In The Likeness Of His Resurrection
By Andrew Murray
"For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection ...that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of His Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:5,4).
On the likeness of Christ’s death there follows necessarily the likeness of His resurrection. To speak alone of the likeness of His death, of bearing the cross, and of self-denial, gives a one-sided view of following Christ. It is only the power of His resurrection that gives us strength to go on from that likeness of His death as what we receive at once by faith, to that conformity to His death which comes as the growth of the inner life.
Being dead with Christ refers more to the death of the old life to sin and the world which we abandon. Risen with Christ refers to the new life through which the Holy Spirit expels the old. To the Christian who earnestly desires to walk as Christ did, the knowledge of this likeness of His resurrection is indispensable. Let us see if we do not here get the answer to the question as to where we shall find strength to live in the world as Christ did.
The Lord’s life before His death was a life of weakness. As our Surety, sin had great power over Him. It had also power over His disciples, so that He could not give them the Holy Spirit, or do for them what He wished. But with the resurrection all was changed. Raised by the almighty power of God, His resurrection life was full of the power of eternity. He had not only conquered death and sin for Himself, but for His disciples, so that He could from the first day make them partakers of His Spirit, of His joy and of His heavenly power.
When the Lord Jesus now makes us partakers of His life, then it is not the life that He had before His death, but the resurrection life that He won through death. This is a life in which sin is already made an end of and put away. It is a life that has already conquered hell and the devil, the world and the flesh, a life of Divine power in human nature.
This is the life that likeness to His resurrection gives us: "In that He liveth, He liveth unto God. Ye also likewise, reckon yourselves alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:10,11). Oh that through the Holy Spirit God might reveal to us the glory of the life in the likeness of Christ’s resurrection! In it we find the secret of power for a life of conformity to Him.
To most Christians this is a mystery, and therefore their life is full of sin and weakness and defeat. They believe in Christ’s resurrection as the sufficient proof of their justification. They think that He had to rise again, to continue His work in heaven as Mediator. But that He rose again, in order that His glorious resurrection life might now be the very power of their daily life, of this they have no idea. Hence their hopelessness when they hear of following Jesus fully, and being perfectly conformed to His image.
They cannot imagine how it can be required of a sinner that he should in all things act as Christ would have done. They do not know Christ in the power of His resurrection, or the mighty power with which His life now works in those who are willing to count all things but loss for His sake (Phil. 3:8; Eph. 1:19,20). Come, all you who are weary of a life unlike Jesus and long to walk always in His footsteps, you who begin to see that there is in the Scriptures a better life for you than you have hitherto known, come and let me try to show you the unspeakable treasure that is yours in your likeness to Christ in His resurrection.
Let Me Ask Three Questions:
The first is: are you ready to surrender your life to the rule of Jesus and His resurrection life? I doubt not that the contemplation of Christ’s example has convinced you of sin in more than one point. In seeking your own will and glory instead of God’s, in ambition and pride and selfishness and want of love toward man, you have seen how far you are from the obedience and humility and love of Jesus.
And now it is the question, whether in view of all these things, in which you have acknowledged sin, you are willing to say: If Jesus will take possession of my life, then I resign all right or wish ever in the least to have or to do my own will. I give my life with all I have and am entirely to Him, always to do what He through His Word and Spirit commands me. If He will live and rule in me, I promise unbounded and hearty obedience.
For such a surrender faith is needed; therefore the second question is: are you prepared to believe that Jesus will take possession of the life entrusted to Him, and that He will rule and keep it? When the believer entrusts his entire spiritual and temporal life completely to Christ, then he learns to understand aright Paul’s words: "I am dead; I live no more; Christ liveth in me" (See Galatians 2:20). Dead with Christ and risen again, the living Christ in His resurrection life takes possession of and rules my new life.
The resurrection life is not a thing that I may have if I can undertake to keep it. No, this I cannot do. But blessed be God, Jesus Christ Himself is the resurrection and the life; He is the resurrection life. He Himself will from day to day and hour to hour see to it and insure that I live as one who is risen with Him. He does it through that Holy Spirit who is the Spirit of His risen life. The Holy Spirit is in us, and will, if we trust Jesus for it, maintain within us every moment the presence and power of the risen Lord.
We need not fear that we never can succeed in leading such a holy life as becomes those who are temples of the living God. We are indeed not able. But it is not required of us. The living Jesus, who is the resurrection, has shown His power over all our enemies; He Himself, who so loves us, He will work it in us. He gives us the Holy Spirit as our power, and He will perform His work in us with Divine faithfulness if we will only trust Him. Christ Himself is our life.
Now comes the third question: are you ready to use this resurrection life for the purpose for which God gave it to Him and gives it to you, as a power of blessing to the lost? All desires after the resurrection life will fail if we are only seeking our own perfection and happiness. God raised up and exalted Jesus to give repentance and remission of sins. He ever lives to pray for sinners. Yield yourself to receive His resurrection life with the same aim. Give yourself wholly to working and praying for the perishing: then will you become a fit vessel and instrument in which the resurrection life can dwell and work out its glorious purposes.
Brother, sister, our calling is to live like Christ! To this end you have already been made one with Him in the likeness of His resurrection. The only question is now whether you are desirous after the full experience of His resurrection life, whether you are willing to surrender your whole life that He Himself may manifest resurrection power in every part of it. I pray you, do not draw back. Offer yourself unreservedly to Him, with all your weakness and unfaithfulness. Believe that as His resurrection was a wonder above all thought and expectation, so He as the Risen One will still work in you exceeding abundantly above all you could think or desire.
What a difference there was in the life of the disciples before Jesus’ death and after His resurrection! Before all was weakness and fear, self and sin: with the resurrection all was power and joy, life and love, and glory. Just as great will the change be when a believer who has known Jesus’ resurrection only as the ground of his justification but has not known of the likeness of His resurrection, discovers how the Risen One will Himself be his life. The Risen One will in very deed take on Himself the responsibility for the whole of that life. You who have not yet experienced this, who are troubled and weary because you are called to walk like Christ and can not do it, come and taste the blessedness of giving your whole life to the Risen Saviour in the assurance that He will live it for you!
O Lord, my soul adores You as the Prince of life! On the cross You conquered each one of my enemies--the devil, the flesh, the world and sin. As Conqueror, You rose to manifest and maintain the power of Your risen life in Your people. You have made them one with Yourself in the likeness of Your resurrection; now You will live in them, and show forth in their earthly life the power of Your heavenly life.
Praised be Thy name for this wonderful grace. Blessed Lord, I come at Your invitation to offer and surrender to You my life with all it implies. Too long have I striven in my own strength to live like You, and not succeeded. The more I sought to walk like You, the deeper was my disappointment. I have heard of Your disciples who tell how blessed it is to cast all care and responsibility for their life on You. Lord, I am risen with You, one with You in the likeness of Your resurrection. Come and take me entirely for Your own, and be my life.
Above all, I beseech You, O my Risen Lord, reveal Yourself to me, as You did to Your first disciples, in the power of Your resurrection. It was not enough that after Your resurrection You did appear to Your disciples; they knew You not till You made Yourself known. Lord Jesus, I do believe in You; be pleased to make Yourself known to me as my Life. It is Your work; You alone can do it. I trust You for it. And so shall my resurrection life be, like Your own, a continual source of light and blessing to all who are needing You. Amen.
– From Like Christ by Andrew Murray.