Thoughts on the Way Home

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Relationship of the Resurrection to Our Justification


A quick perusal of past posts indicates that it's been several months since I've posted anything from John Murray. And as you can tell from the picture above, he is NOT happy about it. So, in order to appease Murray, and ease my conscience at the same time, I want to draw your attention to a section from Murray's commentary on Romans. This is vintage Murray, with profound thoughts expressed with clarity and brevity. If you do not have this commentary yet, you are without excuse!

To give you some context for the portion I am quoting, Murray is commenting on Romans 4:25, and is specifically addressing the question of how the resurrection serves the purpose of justification. He then lists five ways:

(1) We are justified by faith, and this faith must be directed to Jesus (3:22, 26). But only as the living Lord can he be the object of faith.

(2) It is in union with Christ that we are justified (cf. 8:1; 2 Cor. 5:21). Only as active through resurrection can any virtue proceed from Christ to us and only with a living Christ can union have efficacy.

(3) The righteousness of Christ by which we are justified (5:17, 18, 19) has its abiding embodiment in Christ; it can never be thought on in abstraction from his as a reservoir of merit stored up. Only as the living one can Christ be the embodiment of righteousness and be made to us righteousness from God (1 Cor. 1:30).

(4) The death and resurrection of Christ are inseparable. Hence even the death or blood of Christ as related to our justification (3:24, 25; 5:9; 8:33, 34) could have no efficacy to that end in isolation from the resurrection.

(5) It is through the mediation of Christ that we come to stand in the grace of justification (5:2). But the mediation of Christ could not be operative if he were still under the power of death.

-John Murray, The Epistle to the Romans, 156-7.