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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.

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G.K. Beale – Jesus’s Resurrection and the Power to Obey

23 Oct

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The basis of Paul issuing commands to people is that such people have the ability to obey the commands because they have been raised from the dead, are regenerated, and are new creatures who have the power to obey…

Not taking seriously enough the resurrection language applied to the Christian’s present experience to designate real eschatological resurrection existence, albeit on the spiritual level, has unintentionally eviscerated the ethical power of church teaching and preaching, since Christians must be aware that they presently have resurrection power to please and obey God. This is why in Rom. 6 and elsewhere Paul employs Christ’s latter-day resurrection as the basis for believers’ resurrection identity and for his exhortations that they rule over sin.

~G.K. Beale~


A New Testament Biblical Theology (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Academic; 2011) p. 251.

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John Piper – What Does Faith in Future Grace Mean?

15 Jan

By future I do not merely mean the grace of heaven and the age to come. I mean the grace that begins now, this very second, and sustains your life to the end of this paragraph. By grace I do not merely mean the pardon of God in passing over your sins, but also the power and beauty of God to keep you from sinning. By faith I do not merely mean the confidence that Jesus died for your sins, but also the confidence that God will “also with him graciously give us all things” (Romans 8:32).

This book is based on the conviction that faith has a profound and pervasive future orientation. To be sure, faith can look back and believe a truth about the past (like the truth that Christ died for our sins). It can look out and trust a person (like the personal receiving of Jesus Christ). And it can look forward and be assured about a promise (like, “I will be with you to the end of the age”).

But even when faith embraces a past reality, its saving essence includes the embrace of the implications of that reality for the present and the future.

~John Piper~




Future Grace (Colorado Springs, CO; Multnomah Books; 2011) p. 5.

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John Piper – Needed: Biblical Categories of Thinking About Obedience

3 Jan

Behind most wrong living is wrong thinking. Jesus calls us, for example, to a radical purity. But I find that many Christians have no categories for thinking clearly about the commands and warnings and promises of Jesus. When he says that we should pluck out our lusting eye, he backs it up with a warning: “For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell” (Matthew 5:29). Threats of going to hell because of lust are simply not the way contemporary Christians usually talk or think. This is not because such warnings aren’t in the Bible, but because we don’t know how to fit them together with other thoughts about grace and faith and eternal security. We nullify the force of Jesus’ words because our conceptual framework is disfigured. Our Christian living is lamed by sub-Christian thinking about living.

I have found in almost forty years of preaching and teaching and struggling with people who want to be authentic Christians, that the way they think about Christian living is often absorbed from the cultural air we breathe rather than learned from categories of Scripture. Not only that, some of the inherited categories of “Christian” thinking are so out of sync with the Bible that they work against the very obedience they are designed to promote.

~John Piper~




Future Grace (Colorado Springs, CO; Multnomah Books; 2011) p. 2-3.

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Other Piper Quotes at the Cross Quoter