The word children always signifies relationship, derived and dependent existence, made manifest by the generation and birth of a life previously hidden in the loins of a progenitor, in the development of which the children derive their life from the parent. The children of the resurrection then derive their resurrection life and immortality from the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, by and through the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. This resurrection life was given to all the members of Christ's body, in him, their head, when he was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father. It was typically prefigured by the exceedingly precious and costly ointment which was poured upon the head of Aaron; though poured on the head, its unctuous power was applied to all the body. It ran down his beard and descended to the skirts of his garments, so that his whole priestly body and all his members participated in the same anointing. So the resurrection life of the church of God was poured on our crucified Lord, as the Head of his body, the church, and from and through him descended to all who by him do believe in God who raised him from the dead. All therefore who are partakers of the resurrection life of Christ are the children of God, being children of the resurrection. As we have already shown from I Peter 1:3, that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to his abundant mercy, hath begotten them by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance of immortality, incorruptible, and which cannot fade away. Being begotten of God by this resurrection, they are all manifestly God's begotten children, who are born of the resurrection. This seed is incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. Peter says, "God hath begotten us according to his abundant mercy," and Paul says, "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come he might shew the riches of his grace in his kindness towards us, through Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-7)." Begotten of God by the resurrection of Christ, ages to come are and were required to bring into manifestation that holy seed, that chosen generation, royal priesthood and holy nation, in their resurrection life and union with their risen and glorified head. "Ages to come" were necessary to develop, by a first and second birth, all the chosen and redeemed family of God. The first birth to manifest them in the flesh, and in their legal condemnation as sinners of Adam's race, dead in sins, and needing to be redeemed, washed from pollution and guilt, and cleansed by the blood of Christ: and in their second birth, by the Spirit, as children of the resurrection of Christ, in him raised up, from guilt, despair and death, and freely justified through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
In this development, as well as in that of their final resurrection, there is an established order, and every one of them shall be in his own order. "Christ the first fruits, afterwards, they that are Christ's at his coming (I Corinthians 15:23)."
In the development of the power of the resurrection of the Son of God, in the quickening of his members, we receive the first fruits of this quickening or resurrection spirit when we are called by grace, and born of the Spirit. Resurrection life and power is given us in that new birth, and this spirit of him who raised up Jesus from the dead is implanted and dwells in us as an earnest of our spiritual inheritance in ultimate glory. By this spirit we are sealed unto the day of redemption, that is, to the redemption of our bodies, which are destined to be raised up and made spiritual and immortal, and like Christ's risen body in their final resurrection. "But, if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies, by his spirit that dwelleth in you (Romans 8:11)." The immortal spirit of the resurrection dwells in all the children of God from the time of their new birth, and seals them for the certain resurrection of their bodies. This apostles says further: "For as many as are led by the spirit of God," (the spirit that raised up Jesus from the dead, consequently the spirit of the resurrection), "they are the sons of God; for we have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but the spirit of adoption whereby we cry Abba, Father." Now, although we have this Spirit which bears witness that we are sons of God and heirs of immortality, we have it as the first fruits, or as the earnest of a full and perfect inheritance which is reserved for us in heaven. "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he shall appear we shall be like him (I John 3:2)." "The earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God." "Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also which have the first fruits of the Spirit; even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit: the redemption of our body (Romans 8:14-23)." The first fruits of the resurrection life is given when we are born of the Spirit and incorruptibility of the resurrection of Christ. "The eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what the exceeding greatness of his power to usward, who believe, according to the working of his mighty power which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places."
Thus we are informed that the quickening power of God, by which we believe, is the same resurrection power which raised up Christ from the dead, and set him in the heavenly places. This quickening resurrection spirit is begotten of God, in the resurrection of Christ, and the power of his resurrection is developed in the new birth of every saint, and consummated in its power in the final quickening of the bodies of his saints, and in fashioning them like his own spiritual, immortal, resurrected and glorious body. Well might the apostle sum up the ultimatum of all that he desired for time and eternity, in the comprehensive words used by him in Philippians 3:8-14: "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his suffering, being made conformable unto his death, if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect, but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended, but this one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Having known the power of the Savior's resurrection, in being raised up from a state of death in trespasses and sins, and from the curse and dominion of the law, and born into the resurrection life and liberty of the sons of God, there is still before the eye of his faith, far away in the distance, an object which he desires, a mark on which to keep his steadfast eye, and the prize of his high calling of God in Christ Jesus. In his risen and exalted Jesus he sees the mark, and to be conformed to that likeness is the highest aspiration of his desires. The certainty of the final attainment is presented to the faith of God's people in the assurance that "Whom he (God) did foreknow, them he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first born among many brethren." The exaltation of the Son of God, from his humiliation and subordination in our flesh to the law, and from the legal place which he occupied when in the flesh, up to the heavenly places of the gospel, and to the honor, power, dominion and glory of the right hand of the majesty of the Father, presents to our faith the mark, and the predestinated conformity of all the saints to the image of him who is the brightness of his Father's glory and the express image of his person. The image of the invisible God is the mark, the pattern, the point of glory secured to all the children of the resurrection. This security is found in their being begotten to this lively, or vital, hope by the resurrection of Christ from the dead. To be begotten of God implies the implantation of the living incorruptible seed of life and immortality to us, in Christ, when he raised him from the dead. Are we then children of the resurrection? If so, then are we the children of him who is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, legitimately and vitally so, for all the children of the resurrection are begotten of him by the resurrection.
In the order of development of this generative resurrection life, Christ is the first born among many brethren. The first fruits of them that slept. The first born from the dead. (See Colossians 1:18; I Corinthians 15:20; and Revelations 1:5.) In all things he must have the preeminence. But in him, as the first fruit, all the resurrection life of all his church has gone up to heaven, and there our life is hid with him in God. Begotten of God in him, we are preserved in him, and he is our resurrection and our Life, if we are the children of the resurrection.
None can be children of the resurrection but the children of God, because all such children are begotten of God and quickened from the dead by the resurrection, therefore all who are born of the Spirit become dead to the law by the body of Christ, and are married to him who is risen from the dead, that they should bring forth fruit unto God (Romans 7:4). In a legal marriage, in the flesh, the two become one flesh. But that which is joined unto the Lord is one spirit (I Corinthians 6:16,17). If any man have not the spirit of Christ he is none of his. But if any man be in Christ Jesus, he is a new creature; created in Christ Jesus, born of his resurrection life, and partaker of his immortality, and so perfectly identified that because he lives they shall live also. He who was made flesh, in his incarnation, is made a quickening spirit in his resurrection, as all the spiritual life bestowed on them is given them in him, and was most gloriously illustrated in his resurrection. Hence is it declared, "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." As surely as all the children of the flesh were made sinners by the transgression of Adam, ages before any of us were born, so surely are all the children of the resurrection made righteous by the obedience of one, Jesus Christ. And as certainly as it is that death by sin has passed upon all the posterity of the earthly Adam, so certainly has life and immortality come upon all the spiritual posterity of our Lord Jesus Christ, by and through his resurrection. For he was delivered for our offenses, and raised from the dead for our justification. When he bore their griefs, and carried their sorrows, and bore the chastisement of their peace, with his stripes they were perfectly healed, when his soul was poured out unto death. He even then saw his seed, and knew them that are his, and by his knowledge, said the God of truth, shall my righteousness servant justify many, for he shall bear their iniquities. Seeing his seed, he saw also of the travail of his soul, and was satisfied. Read Isaiah 53.
Now, whether the word regeneration, which occurs but barely twice in the Bible, refers to the begetting of the Son of God from the dead, and his being the first born from the dead, and the resurrection life of Christ secured to all his seed, constituting them the children of the resurrection, or not, is not so important for us to know and comprehend as it is that we should know and gratefully acknowledge that when Jesus arose from the dead, in his resurrection the portals of immortal glory were opened to all who are accounted worthy of that world, and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.
One word more. "If then ye be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things of the earth; for ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory (Colossians 3:1-4)."
May 15, 1868.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 7
Pages 191 – 195