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Richard B. Gaffin Jr. – Redemption and Resurrection: An Exercise in Biblical-Systematic Theology

Reading”Redemption and Resurrection: An Exercise in Biblical-Systematic Theology”,  A Confessing Theology for Postmodern Times

The longest single continuous treatment of the Resurrection in Paul is 1 Corinthians 15….he affirms that Christ in his resurrection is the first fruits of those who are fallen asleep. This declaration expresses a key thought, one that governs not only much of the argument from verse 12 to the end of the chapter but in large measure, Paul’s teaching as a whole on resurrection. – p. 232

[Christ as firstfruits], the metaphor conveys the idea of organic connection or unity; the firstfruits is the initial quantity brought into view only as it is a part of and so inseparable from the whole; in that sense it represents the whole. – p. 232

“Christ’s resurrection is the guarantee of the future bodily resurrection of believers not simply as a bare sign but as “the actual beginning of the general epochal event.” The two resurrections, though separated in time, are not so much separate events as two episodes of the same event, the beginning and end of the one and same harvest. – p.232

Essentially the same idea of solidarity in resurrection is also expressed elsewhere in the description of Christ as the firstborn from among the dead (Col. 1:18). – p. 233

In view, further, is Christ’s resurrection as an innately eschatological event. In fact, as much as any, it is the key inaugurating event of eschatology, the dawn of the new creation (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal 6:15), the arrival of the age to come (Rom. 12:2; Gal 1:4). It is not an isolated event in the past, but, in having occurred in the past, it belongs to the future consummation and from that future has entered history. – p. 233

…the primary significance of christ’s resurrection lies in what he and believers have in common, not in the progound difference between them the accent falls not on his true deity but on his genuine humanity. The Resurrection, as we will presently note in more detail, is not so much an especially evident display or powerful proof of Christ’s divine nature as it is the powerful transformation of his human nature. – p. 233

From this it will be readily apparent how Paul’s teaching on the fundamental event of resurrection reflects the overall already/not-yet structure of eschatological fulfillment in the period between Christ’s resurrection and his return. – p. 234

If we raise the question of distinguishing the two episodes of the believer’s resurretion, various proposals suggest themselves: secret/open; nonbodily/bodily; internal/external. Paul himself offers the distinction between the outer man and the inner man (2 Cor. 4:16), which we should understand not as two discrete entities but as two aspects of the whole person. So far as believers are “outerman,” that is, in terms of the body, they are yet to be raised. So far as they are “inner man,” they are already raised and, he adds, the subject of daily renewal. – pp. 234-235

So far as the Christ is concerned, the most striking is the relationship between Christ and the Holy Spirit resulting from the Resurrection. Her the key, single most important passage is also in 1 Corinthians 15, where Paul says of Christ that the last Adam became the life-giving Spirit (v.45).  – p. 235

Paul affirms what has not always been adequately elaborated in the church’s chritology: the momentous, epochal significance of the exaltation for Christ personally; he has, as the firstfruits, what he did not have previously, a spiritual body. In his resurrection, something really happened to Jesus; by that experience he was and remains a changed man, in the truest and deepest, even eschatological sense. – p. 236.

…by declarative energy of the Holy Spirit in his resurrection, God’ eternal and now incarnate Son has become what he was not previously, the Son of God with power (v.4). Relatively speaking, according to 2 Corinthians 13:4, while Christ was crucified in (a state of) weakness, he now lives by God’s power; his is now, by virtue of the Resurrection and Ascension, a glorified human nature. – p. 236

Justification, on the one hand, is seen as what God does, once for all and perfectly; sanctification, on the other hand is what the believer does, imperfectly. – p. 240

What is resolutely rejected at the front door of justification comes in through the back door of sanctification and takes over the whole house. – p. 240

We may be sure of this: Where the church embraces this inseparable bond between faith and suffering, there i will have come a long way toward not only comprehending theologically but also actually experiencing the eschatological quality of its resurrection-life in Christ, the life-giving Spirit. – p. 245

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