Category Archives: resurrection

What Happened in the Garden

daffodil_13502ac“What does Christ mean for us? For what do we need him? If we have learned to know ourselves guilty sinners, destitute of all hope and life in ourselves, and if we have experienced that from him came to us pardon, peace and strength, will it not sound like mockery in our ears if somebody tells us that it does not matter whether Jesus rose from the dead on the third day? It is of the very essence of saving faith that it clamours for facts, facts to show that the heavens have opened, that the tide of sinful nature has been reversed, the guilt of sin expiated, the reign of death destroyed and life and immortality brought to light.”
“There is great comfort for us in this thought that, however dim our conscious faith and the sense of our salvation, on the Lord’s side the fountain of grace is never closed, its con­nection with our souls never interrupted; provided there be the ir­repressible demand for his presence, he cannot, he will not deny himself to us. The first person to whom he showed him­self alive after the resur­rection was a weeping woman, who had no greater claim upon him than any simple penitent sinner.”
Geerhardus Vos, “Rabboni!” in Grace and Glory, pp. 71, 75.

(Preparing for this evening’s Bible study on John 20 at Trinity Presbyterian Church, OPC.)

The Rev. Danny Olinger refers to the influence this sermon had on J. Gresham Machen:

After hearing Vos’s sermon “Rabboni” on John 20 during his senior year, Machen wrote his mother.

We heard this morning one of the finest expository sermons I ever heard. It was preached by Dr. Vos, professor of Biblical Theology in the Seminary. It rather surprised me. He is usually too severely theological for Sunday morning. Today, he was nothing less than inspiring. His subject was Christ’s appearance to Mary after the resurrection. Dr. Vos differs from some theological professors in having a better developed bump of reverence.



For They Were Afraid


“Astonishment and fear qualify the events of the life of Jesus. The account of the empty tomb is soul-shaking, and to convey this impression Mark describes in the most meaningful language the utter amazement and overwhelming feeling of the women. . . . he wished to say that ‘the gospel of Jesus the Messiah’ (Ch. 1:1) is an event beyond human comprehension and therefore awesome and frightening.” (William L. Lane, The Gospel According to Mark, p. 592).

“Tell Peter, for it will be good news to him, more welcome to him than to any of them; for he is in sorrow for sin, and no tidings can be more welcome to true penitents than to hear of the resurrection of Christ, because he rose again for their justification.” (Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Bible, at Mark 16:7).

(Quotes used in the reflection for tomorrow’s message at Trinity Presbyterian Church, OPC._

“For Us and for Our Salvation”

NH_coverAs 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: 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!

A life and death matter

waterfall_14966ac-1“… a transforming influence proceeds from Christ, such an influence as He could bring to bear upon us only in the ca­pacity of the glorified, i.e. the risen Christ, and which has for its goal the acquisition of the same glory-image on the part of believers.” (Geerhardus Vos, The Pauline Eschatology, p. 157).

Romans 6:1-14 deals with a life and death matter–your connection to and union  with Christ. The 101 Bible Study looks at this passage Friday evening.