Indwelling by Christ

Not only are believers in Christ, he is in them, and “the hope of glory” for the church is “Christ in you” (Col. 1:27). Such union, then, is inherently vital. Christ indwelling by the Spirit is the very life of the believer: “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20); “your life is hid with Christ in God” (Col. 3:4).


Richard B. Gaffin, By Faith, Not by Sight: Paul and the Order of Salvation (Paternoster, 2006), 39.

The Nature of our Present Union

Present union is also spiritual. This is so not in an immaterial, idealistic sense but because of the activity and indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This gives to present union with Christ its distinctiveness. It also circumscribes the mystery involved and protects against confusing it with other kinds of union. As spiritual, that is, effected by the Holy Spirit, it is neither ontological (like that between the persons of the Trinity), nor hypostatic (like that between Christ’s divine and human natures), nor psychosomatic (between body and soul in human personality), nor somatic (between husband and wife); nor is it merely intellectual and moral, a unity in understanding, affections and purpose. Spiritual union stems from the relationship between Christ and the Holy Spirit given with his glorification and lying in back of that union.


Richard B. Gaffin, By Faith, Not by Sight: Paul and the Order of Salvation (Paternoster, 2006), 38–39.

Descended from Adam, not his evolved relative

Image bearers of Adam is hardly an apt, much less valid or even intelligible, description of human beings who are held either to have existed before Adam or subsequently not to have descended from him.


Believers with bear Christ's "heavenly" image , the redeemed and glorified image of God, as they have borne Adam's "earthly" image, the original image of God defaced by sin. It is quite foreign to this passage, especially given its comprehensive outlook noted above, to suppose that some not in the image of Adam will bear the glory-image of Christ. There is no hope of salvation for sinners who do not bear the image of Adam by ordinary generation. Christ cannot and does not redeem what he has not assumed, and what he has assumed is the nature of those who bear the image of Adam and as they do so by natural descent.


Richard Gaffin, "No Adam, No Gospel", p.12

Typology and Higher Form of Somatic Existence

Why does Paul, when asked about the nature of the resurrection body and after beginning to contrast the believer's dead body with his resurrection body, suddenly expand the comparison to include the creation body? Apparently his interest is to show that from the beginning, prior to the fall, a higher or different kind of body than the body of Adam, the psychical body, is in view. Adam, by virtue of creation (not because of sin), anticipates and points to another, higher form of somatic existence. The principle of typology enunciated in Romans 5:14 is present here, albeit somewhat differently: the creation body of Adam is "a type of the one to come." This suggestion of typology helps to illumine the use of Genesis 2:7 in 1 Cor 15:45, especially the addition in 1 Cor 15:45c


“by faith alone”

Paul does not teach a “faith alone” position, as I have sometimes heard it put. Rather, his is a “by faith alone” position. This is not just a verbal quibble; the “by” is all-important here. The faith by which sinners are justified, as it unites them to Christ and so secures for them all the benefits of salvation there are in him, that faith perseveres to the end and in persevering is never alone. It is, as Luther is reported to have said, “a busy little thing.”

@citation Richard B. Gaffin, By Faith, Not by Sight: Paul and the Order of Salvation (Paternoster, 2006), 105.


Gifts as Provisional Expressions

The purpose of those remarks is not to depreciate spiritual gifts or promote a cavalier treatment of them, but to set them in a balanced perspective. To sum up again: the gift of the Spirit, shared by all believers, is the eschatological essence of the new covenant, the fulfillment of the Father's promise, the down payment and firstfruits of resurrected life. The gifts of the Spirit, while particular expressions of this life, are provisional expressions. Necessitated by, bound up with, and shaped by the conditions that make up "the form of this world which] is passing away" (1 Cor. 7:31), they are themselves transient (the point of 1 Cor. 13:8-10). The balance intended here may be difficult to grasp and maintain, but it is crucial.


Aptitudes as Spiritual Gifts

Certainly some gifts involve distinctive endowment beyond the normal capacities of the recipient (e.g., prophecy and tongues, as we shall see below). But the direction of Paul's teaching is fairly expressed as follows: any capacity of the believer, including aptitudes present before conversion, brought under the controlling power of God's grace and functioning in his service is a spiritual gift. Spiritual gifts comprise all the ways in which God by the power of his Spirit uses Christians as instruments in his service.

1 Corinthians 7:7 is an instructive example of this breadth: celibacy or marriage, as the case may be, ought to be and can be a spiritual ministry. Biblically speaking, "charismatic" and "Christian" are synonymous. The Christian life in its totality is (to bo) a charismatic life. Christ's church as a whole is the charismatic movement.


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11