Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

to render-And he thus judges, that, as Christ died for all, then were all dead; and He died, that those who live might live no longer to themselves, but to Him who died for them and rose again.

. We believe that we shall also live with Him." To explain the phrase of our being dead with Christ, we had to ascertain how it was that Christ was dead; and we find by the following verse that He died unto sin, and we in like manner are dead unto sin; or, in other words, the wages of sin being paid to Christ, there is no further reckoning between them—and, as this transaction was for us and in our stead, it is just as if death the wages of sin had

been rendered unto us; and sin can now hold no • further count, and prefer no further charge against

This sense of dying unto sin on the part of Christ, will conduct us to the sense of His living unto God. The life that He now lives with Him, has been conferred upon Him in the shape of wages.

In other words, it is a reward consequent upon

what He has done for us, and in our stead even as the death that He bore was a punishment, consequent upon His having become accountable for us, and in our stead. This will recall to you, my brethren, a distinction to which we have already had occasion to advert; and for which there seemeth a real warrant in the book of revelationthe distinction that there is, in point of effect, between the passive and the active obedience of Christ

—the one satisfying for sin and making an end of its curse and punishment-So that to be dead with Christ and dead unto sin, is to live in the condi

us.

tion of those, on whom the curse and the punishment have already been expended; and who have therefore nothing now to fear from its charges — whereas to live with Christ or to be alive unto God, is to share with Him that positive favour which Christ hath merited from God by His positive righteousness. It is something more than simply to cease from being the children of wrath, and the heirs of damnation—it is to become the objects of a positive good-will, and the heirs or the expectants of a positive reward.

The single term also, indicates that the privilege of sharing with Him in His life, is distinct from and additional to the privilege of sharing in His death. By the one we only escape the curse—by the other we obtain the blessing. By the one, we are lightened of the debt which He hath discharged through His sufferings—by the other, we share in the property which He hath acquired through His services. The one shuts against us the gate of hell. The other opens for us the gate of heaven. Did we only share with Him in His death, we would be found midway between the region of pain and the region of positive enjoyment; but by also sharing with Him in His life, we are elevated to the higher region, and partake in those very glories and felicities to which the Saviour has been exalted. Had the alone work of the Saviour been an expiation for sin, there would have been a death, and such a death as would have exempted us from its endurance; but there would have been no resurrection. But in the words of the prophet Daniel, our Saviour did more than finish transgres

His grave.

[ocr errors]

sion and make an end of sin—He also brought in an everlasting righteousness; and so reaped for Himself and those who believe in Him a positive reward, the first fruits of which were His own resurrection to blessedness, and the consummation of which will be a similar resurrection to all His followers. It was the atonement which laid Him in

It was His righteousness that lifted Him forth again, and bore Him up to paradise. Had there been an atonement and nothing more, like prisoners dismissed from the bar we would have been simply let alone. But He brought in a righteousness also—so that we not only are relieved of all fear; but, inspired with joyful hope, we, in addition to being dead with Him, believe that we shall also live with Him. And thus it is, that, while He was delivered up unto the death for our offences, that the guilt of them may be absolved in the atonement which He made_He was raised again for our justification, or that we may share in that merit for which He Himself was exalted, and on account of which we too believe that we shall be exalted also.

You will see then, that as we understand the phrase of our dying with Christ forensically-so we understand the phrase of our living with Christ forensically. It is our living through His righteousness, in that favour which is better than life -the sense of which favour will keep our spirits tranquil and happy here; and will often, even among the turmoils of our earthly pilgrimage, brighten into such a gleam of comfort and elevation, as shall be the foretaste to us of the coming

extacy-when, on our entrance into the habitation of God's unclouded and immediate presence, we shall share with our Redeemer, now on high in His full enjoyment of the divine glory; and, beheld as we shall be in the face of Christ, of that love wherewith the Father hath loved Him.

But just as a believing sense on our part, of our being dead with Christ unto sin in the forensic sense of the phrase, leads, as we have already affirmed, to our being dead unto sin in the personal sense of the phrase, so as that we become dead in our regard for sin-in like manner, my brethren, a believing sense of our living with Christ in the forensic sense of the phrase, will lead to a living with Him in the personal sense of the phrase also. So as that the style and character of our life shall resemble His—loving what He loves, sharing with Him in His tastes and in His powers as well as in His privileges, walking along with Him in the very same track of happiness and glory-For which purpose it is altogether essential, that we be endued with a heart which delights in the very same pursuits, and feels the working and aspiration of the very same properties. Or, in other words, admitted as we are to rejoice with Him in that favour of God which He hath purchased by His obedience, we shall not have the conviction and the feeling of this, without also rejoicing with Him, even as He does now in beholding the character of God-in gazing with delight on the aspect of His pure and unspotted holiness—in copying upon our own spirits all those graces and virtues which we admire in His. So that to live with Christ in the fellowship of those privileges which by His merit He has won, will bring in its train our living with Him in the fellowship of all that kindred excellence by which His person is adorned-being alive unto God, not merely in regard to our right through Christ to His friendship; but alive unto Him, in the restoration of a nature that is now attracted by the charm of His moral attributes, and finds both its delight and its dignity to live in the imitation of them.

There is a sure transition between our being justified by faith, and our being sanctified by faith. There is a provision made for this, in the mechanism of the moral nature of man below; and there is a provision made for it, in that celestial mechanism which has been set up in heaven-and from which there come down those holy influences, that serve to regenerate our world. Faith makes known to us the love of God, and upon this gratitude calls forth the love of the heart to Him back again. Faith reveals to us that exquisite union, which is held out in the gospel, between the awful and the lovely attributes of His nature; and the fear that hath torment being now allayed, and the consciousness of personal security being now established, we can, without dread and without disturbance, take an entire view of the Divinity, and add to the homage of our thanksgiving, the homage of a reverence that is free from terror, to such a full and finished glory. Faith opens to our sight the real character of heaven, in the sacredness of its angelic delights and its holy services—so that to rejoice in the hope of our living there, it is indispensable that

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »