And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who dwells in you.
I. THE PERSISTENCE OF DEATH. It is, indeed, true that, in spite of our justification and renewal, death seems to have dominion over us in our physical relations: "the body is dead." This needs no proving; no human fact can be more patent. We die daily, and at last yield to the final triumph of the foe. How is this reconcilable with the new life? The body is dead "because of sin," viz. the sin of the first man, our federal head. This is the sad heritage which descends to the race on account of the transgression.
1. And one main secret of the persistence of death consists in this, that mankind, in all its natural relations, is one organism. If one member suffer, the other members suffer with it. More especially do ancestral actions, entailing physical consequences, affect the condition of succeeding generations. Therefore, as above (ver. 15 of ch. 5.), "by the trespass of the one the many died." The complex unity of man's natural relations necessitated this permanent consequence to the race.
2. Yes, each one's mortality is linked on to the mortality of the race; man, by necessary natural entailment, is "born to die." But why, it may be asked, does not the individual, volitional agency by which the Christian believer is linked on to a new federation, and made partaker of the power of life, involve of equal necessity the reversal of the original cause? The answer in part is this: that, for reasons which we may or may not partially discern, in the present economy of things there is a permanence of natural causation even in spite of altered spiritual conditions. It is this principle which effectuates the ordained unity of the race, as above set forth; and the same principle involves that, not merely must each member of the race accept at birth his natural heritage, but even his own free spiritual choice and action may not, at least now, effect a change in the sequence of natural causation. This is true of such natural consequences as may have resulted from each one's individual transgressions; it is equally true of the inherited consequences of the first transgression; it is eminently true of the unique entailment of mortality.
3. And one special reason for this permanence of natural causation, in addition to the economic considerations requiring the organic unity of the race, is the necessity that man, under a process of redemptive recovery from sin, should be subjected to the chastening influence which only an experience of the evil of sin's effects can supply. Illustrate by continuance of penalty resulting from individual transgression; as, e.g., drunkenness, dishonesty. So, generally, the continuance of all the ills that flesh is heir to, on account of human sin. In this twofold sense, then, "the body is dead because of sin:" the transgression involved it as a natural consequence; also, in view of redemption, as a remedial discipline.
II. THE TRIUMPH OF LIFE. "But" - oh, what a "but" is this! - "the spirit is life because of righteousness." Observe, not living, as the body is said to be dead, i.e. not merely possessed of an attribute; but life! itself, through the inhabitation of the Spirit of God, a living power, which shall eventually penetrate with its vitality all man's psychical and even bodily nature (see Godet). All this is involved in the peculiar phraseology of the tenth verse, and is plainly set forth in the eleventh.
1. A new organic unity of the race, with its own laws of natural causation, is established in Christ. He is the second Adam, the "greater Man." And as by the "sin" of the former came death, so by the "righteousness" - the justification - which is through the latter comes life.
2. "With its own laws of natural causation:" yes; for, though we may not trace their working, they are at work, and shall eventuate in our triumph, through Christ, over even the mortality to which we now must submit. The case is complex; the two humanities are as yet commingled; the two trains of causation are jointly at work. But of the triumph of life, we have the pledge in that he was raised from the dead; himself submitted to the old law, and rose by the power of the new. "Christ the Firstfruits, afterward they that are Christ's at his coming."
3. "Afterward:" yes, when the remedial discipline shall have done its work, and from a restored world, from a renewed mankind, the curse shall be utterly removed. For this we wait, for this we work; and we do not work and wait in vain. "The Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead shall quicken also your mortal bodies." Such, then, is our assurance, such is our hope. But on what is it conditioned? "If Christ be in you;" "If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you." Oh, let us hasten to him who is the Source of the new life, the Giver of the living Spirit! - T.F.L.
But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus... dwell in you.
(Bp. Ryle.)I. THE INHABITATION OF THE SPIRIT. Dwelling may relate either to a man in his house (1 John 3:24) or of God in His temple (1 Corinthians 6:16). The Spirit buildeth us up for so holy a use, and then dwelleth in us as our Sanctifier, Guide, and Comforter.
3. He comforts us with the sense of God's fatherly love and our eternal inheritance (ver. 16; 2 Corinthians 2:22).
II. WHY THIS INHABITATION IS THE GROUND OF A BLESSED RESURRECTION.
1. To preserve the order of the personal operations.(1) The rising from the dead is a work of Divine power (2 Corinthians 1:10).(2) This Divine power belongeth in common to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, who, being one and the same God, concurred in the same work. We are raised by the Father (text), by Christ (John 5:21), by the Spirit (text).(3) They all concur in a way proper to them. The Holy Ghost is the operative love of God, working from the power of the Father and grace of the Son; and whatever the Father or Son doth, you must still suppose it to be communicated to us by the Spirit.
2. Because the Holy Spirit is the bond of union between us and Christ. We are united to Him, because we have the same Spirit which Christ had; and therefore He will work like effects in you and Him. If the Head rise, the members will follow after.
4. Because the Spirit abides in us as an earnest (Ephesians 1:14).
6. Because the great work of the Spirit is to retrench our bodily pleasures, and to bring us to resolve by all means to save the soul, whatever becometh of the body in this world, and to use the body for the service of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 6:13, 20; Romans 8:13; Galatians 5:16, 24; Romans 13:14).
(T. Manton, D.D.)
1. Infidelity affirms that when you are dead that is the end of you.
2. Science teaches that the substance of the body can never be annihilated.
3. The Bible declares that the body shall be raised up at the last day.
I. THE AGENT. The same power that raised up Jesus.
II. ITS ORDER,
III. A COMPLETE SALVATION CHRIST BRINGS TO US.
1. It justifies us before the law.
2. It includes the redemption of the body.
3. It provides for the reunion of body and soul.
4. It establishes personal identity for ever.
5. It makes certain the reunion and recognition of friends throughout eternity.
IV. PRESENT PRACTICAL BEARINGS.
1. We should now seek after the only possible antidote to spiritual death, with all its glorious provisions for time and eternity. If the Spirit of Christ dwell in us, we have nothing to fear from sin and death.
2. The Spirit comes only to those who welcome His coming and cherish His indwelling.
(L. O. Thompson.)
I. THAT BY THE RESURRECTION THE LAST LINK OF THE CHAIN OF CORRUPTION WILL BE FINALLY BROKEN. The work of salvation is an ordered scheme, every step of which is arranged by infinite wisdom. God first uncloses the fingers of sin on the spirit, and at last frees the body from its fatal grasp. "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." What if the order had been reversed? Why, then the spirit would have been placed beyond that discipline through which its purification is now being carried on. A body fit only for heavenly service would not be fit for earthly pain, sorrow, and death.
II. THAT THIS EMANCIPATION IS TO BE EFFECTED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT. It is Spirit operating, not on spirit — as in conversion — but on the body. It is the same Spirit, and it follows that it is even part of the same work. The work is effected by the Spirit dwelling in us. There is in the believer a Divine seed, which is destined to break forth from amidst the corruption of the grave into beauteous life.
III. THAT THE RESURRECTION OF BELIEVERS IS ASSOCIATED WITH THAT OF CHRIST. The relation is that of cause and effect, type and fulfilment, pledge and redemption. "Because I live, ye shall live also."
(P. Strutt.)Acts 2:24). Secondly, He is therefore risen to manifest the completeness of that redemption which He had wrought for us, and to declare us absolved and acquitted in the sight and presence of God (Romans 4:25). The use of this doctrine in hand is especially to oppose it to the scandal and reproach of the Cross. The second is the Spirit's inhabitation in those who are the members of Christ. If or forasmuch as this Spirit dwelleth in you. Thus it makes much for the honour and dignity of the servant of God, that He whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain should vouchsafe to take up His residence in such narrow rooms as our hearts. And, further, it also minds us of our duty: so to carry and behave ourselves as fit temples of the Holy Ghost to reside in, and to be continually offering up of sacrifices of praises unto Him. The second, which is principally considerable of us, is the inference in these, "He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you." First, to look upon this passage in its simple and absolute consideration, "He that raised up Jesus Christ from the dead will also quicken and raise up us, who are," etc. And here, again, two things more: first, the state or condition itself which is here propounded. And that is the resurrection of the saints and true believers. "He shall quicken your mortal bodies." Secondly, the conveyance of this state or condition unto them, or the grace of conferring it upon them by or because of His Spirit, which dwelleth in you. First, to speak of the former — viz., the state or condition itself which is here propounded, and that is the resurrection of the saints. "He shall quicken your mortal bodies"; that is, He shall raise you from death to life. It is that which hath been set forth unto us and shadowed under sundry resemblances — of Aaron's dry rod budding forth and flourishing; of the prophet slain by the lion, but not devoured; of Enoch's translation; of Elijah's rapture; of Elisha's sepulchre reviving a dead man that was cast into it. And it is very suitable and agreeable to reason rightly qualified, though it does not depend upon it. First, to reason that it may be so in regard of the possibility. It is no way opposite or repugnant to this. Let us consider what our bodies were made of and fetched out of at first, and then it will be no difficulty at all. He that thoroughly believes the creation need never to doubt of the resurrection. Could God make the body out of the dust? and cannot He then restore it from the dust? Secondly, it is also in the equity of it, as that which should be; that so there may be an execution of the just judgment of God upon either part of man which hath done either good or evil. Thirdly, it is so also in the necessity of it, as that which must be; and here are divers and sundry things considerable of us as very much making for it. First, from the covenant of grace, "I will be thy God," etc. Now to be our God is to be the God of our whole persons; not only of our souls, but of our bodies too (Matthew 22:32). Secondly, from the work of redemption, which extends to the destroying of death as the last enemy, and to get the conquest and victory over that. Thirdly, from the resurrection of Christ Himself: He is risen in His body, therefore we also shall rise in ours. Fourthly, from the work of the Spirit. The Spirit of God, which is in us, He does certify and assure us hereof — namely, by these gracious effects of His wrought in our souls; while He raises us from the death of sin, He will also raise us from the death of the grave. He that hath done the one, He is ready also to do the other for us. Hence is the Spirit of God called the earnest and pledge hereof unto us (2 Corinthians 5:5). This doctrine of the resurrection is more particularly considerable of us in the expression which is here in the text fastened upon it; whilst it is said that "He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies." And here, again, two things more. First, to speak of the cause of it. He that raised up Christ from the dead; where the resurrection of Christians seems to be made an effect, and consequent of the resurrection of Christ. And so indeed it is, and that according to a threefold influence — first, of merit; secondly, of actual efficacy; and, thirdly, of example. The ground and reason of all is this: because Christ is the Root and Head of all believers, as Adam was of all mankind. And so much may be spoken of the first particular which is here considerable of us, and that is the cause of our resurrection: in these words, "He that raised up Christ from the dead." The second is the carriage of it in these: "shall quicken your mortal bodies." He shall quicken our mortal bodies by making them absolutely immortal. And so now I have done with the first branch in this second general — to wit, the state or condition itself which is here propounded; and that is the resurrection of the saints and true believers, in these words: "He that raised up Christ from the dead shall quicken your mortal bodies." The second is the conveyance of this state and condition unto them, or the ground of conferring it upon them, in these words: "By," or "because, of His Spirit that," etc., I read it both ways, either "by" or "because," according to the different translation in the text and in the margin, and each of them different, according to different copies in the original. We may, if we please, take it either way. First, take it in the textual translation: "By His Spirit that dwelleth in you." Where we see how the dwelling of God's Spirit in the children of God is the means and cause and conveyance of resurrection to such as are His children. They rise, but they rise by the virtue of the Spirit of God that dwells in them; and that because they rise in reference to their relation to Christ, as we showed before. But, secondly, we may, if we please, take it also in the marginal translation, which is for, or because, of the Spirit that dwelleth in you, as denoting not only the cause from which, but also the reason for which, this resurrection is conferred upon them. First, I say here is that which is implied: that the Spirit of God dwells in the children of God. The second is that which is inferred: that because and in regard of the Spirit of God dwelling in them, therefore their bodies should be raised and restored again to life. This follows from hence, because the Holy Ghost will not quit His own interest, nor lose anything of that which belongs unto Him, which He should do if the bodies of the saints lay still in their graves, or were wholly annihilated and brought to nothing. The second is conditional, or connective with the words which went before in the beginning of the verse: "If the Spirit of Him that raised up," etc., where resurrection to eternal life is made dependent upon the inhabitation of the Holy Ghost in such persons as shall so rise, The consideration of this point may be useful to us, to a twofold purpose. First, as matter of comfort to the saints and servants of God. Secondly, here is matter of terror to all wicked and reprobate persons in regard of the different dispensation of it from that of the children of God. First, as to the manner of it. Whereof the one shall be with rejoicing, the other with horror. Secondly, in regard of the end of it. The godly, they rise that they may receive their crown and garland. But the wicked, they rise that they may receive their punishment and torment. Thirdly and lastly, in regard of the cause and proceeding of it. The godly, they rise by virtue of their union with Christ as His members, and by virtue of their relation to the Holy Ghost as His temples; but the wicked, they rise by virtue of God's curse upon them and designment to everlasting destruction. The godly, they rise by the power of Christ as a Mediator; the wicked, they rise by the power of Christ as a Judge.
(Thomas Horton, D.D.)
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