"If then, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life."—Rom. 5:10.
That we were actually enemies, and yet at the same time reconciled to God, seems at first sight a contradictory statement. But remembering that the whole race were reckoned and treated as enemies—condemned to death because represented in the transgression of their father Adam—we can see how the death of Christ, who as Adam's substitute took his place in death, reconciled thereby not only Adam but all his race to God. The penalty of sin was death—"In the day thou eatest thereof, dying thou shalt die"—a most just penalty! It is not eternal torture and misery of any kind, but simply the taking away of the abused privilege of living. And since in life man failed to show himself worthy of life, it is evident that when dead, destroyed, he could do nothing to recover himself.
But when the Son of God became partaker of our nature, and then as a man took Adam's place in death never again to rise as a man, the man Adam could justly be released, his life being thus redeemed or purchased. And as all his posterity lost life through his fall, so they all regain life through his redemption by the man Christ Jesus, who thus gave himself a ransom—a corresponding price—a substitute for all.
The great majority of the race who are yet living are still in opposition to God; and the vast majority of those who are dead, died without being converted (turned) to God. But nevertheless they are all reconciled to God by the death of his Son, as the above text asserts.
And if reconciled to God by the death of his Son WHILE THEY WERE YET ENEMIES, it was obvious that they were not reconciled to God by being converted to God, else they would have ceased to be enemies, and the death of his Son would have nothing to do with it. It is evident also that they were not reconciled to God by the good example of his Son; for Adam and millions of his posterity were dead before his Son came, and millions since have died without knowing of or heeding his example, and yet all were reconciled to God by the DEATH of his Son; and therefore, "as through Adam all die, EVEN SO, through Christ shall all be made alive"—having been reconciled to God, having regained the privilege of living, through Christ who redeemed them by his death, by substituting himself for Adam in death.
But let us consider further the doctrine which Paul proceeds to build upon this foundation, which he accepts as sure. He adds: "Much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." Seeing that the plan of our reconciliation by the death of his Son, while we were enemies, is affirmed by Jehovah by the mouth of all his Apostles and Prophets, and that it is reasonable and just, and in perfect harmony with the righteous character of our God, it is even "much more" evident that in his own due time we shall be saved. How? "By his life." But how saved by his life, if he became our substitute in death?
Thus it was his life as a man that he sacrificed on our behalf forever; but since that sacrifice was made in obedience to the Father's will, it pleased the Father to resurrect, or re-create our Saviour. And since he could not resurrect him as a man without undoing the ransom, he raised him to another nature. Without interfering with our ransom, God could have raised him to any other nature, either higher or lower than human; but as a reward for his obedience and humiliation, God "highly exalted" him, even to the divine nature. Had our Lord like Adam forfeited his right to life by sinning, he could not have been raised to any nature, but having in loyal obedience sacrificed his life as a man (which was all the life he possessed) God could and did raise him to another nature. And now he ever liveth as a divine being, with all power and authority in heaven and in earth to accomplish the remainder of the plan of our Father, who so loved us, even while condemned sinners, as to give his only begotten Son to die for us—"the just for the unjust."
And if the Son so loved us as to die for us while we were yet enemies, will he not in the Father's appointed time use his great power to awaken from death the millions whom he purchased with his own precious blood? And will he not exercise his authority and power as a wise father [life-giver] for the training of those awakened millions, leading them step by step, by wise and wholesome discipline and instruction, gradually up, up, up to perfection? And only those who refuse to take the steps will fail to reach perfection and everlasting life. The boon of eternal life in perfection and glory will be forced upon none, but, "Whosoever will may take the water of life freely," while those who will not, shall die the second death, from which there shall be no redemption and no resurrection.
After such affirmations and evidences of Jehovah's benevolent designs, and our Lord's obedient and benevolent execution of them, have we not the fullest assurance that all the redeemed race shall be "saved by his life"? and that only those who will not obediently hear (heed) that Prophet—Jehovah's Anointed—shall be cut off from the blessed privilege of eternal life—die the second death? (Acts 3:22,23.) Surely, Just and true are thy ways, Lord God Almighty: Thy love is fathomless; thy wisdom is as deep and broad as thy love; thy justice is firm as thine eternal throne. Haste the blessed time when all shall know thee from the least to the greatest, and when thy love, fully comprehended, shall call forth a loving response from every worthy heart; when the willful evil doer shall cease, and when every creature in heaven and in earth shall with united voice ascribe "blessing, and honor, and glory, and power unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the lamb forever and ever." MRS. C. T. RUSSELL.