Monday, 27 April 2009

Justification: Understanding the Reformed Doctrine - Part 7 The Work of Christ

In chapter 5, Fesko focuses on the work of the eschatological Adam. Where the first Adam failed, the second Adam succeeded. He explains the problems introduced by the first Adam which need fixed by Christ:

First, he brought sin and death into the world by his one act of disobedience, which required the shedding of blood in sacrifice to make atonement for sin (Heb. 9:22). Second, there is still the unfinished work of the covenant, the work of the dominion mandate undergirded by obedience to God's commands, completing that labor and entering the eschatological rest of the seventh day. It is this twofold problem that requires resolution, and this is the work of the second or last Adam, Jesus Christ, who comes to remedy the failed work of the first Adam. (p138)

The rest of the chapter is an exploration as to how Christ completes the dominion mandate and the nature of his obedience.

The passages Fesko cites as speaking to Christ fulfilling the dominion mandate are 1 Cor. 15:18-20, 35-49 and the book of Revelation in general. During his explanation of Revelation, Fesko also cites Psalms and Isaiah:

In looking at the results of the consummated kingdom in the Psalms one reads that Christ will "have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth!" (Ps. 72:8) Likewise the prophet Isaiah writes concerning Israel as God's servant, a reality that finds its ultimate significance in the work of Christ: "It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel: I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth" (Isa. 49:6;cf John 8:12) Clearly, Christ will fulfill the dominion mandate - he will produce offspring that bear his image, the image of God, and fill the new creation to the ends of the earth. The last Adam will extend the temple to the ends of the earth as well, the second aspect of the dominion mandate. (p142)

What a rich, biblical theological and covenantally rooted perspective on the work of Christ. The Reformers were finding echoes of Scripture in the writings of Paul well before Richard Hays' classic work.

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