As the congregation I serve gathers for worship tomorrow morning, we will use the Nicene Creed as a confession of faith. What does the phrase, “for us and for our salvation” really mean? Dr. Richard B. Gaffin explores that: http://www.opc.org/nh.html?article_id=916. He asks:
This confession prompts the question I want to consider here. How specifically is the resurrection “for our salvation”? What in particular is the saving efficacy, or “efficiency,” of the resurrection? Or, to ask the question negatively, without the resurrection, what would become of our salvation?
To the question of how Christ’s death is for our salvation, virtually every Christian will likely have a ready and heartfelt answer: he died that my sins might be forgiven, to bear in my place the eternal punishment my sin deserves. Most if not all believers grasp in some measure the saving truth of penal substitution, of Christ’s “once offering up of himself a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice, and reconcile us to God” (Shorter Catechism, 25). At the same time, however, it seems fair to say that in general Christians are not as clear about the answer to our question about the saving efficacy of the resurrection.
Near the end he writes:
Our privilege, great beyond our comprehension, is this: we have been chosen in Christ “before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4) to the ultimate end that we be like Christ. This conformity to his image, already being worked in us by the sanctifying power of the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:18; Gal. 4:19), will be fully realized when, like him, we are raised bodily.
But there is more to this than what is ultimate for us. Even more ultimate in God’s predestinating purposes is what is at stake for the Son personally in our salvation, what he has invested for himself. This, as much as anything, is why from all eternity the Son willed, together with the Father and the Spirit, to become incarnate, to suffer and die. He did so, so that, having been resurrected triumphant over sin and death, he might have brothers like himself—brothers glorified not because of anything in themselves, but entirely because of his saving mercy. They will share with him in this triumph and magnify forever his own preeminent exaltation glory. And so his “kingdom shall have no end.”
Surely there can be no more ultimate perspective on Christ’s resurrection “for us and for our salvation” than this.
You will read the article with profit!