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conversion tendered to us; but to convert ourselves, or to be converted,
4. The state and condition from whence we are delivered by this reconciliation, is described in this, that we are called enemies, being enemies we were reconciled.' Now enemies in this place are the same with sinners. And the reconciliation of sinners, that is, of those who had rebelled against God, provoked him, were obnoxious to wrath, is certainly the procuring of the favour of God for them. When you say, such a poor conquered rebel, that expected to be tortured and slain, is by means of such a one reconciled to his prince; what is it that you intend? Is it that he begins to like and love his prince only, or that his prince lays down his wrath and pardons him?
5. All the considerations before insisted on, declaring in what sense we are saved by the death of Christ, prove our reconciliation with God, to be our acceptation with him not our conversion to him.
2 Cor. v. 18–21. Is a place of the same importance with that above-mentioned, wherein the reconciliation pleaded for is asserted, and the nature of it explained. • And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation, to wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ's stead be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.'
There is in the words a twofold reconciliation.
1. Of God to man, ver. 18. •God hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ.
2. Our reconciliation to God, in the acceptance of that reconciliation, which we are exhorted to.
The first is that inquired after; the reconciliation whereby the anger of God by Christ is turned away, and those for whom he died are brought into his favour; which comprises the satisfaction proposed to confirmation. For,
1. Unless it be that God is so reconciled and atoned, whence is it that he is thus proclaimed to be a Father towards sinners as he is here expressed? Out of Christ he is a consuming fire to sinners, and everlasting burnings, Isa, xxxiii. 14. ' Being of purer eyes than to behold inquity;' Hab. i. 13. ' Before whom no sinner shall appear or stand;' Psal. v. 4, 5. So that where there is no sacrifice for sin, there ‘remains nothing to sinners, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation that shall consume the adversaries;' Heb. x. 26, 27. How comes then this jealous God, this holy God, and just Judge, to command some to beseech sinners to be reconciled to him ? the reason is given before. It is because he reconciles us to himself by Christ, or in Christ. . That is by Christ his anger is pacified, his justice satisfied and himself appeased, or reconciled to us.
2. The reconciliation mentioned, is so expounded in the cause and effect of it,' as not to admit of any other interpretation.
1. The effect of God's being reconciled, or his reconciling the world to himself, is in those words ; Not imputing to them their trespasses.' God doth so reconcile us to himself by Christ, as not to impute our trespasses to us.
That is, not dealing with us according as justice required for our sins upon the account of Christ's remitting the penalty due to them; laying away his anger, and receiving us to favour. This is the immediate fruit of the reconciliation spoken of; if not, the reconciliation itself, non-imputation of sin, is not our conversion to God.
2. The cause of it is expressed, ver. 21. He made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin. How comes it to pass that God the righteous Judge doth thus reconcile us to himself, and not impute to us our sins? It is because he hath made Christ to be sin for us; that is, either a sacrifice for sin, or as sin, by the imputation of our sin to him. He was made sin for us, as we are made the righteousness of God in him. - Now we are made the righteousness of God by the imputation of his righteousness to us. So was he made sin for us by the imputation of our sin to him. Now for God to reconcile us to himself by imputing our sin to Christ, and thereon not imputing them to us, can be nothing but his being appeased and atoned towards us, with his receiving us to his favour, by and upon the account of the death of Christ.
3. This reconciling of us to himself, is the matter committed to the preachers of the gospel, whereby, or by the declaration whereof, they should persuade us to be reconciled to God. He hath committed to us, Tòv dóyov rñs kaTallayñs. this doctrine concerning reconciliation mentioned; •We therefore beseech you to be reconciled to God.' That which is the matter whereby we are persuaded to be reconciled to God, cannot be our conversion itself, as is pretended. The preachers of the gospel are to declare this word of God, viz. 'that he hath reconciled us to himself,' by the blood of Christ, the blood of the new testament that was shed for us, and thereon persuade us to accept of the tidings, or the subject of them, and to be at peace with God. Can the sense be, we are converted to God, therefore be ye converted ? This testimony then speaks clearly to the matter under debate.
3. The next place of the same import is, Eph. ii. 12—16. .: That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenant of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off, are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us. Having abolished in his .flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances, for 'to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace. And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross having slain the enmity thereby.'
Here is mention of a twofold enmity.
1. Of the Gentiles unto God ; ver. 12. Consider them as they are there described, and their enmity to God is sufficiently evident. : And what in that estate was the respect of God unto them? What is it towards such persons as there described ? •The wrath of God abideth on them;' John iii. 36. they are children of wrath ;' Eph. ii. 3. So are they there expressly called : ! he hateth all the workers of iniquity;' Psal. v. 5. and will by no means 'acquit the guilty ;' Exod. xxxiv. 7. Yea, he curseth those families that call not on his name.
2. Of the Jews and Gentiles among themselves : which is expressed, both in the thing itself, and in the cause of it: it is called enmity, and said to arise from, or be occasioned and improved by, the law of commandments contained in ordinances; the occasion, improvement, and management of this enmity between them, see elsewhere.
2. Here is mention of a twofold reconciliation.
1. Of the Jews and Gentiles among themselves ; ver. 14, 15. 'He is our peace, and hath made both one, slaying the enmity, so making peace.'
2. Of both unto God; ver. 16. ‘that he might reconcile both unto God.'
3. The manner whereby this reconciliation was wrought; in his body by the cross.
The reconciliation unto God is that aimed at: this reconciliation is the reconciling of God unto us, on the account of the blood of Christ, as hath been declared. The bringing of us into his favour, by the laying away of his wrath and enmity against us: which appears,
1. From the cause of it expressed : that is, the body of Christ, by the cross; or the death of Christ. Now the death of Christ was immediately for the forgiveness of sins. “This is the blood of the new testament that was 'shed for many for the forgiveness of sins.' It is by shedding of his blood, that we have remission or forgiveness. That this is by an atoning of God, or our acceptance into favour, is confessed.
2. From the expression itself: αποκαταλλάξη εν εν σώματι TÖ Jeq. To Seq denotes one party in the business of reconciliation. He made peace between them both; between the Gentiles on the one hand, and the Jews on the other; and he made peace between them both, and God ; Jews and Gentiles on the one hand, and God on the other : so that God is a party in the business of reconciliation, and is therein reconciled to us; for our reconciliation to him, is mentioned in our reconciliation together, which cannot be done without our conversion.
3. From the description of the enmity given ver. 12. which plainly shews (as was manifested), that it was on both sides. Now this reconciliation unto God is by the removal hat enmity. And if so, God was thereby reconciled, and
1, if he hath any anger or indignation against sin, or
4. Because this reconciliation of both to God, is the great cause and means of their reconciliation
them, selves. God, through the blood of Christ, or on the account of his death, receiving both into favour, their mutual enmity ceased, and without it never did, nor ever will. And this is the reconciliation accomplished by Christ.
The same might be said of the other places ; Col. i. 20, 21. But I shall not need to multiply testimonies to the same purpose. Thus we have reconciliation by Christ, in that he hath made atonement or satisfaction for our sins. The observations given on these texts, being suited to obviate the exceptions of Socinus treating of this subject, in his book 'de Servatore,' without troubling the reader with the repetition of his words.
That which in the next place I thought to do, is to prove that we have this reconciliation by the death of Christ as a sacrifice. But because I cannot do this to my own satisfaction, without insisting, first, on the whole doctrine of saerifices in general ; secondly, on the institution, nature, end, and efficacy, of the sacrifices of the Aaronical priesthood; thirdly, the respect and relation that was between them, and the sacrifice of Christ, both in general and in particular; and from all these considerations at large deducing the conclusion proposed; and finding that this procedure would draw out this treatise to a length, utterly beyond my expectation, I shall not proceed in it; but refer it to a peculiar discourse on that subject.
That which I proposed to confirmation at the entrance of this discourse, was the satisfaction made by the blood of Christ. This being proposed under several considerations hath thus far been severally handled : that his death was a price, that we have redemption thereby properly so called, was first evinced. That truth standing, the satisfaction of Christ is sufficiently established, our adversaries themselves being judges. The sacrifice that he offered in his death hath also been manifested. Hereof is the reconciliation now delivered, the fruit and effect. This also is no less destructive of the design of these men : what they have to object against that which hath been spoken, shall have the next place in our discourse.
Thus then our catechists to this business, in the 31st and