The Greatest Event in History

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the single greatest event in the history of the world and the cornerstone of the Christian faith.

It is so foundational to Christianity that anyone who denies the physical, bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ cannot be a genuine Christian.

Without the resurrection there is no Christian faith, no salvation and no hope for man.

As Paul the Apostle said in 1Corinthians 15: “If Christ is not risen, then our preaching is useless, your faith is meaningless, we are still in our sins, those who have died believing in Christ are lost and we are of all men the most pathetic—we might as well eat, drink, and be merry for there is nothing more to life than this.”

However Paul went on to say, “But now Christ is risen from the dead and is the first fruits from the grave of those who have died believing in Jesus.”

The resurrection is central to the Christian faith. And since the resurrection is the core truth that allows someone to become a Christian—I’d like to use the word “RISEN” as an acrostic which will help you to remember how a person becomes a Christian and what the Christian life is all about.

That brings us to the first letter in the word “risen”–


The dictionary defines the word ‘renounce’ as “to give up, to refuse to follow, obey, or recognize any further”

The basic idea behind renunciation is to repudiate and walk away from something that you had, up to this point, believed in and followed after—in other words to turn from a way of life to embrace something different.

The biblical term would be “repentance”.

The word repentance comes from two Greek words that literally mean “to have a change of mind that leads to a change of action”—or in other words it speaks of turning from one way of thinking and living to embrace something different.

Of course when we’re talking about becoming a Christian it means to turn your back on the life you are now living—a life of sin and rebellion against God—and to forsake that way of life by turning to God because you want to start living in obedience to Him.

Repentance is the first step before a person can believe the gospel.

Jesus said this in Mark 1:15, “Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

Now after renunciation that then leads to the second letter of our acrostic—


The dictionary defines ‘identify’ in this way—“to be or become the same; to conceive as united as in spirit, outlook or principle.”

To become a Christian not only means you have to renounce the old life of sin but it also means you then need to identify with Jesus Christ.

“Yes, but what does that mean?”

Well, as the dictionary defines it—it means, “to become the same (oneness); to be united in spirit, outlook and principle (doctrine).”

In other words to identify with Jesus means that you believe in Him—in who He is (the Son of God); in what He did for us (died on the cross for our sins) and that you receive Him as your Lord (the One Who now controls your life).

Furthermore, identifying yourself with Jesus means that you understand that you will be required to die to your goals and desires to live for Him in such a way that everyone can see you belong to Him.

One of the classic passages in the N.T. on the subject of identifying with Jesus is found in Mark 8:34-38: “Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. 35 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. 36 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? 37 Is anything worth more than your soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” (NLT)

Now renunciation and identification automatically and instantaneously lead to the third letter in our acrostic—


Once you have repented of your sins and have come to Jesus by putting your faith in Him, receiving Him as your Savior and Master—the one who now has control of your life—well the result is salvation.

What exactly does that mean? What are we saved from? Many on Christian radio and TV are teaching that what God really wants to save you from is ‘unhappiness, sickness, poverty’ etc.

However the Bible actually teaches that our salvation takes place on three different levels.

As Christians: 

1. We have been saved from the penalty of sin—we’re no longer going to hell (1Thess.1:9-10; Rom.8:1)

2. We are being saved from the power of sin—we’re no longer the slaves of sin (1Cor.1:18; Rom.6:6)

I was listening to one of the old time preachers who was preaching on this subject and he challenged his audience by saying—“If you say you’re saved—what are you saved from? Are you saved from bitterness? Are you saved from lust? Are you saved from cheating, lying, stealing, alcohol or tobacco? What are you saved from?”

If you’re not being saved from the power of sin (sanctification and personal holiness) what makes you think you’ve been saved from the penalty of sin (not going to hell)? 

3. We will be saved from the presence of sin—we’re no longer going to live among sin (Rev.21:27; 22:14-15)


Now once a person is saved the next two letters of our acrostic come into play—


The dictionary defines emancipate—“to free from restraint, control, or the power of another; especially to free from bondage”

One of the things that salvation brings is, not only access to heaven someday, but freedom from the devil’s control right now.

Acts 26:18 (NKJV) 
18 to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’

2 Timothy 2:23-26 (NKJV) 
23 But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. 24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.

You see, the gospel is our spiritual “Emancipation Proclamation” which set us free from the power of sin and Satan.

And as we just said earlier, if you’re life isn’t changing for the better, if it isn’t becoming more and more liberated from the power of sin and the control of the devil—the question you need to ask yourself is have you really been set free from sin—or in other words are you really saved?

And finally the last thing that becomes a reality when a person becomes a Christian is represented by the final letter in our acrostic—

“N”—New Creation

This happens simultaneously with our emancipation and both emancipation and new creation happen instantaneously with salvation.

What does it mean to be a new creation?

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV) 
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

This verse is a favorite with those who have recently been born again, and is often quoted in personal testimonies.

Sometimes in being thus quoted, it gives quite a false impression. Listeners are apt to think that when a man is saved, old habits, evil thoughts, and lustful looks are forever done away, and everything becomes literally new in a person’s life–at that instant.

That’s true in part. You see the moment we accepted Jesus as our Savior and Master we were born again and made a new creation inside.

At that instant God planted His Spirit within us and gave us a new nature consisting of a new heart—a new heart that has a desire to obey all that He has commanded and that desires to stay away from all that He has condemned.

This is all part of what it means to be a new creation in Christ—that God saves us and plants these things within us at the moment of salvation.

However with anything you plant it takes time to grow.

2 Peter 3:18 (NKJV) 
18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…

As Christians we are a part of God’s new creation and God continues to work in us to make us what He wants us to be—His own personal work of art. (Eph.2:10)

In other words, our conversion is not the end; it is the beginning of all that God wants to do in and through our lives.

Philippians 1:6 (NKJV) 
being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

And so there you have it, the five things involved in becoming a Christian—all made possible by the core truth that Jesus Christ is risen! 





New Creation

The first two lead to salvation; the last two proceed from salvation but altogether they make the Christian life a reality.

The question is have you made them a reality in your own life?

Salvation is the greatest gift in the universe built on the greatest event in history. However with any gift it will not do you any good unless you receive it.

Will you reach out by faith right now, repenting of your sin and rebellion toward the holy God Who loves you and gave His Son to die for you and receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?

The Bible says that today is the day of salvation, if God is speaking to your heart right now don’t put this decision off–it is the most important decision you will ever make because it alone carries with eternal consequences.

If you confess Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior now He will confess you before His Father someday that you belong to Him. I guarantee you will never regret making that decision!

May the Lord richly bless you as you walk with Him day by day.

Pastor Phil

(Originally published 3/7/12)