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7.18.2016

The Hidden Life

[From Warfield's Faith and Life .]

"If we be Christians at all, we are such only in virtue of the fact that when He died, He died for us, and we, therefore, died as sinners with His death; and that when He rose again for our justification, we rose again into newness of life with Him,—the life that we now live is a new life, from a new spring, even the Spirit of Christ which He as the risen Lord has sent down to us. This is the great fact of participation in the saving work of Christ, with all that it involves. And what we have here is an assertion that such a participation involves seizing of us bodily and lifting us to another and higher plane. We were sinners, and lived as sinners; we lived an earthly life, in the lowest sense of that word. But now we have died with Christ as sinners and can live no more as sinners; we have been raised together with Him and can live only on the plane of this new life, which is not in sin, not "in the earth," but in heaven. In a high and true sense, because we have died to sin and been raised to holiness, we have already passed out of earth to heaven. Heaven is already the sphere of our life; our "citizenship is in heaven"—we are citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, and have the life appropriate thereto to live.

And now we observe, secondly, that on this fact the Apostle founds an exhortation. "If then ye were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above." The exhortation is simply to an actual life consonant with our change of state. If we have participated in Christ's death for sin and rising again for justification; so that with Him we died to sin and rose again unto holiness; live accordingly. If we have thus died as sinners, as earth born, and earth confined crawlers on this low plane, and been raised to this higher plane, even a heavenly one, of living—show in walk and conversation that the change has been a real one. It is an exhortation to us to be in life real citizens of the heavenly kingdom to which we have been transferred; to do the duties and enter into the responsibilities of our new citizenship. It is just as we might say to some newly enfranchised immigrant: You have left that country of darkness in which you were bred, where no liberty of action or of worship existed; you have been received into our free America, and have been clothed with the rights and duties of citizenship in this great Republic; now live worthily of your new citizenship; be now in life and thought no longer a serf but a freeman. So, Paul says in effect, you have passed out of the realm of sin and death, out of the merely earthly sphere; you have been made a citizen of the heavenly kingdom; do the deeds and live the life conformable to your great change."


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