« הקודםהמשך »
him, so as to be polluted and defiled with them. He was holy, harmless, undefiled; and (in this respect) separate from finners. He was a lamb without spot and ble. mish. He was God's beloved Son, in whom he was well pleased. In this fenfe then, fin belongs even to the believer himself, notwithstanding his union to Christ. The pollution of his fin was never transferred to Christ. But every fin he commits, pollutes and defiles his soul, gives him new cause of humiliation and repentance, new cause to fly by faith to the blood of Christ for cleansing; and to the grace of Christ for the sanctifying, renewing, and quickening influences of his Holy Spirit. Hence we find David complaining, that his wounds flink and are corrupt, because of his foolishness; that his Toyns are all filled with a loathsome disease; and there is no foundness in his flesh, Pfal. xxxviii. 5; 7. And hence we likewise find him so humbly and earnestly praying, that he may be purged with hytop and made clean, washed and made whiter than the snow, Psal. li. 7. It is not the privilege of believers, that their fins have less pollution in them, than the sins of others ; or that they are less displeasing to God: but their privilege is, that they being united to Christ, they have grace given them to apply for cleansing to the fountain set open for fin and unclean. ness; and that they have an advocate with the Father, to make intercession for them. It is therefore certain, that all such who do not improve this privilege, who do not repair to the blood of Christ for cleansing, but remain careless and secure in their fins, were never yet united to Christ, never cleansed from their filthiness: but are notwithstanding all their vain dreams of an union to Christ, liable to meet with that final sentence, He which is filthy let him be filthy still.
If we con Gder fin with respect to its innate guilt, or contrariety to the law of God, the sins of believers, as well as others, are a transgression of God's law, a contempt of his dominion and authority, a repugnancy to his nature and will, a dishonour to his name, and an injury to his kingdom and interest in the world; in all which respects, they bring guilt upon the souls of the offenders, in proportion to the nature and aggravations of the transgressions. Now I hope, none will be fo dar
ingly blasphenrous, as to suppose, that our sins are in this respect transferred to Chrift; that the blefred Sa. viour of the world has transgrefled the law of God, or dishonoured his holy name. For he did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth. He always did those things which pleased his heavenly Father. There is no possibility from the nature of things, that the innate guilt of fin, or the Reatus culpæ (as the schools express it) can be transfer. red from one person to another. Whoever represents the person of the offender, and as his surety bears the punishment he deserved ; yet the original guilt, the ob. liquity, the enormity, fault or crime of the offence, lies at the offender's door ; and can lie no where else. Whence it follows, that the believer's union to Christ can no way change the nature of his sinful actions, and make that guiltless and innocent, whilft repugnant to the nature and law of God. Though it deliver from the penalty, it cannot remove the native enormity of sin it still remains, and cannot but remain abominable to God, and worthy of eternal death. Whence God is. displeased with believers, when they fin against him. The thing that David had done, difpleased the Lord, I Sam. xi. 27. The Lord was angry with Mofes, Deut. iv, 21. He was very angry with Aaron, Deut. ix. 20. Though he be a father, he is a provoked Father, when his children forsake his law, and walk not in his judgments, and therefore he visits their transgresion with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes; though he do not utterly take away his loving kindnefs from them ; nor suffer his faithfulness to fail, Psalm lxxxix. 30, 31, 32. Have not believers therefore cause to be deeply affected with their fins, to lament them before God ; and penitently to fly to the blood of Christ for pardon, when they render: them guilty in the sight of God, are provoking and dis. pleasing to him ; and justly deserve his eternal wrath ?
But if we proceed in the last place, to consider sin with respect, to its law desert or demerit, wiih regard to the penalty annexed to it, by the justice and law of God, in this sense Christ bare our sins for us; and took
him all the iniquities of those, who are interested in and united to him. He bare our fins in his own body upon the free: that is, he bare the punishment due to us for lin,
when he offered himself a sacrifice upon the cross. He was made a curse for us ; and underwent the curse that was due to us. He was made a surety of the better tef. tament; and so the dreadful debt was transferred from the principal debtors, to him; and he being a surety for strangers, was made to smart for it. Thus believers partake of the blessedness ascribed to him, 'whose trans«gression is forgiven, whose fin is covered ; and unto
whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity.' And there is now no condemnation to then who are in Christ Jesus.' They are acquitted from the guilt of all their former fins, upon their exercising faith in Christ. · Through faith
in his blood, Chrill's righteousness is declared, for the o remission of their fins that are pas,' Rom. iii. 25.
But how will their state of justification be continued, and their fins pardoned, but in the way of renewed exercise of faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ, and repentance towards God ? How will they make any progress in the divine life, but by a renewed flight to the fountain of grace, for new fupplies of spiritual life and strength? from whence then can any man fetch arguments, for careless indifference about his sins, unless he be also care. less and indifferent about the favour of God, and his own eternal welfare ? • Let no man deceive himself " with vain words, nor dream of any inheritance in the
kingdom of Christ and of God, while he can sin without care or fear. For, because of these things cometh the
wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.'Eph. v. 5 6.
You go on to argue, If believers are united to Christ, r in the manner described, so that his obedience to the
law was performed on their behalf, and is' become
their obedience, it then follows, that they have in Christ • fulfilled the law in all respects ; and it can therefore < have no more demands upon them, and consequently
they can be no more chargeable with fin; nor have occasion to be concerned about it. For where there is no law, there is no tranfgreffion.'
In answer to this objection, I shall first endeavour to shew you, in what respects our blefled Saviour has in our place and stead answered the demands of the law, and thereby delivered the believer from its power and dominion ; and then proceed to Thew, in what respects
the law has still a claim to the believer's observance, notwithstanding his interest in and union to the Lord Je fus Christ. Our blessed Redeemer has these several
fulfilled the law for believers. He has fulfilled all the penal de. mands of it; and hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us, Gal. iii. 13. We being guilty criininals, the law condemns us to deserved punishment; and the justice of God demands fatisfaction. The blessed Saviour has therefore slept in between us and the avenging justice of God; and has received the faming sword into his own bowels. Justice is satisfied, and the guilty offender released; upon his acting faith in this blefied furety. The law does moreover require of us a perfect active obedience, as we are rational and moral agents; and accordingly the original terms of our acceptance with God were, Do this and live. The man which doth these things, shalllive by them. But curfed is every one, that continueth not in all things of the law to do them. Now Christ has in this respect also answered the densands of the law. He has fulfilled all righteousness; and taken away the power of the law, as it is the strength of sin, as it is a killing letter, and ministration of death, on the behalf of all that believe in him ; that it no longer demands perfect personal obedience, as the condition of their acceptance with God. In this respect believers are not under the law, but under grace.' Rom. vi. 14. Thus Christ has performed a passive obedience, to answer the penalty of the law, and an active obedience, to fulfil the precept of it, whereby justice is satisfied, Cod reconciled, and the believer made accepted in the beloved. I may add to this, that there is an infinite merit in this twofold obedience of our blessed Mediator. He being an infinite person, the value of his obedience was proportioned to the glory and dignity of his divine nature ; and he has therefore by his ful. filling the law, purchased all grace here and glory hereafter, for all who shall believe in him, and be thereby u. nited to him. Thus then, the believer's first husband is dead ; that they are loosed from the law of their hus. band : and they are become dead to the law by the body of Christ, that they may be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, Rom. vii. 2.4.
And now in order to answer the second part of my promise, and thew you in what respect the law has fill a claim to the believer's observance; I must remind you of what I have formerly observed to you, that the moral law is also to be confidered as a rule of living, as the standard or directory of our conduct. As such, it is a copy or transcript of the divine perfections, in particular of his rectitude, justice, and holiness; and therefore is immutable, like the infinitely glorious nature from whence it was derived. It is utterly incongstent with the infinite perfections of the glorious God, for him to give us a rule of life, contrary to what is contained in the moral law. Should the law in this sense be abrogated and buried, the holiness and justice of God must be buried in the ruins of it. Now though our blessed Saviour has in this sense also fulfilled the law, he has fulfilled it to establish it, and not to vacate or destroy it. He has fulfilled it as our exemplar, to give us a pattern of obedience, that we may walk in his steps. He hath fulfilled it to glorify his heavenly Father, that in imitation of him we also may glorify him, by bringing forth much fruit. In this respect then, the law retains its full demand upon us.
Do we then make void the law by faith? God forbid! yea, we establish the law, Rom. iii. 31. With respect to the law, as a rule of life, our blessed! Saviour affures us, that it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away, than one title of the law to fail, Luke xvi. 17. How vile and abominable therefore are those pres tences, that there remains no law to regulate our conduct; that we are under no bonds to obedience, that we have no law to tranfgress ; and therefore no fins to lament! Has the bleffed Saviour shed his precious blood, to open a door to licentiousness ? Has he come to legitimate a lawless, careless, worldly and sensual life ? No surely, he came with a quite contrary view; to redeem us from all iniquity, and to purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works, Tit. ii. 14. The law must certainly be either the rule of our conduct while we live, or the rule of our final trial and condemnation, in the day of Christ. Thoug
Though our conformity to the law, as a rule of life, be neither an atonement for our fins, nor a purchase of the divine favour, nor the covenant condition of our pardon and acceptance with God: Yet :