“The death of a believer is great gain to him personally, for he departs to be with Christ, which is far better; but still it leaves him with an unconsummated hope; and in each case Christ has one more whose resurrection is needful for His own glory to be vindicated.  We need feel no surprise at the prominence which the New Testament gives to resurrection; for although a part of the Church shall be alive and remain at the coming of the Lord, yet, as a fact, the great majority of Christians-the believers of long-succeeding age after age have fallen asleep; and thus, as to the Church in general, —it is not change, but resurrection which is the point of expectation.  It may be said, that both these classes, the saints living when the Lord comes, and those in their graves, are needful for the manifestation of Christ as “the Resurrection and the Life.”  If all believers were to die, it would seem as if Christ had not so overcome death and Satan (who had the power of death) that He might lead His redeemed into glory without their passing through death.  The change of the living saints when He comes shall show how in this He is “the Life.”  If all His people had lived on till His coming, it might have seemed as if theirs was : but some protraction of existent natural life, and not the power of resurrection ministered to them.  Christ died and lived, “that He might be Lord both of the dead and living” (Rom. 14:9).  As Lord of the dead, He receives into blessing in His own presence (how joyful who can tell?) the spirits of His departed people: He cares for their moldering bodies, and He has pledged himself to raise them in “the last day.” Then it shall be seen that He is “the Resurrection;” that of all the Father gave Him He hath lost nothing; and that His glory shall be manifested in the triumph of His members as sharers actually in that promised hope of resurrection which He set before them.”

(Samuel P. Tregelles, “The Resurrection of the Just,” Chpt. 23, The Hope of Christ’s Second Coming, 2nd ed., 1881)


S. P. Tregelles Explains the Necessity of the Believer’s Resurrection


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