Sunday, April 08, 2007

He is not here. He is risen!

But chiefly are we bound to praise thee for the glorious resurrection of thy son Jesus Christ, our Lord, for he is the very Paschal Lamb, which was offered for us, and hath taken away the sin of the world, who by his death hath destroyed death, and by his rising to life again, hath restored to us everlasting life.

By stressing the centrality of the resurrection, the Apostle Paul made eschatology the key to the understanding of his religious worldview. The resurrection not only authenticated Jesus’ messiahship; it demonstrated how the eschatological age had irrupted into the present. The implications of this are given detailed consideration in 1 Corinthians 15, with v12 providing the foundational insight into the Corinthian over-realised eschatological belief that there was no future resurrection because they had been baptised and were living the resurrection life already. Since the spirit represents the in-breaking of the end time in the present, there arose in Corinth a preoccupation with spiritual gifts. Paul counters this with both sarcasm, and by emphasising the ‘age to come’ dimension.

Despite the assurance of a present dimension of eschatological hope, it should not be overlooked that for Paul the final revelation of the eschatological age still lies in the future. The ultimate transformation of the world order, the final redemption of the believer (the granting of the resurrection body) and the final judgement are all events which are yet to be awaited. The present is conditioned by both the past (death and resurrection of Jesus Christ) and the future (the awaited parousia at the end of time).

Paul associates the parousia with a final judgement. He clearly states that the resurrection of Jesus constitutes the ‘first fruits’, implying that the resurrection of the believer is, as the full harvest, a future event. Paul also uses this image of the Holy Spirit, and in the risen Christ being the ‘firstborn from among the dead’. The resurrection defeated death, but there is a tension in Paul’s view of when this enemy was/is to be destroyed: was it accomplished on the cross, or is it something which is still to occur in the future, at the awaited parousia? If death and sin are interconnected (as Paul forcefully asserts in Rom 5:12), how is it that the Christian is exhorted to live a life in the present which is freed from the power and effect of sin, and yet be expected to await the deliverance from death as something future?

The power of sin has been conquered (Rom 5:14, 17, 21; 7:8-11, 13-25), but the consequence - physical death - remains, awaiting a future consummation. The Spirit is a ‘guarantee’ (2Cor 1:22, Eph 1:14), which is a financial term denoting the promise to pay a full balance based upon the initial handing over of a down payment. Thus the ultimate redemption is still to come. In the present the Spirit is simultaneously a portion of the life and power of the future age, and a sign pointing beyond the present, telling believers that the fulfilment of the messianic age has not yet arrived.

The resurrection of Jesus split history in two; it divided BC from AD. Moses, Mohammed, Buddha, Nanak, et al., are dead and in their tombs. Jesus is alive! Hallelujah!

9 Comments:

Anonymous Nicholas Bennett said...

Your Grace - Peace of the Risen Lord.

From one of your Papist readers, we are all united in Christ.

8 April 2007 at 12:39  
Blogger Gary said...

He is Risen indeed. Hallelujah!

8 April 2007 at 13:28  
Anonymous billy said...

Christ is risen.
A glorious Easter to you My Grace.

8 April 2007 at 17:22  
Blogger Angry Steve said...

Amen.

8 April 2007 at 18:17  
Blogger Secret Rapture said...

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8 April 2007 at 18:39  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Corinth as the analogue of the modern-day narcissistic cult of self-actualisation.

I suppose crucifixion was not as exceptional then as we would tend to see even the death penalty now. The added touch of sinfulness it to pardon a criminal and execute an innocent at the behest of a paid mob. We thus have Judas paid, and the baying ob paid.

Caiaphas and his ilke defending their business franchise at The Temple and revenue streams from money-changing and lamb and dove sales; remove God himself physically from their midst just as they had prostituted his Temple.

Clearly no mere lamb could be sacrifice enough for such debasement; yet the revelationary aspect is not the Crucifixion but the Physical Resurrection against which Caiaphas and his Sadduccees are impotent since their own beliefs reject life after death and concentrate on the here and now.

It is indeed remarkable that there is no Temple, no Sadduccees, and surviving Judaism follows the Pharisees in belief in life after death even if they deny the outstanding example thereof.

It is interesting how the Western Church has emphasised Christmas and downplayed Easter, whereas the Orthodox have the emphasis on Easter as the Ultimate Christian Experience

8 April 2007 at 19:24  
Blogger Eddie said...

He is risen indeed your Grace!

8 April 2007 at 22:10  
Anonymous billy said...

Voyager said...
It is interesting how the Western Church has emphasised Christmas and downplayed Easter, whereas the Orthodox have the emphasis on Easter as the Ultimate Christian Experience
7:24 PM

I have often admired your writings Voyager but feel that you are wrong here.
Christmas gets an awful lot of publicity from the non religious who seek to make money from it but I believe that Anglicans, at least, know that Easter is the event that matters for Christianity.
It has certainly been so in our parish with a week of children's activity (over 80 attended each day) and communion on Maundy Thursday, all age worship and a choral recital on Good Friday and two communions and a modern evening service today.
I am a fairly recent returnee to the church and have never known a better Easter.
He is risen indeed.

8 April 2007 at 22:51  
Blogger Cato, author of www.toryheaven.com said...

"Christ is risen, Christ, the first-fruits
Of the holy harvest field,
Which will all its full abundance
At His second coming yield:
Then the golden ears of harvest
Will their heads before Him wave,
Ripened by His glorious sunshine
From the furrows of the grave."

Happy Easter, Your Grace, to you and all your readers!

9 April 2007 at 10:45  

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