Made Alive Through the Living Christ
For our meditation on the wonder of God's grace to us in raising Jesus from the dead, we consider this Standard Bearer article by one of the PRC Seminary's founders and first professors, Herman Hoeksema. He penned this in July of 1950 for the rubric "Our Doctrine," and its truth and light bears repeating in our day.
What wonders God has wrought for us sinners, including giving us new life in His Son, along with the hope of the resurrection of the dead in the day of Christ's return! Feed on these powerful words concerning one of the blessings of Jesus' resurrection:
Christ was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Rom. 4:25. Therefore, the resurrection of Christ from the dead is God's own verdict that all His own are justified in Him. And when we experience, by faith, the power of His resurrection, we are righteous before God with an everlasting and perfect righteousness. And “being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Rom. 5:1.
However, this imputed righteousness is not the only gift of grace bestowed upon us through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. We are also raised with Him unto a new life through that same power. This new life which we have in the risen Lord, and receive through the power of His resurrection, can never be separated from the righteousness we have in Him by faith. The two are always together. It is true, we can distinguish the two. Imputed righteousness is first. It is the ground upon which we are worthy of life, just as our sin is the ground of the sentence of death that is against us. If there were no righteousness in Christ, so that we are justified in Him, there would be no life. For we must be judged righteous before we have the right to be delivered from death. The righteousness we have in the risen Lord, therefore, is the basis of the life we have in Him. But this does not mean that one can never have the one without the other. One would never be able to say that he is justified by faith in the risen Lord, while he continued in sin and death. When we are engrafted into Christ, we do not receive His blessings of grace piecemeal, first one and then the other, but we become partakers of the living Lord, and of all the glorious benefits of salvation there are in Him. Hence, through the power of His resurrection we are also raised from the dead with Him. The resurrection of the Lord is the power unto a new life.
This new life we possess only in fellowship with the living Lord. Not for one moment do we have this life in ourselves. We must not conceive of this new life as something that is bestowed upon us only, in the moment of regeneration, and that, henceforth, we possess in ourselves, apart from Christ. On the contrary, it is never we that live, but Christ that lives in us. Just as the branch has no life in itself, but only in organic connection with the vine; so the believer has no life in himself, but only in communion with the living Lord. We live only because He lives. It is He that lives in us. If we were, even for one moment, say that this were possible, which it is not, separated from him, that moment we would sink back into our state of death. In fellowship with Him, we are raised from the dead. By His Spirit and through the Word, it is He that calls: “Awake, thou sleeper, and arise from the dead.” He says to us “Live”, and we do live. But it is also the same risen Lord that, by His Spirit and through His Word, continues to live in us, and we in Him. And thus He constantly makes us partakers of His resurrection life. Hence, the apostle confesses: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Gal. 2:20. And this is the confession of all that are raised by the power of the risen Lord.
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