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"Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him." — Romans 6:8.

The death and the resurrection of Christ constitute the substance of the Gospel, and our concern with them, as doctrinal truths, includes more than our admitting them into our creed. They must become internal principles, and produce in us corresponding effects. He died; and we must be dead, dead to the law, not as a rule of life, but as a covenant of works. Dead to the world, not as the scene of God's wonderful works, nor as a sphere of duty, nor a field of usefulness, but as the enemy of God, and our portion. Dead to sin: this includes nothing less than our avoiding it, but it intends much more; we may be alive to it even while we forsake it. But we must no longer love, or relish it, and thus no longer live in it. How shall we that are dead to sin live any longer therein?

We must be dead with him. We are dead with him virtually. For he is the Head and Representative of His Church; and therefore what he did for his people is considered as done by them. We are dead with him efficiently. For there is an influence derived from his Cross, which mortifies us to sin; and this influence is not moral only, consisting in the force of argument and motive — though this is true; and nothing shows the evil of sin, or the love of the Saviour, like Calvary — but it is spiritual also. He died to purify, as well as to redeem; and he not only made reconciliation for the sins of the people, but received gifts for men, and secured the agency of the Holy Spirit. There is no real holiness separate from the grace of the Cross. There he draws all men unto him. We are dead with him as to resemblance. We are planted together in the likeness of his death; and therefore our death is called, as well as his, a crucifixion: " Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." I am, says the Apostle, not only dead, but crucified with Christ. That mode of dying was a painful one, and a visible one, and a gradual one, and a sure one; for the moment the body was fastened to the cross, it was as good as dead; the bones might be broken to accelerate the event, but it was never taken down alive. All this is easily applied to the crucifying of the flesh, with the affections and lusts.

But he rose, and now lives, and we shall live with him; that is, in consequence of his living. Because he lives, we shall live also. For we are quickened together with Christ, and are raised up, and made to sit together in heavenly places; that is, in his company. Where I am, there shall also my servant be. We have much in heaven to endear it. How delightful will it be to join our friends with all their infirmities done away! But to depart, to be with Christ, is far better; that is, in fellowship with him. We may live with another, and not live like him. We may be with another, and behold his estate, but not share it. "But when he who is our life shall appear, we also shall appear with him in glory." I appoint unto you, says he to his disciples, a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink at my table, in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Even our vile body shall be fashioned like his own glorious body. And the same duration attaches to his blessedness, and ours. I am alive, says he, for evermore; and our end is everlasting life.

Finally, Paul believed all this. And let us do the same, but let us believe it as he did; that is, let us believe that we shall live with him, if we be dead with him. Some believe it without this. But their faith is only presumption. Whatever they rely upon, whether their knowledge, or orthodoxy, or talking, or profession, they are only preparing for themselves the most bitter disappointment, if they are not dead unto sin, and delivered from the present evil world; for if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

But let us also believe; that if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him. The inclusion is as sure as the exclusion and takes in every diversity, and degree of grace. Whatever be their apprehensions of themselves, none of them all shall come short of this glory. It is as certain as the promise, and oath, and covenant of God, and the death and intercession of the Saviour, and the pledges and earnests of immortality, can render it.

Therefore, be not faithless, but believing. It was used by Christians to animate and encourage each other, in the Apostles' days, as a common and familiar aphorism, and they gave it full credit: "It is a faithful saying: for if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him."

Morning Exercises For Everyday In The Year
By Rev. William Jay

 
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