Practical Lessons Of The Resurrection
Paul tells us that the same power which raised Christ from the dead is in us who believe (Eph. i.17-20). He says of Jesus: ‘When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men’ (Eph. iv. 8). He says of himself, ‘But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ. . . . That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection’ (Phil. iii. 7, 8, 10). The practical, everyday teaching of these Scriptures to me is this: that since Jesus rose from the dead and ascended on high, He puts at my disposal the same power to do and suffer His will that His Heavenly Father gave to Him. Jesus ‘was crucified through weakness, yet He liveth by the power of God’ (2 Cor. xiii. 4), and when He rose from the dead He broke every fetter forged by Satan, sin and Hell, and carried them captive, and opened a way by which every child of man may go free and enter into union with God through the indwelling Holy Ghost, and have the power of God working mightily and triumphantly in him. Bless God for ever! In ancient times victorious generals carried captive the captains and kings whom they conquered, with all the wealth they could lay their hands upon, and when they returned to their own people, they distributed gifts from the spoils of the enemy. So Jesus, having triumphed over all the power of the enemy, distributes gifts of love and joy and faith and patience and spiritual insight and wisdom to His people, that shall enable them also to have power over all the power of the enemy.
He came as a lowly stranger into the iron furnace of this sin-cursed, devil-enslaved world. He toiled with its toiling millions, He suffered their sorrows and their sicknesses, their poverty and their temptations, and when He had impressed upon a few of them a faint sense of His divinity, hid under the humble garb of His humanity, He suffered their death and dashed their hopes, as they supposed, for ever. But He rose again and ascended ‘far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion’ (Eph. i. 21), and is set down at the right hand of the Father as our Intercessor, and our Advocate. From that place of power He pleads our cause, watches our interests, guides our steps, strengthens our hearts, illuminates our minds, secures for us boundless gifts and graces and immunities, which we are at liberty to take by faith and use for the advancement of His kingdom of holiness and humility, of righteousness and joy in our hearts and the hearts of others.
It is His purpose that we should, in a most important sense, sustain the same relation to Him now that He sustained to His Heavenly Father in the days of His humanity; that we should be baptized with the same Spirit, and preach with the same authority, and secure the same results, and gain the same final and eternal victory, and at last sit down with Him on His Throne for evermore.
This being so, I am under as much obligation now to be holy, to be empowered by the Spirit, and to be about my Lord’s business, as I shall be in Heaven. And, bless God, this is not only an obligation, but an inspiration!
Who, having caught a glimpse of this high and holy purpose of His resurrected Lord, can ever be content again to grope in the malarial fogs of unbelief, and grovel on the dung-hill of this world’s poor little pleasures and riches and honors? Who would not forsake father and mother, and wife and children, and houses and lands, pluck out a right eye, cut off a right hand or foot, cast off every weight and easily-besetting sin, deny himself, take up his cross, esteem all this world’s gain as loss, and if needs be sacrifice his life in order to ‘know the power of His resurrection,’ enter into this ‘life hid with Christ in God’ and not disappoint his Lord? It was for this we were born, and to fall short of this will be infinite, eternal loss, and doom us to an everlasting night of shame and contempt.