Pastor's Blog

The Important of the Resurrection

John Calvin said that the resurrection is the “chief article of our faith.” He meant that it was the cornerstone of our belief, the centerpiece of our proclamation, and the ultimate hope around which we gather. Since John Calvin is the father of Reformed theology, every Presbyterian ought to have read something from John Calvin. There is no better place to turn than his words about the resurrection, in his Institutes of the Christian Religion.

 

"Next comes the resurrection from the dead. Without this what we have said so far would be incomplete. For since only weakness appears in the cross, death, and burial of Christ, faith must leap over all these things to attain its full strength. We have in his death the complete fulfillment of salvation, for through it we are reconciled to God, his righteous judgment is satisfied, the curse is removed, and the penalty paid in full. Nevertheless, we are said to 'have been born anew to a living hope' not through his death but 'through his resurrection.' For as he, in rising again, came forth victor over death, so the victory of our faith over death lies in his resurrection alone. Paul's words better express its nature: 'He was put to death for our sins, and raised for our justification.' This is as if he had said: 'Sin was taken away by his death; righteousness was revived and restored by his resurrection.' For how could he by dying have freed us from death if he had himself succumbed to death? How could he have acquired victory for us if he had failed in the struggle? Therefore, we divide the substance of our salvation between Christ's death and resurrection as follows: through his death, sin was wiped out and death extinguished; through his resurrection, righteousness was restored and life raised up, so that-thanks to his resurrection-his death manifested its power and efficacy in us. Wherefore, Paul states that 'Christ was declared the Son of God . . . in the resurrection itself,' because then at last he displayed his heavenly power, which is both the clear mirror of his divinity and the firm support of our faith."

 

"Further, as we explained above that the mortification of our flesh depends upon participation in his cross, so we must understand that we obtain a corresponding benefit from his resurrection. The apostle says: 'We were engrafted in the likeness of his death, so that sharing in his resurrection we might walk in newness of life.' Hence, in another passage, from the fact that we have died with Christ he derives proof that we must mortify our members that are upon the earth. So he also infers from our rising up with Christ that we must seek those things above, not those on the earth. By these words we are not only invited through the example of the risen Christ to strive after newness of life; but we are taught that we are reborn into righteousness through his power."

 

In this Easter season, may the cross and resurrection will you with forgiveness, hope, and new life.

 

Sincerely,

 

Bob Bohler