Sunday, January 22, 2006

1. Resurrection & Union with Christ

Evangelicals often think of the resurrection of Christ as a doctrine to be defended rather than the empowering dynamic of the Christian life. We must argue for the historicity of Jesus' resurrection. But we fail to do justice to the rich resurrection teaching of the New Testament if that is all we do. We need to grasp that those who believe in Christ are raised with him. I plan to explore this theme in posts over the next few days. A search through my archives will reveal other articles exploring the meaning and significance of the resurrection of Christ (type "resurrection" into Search this Blog above).
.
It is a fundamental axiom of New Testament Theology that believers are united to Christ. By virtue of their union with him that believers receive all the blessings of salvation. This is true in general terms (Ephesians 1:3-7) it is also true with regard to Christ’s resurrection from the dead.
.
Therefore we were buried with him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of his death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of his resurrection. (Romans 6:4 & 5.)
.
Christians should not “continue in sin that grace may abound” (Romans 6:1) because they have died with Christ and have been raised to new life in him.
.
buried with him in baptism, in which you were raised with him through faith in the working of God who raised him from the dead. (Colossians 2:12.)
.
When Jesus died, his people died with him to sin and condemnation. When he was raised from the dead, his people were raised with him to new resurrection life. This is the experience of believers now. The “newness of life” that Christians enjoy in the present is an anticipation of the full resurrection glory to come.
.
The believer's union with Christ in his resurrection power makes the Christian life eschatologically oriented. The power of the age-to-come has already broken into the lives of those who are in Christ. It is in this light we should understand Paul’s statement in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

No comments: