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From Death Unto Life In Christ Jesus
Cleveland, Ohio, August 13 Pastor Russell delivered a very instructive and interesting address here today. His text was, “And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1) He said in part:
In these words of our text a great deal is expressed. The Apostle is addressing the Church. These were formerly dead in the sense that they were condemned in Adam, with all the rest of the world. They were under the death sentence, legally dead. From the Divine standpoint all the race of mankind is a dead race. None have life in a legal sense except those who have obtained it from God through His provided channel Christ Jesus. The Church of Christ have life now by meeting the terms which God has laid down. They “have passed from death unto life.”
The world in general are still under condemnation to death. They can gain life only through the great Life-giver whom God has provided. The life He will give to the world in God’s due time will be the life purchased for them by the sacrifice of His own human life the life of the Man Christ Jesus. Adam and his race may receive back all that was lost by Adam’s disobedience whosoever will through the merit of the sacrifice given at Calvary. It will be the sacrifice given at Calvary. It will be a restitution to human perfection in a perfected earth. The Scriptures speak of Adam in his original perfection as a son of God. (Luke 3:38) He was created in God’s image, “very good.” (Gen. 1:26, 27, 31; 9:6; Eccl. 7:29) He was a human son.
The holy angels were also sons of God. They are thus spoken of in the Bible. The Lord through the Prophet Job tells us that at the creation of our race, “The Morning Stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” (Job 38:6, 7) They were united in praising God for His wonderful works of creation. They rejoiced in Him and all His doings. God created all these different orders of beings, angels and men, through the great Logos, “the First Born (first brought into being) of all creation.” (Col. 1:15) He was the active Agent of Jehovah in all His creative works. “Without Him was not anything made that was made.” John 1:3
SONSHIP REGAINED ON A NEW PLANE
Through means provided in Christ, God has been extending an invitation during the present Age to some from the fallen race of Adam to become His sons, and on a new plane of being the Divine. This is higher than anything man has ever known, higher than anything the angels have ever known. In bringing forth this New Creation, Jehovah God is utilizing the conditions under which sin prevails in the world.
We may suppose that He said to Himself, “This would be an opportunity for making a grand character-test. I will therefore take a class from the fallen family of Adam and make them associates of My Son in the great work which I have for him to do; for the fact that they will be amongst men and have the same weaknesses of the fallen nature to contend with during the period of their development and preparation will serve only so much the more to test their loyalty and the strength of their character. I wish them to be associated with Myself in My great work of blessing all mankind, of uplifting the human family.”
Thus the Father’s thought is expressed in the Bible. “This will be an excellent opportunity for Me to take a specially select class from amongst all peoples, nations, kindreds and tongues. For when I shall have gathered them out they will be exactly the ones suited to My purpose, to perform My good pleasure in uplifting the world from their sin and imperfections back to perfection. Not only so, but certain great principles will be demonstrated that otherwise would never be known by either angels or men. It will show that I can take the mean things, the ignoble things, and so transform them that they shall be useful on the very highest plane of existence. Then if any of my intelligent creatures on any plane of life should in the future be offered a high position, they would know that they could attain it. If I offered a reward for any service, all would know that it could be gained.” So we see, dear friends, how the Lord has embraced the opportunity to call out and train a very special company for a very special purpose. And the arrangement by which He does this is suggested in our text: “And you who were dead in trespasses and sins hath He quickened!” Made alive.
WHEN THESE SONS WERE QUICKENED
The Apostle Paul is not speaking here of the complete making alive of this class in the First Resurrection, when they will be perfected as Divine spiritual beings but of a present condition— “You hath He quickened.” They were quickened, made alive as New Creatures, when, after they had accepted Christ as their Savior and presented themselves to God in full consecration, they were received and had the merit of Christ’s blood imputed to them as sacrifices, and were begotten of God’s Holy Spirit (His power) to a new nature. There the new life in Christ had its beginning; and this embryo life is to grow and develop until it is perfected in the resurrection, when they will receive their new spiritual bodies.
Though these spiritual sons are the creation of the Heavenly Father, yet it is His arrangement that their quickening, both in its present stage and in its completion at their resurrection, is not accomplished without the Son. All things are of the Father and by the Son. (1 Cor. 8:6) It may be asked, Why could God not quicken these without the Son? We answer, Because they were dead in trespasses and sins, and must have a perfect, sinless Redeemer to deliver them from death before God could have any dealings with them.
Moreover, as they must still use their imperfect mortal bodies, it is necessary that the merit of their Redeemer should continually cover them as a robe as long as they remain in the flesh; and because of their daily imperfections they need that this Redeemer be also their Advocate before the Father, that they may continue to be acceptable. It is the Father who quickens these, but it is not without the Son. “The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ hath begotten us,” says the Apostle 1 Pet. 1:3.
CHURCH’S AND WORLD’S SALVATION DIFFERENT
So we see that the receiving of life in the case of the Church class is different from the way in which the world in the next Age will receive life. Our life is from the Father, through Christ. The life of the world will be a direct gift from the Son, who alone will deal with the world during the incoming Age. He will be their “Everlasting (Age-lasting) Father.” (Isa. 9:6, 7) He is not the Father of the Church, but their Elder Brother. The world can have no access to the Father until the close of the Millennial Age.
The Church have access to the Father now, through the imputed merit of Jesus. We are being dealt with in a peculiar way and for a specific purpose. What the world are to receive will be something purchased for them directly by Christ. What the Church receives is something far above what was purchased by Christ. This purchased human life they laid down as a jointsacrifice with Jesus, that they might share in His glory. This higher life and glory they receive as a reward for their sacrifice, just as Jesus Himself received it as a reward for His sacrifice.
The Church are New Creatures in Christ. The New Creature was never condemned. The New Creature was never redeemed. It starts out on a new plane altogether. To the world our Lord Jesus is to give His merit, the merit of His death. In the Church He only imputes it in order that it may at once be laid down as a sacrifice. The Church, as members of the human family for whom Jesus died, have as much right as the world to receive the restitution provided for them in Jesus’ sacrificial death. But these have relinquished their right to the perfect human life that they may attain with their Lord the far higher and grander life the Divine. They have become dead with Him to the human life, human rights and blessings in order that they may live and reign with Him on His Throne.
Let us represent the matter thus: We will say that a thousand dollars represents the perfect life with all the rights and privileges which would have been ours in common with the world. We still have, as members of the fallen human family, some remains of the original likeness of God in which our first parents were created. This has a certain worth; but as all the race were born under the death penalty, this worth or value could not be used by God in our fallen condition. But God has made an arrangement whereby this value can be made available. Let us say that this value which we have is represented by a hundred dollars. This represents our present life, our present influence.
To us who now offer ourselves to God to be dead with Christ, Jesus says, “I will take what you have and add to it by imputation sufficient of My sacrificial merit to make it perfect in God’s sight. In other words, I will impute nine hundred dollars to your hundred and thus make the full thousand. Thus I can present you to the Father a perfect sacrifice, perfect as was My own.” He does this, and the Father accepts the sacrifice. At once it is killed by our great High Priest, Jesus, and at the same moment the Father begets us by His Holy Spirit to the new spiritual nature. Thenceforth we are counted dead as human beings; we are partakers of Jesus’ sacrifice, sharers in it. We are New Creatures in Christ.
DIVINE PREDESTINATION GLORIOUS
Jehovah’s great Plan is being carried out on a wonderful scale! And I am sure that, had we not been instructed as to what is His Plan, we would never have thought of such a nicety of justice and such a marvel of mercy and love as His has demonstrated in His arrangement for the Church and for the world. Such a Plan would never have occurred to us. We see that our God is a wonderful God and His Plan a most wonderful Plan; and the farther into it we see, the more confidence we have in Him, and the more we grow in knowledge, in grace, in His character-likeness and in the likeness of His dear Son our Savior and Advocate.
God has foreordained, predestinated, that the members of the Body of Christ, the Church shall be conformed to the image of His Son. He has not predestinated, as many once thought, that so many are to go to Heaven and all the remainder the vast majority to endless torture. We are greatly enamored of the Lord’s predestination; we could not ask for anything better, nor half so good. Surely we should show Him our great appreciation of His wonderful Calling in Christ to those who “have ears to hear.” Jesus says, “No man cometh to the Father but by Me,” and “Him that cometh unto Me I will in no wise cast out.” So we have come. Does the Father accept of such? Yes; He accepts us and gives us the begetting of His Holy Spirit. That is our start as New Creatures in Christ. “You hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins.”
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