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transgressor? "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us." Gal. iii. 13. Can there be no remission of sin without shedding of blood?" Christ hath shed his blood for the remission of sins." Matt. xxvi. 28. Does the law require of us a perfect righteousness? "Christ was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." 2 Cor. v. 21. Are we far from God? "He died, the just for the unjust, to bring us unto God." 1 Pet. iii. 18. Are we, as sinners, abominable to God, and justly rejected? If believers in Christ, we are accepted in the beloved." Eph. i. 6. Are we every way imperfect in ourselves? "We are complete in him." Colos. ii. 10. Are we pursued by the law? "We have fled for refuge to lay hold on (Christ) the hope set before us in the Gospel." Heb. vi. 16. Are we filthy by reason of sin? "The blood of Christ
cleanseth us from all sin." 1 John i. 7.
These scriptures, and many more which might be quoted, show that, in the grand affair of a sinner's justification, or acceptance with God," Christ is all." Nothing more is needed; and every thing else must be rejected. No works, or righteousness of our own, have any thing to do in this matter. Good works are the proper fruits of faith, and necessary in their place; but in a sinner's pardon and acceptance with God, let Christ alone be exalted; for "by grace are we saved through faith: not of works, lest any man should boast." Eph. ii. 8, 9.
2. Jesus Christ is all in our Sanctification.
It is admitted, on all hands, that men should be good and holy. Morality, at least, is thought necessary; but the Scriptures go further, and require, not only morality of conduct, but holiness of heart; and declare that "without holiness no man shall see the Lord," or go to heaven. But the great matter is, how shall this holiness be obtained? Many think that the free will and natural powers of man, pro
perly excited by fear of punishment and hope of reward, will produce it. But this is a great mistake. "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one.' "In this business then of sanctification, as well as in that of justification, we shall prove that Christ is all. "Sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit on the souls of believers, purifying their nature from the pollution of sin; renewing them in the image of God; and enabling them, from a principle of grace, to yield obedience to him; and all this done by virtue of the life and death of Jesus Christ, and the union of believers to him."
Many devout persons take pains to reform and purify their hearts and lives, without sufficiently looking to Christ. They think that they must be justified by the righteousness of Christ; but that they must be sanctified by a holiness wrought out by themselves, which, as one says, is "like squeezing oil out of a flint." They are not aware that sanctification is by receiving a new nature from above, and by union to Christ himself. Christ dwells in the hearts of believers; they are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. "He that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit." It is therefore by virtue derived from him that we become holy. "Abide 'in me (saith Jesus) and I in you. the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine,—no more can ye, except ye ahide in me; for without me ye can do nothing." John xv. 5. Thus "Christ is made unto us sanctification." He procured it for us; it is one of the fruits of his death; what he designed in dying for us; he gave himself for us, that he might purify us unto himself, a people zealous of good works. Titus ii. 14. It is one of the spiritual blessings with which we are blessed in him ;" a special part of his salvation. All the springs of our sanctification are in him; and they are communicated to us by the constant agency of the Spirit of Christ, who dwells in all believers.
The example of Christ is also the grand rule of our sanctification. "We are predestinated to be conformed to his image;" that, as he was, so we may be in this world." He is proposed to us in the Gospel, in the purity of his nature, in the glory of his graces, and in the usefulness of his conversation, as the holy example which we should constantly imitate. It was one design of his coming into our world, that we might have before our eyes, in our own nature, a perfect model of love to God and man; of holiness, innocence, meekness, patience, devotion, and zeal. Nor is he a Christian, except merely in name, who does not daily strive to follow him who was "holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners." Happy would it be for Christians, if they laboured to be more like Christ! and by constantly meditating on the beauty of holiness in him, they would be "changed into the same image from glory to glory."
The word of Christ is the great instrument of our sanctification. By the word of Christ we are begotten again; and by the same word we are nourished unto eternal life. When our Saviour prayed for the sanctification of his disciples, he mentioned the means or instrument thereof: Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth." It is the truth of the Gospel, the knowledge of Christ as our Redeemer and Saviour, that the Lord blesses for our purification. We must indeed study the law, as contained in the Ten Commandments, not in order by our obedience to it to obtain heaven, but to learn its spirituality and purity, to be made sensible of our inability to obey it perfectly, and then to see Christ as the fulfiller of the law, that we may live by faith in his righteousness. Confidence in Jesus, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, and hope of glory, will wonderfully contribute to our growth in holiness. And thus it appears that Jesus Christ is all, in the matter of our sanctification.
3. Christ is all, in respect of true happiness, both
here and hereafter.
That man is a miserable creature, few will deny; and that sin alone has made him such, none will deny who know the Scriptures. It is, therefore, only the removal of what made him miserable, that can ever make him happy again; and none can do this but Jesus Christ. Sin has blinded the eyes of men in their pursuit of good. They seek the living among the dead; like Satan himself, "they wander about, seeking rest and finding none." On the contrary, sin procures misery. The pleasures of sin are momentary, but followed by long and tedious hours of painful reflection and remorse. Envy, and wrath, and anger, and malice, frequently raise a storm in the sinner's bosom; and many a gay worldling feels, at times, a foreboding and dismal prelude of that "indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish," which will be the sinner's portion in hell.
But O the matchless mercy of God our Saviour! "He remembered us in our low estate." He looked down from heaven with an eye of compassion. He pitied our miserable condition, and determined upon our relief. "Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, though he was rich, became poor, that we through his poverty might become rich."
The religion of the Gospel is calculated to make man Happy. The kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost," Rom. xiv. 17; that is, in the righteousness of faith, and true holiness in heart and life; in solid peace of conscience, through the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus, and a peaceable temper towards others, under a sense of God's being at peace with us; and in holy, heavenly joy and consolation, in communion with God, and lively expectation of eternal glory.
Christ is the author of true peace. It does not arise from a Christian's good opinion of himself and
his duties; not his good heart, or his good frame, or his good deeds; not from any thing done by him, or wrought in him; but from what Christ has done and suffered; from the glory of his person, the love of his heart, the perfection of his righteousness, and the fulness of his grace. The believer looks not at, depends not upon himself, but upon Jesus; and draws all his safety and happiness from him. His Conscience says, I will have nothing to do with any thing for salvation but the righteousness of Jehovah Jesus, and his atonement on the tree. His Heart says, This is all my salvation and all my desire. Hope says, I have cast an anchor in Jesus, I cannot be disappointed. Fear says, I would not for the world offend my God and Father. Thus the whole man bows in subjection to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; the miserable sinner becomes a happy believer, and Christ is all in all.
Abundant is the provision made in the covenant of grace for the present happiness of the Christian in his way to heaven; and look at this which way you will, Christ is the sum and substance of it.-Many are the great and precious promises made to believers; and "all the promises are in him Yea, and in him Amen.' The Christian's state is safe, because Christ is his Keeper; his sheep are in his hand and none shall ever pluck them thence.
And as much of the believer's comfort is conveyed to him through the channel of ordinances, let it be observed, that in them also Christ is all in all. Does he pray?-he cannot live without it; but Christ is the life of his prayers. He only is the way to the Father; the new and living way into the holiest of all, by which he has access with boldness and confidence, being encouraged to ask what he will, and to expect what he asks. Does he offer praise?-the chief matter of it is "Blessed be God, who hath blessed me with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus." He sees all temporal blessings flowing to him through Jesus, and is thank