Where is Your Theology of the Resurrection? John Hendryx

John Hendryx (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

Reclame

Free will (4) and prayer/petition

Libertarian Free Will & Prayer

by John Feinberg

If I [believe in libertarian freedom and] plead with God to remove my friend’s illness, that is not absurd, for God can answer that prayer without negating anyone’s freedom. But what about the request that God change the attitudes and actions of my friend’s tyrannical boss? What about petitions that ask God to move those processing applications for graduate school to accept my friend? Or what about prayers that ask God to keep my enemies at work from bothering me? And what about pleading with God to save a dear relative or friend? In all of these cases, what am I asking God to do, if libertarian free will obtains? I am either asking God to override others’ freedom, or I am asking him to move them to do something freely in spite of the fact that my belief in libertarian free will means that I believe Gold cannot get anybody to do anything freely. If I truly value libertarian free will as much as libertarians say they do, why would I ask God to override it just because of my petition? . . . Libertarians may be asking God to try to persuade their friends, but I repeat that God can only guarantee their persuasion by casual determinism, and that abridges libertarian free will.

On the other hand, if I am not asking God to override someone else’s freedom, then I’m asking him to do something which I believe he cannot do (make it the case that someone else does something freely). I may ask him to try to persuade the person, but I know that without God overriding their freedom, he cannot guarantee that they will change. In fact, since at the moment of free decision making nothing decisively inclines their will, regardless of what God or anyone else does or says, the matter may be hopeless. In light of such problems with interceding with God to change someone’s incompatibilistically free actions or attitudes, there is good reason for anyone committed to libertarian free will who understands the implications of the position to think twice before offering intercessory prayers of the kind mentioned. In fact, prayer to change either our or others’ actions seems problematic.


Foundations of Evangelical Theology, pp. 705.
…[W]ith libertarian free will many prayers make no sense. . . .

…[C]onsider petitions about ourselves that do involve our free will. Suppose we ask the Lord to help us be more faithful in Bible reading, prayer, and witnessing. Or suppose we pray that the Lord will help us treat our family or neighbor better. I maintain that if libertarian free will obtains in our world, these are to a large degree absurd requests. For what are we asking God to do? In order for me to be more faithful in Bible reading, prayer, and witnessing, won’t I have to decide to do these things? But if I have libertarian free will and am allowed to exercise it, how can God fulfill my request? If he doesn’t override my libertarian freedom, he cannot guarantee the fulfillment of my request. So what am I asking him to do? Override my freedom? Make it the case that I freely decide to do these things? But here libertarians tell us that, if God brings it about that we do anything, we don’t do it freely. It seems that God cannot be certain to grant my request unless he overrides my freedom, but why would God want me to engage in these spiritual exercises because I’m forced to do so (according to my libertarian free will, I would be forced, but God wants my love and devotion freely!)? Shouldn’t I, then, petition myself in an attempt to convince myself to do these things? After all, only I can freely effect what I choose to do, given libertarian free will. But if I did petition myself, wouldn’t that usually mean I had already decided to do these things, and if so, the petition becomes unnecessary? I submit, then, that unless I really want God to override my freedom, what I ask him in these cases is absurd. If he doesn’t tamper with my libertarian free will, he can’t do what I ask; only I can, but petitioning myself engages me in the further absurdities mentioned. (via) Monergism

Free Will (2) Thirteen Things a Lost Person Can Not Do

by Curtis A. Pugh (via) monergism

That the lost sinner must cast himself wholly on the mercy and grace of God must be obvious to those who read and believe the Scriptures. But the Bible knows nothing of such foolish man-made ideas as „praying the sinner’s prayer”, or „making a decision for Christ”, or „inviting Jesus into your heart” or „going forward to receive Christ.” No New Testament preacher ever used such terms or tactics! To tell spiritually dead sinners that there is something they can do to bring about their salvation is damnable heresy for by its false hope sinners are taught to trust in what they have done rather in Christ who has done all. 

Consider these thirteen spiritual things an unsaved person cannot do:

1. HE CANNOT THINK AS GOD DOES:

„For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

2. HE CANNOT UNDERSTAND GOD:

„. . . thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself . . .” (Psalm 50:21)

„Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? Deeper than hell; what canst thou know? (Job 11:7-8)

3. HE CANNOT SEE SPIRITUAL THINGS:

„Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)

4. HE CANNOT KNOW HIS OWN HEART: 

„The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)

5. HE CANNOT PROPERLY DIRECT HIS OWN PATHS:

„O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.” (Jeremiah 10:23)

„There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 14:12)

6. HE CANNOT FREE HIMSELF FROM THE CURSE OF THE LAW:

„For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” (Galatians 3:10)

7. HE CANNOT RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT:

„Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not . . .” (John 14:17)

8. HE CANNOT HEAR (receive & understand) GOD’S WORDS:

„He that is of God heareth God’s words; ye therefore hear them not because ye are not of God.” (John 8:47)

„But the natural (unsaved) man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned.” (1Corinthians 2:14)

9. HE CANNOT BIRTH HIMSELF INTO THE FAMILY OF GOD:

„Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man but of God.” (John 1:13)

„For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” (Romans 9:15-16)

10. HE CANNOT PRODUCE REPENTANCE AND FAITH IN CHRIST:

„For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that (faith) not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

„. . . for all men have not faith.” (2 Thessalonians 3:2)

„For unto you it is given . . . to believe on him . . .” (Philippians 1:29)

„. . . if God peradventure will give them repentance . . .” (2 Timothy 2:25)

„. . . to them that have obtained like precious faith with us . . .” (2 Peter 1:1)

11. HE CANNOT COME TO CHRIST:

„No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him . . . Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.” (John 6:44, 65)

12. HE CANNOT BELIEVE ON CHRIST:

„But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep as I said unto you.” (John 10:26)

13. HE CANNOT PLEASE GOD:

„For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. . . . So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” (Romans 8:5, 8, 9)

SO THEN, MANKIND IS SHUT UP TO THE FACT OF HIS OWN TOTAL INABILITY TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT HIS LOST CONDITION.

In the light of these things which a spiritually dead (lost) sinner cannot do, how then do we account for the command of God to all men to repent? The Bible does state that God „. . . now commandeth all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). What do we do about the counsel of God to men which says they are to believe on Christ? Would God command and instruct men to do that which they cannot do?

We answer an emphatic „Yes!” Our proof is the holy Law of God given to Moses on Mount Sinai. While there was nothing wrong with God’s Law, no man is able to keep those commandments (1 Timothy 1:8; Romans 8:3). No man ever kept the Law of God and yet God was right to give it to man and command its keeping! By that Law we see ourselves as sinners (Romans 3:20). That was the purpose of the Law!

While God requires repentance (the will to turn from sin) and faith (the will to believe in Christ), no man is able of himself to do either. Thus, as with the Law, man is forced to see that there is nothing good in him and that he cannot repent and believe savingly in Jesus Christ.

Throughout the Bible God’s children recognize their own inability to do anything to save themselves. In addition to the portions previously quoted in this tract, consider the following statements:

„. . . I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” (Romans 7:18)

„Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” (Mark 9:24)

„. . . I am shut up, and I cannot come forth.” (Psalm 88:8)

Turn us. O God of our salvation . . .” (Psalm 85:4)

” . . . Turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art the LORD my God.” (Jeremiah 31:18)

„But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our riqhteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee . . .” (Isaiah 64:6, 7)

„. . . Salvation is of the LORD” (Jonah 2:9).

Those who think that they can properly repent of their own ability and savingly believe of their own faith fall into error. They trust in their own ability and not in the saving work of Jesus Christ! Is not this true of those who boast of their past sins and their turning from them? Do they not claim that they did it themselves? Repeatedly we hear this in their popular „testimony meetings.” Some are willing to share the glory and admit that they had a little help from God, but even this is wicked confidence in the flesh. And do not some religionists boast of their faith as if it was some great thing worthy of reward? Faith (confidence) in my faith or in my turning to God is not „. . . the faith of God’s elect.” (Titus 1:1)

Paul wrote concerning true children of God, „. . . We . . . worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” (Philippians 3:3). To trust in anything done in the flesh (human nature and strength) is to have „confidence in the flesh.” To trust in your prayer, your baptism, your goodness, your faith or any experience you may have had is to have confidence in the flesh and not to trust in Christ. The faith and confidence of the true believer is in Christ! Those born of God trust not in rituals, sacraments, good works, their own repentance or their faith in Christ, but rather in Christ alone!

„Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith . . .” (2 Corinthians 13:5). Are you trusting in your faith or are you trusting in Christ? What is the object of your faith? Do you really see that all your „righteousnesses are as filthy rags”? (Isaiah 64:6). Have you seen that you deserve Hell? Are you willing to take your place as a sinner and if God sends you to Hell will you say He is just, fair, and righteous to do so? Or do you think yourself unworthy of eternal punishment?

Consider these words from the old English Baptist Gadsby Hymnal.

O beware of trust ill-grounded;
‘Tis but fancied faith at most, 
To be cured, and not be wounded:
To be saved before you’re lost.

Have you never been wounded by the Word of God so that your sins have been laid bare? Have you never been lost–that is, have you seen yourself as hopelessly lost and a Hell-deserving sinner? How can you think yourself saved if you have never been lost? Jesus said, „. . . I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Mark 2:17). If a sinner, surely the Scriptures cited in this tract have shown that you are helpless to do anything about your terrible lost condition!

Salvation is free and comes, „Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us . . .” (Titus 3:5). Look to Jesus Christ, who has done all things necessary and possible, „for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

May God give you grace to see yourself as He does, and may He give you the twin gifts of „. . . repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21) so that you are „. . . not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul” (Hebrews 10:39).

Ligon Duncan – Why the Resurrection Matters

…a very good insight on an aspect of postmodern style thinking from sermon-     „the plot always has these three components:  the church used to believe this – that is, that Jesus was literally raised from the dead on the third day – but through our brilliant insight and our scholarly pursuit, we now know that  is not true. But not to worry! We don’t have to abandon Christianity! We just need to reinterpret it.”

Please read entire sermon for an accurate assessment of the times we live in:

(via) Monergism

1 Corinthians 15:1-58

If you have your Bibles, I would invite you to turn with me to I Corinthians 15.  It is appropriate that on this day that we would spend some time considering the biblical teaching about the resurrection and its significance. There is much confusion on this  subject in our own day and time. There are many in the secular world who delight in calling into the truth of the resurrection. There are many within the Christian church who are confused about the truth of the resurrection, and some who are laboring hard to sound a trumpet with an uncertain sound about the resurrection. Many are speaking about the resurrection in such a way as to reinterpret it, to call it into question in the minds of Christians. And it is altogether appropriate that we pause and reflect what the biblical teaching is about the resurrection,  and especially the resurrection of Jesus Christ,  and its significance. We cannot jump too quickly to the significance of the resurrection before we have embraced the truth of the resurrection, itself. C. S. Lewis reminded us,  long ago, that there is a tendency in our age “to believe something because its good, rather than because it is true.” But if it is not true, than ultimately it does not matter if it seems good or not. We must be convinced both of the truth of the resurrection as well as its positive, good, and beneficial significance for us, before we can drink deeply of the draft of blessings which the Lord has prepared for us. So, let’s hear God’s Holy word here in 1 Corinthians, beginning in verse 1:

„Now, I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all, as it were to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. For I am the least of the apostles, who am not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you  believe.”

Amen. This is God’s Holy and inspired word. May He write its eternal truth upon our hearts. Let’s pray.

O Lord, by Your Spirit, make us behold wonderful truths from Your word, and enlighten us to the saving truth of the resurrection, and its great significance for our Christian living. In Jesus’ name, we ask it. Amen.

About this time of year, every year that I can remember in the age of my teenage to adulthood, somebody – somewhere – and usually many people in many places, write articles, release books, do interviews or are interviewed on a television special, that attempt to debunk the historic Christian teaching about the resurrection. It may be a professor at the local university that announces in a startling interview with the newspaper that “Now all intelligent people everywhere know that Jesus did not rise again from the dead on the third day.” Or it may be a famous New Testament scholar, who is hawking books that he is preparing to sell in the market, through writing articles in a newspaper or in a major new magazine, debunking the resurrection. Or, it may be a television special, offered on one of the special cable channels that purports to give you the „real story” behind the resurrection account in the gospel. But it just seems that every year about this time, someone is making what they say is a new and startling revelation about the truth surrounding the death and burial of Jesus Christ. And the plot always has these three components:  the church used to believe this – that is, that Jesus was literally raised from the dead on the third day – but through our brilliant insight and our scholarly pursuit, we now know that  is not true. But not to worry! We don’t have to abandon Christianity! We just need to reinterpret it. The resurrection isn’t Jesus coming back from the dead – it is the cosmic victory of life over mortality. Whatever that means! And the plot is always the same: the church used to believe this; we are smarter than that now. We don’t believe it anymore,  but we can still believe the Easter Story even if the Easter Story didn’t happen.

Mai mult

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

Blogosfera Evanghelică

Vizite unicate din Martie 6,2011

free counters

Va multumim ca ne-ati vizitat azi!


România – LIVE webcams de la orase mari