This is the fourth and final section of my paper. You can find the other sections here: part 1, part 2, and part 3. You can read it in full here.

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An astounding exchange of merits is granted by grace! When one is granted the faith to believe in Christ, the benefits of this work becomes theirs. As in the pattern of Abraham, their faith is counted as righteous (Rom 4:22). The obedience of Christ becomes theirs, His propitiation is done for them, and the satisfaction He accomplished is theirs. The sinner has transgressed the law; the Son did not. The sinner deserves the condemnation for disobedience; the Righteous Son did not. The sinner deserves the curse of death to fall upon him; the Son is only worthy of eternal life. Yet, the blessed Christ was condemned to die the death of one who transgressed the law. That was the divine transaction happening at the cross, which was an exchange of astounding magnitude! The very righteous obedience of the Son is given to the transgressing sinner. The same righteousness that will vindicate the Son to be resurrected is given to the sinner by faith.

Thus, with the resurrection the sinner receives the vindication of a righteous standing before God.[1] Christ “rose again as their head and representative, and was legally discharged, acquitted, and justified, and they in him.”[2] The sinner should be left in the grave in condemnation, but because he has been granted the righteousness of the Holy One, he receives the same vindication.[3] Because the believer is hidden in Christ by means of union, Christ’s resurrection is a declaration of his righteous standing in Christ. The resurrection announces that believers are justified.[4] The justification which was granted by the cross in the transfer of sin and righteousness is secured by the resurrection.[5] Our vindication is a “testification” of being counted righteous.[6] The Son was righteous and so was raised, and so we, being righteous in Him, were raised with Him in His resurrection. Thus, the confirmation of our justified standing in the sight of God is our state of being raised with Christ in His resurrection.[7]

True faith is believing in the God who rose His Son from the dead. In His resurrection Jesus justified those who believed in this God. He justified them because the Spirit united them to his justification by His resurrection. Thus, because of the resurrection of Christ those who believe in Jesus are secure in their redemption. Their justification is secured by the vindicating act of God in resurrecting Jesus.

Conclusion

We have seen 1 Timothy 3:16 and Romans 3:25 trace out how Christ’s justification by His resurrection becomes our justification. The Spirit justified Christ by overturning the unjust condemnation of men. Men wrongly condemned Him to death; the Spirit raised Him to life in righteousness. Now, by the mysterious work of union with Christ, Christ’s justification is the believer’s justification. Since the righteousness of Christ is imputed to the believer the righteous declaration of Christ becomes the believer’s. The believer’s possession of Christ’s righteousness is guaranteed by the reality that Christ rose again by the Spirit, for the believer has been justified through that resurrection.


[1]“Just as our sin brought Christ’s condemnation and death, so his resurrection announces our justification.” Seifrid, Christ, our Righteousness, 47

[2]John Gill, An Exposition of the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans, in The Newport Commentary Series (Springfield, MO: Particular Baptist Press, 2002), 129. Also from Jonathan Edwards, “he was not acquitted as a private person, but as our head, and believers are acquitted in his acquittance; nor was he accepted to a reward for his obedience as a private person, but as our head, and we are accepted to a reward in his acceptance. The Scripture teaches us, that when Christ was raised from the dead, he was justified;” Jonathan Edwards, “Sermons and Discourses, 1734-1738”, in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, ed. M. X. Lesser, vol. 19  (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2001), 191.

[3]“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:1).” “The abolition of condemnation is the essence of legal justification, which issues from the believer’s new situation in Christ.” Bruce Demarest, The Cross and Salvation: The Doctrine of Salvation, Foundations of Evangelical Theology ed. John S. Feinberg (Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books, 1997), 337.

[4]Seifrid, Christ, our Righteousness, 47.

[5]This is where Michael Bird, The Saving Righteousness of God, 76-77 errors when he see no imputed righteousness given to believers. Bird sees the resurrection as the sole aspect of our justification. Yet, as Rom 5:9 clearly points out, the cross is part of out justification as well. The best way to understand how the two relate is that what was given at the cross is declared secured by the resurrection.

[6]Gill, Romans, 129.

[7]Ridderbos, Paul: An Outline of His Theology, 167; Schreiner, Romans, 235.

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