The Resurrection Life in Christ Jesus

by The Editor (C. L. Fowler)

Taken from Grace and Truth Magazine 1923


It is a lamentable fact that there are many earnest Christians eagerly desirous of showing forth in their lives all the blessed fruits which God's Word indicates should be the normal manifestation in the life of the child of God, but who face constantly the keenest disappointment because of more or less continued defeat. It may be said with assurance that this sad defeat could be changed into victory if these struggling souls could be brought to an apprehension of the truth so often declared and magnified by Paul, — the truth that the believer is a participant in that marvelous resurrection life which is in Christ Jesus.

The teaching of the Scripture on this important theme is presented by the Holy Spirit in two groups of passages, one group setting forth this truth as related to the believer's eternal and unchanging standing in heaven; the other group setting forth this truth from the standpoint of the believer's state.

We will first consider what is the believer's standing as to the resurrection life in Christ Jesus discussing this standing under three headings. The Bible Fact, God's Condition, and the Guaranteed Result.

The Bible Fact

The teaching of the Word of God on this point is a challenge to faith. The Spirit of God enunciates propositions of the most inexplicable character as though they were to God's mind, only celestial commonplaces. In Rom. 7 -.4. the believer is met by these words:

"Married * * * to Him Who dead."

Could any revelation be more fully outside the realm of human concept and yet could any declaration from God be more calculated to thrill the soul of the believer with amazed joy and delight! Married to the Resurrected One! Actually united to Him Who dieth no more! And when one stops to realize that from the Bible angle marriage is that mighty pronouncement which makes twain, one, the believing child of God is swept on to the astounding conclusion that by the matchless grace of God, and through the operation of a process which the finite mind does not apprehend, he has been actually MADE ONE with the resurrected Christ!

And to this conclusion of faith based upon the marriage of the soul to the resurrected Saviour, the Spirit of God gives further proof in Col. 2:12:


The soul does not have to work out a reasonable conelusion from this declaration. All it needs is faith, for the words present a striking example of the Direct Statement Principle on this subject. The apostle does not say, "You SHALL be risen with Him," nor "You MAY be risen with Him," but with an assurance which is little short of astonishing, considering the mysteriousness of the realm in which the utterance is made, he says, "Ye ARE risen with Him." Hence, believers are resurrected beings. They are the present possessors of the same glorious resurrection life of which the Lord Jesus Christ is Himself now the present possessor. The Saviour and His people have the same life. The Saviour and the believer are both said to be resurrected. Paul does not quibble, nor does he hesitate, but calmly declares "Ye ARE risen with Him."

"But," says a well meaning friend, "I am not a resurrected being. My body is still subject to disease. I am still amenable to accident. Life is terribly uncertain. I might even 1 die tonight!" In this contention he is quite right. The statement "Ye are risen with Him" has not to do with the believer's state here upon earth, but refers to his standing in Christ Jesiis. Here is one of the places where we must recognize the Right Division Principle. Much of the perplexity into which Christians have been thrown in their Bible study and in their personal lives might have been avoided had the distinction between standing and state been carefully observed. The standing of the believer is his position in Christ Jesus. It is dependent upon the finished work of the Lord. It is eternal and changeless and is set forth in the Scripture as being in the heavens, — "Ye are seated with Christ in the heavenlies," while the state is the earth experience of the believer and is referred to by such terms as "the walk," "affairs," etc. The state radically differs from the standing in that it may fluctuate from the heights of blessings to the depths of despair and back again to the mountain crest within the span of one brief day. Standing is God's gift. State is man's experience. Standing is in heaven. State is upon earth. Standing is unchangeable. State vacillates. Standing rests upon the; immutability of God's Word. State rests upon the uncertainty of man's willingness and light. How tranquilizing to the soul to realize that it has been led to faith in Christ Jesus, and that upon believing in Him a perfect and eternal standing has been given so that now the soul may say with confidence, "I am united to the Lord. I am complete in Him. I am married to Him Who is raised from the dead. Hallelujah, I am risen with Him!"

The Bible fact concerning the resurrection life in, Christ Jesus and the believer's relationship to it is that the believer although in his state disappointingly imperfect, daily encountering heart-breaking reminders that he is still flesh, is, in his standing actually raised from the dead, identified with the risen Lord, and partaker in all the privileges and prerogatives which attach to the resurrection life. God's child is, in his perfect standing, a resurrected being. This is the Bible fact, and Satan in spite of his machinations and savage attacks cannot change it. The child of God, identified with the Son of God, is risen from the dead, and being identified with the Son of God, dieth no more. Because this fact rests upon God's Word and God cannot lie, it is as dependable as the daily journey of the sun, and as changeless as God Himself.

God's Condition

The condition which God places upon the obtaining of this glorious standing is faith. Nothing more, nothing less. The condition is stated in Col. 2:12:

"Ye have been raised together THROUGH YOUR FAITH." (Moffatt.)

How simple and comforting, and yet this very simplicity of condition has proved to be a stumbling-block to many. God in His love and mercy, offers to a sin-cursed race His highest and best blessings through the finished work of His Holy Child, Jesus, upon the alone basis of believing in Him.

The Guaranteed Result

Because God has identified the believers in Christ Jesus with His resurrected Son giving to those believers the perfect standing of resurrected ones. He adds a guarantee which has been most unfortunately wrested from its contextual setting and given a divine healing interpretation which subverts the truth, and is fully contrary to the message declared. This guarantee of God appears in Rom. 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."

These words pertain not to a spiritual resurrection but to the physical resurrection, and the phraseology is such as to forbid any other conception of the passage. It would be difficult to make the meaning more clear than the Spirit of God has done. In order to eliminate possible misinterpretation He twice over declares that He is speaking of the resurrection of Jesus FROM THE DEAD and then when this resurrection is to be turned toward the believers it is not stated in the present tense but in the future. — "shall also quicken." This is most conclusive. The context shows that the physical resurrection is being held in view, and the verb shows that it is future.

God guarantees to believers in Christ Jesus a literal, physical, resurrection in the future. This resurrection is to be in the likeness of "Him Who loved us and gave Himself for us." "When He shall appear we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is." (I Jno. 3:2.) "Who shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body." (Phil. 3:21.) This glorious consummation is exactly what might have been expected in view of the standing which our Lord vouchsafes to every believer; — "Ye are risen with Him." Since we, His

children, are resurrected with Him in our standing, it is to be expected that when He brings our wondrous standing into visibility it shall be a revelation to those who are waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God of what that standing is. Hence, "we shall be like Him." Surely the child of God could ask for no more glorious guarantee than this that we should be transformed into His likeness!

The second group of passages pertaining to the resurrection life in Christ Jesus is as we have stated, that group which refers to the resurrection life in its relation to the believer's state. We will discuss this phase of the subject under the three general headings, The Human Need, God's Method, and The Intended Result.

The Human Need

Christian workers le world around (not modernists, we cannot conscientiously refer to them as Christian workers; they are the enemies of the cross) have recognized in their own lives the need of a closer walk with Him; the need of a deepening of their prayer lives; the need of a richer and fuller apprehension of the truths which the Spirit of the living God has set forth in the Hook of Books; the need of a mind more fully engrossed in those things which pertain to the person of "Him Who loved us and gave Himself for us"; the need of experiencing the power of His resurrection, by which the soul might enjoy peace in the hour ^\'hen anxiety would enthrall, joy in the face of sorrow, and victory over sin. In the recognition of this need there is unanimity. The Apostle Paul himself, the model Christian worker of this age, directed of the Spirit of God, saw this need and cried out in Phil. 3:10:

"That I may know Him and the POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION * * *."

Yes, this is the need, — to know in the life the power of His resurrection. To know in the hour of crushing sorrow the victory of the resurrection life. To know when temptation engulfs the soul the joy of having His resurrection life as the experimental ground of victory over sin. Where is there the Christian with soul so unresponsive that he will not join with the aged Apostle in the recognition of this need in his own life, calling out unto God, "O, Lord, let there come to my soul while here upon the earth, and while I am yet confined in this weak, human, body, a larger knowledge of Thyself and a real entrance into the power of Thy resurrection."

God's Method

God's method of leading His child into the blessed experience of actually tasting of resurrection blessedness and imbibing resurrection power into his life and service here upon earth is so clearly expressed in the Bible that the believer who studies what God says may know positively what God's method is. God reveals His method in many passages employing many expressions, but perhaps the simplest and clearest direction given to the child of God any place within the Book is Rom. 6:13:

"Yield yourselves unto God as those that are alive from the dead."

These words crystalize the truth and show the believer his own important personal responsibility in the matter. God calls upon His child for a yielded life. By some it is called "the surrendered life"; by others, "the life of faith." In this passage we find the Holy Spirit calling it the "yielded life" and showing us that the yielded life is nothing more or less than entering into that resurrection life in our state, which God has assured us is already ours in the eternal standing which He gave when we believed.

Alas, how many of God's children have yearned for the special manifestations of His love and grace in their daily walk; have coveted the blessings of the secret place of the Most High; and when they found that the experience of the resurrection life was only for those who obey the injunction, "Yield yourselves unto God as those that are alive from the dead," they, like the Rich Young Ruler, went away sorrowful, for God had called upon them to do that which encroached upon the preserves of self, and they were not willing to say, "I will take up my cross daily to follow Him!" Worldliness, carnal lusts, selfishness, ambition, — these are the things which have risen before the mind of many a youth in the vital hour of a life decision and have been used of the adversary in seeking to prevent that soul from entering into the resurrection life which is in Christ Jesus.

The whole trend of modern life is calculated to break down the willingness of men's souls to enter into that which calls for self-denial. And yet, without this element of self-denial there can be no real dependence upon God in that simplicity of faith, without which it is impossible to please Him. The Spirit of Anti-Christ doth already work! rebellion against God instead of yieldedness unto Him is the common condition of the hour. Evil men and seducers wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. False teachers arise on every hand. Bolshevism in church, in school, and in politics is rampant. It is to the Christian young people of this twentieth century, living in this worldly, fleshly, rebellious atmosphere that God comes with the appeal to deny self, step out in separation from the world, repudiate the philosophies of man, and "yield" themselves "unto God as those that are alive from the dead." In bringing the blessings of the resurrection life which is in Christ Jesus into the lives of His children, God has revealed that yielding the life to Him is His one prerequisite, — His method. He has no other.

Into the office of a Christian worker came a young man of prominence and most unusual intelligence.' But he came with a heavy heart. His soul was yearning for a closer walk with God. He was a saved young man and had a clear and helpful testimony. He was hungry for a foretaste of resurrection bliss. His soul had passed through days of struggle m seeking to settle the question, — "How can I make my life more fully count for God?" The Christian worker faithfully presented to the young man the truth of the Word of God, calling upon him to yield himself unto God as one that was alive from the dead, showed him the privilege that was his to step out in separation from the world, and the complete denial of self. The young man smiled a wan smile and said, "If that is the way I must go in order to arrive at the blessings which I desire, I shall have to live without them. My personal plans do not fit with the yielded life." And he went out. What a melancholy picture of the condition of the young life today! It is typical.

God's Word shows forth God's method to be most definite. He gives to that one who will believe in Jesus, a perfect standing on high, declaring to that one, "You are risen with me through faith." And then He says t6 His resurrected child, "Child of mine, I have given you a guaranteed position of resurrected perfection. Will you not yield yourself unto Me in your state as one who is alive from the dead? Will you not reckon yourself dead indeed unto sin and alive unto God through Jesus Christ, our Lord?" (Rom. 6:11.) And to this simple appeal of God as set forth in His Word, the average Christian is turning a deaf ear. A few are saying, "Yea, Lord, here am I, send me, send me."

To which class do you belong, young man, young woman? Do you belong to the class which with willing hearts say, "I'll go with Him all the way," or do you. belong to the class which cries out, "We will not have this Man to reign over us. We prefer the pleasures of this world to the sacrifice and service of the Lord." Do not side-step the issue but face it in Jesus' Name, — to which class do you belong?

The Intended Result

In the study of our wonderful standing in Christ Jesus as resurrected beings we found that God's purpose was that we should participate in an actual, physical resurrection unto glory in which we should become like Him "Whom having not seen we love." This purpose of God is set forth in a definite promise. Hence, being backed by His Word, it is God's guaranteed result in our standing. There is a very blessed possible result in our state. This possible result is the goal which God intends we shall attain. His great, loving heart yearns for every believer to have God's best in his own persona^ experience. It is His thought that His people shall actually enter into the joys of the resurrection life, tasting here and now from day to day of the powers of the age to come. He wants our lives to be characterized by a resurrection walk.

"As Christ was raised up from the dead * * * we should walk in newness of life." (Rom. 6:4.)

And not only should our outward walk be characterized by the manifestations of His resurrection power but He purposes that having yielded our lives to Him we should enter the bliss of resurrected thinking:

"Since then, you have been raised with Christ * * * aim at what is above; * * * mind what is above." (Col. 3:1-2, Moffatt.)

God has given to all of His children the resurrection life. He gave it to them when they believed. Under His plan it is their inalienable right because they are united with the Lord Jesus in His resurrection and their life is "hid with Christ in God." To those whom He has thus blessed God comes with an appeal that they would show forth in their daily walk, their state here upon earth, the wonder, the marvel of this resurrection life which is already theirs. Child of God, can you say Him nay? Can you refuse to yield yourself unto Him as alive from the dead when He has, without exacting any promise from you, married you to Him Who is raised from the dead? Can you repudiate His love a moment longer? Let this hour be the hour when the plans of self are quietly brushed aside, when self-ambition is shown the door, and with the simplicity and faith of a child, the soul looks up to Him and says, "Unto Thee, O, Lord, I yield my all. Lead me forth by Thy strength to walk in newness of life and victorious service for Thee until Jesus comes."