The Resurrection - the Fundamental Truth of the Gospel: Chapter 2

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There is another consequence, namely, the feeling of the entire favor of God attached to the idea of being a son―" the grace in which we stand." Having entered by the cross, we stand in the favor of God in the holy place; having received not the spirit of bondage, but the Spirit of adoption, we cry, “Abba Father!" Our participation in the resurrection is our being born of God. As delivered, we stand before God as his children, His accepted ones, His holy ones. Love was manifested towards us in that Christ came into the world to die for us. Love is accomplished to ward us in that we are in Him, such as He is before God, even in this world, because we are united to Him by the Spirit He has given us. Our filial relation to the Father, as being purified from sin, clothed with the robe of righteousness (a relation which gives joy to the soul), flows from this doctrine. He has given us the privilege to become children of God―not servants, but children.
Here then are some sweet results from this truth, which exist even here. Our union with Christ is the foundation. We may follow these results, even as regards our body, into the glory. The resurrection of Christ is the first-fruits, that of the saints the harvest. There is an intimate connection between the resurrection of the saints and the resurrection of Christ, on account of the union of the Church with Him, because of the one Spirit which is the Spirit of Christ, and which dwells in Him and in all the members of His body.
It is not thus with regard to the wicked, although it is the power of Christ which raises them; yet it is not because of union with Him, nor because of his Spirit dwelling in them; for the Spirit does not dwell in them. Therefore actual resurrection is a thing which belongs to the saints, as a full accomplishment, in result, of their union with Christ, not as a necessary preliminary to their judgment; indeed Christ has already been judged for them and suffered the penalty of all their sins.
The resurrection of the saints is the consequence of their having passed through the judgment of their sins in Christ, not the preliminary to their judgment by Christ.
It is the reception by Christ of the Church, who suffered with Him that she might be in the glory with Him in His kingdom; as in John 14, "In my Father's house are many mansions Christ is not gone there to be alone " If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am, there ye may be also."
This is the judgment of the church at the return of Christ. They are manifested before His judgment seat, but already glorified.
This does not deny a difference of glory among the saints, that some will be on His right hand and others on His left in His kingdom. It only skews that the resurrection of the saints is the result of the accomplishment of their judgment in Christ, and the full completeness of the life which already possessed as rise with Him, the effect of the union of the saints with Him, as dwelt in by the same Spirit. It is necessary that, when Christ is manifested, the bodies of those who are His should also enjoy the privileges of the kingdom, as part of that which He has purchased, thus delivering them completely and finally from the power of Satan and of death. "If the Spirit of him who raised up Jesus from the dead," says the apostle to the Romans, " dwell in you, he who raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies because of his Spirit which dwelleth in you "a passage which evidently reveals to us, that the resurrection of the saints is a consequence of the resurrection of Christ that, in fact, the resurrection is a consequence of the interest which God takes in her, as He does in Christ her Head.
We shall see then that many passages manifest this special place of the saints in the resurrection, and that the Scriptures speak of the resurrection of the Church as a thing entirely distinct from the resurrection of the wicked. In this manner, Paul, in a passage already quoted, says, (Phil. 3) if by any means I may attain unto the resurrection from [exanastasin] the dead." Also in 1 Cor. 15 " Christ the first-fruits, afterward they that are Christ's at his coming." In Luke 20., we find, in one of our Lord's discourses on this subject, that the existence of the relation between God and Abraham necessarily supposed the resurrection, not merely the life of his separated spirit. Many other passages declare also this truth, and moreover that this resurrection was a thing which belonged exclusively to the children of God. He speaks of “those who shall be accounted worthy to obtain the resurrection from the dead." How are they found worthy to obtain the resurrection, if the resurrection is a thing common to the saints and to the world (in a word, if the saints and the world are raised together)? The Lord adds, "Neither can they die any more; for they are equal unto the angels, and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection." See how the power of the resurrection is identified with this privilege of being children of God.
The subject is treated of in a connected manner in John 5:21-2921For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. 22For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: 23That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father which hath sent him. 24Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. 25Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. 26For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; 27And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. 28Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (John 5:21‑29): "For as the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all 'judgment unto the Son, that all should honor the Son even as they honor the Father.... Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word and believeth on him that sent me hath everlasting life and shall not come into the judgment, but is passed from death unto life.... The hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of judgment."
Here are two great means of upholding and of vindicating the glory of the humbled Son.
He quickens―He judges. He quickens and the Father quickens also. He alone judges ―the Father judges no man.
The saints are quickened in order to have fellowship with the Father and the Son.
Christ, in judgment, claims and maintains His glory and His right over all those who have neglected Him, or who were opposed to His glory, in order that all, even the wicked should honor the Son as they honor the Father.
To this end we find that there are two resurrections: the resurrection unto life that is to say, the fulfillment of His work in the quickening of the saints, applying to their bodies the power of the resurrection, which had already been applied to their souls when they were converted; and the resurrection unto judgment, in order that those who have done evil should be judged.
I do not here speak of the interval; but I merely say that there are two resurrections, which are different, as well in their objects and character, as in the persons who will take part in them. I will just remark, by the way, that the expression, on which those who object to the interpretation which supposes an interval of time between these two resurrections rest their opinions, has in no respect the force which they attach to it. The Lord says, “The hour is coming." " See," say they, " a proof that the resurrection of the just and the unjust will take place at the same time," forgetting that the Lord uses the same word (in ver. 25) to specify the time of His ministry, and, at the least, 1800 years of a new period which commenced at His resurrection.
These two characters of the two resurrections, of which I have spoken, are very important, and distinguish in every sense these two events. The one, that of the saints who have suffered with Christ, being the application to our bodies of the power of the life of Christ, who has saved us, in order to accomplish His word toward us resurrection being the redemption of the body, and the consequence of what Christ did when He saved us from the judgment; the other, the vindicating His glory in judgment, and the exercise of the justice of the living God against all those who have sinned. The first resurrection, consequently, is that which we anxiously wait for, to the end that we may be with Him, and, when Christ appears, We may also appear with him in glory (Col. 3:44When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:4))―an epoch which the whole creation is expecting: see Rom. 8:19, 2119For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. (Romans 8:19)
21Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (Romans 8:21)
, where it is called " the manifestation of the sons of God." "the glorious liberty of the children of God."
There is a passage in the Scriptures which has struck me much on this subject, and which conveys a special instruction on the difference there is between viewing the resurrection as an event common to the Church and the world, or as a privilege which belongs separately to the Church in consequence of the power of the life which is in Christ. I speak of John 11 Jesus says to Martha, "Thy brother shall rise again.
Martha with unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day." Here is real faith, a truth she had well learned. She was not a Sadducee. This is the faith of the Church generally; he will rise again at the last day." Without doubt.
The same thing might be said of the most wicked man. "Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liven) and believed) in me shall never die. Believest thou this?—that is, the power of Jesus when present, the power which he will manifest when lie comes again. " She saith unto him, Yea, Lord; I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world." Here again is a good confession; those who are saved doubtless believe it also. But here, in fact, the faith of the greatest part of the Church stops. And when she had so said. she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee." Why did she do this? Why so much haste to quit Jesus, that good Comforter, and to call her sister? Was there not the secret consciousness that she could not hold converse with Jesus on subjects such as these? She believed Him to be the Son of God but "I am the resurrection and the life " was something too deep for her, her heart was not at ease in the company of Jesus speaking thus. And have we nothing similar to this? Are not the sweetest, the most blessed privileges of the Church, too often the things which send the children of God away? They are not at their ease when Christ speaks of such things They must go and seek some Mary. It is a call for some other person than for them. What were the different characters of these two women, both loved of the Lord? “A woman, named Martha, received him into her house; and she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving” The heart of Martha was not at ease through her want of communion with Jesus, and could not enter into the most blessed and encouraging truths in the things which the heart of Jesus, full of consoling power, poured forth to relieve the miseries by which it was broken. To understand them was beyond the habits of Martha's mind; and saying all that she could say in answer to Jesus, she goes to seek some one who, her conscience tells her, is more capable of understanding that which had just proceeded from the heart of Jesus—more capable of maintaining communion with Him and of sustaining a conversation which was painful to herself, because her spiritual understanding was unequal to it. How often is Martha's state called wisdom! How often are the things with which the heart of Jesus overflows-the revelations of our blessing-designated things likely to trouble the Church, perhaps even regarded as reveries!
How often does the Church persist in remaining in darkness, fleeing from Jesus and His goodness, to conceal from herself her incapacity of communion with Him in these things—satisfied with herself, because she can make the confession of Martha. because she can say with her, "Yea, Lord. thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world!”
“I am rich, I have need of nothing.” Poor Church—yes, poor every one of us! May the love of Jesus shine upon thee! O may He give thee such confidence in His love that thou mayest never tire of drawing from His heart those sweet truths which are enclosed therein-truths which attach the soul to Him, and which give strength of soul to walk in the world separated in heart unto Him—truths which give power to that secret communion with Him which will make us faithful in His absence, joyful in His presence, calm in soul in the midst of all the misery of a world ruined by death, hastening to run towards Him when we hear those sweet words, " The Master is come and calleth for thee." Be it so, O Jesus our Lord! Deign, O deign to look upon Thy Church, Thy poor Church, who loves Thee and whom Thou lovest. If she is weak, O strengthen her: if she has turned aside, O God, she loves Thee. Bring her, O bring her back to Thyself, even to Thyself her blessedness and her joy, her eternal joy, her Savior and her strength. Bring her near to Thee.
Where can she find that which shall renew her strength, if not in Thee, who art the resurrection and the life?
One thing only remains to finish the sketch which I have attempted to make of this important subject. I well know that, far from having exhausted, I have but slightly touched upon it.
With respect to the dispensations of God, the resurrection is the fundamental subject of the word of God, since sin and death entered into the world, and sin reigns unto death. If sin reigns unto death, then resurrection only can be the victory over it; and it is a complete and final victory. For he that is dead is free or justified from sin "Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe we shall also live with Him knowing that Christ, being raised from the dead, dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him." (Rom. 6:7-97For 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. (Romans 6:7‑9).) Throughout the Scriptures we find this truth more or less fully disclosed—the foundation of every hope and of all moral judgment (see Psa. 17, 49; Isa. 38). And even the restoration of the Jewish people is described as a resurrection (see Ezek. 37; Isa. 26; Rom. 11:1515For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? (Romans 11:15)). There is the source of joy, as in Psa. 16, Job 19. And it was a truth so positive-a notion so necessary to the thoughts of God and of His righteous ones, that when God said, “I am the God of Abraham," tile Lord explains it as showing that Abraham was to be raised for "God is not the God of the dead but of the living " (Matt. 22:3232I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. (Matthew 22:32)).
I said that one thing only remained.
It is generally thought that Rev. 20 is the only support which the word of God gives to the notion of a separate resurrection of the Church. We have already seen that this idea is connected with all the truths in the word of God.
That the saints will rise when Christ comes. is a thing acknowledged, as we have seen (1 Cor. 15:2323But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. (1 Corinthians 15:23); Phil. 3:20,2120For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. (Philippians 3:20‑21); 1 Thess. 4:15-1715For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:15‑17)). In the Apocalypse, 19., 20, we get the details. There we see that the resurrection of the saints will precede, by a thousand years, the resurrection of the rest of the dead, in order that they who have suffered with Christ, should also reign with Him when He takes the kingdom, and that they should appear with Him in glory when He appears who is their life. This is the important and striking completion of this great truth―a completion which crowns with results so important a truth, which having its root in the lower parts of the earth, that is, in the grave of Christ, drawing its strength from the life of. God, stretches out its branches, and lifts its glorious head towards heaven, covering with its spreading boughs all the inhabitants of a blest earth―the tree of life, from which are gathered the fruits of all the promises of God.
Christian, do you know the power of the resurrection of Christ? Are your thoughts, those of one who is risen with Him, set on things above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God? Is your salvation a thing accomplished for your soul, so that in the perfect confidence of a new life before God, you can, under the conduct of the good Shepherd, as sheep known of the Lord, go in and out and find good pasture in the fields of His delight? Are you, as being raised up with Him, dead to sin, dead to the pleasures, to the greatness, to the fading glory of a world which crucified the Lord of glory? Do the things of the world exercise no longer an influence over your thoughts―over your life those things which, as far as man was concerned, caused the death of Jesus? Do you not desire to be something in the world?
Ah! you do not hold yourselves for dead the darkness which surrounded the cross is still upon your hearts you do not breathe the fresh air of the resurrection of Jesus, of the presence of your God. Oh, dull and senseless people of God!―people ignorant of your real treasures, of your real liberty! Yes, to be alive with Christ is to be dead to all that the flesh desires.
But if the risen life of Christ, the joy of the light of His presence, the divine and tender love of which Jesus is the expression and the object, beam on you if―the beauty of holiness in the heavenly places―the universal and perfect, homage rendered to God by hearts which never tire, whose adorations serve but to renew their strength―if all things full of the glory of God, giving occasion to praises, whose source never dries up, and whose subjects never fail if these things please you, then mortify your members which are upon the earth. " Ye are come unto Mount Zion; and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem and to an innumerable company of angels, the general assembly and to the Church of the first-born who are written in heaven; and to God the Judge of all and to the spirits of just men made perfect; and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant; and to the blood of sprinkling that speaketh better things than that of Abel." And think you that the honors, the glory, the greatness, the pleasures, the lusts, of this world, of which Satan is the prince, can enter there?
The gate is too narrow―the gate of death, the death of a crucified and rejected Christ―the gate of death, which, if it be deliverance from the guilt of sin, is also deliverance from its yoke. By that gate sin enters not―there must be kit all that pertains to the flesh. Those are things which cannot be hid with Christ, in (god: they have played their part by crucifying Him on earth.
The friendship of the world is enmity with God. Christian, do you believe this? It is a new life which enters into those holy places, where all things are new, in order to be the joy and enjoyment of a risen people. Christian, Christian, death has written its sentence on all thins, here: by cherishing them you only fill his hand. The resurrection of Christ gives you a right to bury them, and to bury death itself with them in the grave, the grave of Christ; that “whether we live we may live unto God," inheritors with Him in a new life of all the promises. Remember, that, if you are saved, you are risen with Christ. May He, from whom all grace and every perfect gift proceed, grant you this!
(Concluded from page 100.)