« VorigeDoorgaan »
fer its penalty that he might fits nature and tendency it is live. It was infinite benevolence therefore an infinite evil ;“ sin which moved God to concert is exceeding sinful," exceeding and effect a plan that would ren- all bounds to calculate, or figder him just in justifying the ures to represent it. It deserves believer. If the grace of God from goodness infinite' opposihad not been exerted in behalf tion, that its nature may be exof fallen man, he must have for posed, and its tendency counterever caten the fruit of his own acted. Justice to the universe doings, and been filled with his requires infinite opposition to own devices; “ but where sin sin. To execute justice, and abounded grace did much more display the evil of sin by maniabound.” Divine love, that won- festing an holy opposition against der into which the angels desire it, were reasons why God pros to look, concerted and effected nounced eternal condemnation the whole plan of gospel justifica on the sinner ; it was not betion ; for “ by grace are ye say- cause he delighted in the misery ed through faith, and that not of of his creatures, for he delights: yourselves, it is the gift of God.” not in the death of him that And in this sense are believers dieth, but on the contrary, bea justified by the grace of God. cause his tender mercies are
2. Believers are justified by over all his works, he discoure the blood of Christ; for, says aged rebellion with a penalty the apostle, “ being now justifi- equal to its desert. God's holy ed by his blood we shall be sav. nature is manifested in propored from wrath through him.” |tion to his opposition against What Christ has done and suf- evil. Should he therefore abate, fered is the ground on which in the least deg
the penalty God justifies. The shedding of annexed to transgression, he Christ's blood, “ who through would so far abate his infinite the eternal spirit offered him. I love for holiness, and opposition self without spot to God,” made to evit. Hence we see that the an atonement for the sins of the penalty annexed to transgress, world, so that God can be glori- sion was to execute justice, show. fied in forgiving the penitent. the evil of sin, and display the In order to get a just idea of the holy attributes of Jehovah. It atonement, it will be here neces- is written, “ By the law is the sary to notice the nature and knowledge of sin ; for without tendency of sin, and the reasons law sin was dead." why God has threatened eternal We will now attend to what punishment against it; and then Christ has done and suffered, what Christ has done and suffer which answers the same end in ed, which answers the same end the divine government as the exin the divine government, as the ecution of the penalty upon all execution of the penalty upon transgressors. And, the sinner.
1. He has obeyed the law Sin in its nature and tendency which sinners have broken. But introduces disorder, and spreads this instead of justifying condesolation and misery, and with-demns them, for it proves that out controul wouldannihilate the the law was reasonable, holy, happiness of the universe. In just, and good ; it justifies the
lawgiver, but not the transgres- | gressors had suffered to all'etersor, and manifests the unrea- nity their just deserts. When sonableness of sin, in a greater Christ poured out his blood upon degree, but it does not display the cross, to make expiation for its infinite turpitude. 2. He sin, he approved the penalty who knew no sin neither was threatened to transgressors, guile found in his mouth, volun- manifesting that it did not exi tarily put himself in the place ceed their desert, and that the of 'transgressors, and suffered law was holy, and the penalty awhile all the malice of earth just and good ; and he brought and hell to rage against him in an everlasting righteousness, without controul. “ He was that magnified the law and made wounded for our transgressions, it honorable. Hence we see that he was bruised for our iniquities, the obedience and sufferings of the chastisement of our peace Christ answered the same end in was upon him ;" so that by his the divine government, as the stripes we might be healed.. execution of the penalty upon When the Son of God, who was all transgressors. Both mani. the everlasting delight of the Fa- fest the nature of sin, honor the ther, that lamb who was without divine government, and display spot or blemish, became a vic- the holy attributes of Jehovah. tim of envy and malice, those Although the church of God is offsprings of sin, then its accur purchased with his own blood, sed nature could be seen, for it which cleanses from all sin, that wounded him without a cause. | is, from all its evil consequences, Here eternal goodness was des- yet it does not annihilate sin, so pised, infinite love hated, and as to render believers guiltless ; unbounded benevolence perse for they still remain deserving cuted unto death, even the igno- of punishment; if they do not, minious death of the cross- they are entitled to happiness on What a wonder of love and con- the ground of justice ; but the descension is this, that the sufferings of Christ did not conchurch of God should be pur-sist in receiving the exact perchased with his own blood; for sonal desert of every sinner ; if it was the dignity of the Son of it did, the quantity of evil in the God that gave 'efficacy to his universe would not have been atonement. It was the divine lessened by his atonement. But nature which gave the blood of it consisted in showing the evil Christ infinite value ; for he was nature of sin, honoring the diGod manifest in the flesh. vine law, and displaying the per
When the Prince of life and fections of the Godhead, and glory was brought as a sheep to thus made it consistent with the the slaughter, and crucified as divine government, for God to the vilest malefactor, suffering remain just in punishing, and all the pain and contempt, which not unjust in forgiving the penidevils could invent and envious tent. Here justice and mercy man inflict under the reign of met together, righteousness and the powers of darkness, then peace embraced each other. the evil nature of sin appeared in Believers have redemption thro' its true colors ; it could have his blood, the forgiveness of sins. appeared no greater if all trans. It is God that justifieth ; but the
blood of Jesus is the meritori- | any thing nor uncircumcision but ous ground on which he justifies, faith which worketh by love." and in this sense believers are Thus believers are justified by justified by the blood of Christ. exercising gospel faith, as it ful
3. Believers are justified by fils the gospel requirement; saith ; for, says the apostle,“ we for “ he that believeth shall be conclude that a man is justified saved.” by faith.” Faith in Christ is the 4. Believers are justified by gospel condition of salvation.gracious works ; for it is writ« For what saith the scriptures, ten, “ By thy words thou shalt Abraham believed God, and it be justified.”. When believers was accounted to him for right- are justified in the presence of eousness; now to him that work, the assembled universe, it will eth, is the reward not reckoned be necessary for evidence to apof grace, but of debt, but to him pear in their favor, that they that worketh not, but believeth have embraced the gospel terms on him who justifieth the ungod- of salvation ; and the scriptures ly, his faith is accounted for require two witnesses to estabrighteousness.” Thus faith is lish a fact. It is written, “ At as necessary for salvation under the mouth of one witness he the gospel, as perfect obedience shall not be put to death ;” but was for the continuance of God's" in the mouth of two or three favor under the law. The ful- witnesses shall every word be filment of the law would have established.”. Hence we may preserved harmony and blessed- see the necessity of the believe mess. Genuine gospel faith re-er's evidences. The gracious conciles the sinner to the divine words of believers are evidence government, unites him to all that they have embraced the holy beings, and diffuses order, gospel terms of salvation ; for it beauty, and tranquillity; it is is declared that “ by their words therefore as necessary under the every controversy shall be tried." gospel as perfect obedience was A confession of faith is one eviunder the law. When believers dence of its existence ; he that exercise gospel faith, they re-confesses Christ before men in ject their own righteousness, the faith of the gospel, him shall humbly feeling their ill desert; Christ confess before his Father the very condition supposes they and the holy angels. It is diffifeel unrighteous, and unable to cult to believe that a person exanswer the demands of the law, ercises true repentance, and genotherwise it would not be neces- uine faith, without openly consary to apply and depend on the fessing his sins, and declaring righteousness of Christ as the his dependence on the Saviour's ground of justification in the righteousness; for out of the sight of the law, and for this abundance of the heart the reason repentance and faith are mouth speaketh. But to show coupled together in the gospel. that it is not only proper but ne“ Jesus preached repent ye and cessary for words to express the believe.” Gospel faith is an exercises of the heart, the apose operative principle and purifies the declares, that, “ with the the heart; for “ in Christ Jesus heart man believeth unto rightneither circumcision availeth leousness, and with the mouth
confession is made unto salva-, bled universe, that they have emtion.” So that gracious words braced the terms of divine ac: form a necessary evidence by Iceptance. Hence we learn in which believers will be justified. what sense believers are justifiAnd in this sense are believers ed, by eaeh of those things pointjustified by their words. ed out in the gospel. They are
5. Believers are justified by justified freely by the grace of their works. Says the apostle, God, which concerted and ef“ Ye see then how that by works fected the whole plan of gospel a man is justified." Good works justification. They are justifiare a necessary evidence of gosed by the blood of Christ, as the pel faith, because they are its meritorious ground of their acnatural fruit, and confirm the ceptance, for without the sheding believer's words. Gospel faith, of his blood there could be no reas has been observed, is an ope- mission of sins ; his atonemenť rative principle, and purifies the is that alone which can render heart: iť is a fountain that sends God just in justifying the believe forth sweet waters. If any man They are justified by gosbelieves there is one God he pel faith, the exercise of which does well, or believes right; but fulfils the gospel l'equirement if that is all, he does no more for salvation. They are justifithan the devils, for they believe ed by gracious words as a necesand tremble; but such faith sary evidence of gospel faith.without works is dead, being They are justified by good works alone. If any one should make which are a confirming witness ever so great professions of of the sincerity of their words, faith, it would be no evidence of and prove that they flow from its existence unless he brought that faith which worketh by love forth fruit meet for l'epentance. and purifies the heart. AlThough he should speak with though it is proper to say bethe tongue of men and of angels lievers are justified by each of and has not charity, he becomes these several things mentioned as a sounding brass or a tinkling in the gospel ; yet it would be cymbal. That good works are improper to say they can be jusevidence which will be produ- tified without all of them, for they ced at the day of judgment is are not so many distinct justificonfirmed by the words of our cations, but only so many insepLord, for he shall say unto them arable links in the great chain in that day," I was an hungred of gospel justification. It is and ye gave me meat, I was thought that many by attemptthirsty and ye gave me drink, ing to separate what God has I was a straniger and ye took me thus joined together, have led in, naked and ye clothed me, I themselves into fatal error and was sick and
visited me, delusion. I was in prison and ye came un- Secondly, we were to consider to me;" and from such evidence the reason why all these things he pronounces theni blessed. are necessary for gospel justiThus believers are justified by fication. Upon this we shall their works, for they confirm make but few observations, as their words, and establish suffi- the reason has already been cient evidence, before the assem-l partiy brought into view.
All these things appear ne- | ness, and happify God's moral cessary to display the holy attri- kingdom. butes of Jehovah and happify In view of what has been said, his moral kingdom. It could we may infer Ist. The great never have been known to crea- goodness of God in all his dealtures that God was gracious ings towards his creatures ; that and merciful, if he ha never all his works are mercy to his exercised grace and mercy ; kingdom, and that he pursues its therefore his justifying believ- highest happiness in making all ers in a gracious manner brought things subservient to that end. these attributes into view before Therefore there is the greatest the intelligent universe. It is reason for rejoicing that the to the ill deserving alone that Lord reigns, and that he will do grace and mercy can be exer- all his pleasure. We may incised, and it cannot be exercis- fer 2d. That the atonement coned to them without injustice, sisted in something more than unless the law they have bro- obedience, for obedience only ken be made honorable. Hence could never have made an infiwe see the necessity of the nite display of the turpitude of blood of Jesus to honor the law sin, nor have honored a law by · which mortals have broken, so aproving its penalty, which that God can be just and justify threatened infinite punishment the believer. Here justice and for transgression. And that it mercy were displayed. As sin would be a great insult to divine brought disorder and confusion, justice to ask the forgiveness of and disqualified man for the en. an infinite offence, without dejoyment of holy beings, it was pending upon an atonement for Hecessary for gospel faith to be justification, which had infinitely ihe condition of salvation, as it honored the law. is gospel faith alone which infer 3d. That the atonement reconciles the sinner to the di- is of infinite value, and sufficient vine government, and diffuses to render God just in justifying happiness among believers, by sinners, who are infinitely guilty flowing out in holy words and if they are but believers in Jeactions, which are the only evi- sus. We may infer 4th. That dences that will admit believers there is no foundation for beinto the society of holy beings, lieving that the personal sins of and enable them to mingle in mankind were imputed to Christ the heavenly employment of and in him were punished to the receiving and communicating extent of their deserts ; for if the happiness. They can never learn sufferings of Christ consisted in
of Moses and the Lamb, receiving the personal deserts of without hearts glowing with sinners, and to the extent of holy. exercises ; and without what divine justice could rewords and actions here, we can quire, it would render the pen. never unite hereafter in chanting alty of the law useless, instead the seraphic theme. Hence we of magnifying it, and making it see that every thing by which honorable. And that it would believers are justified, is neces- be unjust to require any thing sary to display the divine good further of sinners, as it would
be exacting more than their sins