صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

“ This is the name whereby he shall be called, The Lord our Righteousness."

7. This righteousness is imputed by God to the believer ; by the obedience and the sufferings of Christ, the perfections of God, the excellence of his ment, the holiness and purity of his law, are so fully displayed to the universe, that he can now, without derogating from his character as the moral Governor of the world, justify him who believeth in Jesus; forgive and crown him for the sake of what Jesus had done and suffered.

8. But in order thus to be justified by the righteousness of Christ, we must by faith be united to him. This is asserted in many of the texts which have been quoted to you. Let me add that expressive passage: 6 Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness, that he might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.” Faith justifies, not because it is accepted in the place of righteousness, not because it is a new condition of the covenant arbitrarily chosen by God, but solely because it is the means and instrument of communion with Jesus Christ. It is efficacious, not from its own dignity, but from the dignity of Him on whom it relies. It is the flight of the trembling soul to a secure ark of safety. III

. Having thus considered the justification of the penitent believing sinner, I have time to say but a few words on the justification of the regenerute man. This we are taught by the scripture is by works. Of two things the believer can be accused before God : of having broken the law of God, and of not having a true faith. To the first accusation the believer pleads guilty ; but fees for pardon to the merit of Christ, which he embraces by a lively faith: but to the second accusation he answers by justifying his faith, proving its reality by his works. It is thus that the sincerity of their faith will be justified by their works at the judgment-day. It is of this second justification that James speaks, when he says, “ But wilt thou know, O vain man! that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect.” There is not, as some have supposed, the smallest contradiction between him and Paul in the doctrine of justification. Paul speaks of the ground of a sinner's forgiveness, James of the proof of the sincerity of a professor's faith; Paul of imputed righteousness, James of inherent holiness; the one of the justification of the sinner, the other of the justification of the righteous.

And now, my brethren, let us solemnly inquire, Are we justified by faith in Christ Jesus? Let us bring this great question to an issue; it is too serious a consideration to be left in suspense: let us be impartial in our examination respecting it, since ours is not the final or supreme judgment. In order to decide whether we are justified or condemned; in the favour or under the wrath of God; the heirs of heaven or of hell, let us ask ourselves, What knowledge we have of Christ, and of the gospel method of justification through his righteousness? Has your mind been enlightened, so as to perceive that this method which is foolishness to the natural man, is honourable to the

[ocr errors]

perfections of God, exactly suited to your wants and necessities, and free from those defects that you have found in every other method that you have tried, or that has been invented by the wisdom of man ? Are you disposed to say of it, with David in his dying day, “ It is all my salvation and all my desire ?" Have you actually accepted the offer which God makes you in his gospel, of Christ and his righteousness, and have you made that righteousness the sole ground of your pardon and acceptance in the sight of God? Have you, awakened to a sense of your guilt, and of your dangerous condition while exposed to the wrath of the Almighty and the curse of the law, heard the voice of God in the gospel, addressed to you in particular, as really as it ever was to any of Adam's lost family, offering you Christ and salvation; and in a day of divine power have you accepted the gracious proposal, and said in raptures of joy and love, “ In the Lord have I righteousness ?" Is this still your disposition ; are you still disposed to renounce all dependence upon your own righteousness, and to rest only upon Immanuel ? Are you inherently righteous, as well as righteous through the merits of Christ? No person is ever made the righteousness of God in Christ, in whose soul the Spirit of Christ does not take up his residence. Are you then a partaker of that Spirit? Is it your daily endeavour to “ walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit;" taking the law of Christ as your rule, the example of Christ as your pattern, the glory of God in Christ as your ultimate end? Do you endeavour to obey every precept of the divine law, and on every occasion? Do you obey in the strength of promised grace, and esteem yourself an unprofitable servant

after all you do? By these and by similar questions you may decide your true condition. Happy are those of you who are warranted to say, “ Christ was made sin for us, and we have become the righteousness of God in him." Your iniquities are blotted out; you shall have a complete and final victory over all your spiritual foes, within you as well as without you; you

shall have the gracious presence of God with you while you pass through earth; you shall receive all necessary strength and grace to perform duties and to bear afflictions; you shall obtain a triumph over death, and an unutterable felicity beyond the grave. Let these blessings animate you to warmer gratitude ; bless God with ardour for Christ his unspeakable gift, and all the infinite mercies which he bears with him. In the midst of thy holy exultation, be humble ; thou hast nothing which thou hast not received; boasting is excluded; by the sublimest holiness display thy gratitude to such a Benefactor, and evidence that thou art indeed united to Christ. And you, my dear brethren, who are still in a state

a of condemnation, and uninterested in the righteousness of Immanuel, at last awake to a sense of

your guilt and danger; renounce the refuges of lies in which you have hitherto confided. However little the consideration may have hitherto affected you, you are a guilty sinner in the sight of God. As such, you stand condemned while in your natural state, by the dreadful sentence of the lawgiver. There is no other possible way to escape the execution of that sentence but by having an interest in the sacrifice of Christ, as a full atonement for your sins. His righteousness is freely offered to you; though you now may scorn it, a day is coming when you shall be sensible of your need of it. That same Saviour, who now stands among you with the arms of his mercy as widely stretched out as when upon the cross, making a full and free offer of his righteousness, and all the rich fruits of it, to every child of Adam that hears me; that same Saviour is constituted the Judge of quick and dead; he shall come with clouds, and thine eye shall see him; he shall then crush with his rod of iron all who on earth have rejected his offers. Will you then longer neglect him? The grave will shortly open for you, and no tenders of pardon are made there; but now there is hope; Jesus is again presented to you; if you reject him and perish, your blood must be upon your own heads; you must eternally curse yourselves for your obstinacy in unbelief. Oh! accept the gift of God; obey the call of the gospel; have mercy upon your own souls !

« السابقةمتابعة »