« AnteriorContinuar »
blood, the forgiveness of fins. And Colos. II. 13. Tou being dead in your fins, and in the uncircumcifion of your jlejh, hath he quickened together with him (i. e. with Christ) having forgiven you all trespasses. And chap. I. ver. 21. Tou who were sometime alienated, and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he (i. e. Christ) reconciled, in the body of his fesh through death.
From these texts it appears, that believers or christians (for they are the fame) are not liable to condemnation, but are absolved from the penalty which • is due to sin j and from a state in which they were obnoxious to God's wrath and vengeance, are received into a state of reconciliation and friendship. And is not this a ground of rejoycing? 'Tis
Elain the apostle Paul thought so, when e said, Rom. V. 11. We joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement j or the reconciliation, as it might better be rendered, and as the same word is rendered in the foregoing verse.
To be justified is to have all our sins forgiven: and is not that a foundation for joy? David seems transported with the thought, when he says in the F 4 XXXIId
XXXIId Psalm, Biffed is he whose transgrefon is forgiven, whose Jin is covered j blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imp'uteth not iniquity. To be justified is to be delivered from the condemning power of sin. The apostle Paul, Rom. VI. 23. fays, that the wages of fin is death: not only a temporal death, for that is common to all men, the righteous as well as the wicked; but the apostle, by the word death, in this place, seems to denote some evil that is peculiar to wicked men. For he is disswading christians from a vicious course, by the considera-tion of the many evils which attend it. See verse 21. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed'? for the end of those things is death.
In this verse there are contained three arguments against vice and wickedness: first, the unprofitableness of it in this life; expressed in those words, What fruit had you then in those things? i. e. What benefit and advantage did you reap from your sins at the time that you committed them? Secondly, the. shame and confusion it causes in the reflection upon it; expressed in those Words, whereof ye are now ashamed. Thirdly, the dreadful issue and conser
quence of it; expressed in those words, for the end of those things is death. Which is again repeated with a small variation of expression in the 23dverse: For the wages of fin is death. Now if the apostle meant only a temporal death, I cannot see that there would have been any thing in this last argument to disswade men from a vicious course ; because tho they do break off their sins and become good and virtuous, yet they are never the less subject to mortality, and shall as certainly undergo a temporal death as if they persisted in a course of sin and vice. It is no sufficient argument to persuade men to forsake sin, that it terminates in a temporal death, except by so doing they could escape a temporal death. Therefore if we will allow the apostle to write with any strength and force, we must believe that by death in this place he means something more than a temporal death: and what can that be, but the same which in other places of scripture is called the second death ; which includes in it all those miseries and torments which mail be the portion of wicked men in a future state? And if we interpret it thus, we have a very power
ful argument against vice j viz. that it will terminate in endless misery, which may be avoided by repentance and holiness of life, tho a temporal death cannot. Now from this death, which is the wages of Jin, the justified believer is delivered; and therefore he hath abundant reason to rejoice. He may suffer many evils in this world, and shall at last be cut off by a temporal death as well as his unrighteous neighbours: but beyond the grave be shall suffer nothing; the second death hath no sower over him.
Again : to be justified, is to be reconciled to God, and restored to his favour. And any one who considers what a being God is, must acknowledge this to be a great happiness. He is armed with almighty power, able to save and to destroy, to make men compleatly happy, or compleatly miserable. How terrible must it be to have him for our enemy, who is a consuming fire, who, after he hath killed, hath power to casl into hell? And, on the other hand, how desirable is it to have him for our friend, who is the fountain of being and blessedness, and who can make us as happy as it is possible for us to be? This is the first reason why christians lhould rejoice evermore; viz. because they are justified or made righteous.
II. Another reason why christians should rejoice evermore, is because they are sanctified, or made holy. They are chosen to salvation through sanSlification of the Spirit, as well as belief of the truth, 2Thess. II. 13. They that are Christ's have crucified the jlesh with the assertions and lusts; Galat. V. 24. If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are past away, behold, all things are become new, 2Cor.V. 17. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwelleth tn you? 1 Cor. III. 16. We are his workmanship, created in Christ fefus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we Jhould walk in them Ephes. II. 10. And is not this a good reason why christians should rejoice? Nothing is more apt to excite joy than the consciousness of some excellent qualities and endowments. Now, no man is endowed with greater persections than the christian. If thou art a christian, thou hast learned to mortify thy lusts, and to govern thy passions j to subdue