Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. Col 2:12
Christ your all!
The great, the glorious, the mighty Christ, the Lord rich over all, the heavenly Christ your all!
He, Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature and the firstborn of the dead, by Whom all things are created and reconciled, things that are in heaven and things that are on the earth, things visible and invisible,—your all!
For in Christ ye are complete!
In Christ, Who is in the form of God and of man, Immanuel; Who is the Lord of heaven and earth and the Servant of Jehovah; in Whom infinity and finitude, eternity and time, God and man are personally united forever; Who died and lives, Who was crucified and glorified, Who knew no sin and was made sin and is justified, Who descended into lowest hell and ascended into the highest heavens,—in that Christ ye are complete!!
For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell!
And, indeed, in Him dwelleth all the fullness of God bodily!
In Him, you have all!
In Him, as you are reconciled through Him with God, as you are baptized with Him into His death, as you are raised with Him through the faith of the operation of God, as you are united with Him as the members with the Head of the body, as He is revealed unto you in the Scriptures, preached unto you by the gospel of God concerning His Son, you have all you need, to live and to die, to live in the midst of death; to fight and to have the victory, to be victorious in the midst of battle; to suffer and to rejoice, to rejoice in the midst of suffering!
Outside of Him you do have nothing, you can have nothing, you may have nothing, you must seek nothing!
Least of all in philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world.
Let no man, then, beguile you, spoil you, lead you away from that glorious, that all-sufficient Christ!
Such is the Word of God as it comes to us through the epistle to the Colossians.
Christ alone your all!
With Him ye are risen!
For Christ is raised from the dead!
And He is become the first fruits 0f them that slept!
Raised He is, from that death into which He descended, voluntarily in order to bring the perfect offering of love to the Father for the sin of His own. He laid down His life for the sheep. He poured out His soul unto death, the death of the cross, descending into lowest hell, tasting all there is in death as the revelation of the righteous wrath and judgment of God against sin. And raised He is from that depth!
And His resurrection is not a mere return.
It does not merely mean that His soul and body were separated and that now they are united once more. It does not simply signify, that He poured out His soul unto death, that He laid down His earthly life, and that now, in the resurrection He took upon Himself that earthly body, that earthly soul, that earthly life once more. The resurrection of the Lord is not like that of Lazarus, a return to our earthly level, a rehabilitation with His earthly nature, like unto our sinful flesh, though without sin. It is more. It is passing on. It is victory over death. It is a breaking through death into the state of righteous, immortal, glorious, eternal, heavenly life. In the likeness of sinful flesh He sojourned among us, weak, mortal, corruptible, in dishonor, bearing the image of the earthy; in our state, with the guilt of our sin upon Him. And as such He went to the place of judgment, where the vials of God’s wrath were poured out over His head. As such, with that nature, in that state He poured out His lifeblood. With that nature He went into the grave, Sheol, the state of the dead. . . .
But He is raised!
Raised from death into immortality; from dishonor into glory; from weakness into power; from corruption into incorruption; from flesh and blood into spiritual liberty; from the image of the earthy into the image of the heavenly. The old form of the weak and suffering Servant, of the body of this death, was forever destroyed in death, swallowed up never to appear again. And in the resurrection He appears, indeed: He, the same that poured out His soul unto death on the cross, but now in all the glory of eternal righteousness and power and heavenly beauty.
Resurrection, His resurrection is exaltation!
And we are raised with Him!
Raised with Him, on that same glorious morning of His own resurrection, were we, were all those whom the Father from eternity had given unto Him. For, He that died and rose again is no mere individual; and His death and resurrection are not mere individual experiences of the man Jesus. He is the Head of the body, the Church. They and He are inseparably united in a double sense of the word. They are a legal body, a corporation, of which He is the representative and responsible Head. And they are an organism, a living body, which is quickened and supplied and filled with life and glory, from the Head, through the various spiritual nerve centers and joints and bands. Never can He be separated from them Never can they be severed from Him. One they are in life and death. When He died for all, all died. When He was raised from the dead, all were raised. In that wonderful moment of the resurrection of Christ all the elect were raised with Him.
But there is more.
For it is, evidently not to this central and ideal resurrection of the saints with Christ that the text is referring.
Does it not speak of a being buried with Him in baptism? And does not our resurrection with Christ, mentioned in the text, stand connected with that same baptism: “wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead”? We are, therefore, even now, and that very really, partakers of His resurrection. When we were baptized, that is, when that took place with us that is obsignated and sealed in our baptism, then, indeed, we were raised with Christ!
Then we died with Him!
Then we were buried with Him!
Then we were quickened together with Him!
For, of ourselves, by nature, as we are born from the flesh, we are flesh. Children of wrath we are, even as all men. Dead we are through the trespasses and sins. Guilty and damnable before God, corrupt in the ethical sense of the word, in darkness and perversity of heart and mind, incapable to know and to do the good, filled with all manner of evil and iniquity. Subject to death we are, under death’s dominion; and death works in our members from the moment of our entrance into this world.
But God who is rich in mercy hath quickened us together with Him!
He regenerated us!
He united us with Christ, the Head, through the Spirit. And through this union with Christ, the resurrected One, through Christ’s touching our inmost heart a spark of new life is ignited and set aglow in the very depth of our inmost being. We are delivered from the dominion and power of death. The beginning of a new life is implanted in our inmost heart. True it is only a beginning. It is but a spark of life. And it is ignited in our old and weak and corrupt and mortal nature. The “body of this death” remains. And we, too, must pass through the grave before we can enter into the fullness of life. But it is life that never dies. . . .
It is a spark that can never be extinguished!
It is life that is victorious, transcendent!
For it is resurrection life!
With Him we are risen! In fellowship with Him, in living union with Him, by virtue of that union we are risen! Partakers we are of Him and of His life!
Glorious, strong, immortal, incorruptible!
Free from the dominion of sin and of all death!
Raised is Christ!
By the power of the God and Father our Lord Jesus Christ He is raised from the dead.
Such is the viewpoint of the text.
And from that viewpoint His resurrection is commonly viewed in Holy Writ.
True, occasionally the Word of God speaks of Christ as having risen from the dead, thus presenting the resurrection as an act of (His own. Especially on the morning of the resurrection, when the reality of the joyous fact dawns upon the consciousness of the amazed and perplexed disciples, they meet one another with the glad tidings: “The Lord is risen indeed!” The viewpoint then is different, though the fact remains essentially the same. Always, of course, the resurrection is a divine work, showing forth the mighty power of the Most High, more so even than the work of creation. For it is God and He alone, that quicken- eth the dead, and calleth those things that are not as if they were. When, therefore, we read that Jesus rose from the dead, the meaning cannot be that He effected His own resurrection by the power of His human nature, but must be that the eternal Son of God by the power of His divinity overcame the power of death in His human nature, and thus was powerfully set forth to be the Son of God indeed.
Yet, here and most frequently in Scripture, He is said to be raised from the dead.
The triune God is the Author of the resurrection of Jesus.
For that triune God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost in unity of divine essence, is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ according to His human nature. All things are wrought by this blessed Trinity. Of the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit all things are made and sustained and governed. Of the Father, through the Son and in the Spirit is the eternal ordination of the Mediator, His anointing as the Servant of Jehovah over the whole ‘house of God. Of the Father, through the Son and in the Spirit is the incarnation,’ the central wonder: God manifest in the flesh; is the atonement and reconciliation of all things; is also the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead.
And as such the resurrection of Jesus is the mighty and ever faithful Word of God concerning our justification.
For He was delivered on account of our transgressions; and He was raised on account of our justification.
With our sins upon Him He made His way to the cross. Standing in our place He received all the vials of God’s wrath against the sin of mankind. Because of our sin He descended into the deepest depth of death and desolation and endured patiently, willingly, in perfect love of God and filial obedience, the bitterest agonies of hell. Drop by drop He poured out His lifeblood upon the altar of God’s justice for the transgression of His people. And not until He knew that all was finished, that He had endured unto the end and that the righteousness of God was perfectly fulfilled in Him, did He give up the ghost.
Delivered for our transgressions!
But now all awaits the divine sentence!
The Sun of righteousness with healing in his wings went down on Golgotha, and the night is now darker than ever. Shall He arise again? Our High Priest ministered at the altar, not with the blood of bulls and goats, but with His own precious blood, and carried that blood of atonement into the innermost sanctuary, saying: “It is finished!” Shall the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ corroborate that statement and set His eternal seal upon the sacrifice of our Lord? ….
For He raised Jesus from the dead!
He is raised for our justification! It is finished indeed! We may (have peace with God, being justified, through our Lord Jesus Christ!
That same God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who raised Jesus from the dead, also causes us to rise with Him!
For, it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. Even as the work of creation, and more emphatically so, the work of raising the dead is solely God’s work. He raised up Jesus. )He raises up all those that were given to Him in sovereign election. It is He that giveth unto the risen Lord the Spirit of promise, and makes Him the quickening Spirit. It is He, Who through our Lord Jesus Christ makes that Spirit, the resurrection-Spirit, dwell in the Church, to fill her with the resurrection- life of Christ Jesus.
He it is that unites us with Him, the body with the Head.
He it is that regenerates us, kindling the spark of eternal life in our inmost hearts, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
He it is that even now causes us to live through Him, giving us the victory over sin and death.
And He will also raise our mortal bodies!
That we may be with Him forever!
Risen with Him!
Alive we are even now, in the midst of death!
Through the faith of the operation of God. For by grace are we saved, through faith, and that not of ourselves: it is the gift of God!
Others would find a different meaning in the words of our text. They explain that we are partakers of the resurrection of Jesus, even now, bodily. For, this is true, say they, not only ideally, He being the first- fruits, but also in hope. We are saved, we are also bodily raised from the dead, in hope. Hope possesses the resurrection even now. And that hope has for its object the operation of God, whereby He raised Jesus from the dead.
Yet, it is clear that this cannot be the sense.
The Word of God speaks of a resurrection here that is even now realized in us through baptism; that is a resurrection in the same sense in which we are also now buried with Christ in that same baptism. It is the spiritual resurrection, which we now have through our living union with the risen Lord.
Therefore it is through faith. For faith is that spiritual power whereby we are united with Christ.
And faith is of God’s operation!
By grace are we saved!
Risen with Christ!