The Significance of the Resurrection

In volume 3 of his Reformed Dogmatics Herman Bavinck spent some time talking about various (false) views of Christ’s resurrection.  For example, some say Jesus only appeared to be dead.  Others say it doesn’t matter if Jesus was physically raised from the dead – all that matters is that he lives in my heart.  Bavinck does a nice job rejecting these false views and affirming the historical, physical resurrection of Jesus.  He ends the section with these great words:

For Scripture… everything depends on the physical resurrection of Christ. The that is integral to the how: if Christ did not arise physically, then death, then sin, then he who had the power of death has not been defeated. In that case, actually, not Christ but Satan came out the victor. According to Scripture, therefore, the significance of the physical resurrection of Christ is inexhaustibly rich. Briefly summarized, that resurrection is:
(1) proof of Jesus’ messiahship, the coronation of the Servant of the Lord to be Christ and Lord, the Prince of life and Judge (Acts 2:36; 3:13–15; 5:31; 10:42; etc.);
(2) a seal of his eternal divine sonship (Acts 13:33; Rom. 1:3);
(3) a divine endorsement of his mediatorial work, a declaration of the power and value of his death, the “Amen!” of the Father upon the “It is finished!” of the Son (Acts 2:23–24; 4:11; 5:31; Rom. 6:4, 10; etc.);
(4) the inauguration of the exaltation he accomplished by his suffering (Luke 24:26; Acts 2:33; Rom. 6:4; Phil. 2:9; etc.);
(5) the guarantee of our forgiveness and justification (Acts 5:31; Rom. 4:25);
(6) the fountain of numerous spiritual blessings: the gift of the Spirit (Acts 2:33), repentance (Acts 5:31), spiritual eternal life (Rom. 6:4f.), salvation in its totality (Acts 4:12);
(7) the principle and pledge of our blessed and glorious resurrection (Acts 4:2; Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 6:14; etc.);
(8) the foundation of apostolic Christianity (1 Cor. 15:12ff.).

Since Christ has been raised, those who believe in him have a strong hope and sure foundation of salvation.  Sing praises to the risen Christ!  Alleluia, he is risen!

Herman Bavinck, John Bolt, and John Vriend, Reformed Dogmatics: Sin and Salvation in Christ, vol. 3 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2006), 442.

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI


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