by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 1 Study # 5 August 15, 2006 Lincolnton, N.C.
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
1901 ASV Translation:
4 We were buried therefore with him through baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection;
I. Buried Together With Him.
A. The issue of "burial" is both a recognition of "death" and a "disposing" of what has been left behind.
1. At death, the "spirit" departs from the "body" to go into a different sphere of experience, leaving the "body" to disintegrate.
a. The first of these -- the spirit's movement into a different sphere of experience -- indicates a basic reality: there are different spheres of existence (James 2:26).
b. The second of these -- the body's disintegration -- indicates another basic reality: there is such a thing as a temporary "structure" of existence that is dissolved into its most basic "building blocks" and, thus, ceases to exist as it was (Psalm 16:10/Acts 2:31 and Acts 13:35-37).
2. Burial is simply the task of separating the "body" from its typical environment so that it can disintegrate with a minimum of "impact" upon that environment.
a. There is a "returning of dust to dust"...a releasing of the structure of the body so that it can return to the structure of dust (Genesis 3:19).
b. There is a "stink" to the process...a releasing of certain gases into the atmosphere which are "released" from the "structure" of the body as it returns to dust (John 11:39 and Isaiah 50:2).
B. In the "Gospel" as it is laid out in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, the issue of "burial" is brought into play as "proof" of death just as "appearing" is "proof" of resurrection. The reason Jesus was "buried" is that He was "dead". But, the only "dead" aspect of Him was His body because both His "soul" (Acts 2:31) and His "spirit" (1 Peter 3:18-19) "survived" the death of His body.
C. The "burial together" is not a "physical" issue.
1. There was only one physical body placed in the tomb.
2. Again, at this point, we are cast upon the issue of "reckoning": by God's "reckoning" we are "in Christ" and, by that same reckoning, we participated with Him in His "burial".
a. By God's "reckoning" we can no longer sin (Romans 4:8).
b. By God's "reckoning" we are no longer accusable (Romans 8:33).
c. By God's "reckoning" we are "Christ's humanity" (Romans 5:19).
3. And, again, at this point we are cast upon the issue of "our" reckoning (Romans 6:11).
4. The issue, then, is the issue of just what "reckoning" actually accomplishes.
a. Everywhere we turn, even in this world, what we "reckon" to be true has a huge influence upon the rest of our thinking, and upon the decisions we make and the actions we take.
1) This is true of God. What He "reckons" to be true governs how He acts toward us. Since we, according to His reckoning, do not sin, nor are we accusable, He never responds to our attitudes, choices, and actions with "Justice." "Justice", for all intents and purposes, has been "dismissed" from God's "glory" as that glory is permitted to address us. God has, instead, installed "chesed" (loving-loyalty) in its place as the criterion of His actions toward us. One of the characteristics of "chesed" is a determined commitment to develop us in respect to true reality as far as we are willing to go (if we prove to be unwilling, God can and does simply stop the development and we die at His hand to be ushered into His glory to participate at the level of our development).
2) This is true of us. What we "reckon" to be true governs how we respond to God and His oversight of our experience. Thus, it is absolutely crucial that we seek to know what is true.
b. We cannot "create" reality by "believing", but we do "participate" in the true reality by "believing".
1) True reality includes a certain amount of "accommodation" of delusion...at least for the present time. Before Christ arose, resurrection was, at the very best, merely a "theoretical" reality so that even the most devoted "believers" actually acted like it wasn't really true. Therefore, their attitudes, thoughts, choices, and actions were "determined" by their "belief" that resurrection was, for all intents and purposes, a myth.
2) True reality also includes an enormous amount of "uncharted territory" that we have yet to explore. We have yet to "see" the real extent of the "glory" that will ultimately be revealed to us...uncharted territory.
II. Raised to New Life.
A. Christ was literally raised from the dead.
1. This was a "physical" resurrection in that neither His "soul", nor His "spirit" had "died".
2. This means that His "soul/spirit" reunited with a form of "body" that had "local presence" capabilities -- He was seen, He spoke, He ate, He was sufficiently physically "present" that others could actually touch Him -- even though it had other capabilities of which we know little to nothing -- He apparently could just "appear" in places and "travel" in unusual ways.
a. What is the significance of "bodily resurrection"?
1) It seems to have little significance to Jesus Himself: for what does the omnipotent, omnipresent God need a body?
2) It's significance has everything to do with us: we are significantly "limited" when we move out of the "physical" realm and, apparently, our capacity for the experience of His life is tied to our physical reality.
a) What would be the "point" of a physical resurrection for which there was no "point"?
b) Apparently, human beings are "relegated" to existence at the physical level for all of eternity so that we are "bound" to some extent by physical limitations.
3) And not only that, but the Bible places the physical resurrection of Christ at the foundations of our "faith" in such a way that there is no "faith" where there is no commitment to physical resurrection.
a) We know that it was the disciples' interaction with the resurrected Jesus that transformed them into qualitatively different "people".
b) We also know that the disciples consistently appealed to the literal resurrection from the dead for the validation of the "faith" they exercised.
B. This resurrection was "through" (dia plus the genitive = agency [Robertson, p. 582-583]) the "glory of the Father". This means that the "glory" was the agent of resurrection. But, since Jesus claimed this "glory" for Himself (John 10:18) and Paul attributed this "glory" to the "Spirit of Holiness" (Romans 1:4), why does he here deliberately call it "the glory of the Father"?
1. The use of "Father" is not accidental.
2. The attribution of the "glory" to the "Father" is, obviously, not exclusive.
3. The reference to "Father" deliberately raises "Father" issues.
a. A fundamental "father" issue for Paul in Romans is given in Romans 4 in respect to the "fatherhood" of Abraham as a crucial aspect of the "promise" -- a "father" of many nations I have made you.
b. One of the characteristics of "fathers" is that they are the original "pattern" by which the "sons" are characterized (Note Romans 4:11).
c. Another characteristic of "fathers" is that they have a fundamental commitment to the quality of the life of their "sons" (Note Romans 8:15 and Luke 11:11).
1) This is the point of contention for "faith".
2) How does one measure the "father's" fundamental commitment to his sons at any given historical "point"? It cannot be done. Even for Solomon, it was a repeated thesis that man cannot discover the "point" of any particular event in history by investigating it (Ecclesiastes 3:11 and 8:16-17). The fact is that God's works are often not visibly "beneficial" and, thus, men cry out against Him.
3) It was for this cause that Jesus plainly demanded that men call no man "father" upon the earth (Matthew 23:9): God must be defined as "Father" and the definition must include what He has "said", not what men have "experienced".
4) It was only after the resurrection of Christ that His Father's commitment to Him began to be radically clear...for certainly no one was able to see it at the Cross.
4. The point is that "newness of life" actually has its beginning at the point of "faith" in the reality of the use of the "glory" of Life by One Who is "Father".