Is Jesus's Resurrection and Our Justification Linked?
Romans 4:25 reads "[Jesus] was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification". The Greek behind our English word for could mean either “because of” or “in order to produce.” We know that Jesus’s death did not produce sin in us, and certainly Jesus’s resurrection was not as a result of our justification. The link between Jesus’s resurrection and our justification seems to have many facets.
Raised to Give Us a Future Resurrection
Because of Jesus’ resurrection, one day our physical bodies will also return to life.
Raised to Prompt Faith in Us
It is the good news of Jesus’ resurrection, following his sin-defeating death, that will inspire us to believe in, trust, obey, and worship this man who lived two thousand years ago in a small country in the Middle East. Justification is “by grace . . . through faith” (Ephesians 2:8), and our faith itself requires the resurrection of Jesus. Unless Jesus had defeated death, we could never have the faith in him that is necessary for our justification. Jesus’ resurrection is in this sense the source of the faith that is the grounds of our justification: “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).
Raised for His Own Justification
It may sound strange to talk about Jesus’ need for justification. But justification is a declaration, a vindication. The resurrection of Jesus has evidencing power. Jesus is declared to still be righteous by his resurrection, just as he was declared to have become sin by his death. God’s wrath has been satisfied.
Justified So We Can Be Justified
Despite our usual understanding that the cross alone is responsible for our forgiveness, Paul is elsewhere very clear. “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17). We share in the justification of Jesus. Because of his right standing with God, his people are made righteous too.
Raised So He Can Apply Justification to Us
Faith is putting our trust in the person Jesus and in the fact that he died and rose again for us. How does Jesus apply salvation to us? Jesus himself saves us in the present. Edwards comments on Romans 4:25, “That is, delivered for our offenses, and raised again that he might see to the application of his sufferings to our justification, and that he might plead them for our justifying.” Jesus is before the throne of God pleading for us, no doubt on the grounds of his death and resurrection. “Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us” (Romans 8:34).
This article is adapted from Raised with Christ by Adrian Warnock.
- On a Mission to Prove Ourselves (Tim Chester)
- Everyday Justification (Tim Chester)
- Why There Is No Righteousness Like Christian Righteousness (Martin Luther)