IV. What are the fruits or benefits of the resurrection of Christ?
The questions, for what purpose did Christ rise, and what are the fruits of his resurrection, are different. For not all the causes of his resurrection are fruits thereof. The causes of his resurrection too, are considered in one way and the fruits thereof in another. And besides, the benefits which Christ has secured for us by his resurrection are the causes of it in as far as it was necessary, in order that he might confer these gifts by the power of his resurrection.

The fruits of the resurrection of Christ are, moreover, two-fold, having respect both to Christ and to us. As it respects Christ, he was, by his resurrection from the dead, declared to be the Son of God, the only begotten and natural Son of God, who is also himself God. (Rom. 1:4.) For he revived by his own power, which is peculiar to God alone. “In him was life.” “As the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.” (John 1:4; 5:26.) And still further, the human nature of Christ, by his resurrection, was adorned with heavenly gifts, with immortality, and with that glory which becomes the nature of the Son of God. “That ye may know what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come; and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be Head over all things to the church.” (Eph. 1:18-23.)

The fruits of the resurrection of Christ, which have respect to us, are various. Speaking in a general way, it may be said that all the benefits of Christ's death are also fruits of his resurrection; for his resurrection secures the effect which his death was designed to have. Christ by his resurrection applies to us the benefits which he has merited for us. In this way the benefits of his death and resurrection are the same, unless it be that they have been merited for us by his death differently from what they are conferred upon us by his resurrection. It was not necessary that the act of meriting should continue through the entire period of both the old and new church. But it was different with the act of bestowing and applying these benefits. This was to continue for ever. And hence it was necessary also that the mediator should exist in every period of the church, that he might always confer the blessings which he was once to merit, and which it was not possible to confer without a mediator. As it respects the church which existed before the incarnation of Christ, the mediator bestowed the benefits of his death which had not yet taken place, by the power and efficacy of his resurrection yet to come; but now he confers these benefits upon us by the power of his resurrection as having already taken place.

It now remains for us to specify particularly the principal fruits which the resurrection of Christ secures unto us.
1. The resurrection of Christ bears testimony to his merit that he has perfectly satisfied for our sins. One single sin unatoned for, would have kept him under the power of death; for he was cast into such a prison as to make it entirely impossible for him ever to have escaped thence, except by paying the very last farthing. But he did come out of this prison. Therefore he must have paid the uttermost farthing. In view now of this his merit we have remission of sins, and are justified before God. The resurrection of Christ also assures us as to the application of his benefits, which he could not have conferred had he not risen from the dead; for, as we have already shown, it became the same mediator, being man, both to merit and bestow gifts, and for this reason to rise from the dead. In as much, therefore, as he has risen, we are assured that he has not only merited, but is also able to bestow upon us the benefits of his death; for, says the Apostle Paul, “Christ was raised again for our justification,” that is, to confer and apply unto us his righteousness. (Rom. 4:25.)

2. Another benefit resulting to us from the resurrection of Christ, is the gift of the Holy Spirit, through whom Christ regenerates us and raises us up unto eternal life. It behooved him first to throw off death from himself, and then from us; and it is necessary for us to be united to him as our Head, that the Holy Ghost may thus pass over from him into us. Hence he now obtains and grants unto us, since his resurrection from the dead, the Holy Ghost, and through him unites us to himself, regenerates and quickens us. It is true indeed that the godly also in the church of old were endowed with, and regenerated by the Holy Ghost; yet the influences of the Spirit were not then enjoyed to the extent to which they now are under the New Testament, and that by the power of his resurrection which was then still to come. The Holy Ghost, by whose virtue alone we are regenerated, could not be given without the resurrection and ascension of Christ into heaven. Hence it is said, “The Holy Ghost was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:39.)

3. The resurrection of our bodies is another fruit of the resurrection of Christ. The resurrection of Christ is a pledge of ours, 1. Because he is our Head, and we are his members. Much of his glory as our Head depends upon, and results from the glory and dignity of his members. It is true indeed that Christ would exist and would be glorious in and by himself, even though his members were to remain under the power of death, yet he would not be a head, or king, &c., in as much as no one can be a head without members, nor a king without a kingdom. Christ therefore is head only in respect to his members. 2. If Christ be risen, he has abolished sin; not, however, his own sin, for he was free from all manner of sin; but he has abolished sin as it respects us. And if he has abolished our sin, he has also abolished death; for in removing the cause he has, at the same time, removed the effect. “The wages of sin is death.” (Rom. 6:23.) And further, if he has abolished death, and that by a sufficient satisfaction for our sins, as his resurrection fully testifies, then his resurrection is most assuredly a certain evidence and pledge of our resurrection, in as much as it is impossible that we should continue in death since Christ has rendered a full and sufficient satisfaction in our behalf. 3. As the first Adam received benefits for himself and all his posterity, and lost these same benefits for all his posterity; so Christ, the second Adam, received life and glory for himself and us; and will therefore, also communicate this life and all his other gifts to us.

4. That the resurrection of Christ is a pledge of our resurrection, may also be inferred from the fact that the same Spirit dwells in us which dwelt in Christ, and will also work the same in us which he wrought in Christ our head. The Spirit is always the same in whomsoever he dwells. He does not work effectually in the head, and sleep in the members. Seeing, therefore, that Christ raised himself from the dead by his Spirit, he will also without doubt raise us. “If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead, dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” (Rom. 8:11.) 5. Christ is our brother and will not, therefore, on account of his tender love and affection, leave us under the power of death, especially if we take into consideration his power and glory. For if he raised himself when dead, much more will he be able to raise us, in as much as he is now alive. And if he had power to raise himself from the dead when existing in a state of humiliation, much more can he now raise us, seeing that he reigns gloriously at the right hand of the Father. There are, however, besides these three, other fruits which the resurrection of Christ secures unto us, such as the following:

The resurrection of Christ confirms his claims to the Messiahship inasmuch as there is in his resurrection a most complete, and exact fulfillment of various prophecies.

5. We are assured by the resurrection of Christ, that he now performs the different parts of the office of mediator, that he applies unto us the benefit of redemption, that he constantly preserves us in the righteousness which he has made over unto us, that he commences a new life in us, and thus confirms us as to the consummation of eternal life, which he could not do, had he not risen from the dead.

6. Seeing that Christ now lives, and reigns forever, we may be certain that he will preserve and defend his Church.

7. The last, though not the least benefit resulting from the resurrection of Christ, is the consummation of all his benefits, and the glorification of the Church. It was for this reason that Christ died, rose again, and has delivered us perfectly from sin, that he might make us heirs with him in his kingdom and glory. “He is the First-born from the dead.” “Heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.” (Col. 1:18. Rom. 8:17.) He shall conform us to himself, because both he and we live by the same Spirit. And this Spirit is not unlike himself. For “if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead, dwell in you, he that raised,” &c. “I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am there ye may be also.” (Rom. 8:11. John 14:3.)

The sum of what we have now said as touching the fruits of the resurrection of Christ is this, that seeing he has risen from the dead, it is evident that he is declared to be the Son of God, and that his humanity is endowed with that glory which becomes the nature of the Son of God; and also that he bestows upon us his righteousness, regenerates us by the influence of his Spirit, and will perfect the new life which he has begun in us, and make us partakers with himself in his glory, felicity and everlasting life.

Obj. 1. The resurrection of Christ, according to what has been said, can neither be an argument in favor of the resurrection of the wicked, nor the cause of it, inasmuch as they are not members of Christ. Therefore the wicked will not rise. Ans. The wicked will not rise on account of the resurrection of Christ, but for other causes, viz: on account of the just judgment of God, for which they will be raised from the dead, that they may be eternally punished. For there may be in regard to the same thing many effects, and different causes.

Obj. 2. But the things which have been specified, are the benefits of his death, and cannot, therefore, be regarded as the fruits of his resurrection. Ans. They are benefits of his death in as far as he has merited them by his death; and they are the fruits of his resurrection by the manifestation which he thus made of them ; for he declared by his resurrection that he had purchased these gifts for us. By his coming forth from the punishment under which he was laid, he declared that he had fully satisfied for our sins. And they are still further the fruits of his resurrection by the application which he makes of them, having risen. He being rich was made poor, and being poor was made rich again, that we might become rich. (2 Cor. 8:9.)

Obj. 3. The cause is before the effect. But the cause of these benefits which is here said to be the resurrection of Christ, was not before the justification of the fathers, and the resurrection of the saints under the Old Testament. Therefore the effect, which comprehends these benefits, cannot be sooner than the cause itself. Ans. We deny the minor proposition; for whilst the cause did not exist as to its completion, yet it did exist in the counsel of God, and as it respects its efficacy and virtue, even under the Old Testament dispensation: because even then the fathers were received into divine favor, and enjoyed, to a certain extent, the influence of the Holy Spirit and other gifts, for and through the mediator, who was to come into the world, humble himself, and be glorified.

What then is the meaning of this article of the Creed: 1 believe in Christ who rose from the dead on the third day It means that I believe:
1. That Christ did truly recall his soul to his body which was dead, and quickened it.
2. That he retained a true soul and body; and that both are now glorified, and free from all infirmity.
3. That he rose by his own divine virtue and power.
4. That he rose for the purpose of making us partakers of the righteousness, holiness, and glorification, which he had purchased for us.