Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:…
The apostles never travelled far from the simple facts of Christ's life, death, resurrection, ascension, exaltation, and second advent. What a rebuke this should be to those who are ever straining after novelties. Our business is the old labour of apostolic tongues, to declare that Jesus, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
I. THE FACTS REFERRED TO CONSTITUTE THE GLORIOUS GOSPEL WHICH WE PREACH.
1. That Jesus died. He who was Divine, and therefore immortal, bowed His head to death. This is the second note in the gospel scale. The first note is incarnation. Christ died as —
(1) A sacrifice.
(2) A substitute.
(3) Mediator between God and man.There was a great gulf fixed, so that if we would pass to God we could not, neither could He pass to us. There was no way of filling up this gulf, unless there should be found one who, like the old Roman, Curtius, would leap into it. Jesus comes. Into the grave Christ plunged, the gulf is bridged, and God can have communion with man!
2. But Jesus rises. Can ye imprison immortality in the tomb! Death is overcome, and thus, having delivered Himself, He is able also to deliver others. Sin, too, was manifestly forgiven. Christ was in prison as a hostage; now that He is suffered to go free, it is a declaration on God's behalf that He has nothing against us; our substitute is discharged; we are discharged. "He rose again for our justification." Nay more, inasmuch as He rises from the dead, He gives us a pledge that hell is conquered.
3. Jesus is now living. He does not, after forty days, return to the grave: He departs from earth from the top of Olivet, and now at His Father's right hand He sits, the Lord of Providence, expecting the hour when His enemies shall be made His footstool; and the all-prevalent Intercessor. 4, Jesus lives forever.
(1) "Death hath no more dominion over Him." Disease may visit the world and fill the graves, but no disease or plague can touch the immortal Saviour.
(2) It would be a strange doctrine if any man should dream that the Son of God would again offer His life a sacrifice.
(3) Since He lives forever, then no foes can overcome Him, and His people's eternal life is sure.
II. THE GLORIOUS WORK WHICH EVERY BELIEVER FEELS WITHIN HIM. The apostle only mentions death, resurrection, life, and life eternal to show our share in them.
1. As Christ was, so we also are dead. We are dead to sin because —
(1) Sin can no more condemn us. I cannot claim a debt of a dead debtor, and although I be a debtor to the law, yet since I am dead, the law cannot claim anything of me, nor can sin inflict any punishment upon me. He that is dead is freed from sin; we are free from all its jurisdiction.
(2) We defy its power. Sin had been sitting on a high throne in our heart, but faith pulled the tyrant down, and though it still survives to vex us, yet its reigning power is destroyed.
2. If we be thus dead with Christ, let us see that we live with Him. It is a poor thing to be dead to the world unless we are alive unto God. Death is a negative, and a negative in the world is of no great use by itself. Just as Jesus had a new life after death, so have we a new life after death. But we must prove it, as Jesus did, by infallible signs.
3. Christ lives forever, and so do we. Sin made us die once in Adam, but we are not to be slain by it again.
4. Like Jesus, we live unto God.
(1) The forty days which Christ spent on earth He lived unto God, comforting His saints, manifesting His person, giving forth gospel precepts, For the few days we have to live here on earth we must live to comfort the saints, to set forth Christ, and to preach the gospel to every creature.
(2) And now that Christ has ascended He lives unto God to manifest the Divine character. Christ is the permanent revelation of an invisible God. Christian, God is to be seen in you; you are to show forth the Divine longsuffering, tenderness, kindness, patience.
(3) Christ lives unto God, for He completes the Divine purpose by pleading for His people, by carrying on His people's work above. You are to live for the same.
(4) Jesus lives unto God, delighting Himself in God. Live in the same way, Christian.
III. THE FACTS ARE PLEDGES OF THE GLORY WHICH IS TO BE REVEALED IN US. Christ died. We shall die. Christ rose, and so shall we. I do not think we get enough joy out of our resurrection. Resurrection will be our marriage day. Body and soul have been separated, and they shall meet again no more to be divorced. Anticipate that happy day. No sin, no sorrow, no care, no decay, no approaching dissolution! He lives forever in God: so shall you and I!
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: