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of the blessings of which baptism is the sacramental sign, we shall partake of spiritual life, we shall walk with God as our heavenly Father in Christ Jesus, we shall live under the influence of His Holy Spirit, and our conduct will be conformed to His holy will and commandments. As the apostle declared to the Galatians, The life which we now live in the flesh, we shall live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved us, and
gave Himself for us.82 We shall live above the world, having our conversation in heaven,83 seeking those things that are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. 84 If we are Christians indeed, we shall give evidence to all around us of the change of heart which has taken place in us, by our conduct being such as becometh the gospel of Christ.83 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. Here the manner of the death of Christ is referred to, for the purpose of showing that the believer in Christ is engaged, by his profession, to mortify his earthly members; to deny himself in every thing that is contrary to the will of his heavenly Father, as it is revealed in the word of God; to crucify the flesh, with its affections and lusts.82 His corrupt affections are to be put to a lingering death; they are to be continually restrained from breaking out in opposition to the will of God, and to the disgrace of his holy profession. He is not to serve sin, as the people of the world do, but in all things to approve himself as the servant of God, doing His will from the heart. Divine grace is needful to enable us to do this; but this grace to help in time of need, 85 will ever be vouchsafed in answer to the humble supplications of the children of God. They shall not be sent empty away, when they implore it at His footstool. For he that is dead is freed from sin. This is true both naturally and spiritually. A dead body no longer commits sin. So he that is buried with Christ by baptism into death, is freed from the dominion of sin. As the apostle says to such persons in this chapter, Sin shall not have dominion over you, for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
82 Gal. ii. 20; v. 24.
83 Phil. iii. 20; i. 27.
84 Col. iii. 1.
This consideration leads him to look forward to that blessed state, wherein the believer in Christ shall not only be freed from the dominion of sin, but from its very being, when sin shall trouble him no more for ever. He says, Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him. It is the privilege of believers in Christ to look forward beyond this sinful dying world, with a good hope that they shall be admitted to partake of eternal life and blessedness
85 Hebrews iv. 16.
86 Romans vi. 14.
when they have done with all things here below. This hope that when Christ, who is their life shall appear, then shall they also appear with Him in glory,87 animates them to run with patience the race that is set before them, and to deny themselves, and take up their cross daily and follow Him, mortifying the whole body of sin. Knowing this, that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more, death hath no more dominion over Him. Our Lord Jesus Christ having been raised from the dead and gone into heaven, ever liveth. This is the consolation of His people. His resurrection is a pledge of theirs. He rose as the first fruits of them that slept,89 the earnest of a joyful harvest. The dying believer in Christ may therefore commit his spirit into the hands of his faithful Saviour; not doubting but that He will take charge of it; that it will depart to be with Christ ; that when it shall quit its earthly tenement, it will be present with the Lord.90 And that although death may have the dominion over his mortal body, yet the time will come when all that are in their graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and shall come forth, they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life. Then this corruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality; and death shall be swallowed
ир in victory.89 Then the believer in
87 Col. iii. 4. 88 Heb. xii. 2. 89 1 Cor. xv. 20, 54. 90 2 Cor. v. 8.
Christ shall live with his Lord and Saviour for evermore, and never again be separated from His blissful presence. The deliverance of Christ from death and the grave, is a pledge to His believing people that death shall not have dominion over them for ever; but as surely as He lives, they shall live also, according to His gracious promise. He said of Himself to His beloved disciple, I am He that liveth and was dead; and behold I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.91 - As He who ever liveth has the keys of hell and of death, He will deliver His people from their power, so that they shall not have dominion over them, or be able to exclude them from the kingdom of God.
The apostle mentions what it was that caused the death of Christ. For in that He died, He died unto sin once. Sin was the cause of His death. Not His own sin, but for the transgression of His people was He stricken. The Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all, and made His soul an offering for sin ; in consequence of which He poured out His soul unto death, He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.92 But He rose from the dead and lived again, because it was not possible for the Holy One of God to see corruption, or to be detained as a prisoner in the grave. He was raised again for our justification, that we, being justified by faith, might have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ 193 who in that He liveth, liveth unto God; as the Mediator of the new covenant, as the High Priest over the house of God, who ever liveth to make intercession for them that come unto God by Him.94 Having made a complete atonement for sin, “a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world,” He is gone into heaven to plead His propitiation before the throne of God, as the High Priest of His church, which He purchased with His own blood; He liveth unto God as their Advocate and Intercessor, that through Him their prayers and supplications, and their sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving, may come up with acceptance before the mercy seat; and they may obtain from His grace those blessings which they need, to the relief of their necessity, and to the setting forth of His glory.
91 Revelation i. 18.
92 Isaiah liii. 8, 6, 10, 12.
The apostle, having thus set before believers in Christ their obligations to Him, and the blessings of which they were made partakers by His grace, exhorts them in the text, Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. This is the Christian life, and blessed are they
93 Romans iv. 25; v. 1.
94 Hebrews vii. 25.