1. That death paid the ransom for the whole world, but the world lay as yet in darkness and sin. In that awful night, when the first fruits of our redemption, the pardoned malefactor, was by Christ's side in Paradise, and He brought that blessed tidings to the righteous departed who had so long awaited His coming, how lay our earth? Apostles dismayed and perplexed; Peter weeping his fall; the blood of the Redeemer resting on the Jews and their children; the chief priests seeking to secure the past by further sin; the sun gone down at noon, with. drawing itself from witnessing man's extremest sin. The mercy of the Redemption had been accomplished, but the ransomed were not as yet set free. They were "yet in their sins." For this blessed day it was reserved to bring life out of death, to "bring out the prisoners from the prison," and "let the oppressed go free," "to bring in everlasting righteousness." His death atoned for us; His resurrection justifies us.
2. What St. Paul declares here, he teaches elsewhere (1 Corinthians 15:17). He says not merely if Christ be not risen no proof hath been given that His atonement hath been accepted, but "your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins"; the world's sin has been atoned for, but the cleansing blood has not reached to you. The Cross, then, did not at once justify us. Before, all in a manner looked on to it (Revelation 13:8). Since all looks back to it, all flows from it (Revelation 5:12). Yet such was the will of God, that it should not by itself directly convey the mercies it obtained. What He purchased for us by His death He giveth us through His life. It is our living Lord who imparts to us the fruits of His own death (John 10:17; Revelation 1:18). As truly, then, as the death of Christ was the true remission of our sins, though not yet imparted to us, so truly was His resurrection our true justification imparting to us the efficacy of His death, and justifying us, or making us righteous in the sight of God.