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Richard Gaffin – The Resurrection of Christ Is Pivotal in Salvation

26 Mar

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What is the distinguishing concern of Paul’s soteriology? Is his controlling interest the historical accomplishment of redemption or its individual application? While both are present as clearly distinct, yet inseparable
concerns, a major conclusion of this study is that a redemptive-historical outlook is decidedly dominant and determinative. We have found that the resurrection of Christ is the pivotal factor in the whole of the apostle’s soteriological teaching. Not only is the resurrection (as it is constitutive of the ascension and heavenly session) the climax of the redemptive history of Christ; it is also that from which the individual believer’s experience of redemption derives in it specific and distinguishing character and in all aspects of its inexhaustible fullness. For in transforming Christ’s person, the resurrection and no other event (or consideration) constitutes him as life-giving Spirit to those joined to him. It and no other event inaugurates the new age, the eschatological aeon, into which others are brought, so that he might be ‘firstborn among many brothers.’

To be more specific, we have found that redemption, both in the experience of Christ as the last Adam and in that of believers, is defined expressly in terms of resurrection (with Christ) and in the final analysis consists in the state of being raised (with him). So thoroughly does this redemptive-historically conditioned solidarity control Paul’s thinking that the primary categories he employs to explicate the realization of redemption in the life history of the believer are derived from the significance of resurrection for Christ himself. Justification, adoption, sanctification, and glorification all have a common redemptive-historical, resurrection-qualified origin and complexion. Further, as with Christ so with believers, these are not distinct acts but different facets of a single act, in the case of the latter, the act of being raised with Christ, that is, being united to Christ as resurrected.

~Richard Gaffin~




Resurrection and Redemption (Phillipsburg, NJ; P&R Publishing; 1987) p. 135-136.

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