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that he that hath not the Son of God hath not life? Do I come to Christ as a poor, lost, ruined sinner? Am I renouncing all hope in myself, and trusting in him alone for life and salvation? How does my faith operate? Does it produce effects attributed to it in the word of God? Does it work by love? Does it purify my heart? Does it enable me to overcome the world? Does it influence me to worship God in the spirit, to rejoice in Christ Jesus, and to have no confidence in the flesh? If I have received Christ Jesus the Lord, do I walk in him? Is my faith a principle that constrains me to obey Christ, and to live to him that died for me and rose again? Does it lead me to give up myself to the service of God, and to walk before him in holiness and righteousness? Remember, my brethren, that faith in Christ does not free us from the
obligation of the law of God as a rule of life
"Do we make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law." Observe, what the apostle says immediately after the words of the text: "But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we, ourselves, also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. For I, through the law, am dead to the law"—dead to it as a covenant of works, but, under the law, to Christ. "I am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
3. Finally, the subject we have been considering is calculated to afford peace and comfort to every believer.
My Christian brethren, you have been convinced of your sin. You have been led to see that you have nothing in yourselves sufficient to justify you at the bar of God. You have discovered your imperfections by the glass of God's word. Here you have also learned that the judge, at whose tribunal you must stand, is omniscient: you know that he is represented in the scripture as one '' by whose brightness the stars are darkened, by whose power the mountains are melted, at whose indignation the earth quakes, by whose wisdom the wise are taken in their own craftiness, whose justice the angels are not able to bear, who will by no means clear the guilty, and whose vengeance, when once it is kindled, penetrates the lowest hell." You know enough, therefore, of the character and attributes of God—of his majesty, power, holiness, truth, and justice — and you also know enough of your own sinfulness, to be deeply convinced that you cannot appear before the judgment-seat of Christ in the great day, without a better plea for your acceptance and justification than your own righteousness or any thing that you possess in yourself. You have had such views of the character of the Almighty, and such convictions of your own sins and imperfections, as must constrain you to adopt the language of Job: "Behold, I am vile, what shall I answer thee? I will lay my hand upon my mouth. ... I have hoard of then by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore, I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." But, whatever views you may have of your own sin, or of your own righteousness, you may be assured that you are more sinful than you think yourselves to be, and that your righteousness is more imperfect than you can imagine. But, Christians, it is not to yourselves that you are looking for a righteousness that will bear you out at the bar of your Judge. No! your refuge is in the righteousness of Christ by faith. Here you have ground for confidence, for peace, for comfort. In Christ are merits and righteousness on which you may rest for pardon, acquittal, justification, acceptance, and eternal life. Millions have already built their hopes on this foundation, and not one of them has ever perished: and in him there is enough for millions more. Continue to believe in him, to trust in him, to live to him, to obey his commands, and you shall have every thing that is good for you in time, and every thing that is glorious in eternity. He has redeemed you from the curse of the law, he will deliver you from the power of sin, he will be with you through life, he will support you in death, he will receive your departing spirit into paradise; and when he comes the second time with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God to raise the dead, "he will ransom you from the power of the grave, and change your vile body that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself."
THE COVENANT OF REDEMPTION.
Psalm Xxv. 14.
The Secret Of The Lord Is With Them That Fear Him; And He Will Shew Them His Covenant.
The great mystery of human redemption "was hid from ages and generations." Such is the declaration of the inspired apostle St. Paul, who elsewhere states that it was "hid in God from the foundation of the world; but at length was made manifest to his saints." In the fulness of time it was made known to the church by Christ and his apostles. The same sacred writer, speaking of the truths and blessings of the gospel in another place, says, "It is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his spirit: for the spirit searcheth all things, yea the deep things of God."
We must not however imagine, because the mysteries of the gospel are revealed to us in the written word, that therefore we need no farther revelation of them to our souls; "for the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." A speculative knowledge of the gospel may be acquired by education, study, and human instruction; but a spiritual and experimental acquaintance with it, as "the wisdom of God and the power of God," can be obtained only through the teaching of the Holy Spirit. When the apostle Peter manifested a right view of the divinity of Jesus as the Son of God, what was the declaration of the Saviour, on that occasion, to him and his fellow-disciples?" Blessed art thou, Simon-Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." This divine teaching was understood by many believers, under the Old Testament dispensation ; though more clearly and fully revealed when life and immortality were brought to light by the gospel. Solomon could say, "The secret of the Lord is with the righteous:" and his father, the royal Psalmist and sweet singer of Israel, and the man after God's own heart, declares in similar but amplified language, "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant." From these words let us consider,