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And then our Lord went on, after thus showing how all the poor lost sinner's springs were in Him the Saviour, to speak of the wicked. He hath "authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which ALL that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation." Who shall stand on his own works for foundation and be saved? And, let it be remarked, this is one result of His being Son of man. All men shall, therefore, rise from the grave. Some, first, to speak of quickening virtues found in Him the Son, and, through grace, tasted by themselves — themselves made subject to them:-raised to speak and to declare that they had known what it was to be quickened together with Him from the grave; and the works of such will bear witness, and get a reward, too, in the resurrection. Then, last, all shall be raised; and they, too, shall reap the reward of the root they grew upon, and of their separation from the alone Giver of new life (God's life) to the soul; but their works shall not stand in judgment. The root, the tree, and fruit go together; whether Christ or Adam be in question. May we remember it well.
There is one matter to notice here briefly, the transmutation of those saints who are alive when the Lord comes; their change at His coming without seeing death. It may be seen in 1 Thess. iv. 15–17 and Phil. iii. 20, 21. "Our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able to subdue all things unto Himself.” The thought is unutterably precious, that the moment we that remain see Him Himself, virtue will come out of Himself to change these bodies of humiliation, and to fashion them like unto His own body in glory.
I need hardly say that the perfect difference between the Raiser and the raised (or the changed) must never be forgotten. All the virtue and the power are His, and His alone, though they may display themselves, through
grace, upon us. Nevertheless, it is too sweet to the heart for me to pass by recalling it, that there is but ONE (our Lord and our God) of whom it can be said, He is the Resurrection and the Life"; but ONE that had power Himself to lay down His life, and Himself to take it again; but ONE of whom it could be said, He was declared to be the Son of God, with power by the resurrection of the dead (ones); but ONE who can quicken now whom He will, and at whose voice all that are in the graves shall hereafter come forth. His glory and His honour are our highest blessing; and sweet is it to those that have known Him as their Eternal Lover, to think of the glory that awaits them--not as that which will fully and perfectly minister to their own enjoyment, but as that which His love will work in them:- expression at once of His own innate glory, of God's choice of them, and of His desire to have them perfectly fitted for companionship with Him and for the presence of God. Oh, how little do our poor- yet blessed, richly blessed - souls think of Christ and His Love! And yet we are loved by Him, notwithstanding all, and made to know the divine character of His love, which rejoices in giving, giving freely, to those on whom it rests.
I turn now to my texts.
Eph. ii. 6. “ Hath raised us up together.”. First let us read the context. were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ (by grace ye are saved); and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (ver. 3—6).
Some have noticed, as though it were the reason of the word together (“ raised up together"), the union in the Church of those who had been separated upon earth into Jews and Gentiles. That the heavenly body, the Church, contains those who were once Gentiles, as well as those who were once Jews, is a fact. But this is not at all the of the apostle's meaning. And, let it be remarked, that men are not together, in the Church, as Jews and Gentiles; as such they were separated, by God
Himself, the one from the other; but they who were such are together, in the Church, as members of the body of Christ. But surely, my fellowship with a Paul in heaven is not the wonder (though, truly, to be there at all, and to be seen to be there, and that, too, in happy association with other men, is most blessed); but the wonder, in this context, is that which lies at the entrance of each soul into the place and position of this fellowship one with: the other, namely, individual fellowship with Christ the Head. I am a member of Christ; He put off all that rested in nature in and upon me when it was reckoned to Him. Therefore He was crucified, dead, and was buried; and I am reckoned, and reckon myself, through faith, clear from it all, as reckoned of God, crucified, dead, and buried together with Him. But He has also made me one spirit with Himself; and, through a divine grace, which is boundlessly great, I share certain things together with Himself. The word leads me back to His taking of His life again, as the Son of man in the grave, that I may understand how, having been quickened made alive -- together with Him, I am free among the dead. And the life which I have is a life together with Him. He the Head, and I but a member. It is true that the blessing which I have in Him, I have in common with all the other members of His body; but the power which enables me, even, to have heart-room for a Paul is found in my known conscious possession of blessings together with Christ. Yea; and it is because He finds His interest in all His members that ours too can flow out freely to them. For the consciousness of community of blessing among the members does not suffice as power to any individual member to act consistently therewith;
h It must not be forgotten that there will be other classes in heaven besides the Church, classes to which Christ will not stand in the relationship of Head to a body which has members.
i Share not only His glory given to Him, and many of the most blessed positions in it, but do so as a consequence (oh, wondrous grace !) of partaking of His life. So indissolubly one with Him, as to life, is a believer (Christ is our Life), that even God Himself could not make me more one with Christ than He has done already. One spirit with the Lord -- not of this world, even as He is not of this world,
he needs the love of Christ shed abroad in his heart by: the Holy Ghost given to him, and communion with the heart of the Lord Jesus.
I fully admit, first, that God's dealings for the earth had divided since the days of Abraham, if not even before, viz., from the days of the sons of Noah) the Jew from the Gentile; and, secondly, that this is an order of things which not only existed, while things were left in the hand of man to try and to prove him, as from Noah to Christ, but which will exist when the Son of man comes forth out of heaven to bless man, and to take the government of the earth into His own hands; for the Jews and the Gentiles and the extern nations will then still each have blessings distinctive to itself; and, thirdly, that the Church, as being not for the earth but for the heavensnot a part of God's governmental ways for earth, but part of His counsel of grace and for heaven - sets (as other counsels for heaven do also) this separation of classes aside, though it may sanction other classification. I say I admit all this, but I deny that this is the great wonder of the "together with” in the passage before us. To the unconverted Jew, it was scandal to think even of a Gentile dog being associated with him; to the unconverted Gentile, the narrow bigotry of the Jew was contemptible folly; to the converted man, whether Jew or
a new and a wonderful scene was opened – Heaven. And a truth, marvellous beyond all others, was propounded; that God has made him that believeth to be vitally one with the earth-rejected, man-despised, but heaven-owned and God-honoured Jesus of Nazareth. Separation of Jew from Gentile was, is, and will be for the earth; but heaven neither Jew nor Gentile looked for. The wonder to a Paul was not that one, once a worshipper of Diana, the great goddess of the Ephesians, should be counted fit company for him, a Pharisee, who : had thought he did God's service (not only in trying to blot out the name of Jesus of Nazareth froin the earth, but also) in trying to destroy the Church, the counsel of God most dear to Him about Christ; but the wonder was this
, that vital union, fellowship of life, should be to him with the same Christ Jesus whom he had persecuted,
and this, too, in heaven, where Christ sits at the right hand of the Majesty in the highest. A tenure of blessing and a place of blessing, as open to Gentile as to Jew; and a blessing, too, so entirely divine and unhuman, 80 entirely heavenly and unearthly, that none could communicate even a right thought about it save God the Holy Ghost.
May the believer in Christ never forget that heaven is his home, his native place; and that this is the case just because he is one spirit with the Lord Jesus the Christ, partaker of the divine nature, as made one with the Heavenly Christ, and, therefore, to count upon sharing all things together with Him as the Christ.
But to proceed. We have already looked, 1st, at the being made alive together with the Christ (in IV.). He that had laid down His life as a ransom and for an atonement, took His life as Son of man again in the grave. And the apostle's subject of prayer is still a good subject of prayer; that we may know what is the exceeding greatness of His [His refers here to the God of our Lord Jesus Christ] power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places” (Eph. i. 19, 20). All things put under Him, and He given to be the Head over all things to the Church, which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.
And 2ndly, at the life as so given being the life of the Christ Himself- a life which, if it now identifies us consciously with God, and brings us here below into conflict with everything within us and around us which is in conflict with God, will yet, in a little while, be
k I have seen many papers upon the Epistle to the Ephesians, which expatiate so immoderately upon the wonderfulness of the Jew and the Gentile being united in one, as to leave one to sup, pose that the religion of the writers is one purely for earth;
and that they do not see the wonders of heaven being opened, and of vital union with Christ being now preached. I grant the truth of the wonders of the contrast between God's counsels for heaven áød his ways for earth; they merely look at the matter as among men, and the vital union they entirely pass by.