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 The Principles of Theology - Article 2

by W.H.Griffith Thomas


<< Part 3

Part 4. The Theology Of The Resurrection

The Resurrection is not only a fact; it is a force, and its theology is so important as to call for special attention. Indeed, the prominence given in the New Testament to teaching connected with it affords a strong confirmation of the fact itself, for it seems incredible that such varied and important truths should not rest on historical fact. The doctrine may be briefly summarised.

1. Evidential. The Resurrection is the proof of the atoning character of Christ and of His Deity and Divine exaltation (Rom 1:4). It is shown in the New Testament to be the vindication of His character and the justification of what He had said concerning Himself and His Divine mission. In this connection it is particularly significant to notice the emphasis placed on the fact that the Resurrection was the act of God rather than of Christ Himself. After the actual Resurrection there does not appear to be a single text which attributes the Resurrection to Christ Himself. Even those passages which are doubtful in the English are quite clear in the Greek, teaching that He was raised from the dead (Acts 2:32; Rom. 4:24, 25; 1 Cor. 6:14; 1 Thess. 1:10). This emphasis on the act of God the Father is a striking testimony to His approval of the life and work of Jesus Christ.

2. Evangelistic. The primitive Gospel included testimony to the Resurrection as one of its characteristic features, thereby affording to the hearers the assurance of Divine redemption. It sealed the Atonement and bore testimony to its adequacy and certainty for men’s salvation (Rom. 4:25; 1 Cor. 15:1-4).

3. Redemptive. The Resurrection is shown to be the guarantee of the believer’s justification, that on his acceptance of the message of the Gospel there is the absolute assurance of acceptance with God (1 Pet. 1:21).

4. Spiritual. The Resurrection of Christ is regarded as the source and standard of the holiness of the believer. Every aspect of the Christian life from beginning to end is somehow associated therewith (Rom. 6).

5. Eschatological. The Resurrection is the guarantee and model of the believer’s resurrection (1 Cor. 15). As the bodies of the saints arose (Matt. 27:52), so ours are to be quickened (Rom. 8:11), and made like Christ’s glorified body (Phil. 3:21), thereby becoming spiritual bodies (1 Cor. 15:44), that is, bodies ruled by their spirits and yet continuing to be bodies. Thus, the Resurrection of Christ guarantees our resurrection (1 Thess. 4:14). He completed a human experience which prepared Him to be the Saviour of the world, the Head of the Church, and provided Him with a Resurrection body which was the type of ours. It is, of course, impossible to speak definitely about the believer’s resurrection body, but the example of our Lord’s Resurrection body is the best, indeed the only, illustration we possess. All that we may say is that it will be a body and yet spiritual; spiritual and yet a body. There will be identity and continuity with whatever differences of which at present we know, and perhaps can know, nothing.[29]

>> 5. The Ascension And Session


[29] See Westcott, The Gospel of the Resurrection; Milligan, The Resurrection.


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The Principles of Theology

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Article 4

>> Introduction

>> 1 - Teaching of Apostles

>> 2 - Place in N.T.

>> 3 - Proofs

>> 4 - Theology

>> 5 - Ascension and Session

>> 6 - Return and Judgement

Content of The Principles

>> Index

>> Preface by J I Packer

>> Introduction

>> 1 - Trinity

>> 2 - Christ

>> 3 - Descent into Hell

>> 4 - Resurrection

>> 5 - Holy Spirit

>> 6 - Holy Scripture

>> 7 - The Old Testament

>> 8 - The Three Creeds

>> 9 - Of Original or Birth Sin

>> 10 - Of Free Will

>> 11 - Of the Justifcation of Man




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