The Christian's Position as to Life and the Spirit; Holiness; Divine Life Always Essentially the Same; the Term "Resurrection Life;" Other Epistles Compared With Romans and Ephesians; State and Standing

Romans; Ephesians; Numbers 19; John 14:17; John 14:20; John 20:22; Romans 7‑8; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Colossians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:23; 2 Peter 1:3‑4  •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Rom. 8* takes up the Christian as having died with Christ, and having the Spirit of Christ who is his life. He is in Christ (ver. 1), and Christ in him. (Ver. 10.) But the Romans, though in the second part (beginning chap. 5:12) it goes on to the full christian position in Christ, and Christ in us, never looks at the Christian but as a living man on the earth; not as risen with Christ, which introduces entirely another aspect of the condition, nor does it take up, consequently, union with Christ. It is only our standing in Him (chap. 8), and He in us our life, and justified; hence "one in us," or members of His body, do not come into view, only it is taken for granted as truth in the hortatory part. When we speak of risen with Christ, Christ is looked at as a raised and exalted man, not as quickening Son of God, nor exactly our life, but God has raised us with Him. This is Ephesians, where men are looked at as dead in sins, and it is a new creation. Romans looks at them as responsibly living in sins, hence death is brought in, as well as removal of guilt: but resurrection is not only that the Christian is alive to God in Christ, but has the Holy Ghost, and so (according to John 14) is in Christ, and Christ in him, as to his standing before God, and state in this world. But union to the glorified Man is not the subject of Romans. Of course, if we have the Holy Ghost we are united. Colossians gives Romans doctrine, adding resurrection with Christ, only it does not go on to setting in Him above: we are risen, but on earth—hope laid for us in heaven to have our affections there.
—-forgets that 'resurrection-life' is a term (as a short statement suitable enough) invented by Christians to express the state in which we are, not a scriptural one. In essence divine life is always the same: only that now Christ, who becomes our life, being not only a quickening Spirit, but also Himself raised from the dead, we have this life as ours according to the condition into which He is entered as man. In one aspect He quickens whom He will (John 5); in another He is raised from the dead, we are quickened together with Him; and though all this is life in divine power—Christ our life -yet the difference is important, and involves a great deal. It is not only being born, but born as dead to all that is passed as Christ was—death, sin, Satan's power, and judgment passed, forgiveness and justification possessed.-(Col. 2:1313And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; (Colossians 2:13), and so Ephesians.) It leads to, though it be not in itself, the unity of all saints in the body of Christ. Hence the connection of life with resurrection with Christ is of all importance, because it is consequent on the death of Christ, and seals on God's part the efficacy of this work, and leads us (the question of sin, and judgment, and the power of flesh and Satan settled) into the new place or sphere to which it belongs. But the life is always essentially the same, or it could not enjoy God. But the state of that life is modified by the consciousness of that place into which it is, in all its relationships, brought—where Christ is, which affects it in all its thoughts and affections, according to the power of the Holy Ghost which is in and with it. "It is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus." This affects its whole state and condition, in fellowship with God and with Christ; for morally the life lives in that in which it is. "He that hath the Son hath life," and that Son is the risen Man.
(* ' Rom. 7; 8—Does every one that receives life, or is born again, receive resurrection-life? I mean is there such a thing in this dispensation as being born again without having resurrection-life communicated by the Holy Ghost? When we say, That soul has life, do we mean resurrection life, as in John 20:22? If so, then everyone who has life is " in Christ " according to Rom. 8:22For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2), and John 17:2121That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. (John 17:21), " that they may be one in us " (Father and Son). Then would the reception of the Spirit, consequent upon believing, and the knowledge of forgiveness, unite us to the glorified Man at God's right hand: the first, in John 20, receiving life from Christ as a divine power, and the second the Holy Spirit uniting us to Christ as man?
' In John 14:1717Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. (John 14:17), " He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." Is " he dwelleth " future? or does it mean that the Spirit dwelt with them in the Person of Christ, but that at Pentecost He should be in them? As it reads in our English version, one would understand, He dwelleth with you now, but by-and-by He shall be in you, at some future time.')
Now, as to life, this is always the state of him who is a Christian, that is, who has the Spirit. (See Rom. 8*) But he may not have realized what it really means, though all be his; and in Rom. 7 we get one quickened so as to delight in God's law, but not delivered so as to have the place that belongs to one who knows the power of Christ's resurrection, and having not the Spirit. This last state is developed in chapter 8. No one in the christian state but has this life; and all this belongs to whomsoever is quickened now; but till he is sealed with the Holy Ghost, his state and condition, as alive in Christ, is not known to him, he has not got into that state in relationship with God. It is his, no doubt, but he has not got it. Resurrection-life is life in another condition, the only one now owned by God, but not another kind of life in itself. Charcoal and diamond are exactly the same thing chemically, but they are very different actually. But the only state owned of God now is life connected with Christ risen.
(* So Christ, after His resurrection, breathed on them, as God breathed into Adam's nostrils the breath of life; but this is not the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven.)
By the Holy Ghost we are baptized into one body. But baptism is never "into" anything, but "unto." In this case the difference is not very great, but it is always the object to which we are baptized. It is the object of the Holy Ghost's baptism; but as that is in power, they become members of it, and so it is treated here [1 Cor. 12:1313For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:13)] as in verse 19.
As to John 14:1717Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. (John 14:17), it may be taken as "will," as it is solely the question of an accent, μενεῖ or μένει. But I think it quite immaterial. Christ could not remain with them, this other Comforter could; Christ was with them, not in them; that other Comforter would be in them. But it does not at all mean that He was dwelling with them in Christ. He is speaking of another Comforter not come yet, and putting this in contrast with their present state. I prefer μένει as it is, because ofθεωρεῖ, γινώσκει. The Father would give them another Comforter, who could not come till Christ was gone. It is of Him, and this new state of things, the Lord is expressly speaking, as to the world, and as to the disciples. It would not be for the world (Christ had been, though rejected), because the world did not see or know Him (that is, when come). Not so the disciples—ye know Him (present), because He abides with you (in contrast with me who am going), and shall be in you (which I now cannot be). "Is in you" would not have done, as affirming not what characterized the Spirit as the new Comforter but a positive existing fact.
August, 1877.