Next follows the
resurrection from the dead, without which all that has hitherto been said
would be defective. For seeing that in the cross, death, and burial of
Christ, nothing but weakness appears, faith must go beyond all these, in
order that it may be provided with full strength. Hence, although in his
death we have an effectual completion of salvation, because by it we are
reconciled to God, satisfaction is given to his justice, the curse is
removed, and the penalty paid; still it is not by his death, but by his
resurrection, that we are said to be begotten again to a living hope (1
Pet. 1:3); because, as he, by rising again, became victorious over
death, so the victory of our faith consists only in his resurrection. The
nature of it is better expressed in the words of Paul, “Who (Christ) was
delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification,” (Rom.
4:25); as if he had said, By his death sin was taken away, by his
resurrection righteousness was renewed and restored. For how could he by
dying have freed us from death, if he had yielded to its power? how could he
have obtained the victory for us, if he had fallen in the contest?
Our salvation may be thus divided between the death and the resurrection of
Christ: by the former sin was abolished and death annihilated; by the latter
righteousness was restored and life revived, the power and efficacy of the
former being still bestowed upon us by means of the latter. Paul accordingly
affirms, that he was declared to be the Son of God by his resurrection (Rom.
1:4), because he then fully displayed that heavenly power which is both
a bright mirror of his divinity, and a sure support of our faith; as he also
elsewhere teaches, that “though he was crucified through weakness, yet he
liveth by the power of God,” (2
Cor. 13:4). In the same sense, in another passage, treating of
perfection, he says, “That I may know him and the power of his
3:10). Immediately after he adds, “being made conformable unto his
death.” In perfect accordance with this is the passage in Peter, that God
“raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory, that your faith and hope
might be in God,” (
1 Pet. 1:21). Not that faith founded merely on his death is vacillating,
but that the divine power by which he maintains our faith is most
conspicuous in his resurrection.
Let us remember,
therefore, that when death only is mentioned, everything peculiar to the
resurrection is at the same time included, and that there is a like
synecdoche in the term resurrection, as often as it is used apart
from death, everything peculiar to death being included. But as, by rising
again, he obtained the victory, and became the resurrection and the life,
Paul justly argues, “If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet
in your sins,” (1
Cor. 15:17). Accordingly, in another passage, after exulting in the
death of Christ in opposition to the terrors of condemnation, he thus
enlarges, “Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at
the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us,” (Rom.
Then, as we have
already explained that the mortification of our flesh depends on communion
with the cross, so we must also understand, that a corresponding benefit is
derived from his resurrection. For as the Apostle says, “Like as Christ was
raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should
walk in newness of life,” (Rom.
6:4). Accordingly, as in another passage, from our being dead with
Christ, he inculcates, “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the
3:5); so from our being risen with Christ he infers, “seek those things
which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God,” (Col.
3:1). In these words we are not only urged by the example of a risen
Saviour to follow newness of life, but are taught that by his power we are
renewed unto righteousness.
A third benefit
derived from it is, that, like an earnest, it assures us of our own
resurrection, of which it is certain that his is the surest representation.
This subject is discussed at length (1
But it is to be
observed, in passing, that when he is said to have “risen from the dead,”
these terms express the reality both of his death and resurrection, as if it
had been said, that he died the same death as other men naturally die, and
received immortality in the same mortal flesh which he had assumed.