Wednesday, January 25, 2006

2. Resurrection and New Life in Christ

We rightly teach that regeneration is the work of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5 & John 3:8). But the Spirit’s task is to apply the redemption wrought by Christ to the sinner. We find that the resurrection of Christ is vitally important for bringing sinful human beings to new life in God.
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The natural state of man in sin is described graphically in Ephesians 2:1-3. There, fallen humanity is described as being “dead in trespasses and sins”, subject to the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and the mind. But God, because of his great love, “even when we were dead in trespasses and sins, made us alive together with Christ (2:5). There is no regeneration apart from Christ’s resurrection.
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Raised with Christ, believers are no longer subject to the “prince of the power of the air [the devil]”, (2:2), rather God “has raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (2:6).
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Peter also relates Christ’s resurrection to the believer’s regeneration:
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Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (1 Peter 1:3.)
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It is clear, then, that being raised with Christ is fundamental to the new life in Christians now enjoy. Believers are begotten again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. From its inception, the Christian life is forward looking. The believer awaits the consummation of what God has begun to do in and through the risen Christ.

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