« הקודםהמשך »
was no sin
God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
This character of Christ shews the excellence of his sacrifice. “ He through the eternal Spirit offered him self without spot to God. Such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sin. ners, and made higher than the heavens ; who needed not, as the ancient priests, to offer sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's ; for this he did once, when he offered up himself.” Our redemption is ascribed to the sufferings of Christ, especially to his last sufferings to his blood-to his death on the cross.
But his obedience, his holy life was necessary to our redemption, as without it there could have been no atoning virtue in his death.
The character of Christ, as the beloved, displays the grace of God in giving him for us. From hence the Apostle infers the greatness of God's compassion for a guilty world, and his readiness to grant all blessings to believers. “ He who spared not his own Son, but de. livered him up for us all, How shall he not with him also freely give us all things ?"
IV. We may observe the fountain from which our redemption flows ; the riches of God's grace.
Sin deserves punishment, and the remission of de. served punishment is mere grace. Pardon merited, is a contradiction. Every blessing bestowed on sinners is by grace : But the blessing of forgiveness is according to the riches, the exceeding, the unsearchable riches
If it be grace in Almighty God to bestow on sinners the smallest favor, what abundant grace must it be to forgive all our innumerable transgressions to forgive them wholly and finally-not only to exempt us from punishment, but make us accepted, as if we had not of. fended to own us as his children to admit us to communion with himself-to grant us the constant pre. sence of his good Spirit-and vouchsafe to us eternal
life! The richness and variety of the blessings shew that they flow from a full and liberal fountain.
God's grace appears richer still, when we consider our own unworthiness. We are not worthy of the least of all the mercies, which God has shewed us ; much less of this the greatest of all. A sense of guilt filled the Apostle with admiring thoughts of God's grace in his salvation. "I was the chief of sinners ; but I ob. tained mercy--and the grace of our Lord was exceed. ing abundant.” The grace of God is still more wonderful in the
way and manner of its dispensation. “We have redemp. tion through Christ's blood, according to the riches of God's grace.-He has commended his love toward us, in that while we were sinners Christ died for us."
V. Our text teaches us, that in this dispensation of mercy, God has abounded to us in all wisdom and prudence.
" Manifold are God's works ; in wisdom he has made them all.” But the most glorious display of his wisdom is in the work of our redemption.
Here the perfections of God appear in the brightest lustre and most beautiful harmony.
He has manifested the exceeding riches of his mercy in giving his own Son to redeem a guilty race-his in. finite purity, and immutable justice, in requiring such a grand and awful sacrifice in order to the remission of human guilt--the perfect rectitude of his law in forgiving our transgressions only through the obedience and sufferings of his Son-his inviolable faithfulness and truth in executing the threatening of death on him who consented to bear our iniquities. Here we see the mercy, justice, holiness and truth of God, all united and operating in concert; so that, as the Psalmist says, "mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Truth springs from the earth—and righteousness looks down from heaven : The Lord gives grace and glory; his salvation is nigh Vol. III,
to them that fear him, and glory dwells on the earth. He speaks peace to his people in such a manner, that they may not turn again to folly."
In this dispensation there is a door of hope opened to thie most unworthy.
A sinner, under deep conviction of his guilt, is apt to fear, that there can be no forgiveness for him. When Peter represented to the Jews their horrible wickedness in crucifying the Lord of glory, the Redeemer of sinners, they were pricked in the heart and said, “ What shall WE do? You teach us, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord, shall be saved. But do we come within this general encouragement? We have with wicked hands crucified and slain this Saviour. Is there any pardon for us ?" Yes ; says the Apostle, “the promise is to you ; it is to all : Repent therefore for the remission of sins.” In such a case as this, sin. ners need some other ground of hope, than a general declaration that God is good. For though they are persuaded of God's goodness, they cannot from thence certainly conclude that sinmay be forgiven-much less that all sins, such sins as they have committed, will be forgiven, and the offenders received to favor. To pen. itent souls such grace might appear incredible. To remove from them all fears and suspicions, God has displayed the riches of his grace in giving his Son to be a propitiation for sin. God's mercy to pardon is matter of faith ; but the death of Christ is matter of fact, of which there is sensible evidence. On this our faith rests ;-convinced of this, we can easily believe, that God's mercy will forgive the penitent.
In this dispensation believers have the greatest possible security. Their salvation is in the hands of a divine Saviour-not in their own hands. If it depended on themselves wholly, it must at best be very precari. ous. Innocent Adam, and many of the Angels, lost their first state. And surely the fallen sons of Adama cannot recover themselves. And if they were once re
covered and pardoned, yet without a better seeurity than their own strength and obedience, they still must perish; for one transgression would again involve them
their salvation is lodged in better hands than their own in the hands of one who is mighty to save, and who will keep what is committed to him. They are justified by a righteousness which is perfect by the righteousness of the Son of God-To him they are united by faith-From him they derive grace to help in time of need-By his grace they are strong ; they are able to do all things. They are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
This dispensation holds forth the most awful terrors against sid, and the most powerful motives to obedi. ence.
When we see the holiness and justice of God displayed in the sufferings of Christ for the sins of men, it is a just and natural reflection, “ If these things were done
in a green tree, what will be done in the dry ?"-If I 'the Saviour, substituted in our place, endured such an.
guish, What are they to expect who, rejecting his atonement, are doomed to suffer the demerit of their own sins - If God spared not his own Son, when our iniquities were laid upon him, surely on the unbeliey.
ing and impenitent he will cast the fury of his wrath, and will not spare.
But, on the other hand, What glorious hopes are sct before those, who by repentance Hee from the wrath to come! God, who has done so much for the salvation of a guilty race, will assuredly accept those who sub. mit to him; will assist their endeavors to serve him, and will reward their humble obedience. And how glorious must be that reward, which is purchased for believers, not by works of righteousness which they have done, but by the all perfect obedience and most precious blood of a divine Redeemer.
The gift by grace, which is through Jesus Christ, will abound to
the faithful—They will receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness; and grace will reign through righteousness unto eternal life.” Justly then might the Apostle say, “God has abounded to us in all wisdom and prudence."
Our subject ought to awaken the guilty and impeni. tent, and urge their speedy escape from the evil which threatens them. Great is the demerit of sin, or so costly a sacrifice for its expiation would not have been required. But let sinners remember, that their guilt, great as it is, will be greatly aggravated by their con. tempt of the blood of Christ, and their abuse of the riches of divine grace. If he who despises the law of God deserves death without mercy; how sore will be the punishment of those, who tread under foot the Son of God, resist the grace of the holy spirit, and profane the blood of the covenant !
Ilhat a happy security believers enjoy! They are made accepted in the beloved. And if they are accept'ed in him, they are doubtless safe.-There is no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus. Nothing shall be able to separate them from the love of God, which is in him. Their life is hidden with Christ in God; and when Christ shall appear, they will appear with him in glory.