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THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY.
PhiliPPIANS, III. 20, 21.
From whence also we look for the Saviour, the
Lord Jesus Christ; who shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
The text treats of a most amazing change to be one day wrought in the bodies of men, as also of the person who is to effect it, namely, our Lord Jesus Christ. And indeed, “ we trusted it had been he
who should have redeemed Israel” from all bis troubles. But are we
strangers in Jerusalem, “ and know not the things that have come to pass “there in these days;" that this same Jesus, falsely accused, through envy, by the nobles of Judah, has been cast into the den of lions, with a stone brought and laid upon the mouth of the den, and sealed with a signet, that the purpose might not be changed concerning himo, nor any possibility remain of his escaping from thence? In this state, he is by no means able to perform the great work ascribed to him in the text. For it must be observed, that though he be indeed God over all, he is not the Saviour, without bis humanity. Though the raising the dead be an act of omnipotence, and consequently one which must be wrought by his Divinity, yet it is not Jesus Christ that does it, unless the Divinity does it in Jesus. And thus the text runs-" We “ look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus.” But from whence do we look for him? From the sepulchre ? No; from heaven; “Our conversation is in heaven, « from whence we look for the Saviour.” Surely, then,
a Dan. vi. 17.
66 the God whom he served has delivered hiin " from the power of the lions. 6." Surely, “the King " has sent and delivered him, the Prince of the
people has let him go free.” “He is escaped as a " bird out of a snare of the fowler: the snare is
broken, and he is delivered",” and fled away towards heaven. For how should a person, once laid in the grave, come from heaven, unless he were first risen, and ascended thither? Four days ago he was carried captive into the kingdom of death, and confined in that strong city the grave; and now we look for hiin to come from heaven. For thus doth the prophet Isaiah most magnificently describe him returning to his capital, from the land of the enemy, after his passion : “ Who is this that cometh from Edom, “ with dyed garments from Bozrah; this that is
glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness
b. Dan. vi. 22. 27.
c Psal. cv. 20.
d Psal. cxxiv. 7.
“ of his strength? I who speak in righteousness “ mighty to save'.” Well therefore may we “look « for the Saviour from heaven,” for there most certainly he is. And from thence, as the text affirms, he shall as certainly come to raise us. He who died on the cross to redeem, who rose from the sepulchre to justify, and who sent his Spirit from heaven to sanctify our souls, he, even he, shall come to glorify our bodies, and finish his work. And then shall we hear “ from the throne the voice of mighty thunderings,” saying, It is done.
“ I am Alpha and Omega, the “ first and the last, the beginning and the end. I
will give unto him that is athirst of the water of life
freely.” May we not, therefore, address the world in the words of Moses's divine
“ Give ear, O ye heavens, and he will speak: and hear, “O earth, the words of his mouth. His doctrine “shall drop as the rain, and his speech distil as the
dewf; for, as it is elsewhere written, his “ dew is
as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out “the dead.”. The dew, like himself, arises from earth, but we look for it from heaven; “from whence “ also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, “ who shall change our vile body, that it may be “ fashioned like unto his glorious body, according “ to the working, whereby he is able even to subdue “all things to himself.”
Let us then consider Christ coming from heaven as a Saviour.
Man consists of two parts, both of which stand in
e Isa. Ixiii. 1.
f Deut. xxxii, I.
$ Isa. xxvi. 19.
need of a Saviour, because both fell, and became subject to the destroyer. The salvation here spoken of is plainly the salvation of the body, not excluding that of the soul, but perfective of it. For if Christ be here denominated a Saviour, because he comes to change the body, then is he here spoken of as the Saviour of the body which he comes to change. Now, a Saviour is one that delivers us from our enemies, as it is written-" He hath raised up an horn of salva« tion for us that we should be saved from our ene" mies
But the enemy that destroys the body is death, and therefore the body cannot be saved from that enemy without a resurrection, nor can Christ be its Saviour, unless he raise it from the dead. But the apostle here styles him the Saviour, with respect to the body; therefore he will be its “ resurrection “ and its life, and whosoever believeth in him, though "he were dead, yet shall he live.”
Indeed, the work of redemption is left unfinished, if this be not the case. For notwithstanding the sufferings and resurrection of Christ, "the whole creation
groaneth, and travaileth in pain together, until now; " and not only they, but ourselves also, which have “ the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves
groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to “ wit, the redemption of the body'.” This, and this only, crowns and makes effectual the labour of a Redeemer. “ For this end,” says the apostle, “Christ “ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be “Lord, both of the dead and of the living k." And
Luke, i. 69-71.
i Rom. viii. 22.
k Rom. xiv. 9.
again," he hath appointed a day in which he will
judge the world by that man whom he hath or« dained; whereof he has given assurance unto all
men, in that he raised him from the dead!." Christ was incarnate that he might die, he died that he might rise, he rose that he might ascend, he ascended that he might take possession of his kingdom, and he took possession of his kingdom that he might raise the dead and judge the world. “The God of our fathers," says
St. Peter “raised up Jesus, whom ye slew; him “ hath God exalted with his right hand”-for what end?-"To be a Prince and a Saviour".” He, there. fore, that has “done so great things for us already, “whereof we do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice,” will never leave us in our enemies' hand, but “shall reign “till he has put all enernies under his feet;" and we know, “the last enemy that shall be destroyed is " DEATH."
Again, he who is eternal truth, and who promised to raise Christ, has promised to raise us. He has fulfilled one part of his promise, and therefore will accomplish the other.
Nor is this all. But such is the intimate union between Christ and us, that his resurrection in effect is ours; and we are looked upon by our heavenly Father as already risen in his beloved Son. For we must consider Christ as suffering and rising, not for himself alone, but for us. We must not view him as a private person, as a single individual, but as the representative and substitute of human nature, and of
| Aets, xvii. 31.
m Acts, v. 30.