6:11-23). So Easter – Jesus’ resurrection – is the source of our spiritual resurrection. But it is also the promise of our physical resurrection. Since we have been united to Christ’s death, we can be confident that we will also participate in his resurrection from the dead.
“But the fact is that Christ has been raised from the dead. He has become the first of a great harvest of those who will be raised to life again. So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, Adam, now the resurrection of the dead has begun through another man, Christ. Everyone dies because all of us are related to Adam, the first man. But all who are related to Christ, the other man, will be given new life. But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised first; then when Christ comes back, all his people will be raised” (1 Corinthians 15:20-23, NLT).
We have been united to Christ’s death and therefore we have died to sin. Through Jesus’ resurrection we have been raised up to new life in communion with God; and we have the hope and promise of resurrection and eternal life with God. Our lives have been transformed by Good Friday and Easter. Indeed it is true: “It is in his story that all our stories are remade.”