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The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity

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Resurrection Life | Resurrection as new creation

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. … So it is written: ‘The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man. 

 

1 Corinthians 15:20–23, 45–49 

 


 

Easter is the celebration of Christ’s resurrection, where his sovereignty and divinity are clearly on display. The empty tomb is a declaration of victory over death, and marks the beginning of resurrection life for all who love and serve the Lord. 

Jesus alluded to this resurrection life a few times during his ministry, but it’s Paul who gives us the most insight into the implications of Christ’s resurrection for the church. When we turn to a passage such as 1 Corinthians 15, we find Paul taking two significant theological steps. The first is that if Christ has been resurrected, then so will all ‘who belong to him’. The second is that because Christ is ‘the last Adam’, when we are resurrected with him, it is an act of re-creation, as we are transformed from the image of ‘earthly man’ into the image of Christ.  

This frames resurrection as an act of renewal, humanity advancing to the fulness of its calling to bear God’s image (Genesis 1:26–28). This link with creation, made clear through references to ‘Adam’ and ‘image’, is both a statement of identity and a vision for living according to the reality of the kingdom. 

‘Image of God’ is a title that was commonly reserved for kings in the ancient world. So, our resurrection is a renewed commission to participate in God’s rule over creation by ministering Christ’s love and power. We join in with the Spirit to serve those around us, and see transformation come to our workplaces and communities. 

But there is a second resonance of the word ‘image’ that also has implications for resurrection life today. In ancient temples, worship was directed towards the ‘image’ (or idol) of a god. This image was believed to contain the physical presence of that god and be a conduit for the god’s power. As such, resurrection life is the fulfilment of God’s promise to live within his people and to extend his blessing of life to the world through them.  

In this short series we’re going to reflect on what it means to live out each of these three dimensions of resurrection life: to live in the intimacy of God’s presence, to exercise his authority lovingly, and to create life. Each is enabled by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, creating a resurrection life that is defined by our calling to represent and to reflect God in the world, as we participate in his mission to save it. 

 

Dr Freddy Hedley

Dean of Studies, WTC Theology 

What opportunities do you have to minister the love and power of God to the people around you this week? 

 

Comments

  1. Thank you for this and the forthcoming series. I am shortly speaking at a men’s breakfast as well as a one to one conversation.

    By Fane Conant  -  8 Apr 2024

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