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Let’s Make Every Sunday Resurrection Sunday

Blog Header - Guest PostThis is a guest post by Adrian Warnock. He is the author of Raised with Christ: How the Resurrection Changes Everything.


Sunday’s Coming!

This week, the attention of every Christian begins to turn towards the vibrant celebration that Easter Sunday will be. Even as we approach Good Friday, we do so with the sure and certain knowledge that, to quote the old preacher, “Sunday’s coming!”

Echoing 1 Corinthians 15, John Stott writes,

“Christianity is in its very essence a resurrection religion. The concept of resurrection lies at its heart. If you remove it, Christianity is destroyed.”

When you think about it, belief in the resurrection of Jesus is what defines Christianity. Paul says,

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)

This is why I offer the following definition of a Christian in Raised with Christ: someone who believes in the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ and lives in light of the implications of that event.

A Neglected Foundation

However, we often neglect the resurrection in our preaching, reading, conversations, and even our evangelism throughout the rest of the year. If we mention the resurrection at all, it is in the context of arguing for its historicity.

It’s good to be able to explain why we believe Jesus is alive, and I’d encourage you to download a free chapter from Raised With Christ available entitled, “Did Jesus really rise from the dead?

But it’s also important for us to remind ourselves of the many implications of the resurrection. We see, for example, that the preaching of Acts is remarkably centered on the resurrection, which is credited with accomplishing the following:

  • The sending of the Spirit (Acts 2:33)
  • Physical healings (Acts 3:15–16)
  • The conversion of sinners (Acts 3:26)
  • Salvation by union with Jesus (Acts 4:11–12)
  • Jesus’s role as the leader of his church (Acts 5:30–31; 9)
  • Forgiveness of sins (Acts 5:30–31)
  • Comfort for the dying (Acts 7)
  • The commissioning of gospel messengers (Acts 9; 10:42)
  • Freedom from the penalty and power of sin (Acts 13:37–39)
  • Assurance that the gospel is true (Acts 17:31)
  • Our own resurrection (Acts 17:31)
  • Jesus’s future judgment of this world (Acts 17:31)

No wonder Paul said, “It is with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial” (Acts 23:6), and his judge summarized: “They had certain points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus, who was dead, but whom Paul asserted to be alive” (Acts 25:19).

Not Just the Cross

The resurrection plays a crucial role in our salvation, which we often forget. Romans 4:25 tells us that Jesus was “raised for our justification.” Often times, commentaries simply skip over that phrase—a phrase which is worthy of much contemplation—and we erroneously assume that it was the Cross alone that accomplished the forgiveness of sins.

The resurrection of Jesus also leads directly to a resurrection inside each of us (Ephesians 2:4-6, 2 Timothy 2:11, 1 Peter 1:3, 2 Corinthians 5:17). This means that the very same power that raised Jesus from the dead is pulsating inside the arteries and veins of every true Christian.

God puts the risen life of Jesus in us so that we have a new desire to kill sin (1 John 3:9, Romans 6, Colossians 3:1-11) and begin to truly change (2 Corinthians 3:18, Revelation 1).

As we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus this Easter, let’s resolve to make every Sunday a resurrection Sunday, living in all the good that the resurrection accomplishes for us each day.


Adrian Warnock is a psychiatrist, blogger, church leader, and the author of Raised with Christ: How the Resurrection Changes Everything (excerpt). You can connect with Adrian on Twitter (@adrianwarnock) or read his blog at adrianwarnock.com.

The Awkward Guest in the Evangelical Household

Content modified from The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything by Fred Sanders

The doctrine of the Trinity has a peculiar place in the minds and hearts of evangelical Christians. How has it come about that so many evangelicals today are cold toward the doctrine of the Trinity, confused about its meaning, or noncommittal about its importance? Even though solid biblical and theological teaching on the subject is available, the doctrine of the Trinity continues to be treated as an awkward guest in the evangelical household.

What is the Trinity for?

The first and clearest answer has to be that the Trinity isn’t ultimately for anything, any more than God is for the purpose of anything. Just as you wouldn’t ask what purpose God serves or what function he fulfills, it makes no sense to ask what the point of the Trinity is or what purpose the Trinity serves. The Trinity isn’t for anything beyond itself, because the Trinity is God. God is God in this way: God’s way of being God is to be Father, Son, and Holy Spirit simultaneously from all eternity, perfectly complete in a triune fellowship of love. If we don’t take this as our starting point, everything we say about the practical relevance of the Trinity could lead us to one colossal misunderstanding: thinking of God the Trinity as a means to some other end, as if God were the Trinity in order to make himself useful. But God the Trinity is the end, the goal, the telos, the omega. In himself and without any reference to a created world or the plan of salvation, God is that being who exists as the triune love of the Father for the Son in the unity of the Spirit. The boundless life that God lives in himself, at home, within the happy land of the Trinity above all worlds, is perfect. It is complete, inexhaustibly full, and infinitely blessed.

A Gospel that Starts Outside of You

The good news is that God the Father saved us by sending the Son and the Holy Spirit. But we have also said that the eternal life of God in himself is something “even better than the good news,” if it is possible to say so reverently. What we mean by this is that God’s eternal life as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is a thing of infinite blessedness and perfection. There is a blessed God at the core of the glorious gospel. God in himself is perfect, and perfectly happy. This vision of a God with no unmet needs is a glimpse of the depths of the living God and the fund out of which he spends himself so freely in the economy of salvation.

The good news, in other words, starts far outside of us, in the life of the blessed Trinity which is complete in itself and suffers from no lack. This is not a cold abstraction, but a great thing worth praising God for. John Piper has worked hard to remind Christians that “God’s glory consists much in the fact that he is happy beyond our wildest imagination.” His 1986 book Desiring God is mostly devoted to the way “Christian hedonism,” or living to enjoy God, works its way out in every area of the Christian life (Scripture, prayer, money, missions, marriage, suffering, etc.). But Piper builds all these practical points, necessarily, on the solid foundation of “the happiness of God” as an eternal Trinitarian event of the Father and the Son rejoicing in each others presence. While he admits that “we stand at the foothills of mystery in all these things,” Piper also affirms that “the Scriptures have given us some glimpses of the heights.”30 Those heights are Trinitarian:

Within the triune Godhead (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), God has been uppermost in his own affections for all eternity. This belongs to his very nature, for he has begotten and loved the Son from all eternity. Therefore God has been supremely and eternally happy in the fellowship of the Trinity.31

It may seem counter-intuitive to start so far back in the divine mystery of God’s own being, if the goal is to change lives. The cry in our day always seems to be for a practical doctrine of the Trinity, for relevance, application, and experiential payoff. Indeed, it is true that the doctrine of the Trinity changes everything about Christian life. But the wisest Christian teachers have always known that shortcuts to relevance are self-defeating. In bypassing the deep sources of reality, they not only miss the truth but ultimately deliver less practical benefit. When it comes to the difference that the doctrine of the Trinity can make in our lives, it is crucially important that we begin with a recognition of God in himself before moving on to God for us. What we need to begin with is a profoundly impractical doctrine of the Trinity. With that in place, we can really get something done.

Footnotes:

  • 30. John Piper, Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist (Sisters, OR: Multnomah, 1986), 32.
  • 31. Ibid., 33. Piper is developing ideas from Jonathan Edwards throughout this section.

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March 24, 2012 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Life / Doctrine,The Trinity,Theology | Author: Lindsay Tully @ 8:00 am | 0 Comments »

How Does the Trinity Practically Apply to Your Life Today?

Modified from Our Triune God, by Phil Ryken and Michael LeFebvre

The Trinity is undoubtedly one of the most mysterious Christian doctrines. It can be intimidating to explain and we tip-toe carefully with our words so as not to slip into heresy. However, we would miss the point if we left the Trinity as a mere doctrinal discussion. How does the Trinity practically apply to our everyday life?

The practicality of the Trinity is clear in John 13–17. The disciples were deeply troubled at Jesus’ words about leaving them, thinking it would bring a devastating break in their relationship with God. But Jesus spoke tenderly to them, giving them guidance for continuing their walk with God after his departure. In giving this instruction, Jesus spoke about God’s Trinitarian nature. This passage of Scripture teaches that knowing God as three in one should be at the center of our daily relationship with him.

Responding to the Father’s Love

In light of Christ’s lessons on the nature of the Father . . .

  1. He is the fountain of divine love. He is the source of the encouragement we receive in the Scriptures, in answers to our prayers, in the grace of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and in all the other blessings we receive.
  2. As the source of all, He is to be served as the object of all. He is the One to whom we respond with love, prayers worship and adoration. We also worship the Son and the Holy Spirit, but because even the Son and the Spirit give glory to the Father and share in his glory (e.g., John 16:14-15; 17:4-5), we worship the Three-in-One with an understanding that the Father is the ultimate object of all.
  3. We should honor the Father with the fruits of our lives. Just as a vineyard owner plants his vines in order to receive a harvest, so the Father (the Vinedresser) rightly receives the fruits that Jesus (the Vine) brings to our lives (the branches). John 15:1-5.

Responding to the Son’s Mediation

There are four main ways we are to respond to the Son’s Mediation . . .

  1. We look to the Son to bring us into favor with God. It is only in the words and work of Jesus that favor with God is provided.
  2. We join ourselves with believers—specifically within a local church. Jesus instructed his disciples: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, your are also are to love one another. (John 13:34-35; cf. John 13:13-17; John 15:12)
  3. We pray to the Father in Jesus’ name. (John 16:23)
  4. Jesus brings the Father’s words to us, so we respond to his role within the Trinity by using the Scriptures as the standard for our faith and life.

Because of the promise of the Spirit . . .

  1. We expect the Spirit to instruct our decisions through the Word. This doesn’t mean the Spirit will produce new meanings from the Bible tailored to our individual questions, but we expect the Spirit to help us as we bring our lives under the light of God’s Word.
  2. We expect the Spirit to guide Christians as a community. It is important for us to study our Bibles with confidence that the Spirit will help us, and to do so with careful attention to the counsel of others who have studied the same Scripture.
  3. We trust that the Spirit authorizes us to serve as witnesses. Wherever Christians live, the Spirit is with them to make them witnesses to their communities.
  4. We respond to the continual presence of the Spirit by welcoming his conviction. When we lack faith, the Spirit stirs our hearts to believe at the hearing of Scripture. When we sin, the Spirit brings conviction and draws our hearts to remember and obey the words of Scripture.

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March 21, 2012 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Life / Doctrine,The Christian Life,The Trinity,Theology | Author: Crossway Staff @ 8:00 am | (3) Comments »

The Work of the Trinity in Salvation

“God plays the symphony of our salvation in three movements,” say Philip Graham Ryken and Michael LeFabvre in Our Triune God. Each of these movements is associated with and facilitated by a different Person of the Trinity.

The Father: Salvation originated with the Father. Ephesians 1:3-6 tells how the Father chose us before the foundation of the world, and predetermined our adoption as this children through Jesus Christ. The Father is the administrator of salvation, and he oversees the process from beginning to end.

The Son: Salvation is brought to fruition in the Son. Everything the Father does for our salvation, he does through Christ. The work of the Son means redemption, adoption to the Father, reconciliation,  sanctification, and glorification (Ephesians 1:7-12). It operates horizontally as well as vertically, and it is for Jew and Gentile alike. It is through the Son that we achieve salvation and come into full relationship with the triune God.

The Spirit: Salvation is communicated by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit changes us from the inside out, preforming the gracious act of regeneration. With this comes the gift of faith and the spiritual ability to believe in the Resurrection. Through the Holy Spirit, our salvation becomes a present reality, applicable to our lives in our own specific context. It is the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives that serves as a seal, establishing us as children of God (Ephesians 1:13-14).

Excerpt modified from of Our Triune God.

May 5, 2011 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Life / Doctrine,The Trinity,Theology | Author: Crossway Staff @ 1:00 pm | (2) Comments »

Differentiating the Work of the Son & Spirit in Salvation

If you’ve ever been confused about the Trinity, Fred Sanders just came out with a helpful book called The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything. In chapter 4, “The Shape of the Gospel“, Sanders distinguishes the separate but complimentary roles of the Son and the Spirit in salvation:

“We would be in danger of missing the Spirit’s distinctive work by confusing his work with Christ’s,” Sanders explains. “The best way to keep them unified is to see their difference.”

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“A classic way of looking at the two-handedness of God’s work in salvation is the relationship between how the Trinity accomplishes redemption and how the Trinity applies that redemption to us. This idea of redemption accomplished and applied is a handy way of considering salvation in its objective and subjective aspects, even when the two phases of God’s saving work are not correlated with the Son and the Spirit. Redemption would not reach its goal without being applied, but there would be nothing to apply if it were not already accomplished. But recognizing the Son and the Spirit, respectively, as the leading figures in the two phases enriches the idea even more. Christ the Son accomplishes redemption in his own (Spirit-created and Spirit-filled) work. The Holy Spirit applies that finished redemption to us in his own (Son-directed and Son-forming) work. The two works are held together by an inherent unity. The Son and the Spirit are both at work in both phases; nevertheless, the Son takes the lead in accomplishment, and the Spirit takes the lead in application.”

Learn more about The Deep Things of God.

August 25, 2010 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Jesus Christ,Life / Doctrine,Salvation,The Holy Spirit,The Trinity,Theology | Author: Crossway Staff @ 6:33 am | (7) Comments »