Sermon 3298. Lessons From Christ's Baptism
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, APRIL 18, 1912.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, MARCH 4, 1866.
"And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up immediately out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and Hesaw the Spirit God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him: and lo, a Voice from Heaven, saying, This is My BelovedSon, in whom I am well-pleased." Matthew 3:16,17.
[Another Sermon by Mr. Spurgeon upon verse 17 is #2409, Volume 41-A GREAT SERMON BY THE GREATEST PREACHER.]
I WANT to teach two lessons tonight. The first will be a most necessary one for the unconverted. The second will be more suitableto believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.
I. Without any preface, let us at once try to learn the first lesson from the text which relates to THE CO-WORKING OF THETRINITY IN THE MATTER OF OUR SALVATION.
There are some who seem to suppose that Jesus Christ is our Savior to the exclusion of God the Father and of God the HolySpirit, but this is a most erroneous idea. It is true that we are saved by the precious blood of Christ, but it is equallytrue that God the Father and God the Holy Spirit have had their share in the great work of our salvation. In order that wemight not fall into the error in which some have been entangled, it pleased God to give us, at the very beginning of Christ'spublic ministry, a very distinct intimation that He did not come alone and that He did not undertake the work of our redemptionapart from the other adorable Persons of the ever-blessed Trinity.
Try to picture to yourselves the scene that our text describes. There is Jesus Christ who has just been baptized in Jordanby John. And John bears witness that He is the Son of God because the sign from Heaven for which he had been told to lookfor had been given. As Jesus comes up out of the water, the Spirit of God descends upon Him in a visible shape- in appearancelike a dove-and rests upon Him. John says that "it abode upon Him," as though the Spirit was thenceforth to be His continualCompanion and, truly, it was so. At the same time that the dove descended and lighted upon Christ, there was heard a Voicefrom Heaven, saying, "This is My Beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased." This was the voice of God the Father-He did notreveal Himself in a bodily shape, but uttered wondrous words such as mortal ears had never before heard! The Father revealedHimself not to the eyes as the Spirit did, but to the ears-and the words He spoke clearly indicated that it was God the Fatherbearing witness to His beloved Son. So that the entrance of Christ upon His public ministry on earth was the chosen opportunityfor the public manifestation of the intimate union between God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit!
Now, Sinner, from this day forward, if you have never done so before, think humbly, reverently and lovingly of all the threePersons of the most blessed Trinity in Unity! Bless the Son of God for becoming Man in order that He might redeem us fromdestruction. He left His Glory in Heaven and was made in the likeness of men that He might suffer in our place as the Lambof God's Passover and that we might shelter beneath His sprinkled blood-and so escape the sword of vengeance. Do you knowthat when Christ was baptized, He gave, as it were, a picture of His great work of Redemption? He said to John, "Thus it becomesus to fulfill all righteousness," by which I understand not that He fulfilled all righteousness by being baptized, but thatHis Baptism was a picture or emblem of the fulfillment of all righteousness. What was done with Christ when He was baptized?Why, first, He was regarded as one who was dead and, therefore, He was buried beneath the waters of Jordan. He thus set forth,by a most significant symbol, the fact that He had come to earth
to be obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross-and that in due time He would actually die and be really bu-ried-asnow He was submerged beneath the yielding wave in a metaphorical burial. But baptism does not consist of merely plunging theperson into the water-he must be lifted out again-otherwise he would be drowned, not baptized. So the Savior, when He roseup out of the water, set forth His own Resurrection. By His Baptism, He figuratively said, "I shall die for sinners, I shallrise again for sinners and I shall go back to Heaven to plead for sinners. My death will put away their offenses and my Resurrectionwill complete their justification." Go, you who long for salvation, and by faith look to the Savior dying on the Cross atCalvary! See Him buried in Joseph's tomb. See Him rise the third day and after forty days, see Him ascend to Heaven leadingcaptivity captive! His dying, His burial, His rising, His ascension-these are the fulfillment of all righteousness-and itis by these that you must be saved-it is not your being baptized that can save you! It is Christ's being baptized for youwith that Baptism of blood when He poured out His soul unto death that you might live forever! It is not your suffering, butHis suffering that avails for your salvation! It is not your being or your doing that is the secret of blessing, but it isHis being and His doing on which you must depend for everything! Trust in Jesus Christ and you shall find salvation in Him!
Now I want you to look with humbly grateful eyes to God the Holy Spirit. You remember how Jesus Christ applied to Himselfthe words He read in the synagogue at Nazareth-"The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach theGospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovering of sightto the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord." It was the Spirit of Godwho gave success to Jesus Christ's ministry-and if you, dear Friend, would be saved-it is only the Holy Spirit who can takeaway from you the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh! I pray you to think with holy reverence of that mighty, mysteriousBeing who works in human hearts and molds them according to the will of God. By nature you are spiritually dead-and only theSpirit of God can give you spiritual life. By nature you are spiritually blind-and only the Spirit of God can give you spiritualsight. Even the work of Christ on the Cross does not avail for you until the Holy Spirit takes of the things of Christ andreveals them to you. You must look to Christ, or He will not save you! You must trust in Christ, or His precious blood willnot be applied to you! But you will never look to Him or trust in Him unless the Father who sent Him, shall draw you to doso by His Spirit effectually working in you. When we are thinking and speaking of the Holy Spirit, let us always feel as ifwe must take off our shoes for the place whereon we stand is peculiarly holy. You remember how solemnly Christ warns us asto the consequences of even speaking against the Holy Spirit? "Whomever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall beforgiven him: but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him neither in this world, neither in theworld to come." Whenever we mention the name of the Holy Spirit, let us do it with holy awe and reverence, remembering thatit is the Spirit that quickens, it is the Spirit that instructs, it is the Spirit that sanctifies, it is the Spirit that preserves,it is the Spirit that makes us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light! So unto the ever-blessed Spiritof God as well as unto the well-beloved Son of God be Glory and honor, praise and power, forever and ever!
With equal reverence and with equal awe let us also think of God the Father. What does the Father here say concerning Christ?First, He calls Him His Son. There has been much disputing about how Christ can be equal with the Father, and equally eternal,and yet be the Son of the Father. This is a great deep into which you and I, dear Friends, will do well not to pry. We usuallyspeak of Christ being the Son of the Father by what is called "eternal generation." I confess that there is a mystery herewhich I can neither understand nor explain, but as the Father calls Him His Son, I unhesitatingly believe that He is whatthe Scripture constantly calls Him, "the Son of God." In our text we find that the Father not only calls Christ His Son, butHe says, "This is My Beloved Son." What wondrous love there must be in the heart of each one of the Divine Persons in thesacred Trinity towards each of the others! How blessedly they must look upon one another with Divine benignity and complacency!There never could be any diversity in their interests, for they are one in heart, one in purpose, one in every respect, evenas Jesus said, "I and My Father are One."
Now, Sinner, the point to which I want to especially direct your thoughts is this-that God not only calls Christ His Son andHis beloved Son, but that He says He is well-pleased with Him. And this concerns you in that if you are so united to Christas to be one with Him, God will also be well-pleased with you for His dear Son's sake! But can a sinner ever be pleasing toGod? Not in himself, apart from Christ, but all who are in Christ are "accepted in the Beloved." His Father is so pleasedwith Him that all whom He represents are pleasing unto God for His sake! "But," asks one, "how can I be in
Christ?" My dear Friend, if you are one of the Lord's chosen, you are already in Christin God's eternal purpose. But the wayin which you must experimentally get into Christ is by true faith in Him. To trust in Jesus is to be in Jesus. To rely uponthe atoning Sacrifice of Christ is to be one with Christ. Faith is the uniting bond which binds together the Christ in whomwe believe and those who believe in Him. If you are truly trusting in Christ, God looks upon you as a part of Christ's MysticalBody and He is well-pleased with you for Christ's sake.
Thus you have the Son suffering for you, the Spirit applying to you the merit of His atoning Sacrifice and the Father well-pleasedwith you because you are trusting in His beloved Son! Or, to put the Truth in another form, the Father gives the great Gospelfeast, the Son is the feast and the Spirit not only brings the invitations, but He also gathers the guests around the table.Or, to use another metaphor, God the Father is the Fountain of Grace, God the Son is the Channel of Grace and God the HolySpirit is the Cup from which we drink of the flowing stream. I wish that I could really make you see Jesus Christ standingby Jordan's brink as He came up out of the water after He had been baptized by John-and the Spirit of God descending and lightingupon Him and that I could make you hear the voice of the Father saying-"This is My Beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased."If I could do this, all I would have to add would be John's message, "Behold the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of theworld." There is eternal life for everyone who truly looks to Him by faith-
"There is life for a look at the Crucified One! There is life at this moment for thee! Then look, Sinner, look unto Him, andbe saved Unto Him who was nailed to the tree!"
II. In beginning my sermon, I told you that the second lesson I wanted you to learn tonight would be more suitable to believersin the Lord Jesus Christ, though at the same time it may also be useful to the unconverted, just as I hope the first lessonhas been helpful to the people of God though especially intended for those who are not yet avowedly on the Lord's side. Thissecond lesson, upon which I have now to speak, relates to THE DESCENT OF THE SPIRIT UPON BELIEVERS, but I would not have daredto take the text without also calling your attention to the first lesson upon which I have already spoken.
I want you to clearly understand that as the Holy Spirit rested upon Christ, so He rests upon all who are in Christ. Indeed,when the Spirit rested upon Christ, He rested upon the whole Church that was represented by Christ. You remember that Davidsays the unity of brethren is "like the precious ointment upon the head that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard:that went down to the skirts of his garments." So the anointing that Christ received from the Holy Spirit ran down to thevery lowest, least and last of the members of that Church of which He is the Head!
When the Holy Spirit descended from Heaven like a dove and lighted upon Christ, that descent was intended to teach us severallessons which we will now try to learn. Consider, first, the swiftness of that descent. The heavens were opened-there wasno delay, but swiftly as a flash of lightning the Spirit descended and lighted upon Christ. Beloved Brothers and Sisters inChrist, do you feel dull and heavy tonight? Are you depressed in spirit? There is no reason why, within the next second, youshould not be in quite a heavenly frame of mind, for the Spirit of God can descend upon you like a dove and immediately youshall be lifted up out of your dullness and despondency! The Spirit needs no time in which to work. The motions of matterare necessarily tardy-matter can only move at a certain rate and there are many things that slow it down. But as you know,the motion of mind is far more rapid-your thoughts can fly to America and back again more swiftly than I can describe theirflight! In a flash your mind can be soaring away up among the stars millions and millions and millions of miles away! Now,the mind of the Spirit is the highest order of mind, for He is Divine and, therefore, His motions are swift as light-no, theyare incomparably swifter than that! He descended like a dove in order to set forth the rapidity of His flight. You rememberthat expression in the Song of Solomon, "Or ever I was aware, my soul made me like the chariots of Amminadib." So is it whenthe Spirit comes to us-our soul is, as it were, borne along in a swiftly-driven chariot! It does not take the Holy Spiritan hour to convert a soul. The vital spark that regenerates a soul is kindled in an instant! Instantaneous conversion is notthe exception, it is the rule-there cannot be any conversion but that which is instantaneous! The growth, the developmentof the work of Grace in the heart and life is gradual, but there is a moment in which the soul passes from death unto life,from slavery to liberty, from sin to righ-
teousness! And I have already said to you, Christian Friends, that you can, in a moment, be transported out of a dull, languishingstate of heart into one of holy peace and joy. Breathe the prayer-
"Come, Holy Spirit heavenly Dove, With all Your quickening powers, Come, shed abroad a Savor's love, And that shall kindleours"- and there is no reason why He should not grant your request even before you have finished your petition!
The figure of a dove also represents softness as well as swiftness. Speed generally causes some measure of sound-we usuallyassociate hurry with noise, but it is not so with the Spirit of God. He descended with silent wings and alighted upon Christas He came up out of the river where He had been baptized. If it had been recorded that the Spirit descended like an eagle,we would have thought of the whirring of great wings. But the dove's flight is of a far gentler and quieter order. So, Beloved,the Spirit of God may come down upon some of us in this house tonight, yet no one may be aware of His coming except thoseupon whom He rests as He rested that day upon Christ! Your neighbor may not perceive what has happened to you-there need beno outcry, no shouting, no violent contortions as there have been in certain revivals of which we have heard. No, the blessedSpirit frequently works invisibly, as the wind blows where it wishes-and sometimes blows so softly that we are not consciousof the slightest sound from the gentle zephyrs that fan our cheeks. I pray that in the solemn silence of the mind, many ofyou may thus experience the descent of the Holy Spirit like a dove, so swift yet so soft, so gentle yet so strong!
Besides this, wherever the Spirit comes, He works according to His own holy Nature. He comes like a dove and He operates ina dove-like manner. And if He graciously operates upon you, you also will have dove-like qualities given to you. What arethey? Well, I think that the first thought we associate with a dove is that of purity. You remember that the spouse in theSong of Solomon says of her Beloved, "His eyes are as the eyes of doves." And the Bridegroom says to His spouse, "You arefair, My love; behold, you are fair; you have doves' eyes"-that is, eyes of purity, bright sparkling eyes that care not tolook upon that which is unclean! The dove is no carrion-loving bird and you will recollect that it was the only bird thatwas offered to God in sacrifice under the old dispensation. Perhaps someone says, "Oh, but it was written in the Law, "A pairof turtledoves, or two young pigeons!" Yes, it was so written. But then I remind you that a pigeon is only one member of thegreat dove family and that it was only among the doves, of all feathered creatures, that there was found a bird that was cleanenough to be offered unto God as a sacrifice! So the selection of a dove as the emblem of the Holy Spirit is very suggestive,for, wherever He goes, He breeds purity. If a man shall live a life of uncleanness, hatred, malice, and then say that he hasthe Holy Spirit dwelling in him, he lies, for the Spirit first makes us pure and then peaceable. Unless you, my dear Hearer,have shaken off from you the love of all that is evil and have resolved in God's strength to live as becomes the Gospel ofChrist, you prove that you have not experienced the dove-like influence of the Holy Spirit! In my early days in the country,I was horribly shocked when I heard of a man standing on a public house table and saying though at the time he was almostdrunk, "I can say what none of you fellows can say, that I am one of God's elect." All of us who knew anything of the manused to shudder at the thought of his blasphemy in pretending to be one of the elect. Why, if the Grace of God does not makea man holy, what is it worth? My dear Friend, if you are determined to be damned, leave religion out of it-and do not pretendto be a child of God and yet live in sin. To profess to be an heir of Heaven and then to live as an heir of Hell is such detestablehypocrisy that I pray God that all of you may be preserved from ever falling into it! Where the Spirit of God dwells, thereis sure to be purity!
And next to purity comes peace. The dove with the olive leaf in its mouth was the token of peace to Noah and those who werewith him in the Ark. And the dove has long been used as a symbol of peace. If the Spirit of God, like a dove, shall dwellwith you, my dear Friend, you will have peace in your own conscience, peace with your fellow men, peace with God. As Paulputs it in writing to the Philippians, "the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your heart and mind throughChrist Jesus." Those worrying, distracting thoughts of yours do not come from the Holy Spirit! Those carking cares, thosedisquieting anxieties are not the Spirit's work! Where the Spirit, like a dove, dwells in a Believer's heart, that ancientassurance is fulfilled, "You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You: because he trusts in You." May youenjoy this perfect peace through the coming of the Spirit to you!
The dove is, next, the picture of gentleness. You do not expect to see doves fighting like vultures or ravens. I suppose dovesdo quarrel sometimes but, as a rule, their gentle and amiable nature makes them harmless and lovable. So, Chris-
tians should be the most gentle of all men. We are to be willing to be struck on one cheek and then to turn the other to thesmiter. I know some professing Christians who, as soon as ever a contrary word is spoken to them, boil over with rage. Well,it is not their Christianity that makes such a display as that-and it is a poor excuse to say that it is their infirmity!"Oh," says one, "but if you tread on a worm, it will turn." Yes, the poor little creature turns in its agony, but is a wormto be a model for your conduct? Surely it would be better to ask the Holy Spirit to give you the Grace to take the Lord JesusChrist as your example! Have you never heard of the Christian who killed his neighbor by kindness? When his oxen got intohis neighbor's field, the cross-grained man put them into the pound and said that if they came astray again he would dealwith them in the same way. By-and-by, his own oxen wandered into his neighbor's field-and then the Christian man fed themand sent word that if they came there again, he would treat them in the same way. That is the style in which we should endeavorto act towards any who treat us unkindly-by heaping coals of fire upon their heads, we may in time burn love into their hearts!
I am afraid that all professing Christians are not as gentle as they should be, though gentleness is one of the prominentcharacteristics of true Christians. I am not a Quaker, but I must say that in this particular quality of gentleness, the Societyof Friends has set a good example to the whole Christian Church. I wish that the spirit of non-resistance was more generallyprevalent among Christians than it often is. It is certainly in accordance with both the teaching and example of our LordJesus Christ, "who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself toHim that judges righteously." These words of the Apostle Peter follow immediately after his declaration that "Christ alsosuffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps." Where the dove-like Spirit dwells, there will bea gentleness of spirit in harmony with His own Nature. I am charmed with the change that is often apparent in the convertswho come to join this Church. When I hear of a man who before his conversion used to rage and rave in such a way as to bea terror to his family, yet who now, though he is at times greatly provoked, just walks away and says nothing, I feel thatthe Grace of God is really working in his heart. If what you call Grace does not change your evil tempers, you had betterexchange it for the true Grace of God which will do so! For surely it is one of the first evidences that the Spirit of Godis dwelling within a man when it makes him "gentle, showing all meekness unto all men."
A dove is also one of the most harmless of all God's creatures. And a Christian must never intentionally hurt or harm others.Our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to suffer, but He did not make others suffer-and He would not have us seek to propagateHis Truth in a bitter spirit. If you are dealing with an infidel, let him see that, however strongly you disapprove of hisprinciples, you endeavor to win him away from them not by unkindness, but by love. I doubt if anybody is ever bullied intoaccepting the Gospel. Certainly, more flies are caught with honey than with vinegar-and more sinners are brought to Christby kindness than by unkindness. Never let anyone be truthfully able to say of you, "There is a professed follower of the LordJesus Christ who has done me most serious injury." But rather let it be said concerning you, "There goes a man whom I grosslyinjured, yet he bore it patiently and said nothing against me because he is a Christian."
You know, too, that in Scripture the dove is spoken of as a type of love. When the turtledove has lost its mate, everybodyknows how it will sit and moan and mourn. "The voice of the turtle is heard in our land" is the Scriptural description ofa spiritual springtime, the season of love and joy. If the dove-like Spirit has come into your heart, my Friend, your soulwill be full of love to Jesus. But if you are not conscious of His Presence, you will mourn like the bereaved dove and willdolefully sing-
"I cannot bear Your absence, Lord. I cannot live without Your smile."
If I cannot rejoice in Christ, the next best thing is to weep because I cannot enjoy sweet fellowship with Him. If I cannotrest in Christ, it is a good thing if I cannot rest anywhere else. Ah, Soul, if you have the Spirit of God within you, youwill pine and sigh and cry until Christ is very near and very dear to you! And when He is both near and dear to you, thenyour soul will be like a vessel that is filled to the brim, yet still remaining under the running stream, and you will overflowwith love and gratitude to your dear Lord who has done such great things for you!
Time flies, so I must close with just one more thought. You remember that when this world was created, "the earth was withoutform, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of
the waters." Everything was in a state of chaos and confusion-there was neither life nor order! But when the Spirit of Godspread His great wings over the face of the deep and brooded, like a bird upon its nest, it was not long before the Voiceof God was heard and soon disorder gave place to order, darkness to light, and death to life! The Holy Spirit comes into ourheart now to work the same kind of change as that. He finds our soul in a state of chaos-formless, empty, dark-but when Hemysteriously spreads His dove-like wings over our soul-life, light and order soon appear. We then begin to see what we neversaw before! We put God into His rightful place and we realize how great He is. And we put ourselves into our rightful placeand we realize what nothings we are! We put the Law into its rightful place and recognize how terribly stern it is. And weput sin into its rightful place and we tremble before its terrible power! When the Spirit of God broods over us, one of thefirst signs of the new life appearing in our soul is the penitent cry, "God be merciful to me a sinner." Those sorrow-filledeyes, those swiftly-falling tears, that brokenhearted sigh-all these are the result of the brooding of the Spirit of God uponour disordered nature! And when at last you can truthfully say-
"I rest My soul on Jesus,
This weary soul of mine.
His right hand me embraces
I on His breast recline"-
that also is the result of the brooding of the Spirit! He has quickened you! He has given you life, for only a living soulcan truly say, "I do believe in Jesus." That is a sure sign of the new creation! It is a certain proof that Christ has madeall things new in you by the effectual working of His ever-blessed Spirit. To any here who have never realized the dove-likeenergy of the Holy Spirit, I commend the prayer Charles Wesley wrote-
"Expand your wings, celestial Dove,
Brood over our nature's night!
On our disordered spirits move
And let there now be light." Dr. Watts gives us another prayer in which Christians can heartily unite-
"Descend from Heaven, immortal Dove,
Stoop down and take us on your wings
And mount and bear us far above
The reach of these inferior things!
Beyond, beyond this lower sky
Up where eternal ages roll,
Where solid pleasures never die
And fruits immortal feast the soul!
Oh for a sight, a pleasing sight
Of our Almighty Father's Throne!
There sits our Savior crowned with light,
Clothed in a body like our own!
When shall the day, dear Lord, appear,
That I shall mount to dwell above,
And stand and bow among them there,
And view Your face, and sing, and love?" May the Lord bless everyone of you, for Jesus Christ's sake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: ROMANS 6.
Verse 1. What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that Grace may abound?f the sinfulness of man has really givenan opportunity for the display of Divine Mercy, then the devil's logic would be, "Let us commit more sin, that there may bemore room for Grace to work!" But Christians have learned their reasoning in another school-and to such diabolical argumentsthey answer in the words of the Apostle -
2. God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?The two terms are exactly opposite to one another.If, through Grace, we are dead to sin how can we live in it? If, sinners as we are, we come to Christ to be saved from sin,then it would be a complete misuse of language to talk of being saved from sin, yet still to continue in it! Besides, theApostle goes on to show that the ordinance, by which believers in Jesus are to be admitted into the visible Christian Churchwill not allow them to continue in sin.
3, 4. Know you not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buriedwith Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father,
even so we also should walk in newness of life. [See Sermons #1627, Volume 27-BAPTISM-A BURIAL and #2197, Volume 37-CHRIST'SRESURRECTION AND OUR NEWNESS OF LIFE.] You remember, My Brothers and
Sisters in Christ, that hallowed hour when you went down into the liquid tomb, when, in the name of the Father, the Son andthe Holy Spirit, you were immersed upon profession of your faith in Jesus Christ? By that solemn act you set forth your deathto sin and when you were raised again out of the opening element, you thereby made a profession of your faith in Christ'sResurrection. And moreover, you did then and there, seeing that you had received the Grace of God in truth, profess to riseunto newness of life! How could you, then, go back to sin? That would be to make your Baptism a lie! Indeed, you are, allof you, unbaptized unless you have been baptized into Christ's death.
5, 6. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection:knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we
should not serve sin. [See Sermon #882, Volume15-THE OLD MAN CRUCIFIED.] God has driven the nails through the active powersof our sin-both hands and feet are fastened to the Cross of Christ. And though the heart and the head may sometimes wander,yet our old man is crucified with Christ that the body of sin may be destroyed-and we are looking forward to that happy daywhen the old man shall be dead altogether, and we shall be made meet to enter into the inheritance of the saints in light.We believe that our old man will never die until we die, but we thank God that the death of our body will also be the deathof the body of sin.
7. For he that is dead is freed from sin. He can no longer live in it, for he is dead. And if we are really dead in Christ,we can no longer live in sin as we were known to do.
8-11. Nowifwe are dead with Christ, we believe that we shallalso live with Him: knowing that Christ, being raised from thedead, dies no more; death has no more dominion over Him. For in that He died, He died unto sin once: but in that He lives,He lives unto God. Likewise reckon you also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God
through Jesus Christ our Lord [See Sermons #503, Volume 9-DEATH AND LIFE IN CHRIST and #2933, Volume 51-DEAD, YET ALIVE.]If Christ could die again, then Believers might lose their spiritual life and there might be such a thing as falling fromGrace! But while Jesus lives, no member of His Mystical Body can die. His own promise is, "Because I live, you shall livealso." He died unto sin once-we do the same. He lives no more to die- we also do the same. Highly privileged are they whoare dead with Christ! And blessed is that ordinance in which we set forth our death and burial with Him.
12, 13. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in the lusts thereof Neither yield you yourmembers as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead,and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.Your legs used to carry you to the theater- compel them now to carryyou to the House of God even though you are weary. Your eyes could look long enough upon wickedness-let not their lids fallwhen you are sitting to hear a sermon! Let all the members of your body which once served Satan now serve God! Consider thatyour whole body is a consecrated temple and be not satisfied unless the whole of it is reserved for the great God Himself!
14, 15. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the Law, but under Grace. What then? Shall we sinbecause we are not under the La w, but under Grace?[See Sermons #1410, Volume 24-believers free from the dominion
OF SIN and #1735, Volume 29-THE DOCTRINES OF GRACE DO NOT LEAD TO SIN.]
This is another of the Antinomian suggestions that were made in the Apostle's time-and that are still made now! And how doesPaul answer it? Why, with this solemn adjuration-
15-18. God forbid! Know you not that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servantsyou are to whom you obey:whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that you were the servants
of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart that form of Doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin,
you became the servants of righteousness. [See Sermon #1482, Volume 25-OUR CHANGE OF MASTERS.] Is not that a glorious sentence,"Being then made free from sin"? Yes, the fetters are all gone! We have put up our feet upon the block and the chains havebeen knocked off! We have put our hands down and the irons have been broken in pieces. Free from sin! 'Tis true that sin stilltempts us, but it cannot prevail against us-it tries to put the bit in our mouth and to ride us as once it did, but we nolonger submit to its sway! Sin is now an enemy to fret and worry us, but not a king to trample upon us and rule over us.
19, 20. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as you have yielded your members servantsto uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. Forwhen you were the servant of sin, you were free from righteousness. You disdained the silken bonds of pie-ty-you said thatyou would never wear what you called the iron fetters of Grace! You were "Free from righteousness." So, surely, now that youare the servants of righteousness, you should seek to be free from sin!
21-23. What fruit had you then in those things whereof you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But nowbeing made free from sin, and become servants to God, you have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. Forthe wages of sin is death; but the gift of Godis eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord [See Sermon #1868, Volume 31-DEATHAND LIFE-THE WAGE AND THE GIFT.]