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LECTURES ON THE ROMANS.
ROMANS, viii, 10.
"And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin ; but the spirit is life because of righteousness."
I HAVE already affirmed, that to have Christ in us, is tantamount to the Spirit being in us. Christ dwells in us by the Holy Ghost. It is not because of this that the body is dead; but it is because of sin. The work of the Spirit in us does not counteract the temporal death of the body, however much it may counteract the second or eternal death to which the soul would have else been liable. It does not pour the elixir of immortality into the material frame-however much it may strengthen and prepare the imperishable spirit for its immortal well-being. Still, after Christ has taken up his abode within us and hath made a temple of our body, it is a temple that is to be destroyed. There remaineth a virus in the fabric, that sooner or later will work its dissolution; and as the law of temporal death is still unrepealed, even in the case of
those whom Christ hath redeemed from the curse of the law; and as, in harmony with this palpable fact, there is still the doctrine that sin lurks and lingers in the moral system even after the renovation which the Spirit hath given to it-this suggests a very important analogy, from the further prosecution of which we may perhaps gather, not a useless speculation, but a substantial and a practical benefit.
Suppose for a moment that the body, by some preternatural operation, were wholly delivered of its corrupt ingredient-that the sinful tendencies. which reside there were not only kept in check, but eradicated, so that all its appetites were at one with the desires of a pure and perfect spirit-Then there would be nothing to hinder our reception even now into the courts of the celestial. With such a harmony in our moral system as a soul all whose aspirations were on the side of holiness, and nothing to thwart these aspirations in the materialism by which it was encompassed, we see nought awanting to constitute a heavenly or an angelic characternor do we understand why death should in that case interpose between our state of being upon earth, and our state of blessedness for ever. And accordingly, we read that on Nature's dissolution, when the dead shall rise from their graves in triumph, they who remain alive and who have never fallen asleep must, to become incorruptible also, at least be changed. The change on those who are alive and caught up to meet the Lord in the air, does
for them what the death and the resurrection do for those who have been saints upon earth, ere they ascend as embodied saints into heaven. It is on the corruptible putting on incorruption, that the mortal puts on immortality; and the reason why even those in whom Christ dwells have still • a death to undergo, is that sin, though it no longer tyrannises, still adheres to them-and the wearing down of the body by disease, and the arrest that is laid on all the functions and operations of its physiology, and the transformation of it into inanimate matter, and the mouldering of it into dust, and then its reascent from the grave in which it for ages may have lain―These it would appear are the steps of a refining process, whereby the now vile body is changed into a glorious one; and the regenerated spirit is furnished with its suitable equipment for the delights and the services of eternity.
To the question then, why is it, that, though Christ dwells in us, still the body is dead or liable to death-the answer is, 'because of sin;' and from this very answer do we gather, that sin is still present with every believer in the world, and as universally present too as death is universal. In regard to temporal death, there is one lot we know that falleth to the wicked and the righteous. And therefore though these two classes do not stand alike related to sin, yet both are so related to it as to partake in common of the mortality, which, ere they are so changed as to become incorruptible, all it appears must undergo.
The righteous, we all see, die in common with the wicked; and the text tells us that the death of the body is because of sin. There must therefore be something that respects sin, which the righteous hold in common with the wicked-seeing that, because of it, there is a common suffering which both do undergo. What then is this common relation which they hold to sin as the cause, and in virtue of which they have a common participation in that bodily death that is here represented as the consequence?
In the first place, it cannot surely be that it is still inflicted on both as the judicial sentence which has been attached to transgression. It is very true, the announcement from the first has been, that he who sinneth shall die; and that, in reference to all from whom the condemnation hath not been turned away, temporal death may be regarded as forming a part of their sentence. But it cannot surely be viewed in this light, in reference to those of whom the Bible says that unto them there is no condemnation; in reference to those who savingly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and so have the benefit of that expiation which He hath rendered, and of that everlasting righteousness which He hath brought in. It cannot for a moment be thought, that any suffering of theirs is at all requisite to complete that great satisfaction which was made on Calvary for the sins of the faithful. It is said of Him, who by one offering hath perfected the work of our reconciliation and made