03 April 2010

What the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ means to me (CHS)

Your weekly dose of Spurgeon
posted by Phil Johnson



The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive. The following excerpt is from an early sermon, "The Resurrection of the Dead," preached Sunday morning, 17 February 1856, at the New Park Street Chapel, Southwark, within two years of the start of Spurgeon's London ministry.




here are very few Christians who believe the resurrection of the dead. You may be surprised to hear that, but I should not wonder if I discovered that you yourself have doubts on the subject.

By the resurrection of the dead is meant something very different from the immortality of the soul: that, every Christian believes, and therein is only on a level with the heathen, who believes it too. The light of nature is sufficient to tell us that the soul is immortal, so that the infidel who doubts it is a worse fool even than a heathen, for he, before Revelation was given, had discovered it—there are some faint glimmerings in men of reason which teach that the soul is something so wonderful that it must endure for ever.

But the resurrection of the dead is quite another doctrine, dealing not with the soul, but with the body. The doctrine is that this actual body in which I now exist is to live with my soul; that not only is the "vital spark of heavenly flame" to burn in heaven, but the very censer in which the incense of my life doth smoke is holy unto the Lord, and is to be preserved for ever.

The spirit, every one confesses, is eternal; but how many there are who deny that the bodies of men will actually start up from their graves at the great day! Many of you believe you will have a body in heaven, but you think it will be an airy fantastic body, instead of believing that it will be a body like to this—flesh and blood (although not the same kind of flesh, for all flesh is not the same flesh), a solid, substantial body, even such as we have here.

And there are yet fewer of you who believe that the wicked will have bodies in hell; for it is gaining ground everywhere that there are to be no positive torments for the damned in hell to affect their bodies, but that it is to be metaphorical fire, metaphorical brimstone, metaphorical chains, metaphorical torture.

But if ye were Christians as ye profess to be, ye would believe that every mortal man who ever existed shall not only live by the immortality of his soul, but his body shall live again, that the very flesh in which he now walks the earth is as eternal as the soul, and shall exist for ever.

That is the peculiar doctrine of Christianity. The heathens never guessed or imagined such a thing; and consequently when Paul spoke of the resurrection of the dead, "Some mocked," which proves that they understood him to speak of the resurrection of the body, for they would not have mocked had he only spoken of the immortality of the soul, that having been already proclaimed by Plato and Socrates, and received with reverence.

C. H. Spurgeon


3 comments:

Peter said...
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DJP said...

So... you believe that Jesus' resurrection means that absolutely everything He believed, taught, and lived was a lie? Weird.

And absurd. I used to believe nonsense like that, too. But I came to find Jesus Himself literally infinitely more persuasive, and credible.

SamWise said...

"There are very few Christians who believe the resurrection of the dead. You may be surprised to hear that, but I should not wonder if I discovered that you yourself have doubts on the subject."

I heard this implicitly stated by a poor sheep in Sunday School this morning and the time passed before I could correct him. This comes from baptizing and proclaiming one a Christian with little or no training, catechism, etc.

It can be as simple as the Apostle' Creed:

"I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting."