« PreviousContinue »
to obtain it, they have only to accept that righteousness which Christ has prepared for them, and which God has appointed as the acceptable righteousness for ruined sinners. This righteousness we are to receive by faith. Christ has prepared it: faith in Christ makes it our own. The power of Christ is put forth to save us; and the power of faith must be put forth to receive Him. It is not we that work out this righteousness; for it is already wrought by Christ: all we have to do in this matter, is, to receive it; believing that God has appointed it, and that Christ has wrought it out; and thus, by faith, making it our own.
Can any thing be thought of more wonderful than this—that a man should be saved, not for his own righteousness, but for the righteousness of another? Yet this is the doctrine of Scripture: this is the method of God's love, manifested through Christ. This is the mystery of grace: we are justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."
The righteousness, then, by which the believer is saved, is not, in the least degree, any goodness or If you had been ever so strict and honest; if you had been the best member of society, and very patient under all your sufferings; it is not all this, that can save you. We must not, for one moment, think of coming to God, trusting in our own righteousness. All must come alike, as sinners all, without one exception; the most decent, and the most vile; all alike, in this.
Can any thing set forth the wisdom and power, the justice and mercy of God, more than this? Can any thing be thought more difficult, than to find out a way by which God could show himself just, and yet pardon sinners? But, behold the way, prepared through Christ! The justice of God is satisfied, because Jesus bears the punishment of our iniquities. And his mercy towards sinners is displayed, in pardoning them, accepting them, and treating them as if they were righteous, because they believe in Jesus; in whom God freely justifies the ungodly, when they turn to him with true repentance and lively faith.
Let me then most seriously ask, Whether you have understood this doctrine? and, still more, Whether you have taken this one great step in religion? Have you cast yourself on Christ for salvation? Have you accounted all your best deeds to be no better than filthy rags? Have you received this righteousness, which is "unto all, and upon all them that believe?" Without this, you cannot enjoy true peace; for it is the only way of standing before God, and of meeting the Judge with any hope of favour. We must come to him, with this on our lips, and in our hearts—“ I am a lost sinner; but I believe that, for me, Christ died." Whoever can say this from his heart, with a faith which worketh by love, is saved through grace. "But he that believeth not, is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
But, if you have learned truly to believe in Christ, you will never desire to continue in sin. On the contrary, you will hate the sins which crucified your Lord and Master. Lord and Master. Love to Jesus, will cast out the love of sin. Though you will put no trust in any thing you can do, to save you, still you will take this for the law of your life-" Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord." "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." He believes, loves, and obeys.
God grant to us this living faith, this membership in Christ; this love of holiness; and, with it, the hope of glory!
O Lord, and Heavenly Father, from Thee cometh down every good and perfect gift. Thine was the gift of thy dear Son, to be the propitiation for our sins: and thine, also, is the gift of a saving faith, whereby we may be enabled to apprehend thy Son, our Saviour. Since thou hast revealed him to us, as the Lord our Righteousness, make us to be no longer faithless, but believing. We would clothe ourselves with this white raiment, which thou hast freely offered us, to cover the shame and defilement of our guilty souls. Let thy Holy Spirit work in us the work of faith, with power; that we may behold our innumerable sins laid on Jesus; and all the merit of his precious blood
shedding accounted to us; that, as He died for us, so we may live in Him.
And now unto thee, O Father, who didst freely give up thy Son for us all; and to thee, Blessed Redeemer, who didst pour out thy soul unto death, and ever livest to make intercession for transgressors; and to thee, most Holy Spirit, who dost begin in thy people the good work, and dost seal them unto the day of redemption: to Thee, thou glorious Jehovah, three Persons in one God, we ascribe all glory and praise, now and for ever.
FREE GRACE, LEADING TO HOLINESS.
ROMANS vi. 1—6.
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein ?
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death; that, like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection :
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
MEN, who do not understand the doctrine of Justication by faith, or, in other words, the doctrine of free grace, are very ready to make objections against it. St. Paul met with these objectors, and found it very necessary to answer them. But, before
we consider what he said to them, let us look fully into the doctrine itself.
The doctrine is thus clearly laid down by St. Paul, in the fourth chapter of this Epistle, the fourth verse to the eighth: he says, "Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works; saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin."
Here the Apostle is very particular in describing that method, which man in his ignorance would think the right way to be saved; namely, That if a person tries to do his best, God will accept his endeavours and his works, as far as they go, and make allowance for all that is wanting. In this way, men would earn their salvation by their own works, few as they are; and the reward would be reckoned to them, not as a matter of free gift, but as a matter of right; because they think that, on the whole, they are good enough for God to be satisfied with. This, I believe, is the way in which many set about being religious; but it is the wrong way. And therefore a common saying, which I have heard from some persons, is altogether a false step to begin religion with. They say, "All my creed is, Do good, and you shall have good."