ROMANS vi, 8 - 10.
"Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.For in that he died, he died unto sin once : but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God."

By the death of Christ a full penalty was rendered for sin, insomuch that He could no more be reckoned with on account of it. He undertook to be surety for all who should believe; and having finished His undertaking, the matter was closed, and the creditor now ceased from putting in any further claim, or preferring any further challenge against Him. For us to be dead with Christ, is just to share in this very exoneration. It was for us that the account was settled; and, just as much as if by death the appointed penalty we had settled it ourselves, do we now stand acquitted of all further count and reckoning because of sin. In the covenanting of ordinary trade, a deficiency from our engagements brings us into debt; but should an able cautioner liquidate the whole, we, in him,may be said to have sustained the prosecution,and borne the damage, and are now clear of the weight of conscious debt - because in him we have made full and satisfactory payment. In our covenant with the Lawgiver of heaven and earth, a deficiency from our engagements brings us into guilt; but should a competent mediator take upon his own person the whole burden of its imputation and its penalty, we, in him, may be said to have been pursued even unto death which was its sentence, and should now feel clear of tbe weight of conscious guilt - because in him we have rendered a full atonement. And we live beneath our privilege, we fail in making the required usc of the great propitiation, we arc deficient of the homage that is due to its completeness and its power - ifwe cast not the burden of legal condemnation away from our spirits. It is detracting from the richness and the efficacy of Heaven’s boon, for us to cherish the haunting imagination of a debt, that the revealed Surety has done away - or, changing the terms, to cherish the haunting imagination of a guilt, for which the High Priest whom God Himself has set forth, has made a sacrifice where-with God Himself has declared that He is well pleased.

So that it is your positive duty to take the comfort of this, and to feel the deliverance of this. In as far as you do not, in so far you nullify the work of redemption, and cast a dimness and a disparagement over the most illustrious exhibition of Heaven’s grace - dignified as it is with the full expression of Heaven’s righteousness. Be dead with Christ then; and, this you are by putting faith in the atoning efficacy of that death. He who so believes is as free from condemnation, as if the cup of it had been put into his own hands, and he had already exhausted it to its last dregs - as if in his own person, he had walked the whole length of the valley and shadow of that death which every sinner has rightfully incurred - as if what was only possible for the Godhead to have borne within a given compass of time he himself had borne, the sufferings of that eternity which is in reserve for all the guilt that is unexpiated. Be dead with Christ, by giving credit to the gospel testimony about the death of Christ, and the whole of this tremendous retribution for sin with you is as good as over; and it is your own comfort, as well as God’s commandment, that you henceforth, with the assurance of being set at liberty from sin, walk before Him relieved from the bondage both of its conscious guilt and of its anticipated vengeance.

But in order to be fully conformed to the death of Christ, we must advert to what is said in the 9th and 10th verses, about the full and conclusive efficacy of it - so conclusive, that it had not again to be repeated, for He had to die only once, and death hath no more dominion over Him. There was power enough for the whole purpose of our deliverance from, guilt in the one offering - a truth of sufficient worth, it would appear, to be urged by the apostle in other places of the New Testament, when he says, that Christ did not offer Himself often; for then must He have often suffered since the foundation of the world - but now once, hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself: And Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many: And it is through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all, that we are cleansed from guilt: And, finally, laying upon this point the stress of a frequent reiteration, does the apostle say that it is by one offering that we are for ever perfected. There is surely a real practical importance in a matter so much insisted on; and accordingly, we infer from another passage,that it was to save the believer from the constant recurrence and revival, in his heart, of a sense ofguilt - it was that, once purged, he should have no more conscience of sins - it was that he should look on the controversy between him and God as now fully adjusted, and at an end - it was that in the contemplation of that one act, even the decease which Christ accomplished at Jerusalem, He should feel as conclusively relieved from the imagination of guilt, as the son, in whose behalf the father has interposed and given ample satisfaction to all his creditors, feels himself relieved from the imagination of debt - it was that we should no longer conjure into life again, those fearful misgivings,which the one death of Christ and our death with Him should hush into everlasting oblivion - So that, if it be our duty to rejoice in the comfort of our full acquittance, through the satisfaction rendered by Him who poured out His soul for us - it goes to enhance the comfort still more, that there is an amount and a value in this same satisfaction,for meeting all the exigencies of our future history in the world - thus ministering the very antidote to our fears, which the apostle John urges upon his disciples, that if any man sin we have an Advocate with the Father, even Him who is the propitiation for our sins, Jesus Christ the righteous.

If we be dead with Christ, and death have no more dominion over Him - this is tantamount to guilt being no longer chargeable upon us. And ought not this to be felt as a precious enhancement of the blessing? setting an irrevocable seal as it were upon our reconciliation with God - placing it securely beyond the reach, not merely of the impediments which sin already contracted had thrown in the way; but also beyond the reach of all those future accidents, that the sin, into which we shall be surprised or into which we shall stumble, may afterwards involve us. We set not the remedy at its full worth, if we use it not to quiet the alarms of the guilt that is before us, as well as of the guilt that is behind us - if, like the children of Israel, we think that some great purifying ceremonial must be set up anew to wash away the outstanding defilements of the current year, under which they are meanwhile in a state of distance and displeasure from God - if we regard not the fulness that is in Christ as a perennial fountain, which is at all times accessible; and is a very present cure to the conscience, under the many inroads and solicitations of that sinful nature which never ceases to beset us with its urgency - Thus overbearing the sense of guilt with the sense of that healing virtue which lies in the blood of the one sacrifice; and upholding the spirit of the believer, even while opprest with the infirmities of his earthly tabernacle, in the clear and confident feeling of his acceptance with God.

But is not this, it may be said, equivalent to the holding forth of a Popish indulgence for all sins, past, present, and to come? And, is not this a signal for antinomianism? And will not the feeling of onr death to the guilt of sin, make us all alive to the charm of its many allurements - now heightened by a sense of impunity? And will not the peace that we are thus called upon to maintain,even while sin has its residence in our hearts, lull us still further into a peace that will not be broken,even though sin should reign over our habits and our history? We have sometimes thought so, my brethren, and, under the suggestion of such a fear, have qualified the freeness, and laid our clauses and our exceptions and our drawbacks on the fulness of the gospel; and, solicitous for the purityof the human character, have lifted a timid and a hesitating voice when proclaiming the overtures of pardon for human guilt.

But we are now thoroughly persuaded, that the effective way of turning men from sin to righteousness, is to throw, wide and open before them, the door of reconciliation; and that a real trust in God for acceptance, is ever accompanied with a real movement of the heart towards godliness; and that to mix or darken the communications of good-will to the world through Him who died for it, is not more adverse to the rest of the sinner, than it is adverse to the holiness of the sinner; and that, after all, the true way of keeping up love in the heart, is to keep up peace in the conscience - thus making your freedom from the guilt of sin, the best guarantee for your deliverance from its power; and this because if you can interpose the death of Christ in arrest of condemnation, when Satan for the purposes of disturbance would inject the fears of unbelief into your bosom,he the great adversary of souls, paralysed at the very sight of such a barrier in all his measures of hostility against you, would retire a baffled enemy from that contest, in which, for the purposes of a sinful dominion over you, he tried to assail and to conquer by the force of his temptations.

But the certainty of that connection, which obtains between a death unto the guilt of sin, and a death unto its power, will be more manifest afterwards: And, meanwhile, after having said so much on the clause of being dead with Christ, it may now be time for offering our remarks on the clause that we shall live with Him.Yet before we proceed to the elucidation of this latter clause, we may remark a sanctifying influence in the former one. We are looked upon by the Lawgiver as dead with Christ - that is, as having in Him borne the penalty of our sins, and therefore as no longer the subjects of a curse that has already been discharged, of a condemnatory sentence that is already executed.

Now though we share alike with Christ, in this privilege of afinal acquittance from that death which has no more dominion over Him, and is for ever averted from us - yet it was at His expense alone, and not at ours, that the acquittance was obtained. It would have cost us an eternity of suffering in hell,to have traversed the whole of that vengeance that was denounced upon iniquity; and it was therefore so condensed upon the person of the Saviour,who had the infinity of the Godhead to sustain it,that on Him, during the limited period of His sufferings on earth, all the vials of the Almighty’swrath were poured forth and so were expended.By our fellowship with Him in His death, we have been borne across a gulf, which to ourselves would have been utterly interminable; and have been landed on a safe and peaceful shore, over whichno angry cloud whatever is suspended; and have been conclusively placed beyond the reach of those devouring billows, into which the despisers of the gospel salvation shall be absorbed, and have forever their fiery habitation. But this is just because Christ has, in the greatness of His love, for us travelled through the depths of all this endurance - just because, in the agonies of the garden and the sufferings of the cross, were concentrated the torments of millions through eternity - just because, in that mysterious passion which for us He underwent, He with tears and cries and anguish unutterable, forced the way of reconciliation - And we who are dead with Christ, partake in all thetriumphs of this sore purchase, but not in the pains of it; and have now our feet established ona quiet landing-place. And the sanctifying influence to which we now advert, and which no real believer can withstand, is gratitude to Him, who hath wrought out for us so mighty a deliverance.It is the respondeney of love from our hearts, to that love which burnt so unquenchably in His,and bore Him up under the burden of a world’s atonement. It is the rightful sentiment, that now we are not our own, but the ransomed and redeemed property of another.

This touches, and touches irresistibly, upon him who rightly appreciates all the horrors of that everlasting captivity from which we have been brought, and all the expense of that dreadful equivalent which Christ had to render - And he thus judges, that, as Christ died for all, then were all dead; and He died,that those who live might live no longer to themselves, but to Him who died for them and rose again.We believe that we shall also live with Him. To explain the phrase of our being dead with Christ,we had to ascertain how it was that Christ was dead; and we find by the following verse that He died unto sin, and we in like manner are dead unto sin; or, in other words, the wages of sin being paid to Christ, there is no further reckoning between them - and, as this transaction was for us and in our stead, it is just as if death the wages of sin had been rendered unto us; and sin can now hold no further count, and prefer no further charge against us.
This sense of dying unto sin on the part of Christ, will conduct us to the sense of His living unto God. The life that He now lives with Him,has been conferred upon Him in the shape of wages. In other words, it is a reward consequent upon what He has done for us, and in our stead-even as the death that He bore was a punishment, consequent upon His having become accountable for us, and in our stead. This will recall to you, my brethren, a distinction to which we have already had occasion to advert; and for which there seemeth a real warrant in the book of revelation--the distinction that there is, in point of effect, between the passive and the active obedience of Christ - the one satisfying for sin and making an end of its curse and punishment - So that to be dead with Christ and dead unto sin, is to live in the condition of those, on whom the curse and the punishment have already been expended; and who have therefore nothing now to fear from its charges - whereas to live with Christ or to be alive unto God, is to share with Him that positive favour which Christ hath merited from God by His positive righteousness. It is something more than simply to cease from being the children of wrath, and the heirs of damnation - it is to become the objects of a positive good-will, and the heirs or the expectants of a positive reward.The single term also, indicates that the privilege of sharing with Him in His life, is distinct from and additional to the privilege of sharing in His death. By the one we only escape the curse - by the other we obtain the blessing. By the one, we are lightened of the debt which He hath discharged through His sufferings - by the other, we share in the property which He hath acquired through His services. The one shuts against us the gate of hell. The other opens for us the gate of heaven. Did we only share with Him in His death, we would be found midway between the region of pain and the region of positive enjoyment; but by also sharing with Him in His life, we are elevated the higher region, and partake in those very gloriesand felicities to which the Saviour has been exalted. Had the alone work of the Saviour been an expiation for sin, there would have been a death,and such a death as would have exempted us from its endurance. but there would have been no resurrection. But in the words of the prophet Daniel, our Saviour did more than finish transgression and make an end of sin - He also brought an everlasting righteousness; and so reaped for Himself and those who believe in Him a positive reward, the first fruits of which were His own resurrection to blessedness, and the consummation of which will be a similar resurrection to all His followers.

It was the atonement which laid Him in His grave. It was His righteousness that lifted Him forth again, and bore Him up to paradise.Had there been an atonement and nothing more, like prisoners dismissed from the bar we would have been simply let alone. But He brought in a righteousness also - so that we not only are relieved of all fear; but, inspired with joyful hope, we, in addition to being dead with Him, believe that we shall also live with Him. And thus it is, that,while He was delivered up unto the death for our offences, that the guilt of them may be absolved in the atonement which He made - He was raised again for our justification, or that we may share in that merit for which He Himself was exalted, and on account of which we too believe that we shall be exalted also.
You will see then, that as we understand the phrase of our dying with Christ forensically - some understand this phrase of our living with Christ forensically. It is our living through His righteousness, in that favour which is better than life - the sense of which favour will keep our spirits tranquil and happy here; and will often, even among the turmoils of our earthly pilgrimage,brighten into such a gleam of comfort and elevation, as shall be the foretaste to us of the coming extacy - when, on our entrance into the habitation of God’s unclouded and immediate presence, we shall share with our Redeemer, now on high in His full enjoyment of the divine glory; and, beheld as we shall be in the face of Christ, of that love wherewith the Father hath loved Him.But just as a believing sense on our part, of our being dead with Christ unto sin in the forensic sense of the phrase, leads, as we have already affirmed, to our being dead unto sin in the personal sense of the phrase, so as that we become dead in our regard for sin - in like manner, my brethren, a believing sense of our living with Christ in the forensic sense of the phrase, will lead to a living with Him in the personal sense of the phrase also.

So as that the style and character of our life shall resemble His - loving what He loves, sharing with Him in His tastes and in His powers as well as in His privileges, walking along with Him in the very same track of happiness and glory - For which purpose it is altogether essential, that we be endued with a heart which delights in the very same pursuits, and feels the working and aspiration of the very same properties. Or, in other words, admitted as we are to rejoice with Him in that favour of God which He hath purchased by His obedience,we shall not have the conviction and the feeling of this, without also rejoicing with Him, even as He does now in beholding the character of God - in gazing with delight on the aspect of His pure and unspotted holiness - in copying upon our own spirits all those graces and virtues which we admire in His. So that to live with Christ in tile fellowship of those privileges which by His merit He has won, will bring in its train our living with Him in the fellowship of all that kindred excellence by which His person is adorned - being alive unto God, not merely in regard to our right through Christ to His friendship; but alive unto Him, in the restoration of a nature that is now attracted by the charm of His moral attributes, and finds both its delight and its dignity to live in the imitation of them.

There is a sure transition between our being justified by faith, and our being sanctified by faith.There is a provision made for this, in the mechanism of the moral nature of man below; and there is a provision made for it, in that celestial mechanism which has been set up in heaven - and from which there come down those holy influences, that serve to regenerate our world. Faith makes known to us the love of God, and upon this gratitude calls forth the love of the heart to Him back again.Faith reveals to us that exquisite union, which is held out in the gospel, between the awful and the lovely attributes of His nature; and the fear that hath torment being now allayed, and the consciousness of personal security being now established, we can, without dread and without disturbance, take an entire view of the Divinity, and add to the homage of our thanksgiving, the homage of a reverence that is free from terror, to such a full and finished glory. Faith opens to our sight the real character of heaven, in the sacredness of its angelic delights and its holy services - so that to rejoice in the hope of our living there, it is indispensable that we should rejoice in the devices and the doings of saintliness here.

Neither can we cherish the belief that we shall live with Christ, unless the kind of life that is held through eternity along with Him,be dear and congenial to our bosoms - so that grant the faith through which we obtain an interest inHis righteousness to reside and operate within us, there are securities in the very constitution of the inner man, that we shall aspire after and at last attain unto holiness.Yet however suited the mechanism of our heart sis, to this purifying operation of faith - it will not move, neither will it persevere in the movement,without a continued impulse from above; and, to secure this, there has been raised, if I may use the expression, a mechanism in heaven - by the working of which, a stream of living water is made to descend upon the moral nature of man, so as to attune all its emotions and desires to those of the spiritual nature of the upper paradise.

In other words, there is a true sanctuary there, whereof Christ Himself is the minister, and it is His office, not merely to carry up the prayers of his people to Him who sitteth upon the throne, mixed with the acceptable odour of His own merits - but also to send down from the Holiest of Holies upon our world, that regenerating influence by which man is awakened to a new moral existence, and upheld in all the affections and in all the exercises of godliness. He is the prevailing Advocate, through whom our ascending supplications rise with acceptance to God. But He, the Lord from heaven, is also the quickening Spirit, through whom the light and the heat of the sanctuary are made to descend upon us. It is thus that faith is deposited at the first; and it is thus that faith is upheld ever afterwards, in power to work within us all the feelings and all the fruits of righteousness. The HolyGhost, that blessing so precious and so pre-emninent,as to be styled the promise of the Father - it was by His power and agency express, that Christ was revived, and His resurrection from the grave was accomplished; and, as if to fulfil and illustrate the saying of our Saviour that "because I live ye shall live also", this very power has been committed to His mediatorial hand; and it is just by its working that He quickens us, who by nature are dead in trespasses and sins, into a spiritual resurrection.
Thus are we made spiritually alive unto God, and walk in newness of life before Him And if it be asked, how shall this virtue be brought to bear upon us, we answer that the prayer of faith will bring it down at any time - that with it the door of heaven’s sanctuary is opened; and the required blessing passes with sure conveyance into that believer’s heart, the door of which is open to receive it:

And, such is the established accordancy between the doings of the upper sanctuary and the doings of the church upon earth, that every member thereof, who lives in the favour of God because of the righteousness of Christ imputed unto him,will live also in the love and likeness of God because of the holiness of the Spirit infused into him.

The only practical inference I shall at present insist upon, is founded on the connection that we have so abundantly adverted to, between the faith of a sinner and his sanctification. The next verse will give us room for enlarging upon this all-important topic. But meanwhile be assured, that you may, with as much safety, confide the cause of your holiness upon earth to the exercise of believing, as you confide the cause of your happiness in heaven to this exercise. The primary sense of believing that we shall live with Christ, is, that, through His righteousness, we shall be admitted to that place of glory which He now occupies - there to spend with Him a blissful eternity; and according to this belief, if real, so shall it be done unto us. But in like manner also, let us just believe that we shall live with him here, by entering even now upon the fellowship of those virtues which adorn His character, and of that Spirit which actuated the whole of His conduct; and according to this belief, if real,so shall it be done unto us.

It is indeed to the eye of nature a most unlikely transformation, that creatures so prone as we are to sense and to ungodliness; and beset with the infirmities of our earthly tabernacle, and weighed down under that load of corruption wherewith these vile bodies are ever encumbering us, that we should break forth, even here into an atmosphere of sacredness, and inhale that spiritual life by which we become assimilated to the saints and the angels that now surround the throneof God. But the more unlikely this is to the eye of nature, so much the more glorious will be the victory of our faith, that it triumphs over the strength of an improbability so grievous. And if, like Abraham of old, we against hope believe in hope; and stagger not at the promise because of unbelief, but are strong in faith giving glory to God - then, barren as we constitutionally are of all that is spiritually excellent, still, such is the influence of our faith over our sanctification, that, if there be truth in the promises of God, we shall be made to abound in the fruits of righteousness.The best practical receipt I can give you, my brethren, for becoming holy is to be steadfast in the faith. Believe that Christ’s righteousness is your righteousness; and His graces will become your graces. Believe that you are a pardoned creature; and this will issue in your becoming a purified creature. Take hold of the offered gift of Heaven;and you will not only enter, after death, on the future reversion of heaven’s triumphs and heaven’s joys - but before death, nay even now, will you enter upon the participation of heaven’s feelings, and the practice of heaven’s moralities.

Go in prayer with the plea of Christ’s atonement and His merits; and state, in connection with this plea, that what you want, is that you be adorned with Christ’s likeness, and that you be assisted in putting on the virtues which signalised Him. And you will find the plea to be omnipotent; and the continued habit of such prayer, applied to all the exigencies of your condition, will enable you to substantiate the example of your Saviour, throughout all the varietiesof providence amid of history. In a word, faith is the instrument of sanctification. And when you have learned the use of this instrument, you have learned the way to become holy upon earth now, as well as the way to become eternally happy in heaven hereafter.

The believing prayer that God will aid you in this difficulty; and counsel you in this perplexity; and enable you to overcome in this trial of charity and patience; and keep up in your heart the principle of godliness, amid the urgency of all those seducing influences by which you aresurrounded - this you will find, my brethren, to be the sure stepping-stone, to a right acquittal of yourself, in all the given circumstances of your conditionin the world. And let the repeated experience of your constant failures, when you had nothing but the power and the energies of nature to trust to,shut you up unto the faith.
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