Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 38: What benefits do believers receive from Christ at the resurrection?
Answer: At the resurrection, believers being raised up in glory,(1) shall be openly acknowledged and acquitted in the day of judgment,(2) and made perfectly blessed in the full enjoying of God(3) to all eternity.(4) (1)1 Cor. 15:43 (2)Matt. 25:23; Matt. 10:32 (3)1 John 3:2; 1 Cor. 13:12 (4)1 Thess. 4:17,18.
Scripture Memory: “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen” (ESV Jude 1:24-25)
“Raised up in glory”: Grace begun in the believer’s regeneration is glory begun. Full glory in the resurrection is grace fully realized! What Christ has begun now in our union with Him by His Spirit will be accomplished, and completed, and we shall be perfectly blameless and holy in His sight. As Jude 24 promises believers: “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy”.
“Openly acknowledged and acquitted”: Though there is no condemnation now, and we have been fully and finally acquitted before God’s holy judgment throne in Christ through our justification by faith alone, we shall be openly acknowledged as God’s sons and heirs of His Heavenly Kingdom. We shall be openly and publicly acquitted before the world that hated and persecuted us. We shall be seen and acknowledge to be the victors we are in our union with Christ (Rom. 8:31-39)! We shall hear the glorious words: “Well done, my good and faithful servants! Enter into the joy of your master!” (Matt. 25:21, 23, 34).
“Made perfectly blessed”: Although Christians struggle greatly here in this life against the world, flesh and the devil, in heaven we shall realize the perfect freedom in Christ that we possess to love and serve Him and our neighbor as ourselves. We will realize and enjoy the presence and love of God without sin causing our hearts to sin. We will realize the victory that is ours against hell, death, and the devil, and against all the wiles and temptations of the wicked one! We are not made perfect here, but we await perfection. When we shall see Christ face to face in the resurrection we shall be fully like Him, free from all sin, and able to enjoy God as we were created to enjoy Him! (1 Jo. 3:1-3).
“Full enjoying of God to all eternity”: What a hope that we believers have in Christ. As one of our forefathers put it, Christians have the greatest struggles of anyone else in the world, yet they can rejoice each day in their sufferings in Christ (Rom. 5:3-5). Yet this world, this life is the only hell that Christians will ever experience. For all unbelievers this is the only heaven that they will ever enjoy. For Christians, we will enjoy God in Christ in heaven forever and ever without the contamination of sin and wickedness. The world will be fully restored, cleansed from all sin and misery, and purified in Christ (2 Pet. 3:9-14), we will be fully healed of all sins and transgressions and able to live in perfect bliss in the enjoyment of God! And with hope we say together: “…and so we will always be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:17b).
Prayer: Father and God, thank you that in Christ, I have already participated in the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus, but I await the full realization of this glorious salvation when Christ my Savior returns. Help me to live for Him as a resurrected, renewed person in Him, longing for His appearing so that I might be able to say, “I have fought the good fight, I have kept the faith, I have finished the race” (2 Tim. 4:8)! Amen and amen.
In Christ’s Love,