"I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live." John 11:25
EVERY truly gracious man is a living soul. He is in the possession of an inner, spiritual life. The first important characteristic of this spiritual life is its engrafting upon a state of death. The words of the apostle will explain our meaning: "For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God." "I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live." The simple meaning of these declarations is—the living soul is dead to the law of God as an instrument of life, and to its works as a ground of salvation. It is dead, too, to the curse and tyranny of the law, and consequently to its power of condemning. To all this the soul made alive by Christ is dead with Christ. Thus is it most clear that a man, dead already though he originally is in trespasses and in sins, must morally die before he can spiritually live. The crucifixion with Christ must precede the living with Christ. He must die to all schemes and hopes of salvation in or by himself, before he can fully receive into his heart Christ as the life of his soul. This spiritual mystery the natural man cannot understand or receive: he only can who is "born of the Spirit." Has the law of God been brought into your conscience with that enlightening, convincing, and condemning power, as first to startle you from your spiritual slumber, and then to sever you from all hope or expectation of salvation in yourself? If so, then will you know of a truth what it is first to die before you live. Dying to the law, dying to self, you will receive Him into your heart, who so blessedly declared, "I am come that you might have life, and that you might have it more abundantly."
The Lord Jesus is ESSENTIAL LIFE. Standing by the grave that entombs the soul dead in sin, ESSENTIAL LIFE exclaims, "I am the resurrection and the life—come forth!" and in a moment the soul is quickened, and rises to newness of life. What but Deity could accomplish this? Take off your shoes from your feet; for you stands upon holy ground! Jesus is the TRUE GOD, and ESSENTIAL LIFE. The smallest seed, the meanest insect, the lowest creature on earth, and the mightiest angel and the brightest saint in heaven, draw their life from Christ. What a mighty and glorious Being, then, is the Son of God, the ceaseless energy of whose essence prevents each moment everything that has life from being destroyed, and from accomplishing its own destruction! Who would not believe in, who would not love, who would not serve such a Being? Who would not crown Him Lord of all?