G.K. Beale – The Reality of Our Resurrection With Christ

11 Jun
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Professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary.

Paul’s affirmation of believers’ possession of “eternal life” (Romans 6:22–23) is likely an already—not yet reality. Hence, saints are not merely like resurrected beings; rather, they actually have begun to experience the end-time resurrection that Christ experienced because they are identified with him by faith. Although Paul can use the language of being in “the likeness of His resurrection” (supplying the ellipsis in 6:5b), he does not mean this in some purely metaphorical way, contrary to what some scholars contend. That he intends to refer to literal resurrection is apparent from observing that he parallels it with being in “the likeness of his death” in 6:5a, which refers to real identification with his death, such that “our old man was crucified with Him” (6:6) and believers have really “died” (6:7–8). Paul does not refer to identification with Christ’s death in a metaphorical manner. So likewise believers are in the “likeness” of Christ’s resurrection because they actually have begun to be identified with it and participate in it. Of course, they are not fully identified with Christ’s resurrection, since he has experienced full physical resurrection life and those identified with him have experienced only inaugurated resurrection life on the spiritual level. Nevertheless, this inauguration is the beginning of true resurrection existence and is not metaphorical only because it is spiritual (as I explained in chap. 5 with respect to John 5:25–29). If saints are only like Christ’s resurrection, then Paul’s exhortation to them to live as resurrected beings is emptied of its force: if Christians have begun to be end-time resurrected creatures, then they have resurrection power not to “let sin reign in [their mortal bodies] … but present [themselves] to God as those alive from the dead” (6:12–13).


~G.K. Beale~


A New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding of the Old Testament in the New (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic; 2011) p. 250-51.

Books by G.K. Beale

Kindle Books

Other Beale Quotes at the Cross Quoter

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