There is a great truth that never is to be forgotten, namely, that Christ and his people are one just as Adam and all his seed are one. That which Adam did he did as a head for a body, and as our Lord Jesus and all believers are one, so that which Jesus did he did as a head for a body. We were crucified together with Christ, we were buried with Christ, and we are risen together with him; yea, he hath raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. He says, “Because I live ye shall live also.”
If Christ be not raised from the dead your faith is vain, and our preaching is vain, and ye are yet in your sins, and those that have fallen asleep in Christ have perished, and you will perish too; but if Christ has been raised from the dead then all his people must be raised also; it is a matter of gospel necessity.
There is no logic more imperative than the argument drawn from union with Christ. God has made the saints one with Christ, and if Christ has risen all the saints must rise too. My soul takes firm hold on this and as she strengthens her grasp she loses all fear of death. Now we bear our dear ones to the cemetery and leave them each one in his narrow cell, calmly bidding him farewell and saying:
"So Jesus slept: God’s dying Son
Passed through the grave, and blest the bed
Rest here, dear saint, till from His throne
The morning breaks and pierce the shade.”
It is not merely ours to know that our brethren are living in heaven, but also that their mortal parts are in divine custody, securely kept till the appointed hour when the body shall be reanimated, and the perfect man shall enjoy the adoption of God. We are sure that our dead men shall live; together with Christ’s dead body they shall rise. No power can hold in durance the redeemed of the Lord. “Let my people go “ shall be a command as much obeyed by death as once by the humbled Pharaoh who could not hold a single Israelite in bonds. The day of deliverance cometh on apace.
“Break from his throne, illustrious morn!
Attend, O earth, His sovereign word;
Restore thy trust, a glorious form
He must ascend to meet his Lord.”
Once more, our Lord’s rising from the dead is a fair picture of the new life which all believers already enjoy.
Beloved, though this body is still subject to bondage like the rest of the visible creation, according to the law stated in Scripture, “the body is dead because of sin,” yet “the spirit is life because of righteousness.” The regeneration which has taken place in those who believe has changed our spirit, and given to it eternal life, but it has not affected our body further than this, that it has made it to be the temple of the Holy Ghost, and thus it is a holy thing, and cannot be obnoxious to the Lord, or swept away among unholy things; but still the body is subject to pain and weariness, and to the supreme sentence of death. Not so the spirit. There is within us already a part of the resurrection accomplished, since it is written, “And you hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins.” You once were like the ungodly, under the law of sin and death, but you have been brought out of the bondage of corruption into the liberty of life and grace; the Lord having wrought in you gloriously, “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.”
Now, just as Jesus Christ led, after his resurrection, a life very different from that before his death, so you and I are called upon to live a high and noble spiritual and heavenly life, seeing that we have been raised from the dead to die no more.
Let us joy and rejoice in this. Let us behave as those who are alive from the dead, the happy children of the resurrection. Do not let us be money grubbers, or hunters after worldly fame. Let us not set our affections on the foul things of this dead and rotten world, but let our hearts fly upward, like young birds that have broken loose of their shells fly upward towards our Lord and the heavenly things upon which he would have us set our minds. Living truth, living work, living faith, these are the things for living men: let us cast off the grave clothes of our former lusts, and wear the garments of light and life. May the Spirit of God help us in further meditating upon these things at home.
from the sermon "The Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus," preached by CHS April 9th, 1882