Romans 6:8

To suppose that the acceptance of the grace of God in Christ renders us careless about the further committal of sin is to misapprehend the nature of redemption. We cannot dissociate the external results of Christ's work from a consideration of its inward effects upon the mind and heart of the man who profits by it. For a practical refutation of the supposition, the apostle points to the acknowledged meaning of the ceremony wherein each believer indicates his close relationship to the Saviour.

I. BAPTISM THE SYMBOL OF AN ALTERED LIFE. What can more forcibly set forth an abandonment of former feelings and, behaviour than being "dead and buried"? The allusion here to immersion is questioned by none, and a water grave speaks eloquently of a changed attitude to sin and the world. We are so constituted that this appeal to the senses powerfully impresses both the actual participator in the act and the spectators of the living picture.

II. A SYMBOL OF COMPLETE FELLOWSHIP WITH CHRIST. The follower of Christ repeats in his inward experience the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Christ. These were necessitated by the presence and enormity of sin, and to "put on Christ" as our Redeemer is to adopt his crucifixion and subsequent triumph as our expression of hatred against all that perverts the moral order of the world. To be immersed into the death of Christ is to be completely surrendered to the claims of the Son of God, and to share his hostility to evil, rejoicing in his conquest over death and the grave, and the adversary of mankind. By compliance with his commandment does the disciple signify his entire dedication to his Master's service.

III. CHARACTERISTICS OF THIS NEW LIFE. Emerging from the Burial, the candidate rises with Christ as his Example and Companion. His is to be an active life, "a walk," not a dreamy repose of self-absorption into the bliss of Nirvana. The contrast to the old career was exemplified in the resurrection gladness and glory of the Lord. No more was sin to exert its baleful influence; the body of the risen Lord no longer could be tortured with hunger and thirst and suffering. The Saviour was limited no longer by material barriers; he was endowed with full authority from on high, and crowned with ever-increasing splendour. When the Apostle Paul saw his Lord, the Brightness excelled the noonday sun. These triumphs are in their degree repeated in the spiritual life of the baptized believer. He casts off the works of darkness and puts on the armour of light. He keeps his body under, so that the spirit rules. The voice from heaven proclaims him God's beloved son. Instead of anguish there is peace and joy. He sits in heavenly places, and God causeth him always to triumph in Christ Jesus. Such is the ideal life of fellowship with Christ in his resurrection, shadowed forth By the ascent from the baptismal waters. - S.R.A.

Now if we be dead with Christ...we shall also live with Him.
To be dead with Christ is to hate and turn from sin; and to live with Him is to have our hearts and minds turned towards God and heaven. To be dead with sin is to feel a disgust at it. We know what is meant by disgust. Take the case of a sick man, when food of a certain kind is presented to him; consider how certain scents, or tastes, affect certain persons, and you will be at no loss to determine what is meant by disgust at, or deadness to, sin. On the other hand, consider how pleasant a meal is to the hungry, or some enlivening odour to the faint; how refreshing the air is to the languid, or the brook to the weary and thirsty; and you will understand what is implied ill being alive with Christ. Our animal powers cannot exist in all atmospheres; certain airs are poisonous, others life giving. So is it with spirits and souls: an unrenewed spirit could not live in heaven, he would die; an angel could not live in hell. The natural man cannot live in heavenly company, and the angelic soul would pine and waste away in the company of sinners, unless God's presence were continued to it. To be dead to sin is to be so minded that the atmosphere of sin oppresses, distresses, and stifles us — that it is painful and unnatural to us to remain in it. To be alive with Christ is to be so minded that the atmosphere of heaven refreshes, enlivens, stimulates, invigorates us. To be alive is not merely to bear the thought of religion, to assent to its truth, to wish to be religious; but to be drawn towards it, to love it, to delight in it, to obey it.

(J. H. Newman, D. D.)

"Skin for skin," said Satan, "all that a man hath will he give for his life." He was wrong, however, as the event proved. There is one thing a man will not give for his life if he has got it; and that is, the favour of God. And vet let us do justice to the maxim, for there is great truth in it: What is life? "In Thy favour is life"; so that if a man holds this favour at all costs — if he will be content to part with anything and everything in the universe before he will part with God's favour, it is but carrying out Satan's maxim thoroughly. My text develops to us the great secret of life.

I. "IF WE BE DEAD WITH CHRIST." It does not say, if we are dead in Christ; but dead with Christ. It is not a case of conformity, but of identity; not of imitation, but of participation. But the question is, In what sense did Christ die, or to what purpose? "He died unto sin." Now, when you say that we die unto sin, and that Christ died unto sin, do you mean the same thing? In the common way of expression, when a man says that a Christian dies unto sin, he means that he dies unto its influence. Now, sin never had any influence over Christ, and therefore how could He die unto sin in that sense? What did Christ die unto?

1. He died under the condemnation of sin. "The Lord laid upon Him the iniquity of us all." He died "under the law," met its demands, bore its penalty; then what followed? The condemnation was completely averted. But if that is true you must adopt that interpretation exclusively in regard to ourselves, i.e., we die unto the condemnation of sin. "Therefore there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ." That is a blessed truth; and does not the whole history of Christian experience depend upon the recognition of it? All the experience of sorrow and suffering, of bondage and of a servile spirit, result from not entering into that truth. You cannot have a stronger term than the word death.

2. Prior to Christ's dying to sin He died under the condemnation of sin. The law did its full work upon Him; He was never emancipated from its condemnation until He thoroughly realised it. The believer experimentally passes through something of that kind before he dies with Christ to the condemnation of sin. Who ever comes to Christ to escape condemnation, but the man over whom that condemnation is pressing? Here is the great distinction between real and nominal conversion. One man has gone through a process of self-condemnation, and the other has not. The one man apprehends the value of salvation; the other does not. The one man has learnt the curse of sin; the other has not. Death is the necessary consequence of sin. If I sin, it must somehow or other pass on me. I must die, or I must be connected with One who has died. In some way or other God's righteous sentence must be executed.

II. "WE SHALL ALSO LIVE WITH HIM." As sure as life followed in Christ's case, so surely will it follow in our case. The life spoken of in the text is the resurrection life; it is the life that follows death. Mark, concerning that life, that it is —

1. An endless life. He died unto sin once. Death hath no more dominion over Him: He dieth no more. Then there is no more death to you. We have done with death if we are believers. "If a man believe on Me, he hath eternal life, and he shall never die." "He is passed from death unto life." You may say, "There go the mourners in the street, and the man of God is in the hearse." No, he is not. Death was a laying aside of the body of sin and death, that life might be emancipated. Life is locked up here. To open the door, and let the man free, is that death?

2. A life unto God. But did not Christ "live unto God before He died"? Certainly; but He lived under the law, and died under it. It was a kind of bondage that He was under. Hence He says, "I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!" From the moment of His death, what followed? Complete emancipation; the law was no longer over Him; the curse was no longer on Him. Now, till we die with Christ, we are under the law, cursed by the law; the spirit of bondage is in our hearts. Our consciences must be "purged from dead works to serve the living God." It is only when a man is emancipated, and knows it, that he leads a life of liberty; it is then he feels, "Condemnation is gone; God is my Father; we are reconciled"; and then he runs in the way of God's commandments.

3. A life in heaven. At His ascension Christ went to heaven; and there He is at the right hand of God. And so we are risen with Christ; we are seated with Christ in heavenly places; our conversation is in heaven. The way is laid open — that new and living way through the body of Christ. So that we do not wait for the final glory to know something of the blessedness of heavenly experience.

4. The life of an acknowledged Son of God with power. It is true that during Christ's ministry a voice from heaven said before the disciples, "This is My beloved Son"; but there was no declaration of that with power. Christ walked about as "a Man of sorrows." At the resurrection there was indeed a proclamation of the Son with power. And how is it in our case? "To as many as receive Him" to them does He "give power to become the sons of God." The power of Christ becomes theirs. "We can do all things by the power of Christ, which dwelleth in us." "When I am weak then am I strong." "My strength is perfect in weakness."

5. A life which involved the full reception of the Holy Ghost. Christ never had that to dispose of till "He ascended up on high." Now, from the moment we are dead with Christ we receive, and are temples of, the Holy Ghost.

6. A life of glorious anticipation. His experience is not perfect; He is still waiting. Christ has not got His Church; and do we wait for our body? When we die, as it is called, we are separated from the body, and we wait to be united to it. Is not that like the intermediate state of Christ, who is waiting above for His body?

(Capel Motineux, B. A.)

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.


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.)

I. DEAD WITH CHRIST. Crucified with Him —

1. Judicially, as to sin's penalty.

2. Spiritually, as to sin itself.


1. Judicially, absolved from sin by God's own sentence.

2. Spiritually, through His own nature communicated to us.

3. Experimentally, in the enjoyment of God with Him forever.

(T. Robinson.)


1. Is laid in the past.(1) The death of Christ. Christ died for our sins. Millions of deaths have passed unobserved as leaves fall from the trees in autumn. A few deaths have arrested attention and been a source of great benefit to the countries to which the dying belonged. Never a death like that of Jesus Christ — never one that has attracted such attention, never one from which such benefits have flowed.(2) Christ died unto sin once, and when He thus died He had no more to do with sin, either as tempting Him, or as requiring to be atoned for. He had borne the sins: He bore them no longer when He had atoned for them. He had been surrounded by sin; but now He had passed away from that sphere in which He had been brought into contact with it, and henceforth and forevermore all was to be holy.

2. There is also a basis of prophecy. Respecting Christ and His people. Paul saw a grand future for Christ and the Church. Paul's earliest inspiration was as a prophetic author. The glowing hope which the apostle cherished was of Christ's coming again, and of the resurrection and the glorification of His people at the last day! The wonderful prophecy is sketched in Romans 8:18-24.

II. THE BEARING OF THE PAST AND THE FUTURE UPON THE PRESENT. History is not good for much if it be not connected with the present, and those who indulge in speculations as to prophecy without connecting them with the present, are not doing much that will be of avail for themselves or others. When we look at history and prophecy in the Bible we have not two islands separated from one another, but two continents Joined by an isthmus — the present. We stand, then, at the meeting point of the past and future; and the past and future have both to do with us, and our whole spiritual life is based upon the history of the past and the prophecies of the future.

1. Paul fixes upon the historical fact that Christ died for our sins, and he will not let that for an instant go. But without turning Christ's death into a myth, he gives it a spiritual meaning, and teaches that between us and Christ there comes an identification and sympathy, through which we feel like Him and act like Him and become one with Him, imitating His example and becoming conformed to His image.

2. With regard to Christ's resurrection, Paul spiritualises it and indicates its relation to our Christian holiness: "That we also should walk in newness of life." Without turning Christ's resurrection into a myth, he makes it a moral power working in us, so that we rise from the death of sin to the life of righteousness.

3. As it regards future and present, Paul says, "We shall live together with Him." Without losing sight of Christ's glorious reign, and of our resurrection through His power at the last day, the connection shows that he had in his mind the thought of a risen life, now enjoyed by the believer, of which the words just cited are the irresistible proofs. Thus he thinks of Christ's resurrection as repeated in the believer's life, and the believer's resurrection as antedated and as rehearsed in his present holy life.

4. Note the wonderful effect upon our morality and our religion of these ideas.(1) Common morality, as it is recognised in the world, is just resistance to temptation to vice. But according to Paul, Christian morality consists in dying to sin. The idea is that of becoming insensible to sin, even as Christ was.(2) Christian piety is living with Christ, rising to such a level of life that we become one with Christ, and there is a spirit of devotion, of patience, of activity, like that of Christ.(3) So with regard to religion altogether. Religion now is in the estimation of some people rather degrading than otherwise. It is just the opposite. It is a rising in the spiritual universe: it is a getting nearer to heaven, through getting nearer to Christ — getting into fellowship with Christ.Conclusion: As we think of all this —

1. The first conviction that is produced in our minds is that of tremendous deficiency.

2. But we have at hand an immeasurable power of improvement in the truths and promises of the gospel, and in the promise of the Holy Spirit. Our aims as Christians should be very high, very noble. We shall never realise those ends and objects in our own strength, but God will help us.

(John Stoughton, D. D.)

I. OWES ITS EXISTENCE TO THE INDWELLING OF THE HOLY GHOST. No doctrine of the New Testament can be clearer than this (John 1:12; James 1:18; Peter 1:23; John 3:6). These developments of our religious history are not natural, but supernatural. No kind of education, no original endowment of genius, no acquired treasures of wisdom and knowledge, can adequately account for the phenomena in question. To receive that life at all is to obtain it from God. The Spirit, once received, must remain in the heart. What the soul is to the body, to give it vitality, so must the Holy Ghost be to the soul, to give it eternal life.


III. IS A DEVOTION OF THE WHOLE BEING TO CHRIST (1 Corinthians 6:20). Here we see an entire change in the aims and purposes of a man's life: such a change as must influence and control all his activity and behaviour. Men, naturally, "seek their own," or else they devote themselves to some fellow creature, or to the good of their country, or the service of their sovereign: but the peculiarity of the Christian's life is that it is consecrated to Christ. This means —

1. That he seeks in every possible way to promote the glory of the Saviour, by acknowledging His name, by declaring His goodness, by enforcing His claims.

2. That he is always anxious to further the great work of Christ, which is to save sinners, and to set up the kingdom of God.

3. That he is careful at all times to consult the will of Christ and to do it. This devotedness will follow Christ through good and ill report.

IV. ASSIMILATES THE CHARACTER TO THAT OF CHRIST. We would be in the world as He was in the world. It is the height of our ambition to be like Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18).

V. DERIVES ITS HAPPINESS FROM THE LOVE OF CHRIST. Happiness is the very life of life; and the soul of happiness is love. And what love can satisfy the heart of the believer except the love of Christ? To love Jesus, and to be loved by Him, are the two perennial sources of the believer's joy; the two poles of his moral life. It is his consolation in every trial, his compensation in every loss, and his everlasting reward.

(T. G. Horton.)

Believers live with Christ.

I. JUDICIALLY — absolved from death by God's own sentence (2 Corinthians 5:15).

II. SPIRITUALLY — through His own nature communicated to us (Galatians 2:20).

III. EXPERIMENTALLY — in the enjoyment of God with Him forever (Psalm 21:6).

(T. Robinson, D. D.)

Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more
The two principal words of the passage are "knowing" (ver. 9), and "counting" (ver. 11). Knowing and calling ourselves to account for our knowledge: two points needing ever to be conjoined. Oft we hear, but small reckoning we make of it. What Christ did at Easter we know; but to what then we are to do we give no great regard, Now this Scripture teaches us that Christian knowledge is not a knowledge without all manner of account, but that we are accountants for it, especially in the matter of Christ's resurrection.


1. The means of it. Not by actual vision, as in the case of the apostles, but by their testimony which is —(1) Ample — for all the apostles were witnesses, and if they are not enough five hundred saw Christ risen (1 Corinthians 15:6).(2) Trustworthy. For the witnesses —(a) Were not credulous, but otherwise (Mark 16:11; Luke 24:11, 13, 41; Matthew 28:17; John 20:25). That is ever best known that is most doubted of; and as says, "All this doubting was by them made, that we might be out of doubt, and know that Christ is risen."(b) Lost their living and their life by their testimony.

2. The particulars.(1) That Christ is risen. Death is a fall; it came with the fall of Adam, and was a fall from which, but for one thing, there had been no rising. But by Christ's rising it falls out to be a fall, from which we may get up again. For if one be risen another may be; and if Christ rose in our nature then is our nature risen; and if our nature then our persons may be (ver. 4). Bernard well observes, "that Christ is risen only but not wholly," till we be risen too. This then we know, first, that death is a fall, not like that of Pharaoh into the sea, who never came up more, but like that of Jonas (Matthew 25:41); not like that of the angels into the bottomless pit, there to stay forever, but like that of men into their beds; not as a log or stone to the ground, which, where it falleth there it lieth still; but as of a wheat corn which is quickened and springeth up again.(2) That Christ now dieth not as the widow's son, ruler's daughter, and Lazarus did. And if we only rise as they did, this mortality of ours will be to us as the prisoner's chain from which he escapes only to be pulled back again; but if we rise as Christ rose, then our resurrection will be no return to the same life, but a passing over to a new.(3) That from henceforth "death hath no more dominion over Him." Three times in chap 5. Paul saith, "death reigned," as if it were some mighty monarch having great dominions. And so it is; for how many dangers, diseases, miseries, there be of this mortal life in which we live under death's jurisdiction and arrest; and if we escape them we are still under the fear of them which is death's dominion too (Job 18:14). And when we are out of this life unless we are in Christ we are not out of his dominion. But he hath no dominion over Christ; Christ hath dominion over him (Hebrews 2:14; 1 Corinthians 15:55).

3. The reasons. The Romans loved to see the grounds of what they received and not the bare articles. Indeed it might trouble them why Christ should need to rise since they saw no reason why He should die. The truth is we cannot speak of His rising well without mention of what He rose from. The two are never separated by the apostle, and their union serves many good purposes. It shows His human nature and weakness in dying, and His Divine nature and power in rising; His two offices — His priesthood and sacrifice in His death, and His kingdom in the glory of His resurrection; His two main benefits — the death of death in His death, and the reviving of life in His resurrection; the two moulds wherein our lives are to be cast. Of them both, then, briefly —(1) The cause of His dying. "Sin." To sin He died; and yet not simply to sin, but with reference to us, i.e., He would save us, and because else He could not save us. By justice sin must have death — our death, for the sin was ours. This His love to us could not endure; therefore that we might not die to sin He died. But why "once"? Because that was enough "to take away" (John 1:29), "to abolish" (Acts 3:19), "to draw dry" (Hebrews 9:28), utterly to exhaust all the sins, of all the sinners, of all the world. The excellency of His Person that performed it, the excellency of the obedience He performed, and the excellency of the humility and charity wherewith He performed it, were of such value as made His once dying "a plenteous redemption" (See Ephesians 2:7; Ephesians 3:20; 1 Timothy 1:14).(2) The cause of His living — God who had by His death received full satisfaction, reached Him, as it were, His hand and raised Him to life; and not only raised Him, but for that cause exalted Him (Philippians 2:8, 9), to live with Him in glory forever. For as when He lived to man He lived to much misery, so now He liveth to God He liveth in all felicity (Psalm 36:9).


1. Of our comings in. An account there is growing to us by Christ's rising of much benefit. The hope of gaining a better life is our comfort against the fear of losing this (1 Peter 1:3); and through this we comfort ourselves in bereavement (1 Thessalonians 4:18; John 11:23), and in regard to the issue of our work (1 Corinthians 15:58).

2. Of our goings out.(1) The sum or charge of which account is set down in these words that we be like Christ; that what He hath wrought for us He wrought in us.(a) Like Him in His dying: for He died not only to offer a sacrifice for us but to leave an example to us. Like Him, too, in His rising: for He arose not only that we might be begotten to a lively hope, but also that we might be planted in the likeness of His resurrection.(b) Like Him in His living to God.(2) The discharge and means of it. "In Jesus Christ our Lord" (ver. 11). Out of Christ we can do nothing towards this account; but in and with Him enabling us to it we can do all things. And enable us He will as not only having passed the resurrection, but being the Resurrection itself. If in the days of His flesh there went virtue out from even the edge of His garment, much more from His own self, and those two principal and powerful actions of His own self, there issueth a Divine power: from His death a power working in the old man, or flesh, to mortify it; from His resurrection a power working on the new man, or spirit, to quicken it. A power able to roll back any stone of an evil custom and to dry up any issue though it have run upon us twelve years long. And this power is that Divine quality of grace which we receive from Him.

(Bp. Andrewes.)

Note —

I. THE REALITY OF THE RESURRECTION: "Christ being raised from the dead."

1. The resurrection asserts a truth not always learnt from Nature, viz., that the spiritual is higher than the material. There are no doubt abstract arguments which go to prove this; but the resurrection assures us that the laws of animal existence may be set aside in obedience to a higher spiritual interest.

2. The resurrection is not merely an article of the Creed; like Christ's eternal sonship, which belongs to another sphere, and is believed on account of the trustworthiness of Him who has taught it. But that Christ rose is a fact which depends on the same sort of testimony as any event in the life of Caesar; with this difference, that no one ever died to maintain that Caesar defeated Vercingetorix or Pompey. Our Lord was seen five times on the day that He rose, and six separate appearances are afterwards recorded; while it is implied that they were only a few of those which actually occurred. And when He was gone, His apostles went forth especially as "witnesses of His resurrection," and were prepared to attest its truth with their blood.

3. If this testimony concerned a political occurrence, or a fact of natural history, nobody would think of denying its cogency; and those who reject the resurrection quarrel, for the most part, not with the proof, but with the supposition that such a thing could ever happen. Look, they say, at the fixed order of nature; year after year it is what, within our memories, it always has been. When man dies his body mingles with the dust for good and all; he does not, so far as we can see, break the bonds of death. The fixed order of nature!(1) Fixed by whom or what? By some fated necessity? But you know that you can speak, move, act, or the reverse, as you will. And surely this may be also true of the highest Being of all. For that such a Being exists, Nature assures you by its existence; and that He is an ordering and disposing Intelligence, the order and symmetry of Nature assure you too. The order of Nature, then, is fixed not by fate, but by a will which can at pleasure innovate upon it. The power to work miracles is implied in the power which created Nature.(2) "God can work them," you say; "but will He? Are not miracles a libel upon His wisdom and far-sightedness? God in creation is the supreme engineer; it is only the unskilful workman who, having set his machine in motion, has to trust in his hand in order to correct some defect, or to communicate some new impulse for which no provision was made originally."(a) But the universe is something more than a machine; since it contains not merely matter, but free spirits, able consciously to yield or to refuse obedience to the true law of their being. A God is much greater than a supreme engineer. He is a moral governor, a father. His first care is for His intelligent offspring; and the universe was framed for them. If man had not been created, miracle might have been superfluous. But if the education and redemption of a rational soul be God's noblest purpose in creation, then we shall expect Him to make the world of matter instruct and improve us, by deviating, if need be, from its accustomed order, as well as by observing it.(b) We may go further. The order of nature, no doubt, teaches the believer the precious lesson that order is a law of the Divine Mind. But for thousands upon thousands that order paralyses the spiritual sense. If we could watch a fellow creature continuing undeviatingly a single movement for twenty years, we should come to look at him also as a machine, instead of as a free agent. And so many, marking how undeviating God's work is, presume that it must always be what it has hitherto been; and such men gradually come to think of this visible scene as the whole universe of being. They drop out of mind that more wonderful world beyond it; they forget Him who is the King of this world as well as of that. Nay, there are times when the physical world lies like a weight, or like a nightmare, upon our thoughts; when we long for some higher promise of blessedness and perfection than any which a fixed order of Nature can give.(c) Christ's resurrection breaks down the iron wall of uniformity which goes so far to shut out God. It tells us that matter is controlled by mind; that there is. a Being who is not bound by the laws of the universe; that He is their Master. God had said this before, but never so clearly as in the resurrection of our Lord. If ever interference with the order of the world was required it was here. When Jesus died the purest of lives seemed to have ceased to be. The holiest of doctrines appeared to have died away amid blasphemies. Apart from the question who the Sufferer was, there was the question whether a righteous God did really reign: and the resurrection was the answer. It was the finger of God visibly thrust down amid the things of sense; disturbing their usual order; bidding men know and feel that the truths which Christ has taught us about God and the soul are higher and deeper than any which are written on the face of Nature.


1. The resurrection was not an isolated miracle, done and over, leaving things as they had been before. The Risen Christ is not like Lazarus, destined again to be a tenant of the grave. Christ rises for eternity: "He dieth no more." His risen body is made up of flesh, bones, etc., but it has superadded qualities. It is so spiritual that it can pass through closed doors. It is beyond the reach of those causes which bring down our bodies to the dust. Throned in the heavens now, It is endowed with the beauty and glory of an eternal youth — "Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more."

2. Nor is this, in itself, a new miracle. The real miracle was that the sinless Christ should have died at all. Death was an innovation upon the true conditions of His existence; and the resurrection was but a return to His rightful and normal immortality. Adam died because he sinned. If Adam had not sinned he would not have died. But when the Second Head of our race appeared, cut off from the entail of corruption by His supernatural birth, and exhibiting in His life absolute conformity to eternal moral law, He was, by the terms of His nature, exempt from the law of death. In His case, death was a momentary innovation upon the true law of being. And therefore when He had paid the mighty debt which the human family owed to the deeply-wronged righteousness of God, life resumed its suspended sway in Him as in its Prince and Fountain (See Revelation 1:18; Acts 2:24).

3. Now observe how the perpetuity of the life of the Risen Jesus is the guarantee of the perpetuity of the Church.(1) Alone among all forms of society, the Church is insured against dissolution. The Roman Empire seemed to our Lord's contemporaries destined to last forever. Since then it has vanished, and other kingdoms have in turn gone their way. Nor is there any probability that any one of the existing forms of civil government will last. And there are men who tell us that the kingdom of Christ is no exception to the rule. We Christians know that they are wrong, because Christ's Church draws strength from sources which cannot be tested by our political or social experience. For indeed she is endowed with Christ's own undying life (Matthew 28:20).(2) But, although insured against dissolution, she is not insured against vicissitudes. Her Lord is Divine, but her members are human. She has not always triumphed; she has been corrupted, and division has followed, so that she no longer presents a united front to the powers of evil. And there have been times when it has seemed as if the world was right. But that which is so striking in her history is her power of self-restoration. The tendency to dissolution has clearly been arrested by an inward influence against which ordinary circumstances could not prevail. What is this but the presence of Him who, being raised from the dead, dieth no more? And who shall forecast the future? This only is certain — she will exist while the world shall last (Psalm 46:5, 6).(3) It may indeed be said, "Why should I rejoice in the perpetuity of the Church? To me Christianity is a personal matter." Such isolated Christianity is not that of the New Testament. Christ came to found a Divine society, and the life of Christians comprises duties to, and privileges intimately bound up with that society. Glorious things are spoken of thee, thou city of God; because thou art the home of the living Christ; because, as in thy chequered story, thou traversest the centuries, thou dost always bear with thee, in thy assured and indestructible vitality, the certificate of thy Lord's deathless life.


1. Christ risen from death, who dieth no more, is the model of our new life in grace. Just as He left His tomb on Easter morning, once for all, so should the soul, once risen, be dead indeed unto sin. There must be no hovering about the sepulchre, no treasuring the grave clothes, no secret hankering after the scent and atmosphere of the guilty past. You have great need to persistently set your affections on things above; that you desire passionately to live as those who are alive from the dead.

2. Not that God, having by His grace raised us from death, forces us whether we will or no to live on continuously. The Church has indeed received from the King of kings a charter of perpetuity. But to no mere section of the universal body, and much more to no single soul on this side the grave, is it said that "the gates of hell shall not prevail against" it. The examples of Judas, Demas, the Galatians, and Paul himself trembling lest he himself should be a castaway, are conclusive of this. No force is put upon us; no man is carried up to heaven mechanically if he prefers to go downwards, or even does not sincerely desire to ascend.

3. But how can we rejoice in our risen Lord if we are so capable, in our weakness, of being untrue to His example? I answer, because that life is the strength as well as the model of our own (Romans 8:11). The Risen Christ in us is "the hope of glory."

(Canon Liddon.)

No one who has studied St. Paul's Epistles can have failed to observe the distinction which they draw between the result of Christ's death and the effect of His resurrection. The death destroys death, the resurrection gives life. The effect of His death on human nature was instantaneous, once and forever, as death itself is, the fleeting of a breath in a moment, and a passing out of this world forever. But in His resurrection is the gift of life, eternal life, always to be enjoyed, and of infinite extension; not the mere extinction of darkness by a sudden gleam, but the dispersion of an equable, serene, and constant light. Christ's resurrection imparts a new life. Why? This I will try to answer.

I. WHEN HE ROSE FROM THE DEAD, IT WAS NOT TO RETURN TO HIS FORMER LIFE. His nature entered into new relations with God and man; His body experienced a mighty change; it became a spiritual, glorified body. This thought of Christ's onward passage to a new and more glorious life will add another sense to the words already so full of meaning, "Christ our Passover." Israel, saved by grace, rescued from Egypt, was cut off from his enemies, passed over the Red Sea, and onward to the promised land, fulfilling the prophecy, "Out of Egypt have I called My son." Had the Jews, on the other hand, passed over the Red Sea, and on seeing their enemies perish in its waters, returned in safety to Egypt, would that have been a fulfilment of the promise? No more would our Lord's resurrection have satisfied God's design of mercy, had He merely risen to return to His former state. It would have been, according to the homely but lively image of an old divine, "As when a prisoner escapes from prison with a chain still hanging from his wrist, by which death, that hath still dominion over him, shall draw him back into his own hands."

II. SOME REASONS, FOUNDED ON SCRIPTURE, WHY OUR BLESSED SAVIOUR AT HIS RESURRECTION DID NOT COME BACK, BUT WENT ONWARD TO A NEW AND GLORIFIED STATE. For instance, the scheme of redemption through Christ is this: — Man was created in a body free from pain, and not destined to die; but he sinned, and with sin came death; his body became liable to pain and death, as his soul to sin; and his condition of body and soul descended to his family. Christ Jesus came to restore man to his first estate; an estate in which originally death had no part. So He overcame death by giving up His life of His own will to it, instead of suffering it to be taken from Him by force; and while in the arms of death, of His own will He rose again; thence He became a new creature, the first of a new race, the second Adam, the spiritual forefather of another family, which He could not have been had He merely risen from death to come back to His former life. Death was instantaneous and for a moment, even while He drew His last breath and gave up the ghost. The resurrection is permanent, continuous, of infinite extension. Death is an interval in the economy of the world, as sin; life is eternal, as God. An army retreating before overwhelming numbers flies over a bridge, already mined: it is their means of rescue, their passage to a safe frontier: but they do not linger on it; their eyes are set upon the road beyond. Now it has saved them in their extremity, and they regard it forever with thankfulness and emotion; even its ruin and havoc is dear to their sight, for by it alone have they been saved — saved for victory and peace in the happy land, "where the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest."

III. WHAT PRACTICAL EFFECT HAS THIS DOCTRINE OF THE RESURRECTION UPON OURSELVES? The same question may be, and by persons of a certain disposition is, often asked concerning every doctrine of the gospel. The great practical result of this teaching I believe to be, that Christians are made aware of the unspeakable blessings of their present communion with Christ. Their eyes are opened to the glory of the estate into which they have been translated. They cease to regard their religion as belonging to the past, and to the future, but learn to live upon its blessings in the present. Go to St. Paul: hear him, how he pours out of his abundant heart the utterance of his joy in the blessings shed by Christ upon His own. Do his words refer only to heaven to come? or are they not rather a description, for the most part, of the privileges of the Christian upon earth? Go to St. Peter, and mark the nobleness of his demeanour, the resolute will, the clear conviction, the happy assurance of his faith, as he appears in his later history, and in his own letters to the Church. How did this change of character arise? By his spiritual communion with Christ, and the sense of present enjoyment and power which the possession of such blessings ensures. Go to St, John: you see a Divine peace, a heavenly love that lies like moonlight upon the waves of a restless world. Is the expression of his face the look of one who merely lingers in the past, or looks to expected joy in a distant day to come? Is it not rather the peace of present joy, a reflection of the thought which his own pen has translated from the words of Christ, signifying the present sunshine of the Christian's life — "He is passed from death unto life"? "Forward!" is the Christian motto, founded on the Master's history. He went on through death to life, not backward, no, not even back to the life so pure and lovely as that which He lived on earth before He died; but forward to a more glorious estate, and in His glory we see the earnest of our inheritance.

(Canon Furse.)

At the door of the grave lies a whole sheaf of sceptres. Death sits in the palace of the sepulchre, and the potentates of earth are his cup bearers; and, as the old blind monarch staggers around his palace, ever and anon he trips on some new fallen coronet. They set up Charlemagne in his grave, and put a crown on his pulseless temples, and a sceptre in his lifeless hand; yet that could not bring back his kingdom. Our King is immortal!

(Te De Witt Talmage.)

For in that He died, He died unto sin once.
I. THE LORD'S DEATH. We arrive most easily at what the apostle intends by his phrase, "He died unto sin," if we start from a familiar form of speech. Nothing is more impressive than the sudden and total stop which death puts to the relationships of life. Of him who died only an hour ago, we say that he is done with this world. Whatever interest he possessed in it is at an end. The ties which bound him to it are cut. From every obligation which it imposed on him he is discharged. Yesterday the man formed a busy unit in the complicated system of society, entangled by a thousand threads of family, trade, and public life. In the thick of it all, how has one swift scythe sweep cut him clear! Neither love, nor hate, nor desire, nor care, comes here to move him more. His world is elsewhere; his life is far away. When we apply this definition of the phrase to the case of Jesus, and inquire what is meant by affirming of Him, "The death that He died, He died unto sin (ver. 10, R.V.), two thoughts emerge."

1. The connection of the Lord Jesus with sin in His earthly life was the most complete possible for a sinless person to have. "He knew no sin" by that sad experimental knowledge which implies its entrance within the soul to stain and wreck it. When you have named this exception you have named all. What else have we to do with it which He had not? Ours, not His, is the doing of sin with the will's consent; whatever follows on the doing of it was His as well as ours — e.g.,(1) In the constitution of His body, born with the same frailty and exposure to ill as we all share; in the curse of sweat for daily bread, when He wrought at the bench; in the endurance of fatigue and want.(2) His soul shared the same curse; for if it is sin which turns the honey of affection into gall, He surely had His share of distrust, unkindness, misconstruction, treachery. If fear of death be born of sin, may we not compare with that the mysterious gloom which deepened over the Christ as His career drew towards its end?(3) And then the awful experience of forsakenness on the Cross gives a hint of deeps of spiritual distress which we are unable to sound. Connection with sin! He was all sin's own; its prey, surrendered for some Divine necessity to the devourer; the choicest portion ever seized upon to be borne down to the keeping of sin's child, death, within sin's home, the grave.

2. The whole of this connection with sin is said to have terminated at death.(1) It has not been so with any other man, Men who stand on the verge of the unseen world have no reason to look forward to the act of dying as an escape either from sinful habits, or from the judgment of heaven upon their misdeeds. So far from that, the instinctive voice of conscience confirms the declaration of Holy Writ that "after death comes the judgment." Nor is there the slightest ground for supposing that death can operate as a purifier. It is far more rational to apprehend that the human spirit, when set free from the restraints of the present state, and flung loose in all its abused but magnificent strength to do what it pleases, may indulge in the spiritual sins of pride, hatred, and defiance of God on a scale rarely if ever beheld on earth.(2) But what no other man's death can be expected to do was done by the death of Jesus the sinless. It closed His connection with sin, for that had been outward, not inward; a guiltless submission to sin's penalty, not a guilty surrender to sin's power; that of a sufferer who owes a death to justice for imputed sins of other men. Once that death was paid, His Connection with imputed sin was of necessity dissolved.


1. Jesus having ceased to be under the power of the world's sin could not but live anew. For to "die unto sin" must mean to die unto death. When the law's sentence has been endured, and the power of sin as guilt has been exhausted, the royalty of death is over. It was "not possible" that Jesus should be holden of death.

2. The life which emerges when sin and death have been died to, is a life "unto God." The new state of human existence is the negation of the old — its clear contrary. It is more; it is its counterpart. It is nothing which the old life was, as a life unto sin; it is everything which the former was not.

3. Thus, having seen how the earthly condition of Jesus involved a close contact with sin, we can readily trace the contrast which His risen life has to offer.(1) Over against that body, alive to sin and consequently heir to infirmity, mortality, and pain; over against its exposure to waste and want and weariness, its mean necessities, its honourless condition when men tore it and marred it with shameful violence and insult, must be set a godlike organ for Divine life to inhabit, and now found fit to move amid celestial scenes with unfatigued strength, and to be the centre in its unwithering beauty of celestial homage as it sits upon the throne of God. O grave in Joseph's garden, where is thy victory?(2) To this changed constitution of His body falls to be added a corresponding change also in Christ's manner of life. Lifted up far above the reach of sorrow, reproach, vexation, or wrong, He inhabits now the cloudless, passionless dwelling place of God. Within such a Divine home had dwelt the Everlasting Son before the days began when He lived unto sin. To it He has now borne back from earth a human nature — the body, soul, and spirit, which, living here below, lived unto sin, and dying, died unto it, but now that it liveth again, liveth forever unto God.

(J. Oswald Dykes, D. D.)

With the consciousness of past transgression must ever be associated in man's mind the anticipation of future punishment. Conscience almost forestalls the declaration of Holy Writ, "that he which doeth wrong shall suffer for the wrong." And reason, by itself, would tell us that as we cannot undo the error committed, so neither can we escape the penalty deserved. To be awakened, therefore, only under a dispensation of natural religion, would set before us judgment without mercy; but, happily for us, the awakening is under a dispensation of love that goes back to cancel the record of past sin, and goes forward to insure the constant communication of grace. Accordingly we have a Saviour who died once, and who ever lives.


1. There are two interpretations of the expression, "He died unto sin," by reason of sin in Himself, or on account of sin in others. The former is utterly untenable, inasmuch as "He knew no sin." Then He must have died on account of others; a view which there are abundance of Scriptures to confirm, as there were, in the former, abundance of Scriptures to contradict. It is on account of the sinless offering for sin that we charge him who rejects it with consummate folly, and that we cheer him who accepts it with unbounded solace. Has Christ died for you? is our demand of the former; then how can you answer it, that you do not live for Christ? Has Christ died for you? is our demand of the latter; then how can you doubt that you shall live with God forever?

2. Christ died —(1) For the conviction of sin Why was such a victim needed? Why, excepting that, from the immensity of the ransom offered, might be inferred the enormity of the guilt and the imminence of the peril? It is not from human nature, even in its most distorted and degraded aspects, that we learn what an evil thing is sin; our true estimate must be grounded on that which it cost to redeem the sinner.(2) To remove or cancel sin. His death is adequate to the necessities of all who believe. Not only does the apostle declare that there is "no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus," but he asks the question, "Who is he that condemneth?" only that he may answer it by another, Is it not "Christ that died?"


1. To guide. "I am the way," etc. He lives to act as a Captain in guiding many sons to glory.

2. To govern. "All power is given unto Me, in heaven and in earth." He is silently, therefore, but effectually, working round all things to the establishment of His own will. All nature is subject to His will, nay, He works even by unwilling instruments; the evil passions and principles of men all are constrained by Him to compass the end designed. He is the Head over all things to the Church; we may, therefore, repair to Him in every difficulty, and commit to Him every consequence.

3. "To make intercession for us."

III. THE PRACTICAL ISSUE OF THE WHOLE MATTER. You are placed here in the position of those for whom the Son of God once died unto sin, and for whom He now lives. Conviction of sin is thus placed before you with an alternative; to be condemned by Christ's death, or to be saved by His life. It is no common responsibility which lies upon such as are now solemnly reminded that for them "Christ died unto sin once." But neither is it a precarious comfort, or a dubious assurance, which arises to them from the consideration, "In that He liveth, He liveth unto God." He lives for the glory of God, for the good of His Church, for the triumph of the gospel, for the salvation of the sinner, for the complete overcoming of death, and of him that has the power thereof, for every conceivable purpose of diffusing happiness and dispelling misery, and it may be for far higher purposes than have ever entered into the imagination of man. But, for whatever else He lives, He lives to guide, and to govern, and to intercede for you.

(T. Dale, M. A.)

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