“Risen in Him”: The Resurrection of Jesus and Our Salvation

Because of our union with the risen Christ, we not only share in his death but also in his resurrection from the dead.

The resurrection of Jesus is foundational to the Christian faith and the hope of every believer. Without it, our faith is useless, we are still in our sins, and those who die in Christ have perished (1 Cor. 15:17-19). But the good news is that Christ has, in fact, been raised from the dead, and he is the “firstfruits” of those who have died in Christ (1 Cor. 15:20). Jesus was the first person to experience the long-anticipated resurrection of the age to come, and those united to him in a death like his, in baptism, will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his (Rom. 6:4-5; 1 Cor 15:23). His resurrection, as Fred Zaspel puts it, is the “divine announcement of [his] vindication as well as all those who are in Christ” (cf. 1 Tim. 3:16). In other words, the death and resurrection of Jesus matter for our salvation. This is why Paul says Jesus was “delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Romans 4:25).

Peter Martyr Vermigli (1499-1562) beautifully illustrates the relationship between the risen Christ and his people:

Tell me, I pray you, when one holds his head above the deep and deadly waters of a fast-flowing stream, do we not say that he has escaped death even though his other bodily members are yet below the surface? The same holds true for us, who are all one body in Christ. Our head is risen from the depths of death. Even though we may appear to be overwhelmed in the mortal stream, yet we are risen in him.”

Peter Vermigli, Exposition Upon the Twelve Articles of the Christian Faith

This is a wonderful way to capture what it means to be united with the resurrected Christ. Yes, we are still overwhelmed by the waters of death. In this present age we bury our friends, our spouses, our parents, and even our precious little children. Our bodies are racked with every imagineable illness, they decay, and eventually we will face the waves of death. But thanks be to God that our King has gone before us into the valley of the shadow of death and made a way through it. And one day we will join him in the resurrection when he returns to make all things new fully and finally in the new creation.

Unitl that day, when we watch the sun rise every morning, when we gather for worship on the Lord’s day, when we pass by a cemetery, may we remember that Christ the Lord is risen today, and we shall be saved by his life (Rom. 5:10).

Recommended Reading on the Resurrection