Tuesday, April 30, 2013


“But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court.  In fact, I do not even judge myself.  For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted.  It is the Lord who judges me.  Therefore, do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart.  Then each one will receive his commendation from God.”  1 Corinthians 4:3-5

"My brother pastor, tomorrow you will preach and lead.  You want to be found faithful.  But by whose standards of faithfulness are you to be judged?  Whose opinion finally counts?

"You desire to please everyone in everything you do (1 Corinthians 10:33).  But not even the great apostle Paul succeeded in that desire.  The Corinthians put him under intensely negative scrutiny.  I hope everyone in your church thinks you’re wonderful.  If you are faithful to Christ, you are.  But some might find fault with you.  Should you listen for whatever wisdom might be embedded even in unwise criticisms?  Sure.  But don’t let anyone but Christ define you.  Maintain your objectivity as his servant.  Take the criticisms to him, therefore, looking honestly at his Word and humbly at yourself, and let him be your judge.  But don’t freak out.  Paul considered human criticism “a very small thing.”

"What others think of you does not determine who you are and what you’re really worth.  What you think of yourself doesn’t even determine that.  You serve the Lord Christ.  Be set apart to him alone, and he will commend you.  And with his strong assurance strengthening your heart, you can love your critics more than they expect to be loved."

-- Ray Ortlund, Jr.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Letting God's Story Re-Write Our Story

"Does Christ come merely to improve our existence in Adam or to end it, sweeping us into his new creation? Is Christianity all about spiritual and moral makeovers or about death and resurrection — radical judgment and radical grace? Is the Word of God a resource for what we have already decided we want and need, or is it God’s living and active criticism of our religion, morality, and pious experience?

"In other words, is the Bible God’s story, centering on Christ’s redeeming work, that rewrites our stories, or is it something we use to make our stories a little more exciting and interesting?"

— Michael Horton
"Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church"

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Seeking to Become Holy, Not 'Holier Than Thou'

"How do we become holy without becoming ‘holier than thou’?

"By actually becoming actually holy.

"Holiness and holier-than-thou-ness aren’t parallel phenomena. They run on different tracks. If someone is growing in arrogance, pride, and self-righteousness, by definition they are not growing in holiness.

"The problem arises in equating holiness with religious behavior. Holy people do obey God, of course. But the character of holiness, in which the Spirit does his progressive sanctifying work in our hearts (and therefore in our thoughts, speech, and actions), produces qualities of humility, gentleness, kindness, and self-control. Any arrogant fool can abstain from certain sins or give to charity and what-not. The Pharisees certainly did that, and all our legalistic contemporaries do too. But that is not real holiness. That is moralistic separatism or some such thing.

"Therefore, it is impossible to become both holy and holier-than-thou. To grow in one, is to atrophy in the other.

"But I am grateful that while I still struggle with a variety of sins, most especially the root sin of pride, I have God’s promise that he will complete the work he began in me, and that Jesus is both the author and the perfecter of my faith."

-- Jared C. Wilson

Friday, April 26, 2013

Friendship and Fellowship

Many talk about "community" and "koinonia." But what do these consist of, if not God-established, Christ-focused, Spirit-empowered friendships?

Friendship is one of the primary means of grace the Lord uses to keep church members growing in grace and bound to one another—like the sinews between muscles. Friendship helps church members to fight sin and spur one another on to love and good deeds. After all, friendship is a bond of mutual affection, trust, and commitment; and two individuals will most quickly influence one another within the context of such affection and trust.  Likewise, we’ll take greater care in encouraging those whom we love. That’s what friendship affords.

Our culture is not one that provides great encouragement for the nurture and development of deep, long-lasting, satisfying friendships. Such friendships take time and sacrifice, and the busy world of the early twenty-first century West, as a rule, is far more interested in receiving and possessing than sacrificing and giving.

For the Christian, true friends are those with whom one can share the deepest things of one’s life. They are people with whom one can be transparent and open.  They are people to whom one can "unburden [one’s] whole soul." And in the course of conversation about spiritual things the believer can find strength and encouragement for living the Christian life.   Spiritual conversation with friends is "one of the best helps to keep up religion in the soul.  It is, in a sense  a means of grace, one of the ways that God the Holy Spirit keeps Christians in fellowship with the Savior.

Friendship is a fragile treasure that can be easily lost or neglected in the unpredictable business of life if both people in the friendship do not give it the attention it needed. As the American preacher Haddon Robinson has recently noted, "Even strong friendships require watering or they shrivel up and blow away."

And so the author of the Book of Hebrews writes, "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." (Heb.10:24-25).  In writing this way, he is calling on them to look outside themselves and focus their attention on their brothers and sisters in Christ.

Because of everything Jesus has done, and because of everything that he is, Christians are to stir one another up to love and good works.   And notice that he says we are to “consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.”  He’s telling us, in other words, to think about it!

A Christian ought to plot, plan, conspire, contrive, and design how he might stir his brothers and sisters to good works—something he simply cannot do unless his life is tightly intertwined with theirs.
In this way, the genuinely committed Christian friend can fulfil what the writer of Proverbs had in mind when he observed,  “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

-- from the "9Marks" Ministry Newsletter

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Amusing Ourselves to Death

“…What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with [the silly and superficial]. 

"As Huxley remarked in “Brave New World Revisited,” the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.” In "1984," Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In "Brave New World," they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us. This book is about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right.”

-- Neil Postman, “Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business”  (Penguin Books)

A Personal, Practical Statement of Faith

My Morning Statement of Faith

I believe that today:

1.  God is sovereignly directing my life as I yield myself to Him, and that He loves me unconditionally, and I love Him and put Him first in my life.

2.  Christ is my Lord and Master, and I seek to abide in Him and do His will immediately and exactly.

3.  The Holy Spirit is my friend, teacher and guide, Who will open and close doors today and fill me with Himself to make me an effective servant.

4.  I now commit my wife and family to the Lord, Who loves them as well as those others I love.  They too are in His sovereign care.

5.  I step out in bold faith and relax in the Lord, and enjoy this day given to me by Him.  I trust Him to use me today.

-- Ray Ortlund, Sr.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

It is Still Either-Or

"I do not think that all who choose wrong roads perish; but their rescue consists in being put back on the right road. A sum can be put right: but only by going back till you find the error and working it afresh from that point, never by simply going on. Evil can be undone, but it cannot ‘develop’ into good. Time does not heal it. The spell must be unwound, bit by bit, ‘with backward mutters of dissevering power’—or else not. It is still ‘either-or’. If we insist on keeping Hell (or even Earth) we shall not see Heaven: if we accept Heaven we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell." -- C. S. Lewis, "The Great Divorce"

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

"A sure sign that Satan is losing...."

“Leaving the first kind of fiery darts — enticing and alluring temptations — we now proceed to the second kind, those that fill the Christian with fear.  It is only the power of faith that can quench these fiery darts.

This is Satan’s weapon held in reserve.  When alluring temptations fail, he opens his quiver and shoots these arrows to set the soul on fire, if not with sin then with terror.  When he cannot carry a soul laughing to hell through the deception of pleasurable temptations, he will try to make him go mourning to heaven by this amazing attack.  It is a sure sign that Satan is losing.

The arrows he shot at Job were of this kind.  When God let the devil practice his skill, why did Satan not tempt Job with some golden apple of profit or pleasure or some other enticement?  Surely the high testimony God gave about Job discouraged him from these methods.  Satan had no tactic left but this.”

-- William Gurnall, The Christian in Complete Armor (London, 1964), II:91.  Paraphrased.
HT: Ray Ortlund, Jr.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Your Fundamental Orientation

"And until you get this right – that your relationship to God will be the primary source of your life’s meaning, identity, security and joy – then nothing else further down the line in your Christian life (your worship, relationships, growth, ministry) is going to work. This fundamental orientation must be in place, or everything ‘after it’ goes wrong too, and we remain stuck in our agitation and anxiety." -- Paul Duncan

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Futility of Idolatry

"So long as you continue to look to something or someone other than God to be your primary source of meaning, identity, security and joy, you will inevitably be frustrated and disappointed, and you will carry your discontent and agitation with you into every relationship and situation, corrupting them all to one degree or another, because your idol will never be able to give you what only a primary devotion to God can provide." -- Paul Duncan

Saturday, April 20, 2013

God is never a means to a higher end

True Christianity cannot be treated like one of many self-improvement strategies, a ‘spiritual fitness’ plan to be combined with strategies for physical, financial and career development too – but all, ultimately, for self-centered ends. For real Christianity is the end of the self-centered life, and authentic devotion to Christ re-defines and controls every other and lesser devotion and goal.

Friday, April 19, 2013

On the pages of the New Testament...

“On these pages you will find the living Christ, and you will see Him more fully and more clearly than if He stood before you, before your very eyes.”

-- Erasmus’ preface to his Greek New Testament, quoted in Earl D. Radmacher, editor, "Can We Trust The Bible?" (Wheaton, 1979), page 92.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Hardwired for Glory

"As I have written before, human beings are hardwired for glory. That’s why we’re so attracted to glorious things. We love the glory of a great painting or a beautiful piece of music. We love the excitement of an athletic contest or a feat of daring. We love the sleight of hand of a great magician or the sizzle of a well-seared steak. We love the glory of a moment of success or the recognition of the people around us. We’re attracted to the glory of wealth or the beauty of the human body. We’re very powerfully oriented to glory, and because we are, we live in pursuit of   it. Animals are not like this. Rhinos don’t celebrate the size of their horns. Deer don’t gather for the bi-annual long-jump contest. Birds don’t envy one another’s feathers. Animals don’t have this glory orientation, because they weren’t made for God in the way that we are. Human beings are hardwired for glory because they were hardwired for God. The glory orientation that’s inside of every person is meant to drive us to   God.

"Here’s the problem. When God created the world, he dyed it with his glory. The created world really is glorious because God made it that way. But the created world is not in possession of ultimate glory, the kind of glory that can satisfy your heart. The glory of the created world is sign glory. All the glory of the created world is meant to be a sign that points us to the only glory that will ever give rest and peace to our hearts, the glory of God. We were designed to live for that glory. But we lose sight of the fact that the sign isn’t the thing; it is there to point us to the thing, and in forgetting this, we ask the sign to do for us what it cannot   do. In this way, life this side of eternity really is one big, unceasing glory battle. There could be no bigger issue than this, than what glory will rule your heart, and in ruling your heart, control your thoughts, desires, choices, words, and behavior. Sinful human beings in functionally denying the existence of God will stop at the sign, won’t care about what the sign points them to, and will ask of the sign what it will never be able to give. And that created thing with all its glory will not be their savior; no it will prove to be a cruel and inglorious master that takes much, but gives very little of what they were really seeking...."

-- Paul David Tripp "Sex and Money: Pleasures That Leave You Empty and Grace That Satisfies" (Kindle Locations 256-264). Crossway. Kindle Edition. 

Tripp, Paul David (2013-04-30). Sex and Money: Pleasures That Leave You Empty and Grace That Satisfies (Kindle Locations 247-254). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Your Heart Is Fickle

'You need to admit that this side of eternity your heart is fickle. I get uncomfortable in those worship-service moments when we are singing, “You are my all in all,” You’re my priceless treasure,” ‘With all my heart I love you,” or “I adore you.” I often stop singing and think, “Really? Do I?” Does love of God rule my heart unchallenged? Does it? Is God at the center of my affections, the focus of my greatest joys? Really, is he? I think we seriously underestimate the fickle nature of our sinful hearts. We quickly switch loyalties. We rapidly trade affection for one thing for another. We all too easily give way to our love. We willingly abandon commitments we forcefully made. We fail to do what we promised. We abandon our dreams for what we think would be a better dream. Our hearts will only ever be truly loyal and stable when our hearts are sin-free. As long as sin lives inside of us in some way, we’re all sadly shopping for a better, more satisfying master, denying the glory of the Master that by grace we’ve been given.'

-- Paul David Tripp, "Sex and Money: Pleasures That Leave You Empty and Grace That Satisfies" (Crossway).

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

In search of a savior?

"You see, whether we know it or not, every human being lives in search of a savior. We are all propelled by a quest for identity, inner peace, and some kind of meaning and purpose. And we’ll all look for it somewhere. Here’s the bottom line: looking to [something in] creation to get what only the Creator can give you will always result in addiction of some kind. The thing that you hoped would serve you pulls you into its service. What seemed like freedom ends up being bondage. The thing is not the problem; what you’ve asked of it is."

-- Paul David Tripp, "Sex and Money: Pleasures That Leave You Empty and Grace That Satisfies" (Crossway)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Longing for Final Deliverance

"Every time you acknowledge your sin, you long for Jesus too. But you’re not longing for the final sacrifice, because it’s already been made. No, you and I long for final deliverance. We long for that moment when we’ll be taken to the place where sin will be no more. We long to see Jesus, to be with him, and to be like him. Isn’t it comforting to know that that final deliverance has been written into the story as well? It is our guaranteed future. And so we long with hope."

— Paul David Tripp
"Whiter Than Snow"

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A Dialogue Between a Believer and His Discouraged Soul

The words to “The Grieved Soul,” by Joseph Hart (1712-1768):

1. Come, my soul and let us try
For a little season,
Ev’ry burden to lay by;
Come and let us reason.

What is this that casts you down?
Who are those that grieve you?
Speak and let the worst be known;
Speaking may relieve thee.

2. O, I sink beneath the load
Of my nature’s evil!
Full of enmity to God;
Captived by the devil!

Restless as the troubled seas,
Feeble, faint and fearful;
Plagued with ev’ry sore disease,
How can I be cheerful?

3. Think on what thy Saviour bore
In the gloomy garden.
Sweating blood at every pore,
To procure thy pardon!

See him stretched upon the wood,
Bleeding, grieving, crying,
Suffering all the wrath of God,
Groaning, gasping, dying!

4. This by faith I sometimes view,
And those views relieve me;
But my sins return anew;
These are they that grieve me.

O, I’m leprous, stinking, foul,
Quite throughout infected;
Have not I, if any soul,
Cause to be dejected?

5. Think how loud thy dying Lord
Cried out, “It is finished!”
Treasure up that sacred word,
Whole and undiminished;

Doubt not he will carry on,
To its full perfection,
That good work he has begun;
Why, then, this dejection?

6. Faith when void of works is dead;
This the Scriptures witness;
And what works have I to plead,
Who am all unfitness?

All my powers are depraved,
Blind, perverse, and filthy;
If from death I’m fully saved,
Why am I not healthy?

7. Pore not on thyself too long,
Lest it sink thee lower;
Look to Jesus, kind as strong
Mercy joined with power;

Every work that thou must do,
Will thy gracious Saviour
For thee work, and in thee too,
Of his special favour.

8. Jesus’ precious blood, once spilt,
I depend on solely,
To release and clear my guilt;
But I would be holy.

He that bought thee on the cross
Can control thy nature;
Fully purge away thy dross;
Make thee a new creature.

9. That he can I nothing doubt,
Be it but his pleasure.

Though it be not done throughout,
May it not in measure?

When that measure, far from great,
Still shall seem decreasing?

Faint not then, but pray and wait,
Never, never ceasing.

10. What when prayer meets no regard?

Still repeat it often.

But I feel myself so hard.

Jesus will thee soften.

But my enemies make head.

Let them closer drive thee.

But I’m cold, I’m dark, I’m dead.

Jesus will revive thee.

HT: Jeff Brewer, Aaron Youngren, Justin Taylor

"Where He died; what He died for...."

“I simply argue that the cross should be raised again at the center of the marketplace as well as on the steeple of the church.  I am recovering the claim that Jesus was not crucified in a cathedral between two candles but on a cross between two thieves; on the town’s garbage heap; at a crossroad so cosmopolitan they had to write his title in Hebrew and Latin and Greek, . . . at the kind of place where cynics talk smut, and thieves curse, and soldiers gamble.  Because that is where he died.  And that is what he died for.  And that is what he died about.  That is where churchmen ought to be and what churchmen ought to be about.”

-- George MacLeod, quoted by Richard C. Halverson, Perspective, 6 January 1988.
HT:  Ray Ortlund, Jr.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Trials and Worship

"Perhaps nothing has as much potential to produce true worship as suffering. Trials reveal critical things about ourselves and wonderful things about God. People discover that there is strength to be found in weakness, love to be found in the midst of rejection, wisdom to be found in the face of foolishness, and that someone is with them even in their most profound loneliness. The result is worship that flows from an experience of the goodness of God." ~ Paul David Tripp

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Rumor of the future

"At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of the morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendours we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so. Some day, God willing, we shall get in."

— C. S. Lewis
The Weight of Glory
(New York, NY: HarperOne, 2001), 43

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

We Cannot Be Too Confident About God's Love

"If fearing to be too confident, lest we should believe a lie, we should come to Christ doubtingly and in mere suspense whether we should be freely entertained, after all God’s free invitations and promises, should we not disparage the faithfulness of God? And should we not be guilty of making God a liar?"

— Walter Marshall
"The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification"
(Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 1999), 97

Monday, April 8, 2013

"Union with Christ: Joy and Confidence Before God"

Justin Taylor introduces some very helpful, encouraging teaching from Mike Reeves, theological advisor for UCCF in the UK, on the great truths of our union with Christ, forgiveness, and our adoption as God's beloved children.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Christianity vs. Mere Morality

“Christianity is confused with morality.  It has been very common in this country in all ranks of society.  It is what is sometimes called ‘public school religion,’ which was started by Dr Thomas Arnold of Rugby.  His idea of Christianity was that ‘it is morality touched with emotion,’ nothing more!  The Christian is the perfect little gentleman, the man who does not do certain things!

But that is not Christianity; that is not the kingdom of God.  You can do that yourself.  Yet that is what Dr Arnold taught; it is nothing but ethics and morality, a negative, cold, miserable religion, something that was always prohibiting everything and never giving anything at all.

Now it is a part of the preaching of the gospel to say things like that.  I do not defend the Victorians; I think they did great harm to the kingdom of God.  They really did bring it down, most of them, to the level of morality and respectability and they made their Sunday a cheerless joyless day. . . .

So, according to them, Christianity is that which makes men and women miserable, which makes them feel that they are always failures.  They try to be better, and they cannot succeed, but they must go on trying because it is the only way to get into the kingdom of God, to get into heaven.  It is by your life and your own activities that you do it; so you go on trying and trying and, in the words of Milton, you ‘scorn delights and live laborious days,’ ever trying but never succeeding.”

-- D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Kingdom of God (Wheaton, 1992), pages 73-74.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Christ-like Virtue (Almost) Nobody Wants

It's the 'S' word for contemporary Christianity  -- 'submission.'   Submission is a crucial (radical!), Christ-like virtue that figures prominently in Biblical teaching – but it’s a virtue (both an attitude and habit of action) that very few Christians today actually aspire to and work to develop.  But again, it is at the very heart of what it means to be Christ-like, for Jesus himself said, “…I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.”  John 6:38     “Not what I will, but what You will” was the guiding principle for Jesus’ life and ministry.  And the same spirit of submission was expressed when he said, “My food is to obey the will of the one who sent me and to finish the work he gave me to do.”    In fact, the same attitude of submission is seen in the Spirit’s relation to the Son (see Jn. 16:13-14).

Paul reminds us that in his earthly life and ministry, Jesus “humbled himself in obedience to God”(Phil. 2:8 NLT) and the writer to the Hebrews goes so far as to say that the (sinless) Son “learned obedience from the things he suffered.” (Heb. 5:8)

It’s no wonder then that the New Testament makes clear that authentic, Christ-imitating, Spirit-filled living is all about submission and obedience.  And it is clear too, that it is pretty hollow to claim a commitment to submission to God, if you’re not willing to submit to other people in all the ways the Lord commands:

-- in our fellowship and interactions with fellow believers (Phil. 2:3-4)

-- in our home and family live -- wives to husbands, children to parents (Eph. 5:22; 6:1)

-- in relation to pastoral leadership (Heb. 13:17)

-- in relation to governing authorities (Rom. 13:1ff.)

-- and in our work lives (Col. 3:22-25; 1 Pet. 2:18-10)

But embracing and pursuing this central, Christ-like virtue does not come naturally to us at all, because of our own sinful self-centeredness, because of the culture and values of the world (cp. Rom. 12:1-2), and because today’s church is so saturated with worldliness.   It is a real blind spot, even for people who are ‘at church’ and ‘in the Word’ all the time.

We like our religion ‘a la carte’ – a smorgasbord and menu of choices – so that we pick and choose how and when and where we will ‘obey’ – but almost always on our own terms.  And that is just the point: if we’re ‘doing Christianity’ on our own terms in an individualistic way, unsubmitted to the actual authorities that God himself has put in our lives (to teach us submission), then we are not really obeying or submitting at all.

One key indicator in all of this is whether or not we’re really and practically open to correction and admonition.  As the Book of Proverbs says,

Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you;
    reprove a wise man, and he will love you.
Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
    teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.  (9:8-9)

So whatever claims we make to being spiritual and passionate about following the Lord, should be examined in light of this exceedingly practical test:  how do I respond to counsel, advice and correction?  (Someone else has suggested this very practical test: you can tell if you’re really committed to being a servant/slave of Christ by how you respond when someone treats you like one.)

True submission to God’s Word isn’t merely about hearing and talking and reading and discussing (cp. James 1:22-25).  Real love for God and God’s people is about doing, not talking (1 Jn. 3:18).

And again, true spirituality is centered in submitting.  Maybe the most powerful proof of this is found in a verse like 1 Cor. 15:28, where Paul says that at the end of the age, when Christ has brought his redeeming work to its climax, fully carrying out the will of the Father for him, even then, with sin fully overcome, “the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.”  Are you imitating Christ in your commitment to submission?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Resurrection of Jesus vs. Only 'Our Point of View'

“In the face of the resurrection it becomes finally impossible to think of our Christian narrative as only ‘our point of view,’ our perspective on a world that really exists in a different, ‘secular’ way. There is no independently available ‘real world’ against which we must test our Christian convictions, because these convictions are the most final, and at the same time the most basic, seeing of what the world is.”

-- John Milbank, The Word Made Strange (Oxford, 1997)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Because He Lives Forever...

"Of first and basic importance is that the gospel centres on a life, namely the risen life of Christ. Without the resurrection of Jesus the death of Jesus would have no meaning and the cross would be devoid of its power. The crucified Christ whom Paul preached is the crucified and risen Lord.

"The uniqueness of the resurrection of Jesus does not lie just in his coming back to life, miraculous as that was. Jesus was no Lazarus, who came back to life only to die again. No, the uniqueness of the resurrection of Jesus lies in his having been raised to life and being alive for ever. Jesus is alive, and will be for all eternity.

"Because he is alive, not only sin but also death have been dealt with for ever. The resurrection of Jesus is the only hope for mortal men and women."

— Paul Beasley-Murray
The Message of the Resurrection
(Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2000), 127