« PreviousContinue »
the effects in us, who as he hath reconciled us while we were enemies, doth also in his wisdom save and justify us after this manner, as saith the same apostle elsewhere; .Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that, being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying; and these things I will that thou affirm constantly; that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works.”
“We renounce all natural power and ability in ourselves, to bring us out of our lost and fallen condition and first nature; and confess that as of ourselves we are able to do nothing that is good; so neither can we procure remission of sins or justification by any act of our own, so as to merit it or draw it as a debt from God due unto us; but we acknowledge all to be of and from his love, which is the original and fundamental cause of our acceptance.
“God manifested this love towards us, in the sending of his beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, into the world, who gave himself an offering for us and a sacrifice to God, for a sweet smelling savour; and having made peace through the blood of the cross, that he might reconcile us unto himself, and by the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot unto God; suffered for our sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us unto God.
" For as much then as all men who have come to man's estate (the man Jesus only excepted) have sinned,
therefore all have need of this Saviour, to remove the wrath of God from them due to their offences. In this respect he is truly said to have borne the iniquities of us all in his body on the tree; and therefore is the only Mediator, having qualified the wrath of God towards us, so that our former sins stand not in our way, being by virtue of his most satisfactory sacrifice removed and pardoned. Neither do we think that remission of sins is to be expected, sought or obtained any other way, or by any work or sacrifice whatsoever; though they may come to partake of this remission who are ignorant of the history. So then Christ by his death and sufferings hath reconciled us to God, even while we are enemies; that is, he offers reconciliation unto us; we are put into a capacity of being reconciled. God is willing to forgive us our iniquities and to accept us, as is well expressed by the apostle ; "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, and hath put in us the word of reconciliation. And therefore in the next verses, the apostle entreats them in Christ's stead, to be reconciled to God; intimating that the wrath of God being removed by the obedience of Christ Jesus, he is willing to be reconciled unto them, and ready to remit the sins that are past, if they repent.
“ We consider then our redemption in a two-fold respect, both which in their own nature are perfect, though in their application to us, the one is not nor can be, without respect to the other. The first is the redemption performed and accomplished by Christ for us in his crucified body without us: the other is the redemption wrought by Christ in us, which is no less
perly called and accounted a redemption than the former. The first is that whereby a man, as he stands in the fall, is put in a capacity of salvation, and hath conveyed unto him a measure of that power, virtue, spirit, life and grace that was in Christ Jesus, which as the free gift of God is able to counterbalance, overcome and root out the evil seed, wherewith we are naturally as in the fall leavened.
“ Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.” Here the apostle holds forth the extent and efficacy of Christ's death, showing that thereby and by faith therein, remission of sins that are past is obtained, as being that wherein the forbearance of God is exercised towards mankind. So that though men for the sins they daily commit deserve eternal death and that the wrath of God should lay hold upon them, yet by virtue of that most satisfactory sacrifice of Christ Jesus, the grace and seed of God moves in love towards them during the day of their visitation; yet not so as not to strike against the evil, for that must be burned up and destroyed, but to redeem man out of the evil.
By the second we witness this capacity brought into act, whereby receiving and not resisting the light, spirit, and grace of Christ revealed in us, which is the purchase of his death, we witness and possess a real, true and inward redemption from the power and prevalency of sin, and so come to be really redeemed, justified and made righteous, and to a sensible union and friendship with God. Thus he died for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity; and thus we know
him and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable to his death.'' · Richard Claridge on the subject of justification, says:
"In a word, if justification be considered in its full and just latitude, neither Christ's work without us in the prepared body, nor his work within us by his Holy Spirit, is to be excluded, for both have their place and service in our complete and absolute justification. By the propitiatory sacrifice of Christ without us, we truly repenting and believing, are, through the mercy of God, justified from the imputations of sins and transgressions that are past, as though they had never been committed: and by the mighty work of Christ within us, the power, nature, and habits of sin are destroyed; that as sin once reigned unto death, even so now grace reigneth, through righteousness, unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord. All this is effected, not by a bare or naked act of faith, separate from obedience, but in the obedience of faith, Christ being the author of eternal salvation to none but those that obey him.”
To those who receive him in his spiritual appearance in the heart, whether they have ever heard of his coming in the flesh or not, he gives power to become the sons of God; and if any through weakness or unwatchfulness fall again into sin, he is their propitiation, and will forgive and blot out their transgression, if they turn again to Him and sincerely repent. As the Lord Jesus is thus revealed in them, converting, regenerating and renewing the soul by his Holy Spirit, if they persevere in faithfulness, they experience Him to be made unto them of God, wisdom,' righteousness, sanctification and redemption; they are made one with Him, as the branches with the vine; they put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and in their respective measures are made partakers of the divine nature, and of what he has done for them; so that his obedience becomes theirs, his righteousness theirs, his death and sufferings theirs. Thus they are renewed up into the image which Adam lost by transgression, and walking in the light, as God is in the light, they have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses them from all sin.
BAPTISM AND THE SUPPER.
The subjects of water baptism and the use of bread and wine, have recently engaged much attention among Christian professors, and we trust the minds of many are gradually preparing for the reception of views respecting them, more consonant with the spirituality of the gospel dispensation. It is therefore highly important, that our members should faithfully support our testimony in these particulars, and be careful not to be “entangled with the yoke of bondage;" “ the beggarly elements and carnal ordinances," from which our forefathers were redeemed by the outstretched arm of divine power.
We should ever bear in mind that, the Son of God came into the world to put an end to sin, to finish transgression, and to bring in everlasting righteousness; and that if this all-important work is accomplished, it must be carried on and perfected in the heart of man by the