I consider myself Reformed. One of the things that means is that the cross is central to my understanding of the gospel. I listen to reformed sermons preached by reformed guys who write reformed books. I read reformed history, reformed theology, and listen to reformed pastors and professors. One of the things I have noticed is that in all of our theology, little is said about the resurrection. Its not that the resurrection is important, we just don't talk about it much. We see the cross as the center of our faith. There God's wrath was satisfied, propitation was made, and Christ stood as our penal substitutionary atonement among other things. The cross is central t our understanding of the gospel and rightly so.
But what do we do with the resurrection?
That question has been answered in a wonderful book by fellow Reformed blogger and minister Adrian Warnock in his new book Raised with Christ: How the Resurrection Changes Everything. The resurrection has been on my mind for a while now as over the past several months I have noticed this trend of conservative Christians almost completely ignoring the resurrection. And even when they do recognize the resurrection, they almost run by it.
For example, we'll say things like, "Jesus died for our sins and three days later was raised from the dead conquering death and sin." That is correct, but it goes much deeper than that. Or we'll say that by raising Jesus from the dead, God approved the atoning sacrifice of Christ. That too is correct, but it is more than that. Without the resurrection we would not stand justified before God. Yes the cross grants forgiveness and makes atonement, but the resurrection is equally a part of our justification.
Warnock walks the reader through what the Bible says about resurrection. As most books do on the resurrection, Warnock walks the reader through the necessity and evidence of the historicity of the resurrection. However, that is only a small part of the project. What I loved the most about this book is how the author connected the cross and the empty tomb as both being necessity for our salvation. Yes through them both, we can be justified.
But that is not all that the resurrection assures us. The author walks the reader through issues such as righteousness, regeneration, and our final resurrection from the dead. I have not come across a book, from this perspective, this biblically centered on this central subject. I pray that other Christians will be inspired to look deeper into this subject as I fear (as does the author) that it is all too often neglected in Christian circles.
My only criticism of the book was my confusion over the chapters on revival. Though I found these to be stimulating, I oftentimes found myself wondering what this has to do with the resurrection. But nonetheless, the author was quick to return to the subject at hand. I feel that if I were to return to read these chapters, the continuity of them will be more apparent.
I want to conclude by quoting the author regarding our salvation as a result of the resurrection:
If you think of sin as producing an overdraft, Jesus takes over our bank account and pays off our debt. He then gives us access to his own account which hold so much money that no matter how much sin we commit we could never exhaust the supply. But those who know they have been the recipients of such grace do not live to scorn the giver. Jesus' resurrection itself is imputed to us, declaring us eternally righteous, not merely forgiven of past sin. -page 126