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Resurrection Unto Newness Of Life
“If we have become united with him by the likeness of his death, we shall be also be the likeness of his resurrection (Rom. 6:5).
Now with resurrection the figure is different because something new is introduced. I am “baptized into his death”, but I do not enter in quite the same way into His resurrection, for, Praise the Lord! His resurrection enters into me, imparting to me a new life. In the death of the Lord the emphasis is solely upon ‘I in Christ’. With the resurrection, while the same thing is true, there is now a new emphasis upon ‘Christ in me’. How is it possible for Christ to communicate His resurrection life to me? How do I receive this new life? Paul suggests, I think, a very good illustration with these very same words: “united with him”. For the word ‘united’ (A.V. ‘planted together’) may carry in the Greek the sense of ‘grafted’ 66Greek sumphtuos ‘planted or grown along with’, ‘united with’. The word is used in the sense of ‘grafted’ in Classical Greek. in the delightful illustration which follows, the analogy of grafting should perhaps not be pressed too closely, for it is not quite safe to imply, without some qualification, that Christ is grafted into the old stock. But what parable can adequately describe the miracle of the new creation?— Ed. and it gives us a very beautiful picture of the life of Christ which is imparted to us through resurrection.
In Fukien I once visited a man who owned an orchard of long-ien77 long-ien (Euphoria longana) is a tree native to China. Its fruit resembles an apricot in size and has a round central stone, a dry, light brown, papery skin and a delicious white, grape-like pulp. It is eaten either fresh or dried, and is prized by the Chinese both for its flavour and for its food value.—Ed. trees. He had three or four acres of land and about three hundred fruit trees. I inquired if his trees had been grafted or if they were of the original native stock. ‘Do you think’, he replied, ‘that I would waste my land growing ungrafted trees? What value could I ever expect from the old stock?
So I asked him to explain the process of grafting, which he gladly did. ‘When a tree has grown to a certain height’, he said, ‘I lop off the top and graft on to it.’ Pointing to a special tree he asked, ‘Do you see that tree? I call it the father tree, because all the grafts for the other trees are taken from that one. If the other trees were just left to follow the course of nature, their fruit would be only about the size of a raspberry, and would consist mainly of thick skin and seeds. This tree, from which the grafts for all the others are taken, bears a luscious fruit the size of a plum, with very thin skin and a tiny seed; and of course all the grafted trees bear fruit like it.’ ‘How does it happen?’ I asked. ‘I simply take a little of the nature of the one tree and transfer it to the other’, he explained. ‘I make a cleavage in the poor tree and insert a slip from the good one. Then I bind it up and leave it to grow.’ ‘But how can it grow?’ I asked. ‘I don’t know’, he said, ‘but it does grow.’
Then he showed me a tree bearing miserably poor fruit from the old stock below the graft, and rich juicy fruit from the new stock above the graft. ‘I have left the old shoots with their useless fruit on them to show the difference’, he said. ‘From it you can understand the value of grafting. You can appreciate, can you not, why I grow only grafted trees?’
How can one tree bear the fruit of another? How can a poor tree bear good fruit? Only by grafting. Only by our implanting into it the life of a good tree. But if a man can graft a branch of one tree into another, cannot God take of the life of His Son and, so to speak, graft it into us?
A Chinese woman burned her arm badly and was taken to hospital. In order to prevent serious contracture due to scarring it was found necessary to graft some new skin over the injured area, but the doctor attempted in vain to graft a piece of the woman’s own skin onto the arm. Owing to her age and ill-nourishment the skin graft was too poor and would not ‘take’. Then a foreign nurse offered a piece of skin and the operation was carried out successfully. The new skin knit with the old, and the woman left the hospital with her arm perfectly healed; but there remained a patch of white foreign skin on her yellow arm to tell the tale of the past. You ask how the skin of another grew on that woman’s arm? I do not know how it grew, but I know that it did grow.
If an earthly surgeon can take a piece of skin from one human body and graft it on another, 88 Whatever question medical men may raise as to the account of this unusual incident, the statement which follows is not open to challenge.—Ed. cannot the Divine Surgeon implant the life of His Son into me? I do not know how it is done. “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the voice thereof, but knowest not whence it cometh, and whither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8). We cannot tell how God has done His work in us, but it is done. We can do nothing and need do nothing to bring it about, for by the resurrection God has already done it.
God has done everything. There is only one fruitful life in the world and that has been grafted into millions of other lives. We call this the ‘new birth’. New birth is the reception of a life which I did not possess before. It is not that my natural life has been changed at all; it is that another life, a life altogether new, altogether Divine, has become my life.
God has cut off the old creation by the Cross of His Son in order to bring in a new creation in Christ by resurrection. He has shut the door to that old kingdom of darkness and translated me into the kingdom of His dear Son. My glorying is in the fact that it has been done—that, through the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ , that old world has ” been crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Galatians 6:14). My baptism is my public testimony to that fact. By it, as by my oral witness, my “confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:10).
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