« AnteriorContinuar »
ON THE STATE OF GLORY AND BLESSEDNESS, WHICH THE SOULS OF GOD's ELECT, BELIEVERS IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, ENTER IMMEDIATELY UPON, AT THEIR DEPARTURE FROM THE BODY, AT DEATH.
2 Corinthians V. 1.
"For we know, that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."
IN our reading the gospel of the blessed Godj we, so far as favoured with the light and inspiration of the Holy Ghost, are in a measure enabled to understand the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ. Being thus admitted into the knowledge of the Holy Ones, the Holy Father, the Holy Son, and the Holy Spirit, who are Three in One, and One in Three, in the incomprehensible Jehovah, we proceed with pleasure in our perusal of the revealed account given us therein, of the everlasting love of the essential Three, to the elect of mankind in Christ, with the eternal purposes and designs, will, and covenant, of the ever blessed Trinity towards them, before all worlds, as displayed and made manifest unto them in a time state; and which will be continued to be displayed in them, throughout a boundless eternity.
In the revelation given us in the inspired volume, concerning the acts and transactions of the eternal Three, in the everlasting covenant, we have the gospel, in its original, set before us in the incarnation, obedience, life, and death of Jehovah Jesus; we have it realized and fulfilled: all which is set before us by the Holy Ghost, in the scriptures of truth, who brings home and makes it evident in the souls of God's elect, when they are, by his omnipotent and divine agency, created anew in Christ Jesus. When they are born again, and brought into the kingdom of God's dear Son, then they are, by their new birth, made meet for fellowship with the Father and the Son, by the in-dwelling and gracious influences of the Holy Ghost.
In the sacred draft given us of God's eternal designs and decrees, concerning his elect, in the sacred page, we cannot but see and take notice, that they have been, and are to be conducted through different states, for the illustration and display of the rich, free, and sovereign grace of God, towards them.
They were the objects of the Father's everlasting love; he manifested it by choosing them in Christ, before the foundation of the world; in blessing them with all spiritual blessings, in predestinating them to the adoption of children, by Jesus Christ, to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made them accepted in the beloved.
Thus the elect were in Christ before the world began; they were brought forth by creation, pure and holy, in Adam their nature head, when he stood the representative of the whole human race. This was their creation state.
They are, by his transgression, in a fallen state, and by their natural birth, and union to, and communion with him, they are dead in trespasses and sins. This is commonly called their state of nature, or their sinful and natural state.
They are redeemed and bought out of this state, by the blood and death of Christ, and are brought out of darkness into God's marvellous light, and translated into the kingdom of God's dear Son, by the euergy and grace of the Holy Ghost. This is their regenerate state.
From this state, their next translation is, to the state of glory, where they have a beatific vision of Christ, and are absent from the body, and present with the Lord, This is their glorified state.
When all the elect are effectually called, and brought to a saving knowledge of Christ, and all the ends of his mediation are fully accomplished, in the church militant, then the resurrection will take place, and they will be admitted into the resurrection state; in which their bodies being raised from the grave of death, and their souls reunited to them, they will bear the image of the heavenly Adam. Their bodies will be made " like unto his glorious body." The Lord will be with, and in his people for ever: they will be where he is, see him face to face, be like him, in body and soul, and enjoy him with the fullest and utmost capacity and exercise of every spiritual faculty and seuse. This will be blessedness beyond all our present conception. And, after Christ and his saints have dwelt in the new heaven and the new earth together, for a thousand years, the state of ultimate glory will take place, in which God will be all in all, in the person of Christ God-man for ever.
Thus the elect pass out of darkness, death, and condemnation, by regeneration, into a state of spiritual life, light, justification, pardon, acceptance, grace, and liberty. They are removed out of this state, to that of glory and blessedness, by the violence of death: from this, they are conducted into a glorious state, in which their bodies, disunited from their souls, are again reunited, and they shine, in their souls and bodies, like Christ's glorious body; and when they have had such communion with Christ, in the new Jerusalem state, as will exceed and transcend what is now enjoyed by saints in glory, they will be admitted to the ultimate state of glory, in which Jehovah, in all his persons and perfections, shining on them, in the person of the Godman, will fill them with all the fulness of God.
My design, in the following discourse, by the Lord's blessing, is to lead you to view the state of saints, believers in Christ Jesus, from the moment they depart from their bodies at death, to the morn of the glorious resurrection. As a preliminary to this, it may not be amiss to observe the great and almighty work the Lord works in the souls of his people, by his eternal Spirit, by which they are "made meet for the inheritance of the saints iu light," and the blessed state they are in by regeneration.
Election is the original act of God towards his people, and contains in it, the fundamental of all grace and glory. The work of Christ is the compleat salvation of all the elect of God. Regeneration is the first act of grace, which takes place in them; and it lays the foundation of all grace and glory in their souls. This is the work of the Holy Ghost: it is an inherent work, and the soul is the subject of it.
In regeneration, the elect sinner is quickened with new, spiritual, and supernatural life; a new