I have just again read through these two Gaffin classics and was reminded how valuable and important they are. Resurrection and Redemption is the reprint of Gaffin’s 1978 The Centrality of the Resurrection (Baker) which, if I understand correctly, was a rework of his 1969 doctoral thesis at Westminster Seminary. As the title implies – and as the original title stated very clearly – Gaffin sets out to demonstrate the pivotal significance of the resurrection of Christ for New Testament – especially Pauline – soteriology.
The more recent By Faith, Not By Sight covers some of the same ground only now with an eye to the justification debates that have arisen with the rise of the New Perspective(s) on Paul.
The strength of the books lies in Gaffin’s careful exegetical eye and his keen grasp of Paul’s redemptive-historical perspective. The resurrection of Christ was an eschatological event that carries massive implications for believers united to him. Joined to Christ not only in his death but also in his resurrection our dual problem of objective guilt and moral pollution find their answer as we share in his justification (1Tim.3:16; Rom.4:25) and resurrection life (Rom.6:1ff) – and ultimately in his bodily resurrection also (1Cor.15:20ff).
This clear understanding of union with Christ, in turn, has bearing on the ordo salutis as traditionally understood. The various blessings of salvation are not isolated gifts given in mechanical order of cause and effect but as an immediate and necessary consequence of union with Christ in his death and resurrection. In the end Gaffin offers a much clearer genuinely Christocentric focus for understanding Christian salvation and Christian living.
“The deepest motive for our sanctification, for holy living and good works, is not our psychology, not how I “feel” about God and Jesus. Nor is it even our faith. Rather, that profoundest of motives is the resurrection power of Christ and the new creation that we are and have already been made a part of in Christ by his Spirit (Not by Sight, p.89).
Very important reading – as Sinclair Ferguson says, “A rich and deeply satisfying theological treat!”
Buy the books
Resurrection and Redemption: A Study in Paul’s Soteriology
By Faith, Not By Sight: Paul And The Order Of Salvation (2nd Edition)