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Thomas Goodwin :: Section Three :: Chapter One

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CHRIST SET FORTH
Section Three :: Chapter One

FAITH SUPPORTED BY CHRIST’S RESURRECTION

Christ’s resurrection supports faith two ways: 1. By being an evidence of our justification; 2. By having an influence into our justification. The necessity of Christ’s resurrection, for the procuring our justification.

…Yes rather, that is risen again.Romans 8:34

The next thing to be looked at in Christ, as he is the object of justifying faith, and from whence our faith may seek and fetch support and comfort in the matter of justification, is Christ’s resurrection: upon which we see here, the apostle puts a rather, “Yes rather, that is risen again.” There must therefore be some special thing in the resurrection of Christ, which it contributes to our faith and justification, for which it should have a rather put upon it, and that comparatively to his death. Now to show wherein this should lie, consider how the resurrection of Christ serves to a double use and end, in the matter of justification.

First, as an evidence to our faith, that God is fully satisfied by Christ’s death; his resurrection may give us full assurance of it.

Secondly, it had, and has an influence into our justification itself; yes, and as great an influence as his death had. In both these respects it deserves a rather to be put upon it, and Paul had them both in his eye, when he wrote these words. So as first, if you ask an account of his faith and a reason of his so triumphant assurance, he alleges his resurrection to confirm it, “Christ is risen.” Or, secondly, if you would have a reason of the thing, how it comes to pass that we who are believers cannot be condemned; “Christ is risen,” says he. He alleges it as a cause that has such an influence into justification itself, as it makes all sure about it.

  • 1. By way of evidence. Although Christ’s obedience in his life and his death past do alone afford the whole matter of our justification, and make up the sum of that price paid for us (as has been shown). So as faith may see a fullness of worth and merit therein, to discharge the debt; yet faith has a comfortable sign and evidence to confirm itself in the belief of this, from Christ’s resurrection after his death. It may fully satisfy our faith, that God himself is satisfied, and that he reckons the debt as paid. So that our faith may boldly come to God, and call for the bond in, as having Christ’s resurrection to show for it, that the debt is discharged. And hence the apostle cries victory over sin, hell, and death, upon occasion of, and as the coronis and conclusion of that, his large discourse about Christ’s resurrection, 1 Corinthians 15:55-57, “O death, where is your sting?” that is sin, and the power of it; for so it follows, “the sting of death is sin;” and “O grave, where is your victory? Thanks be to God who has given us victory, through Jesus Christ our Lord,” namely, as risen again; for of his resurrection, and of that chiefly, had he spoken throughout that chapter.

  • 2. But surely this is not all, that it should only argue our justification by way of evidence. This alone would not have deserved such a rather to be put upon it, if Christ’s resurrection had not had some farther real causal influence into justification itself, and been more than simply an evidence of it to our apprehensions. Therefore, secondly, in justification, although the materiale, or matter of it, be wholly the obedience and death of Christ. Yet the act of pronouncing us righteous by that his obedience (which is the formale of justification), does depend upon Christ’s resurrection. Ordinarily there has been no more expressed concerning this dependence, than that the resurrection of Christ justifies by working actual faith, to lay hold upon what Christ has done in his life and death, which is called the applying of it, of which more anon. But that speech of Paul, 1 Corinthians 15:17, seems to import more, “If Christ be not risen again, you are yet in your sins, and your faith is in vain.” That is, although you could suppose faith to be wrought in you upon the merit of Christ’s dying, yet it would be in vain if Christ were not risen again; for your title to justification itself would be void, “you were yet in your sins.” Which is said, because his resurrection was it, whereby sins (though satisfied for in his death) were taken off and they acquitted from them; which I take to be the meaning also of that, Romans 4:25, “He was delivered for our sins, and rose again for our justification.” When the apostle says, “for our sins he was delivered,” he means his laying down that which was the price for them, a satisfaction for them, which his death was. And in that sense, “he died for our sins,” that is, his death stands instead of our death and so satisfies for sin. But yet still that upon which the act of God’s justifying us, and his discharge given us from our sins, and whereby he reckons us justified, that depends upon his resurrection. “He rose again for our justification.” Note that justification there imports the act of imputation, and reckoning us just, which he had spoken of in the verses immediately foregoing, Romans 4:22-24.

In a word, to the full discharge of a debt, and freeing the debtor, two things are requisite: 1. The payment of the debt; 2. The tearing or cancelling of the bond, or receiving an acquittance for the freeing of the debtor. Now the payment was wrought by Christ’s death, and the acquittance to free from the death was at, and by, his resurrection.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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