[K:NWTS 21/2 (Sep 2006) 35-36]

Peter Martyr Vermigli on Christ's

Resurrection and Justification1

For seeing that external kingdom is not restored, nor that we ought to look for restitution, we must have respect unto Christ, who reigns in heaven, and in them which are his and shall reign eternally. Concerning his death and resurrection, Christ alleged the types of Jonah the prophet (Mt. 12:39; 16:4); and in many such places, the death and resurrection of Christ was shadowed. Again, it is to be noted that these things which so went before were only types and shadows of the Lord's death and resurrection; but after a sort had in them the very truth itself of those things. For seeing that those holy men suffered many grievous things, and that in a while, help and deliverance came by God, insomuch as they were the members of Christ and had Christ for their Head, it follows that Christ in them both suffered and was delivered. Wherefore we say that the passion and resurrection of Christ began even from the first times, but that afterward they took place more manifestly in Christ himself, and yet still become more evident unto the church through the present death, which it daily abides in labors and sorrows, expecting the blessed resurrection of the flesh.

Augustine, in his 16th book against Faustus, seems to bring this interpretation—that our faith is chiefly directed unto the resurrection of Christ. That he dies, the Ethniks2 also grant; but that he rose again, they utterly deny. And therefore, seeing faith is said to be the thing whereby we are justified, Paul would make mention of the thing wherein faith is most conversant. And for confirmation of his saying, he cites a place out of the tenth chapter to the Romans, "If with thy mouth thou confess thy Lord Jesus Christ, and believe in thy heart that he was raised from the dead, thou shalt be saved" (v. 9). By which words it appears that salvation and justification are attributed unto the faith of Christ's resurrection.


1 Peter Martyr Vermigli (1500-1562) was the great Italian Reformer from Lucca, who fled the Inquistion in 1542 for refuge in Zurich, Basel and Strassburg. He was influenced by reading Zwingli and Bucer among others. During the reign of Edward VI, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer invited him to England where he became regius professor of divinity at Oxford. Imprisoned at the accession of Mary Tudor in 1553, he was permitted to return to Strassburg and died in Zurich. Vermigli is one of the most remarkable 16th century Calvinists, clearly displaying the so-called `scholastic method' in his Common Places, i.e., `systematic theology'. The quotation above is taken from the 16th century English translation of that work, pp. 608 and 609. Our thanks to Benji Swinburnson for pointing out this profound reflection on resurrection and justification in Christ.

2 This term is used to refer to the heathen or Gentiles as distinct from Christians.