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8 minuten leestijd

Romans 8:11 - “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 apostle here emphasized that a renewal has taken place in the believers; those who are in Christ do not walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit. The unity between Christ and the church is the origin of this change. But there is more; because the Spirit of Christ lives in them, it makes them also partakers of His resurrection life.

The fruit of being in Christ is explained in the text of our meditation, whereas it speaks of Christ’s resurrection from the dead. How do we stand in regard to death? The answer to this is dependent upon how we stand in regard to Christ. If we are outside of Christ, then we are under the power of death; but if we are in Christ, then we are free from death. Thus we have here the preaching of death and life.

Death came into the world when we sinned against God in Paradise, and since that time it reigns with cruel delight in God’s creation. We have brought it in the world; now we would like to escape it, but there is no weapon in that warfare. Many tears, innumerable graves and millions of gravestones which cover the dust of death preach the power of death, a power which would like to destroy every form of life. It often seems as if death is victorious, but that is not true; it is not God’s will. It is not death, but life that will reign.

By the first Adam death came into the world, but death was defeated by the second Adam, as we have commemorated some weeks ago. Then it was heard, “The Lord is risen indeed.” Christ went into death voluntarily, but He now lives, and death does not reign over Him. This is applicable for all who are in Him. Their relationship toward death is the same as that of Christ, because they are one with Him. His Spirit dwells in them; there is a close relationship between Christ, Who is the Head, and His Church, which is the body.

I do not say that all of God’s people have the comfort of this truth, but thus it is from the side of God, and when they may mature, they will also come to that assurance. In John 10:28a the Lord says, “And I give unto them eternal life.” This is only possible because of the victory and resurrection of Christ, which is also mentioned in our text, “But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you.’’

The work of the Holy Spirit in the resurrection of Christ is emphasized in this text. Golgotha teaches us that sin must be paid, but the empty sepulchre proclaims that satisfaction has been given, that the curse has been taken away and death has been defeated. The living Christ is a reason of true joy for the living Church. Is it also for you? Or has that which we commemorated at Easter already been forgotten? If so, we are trying to keep the sepulchre closed; but it is reality—Jesus Christ is risen from the dead by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has laid herein the foundation for a new future, and continues to wrestle until the restitution of all things. First Christ, then those who are of Christ.

Satan mobilizes all his forces against this work of the Holy Ghost, but at the end of the world Christ will be the great Victor. The living Saviour points to the glorious future for the church. Is it your future? Or are you a stranger of that life? If you are a stranger, may you then not have a moment’s rest any longer, because every moment can be the end of our life. May that quickening Spirit also begin to work in your heart, unconverted traveler to eternity.

Do not many of God’s people need further instruction in this mystery? Our text says, “dwell in you”. God has two dwelling places—one in heaven and one in the heart of His elect. Heaven is the place of God’s glory; there is purity and there is no sin. But “you”—a sinful, unclean people, full of sin—are “you” chosen as His dwelling place? We would say that the Holy Spirit does not use the best building materials, but it shows that God is not glorified in our work, but in His own work; “dwell in you”.

There is also the common work of the Spirit, which is not a saving work. The names of Balaam, Herod, Judas and Demas tell us volumes. We may be touched by the Holy Spirit without a renewing of the heart. There may be impressions, tears, a serious listening to God’s Word, and yet no saving work. It can go very far! But the sorrow after God is missing! The indwelling of the Holy Spirit points to the continual work of the Spirit to lead us into our deep misery. It cannot be missed, but it happens too often in our superficial days.

By the discovering work of the Spirit a renewal takes place. They leave those former friends with whom they served the world because they can no longer live in that way. Before this time they were mocking God’s people, but now they have become a peculiar people, a royal priesthood, in their eyes. How sorry they become for their negligence, especially that they left their places vacant in God’s house and did not examine His Word.

Do we know something of these experierices? If these experiences come forth out of the root sorrow after God, then it is a sign of the operation of the Holy Ghost. The same Spirit Who revealed their misery to them will also lead them further, because the Spirit will glorify Christ in the heart of His people.

It is a great privilege to become a sinner before God, but we cannot find life therein; that is to be found only in Christ. But in order to find life, we must first go into death, and this is so painful for the flesh. There we must lose all our grounds upon which we previously have been building. In this way the Lord teaches them that He, Who destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the devil, would also deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. One of God’s children will receive more instruction than another, but all will long for salvation by Christ. They long for the only comfort in life and death, and more and more they learn how indispensable Christ is. This becomes more urgent as death draws near, for death is the last enemy. The grave is waiting, and the body will return to the ground from whence it was taken.

But is this the end? No, it is not. Listen to what Paul said, “He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.” This is not only written in God’s Word and assured by the resurrection of Christ, but by faith it is also expected by God’s people. They receive this faith from the Lord, and when they may look to the promise or in the act of faith upon Christ, they may believe that the Lord will perform it. At moments they may by faith look beyond death and the grave to that which the Lord has prepared for His church. Think only of Job.

The journey through the desert of this life can be so tiring, causing them to long for rest. When they then may look at the contents of this promise, how great it is, namely, to be conformed to the body of Christ. With such an exercise God’s children may travel further on their way greatly encouraged.

Do we have this living hope? Some build their hope on convictions and answered prayers, but that will end in disappointment. The true work of the Holy Spirit goes much deeper, as we have all heard, even from our early days. Do not speak too easily about salvation, for it is a miracle which the Lord must work in us. How poor we are if we live only for the world, since we one day must leave everything behind. Do not commit idolatry with your bodies, for they will at that time sink into the earth and return to dust.

May we together supplicate of the Lord that the Holy Spirit may also dwell in us; that is a true comfort for time and eternity.

Sioux Center, Iowa

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