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only the nature of the first Adam, in whom “all died:" he is not partaker of the divine nature of the second Adam, in whom “all are made alive.” And this is not left a doubtful matter. It is not doubtful concerning a tree, whether on the wild stalk a better graft has been inserted. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” No less surely, if any man have the Spirit of Christ, he will show the fruits of the Spirit; “which are love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” These will be the effects of the Spirit of Christ; altering the whole character of the man, and giving him a new nature.
10. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
11. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
The carnal nature, the body, which is the instrument of sin, is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life, because of the righteousness which it communicates.” The natural body is dead to God; but the Spirit will revive this also, and make it “alive unto God through Jesus Christ.” As he had himself declared, “The time is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live.” The Spirit shall exercise a power over the corrupt members, like that which was displayed in raising the body of Jesus from the grave: and the members which by nature would be yielded as the instruments of unrighteousness unto sin, shall through the Spirit become the instruments of righteousness, and be active and vigorous in the service of God. The soul, indeed, is the seat of life; but the body is the instrument through which the soul operates; and by the habits of the body it is seen whether a man be living to God or to himself; and they that have the Spirit of Christ, will “glorify God in their body and in their spirit, which are God’s.””
8 Gal. v. 22.
* This passage has received from the beginning very different interpretations. Theodoret is the authority for that which I have taken: speaking of the death of the body as a moral death. So Chrysostom, likewise, but with a different meaning; that of the state to which the body is brought by the Spirit, so as to be dead in respect of sin. The majority of modern commentators consider that the actual, not the spiritual, resurrection is intended.
Having these promises, we have encouragement to cleanse ourselves from all corruption of flesh and spirit, and to perfect holiness in the fear of God. Nay, an obligation, a necessity is laid upon us.
12. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye
through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
14. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: for the body is already dead because of sin; and unless it be quickened by the Spirit, it remains dead: and with the corrupt body the soul remains dead also; is in a state of death, from which nothing recovers it. The ori* John v. 25. 5 1 Cor. vi. 20.
ginal character exists, that which Adam left you; and with the original character, the original sentence too: ye shall die: no entrance shall be allowed you into the kingdom of Christ and of God. But if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. The promise of Christ is fulfilled in you: ye have heard the voice, which “they that hear shall live.” For, “to as many as receive him, to them gives he power to become the sons of God.” They have the privilege of children together with the character of children. Being led by the Spirit, they are recognized as the sons of God.
So important is the matter of which we must have proof. We must have proof that we do not lire after the flesh of which we consist; we are to oppose our very nature; and on our doing so, our eternal life depends. If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die.
How mistaken, then, must those be, who believe that all will be well with them, though they take no such pains: and are content to go through life as smoothly as they can, as if they had nothing to conflict with and overcome! The common language of the world is:—We have these dispositions; these “ desires of the flesh and of the mind;” and He who knows they are implanted in our nature, will not expect us to resist them.
Thoughts like these will be at once rejected by the children of God. They have received the Spirit of adoption: and with that, a dutiful desire to know and to fulfil the will of God, and to bring their own nature into conformity with the divine.
0 John i. 12.
15. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
It is this feeling which ought to prevail in the Christian's mind: not a servile, but a filial spirit: which denies itself, and performs the duties to which the man is called, not only from necessity but from grateful love. Without doubt the apostle's mind here was reverting to the bondage from which they had been delivered: the bondage of the law, the yoke which neither they nor their fathers were able to bear. But though released from the bondage of the law, they were not without law: only the law by which they were now to be regulated was the law not of fear but of love. They were to be actuated, not by the spirit of bondage, which inquires, What must I do? But by the spirit of adoption, What can I do? The spirit which animates the child, when repayinga parent's care, and watching over the feebleness of declining years, to the exercise of watchful services which would be heavy to the spirit of bondage, but are light to the spirit of adoption. It was in that spirit that David inquired, “What shall I render unto the Lord for all the benefits that he hath done unto me?” It was in that spirit that Paul declared his rule of life: “The love of Christ constraineth us: because we thus judge; that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him who died for them.” And there is reason for this love. For it is He who has delivered us not only from the bondage of the law, but from its condemnation: and has enabled us, both Jews and Gentiles, to say, each in his own language of filial tenderness, Abba, Father.
7 2 Cor. v. 14.
THE WITNESS OF THE SPIRIT TO OUR ADOPTION AS CHILDREN OF GOD.
ROMANs viii. 16, 17.
16. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.
17. And if children, then heirs: heirs of God, and jointheirs with Christ: if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
This is a most important passage, because it declares that a man's religious state may be discerned: that it ought to be discoverable by himself, and known to his own heart, whether he is one of God's children. If he is so, there are witnesses to it; there is a two-fold testimony. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit. The Spirit of God itself, by that power which has access to the heart, adds its testimony to our spirit, our own mind and understanding: that “spirit of man which is within him, which knows what is in man.”
The apostle has used a term here, which suggests the idea of an examination, and a court of justice, in which out of the mouth of witnesses truth is established.