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in the congregation of the righteous, and will be presented before God “ without spot, wrinkle, or any such thing."
In these two respects we may regard the body of our Lord calling upon us to realise the true resurrection, that of our souls from the bondage of the first Adam in the quickening Spirit of the last. Doubtless it was not necessary for the Lord to continue here for forty days after his resurrection, other than to teach us that through our lives we should witness to the covenant in a deliverance from evil in the power of the resurrection. There was evidence that he possessed a spiritual body. He was not at once recognised by many of His followers. It possessed properties which belonged not to a material body. On one occasion He forbad the Magdalene to touch Him. She may have desired the former privileged friendship, but now she must enjoy it in the only way in which all must-through the outpoured Spirit. It was no doubt the manifestation of this spiritual body giving forth some of its glory, as seen on the mount in Galilee, that some doubted. But at other times subsequent to His resurrection, He may, as our true Exemplar, have exhibited the resurrection life in the body of His humiliation, as he said, “It is flesh and bones." Again, He partook of meat. He invited Thomas not only to touch Him, but to thrust his hands into His side. During the period of His humiliation, when He was transfigured, He put on the body of His glory; then, when He had risen, may He not have appeared in the body of His humiliation ? Doubtless by such infallible proofs was He seen forty days after His resurrection.
To this two-fold character of the resurrection Paul refers (2 Cor. v. 5). Possessing the earnest of the Spirit, he had the resurrection life ; but he knew that so long as this body was the house, the tabernacle of his life, he was absent from the Lord. He desired the tabernacle that is above, even the spiritual body. He did not want to be unclothed, however burdened with this body of humiliation, for he was therein doing the will of God; but he did desire the heavenly tabernacle, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. From the resurrection life in Christ Jesus, we cannot separate the gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts ii. 30—33), nor the future glory at the Father's right hand (Rev. iii. 21). The one is the introduction to the other. For if we be risen with Christ, we seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God.
We are exhorted, then, to sanctify the Lord God in our hearts ; to have a good conscience in God by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who was put to death in the flesh and made alive in the spirit (1 Pet. iii. 15, 16). In this double antithesis there is no mistaking the distinct meaning of the passage. So Timothy was exhorted and encouraged not to be ashamed of the testimony, the subjective testimony of the Lord, which He bore before Pontius Pilate, when, despite the wrong-doing of men, He manifested His own kingship over all the power of the enemy. Death is abolished, and life and immortality are brought to light. But it is asked, “How is it that we see all things continue as they were from the foundation of the world ?” Is it not that men may realise the truth in the earnest of the Spirit, and, earnestly looking forward, desire their spiritual house eternal in the heavens ?
The resurrection and session at the Father's right hand is the birthright of the whole human family, to be realised by each one individually. By the grace of God " we are now the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when He shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is" (1 John iii. 1). Again, it is written, “Whom He did foreknow, His purpose being no afterthought, He predestinated, conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom. viii. 29).
The invisible Church would be no exclusive testimony, but a witness to the covenant in its universal tendency. It has the spiritual blessings in heavenlies. It knows and testifies in holiness and love to the purpose and grace of God for all men. For the Father hath made us accepted in the beloved, in whom we have redemption, through His blood the remission of sins. In the Book of the Revelation, in the first three verses, there is a repeated reference to the covenant,—to Him who is emphatically it, who has the seven stars and the seven Spirits, and who writes to the seven churches. The Three Persons of the Trinity are referred to, then the four beasts as representing all flesh. The twenty-four elders attest the universal application of the covenant-two twelves representing the two dispensations respectively, the legal and the gospel in their mutual relation : that of the twelve tribes fulfilled in Christ, that of the Apostles in the Spirit. In the covenant addressing itself to the seven churches, we see the truth of God in relation to the human family—that every man may in one of these churches see, as in a mirror, his own generation or condition. To each of these seven epistles most solemn and important words are added : “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." What few words could more fully express the covenant? “Behold I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” If thus we receive Christ, who alone has the key of David, and who sets before us an open door, which no man can shut, we enter with Him and partake with Him of the fulness of the blessing of the Divine nature, and so are one with the Father and the Son in one Spirit. Not to receive Him is to reject redemption, to shut the door against ourselves, to trample under foot the blood of the everlasting covenant, and do despite to the Spirit of Grace.
EPHESIANS iv, 5.
“ One faith."
Having considered the covenant in its sevenfold aspect, and our relation to it, we now proceed to the consideration of that faith which is indispensable to a true knowledge of it.
There is but one faith. The Bible knows but one-one, throughout all time, distinct, intact.
It would be useless to attempt to reconcile the conflicting statements concerning faith. If men fail to understand the mind of the inspired writer, and regard not the two unvarying principles of the covenant, even as set forth by the Lord's names, Christ Jesus, in their relative order, they concoct or rest in some scheme or system of theology, which may include some truths and be bolstered up with a semblance of a critical interpretation; yet, withal, promote only a fearful uncertainty, such as is now pervading all classes. Much religious persuasion is the result rather of what men find themselves doing, than of what the Word of God reveals. Men regard as infallible that which they in their self-complacency practise, and so, like the Church of Rome, Protestants so called determine from their own acts, despite the simple teaching of the Word, what is possible and what impossible.
It is apparent to all who have learned Christ, and have life in the Son of God, how mystified and confused is the idea of faith. One, attacking error, thus writes : “I believe a religion without any exercise of the intellect is credulity, and