Sunday, April 12, 2009

Why is the Resurrection Important?

Sinclair Ferguson:

In Paul’s exposition of the gospel, the categories used to describe the application of redemption to the believer are the categories which explicate the meaning of Christ’s resurrection. In other words, the application of redemption to us is rooted in the application of redemption to Christ.

Jesus’ resurrection is viewed as his justification (1 Tim 3:15). In it he was vindicated or justified by the Spirit. Having been made sin in his death, in his resurrection he was declared as our representative to be (what he in fact always was personally) righteous. He did not ‘see decay’ because he was God’s Holy One (Acts 2:27). Dying in our place as the condemned one, he was raised as the justified one.

Paul also implies that the resurrection can be seen as Jesus’ adoption. As to his human nature, Jesus ‘was a descendent of David’ but ‘through the Spirit of holiness’ he ‘was declared with power to be the Son of God, by his resurrection from the dead’ (Rom 1:4). . . . His resurrection thus constitutes him messianic Son of God with power . . .

The resurrection may also be viewed as the sanctification of Christ. That which is fundamental to our sanctification is found first in Christ himself: he died to sin once for all, and was raised to newness of life in which he lives for ever to God (Rom 6:9-10). . . . In his death Christ came under the dominion of sin; in his resurrection he was delivered from that dominion. this deliverance is the foundation of sanctification, whether in us or in Christ. Hence we may properly speak about Christ’s resurrection in the power of the Spirit as nothing less than his sanctification by the Spirit.

Furthermore, the resurrection constituted Christ’s glorification. As the ‘firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep’ (1 Cor 15:20), he was the first whose body was ‘sown . . . perishable, . . . raised imperishable; . . . sown in dishonour . . . raised in glory; sown in weakness . . . raised in power; . . . sown a natural body . . . raised a spiritual body’ (1 Cor 15:42-44). By the Spirit’s power his bodily existence was transformed into one of glory (cf. Phil. 3:21).

To be ‘in Christ’ means to share in all that Christ has accomplished. More specifically this means that those who are united to the risen Christ share in his justification, adoption, sanctification, and glorification.

Sinclair Ferguson, The Holy Spirit (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 1996), 104-106.

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