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Theological Meditations, Week 1: Reflections on the Resurrection

August 25, 2008

For the next 19 weeks of this year, I want to take a look at a different theological truth of the Cross. Each week I will tackle, with my adoring wife, a significant theological topic of the cross of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. These Gospel Truths will be presented in the form of quotes, scripture, exposition, videos, and more. Lately I have been convicted and moved to gear my mind and heart more purposefully to meditate on the reason, effect, and power of Jesus’ Cross. It is the necessary foundation of preaching the Gospel to myself everyday. I pray these will convict, pierce, and exhort you on to see Him more clearly, love Him more dearly, and follow Him more nearly, day by day.

Today’s quote hails from Of First Importance:

“The resurrection . . . sharply defines what it must mean to have faith in Christ. Because Christ has been raised from the dead, we are not putting our faith in merely a historical event but in a living, death conquering, and reigning Savior. Our faith is based on something in the past, but it is placed in One who is very much alive today. Notice how the apostle Paul speaks of faith in terms of a living Christ: ‘I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me’ (Galatians 2:20). Paul is living by faith in the living Christ. And he prays that this would be our normative Christian experience: ‘that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith’ (Ephesians 3:16-17).”

– John Ensor, The Great Work of the Gospel (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2006), 102.

The best scripture I can use to introduce this week’s topic is 1 Corinthians 15:12-49 –

The foreboding dread of the “if then” principle:

12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, (then) how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, (then) not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, (then) your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope [2] in this life only, (then) we are of all people most to be pitied.

The gleaming hope of the “since therefore” principle:

20 But in fact Christ (since) has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For “God [3] has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. 28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.

29 Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, (then) why are people baptized on their behalf? 30 Why are we in danger every hour? 31 I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day! 32 What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, (then) “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” 33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” [4] 34 Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.

The Resurrection Body

35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” 36 You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. 39 For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40 There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.

42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; [5] the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall [6] also bear the image of the man of heaven.

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One Comment
  1. Allison permalink

    WOW! I can’t believe I’ve never read that entire passage! I’ve read parts of it, but not the whole thing in context. It’s really amazing that we will “bear the image of the man of heaven”! Praise God! He is so good and so kind to us. To give us that kind of hope and that kind of eternal reward, especially since we don’t deserve it, is unfathomable. thanks for the encouragement, honey!

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