Quickened Together with Christ.
The life which we have through Adam is of a sinful stock; it cannot produce good fruit for God. The eternal life we have in Christ is holy and divine; each is distinct from the other.
We must reiterate, every child of God has the life of God, and is a partaker of the divine nature. This life is in Christ, apart from whom every human being remains in the state of spiritual death. The notion that here or hereafter eternal life can issue out of man's fallen nature, either through his good works or his suffering for sin, is utterly foreign to the truth of God. The presence of every kind of life proclaims divine power, the presence of the eternal life proves the gracious work of the Son of God for those who possess it. Christ's dying for and giving life to His people are truths which cannot be disassociated.
The eternal life, therefore, comes to us from Christ subsequent to His work of redemption, from Him after His sacrifice of Himself and His putting away of our sins. We receive the life from Him where He is, and in His victory over death.
When we were dead in our sins God quickened us together with His Christ. The power of God toward us in our dead state is according to His mighty power which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead. (Eph. 1: 20.) In sovereign grace God made us alive with His Christ; as issuing from His grave our life, as it were, begins. Our state being death, God brought us into life with Christ.
Man's state was that of spiritual death from the fall. Now, while man's state of spiritual death is a broad truth, extending over all ages and dispensations, reaching up to the time of Adam and down to the last days of this world's history, we have another truth, which relates to God's dealings with His people, namely, that He has been pleased to unfold to them by degrees the reality of man's condition. The condition existed from the day of man's departure from God, from the fall, when his nature became corrupt and he became dead in sins; but this condition of spiritual death was not made fully manifest until the cross of Christ.
Wherefore these teachings? Man in innocency has come to an end — man left to himself has been tried and found wanting — man under the law being commanded to do good has produced no fruit, and only received the laws' cursing — at length, after many centuries, Jesus the Son of God has come, and at the close of His ministry declares that if the corn of wheat falls not into the ground and die, He must abide alone.
By His death, at His grave, we have by faith at length reached our end as men in the flesh. Christ has died, and though the world prosper and nations flourish, the end of all flesh is come; "If one died for all, then were all dead." (2 Cor. 5.) And the believer, accepting what the judgment and the death of the cross signify, has come by faith to his end, and thus has learned God's beginning, and he praises the God of resurrection.
In the cross of Jesus the end of all flesh has come indeed in the sight of God; there "God condemned sin in the flesh" (Rom. 8:3 ); there He made His sinless Son what man is by nature — sin (2 Cor. 5:21); there He forsook His Son, who was made sin for us (Matt. 27:46.) After judgment came death, for the enduring of the judgment being completed, Jesus said, "It is finished: and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost." (John 19:30.) But God is the God of resurrection, and where He manifests to man what is the end for man in the flesh, He shows in grace what is His beginning for the children of faith.
Quickened together with Christ! "And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses." (Col. 2:13.) Sins are all gone and out of sight in His death, and we are made alive with a Saviour who bore our sins, to whom the question of sin cannot again be addressed. The believer is quickened together with Christ, has life with Christ — His life in the condition subsequent to His enduring judgment and death.
We have eternal life given to us by Christ and God, but we are also quickened together with Christ after He took our place on the cross and died for us. The eternal life, as we have already shown, emanates from Himself, who is the Life, and every believer of all ages has the life; but the life in its present condition of liberty is characteristic of christianity. And we may say he, who is so established in the work of God that he is in Christian liberty, who enters into the fact of the Lord's coming from glory, becoming a man, and going down into death, and being raised out of death and living a man in glory, after having in His own person, and by His work, brought judgment and death for His people to an end. But he who has no right thoughts of a risen Saviour, who is in spirit as were the disciples, who believed on the Son up to the cross, but did not know Him alive beyond death, is still in bondage.
"Quickened together with Christ," leads on our hearts to God's power, and to Christ's work in redemption; to God's power in raising His Son as a man from among the dead, after He had endured divine judgment on account of human sin; and to our Lord's so perfect work, that we are brought by God in its perfection into association with Him as the risen Man. He has died to sin (Rom. 6:10); He lives to die no more (Rom. 6:9). We are brought into association with Him where He is; we have life given by God together with Christ raised from among the dead. As this holy One is before us by faith, we shall better lay hold of our end as having died with Him to sin (Rom. 6:2), and having become dead by His body to the law (Rom. 7:4), and also to the rudiments of the world (Col. 2:20).
Not only is the Son of God our life, and we have eternal life in Him, but we have life given us with Him, the risen Son of Man. Because He lives on the far side of death we live also as He lives, and in God's time shall be glorified with Him. Our life is hid in God with Christ, we shall be manifested with Christ in glory.
Once more let us enquire, has our faith laid hold of God's fact of man's state by nature, and of the new standing of His people in Christ? Do we really believe that the cross of Christ is our end in the flesh before God, and can we rejoice that God has quickened us together with His Son?