"That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection" (Phil. 3:10).
Is there not some danger of lingering too exclusively at the cross, to the exclusion of the grave of Jesus? In other words, do we give the subject of Christ's RESURRECTION that place in our faith and meditation which we give to His Death, and which God gives it in the great scheme of our salvation? Essential and precious as the atoning Death of Jesus is, it had availed us nothing apart from His Resurrection. We needed more than death--we needed life! We needed more than the bond presented by Divine justice, and paid--we needed the seal of its acceptance on the part of God. This was given when God raised up Jesus from the dead, "who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification."
Christ's Resurrection from the grave by the power of God was the Father's attestation to the completeness of the Son's work, and His public acknowledgment of its acceptance. Thus the Resurrection of Christ is to us what a legal acknowledgment is at the hands of a creditor whose claim has been met, whose bond is cancelled. The believing soul sees in the emptied tomb of Jesus the evidence and the acknowledgment of his full discharge from all the demands of Law and all the threatenings of justice. Now, it is the power of this truth in our souls that more immediately concerns us. The Resurrection of Jesus is an accomplished fact--what we want to experience is, His Resurrection-life in our heart. This was Paul's prayer--"That I may know Christ, and the POWER of His Resurrection."
We first feel this when we realize our mystical union with Jesus. There can be no experience of the power of anything apart from a personal contact with it. Let us first settle the question, "Am I one with Christ?" Have I a vital and spiritual union with the Savior? If so, then I am risen with Him, as the apostle says--"If you be risen with Christ." O my soul, consider into what an exalted and blessed state your union with Christ places you, making you, through free and sovereign grace, a partaker of all that He was, of all that He now is, and of all that He will be when He comes with all His saints in majesty and glory.
By the power of Christ's Resurrection, we enter into a new, or resurrection-life--"Quickened together with Him." Our blessed Lord, when He rose from the dead, rose with a new-born life. Leaving in the tomb the grave-clothes--the napkin and the shroud--He came back clad with His resurrection robes--a new and wondrous life! Of this resurrection-life all are partakers who know the POWER of His Resurrection.
O my soul, fear not, then, that anything shall ever separate you from Christ. This cannot be, since your spiritual life is bound up and hidden with the Resurrection-life of Jesus.
The power of Jesus' Resurrection is experienced by us when by it we rise above earth, and "seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God." Has Jesus risen? Then we, also, must rise. As He left death and earth behind Him, so we, if we be risen with Him, "through faith of the operation of God, who raised Him from the dead," must rise superior to the deadly pomps and vanities of this poor world, and walk with God in "newness of life." Oh to feel the "power of His Resurrection," in a life dead to sin and the world, but living to holiness and God!
We wait to know yet more of the "power of Christ's Resurrection," when the trumpet of the Archangel shall sound, and the dead in Christ shall rise first. The slumber of the grave gently broken, the glorified spirit returns to its awakened dust--then both ascends into the air to meet the descending Lord. O blessed, glorious consummation of the power of Christ's Resurrection!
Christ is our life; and our growth in spiritual life is Christ increasing within us. It is as utterly impossible to cherish a holy desire, to conceive a heavenly thought, to perform a good action, to conquer a single infirmity, or to baffle a solitary temptation, apart from a direct communication with Christ; as for the lungs to expand without air, or light to exist without the Sun. Oh, yes! Christ is increasingly precious to the believer. The absence from His beatific presence- distance from His blest abode- the vicissitudes of life- the fluctuations of time- the advance of infirmities- the increase of anxieties and cares- and the formation of new friendships, do not render the Savior less precious to the believing soul.
Other objects often lose their attraction, their desire to interest, or their power to charm us, by the lapse of years; but JESUS is that glorious object who grows more precious to the heart in time, as His capacity unfolds of making us supremely happy; and in eternity will become increasingly the object of our love, and the theme of our song, and the source of our bliss, as growing ages unveil His loveliness, His glory, and His grace!
Beloved reader, is Jesus increasingly precious to your soul? Each day's history, each day's trial, each day's sin, each day's need, should endear the Savior to your heart, because in each and all of those circumstances you should have direct and close dealings, daily and personal transactions, with Christ! You cannot cultivate an intimacy with Christ and not be enamored of His beauty, charmed with His graciousness, and absorbed with His love!
Be cautioned against an eclipse of the Savior! Let no object come between your heart and Christ! Do not be presumptuous when in high spiritual frames, nor be depressed when in low ones. Do not let your conscious shortcomings, failures, and stumblings estrange your affections from Jesus. Nor allow pride or carelessness to insinuate itself, if the Lord confers upon you some especial favor or proof of His regard.