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of himself and his fellow Christians, “as always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” 1
But in accounting for the stress laid by the apostle on the death of Christ as the cause of our death to sin and of our moral renewal, we must take along with us the place he assigns to the Resurrection of Christ in this connection, for in his doctrinal system the Resurrection is inseparably connected with the Death, and is a factor of prime importance in his conception of salvation. As the dying of Christ includes in it our death to sin, so His rising again includes in it our moral resurrection, our reviving to a life of holiness, and is the Power by which that mighty change is effected in human experience. And if the same question that met us before in reference to the moral change attributed to the death of Christ recurs here, in what way can a change so spiritual in its character as the awakening of the soul to a life of holiness be attributed to an event apparently so physical in its nature as Christ's rising from the dead ?—the answer is to be found in the higher significance which attached to the latter event in Paul's view; for Christ's emerging from the grave, according to the apostle, was coincident with His entrance on a grander form of being, that gave Him access to the souls of men as Spirit; and it is in virtue of their being subjects of the energy of His Holy Spirit that His people undergo that moral resurrection which is a fact of their consciousness. United to the Risen One by His Spirit, they are said to be "planted in the likeness of the Resurrection,” and to rise with Him, partakers of the life that He now lives, and that is eternal as
12 Cor. iv. 10. Paul's teaching here is the development of Christ's, who represented the inward change necessary to salvation as analogous to death, to the experience of the Cross, Matt. xvi. 25, “Whosoever will save his life shall lose it : and whosoever shall lose his life for My sake shall find it.”
He is, “ for in that He died, He died unto sin once: but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God."1 The efficacy inherent in the Resurrection of Christ to effect our moral renewal flows in reality from the Holy Spirit who comes forth from the Risen One, and to this Agent also is to be referred that participation in the death of Christ in which we are said to die with Him unto sin. In the sixth chapter, doubtless, the “new life” of which the Spirit is the author is regarded as preceded by our death to sin, as if the Spirit's work were limited to what follows death, to our being quickened to newness of life. The logical order, doubtless, is so; first, death to the old, and then birth into the life that is new. But the real order is the opposite. Death to the lower life can be accomplished only by the powers of the higher life already working on the soul, and the death to sin is as certainly the effect of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus as is our moral quickening. Through the energy of His Spirit the Death and Resurrection of Christ are, in accordance with the law of solidarity, repeated in the experience of His people.
At the same time, Paul is careful to show that this work of moral renewal does not take place as a necessary inference. Still less does he give any encouragement to the idea that the virtue of the Death and Resurrection of Christ is dependent on sacramental acts. It is a moral process, conformed to the laws of mind. If in a sense we are already “dead” in Christ, we are nevertheless to "reckon ourselves” to be dead, to cultivate insensibility to
i Rom. vi, 10.
2 Those who take high views of the Sacrament of Baptism make much of Romans vi., where this rite is brought into relation to the Death of Christ, and spiritual results are spoken of as accompanying it. It must be remembered, however, that the Holy Spirit, the essence of the Christian Good, is nowhere said by Paul to be given at baptism, but to faith and the “hearing of faith.” This is brought out by Ritschl (Die Altkatholische Kirche, second ed. p. 93), who shows that Titus iii. 5 is no exception to this rule. In all cases where spiritual effects seem to
the desires and ambitions of the old life. We are to crucify the desire of the flesh, to live to God, to walk in the spirit of the new life. The imperative mood is used as well as the indicative. We are personally to become what in Christ we already are. We must make our own personal possession that freedom from sin and the flesh which was made good for all humanity when Christ died to sin, and that spirituality of Divine Life which was secured for all when Christ rose from the dead. And here we are to observe Paul's method as a moralist, as one who has found in Christ the secret of a victorious moral life, the key to the attainment of the moral Ideal. He does not say, Act as Christ acted in this and that detail of His earthly life. He does not dwell on separate features of the character of the historic Jesus, or bid us imitate Him in these. He sets the Risen Christ before us as our Model, and bids us follow Him who is as the embodiment of our true life, and contains in Himself the potentiality of all grace and holiness of character. Only die with Christ to the flesh and rise with Him to live the life of the Spirit, and all goodness will grow out of that root; concern yourselves with the principle, details will follow. It has been said, “ Take care of the little things of life and the great ones will take care of themselves,” is the maxim of the trader which is sometimes, and with a certain degree of truth, applied to the service of God. But much more true is it that in religion we should take care of the great things, and the trifles of life will take care of themselves. Christianity is not acquired as an art by long practice; it does not carve and polish human
be attributed to baptism, faith, if not mentioned (as it is in Gal. iii. 26, 27) must be presupposed. Baptism is introduced in Romans vi. merely as an illustration. The parallelism between the rite and the Death of Christ has no dogmatic significance. Karl (Beiträge, etc., p. 108) speaks of the thought of Paul in this passage as “nichts als eine Art Augenblicksgedanke.” If the apostle had shared the Sacramentarian view he could not have spoken of this rite as he does in i Cor. i. 13-17.
nature with a graving tool; it makes the whole man; first pouring out his soul before God, and 'then casting him in a mould.'”i It was thus that Paul apprehended and applied Christianity as an ethic. Setting the once Crucified but now Risen Christ before his readers as the embodiment of the principle of the true life, he bids them die with Him, and the Spirit of His life will do the rest. This is his doctrine of the Imitatio Christi? And if the question is asked, how may this be? how can we so identify ourselves with Christ as to die with Him to the law of the flesh and live with Him to the law of the mind and spirit? Granted that it is all the doing of His Spirit in us, how does that Spirit become ours ? how does it operate? The answer is to be found in Paul's doctrine of faith. With Paul faith is the act of the heart; it is the flower of sympathy and love, it draws us out of ourselves, and makes us one with Him who has now our trust and devotion. The man who loves Christ is a man who “enters into His feelings and lives with His life ; he is a new creature; he can do, and he does, what Christ did.” 3 As Christ died to self and the impulse of selfishness, the man who believes in Him and loves Him, can out of his sympathy and love die to them too, and can live in the spirit in which Christ lived. This, of course, is the language of affection, that delights in being, and that can be, all that its object is; and, as the language of affection, it is intelligible only to those who love Christ and have experienced the moral changes that are brought about by the power of His love. But that language describes a fact, the most momentous of the Christian life, in which its victorious power is disclosed. It is in the fire of love to Christ that the soul of man is separated from sin as thoroughly as though it were dead to it, and made alive to God and righteousness in the power of a supernatural life, of which the Risen Christ is the Source and Pattern.
* Jowett, Epistles of St. Paul, vol. Dissertations (ed. 1894), p. 117. ? See Note I on Paul and the Imitatio Christi. 3 M. Arnold's Paul and Protestantism, p. 52.
It may, indeed, be said, all this is ideal and too much in the clouds. Paul speaks as if our death to sin and life to righteousness and God through our union with the Second Adam were results as natural and necessary as is our inheritance of sin and death through our connection with the first Adam. But how different is the fact ! Sin is not, as a matter of experience thus dead in believers; neither is their new life such a glorious reality as it is represented to be when it is spoken of as a participation of Christ's Risen life. Is Paul not utterly regardless of the facts of life in his whole estimate of the matter? Now it is plain the apostle's eyes were open to the facts that militated against his idealism. His letters are directed to the correction of the sins of Christians in the Churches which he founded. But these facts did not breed in his mind any suspicion of the failure of Christ to accomplish in the actual experience of men, so mighty a work of moral regeneration as is implied in their dying to sin and living to holiness. He held by the omnipotence of the Ideal in spite of facts; he could not contemplate the possibility of sin having any lasting significance for those who had entered on the new life in Christ. He transferred to all believers his own experience of the transforming effects of the love of Christ, and insisted that men have only to realise what Christ is to them, and what they are in Christ, in order to exemplify by their character and conduct that God has indeed made Christ to be a Power of real death to sin and of actual holy living.
According to his great conception, then, the death and resurrection of Christ mark a new epoch, a fresh point of departure in the evolution of the spiritual history of man; for they bring to an end the former relation of God to