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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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J.I. Packer – Union With Christ

1 Apr


Is there more to Christianity than practicing morality and supporting a church? Many think not, but there is. Christianity is a new life, consisting of new relationships with God, men, and things; and it all springs from one source—a unique link between the Christian and his Master, Jesus Christ.

The New Testament makes this quite clear, but talks of the link itself in language that is startling and hard to pin down. Union with Christ is affirmed in terms that sound too strong to be true. Thus, Paul says that “Christ … is our life” (Colossians 3:4), and “I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Galatians 2:20 KJV); and he speaks of Christians doing and experiencing literally everything in Christ, and of baptized persons as having put on Christ (Galatians 3:27). So, too, Jesus says, “Abide in me, and I in you … I am the vine, you are the branches” (John 15:4ff.). What sort of link can it be that prompts such statements?

~J.I. Packer~




Growing in Christ (Wheaton, IL; Crossway Books 1994) p. 119.

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G.K. Beale – The Eschatological Tint of the New Testament

17 Dec

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The great end-time predictions have already begun the process of fulfillment. William Manson has well said,

When we turn to the New Testament, we pass from the climate of prediction to that of fulfillment. The things which God had foreshadowed by the lips of His holy prophets He has now, in part at least, brought to accomplishment….
The supreme sign of the Eschaton is the Resurrection of Jesus and the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Church. The Resurrection of Jesus is not simply a sign which God has granted in favour of His son, but is the inauguration, the entrance into history, of the times of the End.
Christians, therefore, have entered through the Christ into the new age…
What had been predicted in Holy Scripture as to happen to Israel or to man in the Eschaton, has happened to and in Jesus. The foundation-stone of the New Creation has come into position.

Therefore, the apostles understood eschatology not merely as futurology but as a mind-set for understanding the present within the climaxing context of redemptive history. That is, the apostles understood that they were already living in the end times, and that they were to understand their present salvation in Christ to be already an end-time reality. Every aspect of their salvation was to be conceived of as eschatological in nature. To put this another way, the major doctrines of the Christian faith are charged with eschatological electricity. Just as when you put on green sunglasses, everything you see is green, so Christ through the Spirit had placed eschatological sunglasses on his disciples so that everything they looked at in the Christian faith had an end-time tint.

~G.K. Beale~


A New Testament Biblical Theology (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Academic; 2011) p. 18.

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Robert Letham – Union with Christ and Our Justification

30 Mar

If, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. – Romans 5:17

Paul’s point is that we are not addressed merely as discrete individuals; instead, we are placed by God in solidaristic groups or teams. Adam was head or captain of a team of which we all were members. His sin plunged the whole team into sin, ruin, death, and condemnation. What Christ did for us was also done as the head of a team of which we are part. He did it on our behalf, for us–and God reckons it to our account as a result of our being united, through faith, with him as the head of the team. Our justification is therefore grounded on union with Christ.

~Robert Letham~




Union with Christ (Phillipsburg, New Jersey; P&R Publishing; 2011) p. 6.

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