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John Pester: Jesus Christ: Last Adam, Life-giving Spirit

 

Affirmation and CritiqueJohn Pester, “Jesus Christ: Last Adam, Life-giving Spirit,Affirmation and Critique, Vol. 3, No. 4 (Oct. 1998).

Affirmation and Critique is a quarterly which addresses theological subjects in a continuum. Through a variety of articles by numerous authors, the last seven issues have focused on the person and work of Christ in a weighty manner that is likely unattractive to the average pastor (or reader for that matter). However, distilling the core truths expressed into practical and palatable servings for sermon material should make wading into A&C a fruitful venture. Others, whom may routine such manner of publications will find it well researched, intellectually engaging, and spiritually energizing.

John Pester, in his article “Jesus Christ: Last Adam, Life-giving Spirit,” challenges the reader with this question: Do we as believers establish our faith upon a confession of Christ only, or upon a deeper understanding of the believer’s changed relation or position in Christ? If a believer’s foundation of faith rests, perhaps even somewhat superficially, on the context of Peter’s confession of Christ, as found in Matt. 16, is this the best foundation? Pester says that we must come to a deeper understanding of Christ as found in the Christology and Pneumatology of Paul. He presents I Cor. 15:45b as a fuller recognition of the “now” Christ, namely as the last Adam and life giving Spirit. In this article, Pester then takes at how the necessity of this deeper understanding is both expressed and implied in the Pauline letters.

Recognition of the last Adam is essential to the believer’s broader experience of Christ-crucified because, Pester says, we all have participation in Adam’s lineage and legacy of sin and death. Only by becoming partakers of the Last Adam are the extended effects of sin and death terminated. This is realized through the life-giving Spirit of Christ-resurrected. Herein lies the power for victorious living and effective work and witness. Or as I myself would express this—positional truth becoming experienced truth.

Pester also notes that the process of experience is reverse of the doctrinal sequence. One must first experience the life giving Spirit before there is a practical severing of our soulish connection to the fallen Adam. This, he observes, is the operation of the “law of the Spirit.”

Experience with his own life and with assisting others to live victoriously has convinced the reviewer, with some reservations, that the author makes a valid and compelling case. I believe this helps explain why so many believers live in the shadow of a historical conversion, being experientially bogged down at the cross, ignorant of the Spirit’s contemporary resurrection power as the catalyst for a vibrant and successful Christian walk.

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Category: Biblical Studies, Pneuma Review, Spring 1999

About the Author: Ron Messelink left the business world in 1992 to pursue a call to ministry. A graduate of Grace School of Ministry, he founded Grace Life Church where he ministered for 17 years. Ron's passion is for people to know and experience the reality for Christ in you, the hope of glory. Ron currently teaches believers and churches through Ron Messelink Ministries. He is working on several books and developing a discipleship tool to help people connect and grow in the gospel of grace. Ron and his wife Joy make their home in Grand Rapids, Michigan. RonMesselink.org

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