"The Children of the Resurrection"

By Evan D. Burns

In “The Magnitude of the Heavenly Inheritance,” Andrew Fuller exposited Romans 8:18-23 on the hope of resurrection.  He made the following three main points:

I. Such is the magnitude of the glory to be revealed in us, that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with it.

II. Such is the magnitude of the glory to be revealed in us at the resurrection, that its influence extends to the whole creation.

III. Such is the magnitude of the glory to be revealed in us at the resurrection, that those Christians who have possessed the highest enjoyments in this world were not satisfied with them, but groaned within themselves, waiting for the possession of it.

And then he concluded his sermon with this great meditation on the joy and anticipation of the Christian’s future resurrection:

The terms by which the resurrection of believers is expressed, namely, “the adoption,” and “the redemption of our body,” serve to heighten our ideas of the glorious event…..  From the day they received the Saviour, they received power to become the sons of God; the Lord Almighty, as by a judicial act and deed, put them among his children; but still, the body being doomed to die because of sin, till this dishonour is wiped away there is something wanting to complete the execution of the deed. Our vile body must be changed, and fashioned like unto Christ’s glorious body, ere we can be actually and fully introduced into the heavenly family. We must put on immortality, before we shall be fit company for immortals. We must be made equal to the angels, ere we can associate with angels. Finally, To be completely “the children of God,” we must be “the children of the resurrection.”

Similar observations might be made on the term redemption, as here applied to the resurrection of the body. This term as familiarized to Christians by the apostolic writings. They had “redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins;” but here the word is used in a new sense, denoting the last act of deliverance, even that of the body, from under the thraldom of death and the imprisonment of the grave. It is in reference to this last act of deliverance that Christ is said to be “made unto us—redemption.”  The redemption of our souls by his blood preceded his being made unto us wisdom, or righteousness, or sanctification; but the redemption of our body, as being the last act of deliverance, succeeds them. The body is a part of Christ’s purchase as really as the soul. It is on this principle that the Corinthians were dissuaded from polluting it by fornication: “Ye are not your own, but bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” The resurrection of the body, therefore, is the recovery of the last part of the Redeemer’s purchase, signified by that expressive sentence, so often repeated, “I will raise it up at the last day.”

This is the glory which shall be revealed in us, with which the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared: this is the great crisis of creation, to which all that precedes it tends, as to its last end; and the result to which believers, who have possessed the richest communications of grace in this life, look with earnest expectation.[1]


[1] Andrew Gunton Fuller, The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller, Volume 1: Memoirs, Sermons, Etc., ed. Joseph Belcher (Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications, 1988), 340-41.

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Evan D. Burns (Ph.D. Candidate, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is on faculty at Asia Biblical Theological Seminary, and he lives in Southeast Asia with his wife and twin sons.  They are missionaries with Training Leaders International.