This sermon was delivered during the Coronavirus “stay at home” order, and so was conducted virtually as we held our services over Zoom.
Raised for Our Justification (Romans 4:25)
CrossWay Community Church
April 12th, 2020
The following is the section on Christ’s resurrection from my personal statement of faith.
If you’d like, use the following, with its footnotes of scriptural references, to work your way through relevant texts and mediate on the meaning and significance of Christ’s resurrection.
Christ’s bodily resurrection serves as the decisive validation of his ministry and claims. God’s resurrection of Jesus demonstrates that Christ’s sin-vanquishing (and thereby death-defeating) death was indeed effective and vindicates him as God’s appointed Messiah. In fact, it is regarded as his Messianic enthronement. His appointment as judge is confirmed by his resurrection. Because he lives indestructibly, he is permanently able to make intersession for those for whom he died. Through his resurrection he triumphed over demonic forces. Christ embodies the hope of resurrection. In his resurrection, he annihilated death and obtained incorruptibility. As such, in him the eschatological order of resurrection, new creation, new humanity, and Spirit-empowered existence has dawned. His personal resurrection inaugurates the general resurrection. It functions representatively for all those united to him. In him believers are already raised spiritually and will eventually be raised bodily—one holistic resurrection occurring in two installments.
Elsewhere I’ve written about this subject–the significance of Christ’s resurrection as inaugurated eschatology, the bursting of the new creation into the midst of this fallen creation in the person of Jesus Christ who is the resurrected new creation “pioneer” of sorts. But, I’m currently reading Ramachandra’s Faiths in Conflict?; and he summarizes this concept quite well. So, I thought I’d share his thoughts here. If it’s worth saying, it’s worth saying more than once and in more than one way by more than one person, right?
Resurrection, for all first-century Jews, was bound up with the hope of the kingdom of God, of God’s vindication of his people Israel before their pagan enemies and the renewal of his disfigured world.
Resurrection, then, was corporate… public, and physical. … The age to come would be a renewed space-time world in which the righteous dead would be given new bodies in order to inhabit a renewed earth. Thus, the resurrection of the dead – the righteous to eternal life and the wicked to destruction – marked the consummation of the human drama. It spelt the triumph of Israel’s God who was also the universal Creator and Judge of all humanity. Resurrection, marked the dawn of a new world order, the final and supreme manifestation of God’s justice, mercy and power in history.
But … the early Christians proclaimed that the resurrection had occurred in Jesus before the day of resurrection for all. … In the resurrection of Jesus, God not only gives a glimpse and pledge of the new creation, but he announces the dawn of that new creation before its promised fulfillment. Here is a foretaste of the future age in the present.
Resurrection [specifically the general resurrection inaugurated in Christ’s resurrection, the “first-fruits” of the general resurrection, to use Pauline language] is a fresh creative act of God in which he displays his faithfulness to his creation by raising it to new life in his presence beyond death and decay. Resurrection, then, is the Creator’s final act of faithfulness to his creation…