The Good News Of Union With Christ: A Primer on the Resurrection (Part 2)

Resurrection & Sanctification

All those who are justified, will also be sanctified. What is Sanctification? “Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die to sin, and live unto righteousness” (WSC 35).

Sanctification occurs all throughout the Christian life as the Spirit of God makes us holy by enabling us to die to our sin and live unto righteousness. But what does this have to do with the resurrection of Jesus? Paul explains,

Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. (Rom 6:1–5)

If what was said earlier regarding our union with the whole Christ is true—and it is—that means we are united to the incarnate, righteous, and crucified Christ. Therefore, we are also united to the risen Christ. Paul says then, that we died with him on the cross and have been raised with him in his resurrection. Because we are united to his resurrection, Paul tells us that the life we now live is one of walking in newness of life—that is, we are enabled to die to our sin (cross) and live unto Christ (resurrection). As the Westminster Confession puts it,

They who are effectually called and regenerated, having a new heart and a new spirit created in them, are further sanctified, really and personally, through the virtue of Christ’s death and resurrection, by his Word and Spirit dwelling in them; the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed, and the several lusts thereof are more and more weakened and mortified, and they more and more quickened and strengthened, in all saving graces, to the practice of true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. (WCF 13.1)

Because of the virtue of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, we are sanctified by the power of the Spirit as he enables us to die to sin and live unto righteousness, which Paul in Romans calls, “walking in newness of life.”

Resurrection & Glorification

The final aspect of our redemption that is connected to the resurrection of Christ is our glorification. Glorification in this sense, refers to the receiving of our own glorified bodies at the general resurrection of the dead, when all people will be brought before the throne of Christ on the Day of Judgment. All believers, who in their lives were regenerated, converted, justified, and sanctified through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, will be given glorified resurrection bodies, and be brought into the Kingdom of God to enjoy eternal life in his presence.

Paul explains that we will have glorified bodies based on the fact that when Jesus rose from the dead, he had a glorified body. Rather than still bleeding, being in the stages of decay, or simply being a spirit, Jesus showed his disciples that he had a similar body to the one that he had before, only better. Consider this resurrection appearance,

As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, ‘Peace to you!’ But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, ‘Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.’ And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them. (Luke 24:36–42)

Jesus was not leaking all over the room, nor was he rotting, but quite the opposite! He still had the marks in his hands and his feet, but he was able to walk, talk, and even eat. From this, Paul teaches that the glorified body of Christ is the first-fruits of the glorified bodies that we will receive at the resurrection unto eternal life,

Christ has been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first-fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. (1 Cor 15:20–23)

Since Christ is the first-fruits of the resurrected body that we will receive, the risen Christ serves as evidence that harvest will be good and our glorified bodies will be like his. Paul continues,

So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable . . . I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. (1 Cor 15:42, 50–53)

Thus, the resurrection of Christ serves as substantive proof that believers who are united to him will receive similar glorified bodies and enjoy eternal life in his Kingdom.

To summarize, because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, Christians who are united to Christ have been regenerated, converted, justified, are being sanctified, and will be glorified. Therefore, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is, indeed, good news!

Hopefully, this short study proves helpful as we seek to understand how the particular work of Christ in his resurrection is connected to our salvation. The resurrection is an essential aspect of the gospel, and as such, it is vital for our salvation.

Part 1

©Scott McDermand II. All Rights Reserved.


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