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and at the death of Christ; that is removed at conversion, when the arrows of the word become sharp in these enemies, which bring them to fall under, avd be subject to Christ; when they are made willing in the day of his power, to be saved by him, to submit to his righteousness, and to have him to reign ovet them: this is the work of the Spirit of Christ : there is a two-fold reconciliation one of which is the work of Christ, and was made at his death: the other the work of his Spirit, at conversion ; when, by his grace, men are reconciled to the way of salvation by Christ; and both may
be in one text, Rom. v. IC. If there had been no other enmity than what is in the hearts of men against God, there would have been no need of the sufferings and death of Christ to make rcconciliation; but there was a law-enmity on the part of God, and his justice, which required the death of Christ to take it away. Not that there was evmiiy in the heart of God to his elect; that would be inconsistent with his everlasting and unchangeable love, which appeared strongly towards them at the time Christ died for them, reconciled them, and became the propitiation for their sins, Rom. v. 8, 10. Tit. iii. 3, 4. 1 John iv. 10. But they were, according to the law, and in the view of justice, deeined and declared as the enemies of God. So when the subjects of a king rise up in rebellion against him, there may be no enmity in his heart to them; yet they are, according to law, proclaimed rebels. and enemies to him, and may be treated as such, and proceeded against in due form of law; and yet, after all, be pardoned by him. There was, in some sense, a reciprocal enmity between God and men, which made a reconciliation necessary; and which was brought about by the bloodshed, sufferings, and death of Christ, when he slew the enmity of the law, and blotted out the handwriting of ordinances that were against sinners, so making peace. Which will
11. By observing what reconciliation signifies and imports: there is something similar and analogous in a case when it is inade between man and man though not altogether the same; and some caution must be taken, lest we go into inistakes : Reconciliation between man and man, supposes a former state of friendship subsisting between them, a breach of that friendship, and a renewing and restoration of it; and there is something like it in reconciliation between God and man; man, in his primæval state, was ir. strict friendship with God, not only Adam personally being made after the image, and in the likeness of God, having dominion over all the creatures, made for his use, and which were brought to him, to be nained by him; and having an habitation in a most delightful garden, where he was allowed to eat of all kind of fruit in it, but one; and where he enjoyed communion with God; in all this honour he was; and not he only, but all his posterity, considered in him, as their head and representative, were in a state of friendship with God; hence the covenant made with hin in which he was their federal-head, is rightly called by divines, foedus amicitiæ, a co. venant of friendship: but man abode not long in this state; sin, that wisperer and make-bate, soon separated chief friends ; alienated man from the life of God,
caused him to apostatize from him, and to become a traitor to him; filled him with enmity to hun, and see hiin at a distance from him; and in this state of alienation and einnity, all his posterity naturally are; with respect to the elect of God among them, Christ has interposed, appeased justice, satisfied the law, and made reconciliation for thein, and brought them into an open state of friendship with God; so that they are considered, in consequence of this, as Abraham was, the friends of God, and are treated as such, have the blessings of divine favour bestowed upon them, and rich communications of grace made unto them.
But here we must proceed warily, and observe some things to prevent mistakes and misrepresentations; for perhaps there is not one thing in the whole scheme of evangelical truths more difficult rightly to fix than this. It should he considered that properly speaking there are no passions nor perturbations of mind in God, who is a spirit, simple and uncompounded, and not capable of such things; when u therefore displeasure, anger, provocation, resentment, &c. are ascribed to him, it must be understood after the manner of men; that he says something in his word, and does something in his providence, and the outward dispensations of it, which is soinewhat siunilar to what men say and do, when the above is the case with them; otherwise we are not to conceive that God is in a passion, and is ruffled, and his mind disturbed, as they are. Nor are we to imagine there is any changes in God, as in men, who are sometimes friends, then enemies, and then friends again; he changes not, there is no variableness nor shadow of turning in hin; he may change his voice to his people, and speak comfortably to them in his gospel, why before spake terribly to them in his law; he may change his out ward conduct and behaviour towards them, and carry it friendly to them, when before as at a distance: but he never changes his mind, counsel, and affections to them; his love is everlasting and invariable; he ever rested in it, and pothing can separate from it; his love is never changed to enmity, and from enmity to love again; his special secret favour, as it is never lost, needed no recovery; nor did Christ, by making satisfaction and reconciliation for sin, procure the love and favour of God to his people ; for Christ's being sent to be the propitiation, his sufferings and death, sacrifice and satisfaction, were the fruit and effect of the love of God, and not the cause of it, John iii. 16. Rom. v. 8. 1 John iv. 10. The reconciliation made by Christ was not to the love of God, which was never lost, but to the justice of God, offended by sin; the flaming sword, which turned every way, and threatened vengeance, was plunged into the heart of Christ, the surety of his people, which was done to declare the righteousness and satisfy the justice of God; and to open a way for mercy to display itself, and turn its hand upon the little ones; and thus justice and mercy happily met together, and were reconciled to one another in their different pleas and demands, Zech. xiii. 7. Rom. iii. 25, 26. Psal. Ixxxv. 10. The reconciliation made by Christ is for sin, to make satisfaction for it, Dan. ix. 24. Heb. ii. 17. and on that account it is a reconciliation of sinners to God, he being thereby pacified towards them
for all that they have done; being well pleased with what Christ has done and suffered for them; he is well pleased with him, and with all that are considered in him, who are accepted in him the beloved, and are admitted into an open state of favour; which is meant by their having access through Christ into the grace wherein they stand, Rom. v. 2. for though the love of God to his elect invariable and unchangeable in itself, yet the manifestation of it is different: and it may be distinguished into secret and open love; there are obstructions by sin thrown in the
way of love, which must be removed, in order to enjoy open favour and the blessings of it, and which are removed by Christ; thus Christ was made under the law, to redeem his people, that they might receive the adoption of children ; and was made a curse for them, that the blessings of grace love had provided in co. venant for them, might come upon them; and he was made sin, and a sin-offering for them, that they might be made the righteousness of God in him; and be brought into a state of open fellowship and communion with him, who before were kept at a distance. Thu: David, though he most affectionately loved his son Absalom, and longed for him, when for an offence he fled; and though through the mediation of Joab he was allowed to return to Jerusalem, yet the king would not suffer him to see his face for the space of full two years; when by the mediation of the saine person he was adınitted into the king's presence, taken into open favour, and kissed by him, 2 Sam. xiv. 1-33.
I. The means by which this recor.ciliation is made, are the blood-shed and death of Chrisi ; he only is the reconciler and peace-maker; a sinner cannot make peace with God or reconciliation, that is, satisfaction for his sins; not by his works of righteousness, which are intpure and imperfect; nor by repe tance, which the law does not admit of, nor is it any satisfaciion to it; nor by faith, for that does not make, only receives the atonement made by Ckrist; there is nothing á sinner can do, will make peace and reconciliation for him; and what will
, he cannot do ; which is no less than fulfilling the whole law, and answerįng all the demands of law and justice, Rom. viii. 3, 4. death being the sanction of the law, and the wages of sin, there is no reconciliation to be made but by death; not by the death of slain beasts, which could not take away sin: nor by the death of the sinner himself: the Jews having lost the true notion of the atonement by the Messiah, fancy that a man's death atones for his sins; but it is a false notion, there is no other way of peace, reconciliation, and atonement being made, but by the death of the Son of God; who being God as well as man, could and did give virtue and efficacy to his blood, snfferings and death in human nature united to his person, as to make them adequate to the said purposes.
OF THE PARDON OF SIN. 'The doctrine of pardon, properly follows the doctrine of satisfaction; for pati don of sin proceeds upon satisfactiou made for it. Forgiveness of sin, under the law, followed upon typical atonement for it: four times, in one chapter, it is said, the priest shall make atonement for sin, and it shall be forgiven, and a9 often in the next chapter; Lev. iv. v. and in ot'ier places. This doctrine is of pure revelation; it is not to be known by the light of nature; As many as have sinncd withodt law, shali also perish without law, Rom. ii. 12. for any thing the light of nature suggests, concerning the pardon of it; men may fancy, from the goodness and mercy of God, that he will forgive their sins; but they cannot be certain of it that he will, since he is just as well as merciful; and how to recontile justice and mercy, in the pardon of sin; the light of nature leaves men in the dark; they may conjecture, that because one man forgives another, upon repentance, God will do the same; but they cannot be sure of it: besides, grace must be given to a man to repent, as well as remission of sins, or else he never will repent. Nor is this a doctrine of the law, which gives not the least hint of pardon, nor any encouragement to expect it; As many as have sinned in the law, shall be judged by the law, condemned without any hope of pardon, Rom. ii. 126 Every transgression and disobedience of the law, or word spoken by angels
, received a just recompence of reward; that is, proper righteous punishment, Heh. ii. 2. Nor does the law regard a man's repentance, nor adınit of any He that despised Moses's law, died without mercy! Heb. x. 28. But the doce trine of pardon is a pure doctrine of the gospel, which Christ gave in commission to his disciples to preach, and which they preached in his name, and to which all the evangelic prophets bore witness, Luke xxiv. 47. Acts X. 43. Concem. ing which may be observed,
1. The proof may be given of it, that there is such a thing as pardon for sin: this is asserted in express words by David; There is forgiveness with thee, Psal. cxxx. 4. and by Daniel, To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, full and free pardon of sin, Dan: ix. 9. It is a blessing provided and promised in the covenant of grace, ordered in all things, which, without this, it would not be; this is a principal blessing in it; the promise of which runs thus; I will be merciful to their unrighteousnesses, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more, Heb. viii. 12. it is in the gracious proclamation the Lord has made of his name, and makes a considerable part of it; as the Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin! Exod. xxxiv. 7. Christ was set forth, in the purposes of God, to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, for the remission of sins; and he was sent forth, in the fulness of time, to shed his blood for it; and his blood has been shed for mang, for the remission of sins! and it is procured by it; or other wise his
blood-shed and death would be in vain, and it is in his hands to bestow it; have ing ascended on high, he has received gifts for men, even for the rebellious; and among the gifts for them, pardon of sin is one; Christ is exalted to be a Prince and a Seviour, to give repentance unto Israel, and forgiveness of sins, Acts v. 31. and it is, hy his orders, published in the gospel, as before observed; to which may be added, the numerous instances of it, both under the Old and under the New Testament; as of the Israelites, who, as they often sinned, God had compassion on them, and forgave their iniquities; even though he took vengeance on their inventions, and of David, Manasseh, and others, and of Saul the blaspiemner, the persecutor, and injurious person; and of other notorious sinners. li is in this way God would have his people comforted, when burdened and distressed with the guilt of sin, Isai. xl. 1. 2. Matt. ix. 2. and they are, al tines, favoured with a confortable experience of it, and peace of soul from it, Psal. lxxv. 1-3. Rom. v. II. they are directed to pray for it, and do pray for it; to which there would be no encouragement, if there was no such thing, Psal. xxxii. 5. Matt. vi. 12. To add no more, forgiveness of sin is included in compicte salvation, and is a part of it, and without which it would not be complete ; nay, without it, there could be no salvation; forgiveness of sin is a branch of relemption by the blood of Christ, which is explained by it, Eph. i. 7.
II. The phrases by which the pardon of sin is expressed, and which will serve to lead into the nature of it.
1. By listing it up, and taking it away; Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, "wi is lifted up, taken off from him, and carried away, Psal. xxxii. 1. Sin lies upon the sinnei, and lays him under obligation to punishment, unless it is taken off; and the sins of God's elect are taken off of them, and laid on Chrisi, and bore by him, and removed from them, as far as the east is from the west ; so that when sought for they shall not be found, God having pardoned those he has reserved for himself: and sin vies upon the conscience of an awak. ered sinner, as a burden too heavy for him to bear; which is taken away by the application of the blood of Christ; and who gives orders to take away the filthy garments of his people, and clothe them with change of raiment, and puts away their sins, that they shall not die.
11. By the covering of it; Blessedis le whose sin is covered, Psal. xxxij. 1. Tisu hast forgiven the iniquit; of thy people; thou hast covered all their sin! Psal. Ixxxv. 2. Sin is someu.ing impure, nauseous, and abominable, in the sight of God, and provoking to the eyes of his glory, and must be covered out of sight; and this cannot be done by any thing of man's; not by his righteousDess, which is but rags, a covering too narrow to be wrapped in, and can no more hide his rakedness, than Adam's fig-leaves could hide his; nay, it is no better than a spider's web; and of which it may he said, Their webs shall not bea come garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works, Isai. lix. 6. sin is only covered by Christ, who is the antitype of the mercy-scat which was