« ElőzőTovább »
S E R M 0 I. Opening the general Nature of effectual Application.
1 Cor. i. 30. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and fanctification, and redemption.
E that enquires what is the just value and worth of Christ, alks a question which puts all the men on earth, and
angels in heaven, to an everlasting non-plus. The highest attaioment of our knowledge, in this life, is to know, that himself, and his love do pass knowledge, Eph. iii. 19.
But how excellent foever, Christ is in himself, what treasures of righteoufaefs foever lie in his blood, and whatever joy, peace, and ravishing comforts, spring up to men out of his incarnation, bumiliation, and exaltation, they all give down their distinct beDefits and coinforts to them, in the way of effe&tual application.
For never was any wound healed by a prepared, but unapplied plaister. Never any body warmed by the inost costly garment made, but not put on : Never any heart refreshed and comforted by the richest cordial compounded, but not received: Nor from the beginning of the world was it ever koown, that a poor deceived, condemned, polluted, miserable finner, was actually delivered out of that woful state, until of God, Christ was made unto him, wisdom and righteousnels, sanctification and redemption.
For look * as the condemnation of the first Adam passeth not to us, except (as by generation) we are bis ; fo grace and remission pass not from the second Adam to us, except (as by regeneration) we are his. Adam's sin hurts none but those that are in him : And Christ's blood profits none but those that are in him : How great a weight therefore doth there hang upon the effectual application of Christ to the fouls of men! And
* Parifienfis de caufis, cur Deus homo, cap. 9. Quemadmodum non transit Adæ damnatio, nisi per generationem in carnaliter ex eo generatos: fic non tranfit Chrifti gratia, et peccatorum remisio, nifi per regenerationem ad spiritualiter per ipfum regeneratos. Sicut delictum Ade non nocet, nifi fuis, in eo quod sui funt : fic nee gratia Chrifti prodeft, nifi fuis, in eo quod fui funt.
what is there in the whole world fu awfully folemn, fo greatly important, as this is ! Such is the strong confolation relulting from it, that the apostle, in this context, offers it to the believing Coriatbians, as a superabuudant recompense for the defpicable meanness, and baseness of their outward condition in this world, of which he had just before spoken in ver. 27, 28. telling them, though the world contemned them as vile, foolish, and weak, yet " of God Christ is made unto them wil. « dom and righteousness, fanctification and redemption."
lo which words we have an enumeration of the chief privileges of believers, and an account of the method whereby they come to be invested with them t.
First, Their privileges are enumerated, namely, wisdom, righe teousness, fanctification, and redemption, mercies of inestimable value in themselves, and such as respect a fourfold misery lying upon finful Man, viz. ignorance, guilt, pollution, and the whole train of miserable consequences and effects, let in upon the nature of men, yea, the eft and holiest of men, by fio.
Lapled man is not only deep in misery, but grossly ignorant, both that he is fo, and how to recover himself from it : Sin hach left him at once fenseless of his state, and at a perfect loss about the true remedy.
To cure this, Christ is made to him wisdom, not only by improvement of those treasures of wisdom that are in himself, for the benefit of such fouls as are united to him, as an head, confulting the good of his own members; but also, by imparting his wisdom to them by the Spirit of illumination, whereby they come to discern both their sin and danger ; as also the true way of their recovery from bath, through the application of Christ to their souls by faith.
But alas ! Timple illumination doth but increase our burden, and exasperate our misery, as long as fo in the guilt of it is, either imputed to our persons unto condemnation, or reflected by our consciences in a way of accusation.
With design therefore to remedy and heal this fore evil, Chrift is made of God unto us righteousness, complete and perfect righ: teousness, whereby our obligation to punishment is dissolved, and thereby a solid foundation for a well-fettled peace of conscience firmly established.
Yea, but although the removing of guilt from our persons
+ He ascribes a fourfold commendation of Christ, which com: prehends all his virtue, and all the good we receive from him. Cabe vin on the place.
and consciences be an inestimable mercy, yet alone it cannot make us completely happy: For though a man should never be damned for fin, yet what is it less than hell upon earth, to be us: der the dominion and pollution of every base luft? It is misery enough to be daily defiled by sin, though a man should never be damned for it.
To complete therefore the happiness of the redeemed; Chrift is not only made of God unto them wisdom and righteousness, the one curing our ignorance, the other our guilt; but he is made fanctification also, to relieve us against the dominion and pollutions of our corruptions : “ He comes both by water and
by blood, not by blood only, but by water also,” John v. 6. purging as well as pardoning : How complete and perfect a cure is Chrift!
But yet something is required beyond all this to make our happiness perfect and eptire, wanting nothing; and that is the removal of those doleful effects and consequences of fin, which (notwithstanding all the forementioned privileges and mercies) Atill lie upon the souls and bodies of illuminated, juftificd, and sanctified persons. For even with the best and holiest of men, what swarms of vanity, loads of deadness, and fits of unbelief, do daily appear in, and oppress their fouls ! to the imbittering of all the comforts of life to them? And how many diseases, deformities, paios, oppress their bodies, which daily moulder away by them, till they fall into the grave by death, even as the bodies of other men do, who never received such privileges from Christ as they do? For if “ Christ be in us” (as the apostle speaks, Rom. viii. 1o.) “ the body is dead, because of lim :" Sanctification exempts us not from mortality.
But from all these, and whatfoever else, the fruits and confequences of fin, Christ is redemption to his people also: This feals op the sum of mercies: This so completes the happiness of the saints, that it leaves nothing to defire.
These four, wisdom, righteoufness, fanctification, and redemption, take in all that is necessary or desirable, to make a for truly and perfectly blessed.
Secondly, We have here the method and way, by which the elect come to be invested with these excellent privileges : the account whereof, the apostle gives us in these words, [“Who os of God is made unto us”] in which expression, four things are remarkable,
First, That Christ and his benefits go inseparably and uodividedly together : it is Christ himself is made all this unto us : we can have.no faviog benefit feparate and apart froin the pare son of Christ: many would willingly receive his privileges, who will not receive his person ; but it cannot be; if we will have one, we must take the other too : Yea, we must accept his perfon first, and then his benefits : as it is in the marriage coveDant, so it is here.
Secondly, That Christ with his benefits, must be personally and particularly applied to us, before we can receive any actual, saving privilege by him; he must be [made unto us] i. e. para ticularly applied to us; as a sum of money becomes, or is made the ransom and liberty of a captive, when it is not only promised, but paid down in his name, and legally applied for that use and end. When Christ died, the ransom was prepared, the sum laid dowo; but yet the elect continue still in lin and misery, notwithstanding, till by effetual calling, it be actually apo plied to their persons, and then they are made free, Rom. v, 10, 11. reconciled by Christ's death, by whom “ we have now re«« ceived the atonement."
Thirdly, That this application of Christ, is the work of God, and not of man : " Of Gad he is made unto us :” The same hand that prepared it, must also apply it, or else we perish, notwithstanding all that the Father hath done in contriving, and appointing, and all that the Son hath done in executing, and accomplishing the design thus far. And this actual application is the work of the Spirit, by a fingular appropriation.
Fourthly, and Lastly, This expression imports the suitableness of Christ, to the necessities of sinners; what they want, he is made to them; and indeed, as money answers all things, and is convertible into meat, drink, raiment, phyfic, or what else our bodily necessities do require ; fo Christ is virtually, and eminently all that the necessities of our souls require; bread to the hungry, and clothing to the naked soul. In a word, God prepared, and furnished him on purpose to answer all our wants, which fully suits the apostle's fease, when he faith, Who of “ God is made unto us wisdom aod righteousness, fanctification “ and redemption.” The sum of all is,
Doct. That the Lord Jesus Christ, with all his precious bene•
fits, becomes ours, by God's Special and effectual application.
There is a twofold application of our redemption, one primary, the other secondary : The former is the act of God the Father, applying it to Christ our furety, and virtually to us in him ; the latter is the act of the Holy Spirit, personally and actually applying it to us in the work of conversion : The former hath the respect and relation of an example, model, or pattern to this, and this is produced and wrought by the virtue of that. What was done upon the perfoo of Christ, was not only virtually done upon us, considered in him as a common public representative person, in which sense, we are said to die with him, and live with him, to be crucified with him, and buried with him, but it was also intended for a platform, or idea, of what is to be done by the Spirit, actually upon our fouls and bodies, in our single persons. As he died for fin, so the Spirit applying his death to us in the work of mortification, causes us to die to sin, by the virtue of his death : And as he was quickned by the Spirit, and raised unto life, so the Spirit applying unto us the life of Christ, causeth us to live, by spiritual vivification. Now this personal, fecondary, and actual application of redemption to us by the Spirit, in his fanctifying work, is that which I am engaged here to discuss, and open ; which I shall do in these following propositions.
Prop. 1. The application of Christ to us, is not only comprehensive of our justification, but of all those works of the Spirit, which are known to us in fcripture, by the names of regeneration, vocation, sanctification, and converfion.
Though all these terms have some small respective differences among themselves, yet they are all included in this general, the applying, and putting on of Christ, Rom. xiii. 14. “ on the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Regeneration expresses those supernatural, divine, new qualities, infused by the Spirit into the foul, which are the principles of all holy actions.
Vocation expresses the terms from which, and to which, the foul moves, when the Spirit works savingly upon it, under the gospel-call.
Sanctification notes an holy dedication of heart and life to God : our becoming the temples of the living God, feparate from all prophane finful practices, to the Lord's only use and service.
Conversion denotes the great change itself, which the Spirit causeth upon the foul, turning it by a sweet irresistable efficacy from the power of fin and Satan, to God in Christ.
Now all these are imported in, and done by the application of Christ to our fouls: For when once the efficacy of Christ's death, and the virtue of his resurrection, come to take place upon the heart of any man, he cannot but turn from fin to God, and become a new creature, living and acting by new principles and rules. So the apostle observes, i Thes. i. 5, 6. speaking of the
- Put ye