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reinain marked against you, till they are purged away by the blood of Christ. :
3. That we cannot procure for ourselves any shadow of title to the grace of God, is evident from the account which the Scripture gives us of that grace by which sinners are saved
If Adam had persisted in his state of innocence, the reward bestowed upon him migh have been attributed to the grace of Godolat a sense in which the word grace might, and out impropriety, be understood. He could not have merited by his works the glorious reward promised to him by the covenant of works; and yet he would have been justly entitled to it, if he had persevered in uprightness.
But that grace, which is the spring of our salvation, excludes all works. 6 By grace are ye saved, not of works, lest any man should boast.” Men would have ground to boast, if they could by their works procure that grace which must save them; or rather, that grace would be no grace, “ for if it be of grace, it is no more of works, otherwise grace is no more grace."
Grace is the spriøg of our salvation, God's thoughts to us from eternity were thoughts of peace. Why? Because he foresaw some good dispositions in us? By no means. All the good dispositions that were ever to be found in us, are the fruits of God's electing
love. 6 He chose us that we should be ho. ly," not because he foresaw, that we would be holy. " Before the children were born, or had done good or evil, that the purpose of God, according to election, might stand, not of works, but of him that calleih, it was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger." i. Eph. i. 4. Rom 'ix. 12, 13. sing The glory of divine grace is the end of our ways' tion. He raises us to spiritual life," that ferven ages to come, he may shew the exceedmug riches of his grace, in his kindness towards us through Christ Jesus.” How does God glorify the riches, the exceeding riches of his grace? By bestowing salvation upon sinful men, without respect to any worth in themselves, but according to the good pleasure of his own goodness. Our Lord teaches us what kind of glory is to be ascribed to divine grace, in that thanksgiving to the Father, “ I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Faiher, for so it seemed good in thy sight," Eph. ii. 7. Matt. xi. 25, 26.
It is the glory of the grace of God to be free and sovereign, to dispense its favors to those who can find no reason, or shadow of reason, to ascribe them to any other source. For this reason, God has often chosen those who seemed of all others least likely to be chosen, that no flesh shall glory in his presence, but that, as it is written, “ He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord,” i Cor. i. 26.-31.
While ordinary sinners have been rejec. ted, great offenders have been made partakers of the rich blessings of divine mercy, " Where the offence abounded, grace hath much more abounded, that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so grace might reign through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord,” Rom. v. 20, 21.:
4. The doctrine of our redemption by Christ Jesus precludes all ideas of entitling ourselves to the blessings of divine grace, Wany of our own attairiments, or by any
he ions of our own powers. in race reigns through righteousness unto
Srnal life, not by ourselves, but by Jesus Christ our Lord; for it is he that hath expiated our sins, that hath procured for us our deliverance from the power of the old man, and all the blessings of salvation. To join any works done by us with the right. eousness of Christ, is, in so far, to place confidence in the flesh. But in Christ is all our salvation. He alone is our hope, Through his blood alone we are justified, and sanctified, and admitted to the possession of all the felicities and glories of the.. keavenly state.
If you think that you are qualified to par. take of divine grace, because you have done all that a man in your circumstances can do, you put your own works in the place of the finished work of Christ your Saviour. Do you think that there is merit enough in all your attainments and performances, to obtain for vou the favor of God, notwithstanding of all you have done to provoke his wrath ? Then you hope that some of your sins will be overlooked, and that your remission is in part, if not completely, procured by your own works. The blood of Jesus Christ does not cleanse you completely from all your sins. Some of them are cleansed away, or some part of the guilt of them is renioved by the nitre and soap of your own endeavors. For how can you have any shadow of title to the favor of God, without the removal of that guilt by. which you have provoked him ? :
We are “ justified freely by the grace of God, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Have you considered the large import of these words ? To be justifi. ed freely, is to be justified without any cause in ourselves. It is to be justified purely through the redemption that is in · Christ, according to the riches of the grace
of God, while we have not a word to say in justification of ourselves. This is plain from the train of the apostle's reasoning in
23w, the one to Pift of God,
the passage where these words are found, Roin, iii. 9. What is the reason, that if we are justified at all, we are justified freely by the grace of God, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus? Because men are such sinful and miserable creatures, that every mouth must be stopped, and the world is become guilty before God, Rom. iii. 19. 23, 24. If our mouths are stopped by the law, the gospel only can open them. We have nothing to plead but that righteousness which is the gift of God, to the unworthy and the vile.
Through that death of Christ which has obtained our pardon, we are delivered from the dominion of sin; and till we partake of its virtue, sin reigns in us. That sentence by which our persons are justified, condemns our old man to destruction. “He that is dead is justified from sin," Rom. vi. 7. i.e. He who is dead with Christ by his justification, is delivered from sin. And if we are not delivered from sin till we have fellowship with Christ in his death, what can we claim from any of those works which we can do, before we are spiritually baptized into Christ, and into his death? Can they in any manner recommend us to God? Then our salvation from sin is effected by ourselves in part, and effected while sin still reigns with in us.
Believers in Christ perform works that