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disquieted, when, not only Festus said, "Paul "thou art beside thyself, much learning doth "make thee mad," but when his Corinthian converts concurred in the same sentiment.
Both the ardour that imputations, and the
'But, says the apostle, 'gives occasion to such 'wisdom which regulates its effects, spring from regard to the glory of God, and affectionate longing after your souls: "For the love of "Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, "that if one died for all, then were all dead; "and that he died for all, that they which live, "should not henceforth live unto themselves, but "unto him which died for them and rose again. "Wherefore henceforth know we no man after "the flesh; yea, though we have known Christ "after the flesh; yet now henceforth know we "him no more. Even the brethren or nearest friends of Christ himself, according to the flesh, might not be regarded by the apostles, in dispensing instructions, reproofs, censures, or encouragements; but they were constrained by love to him who had died for them, to do all things with unbiassed impartiality. In like manner, no ties of blood, friendship, or even gratitude, must influence the servant of Christ, in the discharge of his pastoral office. In this respect even relations, benefactors, and patrons, must be disregarded, if we would approve ourselves to be indeed the genuine successors of the apostles in the sacred ministry.
Therefore," saith St. Paul, "if any man be in "Christ he is a new creature; old things are pass"ed away; behold all things are become new; "and all things are of God who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ."
The text suggests the following subjects to our consideration.
I. The apostle's description of a real Christian; "If any man be in Christ."
II. The change, which every real Christian has experienced, "He is a new creature."
III. The effects of this change, "Old things
are passed away; behold all things are be66 come new."
I. Then we consider the apostle's description of a real Christian, "If any man be in Christ.”
This expression may appear singular to many who are called Christians, but it is the uniform language of the new Testament: and “if any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God." New terms imperceptibly introduce new doctrines; nor has any subtilty of Satan or his servants better succeeded, in "privily bringing in "damnable heresies," than that of modernizing the language of divinity.
"There is therefore now no condemnation to "I knew a man
"He was also
"them that are in Christ Jesus.' "in Christ fourteen years ago." "in Christ before me." Of whom are ye in Christ "Jesus, who of God is made unto us, wisdom and "righteousness, and sanctification, and redemp"tion'." "That we might be made the righ"teousness of God in him." Many of the epistles also are addressed "to the saints in Christ Jesus,”
or to the church-in God the Father, and in the "Lord Jesus Christ."-Which accords to the language of the prophet, "Israel shall be saved "in the LORD with an everlasting salvation." Surely shall one say, In the LORD have I righ"teousness and strength." "In the LORD shall "all the seed of Israel be justified and shall glory."
The apostle John also employs similar expressions; "And now, little children, abide in him." "We are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus "Christ'." But the words of our Lord himself are most decisive; "He that eateth my flesh and "drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me and I in "him" Accordingly when we administer the Lord's supper, that outward sign of this inward life of faith in a crucified Saviour, we pray 'that
we may so eat the flesh of Christ, and drink his
blood; that we may dwell in him and he in us.'
1 Rom. viii, 1. xvi. 7. 1 Cor. i. 30. 2 Cor xii. 2. 2 Is. xlv. 17. 24, 25. 3 1 John ii. 28. v. 20. 4 John vi. 56.
"Neither," saith our divine Redeemer, when interceding for his disciples, "pray I for these alone, "but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one, "as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that "they also may be one in us'.'
But we must explain this language and shew its propriety and energy; lest it should be thought, that the whole argument rests upon our translation of the original particles. St. Paul says, "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of "God is eternal life through," or in "Christ "Jesus our Lord:" And St. John, "This is the "record that God hath given to us eternal life, " and this life is in his Son: he that hath the Son "hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God "hath not life." The salvation of Christ is completed, as far as his mediatory work is concerned : but who are they that shall eventually be "saved "from wrath by him?" To this question the scripture answers with the most decided precision; "they that receive him," they that believe in "him, "they that are found in him."—Union with Christ is necessary in order to communion with him he saves all those, and those only, who thus stand related to him.
John xvii. 20-23.
Acording to the illustrations of scripture, the believer is in Christ, as the stone is in the
2 Rom. vi. 23. 1 John v. 11, 12,
building. God is preparing a spiritual temple, in which he may dwell and be glorified for ever. The person of Christ is the precious Foundation and Corner-stone of this temple, and believers "come to him, and as living stones are built up a spiritual house, "" and habitation of God through "the Spirit'." But this emblem, taken from things wholly inanimate, only represents our dependence on Christ, and consecration to God through him: we therefore learn more fully the nature of this mystical union, by the parable of the vine and its branches. Mere nominal Christians continue unfruitful; and at length are taken away, withered, and gathered to be burned: but true believers are vitally united to him, and abide in him by the quickening and fructifying influences of the Holy Spirit. Yet even this illustration falls short of fully elucidating the subject; nay, the nearest of all relative unions does not entirely answer to it; for believers are in Christ, as the members are in the human body. He is the Head of the church, and every Christian is a part of his mystical body, bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh, and the Holy Spirit dwells in all believers, as the life and soul of this mystical body. They live spiritually by virtue of this union with their Head; they are placed under his guidance and authority; have one common interest,
1 1 Pet. ii. 4-8. Eph. ii. 20-22.
2 John xv. 1-8.