28th March 2020
“For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” Psalm 16:10
When the adorable Lord by a voluntary act laid down his life, the last words that he spoke were, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” By his “spirit” we are to understand his human soul which at once went into paradise, into the immediate presence of God, as he intimated in the words, “And now come I to thee” (John 17:13). Nor did he go thither that day alone. A trophy was soon to follow him; the soul of that repenting, believing malefactor, who, a partner with him in suffering, had become by his sovereign grace a partner with him in glory.
There was, then, an actual separation of the Redeemer’s body and soul; but this did not destroy or affect the union of his Deity with his humanity. That union remained entire, as his holy soul went into paradise in union with his Deity, and thus he was still God-man as much in paradise as he was at the tomb of Lazarus, or at the Last Supper. But his sacred body, though by the act of death life was gone out of it, still remained as before, “that holy thing.” Death did not taint that sacred body any more than sin did not taint it in the womb of the Virgin. The promise was, therefore, “Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell [rather, in Hades, or that paradise in which it was after death], nor suffer thy Holy One to see corruption.” This holy body was essentially incorruptible, as being begotten of the Holy Ghost, by special and supernatural generation, of the flesh of the Virgin; but as in all other acts of the sacred Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost were all engaged that no taint of corruption should in death assail it. The Father promised, and as a God that cannot lie, performed by his almighty, superintending power; the Son, by the same innate, active, divine energy by which he assumed that body in the womb of the Virgin, preserved it untainted, uncorrupted in the grave; and the Holy Ghost who formed that body in its first conception, breathed over it his holy influence to maintain it, in spite of death and the tomb, as pure and as incorruptible as when he first created it. These things are indeed difficult to understand or indeed conceive; but they are heavenly mysteries, which faith receives and holds fast in spite of sense, reason, and unbelief. For see the tremendous consequences of allowing any taint of corruption to assail that blessed body. Could a tainted body be resumed at the resurrection? Corruption would have marred it as it will mar ours; and how could a corrupt body have been again the habitation of the Son of God? We are often instrumentally preserved from error not only by knowing and feeling the sweetness and power of truth, but by seeing, as at a glance, the tremendous consequences which a denial of vital, fundamental truths involves.
J. C. Philpot 1802-1869