Then came to him certain of the Sadducees, which deny that there is any resurrection; and they asked him,…
I. THAT THERE IS ANOTHER STATE OF BEING BESIDE AND BEYOND THE PRESENT STATE. None can deny the importance of the question, "If a man die, shall he live again?"
1. The traditions of universal belief. It is said that there is not, perhaps, a people on the face of the earth which does not hold the opinion, in some form or other, that there is a country beyond the grave, where the weary are at rest. Yet this universality of belief is no proof; it is but a mere presumption at best.
2. Certain transformations which take place in nature around us. Such as that of the butterfly from the grave of the chrysalis, and spring from the grave of winter. Such analogies, however, although appropriate as illustrations, are radically defective as proofs. The chrysalis only seemed dead; the plants and trees only seemed to have lost their vitality.
3. There is, again, the dignity of man. But while much may be said on one side of this question, not a little can be said on the other. "Talk as you will," it has been said, "of the grandeur of man — why should it not be honour enough for him to have his seventy years' life-rent of God's universe?
4. It is by the gospel alone that life and immortality have been brought to light.
II. THAT THE FUTURE STATE IN MANY IMPORTANT PARTICULARS IS WIDELY DIFFERENT FROM THE PRESENT STATE. They differ —
1. In their constitution. "The children of this world marry, and arc given in marriage;" but there will be nothing of this kind in heaven. The institution of marriage is intended to accomplish two great objects.
(1) the propagation of mankind. But in that world the number of the redeemed family will be complete, and hence marrying and giving in marriage will be done away.
(2) Mutual help and sympathy.
2. In the blessedness enjoyed.
(1) Negative. "Neither can. they die any more."(2) Positive. "They shall be equal unto the angels — in nature, immortality, purity, knowledge, happiness." It is further added, that they will be "the children of God, being children of the resurrection." To the blessing of adoption several gradations appertain. What is spoken of here is the highest. The apostle refers to it in those striking words, "Because the creature itself shall be delivered," etc. (Romans 8:21-23).
III. THAT BEFORE THIS GLORIOUS STATE CAN BE ENTERED UPON, CERTAIN PRE-REQUISITES ARE INDISPENSABLY REQUIRED. None can attain the world but those which shall be accounted worthy. Two things may be here noticed.
1. Our guilty persons must be accepted. That can only be done through the Lord Jesus — winning Christ, and being found in Him, not having on our own righteousness.
2. Our sinful nature must be renewed. Worthiness and meetness are often used as synonymous terms. Thus we read in one place, "Bring forth fruits worthy of repentance"; in another, "Bring forth fruits meet for repentance." So with the worthiness in the passage before us; it is to be understood as indicating meekness for the heavenly inheritance. Now, nothing that defileth can enter there. Holiness of heart and life is an essential qualification. The pure alone shall see God.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then came to him certain of the Sadducees, which deny that there is any resurrection; and they asked him,