Even worse than pretending that [Jesus] hasn’t come yet, however, is pretending that he isn’t raised yet, that he isn’t Lord of all, that we are living in a time of cross without resurrection. …
And so for Lent this year, I am giving up stopping talking about the resurrection. Though I can’t promise I’ll blog on the resurrection every day for forty days, I will blog about it at least a couple times a week, reflecting on the reality that we truly live under right now.
Well, I’m not going to try to match Daniel. But I will continue my own series on the resurrection in the form of my ongoing review, or précis, of Adrian Warnock’s book Raised with Christ, a book whose aim is to stop Christians “pretending that [Jesus] isn’t raised yet, that he isn’t Lord of all, that we are living in a time of cross without resurrection”. This is part 5 of the review I started here – part 2, part 3, part 4.
In chapter 10, which is just about the mid-point of the book, Adrian comes to what looks like the heart of his argument, with a chapter “Resurrected with Jesus”. His main point here is to identify being raised with Christ with being born again. He appeals to John Piper to support what he says about
the frightening prospect … that many churches are full of people who have not actually been born again. (p.135)
Yes, there seem to be so many Christians who always, not just during Lent, seem to be “living in a time of cross without resurrection”, not pretending but really living like that. They may listen attentively to all kinds of sound Reformed teaching about the cross. But if they have never been taught and accepted for themselves that Jesus is alive and can give them new life, then have they really been born again to that new life?
Adrian continues with an interesting point about us, those of us who are truly born again, being seated in heavenly places:
It may seem a bit fanciful, but I sometimes like to think of our current life as being a bit like a form of virtual reality. The true reality is, we are already seated in heaven, no matter what is happening to us in this world. (p.139)
As I was preparing this post I came across the article on which I based my previous post, Our world may be a giant hologram. Perhaps Adrian’s fancy ties up with what scientists are discovering, that reality is not so much what we see in the world as what happens in another realm. If God is in that other realm, and is the one in real control of what happens in our world, then we too as Christians are seated in that realm with him – and what we see in this world is only a “hologram” of our real selves. Of course this is speculation – and mostly mine, not Adrian’s.
The last part of Adrian’s chapter, “United with Christ”, is perhaps more difficult at least for me, as it discusses the concept of our federal identity with Christ. This idea is not popular in this individualistic modern world, yet it explains not only how we can be forgiven through Jesus’ death but also how because he is alive we also have new life.
We are united to both his death and resurrection. … All that he is, all his credit, all his life, are imputed to us, and … a change does happen within us. We begin a whole new type of life and become an entirely new kind of being. (p.142)
Indeed, Adrian, but surely that should be “imparted”, not “imputed”, as you are talking about a real change in us. I know you don’t want to put yourself on the “wrong” side of certain Reformation controversies by talking of “imparted righteousness”. I know you want to be consistent with what you wrote on your blog about imputed righteousness in support of Piper, and against N.T. Wright, for example here. But what you are talking about here is imparted righteousness, not as the basis of salvation of course, but as the starting point for the new life in Christ. We are not just counted righteous and left to continue in our old life, like people “living in a time of cross without resurrection”. We are actually made righteous, given a new life of righteousness, in which we are expected to live. Indeed
We form a community of the newly created, and the family of God’s people is incomprehensible to those who are not yet spiritually alive. (pp.142-143)
Sorry, not much of Adrian and quite a lot of me in this post, but this review series is continued in part 6.