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After Easter: Witsius on the Benefits of Christ’s Resurrection

14 April, 2009

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Again from his rich explanation of the Apostles’ Creed, the last section of his discussion of Christ’s resurrection.

Let us now consider, in fine, the UTILITY [i.e. its results and fruits for us] of Christ’s resurrection. The advantage which redounds to us from this important event is chiefly three-fold.

  1. Our justification. He “was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Rom 4:25). When God released his Son from the bonds of death, into which he had been thrown on account of our debts, he is to be viewed as having given him a discharge, and as having declared by that very deed, that his justice was now satisfied to the last farthing [penny]. When Christ was raised up, he was thus “justified in the Spirit” (1 Tim 3:16). But if he was thus justified, we must at the same time have been justified in him.
  2. Our sanctification. “Ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead” (Col 2:12). Hence believers are said to be “risen with Christ,” that is, in a spiritual sense (Col 3:1); and to be “planted together with him in the likeness of his resurrection, that, as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so they also should walk in newness of life” (Rom 6:4, 5). This is “the power of the resurrection” (Phil 3:10) of which Paul speaks. Christ, when he came forth from the earth, was made, not merely like the first Adam, “a living soul — but a quickening spirit” (1 Cor 15:45). He received life, not only for himself, but also for his people; and not merely that he might live with the Father in heaven, but also that he might live by the Spirit in believers (Gal 2:20)….While believers are “members of his body” (Eph 5:30), they are also “one spirit with him” (1 Cor 6:17); and he is “our Life” (Col 3:4).
  3. Our glorification in a blessed resurrection. This is inferred by the Apostle from the resurrection of Christ (1 Cor 15:12; 1 Thess 4:14): and the reasoning is just; for he is our first-born Brother, and we are “joint-heirs with him” (Rom 8:17). If he then received life and immortality by a hereditary title from the Father, we too, in our place and order, must be partakers of the same inheritance; that, as he is “the beginning, the first-born from the dead” (Col 1:18), he may be so “among many brethren” (Rom 8:29). “Christ the firstfruits; afterwards, they that are Christ’s, at his coming” (1 Cor 15:23). Besides, Christ is our Head, we are his members; he would not therefore reckon himself entirely alive, unless we also were alive with him. Hence he teaches us to reason from his life to our own: “Because I live, ye shall live also” (John 14:19). Job had long before argued in the same manner (Job 19:25-27). Christ, too, is the second Adam, from whom life is no less certainly derived to those that are his, than death from the first Adam to all: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor 15:22). In fine, since the same Spirit, by whom God raised up Jesus from the dead, dwells in us, what reason can be assigned, why he should not perform the same work in us? “If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead, dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead, shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you” (Rom 8:11)….And he will accomplish the same work in believers, first by sanctifying their souls, that is by raising them to spiritual life, and hereafter their bodies, by raising them to a glorious life; for these also, according to their measure, were the subjects of sanctification.

It were easy to improve [i.e. explore and apply] these topics for Consolation; and, in the mean time, to inculcate assiduously, that none can justly assure himself of the privilege of a blessed justification, or of a glorious resurrection, arising from the resurrection of Christ, unless he also experience its power to communicate the vigour of the spiritual life.

  1. 14 April, 2009 5:06 am

    Great article. On Easter, I saw the following in Riddleblog which I copied and pasted and which I added highlights and spaces. It is succinct and is another reason to read our Reformed creeds.

    “From the Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 17

    45. What benefit do we receive from the “resurrection” of Christ?

    First, by His resurrection He has overcome death, that He might make us partakers of the righteousness which He has obtained for us by His death. [1]

    Second, by His power we are also now raised up to a new life. [2]

    Third, the resurrection of Christ is to us a sure pledge of our blessed resurrection. [3]

    [1] Rom 4:25; 1 Cor 15:15-20, 54-55; 1 Pt 1:3-5, 21;

    [2] Rom 6:5-11; Eph 2:4-6; Col 3:1-4;

    [3] Rom 8:11; 1 Cor 15:12-23; Php 3:20-21” (Emphasis added).

    • creedorchaos permalink*
      14 April, 2009 9:48 am


      I agree — the HC is a great summary here. And if you look carefully, I think we can safely say Witsius thought so too: his discussion follows the HC *exactly*.


  2. 15 April, 2009 7:14 am

    you read good stuff bill.


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