« PreviousContinue »
viding a furety for us every way able to pay our debt, there is more grace in that.
It is the gracious act of God in and through Christ : the fatisfaction of Christ is the procuring cause of our remission, and fo God declares himself just in the remission of our fin, Rom,
“Gracious is the Lord and righteous,” Pfal. cxvi. 5. Justice and mercy meet here, and embrace each other ; " in “ whom (faith the text) we have remiliun :" no other price could purchafe this privilege, Micah vi. 6, 7. not rivers of oil, or of human blood.
And this gracious act of God discharges the pardoned fout both froin guilt and punishment. Guilt is nothing else but the force and power that is in sin, to oblige the finner to undergo. the penalty due to lio; therefore lioners are said to be guilty of hell-fire, Mat. V. 22. Guilty of eternal judgment, Mark iii.
29 To be under the judgment of God, Rom. iii. 19. Remission takes away both guilt
and punishment together ; it takes away all guilt, Acts xiii. 38, 39. and all punishment. And so much of the first thing to be opened; namely, what the remission of fin is.
Secondly, Now that this remision of fin is the privilege of believers, is most apparent; for all the caufes of remiffion are in conjunction to procure it for them: the love of God, which is the impulsive cause of pardon; the blood of Christ, which is the meritorious cause of pardon; and faving faith, which is the instrumental cause of pardon, do all co-operate for their remiffion, as is plaio in the text,
Befides, all the promises of pardon are made to them, Jer. xxxi. 34. Micah vii. 18. And, lastly, all the figns of pardon are found in them, and in them only, that love God, Luke vii. 47. Mercifulness to others, Mat. vi. 14. A blessed calmness and peace in the conscience, Rom. v. 1. So that it is a truth beyond controversy, that all that are in Chrift are in a pardoned Itate.
Secondly, Next I will shew you, that the pardon of believers is the purchase of the blood of Chrift: nothing but the blood of Chrift is a price equivalent to the remiffion of fin, for this blood was innocent and untainted blood, i Pet. i. 19. the blood of a Lamb without spot: this blood was precious blood, blood of infinite worth and value, the blood of God, Acts xx. 23. It was prepared blood for this very purpose, Heb. X. 5. Prepared by God's eternal appointment; prepared by Christ's miraculous and extraordinary production by the operation of the Spirit,
66 The grace
prepared by his voluntary sequestration, or fanctification of bimfelf to this very use and purpose.
The blood of Jesus is not only innocent, precious, and prepared blood, but it is also blood actually shed, and sacrificed to the justice of God, for the expiation of guilt, and procurement of our discharge, Ifa. liii. 5. To conclude: the severe justice of God could put in no exception against the blood of Christ; it is unexceptionable blood, being, (as before was noted), un, tainted by sin, and dignified above all estimation by the perfon whole blood it was: Justice required no less, and could demand no more; and this is the price at which our pardons are purchased, and without which no sin could be pardoned ; for
without shedding of blood, (such blood as this) there is no remission,” Heb. ix. 22. Thirdly, The last thing to be opened is, That God hath maDifelted the riches of his grace, in the remission of our sins. So speaks the apostle, Rom. v, 20." Where fin abounded, grace “ did much more abound :" And, 1 Tim. i. 14. " of our Lord (viz. in the pardon of fin) was exceeding a“ bundant.” Which will appear, if we bring our thoughts close to the matter, in several particulars.
First, From the nature of the mercy, which is the riches of all mercies, except Christ the purchaser of it: No mercy sweet. er than a pardon to a condemned finner: no pardon like God's pardon to a man condemned at his bar; all the goodness of God is made to pass before our eyes in his pardoning acts of grate, Exod. xxxiii. 12
Secondly, The very riches of grace must needs be in the par. don of fin, if we consider the method in which pardons are dif pensed, which is, as the text speaks, “ through his blood.” Herein “ God commends his love to us," Rom. v. 8. He commends it more than if he had pardoned sin without such a sacrifice; for then he had only displayed his mercy, but-not caused mercy and justice to meet and triumph together, Thirdly, The riches of his grace shine forth in the peculiarity
Remission is no common favour; it was never extended to the fallen angels, nor to the greater part of the children of men, but only to a little flock, a finall remnant of mankind, Luke xii. 32. John xvii. 9.
Fourthly, The riches of grace are manifefted in remission, if se consider the subjects of this privilege, who are not only e. qually plunged into fin and misery with others by nature, Eph, 1.3. but many of the Lord's pardoned ones, have been actual.
of the mercy.
ly guilty of a deeper-dyed abomination, than many unpardoned ones, in the civilized world, are defiled with. “ (faith Paul), the greatest of finners, one that was before a “ blafphemer, a perfecutor, &c. yet to me is this grace given; " I obtained mercy,” i Tim. i. 15.
“ And such were some of “ you, but ye are justified," 1 Cor. vi. 11. Yea, God fingles out the most base, despised, poor, and contemptible ones among men, to be the subjects of this glorious privilege, 2 Cor. i. 26. " You see your calling brethren," &c.
Fifthly, More of the riches of grace still appear, if we view the latitude and extent of this act of grace.O how indumerable are our transgressions ! “ Who can understand his errors?" Pfal. xix. 12. “ Yet the blood of Christ cleanseth us from all $ sin," i John i. 7. Small and great fins, open and secret fios, old and new sins, all pardoned without exception. O the riches of grace! O the unsearchable goodness of God! “ With the “ Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemp• tion; and he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities,” Plal. CXXX. 7, 8.
Sixthly, and lastly, The riches of grace shine forth in the ir. revocableness and perpetuity of remission. As grace pardons all sios without exception, so the pardops it bestows are without revocation: The pardoned soul shall " never come into $. condemnation," John v. 24. 46 As far as the east is from “ the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us,” Psal. ciii. 10. The east and west are the two opposite points of heaven, which can never come together ; neither shall the pardoned soul, and its fins, ever meet any more.
"Thou hast “ cast, (laith Hezekiah), all my sins behind thy back.” The penitenț believer lets his sins before his face, but the merciful God casts them all behind his back, never to behold them more, fo as to charge them upon his pardoned people. And thus you see what the pardon of fin is, what the price that purchaseth pardon is, and what riches of grace God inanifelteth in the remillion of a believer's fins; which were the things to be explained and opened in the doctrioal part. The improvement of the whole you will have in the following uses,
Infér. i. If this be fo, that all believers, and none but believers, receive the remnifion of their sins through the riches of grace,' by the blood of Christ ; What a happy condition then are belivers in! Those that never felt the load of fin, may make light of a pardon ; but so cannot you, that have been in the deeps of trouble and fear about it: those that have been upon the rack of an accusing and condcmning conscience, as David,
Heman, and many of the saints have been, can never fufficiently value a pardon." Blessed is the man whose transgression “ is forgiven, whose fin is covered; bleffed is the man unto “ whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity," Psal. xxxii. 1, 2. or, O the blessedness and felicities of the pardoued man! as in the Hebrew *. Remission cannot but appear the wonder of mercies, if we consider through what difficulties the grace of God makes way for it to our souls; what strong bars the love of God breaks alunder, to open our way to this privilege ;, for there can be no pardon without a Mediator ; no other Mediator but the Son of God: the Son of God cannot discharge our debts, but by taking them upon himself as our furety, and making full payment, by bearing the wrath of God for us; and when all this is done, there can be no actual pardon, except the Spirit of grace open our blind eyes, break our hard hearts, and draw them to Christ in the way of believing. And as the mercy of remission comes to us through wonderful difficulties, fo it is in itself a complete and perfect mercy : God would not be at such vast expence of the riches of his grace : Christ would not lay out the invaluable treasures of his precious blood to pro cure a cheap and common blessing for us. Rejoice then, ye pardoned souls, God hath done great things for you, for which you have cause to be glad.
Infer. 2. Hence it follows, That interest in Christ by faith, brings the conscience of a believer into a state of rest and peace, Rom. v. 1. " Being justified by faith, we have peace with God." I say not that every believer is presently brought into actual peace and tranquility of conscience; there may be many fears, and much trouble even in a pardoned foul : but this is an undoubted truth, that faith brings the pardoned soul into that condition and state, where he may find perfect rest in his conscience, with respect to the guilt and danger of sin. The blood of Christ sprinkles us from an evil (that is, an accusing, condemping) conscience. We are apt to fear, that this or that special fin, which hath most terrified and affrighted our consciences, is not forgiven : but if there be riches enough in the grace of God, and efficacy enough in the blood of Christ, then the sins of believers, all their fins, great as well as small, one as well as another, without limitation or exception, are pardoned.
For let us but consider, If God remits no fin to any man, but with respect to the blood of Christ, theo all fins are parduned,
as well as any one sin; because the dignity and defert of that blood is infinite, and as much deserves an universal pardon for all fios, as the particular pardon of any, even the least lin: moreover, remission is an act of God's fatherly love in Chrift; and if it be so, then certainly no fio of any believer can be retained or excluded from pardon ; for then the same foul should be in the favour of God, lo far as it is pardoned; and out of favour with God, fo far as it is unpardoned, and all this at one and the fame instant of time; which is a thing both repugnant to itself, and to the whole strain of the gospel,
To conclude: What is the design and end of remiffion, but the saving of the pardoned foul ? But if any sin be retained or excluded from pardon, the retaining of that sin must needs make void the pardon of all other fins; and so the acts of God must cross and contradict each other, and the design and end of God milcarry and be loft; which can never be. So then we conclude, faith brings the believing loul into a state of rest and peace.
Infer. 3. Hence it also follows, That no remission is to be expect. ed by any foul, without interest by faith in Jesus Chrift: no Chrift, no pardon ; no faith, no Chrift. Yet how apt are many poor de luded souls to expect pardon in that way, where never any foul yet did, or ever can meet it. Some look for pardon from the absolute mercy of God, without any regard to the blood of Christ, or their interest therein ; we have finned, but God is merciful, Some expect remission of sia by virtue of their own duties, not Christ's merits : I have signed, but I will repent, restore, reform, and God will pardon. But little do fuch men know how they therein diminish the evil of fin, undervalue the justice of God, flight the blood of Christ, and put an undoing cheat upon their own fouls for ever. To expect pardon from absolute mercy, or our owo duties, is to knock at the wrong door, which God hath shut up to all the world, Rom. iii. 20. Whilst thefe two principles abide firm, that the price of pardon is only in the blood of Chrilt, and the benefit of pardon, only by the applicacation of his blood to us; this must remain a fure conclufion, that no remission is to be expected by any foul, without interest by faith in Jesus Christ. Repentance, restitution, and reformation are excellent durics in their kind, and in their proper places, but they were never meant for faviours, or satisfactions to God for sin.
Infer. 4. If the riches of grace be thus manifested in the pardon of lin, How vile an abuse is it of the grace of God, to take the more liberty to fin, because grace abounds in the pardon of it!