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Apostle observes, Now if Christ be preached that He rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen. But he triumphantly subjoins, Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept.6* The resurrection of Christ is established by the fullest and most satisfactory evidence; and therefore it follows that there will be a general resurrection. Since Christ rose from the dead, we may be assured that 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. Then we must all
appear before the judgment-seat of Christ ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.66 For God hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom He hath ordained ; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead.67 How important is the fact of the resurrection of Christ, when considered in this point of view, as to its consequences with regard to ourselves. He rose to ascend His throne as the King of glory, the Governor of the world, the Judge of the living and the dead. We shall rise to appear before Him, and to receive that award which the Judge of all the earth will then give to each in His righteous judgment.
641 Cor.xv.12,13,20. 65 John v.28,29. 66 2 Cor.v.10.67Acts xvij.31.
The consideration of the fact of the resurrection of Christ, then, should lead us to prepare for our own resurrection; to prepare to meet our God, when He shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.68 The great question is, How are we to be prepared ? In reply it may be observed, that the doctrines of Christianity which are taught in the holy Scriptures in connexion with the statement of the fact of the resurrection of Christ, leave us at no loss on this most important subject. For we are told that our Lord Jesus Christ was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.69 He was delivered into the hands of wicked men, by whom He was crucified and slain; but it was for sins not His own that He suffered death upon the cross. It was as the substitute for guilty transgressors of the law of God, that He poured out His soul unto death. He suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God. He His ownself bare our sins in His own body on the tree.?' And therefore those who believe in Him shall not die eternally.
68 Eccles. xii. 14.
69 Romans iv. 25. 70 | Peter iii. 18, ii. 24.
He hath freely forgiven them all their trespasses ; and therefore when they shall awake from their sleep in the dust of the earth,” when this corruptible body shall put on incorruption, when they shall come forth out of their graves, at the voice of the archangel and the trump of God, they shall rise to the life immortal, to partake of everlasting life and blessedness in His eternal kingdom and glory.
The resurrection of Christ is a pledge to His believing people of their eternal blessedness. It is also made use of as an argument to induce them not to serve sin, not to yield their members to be servants to uncleanness and to iniquity; but
to walk in newness of life, in the likeness of His resurrection, to yield their members servants to righteousness.73 So the Apostle exhorted the Colossians, If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. Mortify your members which are upon the earth ; and lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him. And therefore it is said, If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away, behold all
71 Dan. xii.2. 72 [Thes.iy.16. 73 Rom.vi.19,4,5. 74 Col.iii.1,5,9,10. 752 Cor.v.17,18. 76 Eph.ii.1-3. 77 Rom. viii. 11,13. 78 Phil.ii.15,16.
things are become new; and all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ.75
These are some of the considerations which the fact of the resurrection of Christ from the dead presses upon us.
It becomes us therefore as we call ourselves Christians, who profess to believe this important fact, to examine ourselves, whether we have been made practically acquainted with the doctrine of the resurrection of Christ? Or, whether we are, according to the language of the Apostle, risen with Christ? May it be truly said of us, as it was of Christians in the Apostolic age, You hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins? Does our conduct evince that we are not walking according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind ??6 Does it testify that the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in us, so that we through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body,77 and seek to have our spirit and conduct regulated according to the word and will of God; to be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse world, that lieth in wickedness, shining as lights in the world, holding forth the word of life?8
Such are the character and conduct that become a profession of Christianity. Let it be our earnest prayer and endeavour that they may be ours; that we may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.19 If the Spirit of God do indeed influence our hearts, the word of God, which is the testimony of the Spirit, will be precious to us; we shall highly prize it, as a lamp to our feet, and a light to our path. We shall read, and hear, and meditate upon this blessed word, praying as the Psalmist did, Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law „80 and we shall endeavour to walk in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.81 We shall remember the dying love of our ever-blessed Redeemer with grateful hearts, and commemorate it as He has commanded us to do; praying that we may be enabled by His grace to feed on Hiin as the bread of life in our hearts by faith with thanksgiving, to the strengthening and refreshing of our souls; and that His atoning blood may be applied to our consciences, to cheer and comfort our hearts; that thus we may go on our way rejoicing, and be established in every good word and work; and the God of our salvation may be glorified in us and by us.
79 Titus ii. 10.
80 Psalm cxix. 105, 18.
81 Luke i. 6.