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COMMENTS UPON TEXTS.
LIVING TOGETHER WITH CHRIST.
“Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him” (Rom. vi. 8). This statement might be taken into its component parts, thus:- There is, first,“ death together with Christ;" which is put forward, not in a form which declares it attaches to this or to that one, to those or to these persons, but put with an hypothesis, which is the second point to notice-an if:_"If death together with Christ is true of us”—then there follows, thirdly, the certain consequence thereof, “ that we shall reign together with Him."
Or, if you please, you may state it thus:- This is faith's assured statement, “ We shall live together with Christ, IF we be dead together with Him."
So far all is clear, I think. But some pass over the mode in which the consequence (of being dead together with Christ) is put, viz., “we shall also live together with Him;" “ for," say they, we know, and assuredly believe, that we do already live together with Him; why, then, is a future tense (we shall live) used, and not a present tense, we do live."
It is quite true, we that believe have life already, and know that we have it together with Christ; for it is
as of that which is a truth, and true at the present time to the believer. “Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me; because I live, ye shall live also. At that time
At that time ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you" (John xiv. 19, 20). Now this is a truth, which we that believe
realize the blessing of now—because He lives, we live also; and the same, also, may be said of vers. 16–18. For the Father has given to us a guardian to supply the place of Christmand He abides with us evermore, even the Spirit of truth—who is in us. And, again, we are not comfortless (ver. 18), for Christ manifests Himself to us (ver. 21—29). And, again, “God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son, hath life” (not shall have it, but hath it). First, then, we remark, they are quite right who
say, “ The believer hath life already, and knows he hath it." Texts might be multiplied to prove the truth of this, but the context of the verse which is under examination suffices, for the whole of chaps. vi., vii., and viii. suppose life to be already in the believers, and to be known by themselves to be there; though they needed instruction from the apostle as to, 1st, many things in connection with it, if they were to understand their privileges, and, 2ndly, as to many other things in connection with themselves, if they were to be workers that needed not to be ashamed; able to walk in liberty, and to keep themselves apart from the world and the flesh and the devil.
Yes, the believer hath life already, and knows he hath it. But remark the difference of taking up a fragment of truth, thus (as the difficulty-finder does) judging of it according to his own blessed and happy experience in faith, and the apostle's handling the same item of truth in connection with God's mode, in theory and practice, of interposing His Christ -- Ist, in what He suffered vicariously, between the believer and his sins and their just consequences; and, 2ndly, in what He is as the fountain and source of new and, till then, unheard-of blessings.
Let the verse itself be weighed in the scales of reason and of mere human intelligence, and the vast fulness of the subject will be better felt. " If we be dead with Christ, we believe also that we shall live together with Him.“ “Too much learning hath made thee mad,” would be nature's first commert; her second, perhaps, “ Why, how
can a dead man be talking of what is to be?" Alas! To-day has its own class of corrupters of the word, whose senseless insubjection to Scripture shows that the flesh profiteth not. Familiarity with a subject is not the same thing as knowledge of it. But it would be vain and thankless work to attempt, even, to show how the human mind, when in the place of light and under the responsibility of having God's written Word, has corrupted the doctrines of grace as to Christ's substitution for sinners, and His being the source of new blessings to the believer. I turn to the text.
The following points may be noticed as having been brought by Paul before the mind, previously, in the epistle. First, that man, left to himself on account of sin, had made gods many, after his own corrupt lust (chap. i.); 2ndly, that those who had knowledge (as the Jew) through a law, or standard of right and wrong, having been given to them to see and judge this, did just as badly themselves, and caused, by their conduct, the first-named class tó blaspheme (chap. ii.) 3rdly, that the law, requiring perfectness in the party it blessed, had pronounced all mere men, without exception, under the curse (chap.iii.1-20). 4thly, that this only tended to make manifest that free-gift righteousness of God, which was by faith in Jesus Christ-not of works, and open equally to Jew and to Gentile (chap. iii. 20—31). That this was borne witness to by Abraham, and by David, each in his own way (chap. iv. 1–16). But these four points might be looked at (not only thus, as to what they show of man, but, on the other side also) as to what they show of God. Thus, 1st, when man had sinned, and would not seek unto God, God showed Him. self a God of patience and goodness toward the Gentile; and, 2ndly, while he waited till the due time was come for him to act fully, He dealt with the Jew, allowing him to use a standard of right and wrong, put into his hand to be a means of showing what it really was which fallen man had in him. 3rdly, was shown where man really was and to what reduced as a creature; and, 4thly, what it was which He, the living God, thought man wanted, if he was to be blessed; and how He knew
Himself alone to be sufficient as the Source of such blessing, and His Son the alone able Accomplisher of it.
Observe, the law does not go further than to enumerate what a man, under given circumstances, ought to do; and what the reward, if he does as he should, is to be, and what the curse is if he fails in any one point. The gospel was God's remedy for the confessedly failed
His plan and His way of getting to Himself honour in undertaking the cure and the blessing of those whom the law had justly cursed. This brings me to the fifth point. If God had left man to try what he could do, — had God any plan of His own? He clearly had, and it was this—to introduce Himself into the scene of ruin as the God of resurrection, who could raise from the dead, the Redeemer-God, who could say to the strongest enemy, “Give up," and could take back to Himself in a higher and better scene what elements He thus took from the fall. And, observe the time He chose for this was when man, left to himself, had corrupted the very notion of Deity, and when man, placed under light, had used that light to puff up his own heart with before God.
And, mark here, sixthly, what the wants were according to God's thoughts.
1st. There was a righteousness wanted; for all were under condemnation (chap. iii. 21, 22).
2ndly. This must be in a way which supposed no power to be in the party blessed —it was, therefore, by faith a (ver. 22).
3rdly. It must be “ by free grace" (ver. 24).
Now this, 4thly, supposes the introduction of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (ver. 22—26). Who else, indeed, but He, the Son, could clear the honour and glory of God in working out salvation.
5thly. That it was of promise (chap. iii. 13, 14), given long before the accomplishment of the blessing (Rom. iii. 3, 17—21), showed how God would have His counsel recognized, and how He meant to make it approve itself and show forth his faithfulness and power, too, by allowing all the waters of the stream of time, and its circumstances, to roll in, and prove their. powerlessness to change His promise. And, 6thly, this promise supposed certain things to be in Him, the living God, which were needful if ruined man was to get a blessing. He must needs be God, who, 1st, quickeneth the dead; and, 2ndly, who calleth those things which be not as though they were. And with these thoughts, God separated persons to Himself in time—He gave promises — they believed he was able to perform them—" and therefore it was imputed to them for righteousness” (ver. 22).
a The law supposes there is strength, for directly a man can say “ that I cannot do”—the commandment only serves to condemn him. Salvation by faith supposes that God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, can shine into our dark hearts the light of His own grace and glory.
This brings us back to the great point of difficulty.
“Now it was not written for His sake alone, that it was imputed to Him. But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead. Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Rom. iv. 23—25).
Observe, Paul is here speaking, not as you and I might speak, experimentally of his own enjoyed portion, but of God's way (theory and practice) of salvation. There is a certain Jesus — the benefits of whose death and resurrection belong to those who believe in Him who raised Him from the dead.
There is a certain abstract manner of putting it here which is just the difference between the handling of the way as the truth of God and the speaking of it as a matter of enjoyment. It is just so, I conceive, in our text.
- Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live together with him” (Rom. vi. 8). But there is another thing to remark, as connected with this, and that is the real difficulty when one comes to ponder the remedy in Christ for man, and the fulness of the salvation which is in Christ, which will be found, as we pass on, to justify fully the future tense, instead of the present.
If any one will weigh up what Saul was ere Christ called him; what Christ's call to him was; what the