Desire – Do We Want Him? by David Platt

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The Overflow of Easter: A Whole Theology of Resurrection in One Chapter by John Piper

He is risen! And O the overflow of that single event. It was the cosmic Yes! from God the Father that the death had done all it was meant to do. And it was the beginning of the eternal existence of the God-Man in a glorious new body in which he would finally reign on the earth forever. And so much more.

There is a whole theology of the resurrection and its achievements in 1 Corinthians 15. Here’s a summary. Let each of these sink in. Savor each one. Then start your new week (the rest of your life) abounding in the work God calls you to “knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”

1. Christ died for us and rose again.

Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and . . . He was buried, and . . . He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)

2. He verified his resurrection by large public appearances.

After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep. (1 Corinthians 15:6)

3. Because Christ has risen, we are not still in our sins.

If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. (1 Corinthians 15:17)

4. Because Christ has risen, our afflicted lives are not pitiable.

If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied. (1 Corinthians 15:19)

5. We who trust Christ will be raised from the dead at Christ’s second coming.

For as in Adam all [his posterity] die, so also in Christ all will [his posterity] be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming. (1 Corinthians 15:22-23)

6. Christ now reigns invincibly over the universe.

For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death. (1 Corinthians 15:25-26)

7. Our resurrection body will be imperishable, glorious, powerful, and spiritual.

[Our resurrection body] is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. (1 Corinthians 15:42-44)

8. Living or dead, we shall be given new bodies in an instant at Christ’s coming.

Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)

9. Death now has no sting and will be swallowed up in victory.

But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, „Death is swallowed up in victory. Death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55)

10. Christ suffered for sin and satisfied the law for us.

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:56-57)

11. Therefore, do huge amounts of Christ-exalting work because none of it is in vain.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:58)

(VIA) © 2011 Desiring God

But Christ Has Been Raised, You Are Not Still In Your Sins on Desiring God

John Piper, to listen to the audio click But Christ Has Been Raised, You Are Not Still In Your Sins on Desiring God.

1 Corinthians 15:17-20

And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied. But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.

Review

Two weeks ago we asked the question, „What is forgiveness? What does it look like when it happens?” To answer we used a definition from Thomas Watson: forgiving those who have wronged us includes

  1. resisting revenge,
  2. not returning evil for evil,
  3. wishing them well,
  4. grieving at their calamities,
  5. praying for their welfare,
  6. seeking reconciliation so far as it depends on you,
  7. and coming to their aid in distress.

Then last week we asked, „How can we do this? Where do we get the freedom and the power to act in a way that crosses our nature?” Forgiving is to a fallen human heart what flying is to a heavy human body. How can we do this flying? We took our clue from John Bunyan’s poem:

Run, John, run, the law commands
But gives us neither feet nor hands,
Far better news the gospel brings:
It bids us fly and gives us wings.

The gospel bids us fly—it commands us to forgive those who have wronged us. But it also gives us wings. Last week we saw two gospel wings with three feathers each in Ephesians 4:32–5:2.

Wing #1: What God did for us before we were born

  1. God loved us with a special saving love before we were born.
  2. Christ died for us with a special covenant purpose of taking us for his bride.
  3. This sacrifice for us was a sweet aroma to God and he was satisfied with it.

Wing #2: What God did for us during our lifetime

  1. God put us into a relationship with Christ so that his death and righteousness count for us.
  2. God adopted us into his eternal family.
  3. God forgave all our sins.

If we really believe these six things, if we rest in them and get our hope and our joy from them, we will be able to do the gospel-flying called forgiveness. If these things are true, we can forgive. If these things are true, we can endure anything. If these things are true, we can go on giving and giving and giving 70 times 7, because the love of God and the sacrifice of Christ and the inheritance we have as God’s children are inexhaustible.

The Resurrection: A Reward for Jesus’ Sacrifice

Now the question I ask today, on this Easter Sunday morning, is this: „If all this gospel-flying—this power to live in love and forgive those who wrong us—if this is accomplished by the love of God and the death of Jesus, then what does the resurrection of Jesus from the dead add to it?”

To answer this let’s look at 1 Corinthians 15:17, „If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.”

If Christ Was Not Raised, You’re Still in Your Sins

To be „in your sins” is the opposite of being „in Christ.” When we are „in Christ,” we get what Christ can do for us, namely, eternal life. When we are „in [our] sins,” we get what sins can do for us, namely, eternal condemnation and death (Romans 6:20–23).

Paul says, „If Christ has not been raised . . . you are still in your sins.” We are still bearing our guilt, still under condemnation, still alienated from God, still unforgiven.

Why Is This So?

But why is this if the death of Jesus satisfied the Father (as we saw last week)? If it’s true that „every debt that you ever had has been paid up in full by the blood of the Lamb” (not the resurrection of the Lamb, cf. Romans 5:9; Ephesians 1:7), then why are we still in our sins if the Lamb does not rise from the dead?

The answer—or at least an essential part of the answer—is that the resurrection of Jesus is the reward of his sacrifice. And if the reward is not given, it’s because the sacrifice is deficient. And if the sacrifice is deficient, we are still in our sins.

Easter and Being Forgiving People

So you can see that the point of Easter is tremendously relevant to whether we can be a forgiving people or not. If Christ has not been raised, then all the gospel feathers in the wings that support gospel-flying (forgiving) are defective. If God will not let his own Son fly from the tomb and take his seat at the Father’s right hand in glory, it’s because his sacrifice for our sins was defective. It won’t work. We are still in our sins. John Bunyan was wrong. The gospel does not bring us better news: it bids us fly, but it does not give us wings.

So the resurrection of Jesus is tremendously important for our capacity to forgive one another. It is the reward that God gives to his Son precisely because his sacrifice is so totally sufficient for our forgiveness and for our power to forgive.

Hebrews 13:20–21a

Let me try to show some of the evidence that the resurrection of Jesus is the reward of his sacrifice. The book of Hebrews makes this plain in three different places. Start at the end of the book. In Hebrews 13:20–21a it says, „Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, 21 equip you in every good thing to do His will.”

This sounds like Jesus died for himself. Look at it again: „[God] brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep [that is, he raised Christ from the dead] through [by means of] the blood of the eternal covenant.” Christ was raised from the dead through his own blood!

But we know from this same book—especially from this book (Hebrews 4:15; 5:9; 7:26, 28; 9:14)—that Christ was without sin and did not need anyone to die for him, not even himself! So when it says in 13:20 that God raised him from the dead „through the blood of the eternal covenant,” I take it to mean that his sacrifice so perfectly secured his covenant promises for his people that God rewarded him with resurrection to carry those promises into eternal force.

So the resurrection of Jesus validates the infinite value of the blood of Jesus. If he is raised, the sacrifice was sufficient, and you are not still in your sins. There is gospel-flying.

Hebrews 2:9b

Another text that shows this is Hebrews 2:9b, „He has been made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor.” There it is again: „Because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor.” The glory and honor that Jesus received in the resurrection and ascension was „because of his suffering and death.” His resurrection was the reward of his suffering.

Therefore if he has not been raised, then it is because God does not regard his sacrifice as worth rewarding. It is defective. And we are still in our sins.

Hebrews 10:12–14

We get an even deeper insight into this rewarding of the Son in Hebrews 10:12–14, „He [Christ], having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God [there’s the connection between the sacrifice and the resurrection, but he’s going to say how they are connected], waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. For [crucial word! „because”] by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.”

Now we can see the connection between the offering Jesus made and his resurrection: Verse 12, „Having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, he sat down at the right hand of God [he was raised!] . . . (v. 14) FOR [because] by that one offering he perfected for all time those who are sanctified.”

In other words the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins was so complete that he perfected us for all time by that one sacrifice. This is awesome—all sins forgiven, past, present, future on the basis of one sacrifice. All God’s people who by faith in Jesus are being progressively sanctified now have in fact been definitively, perfected before God for all time—and that by ONE sacrifice, the perfect, all-sufficient sacrifice of Jesus of his own blood.

Therefore—for this reason—he sat down at the right hand of God. The resurrection was the Father’s reward for such an utterly complete and marvelous work on the cross.

If Christ had not been raised from the dead, we would still be in our sins because that would mean his sacrifice was deficient. But he has been raised and the point of all these texts is that this resurrection is the reward for his sacrifice and a validation of its utter perfection and sufficiency to make us perfect before God.

Isaiah 53:10–12

We could go to Philippians 2:6–11 and see the same thing where Paul says that since Christ emptied himself and was obedient unto death, THEREFORE God has highly exalted him and given him a name above every name.

But I think it might strengthen our faith even more if we go to an Old Testament prophecy and see the truth of Christ’s resurrection and, even there 700 years before the event, its connection to the sacrifice of Christ. Even Isaiah (53:10–12) saw that the resurrection of the Servant of the Lord would be the reward of his suffering, and the proof that his suffering was sufficient to justify his people. Notice the crucial connections as I read

The Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; if [note this „if”] He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days [that’s the resurrection!—”if” he gives himself as an offering], and the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand. 11 As a result of [notice again the connection] the anguish of His soul, He will see it [its fruit] and be satisfied; by His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore [i.e., because he justified many by bearing their iniquities] I will allot Him a portion with the great, and He will divide the booty with the strong [this is the reward of resurrection], because [here it is one last time, „because”] He poured out Himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet He Himself bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressors.

So already 700 years before the death and resurrection of Christ Isaiah saw them and the connection he saw was that the resurrection of Christ was the reward of his sacrifice and the validation of his suffering to cover sin.

  • If he would render himself as a guilt offering, THEN he will see his offspring, he will prolong his days.
  • As a result of the anguish of his soul, he will be satisfied (with its fruit in resurrection).
  • Because he bears the sins of many, THEREFORE God will allot him a portion with the great.
  • He will divide the booty with the strong BECAUSE he poured out his life to death.

Summary

So we come back from Hebrews and Philippians and Isaiah to our original question from 1 Corinthians 15:17: If it’s the blood of Christ, the death of Christ, that covers all our sins and justifies us before God, then why are we still in our sins if the Christ does not rise from the dead?

The answer we have seen is this: the resurrection of Jesus is the reward of his sacrifice. It is the proof of how perfect and all-sufficient his sacrifice was. Therefore if God does not give the reward, it is because the sacrifice is defective and our faith is futile and we are still in our sins. The gospel gives no wings and we are left unforgiven and unforgiving.

But the message of Easter is the shout of 1 Corinthians 15:20, „But Christ has been raised.” And Paul gives the evidence for it in 1 Corinthians 15:5–8—the people Christ appeared to: individuals, small groups, a large group, many of whom were still alive as Paul wrote so that the Corinthians could investigate his claim, „But Christ has been raised.”

Therefore our faith is not futile and we are not still in our sins and we are not unforgiven and we need not be—indeed, cannot be—unforgiving. The gospel does give wings:

Far better news the Gospel brings,
It bids us fly and gives us wings.

Doubt not his sacrifice can save,
God sealed it with an empty grave.
And by his blood and life we live
And now have freedom to forgive.

The resurrection of Jesus is an exclamation point of God’s joy and celebration of all that Christ did for us in his dying. Christ is alive today for this reason: to deliver to us personally and powerfully everything he died to obtain. Including the joy of being forgiven and the doubled joy of being forgivers.

To acknowledge this and embrace it and celebrate it, would you sing with me these words (to the tune of „Be Still My Soul”):

I then shall live as one who’s been forgiven;
I’ll walk with joy to know my debts are paid.
I know my name is clear before my Father:
I am His child, and I am not afraid.
So greatly pardoned, I’ll forgive another;
The law of love I gladly will obey.

John Piper @Desiring God Website DesiringGod.org

Where is Your Theology of the Resurrection? John Hendryx

He is risen 2

(via) Monergism

Recently I have been pondering the question: why in traditional theological circles is there such a lack of emphasis on the theology of the resurrection yet so much stress on Christ’s death? Not to de-emphasize his atoning death but this oversight is especialy curious in light of the fact that in the New Testament there appears to be a great importance placed on the resurrection, at least, it seems, equal in emphasis to Christ’s death, but we don’t talk about or theologize about it much … why? I have to ask because the implications of Christ’s resurrection is a critical part of Christ’s redemptive work in and for us.

In light of the resurrection of Christ, 1 Corinthians 15 speaks of our present victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of the work of Christ in his resurrection Paul is able to say in verse 58, „Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.” As we participate in his resurrection now and are seated with him at God’s right hand, where He reigns over all his enemies, including the world, the flesh, the devil and death, then, in light of this, this should somehow translate to our living in the world now.

We rightly place a great deal of stress on Christ’s death and atoning sacrifice but often seem to leave off the saving dimension of Christ’s resurrection. The finished work of Christ includes both his death and resurrection in NT biblical theology, because we would still be in our sins if Christ has not been raised from the dead according to the same 1 Corinthians passage. In seminaries and theology books very little space seems to be devoted to this, to a degree we should find alarming. Any victory we have now is from the life which Christ gives our mortal bodies in His resurrection (Rom 8:11). In Rom. 6 Paul also states that we are baptized into Christ’s resurrection, which is the power that saves us through regeneration. It is not only what gives us a new heart that we might be raised up from being spiritually dead and so believe the gospel, but grants us the power to live a new life, have spiritual affections for Christ and the grace to live a godly life because of the ethical change that has taken place within us. The disposition in us toward death has been crushed by Jesus’ resurrection.

Since the „last days” were inaugurated with Christ’s resurrection, we are living in the already/not yet time where Christ’s victory over death is being worked out in and through us. There is no such thing, therefore, as Christian who lives in sin as a lifestyle. The resurrected Lord who lives in us is greater than he who is in the world. We may be deceived for a time, but the Spirit working in us compells us to cry ABBA Father and look to Christ in faith for the victory and mortification of any besetting sin. But we cannot do this as individuals since Christ has established his church as the agency for advancing his kingdom rule on earth (Eph 1:22). God calls us to do this through the weakness of preaching the gospel through which he will confound worldly powers and destroy all vain speculations.

It is important to note Paul use of the word „firstfruits” in 1 Cor 15. Without historical background this may not make sense, but what it points to is the Jewish feasts of Passover and Pentecost, each of which had the first fruits of the harvest given to the Lord. These firstfruits were a sign of the full harvest that would come soon after. Of course, more to the point, these festivals were in the Jewish calendar to remember Israel being freed from Egyptian slavery (Passover) and the giving of the Law at Sinai (Pentecost). Here in 1 Cor. 15 Paul is saying that the Christ is our Passover, the firstfruits of the resurrection from the dead … with many more to follow. This is an act of God’s grace alone, not something we work toward, yet that grace, that resurrection which we are untied to in Christ compels us to work, not in order to be saved, but because we are saved. There is nothing natural about this. Christ has saved us completely with no contribution owing to ourselves. His kingdom now reigns in His people and He is extending it by redeeming people and the creation through us. Even now, according to the Scriptures, all powers are being subjected to Christ with death being the last enemy.

As we can see that this is no small matter which has profound theological and pastoral implications. There I would challenge and encourage the Reformed community to develop a more robust biblical theology of the resurrection.

J.W.H.

Posted by John on April 24, 2008

Free Download of „Hail the Day” by Sovereign Grace (via Desiring God)

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C. J. Mahaney writes about Risen, the new album by Sovereign Grace:

Here in these 13 songs our hearts and affections are focused on the resurrection of our Savior, where God the Father publicly demonstrated his satisfaction with the Son’s sacrifice on the cross for our sins and where our hope of future resurrection finds its guarantee.

One of our favorites at Desiring God is „Hail the Day.”

You can download „Hail the Day” for free or get the entire album for only $6.99.

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