« הקודםהמשך »
who live it. By this exhortation the apostle shows Christians how they may be happy at all times, by attending to two particulars. He brings home the subjects on which he had been dwelling to practical use, for their daily comfort. Let us then consider more particularly these two points, with prayer that, by the blessing of the Holy Spirit, we may enjoy the consolation which is to be derived from attending to the exhortation here given.
The connexion of this exhortation with the doctrine taught in the preceding verse, should not, however, be overlooked. Likewise, in like manner as Christ died unto sin, so also, reckon ye yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin. Sin caused the death of Christ, and it should therefore ever be regarded as the cause of death. Sin and death should ever be considered as cause and effect; and the remembrance of sin having caused the death of Christ, should lead us to regard it with aversion and dread, so as not to be influenced by it in any degree; in like manner as a dead body is unaffected by any thing around it.
The first point to which the text calls our attention is, that believers in Christ are to reckon themselves to be dead indeed unto sin. This intimates to us, that as long as we are in the body, sin continually besets us. We are encompassed with a body of sin and death. Sin is ever at hand with its temptations to solicit our regard.
It presses upon us with its enticements. It presents to us that which is pleasing to our corrupt nature. The pleasures of sin overcome many. They find it so very agreeable to live in sin. There is something so delightful in sin to the carnal mind. As when the woman saw that the forbidden tree was good for food, and pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof and did eat.95 So the gratification of the lust of the
flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life,96 is so congenial to all the natural feelings of the corrupt heart of man, that when there is an opportunity afforded of satisfying them, or of fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind,97 the temptation is irresistible. The fascination is so great, that it overpowers all the faculties of the soul, and carries all before it, unless Divine grace prevent.
When sin presents itself to the believer in Christ, when he feels himself ready to be infatuated by it, and to fall in with its temptations, he is to remember that by his profession he is dead unto sin; that he has “renounced the devil and all his works, the pomps, and vanity of this wicked world, and all the sinful lusts of the flesh,” so that he is “not to follow nor be led by
And he is therefore to go to the throne of grace, to implore grace to help in time of need, 98
95 Gen. iii. 6. 96 1 John iii. 16.
97 Eph. ii. 3. 98 Heb. iv. 6.
that Divine strength may be made perfect in his weakness; he is to reason with himself, How shall we that are dead to sin live any longer therein? It is monstrous to think of continuing in sin, that grace may abound.99 He is to consider the greatness of his obligations to his ever blessed Redeemer, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father;' and therefore, as being not his own, but bought with the price of the most precious blood of the Lamb of God, he is to glorify God in his body, and in his spirit, which are God's. 2 It is proper thus to fortify the mind with arguments against complying with the solicitations which sin presents. This seems to be the object of the apostle's exhortation. If by our profession of Christianity we are dead indeed unto sin, we are not to regard it with favour, but are to resist and strive against it. We are to consider how displeasing to God sin is, and how hateful all the workers of iniquity are in His sight; for He is of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on iniquity ;3 and therefore the transgressors of His law shall be destroyed, the wicked shall be cut off.
But we are not to think that if we fortify our minds with arguments against sin, that will be sufficient to preserve us from falling into its snares, or from being overcome by its temptations. If we trust to our own strength, we shall find that temptation to sin is too powerful for us to resist. But if under a sense of our utter weakness, and our liability to fall into sin, we seek help from God to enable us to resist it, as the enemy of our souls, as that which would deprive us of the favour of God and everlasting salvation, His grace will be found sufficient for us, to enable us effectually to oppose all its temptations.
99 Rom. vi. 2, 1. i Gal. i. 4. 2 1 Cor. vi. 20. 3 Hab. i. 13.
Let us then learn to look upon sin continually in the same light as the common feelings of human nature lead us to look upon death. Then every thing that has a tendency to promote sin will be avoided and abhorred, as those things are which have a tendency to bring death upon the body. And let us remember that it is in consequence of sin that we must die, the body that has sinned must perish. Sin is so displeasing to God, that all sinners must taste of death. The body must moulder in the dust, because it is a vile, sinful body. And the soul that is not quickened from a death in trespasses and sins in this life, will have the bitterness of eternal death for its portion in the world to come. ever consider death as a proof of the displeasure of God against sin, that we may learn to abhor and avoid that which is so hateful to God. The apostle exhorts believers in Christ,
Secondly, Reckon ye yourselves to be alive unto
God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. This is the blessed state of the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is alive unto God. He has been quickened from a state of death in trespasses and sins. His sins have been forgiven him, through faith in the redemption of Christ. The blood of Christ which cleanseth from all sin* has been sprinkled upon his conscience, by which the guilt of his past offences has been removed. He is blessed as having his transgression forgiven, his sin covered, his iniquity not imputed to him. He has confessed his transgressions unto the Lord, who has forgiven the iniquity of his sin. And being justified by faith, he has peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, so that he has an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, who is the propitiation for our sins.* This being the case, he is to reckon himself to be alive unto God through Christ. His mind and conscience are to be satisfied that, as his reliance is placed on the obedience unto death of the Lord Jesus Christ for his pardon and reconciliation to God, and on His mediation and advocacy for His acceptance in the Divine presence, he is regarded by the God of heaven as His child; and it is therefore His privilege, under the Spirit of adoption, to cry, Abba, Father ; 6 to look to Him whose kingdom ruleth over all as His re
4 1 John i. 7; ii.1,2. 5 Psalm xxxii.1, 2, 5. 6 Rom. v. l; viii. 15,32.