Risen with Christ

KEY VERSE: “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.” —Colossians 3:1

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Luke 24:1-7; Colossians 1:15-20; 3:1-4

OUR TEXT is one of the inspiring lessons of the resurrection to all who are endeavoring, by God’s grace, to be like Jesus. Christ IS risen indeed, but are we risen with Christ? This language does not mean that we have already participated in the “first resurrection,” but is expressive of our hope of sharing in his glory—a hope which inspires us to set our affections on things above, “where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God.”

We are walking in “newness of life.” that is, from the moment of our consecration, we begin to live a new life; for we are new creatures in Christ Jesus, to whom old things have passed away, and all things have become new. (Rom. 6:4) All of our interests are to be centered above, with the things of our natural life receiving only the necessary minimum of attention. Our treasure is in heaven, and if this is truly so, our hearts, our affections, will be there also. This means the mortifying of our flesh, being crucified with Christ. (Col. 3:5; Rom. 6:6) There is no other way in which we can be risen with Christ, for as Paul explains, it is only if we are dead with Christ that we may hope to live with him.—Rom. 6:8

We have covenanted to be dead with Christ, and our sacrifice is holy and acceptable unto God, but we are not wholly dead as yet. (Rom. 12:1) Nevertheless, it is essential that we do all in our power to bring our old nature into subjection and make it a servant of the new mind. Only if we do this can it be said that by faith we are now risen with Christ.

In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul speaks of the “mighty power” of the Heavenly Father which was used to raise Jesus from the dead, and to exalt him to his own right hand in the heavenlies. (Eph. 1:19) The mighty power of God had been employed along many lines previous to this. Under the direction of his infinite wisdom the entire universe had been brought into existence by his mighty power.

Never before, however, had there been such a manifestation of divine power as was required to raise Jesus from the dead, give him the divine nature, and exalt him to his own right hand. This was the first time that any of God’s creatures had been raised to such a height of glory. No wonder the apostle, in writing about it, speaks of the mighty power of God which was then used.

But it has a far more important lesson for us than merely that we should be awe-inspired by the thought of such mighty power. Paul, in this connection, prayed that the eyes of our understanding be enlightened in order that we might understand and appreciate the superlative height of glory to which we are called, and to realize that the attainment of such a high position in the divine plan is entirely possible because of the fact that the “mighty power” of God which was used to raise Jesus from the dead is employed “to usward who believe.”

The Apostle Paul wanted us to realize that the same power which defeated the purpose of Jesus’ enemies in putting him to death will see us through to victory with him.

The resurrection of Jesus, then, is most significant to us, for it is a reminder that greater is he who is for us than all they who are against us—a wonderful assurance of victory, indeed! When we consider this text, how much it should renew our courage to press on in the upward way which leads to glory, honor, and immortality! How it should stimulate us to set our affections on things above, “where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.”

As we remember the resurrection of Jesus, our faith is increased, our hope grows brighter, and the glory of the terrestrial loses its attraction as we set our affections where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. Inspired by this, we will seek first, and all the time, the kingdom of God and his righteousness; we will redeem the time; we will frequently ask ourselves, “What manner of persons ought we to be,” seeing that we are risen with Christ and seeking those things which are above.—II Pet. 3:11

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