National Labor Tribune, April 22, 1906


Pastor C T Russell preached twice here today. One discourse was his cure for infidelity- "To Hell and Back. Who are There. Hope for the Recovery of many of them by a Judgment resurrection." We report the evening discourse from the text, "If ye then be risen with Christ seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set you affections on things above, not on things of the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." Col. 3:3 [HGL322] In our published discourse of last Sunday (for I know many of you follow these discourses in the public prints) we considered the general fact of our Lord's resurrection that it was well attested, not only by the testimony of the apostles and the harmony between their testimony but by the typical and prophetic teachings. Today we look at the matter from another standpoint, and note that the doctrine of the resurrection of Jesus, and the hope of believers in a risen Savior who would come again in due time for their deliverance, became a fundamental in the Christian faith. It entered into all the philosophy of the plan of salvation. For instance, in our text the Apostle points out that the true followers of Christ reckonedly die to earthly aims, hopes and ambitions, sinful pleasures, etc., and reckonedly arise from a dead condition to newness of life as New Creatures in Christ Jesus, "risen with him to walk in newness of life." To these "old things have passed away, all things have become new." All of their interests, hopes and aims are indissolubly linked with the resurrection of Jesus and his exaltation to the heavenly Kingdom, spiritual condition and their hope, their aim, their endeavor is to live in the world as not of the world, as dead to the world and its interests and affairs, and alive toward God and the spiritual interests and heavenly promises through Jesus Christ.

Not that the Apostles taught that this reckoned death and reckoned resurrection are sufficient. On the contrary their teaching was that this reckoned state must be maintained until the actual state is reached. For instance, the follower of Christ who makes a full consecration of his life unto death not only reckons himself dead unto the world and to sin and reckons himself alive toward God as though risen from the dead, but he must maintain this condition until actual death shall finish and complete the reckoned state; and his hope is that the resurrection of the new mind in the present life is but the precursor, the preparation, for the actual resurrection of the dead at the second coming of the Redeemer. Hence it was that the Apostles were continually exhorting the Church to stand steadfast, waiting for the grace, the favor, that shall be brought unto you at the revelation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ at his second coming. (1 Pet. 1:13.) Again, he says that we should hope unto the end, unto the completion, until that which is perfect shall have come, until the actual glory, honor and immortality shall have taken the place of the reckoned conditions, "changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye."


Under the guidance of the holy Spirit the Apostle introduced the Church to a new view of baptism, different from that which had been promulgated amongst the Jews by John the Baptist. The latter signified merely the washing away of the filth of the flesh, and symbolized thereby a return so far as possible to righteous living, in harmony with Moses; but the new and different thought in baptism, introduced after Pentecost and especially applicable to all Gentiles who accepted Christ, was that it was a symbol of the death and burial of their human will into the will of Christ, that in the water, symbolically, they were immersed into death dead to the world, dead to sin, dead to self, dead to earthly ambition, and from the water they were raised up to walk in newness of life, not after the flesh but after the spirit, seeking those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. Thus the Apostle declares that believers are buried with him (Christ) in baptism, wherein ye are also risen with him through faith in the operation of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins, in the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened (made alive, resurrected) together with him, having forgiven you all your trespasses. -Col. 2:12-13.

The Apostle again in his letter to the Romans (6:3-5) similarly defines the meaning of baptism, explaining that believers are immersed, buried into Christ; that in a sense each one so buried loses his own individuality and self-control and becomes merged into the body of Christ as a member thereof; that the method by which he is thus inducted into the body of Christ, with its privileges and favors, is through his voluntary baptism into death, his consecration of his heart, his will, his all to the Lord, to be dead so far as earthly interests and affairs are concerned.

The Apostle proceeds to explain that the object of this reckoned dying and reckoned burial into Christ is that we may be reckoned as members of his body and reckonedly live a new life thenceforth as though we had risen from the dead, glorifying our Father in heaven. He assures us that those who are faithful to the significations of this baptism into death will be the Lord's likeness actually by and by in the resurrection, the First Resurrection, of which it is written, "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the First Resurrection; on such the Second Death hath no power, but they shall be kings and priests unto God and shall reign with him a thousand years." Rev. 20:6.


In however different forms the Apostle presents the hopes of the Church as respects the transformation from sin-and-death conditions, to holiness and life conditions, he always maintains the same general thought namely, that we became reckonedly dead to the earthly interests, service, hopes and aims, and simultaneously became more and more alive toward God and the holy things, until this changing process begun in the present life and maintained until death shall be finished in the actual resurrection of the Church described by the Apostle (1 Cor. 15:42-44)- "So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body." This changing process the apostles tell us, is accomplished by the spirit of the Lord.

The moment of full consecration to death the moment of baptism into his death is for such the moment of begetting to newness of life; the moment of quickening and anointing with the holy Spirit is the moment of resurrection from the former dead condition to walk in newness of life. Then in proportion as the holy Spirit dwells in the Lord's people and abounds in them in that same proportion will the change progress from glory to glory in the image of their Lord. This is not a fleshly image the flesh is reckoned dead; it is a heart likeness or image that is begotten and that is developed at the expense of the will of the flesh, but, mortifying it, he walks after the Spirit. He follows the [HGL323] example and spirit of the Lord's Word diligently, that he may attain unto the glorious perfection to which he has been invited, and which will be granted to the faithful early in the Millennial morning, in the actual resurrection.


The world is reckoned as dead because of sin and its sentence of death, but the Christian is reckoned as alive toward God through Jesus Christ through faith in his finished sacrifice that faith being tested by their acceptance of the divine invitation to become living sacrifices with Christ and reckonedly New Creatures in him. We have already pointed out that this is not a renewing of the flesh but of the spirit, the mind, the will, and that henceforth the world knoweth us not, as it knew him not.

The world, judging according to the flesh, may see some who are not the Lord's people that have inherited proportionately less of evil effects of the fall, and, contrasting these with some of the more fallen ones who have accepted Christ, they may fancy that some of the world are superior to some who are of the Church. But the Lord looketh not on the outward appearance merely, but chiefly at the heart the will, the intention. Those who have consecrated their all to the Lord and who are doing their best in warring a good warfare against the weaknesses of their flesh have the divine approval, while those who have not thus made a consecration to the Lord and become dead to sin have not the divine approval, even though they have inherited less depraved bodies. Herein behold the grandeur of the divine arrangement, whereby the weakest and most depraved is put upon equal footing of opportunity for the attainment of the Kingdom with those who are more favored according to the flesh. As the Apostle explains, where sin abounds there grace so much more abounds; the Lord's provision for each through Jesus is according to the necessity of each, and his acceptance of us in him is according to our sincerity and whole heartedness.


As we have already seen, our mortal bodies are to die indeed they are reckoned dead at the moment of consecration, and continue to be so reckoned until they actually die. And there is no hope of the resurrection of the mortal bodies of the Church. On the contrary, as already pointed out, the Lord's faithful followers have the promise of a "better resurrection" a resurrection to spirit conditions, far superior to any earthly conditions. As the Apostle declares, there is an animal body and there is a spiritual body. We have an animal or fleshly body at the present time which is reckoned dead; and if faithful in keeping it dead, "keeping our bodies under," we will receive our glorious spiritual, immortal bodies in our resurrection change, when our Master at his coming shall say, "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joys of thy Lord. Thou hast been faithful over a few things faithful to the covenant of self-sacrifice: I will make thee ruler over many things." Matt. 25:2.

However, the Apostle points out to us that we are not to be satisfied with merely reckoning our bodies dead to sin and our hearts and minds alive toward God, but he points out to us that in proportion as we receive of the holy Spirit in proportion as it enters into our hearts and lives with transforming power we will be enabled not only to will aright but more and more do aright. We will not only cease to walk after the flesh and in our minds or intentions walk up to the spirit, but the new mind will have such power, such influence over the mortal body, as to be able to use it more and more in the service of the Lord, in the service of righteousness. Mark the Apostle's words along these lines. He declares "If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus dwell in you, he that raised up Christ Jesus from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you." Rom. 8:11.

The Apostle is not here talking about the actual resurrection, which we have seen will not be an awakening of the mortal body but a creating of a new body, the spiritual body promised to the faithful. The Apostle's thought is that our mortal bodies, consecrated to death, may be so energized, so controlled, by the holy Spirit, the holy mind, the holy disposition of the Lord in us, that in the present life we may be more and more servants of God and of righteousness, bringing forth fruitage of godliness to the praise of him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.

It will be observed that we have confined our review of this resurrection to the Church that we have said nothing about the world's resurrection, which belongs to the next age, and is called in the Scriptures the judgment resurrection. (John 5:29.) It will contain in its time wonderful possibilities for the human family. But now in this present time the Lord's special message is to the few, the little flock, the peculiar people, who, coming to a knowledge of the Truth and of his grace, and seeing the situation the mental, moral and physical depravity and death which sin has wrought and seeing the redemption which God proposes through Jesus, gladly accept the opportunity of casting in their lot with him in the warfare against sin and all unrighteousness, willingly laying down their lives in the service of truth and righteousness and the Lord's cause as against the cause of sin and Satan and death.

The resurrection of this class to the glories and perfections of the heavenly state are reckonedly begun in this present time, because it is necessary for the divine approval that we should not only make good resolutions and consecration, but that those resolutions, etc., should be tried and tested by what the Apostle terms "fiery trials" that thus the character likeness of the Savior, Jesus, may be developed in us by those trials and difficulties, and through his assistance, by his Word and Spirit, that we shall attain to his character likeness, and thus in the Father's sight be counted worthy of a share in his nature and glory and Kingdom by and by. The Apostle declares, "The world knoweth us not, even as it knew him not." (1 John 3:1.)


The world in general is growing more and more atheistic and pantheistic. Increasing numbers of the intelligent as well as of the ignorant are reaching the position of doubt respecting a personal Creator, and accepting an evolution theory to the effect that Nature is God, and has brought forth man and everything that we see by evolutionary processes, wholly aside from any individual, intelligent [HGL324] director or Creator. I notice in the public prints a statement bearing upon this question. A series of questions respecting God, his personality or impersonality, were propounded to a class in Columbia College, N Y The class numbered forty-five, and of these only sixteen professed faith in a divine, personal Creator, the remaining twenty-nine averring themselves atheists. With the Scriptural declaration that only the fool says in his heart there is no God, how can we think of the present time as wiser or an improvement upon the past?

Those of the world who do recognize a personal God take various views of the situation. The standard usually recognized by the world is that of justice that there will be no mercy shown, that every man will receive of rewards or punishments according to his just deserts, good or bad. Rejecting the thought of an eternity of torture, the view generally entertained is that more nearly corresponding with the purgatory of Romanists. But these same people do not recognize the divine standard of justice, namely, perfection; hence they fail to see the doctrine of the Scriptures, that without redemption by the death of Jesus, without his paying the penalty of original sin for mankind, there would be no hope of a future life. Their false basis of reasoning is that they will be punished in the future for those transgressions of the divine standard which were committed willfully and for none others.

Nor is the thought so different from what the Scriptures teach, namely, that our Lord's atonement sacrifice constitutes the full offset before Justice of all the sins of the whole world, to the extent that the same have been through ignorance or superstition or through inherited weaknesses or moral blemishes, and that for all willful transgressions, all sowing to the flesh, there will be a reaping of corresponding disadvantage in the glorious Millennial age, when the willing through the great uplifting work shall be rescued from sin-and-death conditions up, up, up, to the full perfection of earthly life represented in Father Adam's perfection in the image and likeness of God the disobedient, unwilling to make progress under the favorable opportunities of that time, being cut off in the Second Death destroyed.


Although Christian people very generally recognize the fact that God's mercy at the present time is extended to those of the called ones who respond voluntarily, yet the majority do not seem to grasp the force of this truth. Whoever will look about him at the present time must see that the Gospel is preached, but that no penalty is now enforced against those who reject the message merely a blessing is extended to those who accept, and that blessing even is so veiled, so obscure, that the majority of the world do not appreciate it. They perceive, as the Scriptures declare, that "many are the afflictions of the righteous," that the Lord's people are tested by fiery trials, and that the unconsecrated seemingly have fewer trials and difficulties.

This the world does not comprehend. It seems rather to imply that the Lord thinks less of the believers than of the unbelievers, less of the consecrated than of the unconsecrated. Only those who are taught in the school of Christ can appreciate, through other teachings of the Scriptures, that these trials which are upon the Lord's people are manifestations of the divine favor indications that the tried ones are under inspection and being chastened, polished, fitted and prepared for a place in the divine arrangement for the future, because they have made their consecration to the Lord, because they have heard of the divine grace and responded thereto. Therefore these afflictions which they by faith esteem to be right, shall, they are assured, work out for them a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. But this they can understand not by looking at the things that are seen, the temporal things but by looking with the eye of faith at the things that are not seen, eternal things, the heavenly Kingdom. 2 Cor. 4:18.

"Even hereunto were ye called," says the Apostle called, he again explains, with the heavenly calling, a high calling, to be heirs with Jesus Christ their Lord, if so be they suffer with him that they may also be glorified together. It is this filling up of the afflictions of Christ, the participation with him in his sufferings, in sacrifices of earthly interests, that constitute these peculiar, separate and distinct from the world in general no matter how morally and benevolently disposed the latter may be.

The mistake of Christian people in general has been in supposing that only this called out class is to be saved, in supposing that only these who now are dead with Christ and alive with him to walk in newness of life that only these will have part or lot in the great divine plan of human salvation, and that all the remainder will be eternally lost go into eternal torment say the majority, go into the Second Death say the minority. But the divine plan stands out glorious beyond all human conception in that it sets forth that the elect of this Gospel age are merely counted in with Jesus as members of the great Redeemer under one figure, and that they with him, in the glory of the Millennial Kingdom, will carry out the original purpose of God the blessing of all the families of the earth the uplifting of Adam and all of his posterity from the tomb and from all the degradation of sin-and-death conditions, if they will.

How glorious is the plan of God beyond all of our hopes and all our fears, and how glorious is the privilege now accorded to us who have heard the message of God's grace speaking peace through Jesus, and who after accepting the message of peace have received the invitation to be baptized into his death, to suffer with him that later on we may reign with him in his Kingdom, to be dead with him that, later on, we may live with him in the glorious immortality of the divine nature on the spirit plane, to be dead to the world and self and earthly ambitions and sin, and to walk now in newness of life, as resurrected New Creatures in Christ, and to be inheritors with him in a share of his resurrection, the First Resurrection, the Chief Resurrection, the resurrection of the blessed and holy to glory, honor and immortality, the divine nature. Brethren, so many of us as can see this glorious plan have a blessing and privilege which is hidden, evidently of divine intention, from the eyes of many others. "He that hath this hope in him purifieth himself even as he is pure" walking in newness of life. 1 John 3:3.

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