“For Us and for Our Salvation”
by Richard B. Gaffin, Jr.
In making use of the Nicene Creed in our worship, we confess in part about the Lord Jesus Christ that he “for us and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried; and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father; and he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the living and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.” Together with the rest of the “one holy catholic and apostolic” church down through the centuries, we affirm what has achieved and continues to secure our salvation: the death, resurrection, ascension, and heavenly session of the incarnate Son, the eternal Son of God become man.
This confession prompts the question I want to consider here. How specifically is the resurrection “for our salvation”? What in particular is the saving efficacy, or “efficiency,” of the resurrection? Or, to ask the question negatively, without the resurrection, what would become of our salvation? Read more
by George R. Cottenden
What time it is often determines the way you act. For example, you behave differently on Saturday morning, when you don’t have to get to work or school, than you do on the other days of the week. You may even sleep in.
In a football game, strategy changes at different times in the game, especially once the two-minute warning has sounded and the team with the ball is eager to score. Read more
The Reformation of Church Polity
by John Muether
Reformation historians commonly distinguish between first- and second-generation Reformers. Those in the first generation (most notably Luther and Zwingli) were pioneers in their proclamation of the formal and material principles of the Reformation, namely, the authority of Scripture and justification by faith alone. Building on this foundation, the second generation consolidated theological insights into confessional statements and often focused their attention on the order and discipline that should characterize churches of the Protestant faith. The innovations of Roman Catholics, on the one hand, and the anarchy of Anabaptists and other radical Reformers, on the other hand, provided ample evidence of the dangers of a disordered church.
The Reformed wing of the Reformation sought especially to honor Christ as the only head of the church and thus came to express what can be called the regulative principle of church government: Christ’s Word clearly reveals the structure of the church, and so the government of the church must find its basis in apostolic teaching and practice. Read more