Someday you and I who are believers in Jesus will be on the resurrection side of death.
That is a wondrous hope, isn’t it, we rejoice in this hope.
But wait a minute. What is wrong with this statement? Yes, I know, nothing, really. So let’s rephrase the question. What is this statement missing?
Surely it is that the word “someday” is short of the mark. For, while this is a future certainty, to faith it is also a present reality. This is how F.B. Meyer meant it in Our Daily Homily for Joshua 1:3.
Reckon that thou art on the resurrection side of death.
That is, now.
Meyer is drawing a parallel between the Israelites’ traverse of Jordan and entrance into the land of their inheritance, and the Christians’ entrance into their inheritance in the risen Saviour, the Lord Jehoshua the Christ.
Meyer is using the word reckon because he is thinking biblically; he has in mind Paul’s words in Romans 6:11.
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin and alive unto God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Reckon is an accounting term. One can only reckon something to be true because that something is true, is a fact. The fact here is that since Christ died unto sin and lives unto God, those baptized (immersed) into Him are also dead unto sin and alive unto God. It is with his earlier statement in mind that Paul says this. A few verses earlier he has said:
Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
Therefore we were buried with him by the baptism into death, that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Rom. 6:3,4)
This baptism is considered by many to be water baptism, but water has no power to make this kind of transformation; only the Spirit baptism can do so. Baptism in Holy Spirit is baptism into Christ.
It is this baptism that was represented by the Jordan baptism that became the way of entrance for Joshua and those with him into the promised land. If you recall the story, twelve stones representing the twelve tribes of Israel were set up on the Canaan side of Jordan, and twelve stones were set in the midst of Jordan; they were “buried” with Joshua in that Jordan baptism, and, we are told, “are there to this day” (Josh 4:9).
The twelve stones that were set up on the Canaan side—how profound it is that God put into the heart of Joshua to enact the shadow of a spiritual reality that would be fulfilled some 1,500 years later by another Joshua, our Lord Jesus Christ, and those with Him on the resurrection side of death, where even now we who are baptized into Him stand by faith.
…Buried with Him in the baptism, wherein also ye were risen with Him, through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead (Col. 2:12).
At his homily on Joshua 4:20 Meyer says this:
How those old stones would have cried out, if Israel had gone back over the Jordan! And does not Christ’s empty grave protest against our living amid the pleasures and cares of the world from which He has gone, and going, has taken us also?
I love that. It reminds me what Paul says further along in Colossians.
Wherefore if ye died with Christ… (2:20)
If ye then were raised with Christ, seek the things which are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God.
Mind the things above, not on things upon the earth.
For ye died, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
When Christ our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.
Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth… (3:1-5).
There again is that wondrous future hope. “…Then shall ye also…”
…And also the present reality we are called to prove and enjoy even now.
Let us not go back over Jordan, brothers and sisters. To our shame we’d have to go through a tomb to do so, a tomb that is empty!