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religion is not genuine ; to be satisfied with ourselves is conclusive that we are deceiving ourselves. Complacency, peace, and tranquillity of mind are no certain criteria of acceptance and favour with God. Many
Many say “ Peace, peace, when there is no peace,” and delude themselves with ideas of safety when swift destruction is coming upon them. . “ There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death !” *
But while this awakening subject may well arouse the torpid and indifferent, the nominal christian, and the self-righteous, it is calculated to console the sincere and humble christian, who is engaged in the mortal strife between the principle of life and of death in his soul. Let him be persuaded that evil will cling to him as long as he lives--that however ardent his aspirations after holiness may be, he must live and die a sinner, he must be content to pass his life here in the flesh in conflict and trial; nor let him be surprised that vile corruptions rise up in his bosom : he may know whence they proceed, from the evil fountain within. For every holy desire, and every good inclination, let him be thankful; they issue from that well of water which Christ has created in his heart, and which shall spring up unto eternal life! May that evil principle become daily weaker and weaker in our bosoms !
* Prov. xiv. 12.
May that new nature grow stronger and stronger ! May our's be “the path of the just, which shineth more and more unto the perfect day!" And to God we will ascribe all the glory, and the praise, and the power, by Christ Jesus, for ever
IMPUTED SIN AND IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS.
2 Cor. v. 21.
“ FOR HE HATH MADE HIM TO BE SIN FOR US, WHO KNEW NO SIN;
THAT WE MIGHT BE MADE THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IN HIM.”
“The whole need not a physician, but they that are sick!" Those only who are conscious of transgression will desire a Saviour; but to all who have been convinced of sin, who have learned with Job “ to abhor themselves and repent in dust and ashes,” these words will present a topic of deep interest and abundant consolation. Let us draw near and contemplate the mysterious transaction described in the text and context. A holy God is reconciling to himself a guilty world. He is devising means whereby his banished ones shall be brought back to Him. He has found a ransom, and that is none other than his own dear Son. “ All things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given unto us the ministry of reconciliation ; to wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them : ...... for he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." Oh that it would please God, by his grace, to give to each of us such clear views of this profound subject, that we might be enabled worthily to acknowledge our own wretchedness, and adequately to appreciate this great salvation, to His glory and our unspeakable consolation !
We have in the words before us, A TWOFOLD IMPUTATION, I. OUR SINS ARE IMPUTED TO CHRIST, and, II. Christ's RIGHTEOUSNESS IS IMPUTED TO
I. Let us consider THE IMPUTATION OF OUR SINS TO Christ. “He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin.” Every word in this weighty sentence deserves particular attention. (1.) We learn that THIS WORK OF MERCY WAS ACCOMPLISHED FOR US. For whom? For us holy apostles ? for us righteous men? No. For us guilty sinners, and while we were in our sins. “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the UNGODLY. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. * Rom. v. 6-8.
And, “herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”*
There was no good in us, present or prospective, to induce the supreme Being, whom we had offended, to take compassion on us, much less to incline Him to so wonderful an exhibition of His mercy as that revealed in the gospel. It was a rebel world that He pitied, a world in arms against their Maker-a fallen, guilty, and depraved race : yet inflated with pride, and bewildered by dreams of their own virtue, knowledge, and excellence! Yes, a generation that “ set not their heart aright,” and “the imagination of whose thoughts was only evil, and that continually.” The great majority of whom in every age have rejected the mercy offered them, though purchased at- so great a cost.
How wonderful that “ FOR Us” God should do so great things! Yet it was God himself, the supreme, the eternal Jehovah, who devised and executed the plan of man's salvation. This is, (2,) clearly taught us in these words,
" GOD HATH MADE HIM,” that is CHRIST,“ TO BE SIN FOR US.” Not that this expression is intended to convey the least idea of compulsion in the sacrifice of Christ; for innumerable passages teach us that his offering was a most willing one. When he was “ in the form of God, and thought it not robbery to be equal with God: he MADE HIMSELF of nó repu
1 John iv. 10.