28 April 2022 by Published in: John Brine, Sermons No comments yet

A Right To Enteral Glory, Through The Meritorious Obedience Of Christ, Proved To Be Consistent With The Absolute Freedom And Sovereignty Of Divine Grace, As The Origin Of It

In A Short Discourse On Titus 3:7

Preface

The Publication of the following short Discourse, was occasioned by my treating on the Grace of GOD, and the Merit of the Obedience of CHRIST, in two Sermons, which I very lately preached. In composing the first, nothing was more distant from my Thoughts than exposing to public View the Sentiments and Reasoning therein contained. But as some of my worthy Friends, to whom it was acceptable, in hearing, solicited me to make it public, before the Delivery of the second, I determined comply with their Solicitation. And upon the Delivery of the second, they approved their being connected, unto which I was not disinclined. They are both contracted, as the Reader may judge, by the Brevity of the Discourse. But, I hope, not to the Disadvantage of the Sentiments advanced, or the Arguments used in their Defence.

I am apprehensive, that I shall pass under the Censure of some Persons, because I attribute proper infinite Merit to the Obedience of CHRIST. It hath been blasphemously affirmed, that his Obedience is deserving of NO BENEFIT. Nothing more depreciating can be said of the Obedience of a mere Creature, allowing it to be perfect. The Reason assigned for this daring blasphemous Assertion is, if CHRIST merited Benefits for us, by his Obedience, those Benefits cannot be of free Grace; for what is merited, is not freely given; and, therefore, we must either give up the Doctrine of free Grace, or deny the proper Merit of CHRIST, in Respect to those spiritual Blessings, which are bestowed upon us here and hereafter. If any Man can, and will give Proof, that Grace in GOD towards us, and CHRIST’S meriting for us, are inconsistent, I shall be free to part with the Doctrine of the Merit of our glorious Redeemer, both in his Obedience and Sufferings; because, I am firmly persuaded, that sovereign Grace in GOD, is the Origin of our whole Salvation and Happiness. But I am bold to say, that such Proof will never be given, unless it can be proved, that CHRIST’S Capacity to merit, in what he did and suffered, was not the Effect of the sovereign Grace of the Father towards himself, as Man, and towards us. It is my sincere Aim to exalt the Glory of the Grace of GOD, and maintain the due Honour of our precious Saviour, as GOD and Man united. I do not detract from the Glory of the Grace of GOD towards CHRIST, as Man, in affirming that his Capacity to merit is the Result of the Grace of the divine Father; nor do I obscure the Glory thereof, by asserting, that sovereign Grace made his meritorious Obedience ours. Surely, this will be granted in my Favour. Nor, is it any Detraction from the Glory of free Grace to assert, that CHRIST merited spiritual and eternal Blessings for us, by his Obedience, because the Merit of it arises from the Constitution of his Person, which is the pure Effect of sovereign Grace towards himself, as Man, and towards us. His Person was constituted, as it is, for our Sakes. The End of the Subsistence of the human Nature of CHRIST, in his divine Person, was our Happiness, in Subordination to the Glory of all the Perfections of GOD.

And as that was the Contrivance of Infinite Wisdom, so it is a most glorious Effect of sovereign Grace towards CHRIST, as Man, and towards us. Therefore, the sovereign Grace of the divine Father is paramount in our Salvation and eternal Felicity, thro’ the meritorious Obedience and Sufferings of JESUS CHRIST. Upon this important Subject I will speak what I think. The eternal Weight of Glory does not exceed the Worth, Value and Merit of the Righteousness of the Son of GOD. And it is extremely weak and injudicious to object, that our future Blessedness is not of free Grace, if it was merited for us, by the Righteousness of CHRIST, because free, sovereign Grace rendered him capable of meriting, and the Gift of his meritorious Righteousness to us is a GIFT BY GRACE. But, clear and consistent as these Things are, in themselves, I fear, that by and by some will take Offence at our saying, that we have a legal Right and Title to everlasting Life, thro’ the Righteousness of CHRIST.

“That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”—Titus 3:7

In the Words of the Text, four Things, in general, are to be observed,

I. The Benefit of our Justification. That being justified.
II. The Cause of that Benefit, viz. The Grace of GOD. That being
justified by his Grace.
III. The Consequence of our Justification. We are made Heirs of Life thereby.
IV. That Life, whereof we are made Heirs, is eternal.

I. The First Thing observable in the Text is the glorious Benefit of our Justification, ‘That being justified.’ This consists of two Branches.

First. Acquittance from Guilt.

Secondly.The Constitution of our Persons righteous, and accountingior esteeming us righteous thereupon.

First. Acquittance from Guilt is one Branch of our Justification. By Guilt I understand, Actions which agree not With the Law, that is the Rule of our Conduct. Every Individual of Mankind is chargeable with Sin: For all have sinned, and come short of the Glory of GOD. Now we know, that what Things soever the Law saith, it saith to them that are under the Law, that every Mouth may be stopped, and all the World may become guilty before God. (Romans 3:23.) Our Offences are exceedingly numerous, they are more than the Hairs of our Heads, and cannot be numbered by us, No Man is able to reckon up his sinful Thoughts, irregular Desires, and unlawful Delights. And every Breach of the divine Law, renders us worthy of Death. According to the just Constitution of GOD, in the Law, the Wages of Sin is Death. Not only temporal, but also eternal, the Opposite of eternal Life.

Hence we must conclude, that our Condition is very deplorable. As guilty we can have no Foundation in ourselves to hope for Acceptance with our Maker, or the Communication of Favours from Him; but on the contrary, we have just Reason to dread his Anger, and expect the Infliction of Punishment, at his Hand. Consequently, without Remission, we must be miserable for ever. Sin unpardoned will eternally deprive us of all Hope of being happy, and subject us to inconceivable and endless Misery. They are the only happy Persons in the World, whole Crimes are remitted to them. No guilty Creature can possibly enjoy Happiness, without a full Discharge of that Guilt, which he hath contracted. And no Sinner can make Compensation for his Offences, nor devise a Method whereby Forgiveness may be obtained.

GOD in infinite Mercy decreed to pardon sin, and in his immense Wisdom, he contrived a Way, wherein we are acquitted of our Guilt, without the least Prejudice to His Law, or Dishonour to his Justice. He was in CHRIST, reconciling the World to himself, i.e. drawing the Plan of their Reconciliation, not imputing their Trespasses unto them. (2 Corinthians 5:19.) It was his gracious Purpose, that CHRIST should bear our Sins, and suffer that Penalty in our stead, which they demerited. Unto which the Blessed JESUS agreed, in the Council of

Peace, held between the Father and himself. In this Contrivance, GOD hath abounded towards us in all Wisdom and Prudence. (Ephesians 1:8.) It is the Wisdom of GOD, in a Mystery, his hidden Wisdom, which he ordained before the World, to our Glory. (1 Corinthians 2:7.) For this was a Resolution to commend his Love to our Persons, and fully manifest his just Indignation against our Sins.

CHRIST, Who knew no Sin, was made Sin for us. (2 Corinthians 5:21.) The Lord laid on him, or made to meet in him the Iniquities of us all (Isaiah 53:6.). He bore our Sins in his own Body on the Tree. Our Guilt was transferred from us, and imputed to him by the Father. And CHRIST voluntarily took it upon himself, or consented to bear it.

The human Will of our Saviour was all Submission to the sovereign Pleasure of the Father, in this wonderful Transaction. He was not in the least Degree reluctant to come under the Charge and Imputation of our Crimes, in order to make Atonement for them.

In Consequence of our Sins being placed to the Account of CHRIST, he sustained such Punishment, which they demerited. He was made a Curse for us. (Galatians 3:13.) And the Sword of divine Justice was awakened, against, and smote him. (Zechariah 13:7.) His Sufferings and Death, therefore, were properly penal. And by Reason of the infinite Dignity of his Person, real and infinite Merit attended his Sufferings; so that the Law and Justice of GOD are fully satisfied for our whole Guilt.

Hence, GOD is just in justifying those who believe in JESUS. (Romans 3:26.) He is not only faithful; but also just to forgive us our sins, on this Foundation. Justice directs to the Impunity of a Sinner, upon Satisfaction being made for his Offences. All who believe are justified from all Things, from which they could not be justified by the law of Moses. The Law made nothing perfect; but the bringing in of a better Hope did. CHRIST, by one Offering, hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. It was not possible, that the Blood of Bulls, or of Goats should take away Sin. But CHRIST put away Sin by the Sacrifice of himself. In him we have Redemption thro’ his Blood, even the Forgiveness of Sin. His Blood cleanseth from all Sins. Our Iniquities are forgiven, and our Sins are covered, in Virtue thereof.

Being justified by his Blood, we shall be saved from Wrath thro’ him. (Romans 5:9.) All Trespasses are forgiven us. (Colossians 2:13.) No sin can be laid to our Charge, CHRIST, having loved us, and washed us from our Sins, in his own Blood. (Revelation 1:6.) Divine Pardon is a Discharge of all Guilt. It includes our Sins before and after Conversion: Sins of Omission and Commission: Sins of Heart and Life. This Branch of our Justification may be included in the Text. But I humbly apprehend it is not principally intended therein. My Reason for which is, what immediately follows, viz. we should be made Heirs according to the Hope of eternal Life. And, therefore, I conceive, that Branch of Justification is chiefly designed, upon which follows our Right to future Blessedness. Now, Acquittance from Guilt does not give a Sinner a Title to Happiness. It indeed frees him from an Obnoxiousness to suffering Penalty; but a Right to the Enjoyment of Glory cannot result from that.

Secondly. The other Branch of our Justification is, the Constitution of our Persons righteous, and accounting, or esteeming us righteous thereupon. We are all as an unclean Thing, and all our Righteousnesses are as filthy Rags. Defects and Blemishes attend all the Duties which we perform. Our sinful Neglects are many, and in numerous instances our Actions are materially evil. For, in many Things we offend all. There is not a just Man that liveth and sinneth not. The divine Lawgiver is of purer Eyes than to behold Iniquity. None, therefore, could possibly determine how we may be justified by our Maker; which job strongly expresses. I know it is so of a Truth; but bow should Man be just with GOD? (Job 9:2.) The sacred Gospel clearly resolves this most important Question. By acquainting us with the Imputation of a Righteousness to us, which is without Works. Blessed is the Man to whom the LORD will impute Righteousness without Works. (Romans 4:6.) Righteousness consists of Works, which are good, and agree with the Law, that is the Rule of our Duty. And, therefore, the Phrase, without Works, must be understood of our own personal Obedience. For, in no other Sense can it be true, that, that Righteousness, which God imputes to us, is without Works. In the Lord we have Righteousness. And CHRIST is of GOD made unto us Righteousness. Which is a Benefit distinct from Sanctification: That includes a Principle of Holiness, and holy Actions springing from that Principle. As Righteousness and Sanctification are not the same, but distinct Benefits: CHRIST in being made Righteousness, is not made Sanctification, and in being made Sanctification, he is not made Righteousness. Our Righteousness is in him, as .a representative Head, our Sanctification is in him, as a Head of Influence. He is made Righteousness to us by Imputation, he is made Sanctification to us in a Way of Communication. Hence it is evident, that Righteousness designs that which remains in CHRIST subjectively. and which we do not become the Subjects of, or it is not inherently in us. It will eternally abide in CHRIST, as its proper Subject, though it is graciously imputed to us. Consequently, Righteousness means the Holiness of CHRIST’S Nature, and his Obedience to the Law. By the Disobedience of one, many were made Sinners, and by the Obedience of one shall many be made righteous. (Romans 5:19.) On Account hereof, our precious Saviour bears the Title of the Lord our Righteousness. (Jeremiah 23:6.) In the Lord all the Seed of Israel are justified, and shall glory. In these two Things consists our Justification, as we are Sinners: The Non-imputation of Sin, and the Imputation of the Righteousness of Christ to us, whereupon GOD esteems us just and. righteous.

II. The Cause of our Justification is the Grace of God, That being Justified ‘by his Grace.’

1. Grace is Favour which is absolutely free and undeserved. Its objects are not considered as Subjects of any amiable Qualifcations moving unto it. The Love of GOD, from which our Salvation springs, has no Cause out of himself. It is his good Pleasure, a kind Act of his sovereign Will towards us. He hath Mercy, because he will have Mercy; and be hath Compassion, because he will have Compassion. No other Reason thereof can be assigned. There was no Fitness in us to be beloved of GOD. On the contrary, we were the subjects of such detestable Qualities, as rendered us deserving of his awful Displeasure. And, therefore, his Love to us is justly denominated Grace. It is Kindness and Favour above all Motive, or Inducement, in those, whom it respects. Without Love of that Kind in the Heart of GOD to us, our Recovery from Ruin had been absolutely impossible.

2. The Divine Father, who is the first Person, in the adorable Trinity, is intended. This is clear in the Context. For he is distinguished from the Holy Spirit, and the LORD JESUS CHRIST. The Kindness and Love of GOD our Saviour towards Man appeared, not by Works of Righteousness, which we have done, but according to His Mercy he hath saved us, by the Washing of Regeneration, and the Renewing Of the Holy Ghost: Which he shed on us abundantly thro JESUS CHRIST our Saviour. That Person is designed, who sheds forth the Holy Spirit, and who sheds him forth through CHRIST upon the Saints. And, therefore, neither the Spirit, nor CHRIST, is the Person, concerning whole Grace the Apostle here speaks; but the Divine Father, as distinct and distinguished from them both.

3. Our Justification is founded in, and takes its Rise from the Grace of GOD the Father. His absolutely free and unmerited Love is the Origin of it. That most important Branch of our Salvation, entirely springs from his Sovereign Good-Will and Pleasure. His Will to justify us was not caused by any Thing out of Himself, which is in us, or in our blessed Saviour. His Decree to acquit us of our Guilt, and to constitute us righteous, was an Act of pure Favour, without any external moving Cause. None, I hope, will think, that I detract from the Honour of CHRIST, either in his Obedience, or Sacrifice, by attributing our Justification to the mere Love, and absolutely free Favour of GOD, as the proper and only Source of it. In Order to clear up, and represent this momentous Point in a plain and easy Light, I would propose to Consideration the following Particulars.

(1.) The Father ordained the human Nature of CHRIST unto a most near and ineffable Union with his Divine Person. He was fore- ordained before the Foundation of the World; but was manifest for us in these last Times (1 Peter 1:19, 20.). The Word, which was in the Beginning with GOD, and which was GOD, was made Flesh (John 1:1, 14.). He became Man, by the Assumption of human Nature, according to the Appointment of the Father. And that Nature, which he assumed hath its Subsistence in his divine Person, and is one with him. This Union of the divine and human Natures, in the Person of the Mediator, is the Mystery and Glory of our holy Religion. Without Controvert, great is the Mystery of Godliness, GOD manifest in the Flesh (1 Timothy 3:16.). Herein consists the highest Glory of CHRIST as Man. For, in Consequence of it, he became Heir of all Things, and by Inheritance obtained a more excellent Name than the Angels (Hebrews 1:2.). This made him rich, tho’ for our Sakes he became poor, that thro’ his Poverty we might be rich. This Decree of the Father concerning CHRIST, as Man, was the highest Act of free, sovereign Grace, that he ever did, or will put forth. And evident it is, that Grace lies at the Bottom of our whole Salvation. Yea, that is the whole and entire Foundation thereof.

I am apprehensive, that I shall pass under the Censure of some Persons, because I attribute proper infinite Merit to the Obedience of CHRIST. It hath been blasphemously affirmed, that his Obedience is deserving of NO BENEFIT. Nothing more depreciating can be said of the Obedience of a mere Creature, allowing it to be perfect. The Reason assigned for this daring blasphemous Assertion is, if CHRIST merited Benefits for us, by his Obedience, those Benefits cannot be of free Grace; for what is merited, is not freely given; and, therefore, we must either give up the Doctrine of free Grace, or deny the proper Merit of CHRIST, in Respect to those spiritual Blessings, which are bestowed upon us here and hereafter. If any Man can, and will give Proof, that Grace in GOD towards us, and CHRIST’S meriting for us, are inconsistent, I shall be free to part with the Doctrine of the Merit of our glorious Redeemer, both in his Obedience and Sufferings; because, I am firmly persuaded, that sovereign Grace in GOD, is the Origin of our whole Salvation and Happiness. But I am bold to say, that such Proof will never be given, unless it can be proved, that CHRIST’S Capacity to merit, in what he did and suffered, was not the Effect of the sovereign Grace of the Father towards himself, as Man, and towards us. It is my sincere Aim to exalt the Glory of the Grace of GOD, and maintain the due Honour of our precious Saviour, as GOD and Man united. I do not detract from the Glory of the Grace of GOD towards CHRIST, as Man, in affirming that his Capacity to merit is the Result of the Grace of the divine Father; nor do I obscure the Glory thereof, by asserting, that sovereign Grace made his meritorious Obedience ours. Surely, this will be granted in my Favour. Nor, is it any Detraction from the Glory of free Grace to assert, that CHRIST merited spiritual and eternal Blessings for us, by his Obedience, because the Merit of it arises from the Constitution of his Person, which is the pure Effect of sovereign Grace towards himself, as Man, and towards us. His Person was constituted, as it is, for our Sakes. The End of the Subsistence of the human Nature of CHRIST, in his divine Person, was our Happiness, in Subordination to the Glory of all the Perfections of GOD.

And as that was the Contrivance of Infinite Wisdom, so it is a most glorious Effect of sovereign Grace towards CHRIST, as Man, and towards us. Therefore, the sovereign Grace of the divine Father is paramount in our Salvation and eternal Felicity, thro’ the meritorious Obedience and Sufferings of JESUS CHRIST. Upon this important Subject I will speak what I think. The eternal Weight of Glory does not exceed the Worth, Value and Merit of the Righteousness of the Son of GOD. And it is extremely weak and injudicious to object, that our future Blessedness is not of free Grace, if it was merited for us, by the Righteousness of CHRIST, because free, sovereign Grace rendered him capable of meriting, and the Gift of his meritorious Righteousness to us is a GIFT BY GRACE. But, clear and consistent as these Things are, in themselves, I fear, that by and by some will take Offence at our saying, that we have a legal Right and Title to everlasting Life, thro’ the Righteousness of CHRIST.

“That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”—Titus 3:7

In the Words of the Text, four Things, in general, are to be observed,

I. The Benefit of our Justification. That being justified.
II. The Cause of that Benefit, viz. The Grace of GOD. That being
justified by his Grace.
III. The Consequence of our Justification. We are made Heirs of Life thereby.
IV. That Life, whereof we are made Heirs, is eternal.

I. The First Thing observable in the Text is the glorious Benefit of our Justification, ‘That being justified.’ This consists of two Branches.

First. Acquittance from Guilt.

Secondly.The Constitution of our Persons righteous, and accountingior esteeming us righteous thereupon.

First. Acquittance from Guilt is one Branch of our Justification. By Guilt I understand, Actions which agree not With the Law, that is the Rule of our Conduct. Every Individual of Mankind is chargeable with Sin: For all have sinned, and come short of the Glory of GOD. Now we know, that what Things soever the Law saith, it saith to them that are under the Law, that every Mouth may be stopped, and all the World may become guilty before God. (Romans 3:23.) Our Offences are exceedingly numerous, they are more than the Hairs of our Heads, and cannot be numbered by us, No Man is able to reckon up his sinful Thoughts, irregular Desires, and unlawful Delights. And every Breach of the divine Law, renders us worthy of Death. According to the just Constitution of GOD, in the Law, the Wages of Sin is Death. Not only temporal, but also eternal, the Opposite of eternal Life.

Hence we must conclude, that our Condition is very deplorable. As guilty we can have no Foundation in ourselves to hope for Acceptance with our Maker, or the Communication of Favours from Him; but on the contrary, we have just Reason to dread his Anger, and expect the Infliction of Punishment, at his Hand. Consequently, without Remission, we must be miserable for ever. Sin unpardoned will eternally deprive us of all Hope of being happy, and subject us to inconceivable and endless Misery. They are the only happy Persons in the World, whole Crimes are remitted to them. No guilty Creature can possibly enjoy Happiness, without a full Discharge of that Guilt, which he hath contracted. And no Sinner can make Compensation for his Offences, nor devise a Method whereby Forgiveness may be obtained.

GOD in infinite Mercy decreed to pardon sin, and in his immense Wisdom, he contrived a Way, wherein we are acquitted of our Guilt, without the least Prejudice to His Law, or Dishonour to his Justice. He was in CHRIST, reconciling the World to himself, i.e. drawing the Plan of their Reconciliation, not imputing their Trespasses unto them. (2 Corinthians 5:19.) It was his gracious Purpose, that CHRIST should bear our Sins, and suffer that Penalty in our stead, which they demerited. Unto which the Blessed JESUS agreed, in the Council of

Peace, held between the Father and himself. In this Contrivance, GOD hath abounded towards us in all Wisdom and Prudence. (Ephesians 1:8.) It is the Wisdom of GOD, in a Mystery, his hidden Wisdom, which he ordained before the World, to our Glory. (1 Corinthians 2:7.) For this was a Resolution to commend his Love to our Persons, and fully manifest his just Indignation against our Sins.

CHRIST, Who knew no Sin, was made Sin for us. (2 Corinthians 5:21.) The Lord laid on him, or made to meet in him the Iniquities of us all (Isaiah 53:6.). He bore our Sins in his own Body on the Tree. Our Guilt was transferred from us, and imputed to him by the Father. And CHRIST voluntarily took it upon himself, or consented to bear it.

The human Will of our Saviour was all Submission to the sovereign Pleasure of the Father, in this wonderful Transaction. He was not in the least Degree reluctant to come under the Charge and Imputation of our Crimes, in order to make Atonement for them.

In Consequence of our Sins being placed to the Account of CHRIST, he sustained such Punishment, which they demerited. He was made a Curse for us. (Galatians 3:13.) And the Sword of divine Justice was awakened, against, and smote him. (Zechariah 13:7.) His Sufferings and Death, therefore, were properly penal. And by Reason of the infinite Dignity of his Person, real and infinite Merit attended his Sufferings; so that the Law and Justice of GOD are fully satisfied for our whole Guilt.

Hence, GOD is just in justifying those who believe in JESUS. (Romans 3:26.) He is not only faithful; but also just to forgive us our sins, on this Foundation. Justice directs to the Impunity of a Sinner, upon Satisfaction being made for his Offences. All who believe are justified from all Things, from which they could not be justified by the law of Moses. The Law made nothing perfect; but the bringing in of a better Hope did. CHRIST, by one Offering, hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. It was not possible, that the Blood of Bulls, or of Goats should take away Sin. But CHRIST put away Sin by the Sacrifice of himself. In him we have Redemption thro’ his Blood, even the Forgiveness of Sin. His Blood cleanseth from all Sins. Our Iniquities are forgiven, and our Sins are covered, in Virtue thereof.

Being justified by his Blood, we shall be saved from Wrath thro’ him. (Romans 5:9.) All Trespasses are forgiven us. (Colossians 2:13.) No sin can be laid to our Charge, CHRIST, having loved us, and washed us from our Sins, in his own Blood. (Revelation 1:6.) Divine Pardon is a Discharge of all Guilt. It includes our Sins before and after Conversion: Sins of Omission and Commission: Sins of Heart and Life. This Branch of our Justification may be included in the Text. But I humbly apprehend it is not principally intended therein. My Reason for which is, what immediately follows, viz. we should be made Heirs according to the Hope of eternal Life. And, therefore, I conceive, that Branch of Justification is chiefly designed, upon which follows our Right to future Blessedness. Now, Acquittance from Guilt does not give a Sinner a Title to Happiness. It indeed frees him from an Obnoxiousness to suffering Penalty; but a Right to the Enjoyment of Glory cannot result from that.

Secondly. The other Branch of our Justification is, the Constitution of our Persons righteous, and accounting, or esteeming us righteous thereupon. We are all as an unclean Thing, and all our Righteousnesses are as filthy Rags. Defects and Blemishes attend all the Duties which we perform. Our sinful Neglects are many, and in numerous instances our Actions are materially evil. For, in many Things we offend all. There is not a just Man that liveth and sinneth not. The divine Lawgiver is of purer Eyes than to behold Iniquity. None, therefore, could possibly determine how we may be justified by our Maker; which job strongly expresses. I know it is so of a Truth; but bow should Man be just with GOD? (Job 9:2.) The sacred Gospel clearly resolves this most important Question. By acquainting us with the Imputation of a Righteousness to us, which is without Works. Blessed is the Man to whom the LORD will impute Righteousness without Works. (Romans 4:6.) Righteousness consists of Works, which are good, and agree with the Law, that is the Rule of our Duty. And, therefore, the Phrase, without Works, must be understood of our own personal Obedience. For, in no other Sense can it be true, that, that Righteousness, which God imputes to us, is without Works. In the Lord we have Righteousness. And CHRIST is of GOD made unto us Righteousness. Which is a Benefit distinct from Sanctification: That includes a Principle of Holiness, and holy Actions springing from that Principle. As Righteousness and Sanctification are not the same, but distinct Benefits: CHRIST in being made Righteousness, is not made Sanctification, and in being made Sanctification, he is not made Righteousness. Our Righteousness is in him, as .a representative Head, our Sanctification is in him, as a Head of Influence. He is made Righteousness to us by Imputation, he is made Sanctification to us in a Way of Communication. Hence it is evident, that Righteousness designs that which remains in CHRIST subjectively. and which we do not become the Subjects of, or it is not inherently in us. It will eternally abide in CHRIST, as its proper Subject, though it is graciously imputed to us. Consequently, Righteousness means the Holiness of CHRIST’S Nature, and his Obedience to the Law. By the Disobedience of one, many were made Sinners, and by the Obedience of one shall many be made righteous. (Romans 5:19.) On Account hereof, our precious Saviour bears the Title of the Lord our Righteousness. (Jeremiah 23:6.) In the Lord all the Seed of Israel are justified, and shall glory. In these two Things consists our Justification, as we are Sinners: The Non-imputation of Sin, and the Imputation of the Righteousness of Christ to us, whereupon GOD esteems us just and. righteous.

II. The Cause of our Justification is the Grace of God, That being Justified ‘by his Grace.’

1. Grace is Favour which is absolutely free and undeserved. Its objects are not considered as Subjects of any amiable Qualifcations moving unto it. The Love of GOD, from which our Salvation springs, has no Cause out of himself. It is his good Pleasure, a kind Act of his sovereign Will towards us. He hath Mercy, because he will have Mercy; and be hath Compassion, because he will have Compassion. No other Reason thereof can be assigned. There was no Fitness in us to be beloved of GOD. On the contrary, we were the subjects of such detestable Qualities, as rendered us deserving of his awful Displeasure. And, therefore, his Love to us is justly denominated Grace. It is Kindness and Favour above all Motive, or Inducement, in those, whom it respects. Without Love of that Kind in the Heart of GOD to us, our Recovery from Ruin had been absolutely impossible.

2. The Divine Father, who is the first Person, in the adorable Trinity, is intended. This is clear in the Context. For he is distinguished from the Holy Spirit, and the LORD JESUS CHRIST. The Kindness and Love of GOD our Saviour towards Man appeared, not by Works of Righteousness, which we have done, but according to His Mercy he hath saved us, by the Washing of Regeneration, and the Renewing Of the Holy Ghost: Which he shed on us abundantly thro JESUS CHRIST our Saviour. That Person is designed, who sheds forth the Holy Spirit, and who sheds him forth through CHRIST upon the Saints. And, therefore, neither the Spirit, nor CHRIST, is the Person, concerning whole Grace the Apostle here speaks; but the Divine Father, as distinct and distinguished from them both.

3. Our Justification is founded in, and takes its Rise from the Grace of GOD the Father. His absolutely free and unmerited Love is the Origin of it. That most important Branch of our Salvation, entirely springs from his Sovereign Good-Will and Pleasure. His Will to justify us was not caused by any Thing out of Himself, which is in us, or in our blessed Saviour. His Decree to acquit us of our Guilt, and to constitute us righteous, was an Act of pure Favour, without any external moving Cause. None, I hope, will think, that I detract from the Honour of CHRIST, either in his Obedience, or Sacrifice, by attributing our Justification to the mere Love, and absolutely free Favour of GOD, as the proper and only Source of it. In Order to clear up, and represent this momentous Point in a plain and easy Light, I would propose to Consideration the following Particulars.

(1.) The Father ordained the human Nature of CHRIST unto a most near and ineffable Union with his Divine Person. He was fore- ordained before the Foundation of the World; but was manifest for us in these last Times (1 Peter 1:19, 20.). The Word, which was in the Beginning with GOD, and which was GOD, was made Flesh (John 1:1, 14.). He became Man, by the Assumption of human Nature, according to the Appointment of the Father. And that Nature, which he assumed hath its Subsistence in his divine Person, and is one with him. This Union of the divine and human Natures, in the Person of the Mediator, is the Mystery and Glory of our holy Religion. Without Controvert, great is the Mystery of Godliness, GOD manifest in the Flesh (1 Timothy 3:16.). Herein consists the highest Glory of CHRIST as Man. For, in Consequence of it, he became Heir of all Things, and by Inheritance obtained a more excellent Name than the Angels (Hebrews 1:2.). This made him rich, tho’ for our Sakes he became poor, that thro’ his Poverty we might be rich. This Decree of the Father concerning CHRIST, as Man, was the highest Act of free, sovereign Grace, that he ever did, or will put forth. And evident it is, that Grace lies at the Bottom of our whole Salvation. Yea, that is the whole and entire Foundation thereof.



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