Comments Upon Texts: 3. Living Together With Christ

Romans 6:8  •  34 min. read  •  grade level: 8
"Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him" (Rom. 6:88Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: (Romans 6:8)).
This statement might be taken into its component parts, thus:- There is, first, "death together with Christ;" which is put forward, not in a form which declares it attaches to this or to that one, to those or to these persons, but put with an hypothesis, which is the second point to notice-an if:-" If death together with Christ is true of us "-then there follows, thirdly, the certain consequence thereof, " that we shall reign together with Him."
Or, if you please, you may state it thus:-This is faith's assured statement, " We shall live together with Christ, IF we be dead together with Him."
So far all is clear, I think. But some pass over the mode in which the consequence (of being dead together with Christ) is put, viz., " we shall also live together with Him;" " for," say they, " we know, and assuredly believe, that we do already live together with Him; why, then, is a future tense (we shall live) used, and not a present tense, we do live."
it is quite true, we that believe have life already, and know that we have it together with Christ; for it is written, as of that which is a truth, and true at the present time to the believer. " Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me; because I live, ye shall live also. At that time ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you" (John 14:19,2019Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. 20At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. (John 14:19‑20)). Now this is a truth, which we that believe realize the blessing of now-because He lives, we live also; and the same, also, may be said of vers. 16-18. For the Father has given to us a guardian to supply the place of Christ-and He abides with us evermore, even the Spirit of truth-who is in us. And, again, we are not comfortless (ver. 18), for Christ manifests Himself to us (ver. 21-29). And, again, " God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son, hath life" (not shall have it, but hath it).
First, then, we remark, they are quite right who say, " The believer hath life already, and knows he hath it." Texts might be multiplied to prove the truth of this, but the context of the verse which is under examination suffices, for the whole of chaps. 6, 7 and 8 suppose life to be already in the believers, and to be known by themselves to be there; though they needed instruction from the apostle as to, 1st, many things in connection with it, if they were to understand their privileges, and, 2ndly, as to many other things in connection with themselves, if they were to be workers that needed not to be ashamed; able to walk in liberty, and to keep themselves apart from the world and the flesh and the devil.
Yes, the believer hath life already, and knows he hath it. But remark the difference of taking up a fragment of truth, thus (as the difficulty-finder does) judging of it according to his own blessed and happy experience in faith, and the apostle's handling the same item of truth in connection with God's mode, in theory and practice, of interposing, His Christ—1st, in what He suffered vicariously, between the believer and his sins and their just consequences; and, 2ndly, in what He is as the fountain and source of new and, till then, unheard-of blessings.
Let the verse itself be weighed in the scales of reason and of mere human intelligence, and the vast fullness of the subject will be better felt. "If we be dead with Christ, we believe also that we shall live together with Him." "Too much learning hath made thee mad," would be nature's first comment; her second, perhaps, " Why, how can a dead man be talking of what is to be?" Alas! To-day has its own class of corrupters of the word, Whose senseless insubjection to Scripture shows that the flesh profiteth not. Familiarity with a subject is not the same thing as knowledge of it. But it would be vain and thankless work to attempt, even, to show how the human mind, when in' the place of light and under the responsibility of having God's written Word, has corrupted the doctrines of grace as to Christ's substitution for sinners, and His being the source of new blessings to the believer. I turn to the text.
The following points may be noticed as having been brought by Paul before the mind, previously, in the epistle. First, that man, left to himself on account of sin, had made gods many, after his own corrupt lust (chap. 1); 2ndly, that those who had knowledge (as the Jew) through a law, or standard of right and wrong, having been given to them to see and judge this, did just as badly themselves, and caused, by their conduct, the first-named class to blaspheme (chap: 2) 3rdly, that the law, requiring perfectness in the party it blessed, had pronounced all mere men, without exception, under the curse (chap. 3:1-20). 4thly, that this only tended to make manifest that free-gift righteousness of God, which was by faith in Jesus Christ-not of works, and open equally to Jew and to Gentile (chap. 3:20-31). That this was borne witness to by Abraham, and by David, each in his own way (chap. 4:1-16). But these four points might be looked at (not only thus, as to what they show of man, but, on the other side also) as to what they show of God. Thus, 1st, when man had sinned, and would not seek unto God, God showed Himself a God of patience and goodness toward the Gentile; and, 2ndly, while he waited till the due time was come for him to act fully, He dealt with the Jew, allowing him to use a standard of right and wrong, put into his hand to be a means of showing what it really was which fallen man had in him. 3rdly, was shown where man really was and to what reduced as a creature; and, 4thly, what it was which He, the living God, thought man wanted, if he was to be blessed; and how He knew Himself alone to be sufficient as the Source of such blessing, and His Son the alone able Accomplisher of it. Observe, the law does not go further than to enumerate what a man, under given circumstances, ought to do; and what the reward, if lie does as he should, is to be, and what the curse is if he fails in any one point. The gospel was God's remedy for the confessedly failed ones-His plan and His way of getting to Himself honor in undertaking the cure and the blessing of those whom the law had justly cursed. This brings me to the fifth point. If God had left man to try what he could do,- had God any plan of His own? He clearly had, and it was this-to introduce Himself into the scene of ruin as the God of resurrection, who could raise from the dead, the Redeemer-God, who could say to the strongest enemy, " Give up," and could take back to Himself in a higher and better scene what elements He thus took from the fall. And, observe the time He chose for this was when man, left to himself, had corrupted the very notion of Deity, and when man, placed under light, had used that light to puff up his own heart with before God.
And, mark here, sixthly, what the wants were according to God's thoughts.
1st. There was a righteousness wanted; for all were under condemnation (chap. 3:21, 22).
2ndly. This must be in a way which supposed no power to be in the party blessed-it was, therefore, by faith (ver. 22).
3rdly. It must be "by free grace" (ver. 24).
Now this, 4thly, supposes the introduction of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (ver. 22-26). Who else, indeed, but He, the Son, could clear the honor and glory of God in working out salvation.
5thly. That it was of promise (chap. 3:13, 14), given long before the accomplishment of the blessing (Rom. 3:3, 17-213For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? (Romans 3:3)
17And the way of peace have they not known: 18There is no fear of God before their eyes. 19Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 21But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; (Romans 3:17‑21)
), showed how God would have His counsel recognized, and how He meant to make it approve itself and show forth his faithfulness and power, too, by allowing all the waters of the stream of time, and its circumstances, to roll in, and prove their powerlessness to change His promise. And, 6thly, this promise supposed certain things to be in Him, the living God, which were needful if ruined man was to get a blessing. He must needs be God, who, 1st, quickeneth the dead; and, 2ndly, who calleth those things which be not as though they were. And with these thoughts, God separated persons to Himself in time-He gave promises-they believed he was able to perform them-" and therefore it was imputed to them for righteousness" (ver. 22).
This brings us back to the great point of difficulty.
" Now it was not written for His sake alone, that it was imputed to Him. But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead. Who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification" (Rom. 4:23-2523Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. (Romans 4:23‑25)).
Observe, Paul is here speaking, not as you and I might speak, experimentally of his own enjoyed portion, but of God's way (theory and practice) of salvation. There is a certain Jesus—the benefits of whose death and resurrection belong to those who believe in Him who raised Him from the dead.
There is a certain abstract manner of putting it here which is just the difference between the handling of the way as the truth of God and the speaking of it as a. matter of enjoyment.
It is just so, I conceive, in our text. " Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live together with him" (Rom. 6:88Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: (Romans 6:8)). But there is another thing to remark, as connected with this, and that is the real -difficulty when one comes to ponder the remedy in Christ for man, and the fullness of the salvation which is in Christ, which will be found, as we pass on, to justify fully the future tense, instead of the present.
If any one will weigh up what Saul was ere Christ called him; what Christ's call to him was; what the change in spirit, in heart, and in mind, and in outward life of Paul was; what that conflict with himself, with Satan, and with all his circumstances, while he was in the body; what the moral education of his soul by Christ; what his state from the time of his decease till the time of Christ's raising his body in glory-if, I say, any one can, however inadequately, run through these things, he will see the magnitude of the subject; and how, too, eternal life in heavenly glory being that for which Paul was called-there is, evidently, great propriety in the life being spoken of, in its fullest future display (" We shall live together with Him"), and not according to its present in-dwelling in us. In us it is a fountain of living waters, springing up to everlasting life, most surely. It and its true eternal character are known to us now, and they are the basis of our actions and of an entirely new life; but the eternal life is to be looked at in its future bright and unhindered display in heaven, if the real privilege of its possession is to be seen.
The truth of God acts upon us, through faith, and by the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is,, there is liberty. But this liberty in the Spirit is a most real and true thing, and is, in one sense, higher than affection and understanding, for it is divine-the Spirit of God witnessing with our (renewed) spirits. But redemption is not merely divine, as to its source, and divine in itself as God's remedy, but is meant for man;-man is to be redeemed; and, therefore, God gives not only His Spirit and spiritual instincts, but He also both divinely forms affections in our hearts, as men, to Himself and His son, and understanding gives us an understanding that we may know and be able to comprehend and understand the why and the wherefore of the truth, and His ways with us.
The testimony of the Spirit Himself, the spiritual instincts, the trained affections of the heart, the detailed knowledge of the understanding, can often be separated the one from the other. But as they are all found necessarily in the common salvation of each soul and in the Church, they cannot always be nicely distinguished the one from the other by us, who are the subjects of that salvation. We shall see this, and the amazing scope, too (its breadth and width), of the salvation which our God has made ours in Christ, if we turn to Rom. 5.
" Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (ver. 1).
[Not only is the Lord the one who is peace, in whom alone there is peace, hut we HAVE peace; He is OUR Lord].
"By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God (ver. 2).
[What an immeasurably blessed position and prospect! Yet the Spirit, the new nature, the heart and the mind here also, each and all, have their place].
Then " not only so, but we glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience. And patience, experience; and experience, hope. And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us" (Rom. 5:3-53And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. (Romans 5:3‑5)).
Observe it, not only peace within (ver. 1), and a standing place of grace (ver. 2), where we can rejoice, and hope for the glory of God-but here we get two other things marked; let, power of voluntary hearty concurrence with God in His training of ourselves, though by sorrow and patience; and, 2ndly, God's love shed abroad in the heart, as ointment, by the Holy Ghost given to us. What a blessed people we are!
Next we have that which shows what God saw of our state, and what He did. Oh, how unlike the law of Moses! " When we were without strength-ungodly -Christ died for us" (ver. 6).
The law said to us, as creatures, Do the will of God, and live in it; or be cursed, "but God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (ver. 8).
And, then, see what follows-this divine arguing out of things-the blood stayed all the claims of justice against us-the death of Christ was in substitution for us-but, if saving us from the wrath to come, it has reconciled us, there is yet more for us; we shall be saved by His life. "Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled we shall be saved by His life" (vers. 9, 10).
This (as ver. 11 shows us) sets us free to rejoice in God Himself. Not only to rejoice in hope of his glory (as ver. 2), nor to glory in tribulation (as ver. 3), but in God Himself. For the believer is brought unto God to find his joy in Himself. " And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement" (ver. 11).
Then (and mark it well) Paul contrasts the two Adams and their works and fruits.
Adam The First.
By him sin entered the world;—and death by sin;—a death which passed over all, for all were sinners.
The offense of one, led by judgment unto a condemnation, reigning over all, which, alas, harmonized with the sinnership of all.
Him That Was To Come.
By Him came God's grace, and the free gift of grace, even through Jesus Christ.
Righteousness led, by free grace unto a justification of life which was toward all, but upon them that believe; and abounded unto them that believed, that so grace might reign through righteousness, unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord.
It is wondrous how the Savior and the Redeemer-God does, in this portion, show how He has stooped to measure out a blessing in contrast with all the ruin of creature-work as introduced by man.
And, notice here, that, the blessing is (not merely justification unto life, but is) grace reigning, through righteousness, unto ETERNAL life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Now, if we are to see what that is, in its full meaning, we must get past the present enjoyment of it in this our time state, into that time and state in which the eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord, will be shown and seen in its own proper sphere and scenes hereafter. Thus we see a "why" and a " wherefore" of its being said, in our text, not " Now if we be dead together with Christ, we know that we do also live together with Him," but " Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him."
We have thus far looked at the antecedents of the chapter in which our verse is; and we have seen, on the one hand, tiny man, in the least of all his littleness when in sin; and, on the other hand, God in all the greatness of His patience and long-suffering, and in the grandeur of His mercy. Man was shown out as in progress on the earth,-Gentile and Jew (chaps. 1-3), and, after that, man, as a head, originating the ruin in which his family had been found (chap. 5); and God was seen first in His greatness as Creator, and as the long-suffering God in patience, and then in all that greater greatness, immeasurable, in which He displayed Himself when acting against, and in contrast to, the ruin which man had brought in. His counsel, His plans, His ways, confess Him always and everywhere to be God alone; not one requirement of His own infinite glory has been forgotten; and so fully is it all poured forth in the gift of His Son, and the presence of the Spirit, that the all-pervading testimony of grace and mercy leaves every soul without excuse; they can only be lost through neglect of the mercy. God has not only done a work by which to glorify Himself in the salvation of them that believe, but it is a work which leaves man, guilty unbelieving man, more condemned than even did the broken law. For who will not say that the guilty condemned culprit is without excuse, self-condemned, and condemnable by every one,-the culprit who, having forfeited life to violated law, despises the free forgiveness and mercy of a sin-pardoning God.
Toward the close of the portion already considered-man having been uncovered in all his pitiful state, and God's estimate of what was needed, if he was to be blessed after a divine fashion-we get the grand thought presented to us of " Grace reigning through righteousness, unto eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord."
There are, so to speak, five chapters upon this subject. 1st. Chapter 6, in which the connection of a poor sinner with the Christ, by God, but through faith in the sinner, is shown-and shown in. the various parts of the subject; 2ndly (chap. 7) certain things which to man might seem insuperable difficulties in the making good of some parts of the plan are explained; 3rdly (chap. 8), the entire and realized association of the believer thus and now with God;-all difficulties notwithstanding, no condemnation can reach to that which is in Christ, and no separation from God. 4thly. The connection of this, tasted now only in individual experience, perhaps, with the drift of all. the dealings of God upon earth, through all his dispensations which wend onward till mercy fills the heavenlies and fills the earthlies (chap. 9-11); and, 5thly (chap. 11), to the end of the epistle, the entire association in walk and character now, of God's people with Christ-earth-rejected and heaven-honored.
Their present experience may be, as His was, from the earth-and the taste of it may reach them in blows and sorrows, which only draw forth His sympathies [for blessed be God, He is safely housed, and personally is above all the billows and waves of the wicked world we are in], but we hold His position as earth-rejected, which He was in fully, until His cross-He had a mission from God to the Jews, and was a healer upon earth of sickness, etc.
Blessed as the meditating upon each of these five chapters might be, I must confine myself more particularly, now, to the first of them, viz., chap. 6. In which chapter; I conceive, we get an explanation fuller in detail than usual of the salvation in Christ, so far as its application by God to the believer is concerned.
The complexity of the circumstances of the party to whom the salvation has to be applied, as well as the complexity of the evil which is internal, will soon be evident. The born thrall of Satan, man, is in a world of Satan's arranging, and has a body ready in every way to identify itself with all the evil around. Then as to how it is with " the patient," when grace finds him, the disease is very complex; 1st, there is thorough ignorance of God as He really is, and a thorough accrediting of the false picture of God, which the sinner, in his delusion, has of Him. 2ndly, there is an overweening good opinion of himself-by which, in self-complacency, man takes it for granted that he cannot have a lie in his right hand, and, as a result, a self-sufficiency, as though by his own wisdom and power he would be able to settle everything for God and for himself too, in a way better than the best;-a heart, made to be satisfied with God alone, but gone astray from Him, ever filling itself with vanity and discontentment, blowing its own bubbles of lust; there is, too, a will fickle as the weather-cock, but obstinate and unbending as sinews of brass. Now, how -is such a one to be fitted to be happy and at home in the Father's house in heaven, to be a channel, through which the river of divine goodness can flow forth in unselfish heavenly and divine blessing. God will do it by His own application of the rich salvation found in Christ Jesus, through faith and by the Spirit. But then, and here enters what is an enlargement of the difficulty to man's mind; while God's whole mind and heart are pledged to each solitary believer, to make all His full salvation to be that of the individual-individual salvation is part of a present testimony, and of a future glory which shall pervade every field in which redeeming love is known. State it, in a rough way, thus, and the difficulty will be seen: I am to be saved,-but my salvation has connection with God's dealings through the last 5000 and odd years, and more especially with His testimony through the last 1857 years, and issues in a glory which is to fill the heavens and fill the earth in the resurrection-morn. This, while it gives that comparative increase of importance to my salvation which a brick built into a wall has, as part of a house, above a brick by the wayside, at the same time reduces me to my just proportion. The temple would not be a perfect temple without that stone; it is an integral part of the Lord's temple now-little as it was and is if looked at in itself.
The sixth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, opens with a proposition which is common enough among men of perverse and ignorant mind, when they handle God's truth. Only that which they lay down as, according to their logical reasonings-a self-evident axiom of certain result-Paul, or the Spirit of God by Paul, holds up as an absurd and foolish thing, to be denounced at once. The doctrine of free forgiveness of sins, is to man synonymous with, and inseparable from, liberty to go on sinning. What shall we say then? Shall we continue in "sin, that grace may abound?" [Paul says, once and again, "I speak as a man;" but note that he does not stoop to say so here.] He puts the question. His answer is double. First, an expression of revulsion. God forbid [or, away with it (such a thought)]. Then, an expression of the folly of the idea. " How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? " (ver. 2). Three things were true of me individually; 1st, I had sin in me; 2ndly, this made me necessarily to be under the penalty of the judgment of God against sin; 1st, in death, and after that, 2ndly, in judgment to come. Sin, death, and judgment, were mine. I was morally dead in sins; and as such my prospect was death, and then judgment. Christ, who was holy, harmless, separate from sinners, in whom Satan had nothing-and who was not of this world-died, as Son of man, under the judgment of the wrath of God due to me. " My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" was his cry. For me, morally dead, He bore the penalty. God has revealed His own grace and mercy in providing such a way for poor sinners. If others do not admit the death of Christ as a substitute through grace, I do. It is an eternal reality, and I know it exists as such, independent of my faith in it, or my want of faith in it. This faith God has given to me, and His Spirit, that I might receive His truth, and, by act of my own, set to my seal to His truth. "I do," would be my answer to Paul's. "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into His death" (ver. 3). Yes; blessed be God for His grace! I can say, and add, " Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death."
I, morally dead, had a future death and judgment before me. Christ has borne that judgment in His own death. God's Christ did that: He was sent of God to settle that matter. Certainly God does not think that His Christ failed, or that His work failed in this matter. They are the parties most competent; yea, alone competent, to pronounce a judgment herein: such a judgment they have pronounced, that " it is finished." Through grace, my Amen has been put in, where God's Amen was long before mine. My Amen has little value, in comparison with His; but it is not without its value; for it is, 1st, the proof of a fresh and present act of His grace-even that He has caused His thought about Christ to be light and brightness to my soul-and this, 2ndly, marks a new and present action of the Holy Ghost, who not only gave the testimony to Christ at first, and wrote the epistles of old, but has now, of recent date, brought home that testimony to my soul. Grace, too, in God, sets a high price in heaven upon a poor sinner's Amen upon earth, to the worthiness of mercy, through Christ, by the Spirit. To the poor sinner's self; the worth is past measure-'tis a measure of eternal, heavenly, divine love. But then, what, if I had done with my Adamic ruined inheritance, and had naught else? Adam's inheritance in Eden is forfeited, I cannot return there-might a poor sinner say, who, having discovered that sin, death, and judgment, were his portion, as a descendant of Adam's, had just learned that God looked upon him as dead and buried in Christ. Well, but this dead and buried together with Christ, is only the first blessing. The second is this,-
" That like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection. Knowing this, that our old man is crucified together with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him. Knowing that Christ, being raised from the dead, dieth no more, death hath no dominion over Him. " For in that He died, He died unto sin once: but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God, Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore, reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God" (Rom. 6:4-134Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. (Romans 6:4‑13)).
Mark it well, we are those that are alive from the dead; nothing can be clearer. And, indeed, no one can read the portion down, without seeing how this is quietly assumed throughout the whole of it. It is assumed, that since my identification with Christ, through faith, I have complete power over myself: this certainly was not the case when I was in sin. So far from being greater than myself and my members, I was led captive by them, and they were dragged hither and thither, through lust, by Chance influences from without, in what was around me, guided by Satan. It. is not, note it, a man trying to overcome himself and his evil, that he may get associated with God, or that God may honor him, but a man recognizing that he is, in grace, associated with Christ by God, and so associated, that Christ's penal death rolls in upon his soul, at once a moral judgment upon all that he, the sinner, was, and at the same moment a complete deliverance from all its consequences; not only from its just judgment-that cloud has passed from the sinner, and is seen to have hurtled once for all over Jesus when upon the cross, having no power to descend ever again upon the believer, but also the power of the law of sin is broken. With a new life given to us in Christ, there is the certainty given, that when He is displayed in life, we shall be displayed in the same life with Him. When He has changed these vile bodies, and fashioned them like unto the body of His glory, then will there be indeed a perfect walk in newness of life; then shall we be also in the likeness of His resurrection fully; we shall never serve sin, but be free from it forever; we shall also live with Him; with Him who dieth no more, over whom death hath no dominion; but while this is blessed truth, the Christian antedates, in his conduct here, through faith, the fulfillment of these blessed hopes. This is the third truth Paul is pressing here, viz., this: if, FIRST, you have been cleared out from Adam's standing with its sin, death and judgment, by God's reckoning you through grace one with the Christ that died and was buried; and if you have, SECONDLY, been associated in life with the Christ who dies no more, over whom death has no dominion, who lives unto God; why then, THIRDLY, there is a present acting by you upon this being reckoned of God free from sin and this life together with Christ communicated to you, viz. a life here below, according to the life of Christ Himself-as Paul said to me to live is Christ-and according to the life now hidden with Christ in God; which, when it shall appear, shall alone, without let or hindrance, shine in us, and shine fully. Having already gone elsewhere into the force of this reckoning of ourselves to be dead unto sin, I do not rest upon it now: my subject being, " If we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him " (ver. 8).
I would, however, just notice a few things:-
1st. The positive unqualified statement of ver. 13: the hands of the clock are to give the true time; a Christian life is to be manifest to all; not merely right affections, happy thoughts, but a life, outside life, which will speak for God.
2ndly. The positive declaration of ver. 14: " For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace." With the fair deduction that the soul under grace is more cut off from sin and shut up to good works than a soul under law.
We do not serve Adam with law, sin, and death, but we serve Christ with His grace, obedience, and righteousness.
Holiness and fruit-bearing, and eternal life are ours; " Who boast that though the wages of sin is death-the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." I cannot here enter upon the chapters vii. and viii.; they hardly fall within my subject, though they are deeply interesting, and throw immense light upon what this life of Christ in us is not connected with, and what it is connected with; and how it works amid all the difficulties found in us and around; difficulties of Satan, and of the world in God's past and present dealings dispensationally on earth; and how, too, this life has its own proper range and sphere in Christ, who sits on a throne, under which all the counsels of God for eternity, and heaven, and all the plans and covenants of God for earth and time, roll. Yes; our life is in Him, who is in God; and all God's counsels and plans roll around, and are subject to Him in whom our life is, who Himself is our life (happy, blessed people that we are!). He is the object of them all. Oh that the Lord our God would open wide our hearts, to understand his praise, and to taste the sweetness of that place of Confidante which He has assigned to the Church.
In conclusion, I would remark, there is something unutterably blessed, but withal solemn, in the thought of being a vessel, a member, in which the life of Christ is displayed. Is this my present call and work, to display, here below, the life which is in Christ, as to which Christ is the fountain-source, myself but a channel? And what, if Satan and the world oppose, and if the body has to be reckoned dead? Shall I only comfort myself with the thoughts that soon, in the Father's house on high (the Spirit all pervading), this life shall (in how little a while) have free, and full, and perfect course? No. I have more than this; I can joy and rejoice, not only in what the life will be in courts above, but, in one sense, more purely and more unselfishly, and in the most divine and Christ-like way; I can rejoice, I say, in all these wilderness sorrows and conflicts, which the life brings to me with it. It is fellowship with Christ's own self; it is the realization of the best part of the blessing, apart from the Circumstances of joy.