« AnteriorContinuar »
satisfaction to him who was offended, and on that account inflicted the punishment. Justice can desire no more than a proportional punishment due to the offence. And this on his own voluntary taking of our persons, undertaking to be our Mediator, was inflicted on our dear Lord Jesus. His substituting himself in oțr room, being allowed of by the righteous judge, satisfaction to him doth thence properly ensue.
And this is the threefold consideration of the death of Christ, as it is a principal spring and fountain of that grace wherein we have communion with him ; for, as will appear in our process, the single and most eminent part of purchased grace, is nothing but the natural exurgency of the threefold effects of the death of Christ, intimated to flow from it, on the account of the threefold consideration insisted on. This then is the second rise of purchased grace, which we are to eye; if we will hold communion with Christ in it, his death and blood-shedding, under this threefold notion of a price, an offering, and punishment. But,
(3.) This is not all; the Lord Christ goes farther yet; he doth not leave us so, but follows on the work to the utmost. m. He died for our sins, and rose again for our justification.' He rose again to carry on the complete work of purchased grace; that is, by his intercession; which is the third rise of it. In respect of this he is said to be able to save to the uttermost them that come to God by him, seeing he liveth ever to make intercession for them;' Heb. vii. 27.
Now the intercession of Christ, in respect of its influence into purchased grace, is considered two ways.
[1.] As a continuance and carrying on of his oblation, for the making out of all the fruits and effects thereof unto us. This is called his appearing in the presence of God for us;' Heb. ix. 24. that is, as the high-priest having offered the great offering for expiation of sin, carried in the blood thereof into the most holy place, where was the representation of the presence of God, so to perfect the atonement he made for himself and the people; so the Lord Christ having offered himself as a sweet smelling sacrifice to God, being sprinkled with his own blood, appears in the presence of God, as it were to mind him of the engagement made to him,
m Rom. iv. 35.
or the redemption of sinners by his blood, and the making out the good things to them which were procured thereby ; and so this appearance of his hath an influence into purchased grace, inasmuch as thereby he puts his claim for it in our behalf.
[2.] He procureth the Holy Spirit for us, efféctually to collate and bestow all this purchased grace upon us. That he would do this, and doth it for us, we have his engagement; John xiv. 16. This is purchased grace, in respect of its fountain and spring, of which I shall not speak farther at present, seeing I must handle it at large, in the matter of the communion we have with the Holy Ghost,
The nature of purchased grace ; referred to three heads. 1. Of our ac,
ceptation with God. Two parts of it. Of the grace of sanctification. The several parts of it. The fountain of that purchased grace, wherein the saints have communion with Christ being discovered, in the next place the nature of this grace itself may be considered. As was said, it may be referred unto three heads.
1. Grace of acceptation with God.
1. Of acceptation with God. Out of Christ, we are in a state of alienation from God, accepted neither in our per: sons, nor our services. Sin makes a separation between God and us: that state, with all its consequences, and attendan cies, is not my business to unfold. The first issue of pur, chased grace, is to restore us into a state of acceptation; and thisis done two ways.
(1.) By a removal of that for which we are refused, the cause of the enmity.
(2.) By a bestowing of that for which we are accepted.
Not only all causes of quarrel were to be taken away, that so we should not be under displeasure ; but also that was to be given unto us, that makes us the objects of God's delight
John iii. 36. Eph. iii. 2.
and pleasure, on the account of the want whereof we are distanced from God.
(1.) It gives a removal of that for which we are refused. This is sin in the guilt, and all the attendancies thereof. The first issue of purchased grace tends to the taking away of sin in its guilt, that it shall not bind over the soul to the wages of it, which is death.
How this is accomplished and brought about by Christ, was evidenced in the close of the foregoing chapter. It is the fruit and effect of his death for us. Guilt of sin was the only cause of our separation and distance from God, as hath been said. This made us obnoxious to wrath, punishment, and the whole displeasure of God; on the account hereof, were we imprisoned under the curse of the law, and given up to the power of Satan. This is the state of our unacceptation. By his death, Christ, bearing the curse, undergoing the punishment that was due to us, paying the ransom that was due for us, delivers us from this condition. And thus far, the death of Christ is the sole cause of our acceptation with God; that all cause of quarrel and rejection of us is thereby taken away, and to that end are his sufferings reckoned to us; for, being made sin for us, 2 Cor. v. 21. he is made righteousness unto us;' 1 Cor. i. 30.
But yet farther, This will not complete our acceptation with God. The old quarrel may be laid aside, and yet, no new friendship begun; we may be not sinners, and yet not be so far righteous, as to have a right to the kingdom of heaven. Adam had no right to life, because he was innocent; he must moreover do this, and then he shall live. He must not only have a negative righteousness, he was not guilty of any thing; but also a positive righteousness, he must do all things.
(2.) This then is required in the second place to our complete acceptation, that we have not only the not imputation of sin, but also a reckoning of righteousness; now this we have, in the obedience of the life of Christ. This also was discovered in the last chapter. The obedience of the life of Christ was for us, is imputed to us, and is our righteousness before God; by his obedience are we made righteous;' Rom, v. 18. On what score the obedience of faith takes place, shall be afterward declared.
These two things, then, complete our grace of acceptation; sin being removed, and righteousness bestowed, we have peace with God; are continually accepted before him. There is not any thing to charge us withal; that which was, is taken out of the way by Christ, and nailed to his cross ; made fast there; yea, publicly and legally concealed, that it can never be admitted again as an evidence. What court among men would admit of an evidence that hath been publicly cancelled, and nailed up for all to see it? So hath Christ dealt with that which was against us, and not only so, but also he puts that upon us, for which we are received into fa
He makes us comely through his beauty ; gives us white raiment to stand before the Lord. This is the first part of purchased grace wherein the saints have communion with Jesus Christ. In remission of sin, and imputation of righteousness, doth it consist; from the death of Christ, as a price, sacrifice, and a punishment; from the life of Christ spent in obedience to the law doth it arise. The great product it is of the Father's righteousness, wisdom, love and grace; the great and astonishable fruit of the love, and condescension of the Son; the great discovery of the Holy Ghost, in the revelation of the mystery of the gospel.
2. The second is grace of sanctification. He makes us not only accepted, but also acceptable. He doth not only purchase love for his saints, but also makes them lovely. He came not by blood only, but by water-and blood. He doth not only justify his saints from the guilt of sin, but also sanctify and wash them from the filth of sin; the first is, from his life and death as a sacrifice of propitiation, this from his death as a purchase, and his life as an example. So the apostle, Heb. ix. 14. as also, Eph. v. 26,27. Two things are eminent in this issue of purchased grace.
(1.) The removal of defilement.
[1.] The habitual cleansing of our nature. We are naturally unclean, defiled; habitually so. For' who can bring a clean thing from that which is unclean ;' Job xiv. 4. • That which is born of the flesh is flesh;' John iii. 6. It is in the pollution of our blood that we are born, Ezek. xvi. wholly defiled and polluted. The grace of sanctification
purchased by the blood of Christ removes this defilement of our nature ; 1 Cor. xvi. 11. 'Such were some of you, but ye are washed, ye are sanctified.' So also Tit. iii. 3–5. He hath saved us by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost.' How far this original, habitual pollution is removed, need not be disputed. It is certain the soul is made fair and beautiful in the sight of God. Though the sin that doth defile remains, yet its habitual defilement is taken away. But the handling of this lies not in my aim. .
[2.] Taking away the pollutions of all our actual transgressions. There is a defilement attending every actual sin. Our own clothes make us to be abhorred; Job. ix. 31. A spot, a stain, rust, wrinkle, filth, blood, attends every sin. Now, 1 John i. 7. 'the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin.' Besides the defilement of our natures which he purgeth, Tit. i. 15. he takes away the defilement of our persons by actual follies; by one' offering he perfected for ever them that are sanctified ;' by himself he purged our sins, before he sat down at the right hand of majesty on high; Heb. i. 3.
[3.] In our best duties we have defilement; Isa. lxiv. 6. Self, unbelief, form, drop themselves into, all that we do. We may be ashamed of our choicest performances; God hath promised that the saints' good works shall follow them; truly were they to be measured by the rule as they come from us, and weighed in the balance of the sanctuary, it might be well for us that they might be buried for ever; but the Lord Christ, first as our high-priest, bears the iniquity, the guilt, and provocation, which in severe justice doth attend them; Exod. xxviii. 37, 38. and not only so, but he washes away all their filth and defilements. He is as a refiner's fire, to purge both the sons of Levi and their offerings; adding moreover sweet incense to them that they may be accepted. Whatever is of the Spirit, of himself, of
that remains ; whatever is of self, flesh, unbelief, that is hay and stubble, that he consumes, wastes, takes away. So that the saints' good works shall meet them one day with a changed countenance, that they shall scarce know them; that which seemed to them to be black, deformed, defiled, shall appear beautiful and glorious ; they shall not be afraid of them, but rejoice to see and follow them.