“Above the common” is the force of the word “abundantly.” To impart this new life, Christ came. No man, no angel, had possessed it before His resurrection, but it is now the life every saint possesses. Let us note some of its characteristic traits as set forth in Romans.
It is a life Godward (6:10-11).
Christ lives to God, having died to sin; we are privileged to reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Him. That which is true of Christ is also true of us—as viewed in Him everything is exemplified in Christ. His life has its innermost springs, its motives, aspirations, objects, Godward, in a heavenly circle of divine delights; hidden from the world, it finds its outgoings wholly to God. Thus we are to find in God our supreme good; live only and wholly to Him in the secret of our being.
It has a manward aspect (6:13-22).
Yielding ourselves wholly to God, sin no longer reigning in our mortal bodies, the life will express itself in holiness and righteousness. Our members are no longer to be under the control of our old master, sin, but we are to serve God without fear in holiness and righteousness all our days. The new life is to be the dominant life; our mortal bodies, with their various members, are to be instruments, wholly at the disposal of God, whose servants we have become.
It is a lift of association (6:8-10).
We shall live with Him! What a volume is in those words “with Him”! To be with Him is the sum and substance of all our blessedness, for He is with the Father, and this, for Him, is the blessedness of heaven, as it will be ours to be with Him there. Pleasures for evermore, joys unceasing and ever increasing will be ours, but He is better than all the joys; the true delight of heaven is Jesus. The Son of the Father will introduce the many sons into the intimacies of the circle in which He now moves and dwells; we shall live together with Him, see Him as He is, gaze upon His face, listen to His voice in the fair realms of God’s paradise, spend eternity in His company; for the life we have is
Eternal in its nature (6:23),
as well as heavenly in its associations, fruit of the sovereign grace of God. It is a gift conferred apart from merit or desert on our part. The gift of God is eternal life. This life is never separated from its source in the Son; consequently it can neither be lost nor ended, nor shall the one who possesses it ever perish; being in the power of resurrection, death can never touch it, its home and source being in a heavenly scene and a heavenly Christ. Living by the faith of the Son of God, the believer not only enters into its heavenly characteristics, but is privileged to walk in newness of life here, reproducing the blessed traits of the meek and lowly Jesus, who adapted Himself to the varied neds of man, whilst ever walking in holy separation to God.
It is a life not chargeable with sin and death (8:2).
The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath in its very nature freedom from sin and death: the cross ended both for God and for faith. Christ, having charged Himself with both, did not take His life again until death was vanquished and sin put away. Christ can never be condemned again, and has imparted to us His life beyond death, a life to which no condemnation is attached. It is in His life we participate; Christ being a life-giving Spirit, He imparts life immediately and directly from Himself without transmitting it through others. He is thus in a peculiar way our life, for it is of His life we live, not in the way life reaches us from Adam.
It is a triumphant life (5:17).
Death has hitherto held sway over men, but death itself is doomed; the day will dawn soon when life will be in the ascendency, wield the sceptre, and we shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. Every trace of death removed; this fair creation no longer stained with corruption; the reign of sin and death over; every part of the universe will witness the glorious triumph of Christ, and the abolition of the last enemy. The effect of the rapture will be death swallowed up by life; mortality gone, we shall reign in life, with the Prince of life.
It is a justified life (5:18).
Our natural lives are imbued with sin and stained with sins. Christ was made sin and bore our sins; became chargeable with what we were as well as with what we had done, and on the cross bore all the judgment due to both sin and sins; made a holy and righteous clearance, glorifying God to the full as to the holiness of His nature. Christ died to all the state and condition into which sin had brought man, and rising He rose a Man with a life to which no charge can be attached. A risen Christ is not only the proof of our justification, but “justification of life” is the outcome of His one act of righteousness on the cross, and we possess a life to which sin can never be attached.
It is life in the Spirit (8:10).
Christ in us as life is in the power of the Spirit; “the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” He breathed on His disciples after His resurrection, saying, “Receive ye Holy Spirit.” The Spirit is thus an integral part of the believer’s life, subjectively, even as Christ is, objectively. We live in the Spirit, and the Spirit lives in us as the energy of the life we possess, ever and anon rising up as the springing well, or flowing out as living water, but never disconnected from its Source in Christ. Indeed it is the special mission of the Spirit to engage our minds and centre our affections on Christ, and in this way enable us to enter into life more abundantly. All creature life needs sustainment, so it is not only true that Christ is our life, but He is also the Renewer of the inward man day by day, and faith appropriates Him as life’s Sustainer. Paul wrote elsewhere: “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” The Son of God is faith’s object, the Spirit of God the power in us to give us vital connection and reproduce the traits of divine life in us by fixing our gaze upon Jesus glorified, giving us life to begin with, He will end with quickening our mortal bodies, for
This life has a future (5:21).
We not only have life now in having Christ and the Spirit, but the same Spirit is also the pledge of the end which awaits us, when He will conduct us into the home of divine life, where our affections can unhinderedly flow out in the relationship in which we are set with the Father and the Son. There Christ is everything, and is also “in everything,” for it is His life which fills each glorious being who shall then bask in the sunshine of His presence. The home of our life being the abode of the Father and the Son, all there is congenial; unlike the environments now surrounding a Christian, who is now like an exotic in the chilly blasts of this world; but the time fast approaches when he will bloom in the holy atmosphere of divine love, unchilled by the damp fogs of earth.
Meantime we have to walk in “newness of life” to express in this world a life whose motives lie altogether outside it, and live in it as those who do not belong to it. The more distinctly we lay hold on that which is really life, and pursue it as an object, the more truly it will express itself without an effort on our part in our ordinary life and ways.
Our survey is necessarily brief, but we may well ask ourselves, Have we sufficiently valued this wonderful gift of life? Have we considered that the Spirit which is the power of the life enables the believer to live to God now, and will accompany us where the life itself can blossom as the rose; and meanwhile enables us to live a heavenly life in an ungodly world?
Have we laid hold of this life as not only justified and destined to reign presently; as not only setting us free from sin’s dominion and death’s law, but enabling us to live with Christ in the home of divine affections during that glorious and eternal future?
This surely is life out of the common. Adam did not share in it in an earthly paradise; neither seraphim, cherubim, or archangel have this life; it is the exclusive possession of those quickened by the Son, God’s gift, expressing the sovereign love of His heart, for it is the fruit of His love in giving His Son in order that we might possess it.
Words of Grace and Encouragement 1910