OF COMMUNION WITH CHRIST IN PURCHASED GRACE
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Of communion with Christ in purchased grace — Purchased grace considered in respect of its rise and fountain — The first rise of it, in the obedience of Christ — Obedience properly ascribed to Christ — Two ways considered: what it was, and wherein it did consist — Of his obedience to the law in general — Of the law of the Mediator — His habitual righteousness, how necessary; as also his obedience to the law of the Mediator — Of his actual obedience or active righteousness — All Christ’s obedience performed as he was Mediator — His active obedience for us — This proved at large, Galatians 4:4,5; Romans 5:19; Philippians 3:10; Zechariah 3:3-5 — One objection removed — Considerations of Christ’s active righteousness closed — Of the death of Christ, and its influence into our acceptation with God — A price; redemption, what it is — A sacrifice; atonement made thereby — A punishment; satisfaction thereby — The intercession of Christ; with its influence into our acceptation with God.
Our process is now to communion with Christ in purchased grace, as it was before proposed: “That we may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, and be made conformable to his death,” Philippians 3:10.
By purchased grace, I understand all that righteousness and grace which Christ has procured, or wrought out for us, or does by any means make us partakers of, or bestows on us for our benefit, by any thing that he has done or suffered, or by any thing he continueth to do as mediator: — First, What this purchased grace is, and wherein it does consist; Secondly, How we hold communion with Christ therein; are the things that now come under consideration.
The First may be considered two ways: —
1. In respect of the rise and fountain of it; 2. Of its nature, or wherein it consisteth.
1. It has a threefold rise, spring, or causality in Christ: —
(1.) The obedience of his life.
(2.) The suffering of his death.
(3.) His continued intercession. All the actions of Christ as mediator, leading to the communication of grace unto us, may be either referred to these heads, or to some things that are subservient to them or consequent of them.
(2.) Grace of sanctification, or holiness before God; which makes a real change in us, as to principle and operation.
(3.) Grace of privilege; which is mixed, as we shall show, if I go forth to the handling thereof.
Now, that we have communion with Christ in this purchased grace, is evident on this single consideration, — that there is almost nothing that Christ has done, which is a spring of that grace whereof we speak, but we are said to do it with him. We are “crucified” with him, Galatians 2:20; we are “dead” with him, 2 Timothy 2:11; Colossians 3:3; and “buried” with him, Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12; we are “quickened together with him,” Colossians 2:13; “risen” with him, Colossians 3:1. “He has quickened us together with Christ, and has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places,” Ephesians 2:5,6. In the acting of Christ, there is, by virtue of the compact between him as mediator, and the Father, such an assured foundation laid of the communication of the fruits of those acting unto those in whose stead he performed them, that they are said, in the participation of those fruits, to have done the same things with him. The life and power of which truth we may have occasion hereafter to inquire into: —
(1.) The first fountain and spring of this grace, wherein we have our communion with Christ, is first to be considered; and that is the obedience of his life: concerning which it must be declared, — [1.] What it is that is intended thereby, and wherein it consisteth. [2.] What influence it has into the grace whereof we speak.
To the handling of this I shall only premise this observation, — namely, that in the order of procurement, the life of Christ (as was necessary) precedeth his death; and therefore we shall handle it in the first place: but in the order of application, the benefits of his death are bestowed on us antecedently, in the nature of the things themselves, unto those of his life; as will appeal; and that necessarily, from the state and condition wherein we are. [1.] By the obedience of the life of Christ, I intend the universal conformity of the Lord Jesus Christ, as he was or is, in his being mediator, to the whole will of God; and his complete actual fulfilling of the whole of every law of God, or doing of all that God in them required. He might have been perfectly holy by obedience to the law of creation, the moral law, as the angels were; neither could any more, as a man walking with God, be required of him: but he submitted himself also to every law or ordinance that was introduced upon the occasion of sin, which, on his own account, he could not be subject to, it becoming him to “fulfill all righteousness,” Matthew 3:15, as he spake in reference to a newly-instituted ceremony.
That obedience is properly ascribed unto Jesus Christ as mediator, the Scripture is witness, both as to name and thing Hebrews 5:8, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience,” etc.; yea, he was obedient in his sufferings, and it was that which gave life to his death, Philippians 2:8. He was obedient to death: for therein “he did make his soul an offering for sin,” Isaiah 53:10; or, “his soul made an offering for sin,” as it is interpreted, verse 12, “he poured out his soul to death,” or, “his soul poured out itself unto death.” And he not only sanctified himself to be an offering, John 17:10, but he also “offered up himself,” Hebrews 9:14, an “offering of a sweet savor to God,” Ephesians 5:2. Hence, as to the whole of his work, he is called the Father’s “servant,” Isaiah 42:l, and verse 19: and he professes of himself that he “came into the world to do the will of God, the will of him that sent him;” for which he manifests “his great readiness,” Hebrews 10:7; — all which evince his obedience. But I suppose I need not insist on the proof of this, that Christ, in the work of mediation, and as mediator, was obedient, and did what he did willingly and cheerfully, in obedience to God.
Now, this obedience of Christ may be considered two ways: — 1st. As to the habitual root and fountain of it. 2ndly. As to the actual parts or duties of it: — 1st. The habitual righteousness of Christ as mediator in his human nature, was the absolute, complete, exact conformity of the soul of Christ to the will, mind, or law of God; or his perfect habitually inherent righteousness. This he had necessarily from the grace of union; from whence it is that that which was born of the virgin was a “holy thing,” Luke 1:35. It was, I say, necessary consequentially, that it should be so; though the effecting of it were by the free operations of the Spirit, Luke 2:52. He had an all-fullness of grace on all accounts. This the apostle describes, Hebrews 7:26, “Such an high priest became us, holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.” Every way separate and distant from sin and sinners he was to be; whence he is called “The Lamb of God, without spot or blemish,” 1 Peter 1:19. This habitual holiness of Christ was inconceivably above that of the angels. He who chargeth his angels with folly,” Job 4:18; “who putteth no trust in his saints; and in whose sight the heavens” (or their inhabitants) “are not clean,” chap. 15:15; always embraceth him in his bosom, and is always well pleased with him, Matthew 3:17. And the reason of this is, because every other creature, though never so holy, has the Spirit of God by measure; but he was not given to Christ “by measure,” John 3:34; and that because it pleased him that in him “should all fullness dwell,” Colossians 1:19. This habitual grace of Christ, though not absolutely infinite, yet, in respect of any other creature, it is as the water of the sea to the water of a pond or pool. All other creatures are depressed from perfection by this, — that they subsist in a created, dependent being; and so have the fountain of what is communicated to them without them. But the human nature of Christ subsists in the person of the Son of God; and so has the bottom and fountain of its holiness in the strictest unity with itself. 2ndly. The actual obedience of Christ, as was said, was his willing, cheerful, obediential performance of every thing, duty, or command, that God, by virtue of any law whereto we were subject and obnoxious, did require; and [his obedience], moreover, to the peculiar law of the mediator. Hereof, then, are two parts: — (1st.) That whatever was required of us by virtue of any law, — that he did and fulfilled. Whatever was required of us by the law of nature, in our state of innocence; whatever kind of duty was added by morally positive or ceremonial institutions; whatever is required of us in way of obedience to righteous judicial laws, — he did it all. Hence he is said to be “made under the law,” Galatians 4:4; subject or obnoxious to it, to all the precepts or commands of it. So, Matthew 3:15, he said it became him to “fulfill all righteousness,” — “pasan dikaiosunen”, — all manner of righteousness whatever; that is, everything that God required, as is evident from the application of that general axiom to the baptism of John. I shall not need, for this, to go to particular instances, in the duties of the law of nature, — to God and his parents; of morally positive [duties], in the Sabbath, and other acts of worship; of the ceremonial law, in circumcision, and observation of all the rites of the Judaical church; of the judicial, in paying tribute to governors; — it will suffice, I presume, that on the one hand he “did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth;” and on the other, that he “fulfilled all righteousness:” and thereupon the Father was always well pleased with him. This was that which he owned of himself, that he came to do the will of God; and he did it. (2ndly.) There was a peculiar law of the Mediator, which respected himself merely, and contained all those acts and duties of his which are not for our imitation. So that obedience which he showed in dying was peculiarly to this law, John 10:18, “I have power to lay down my life: this commandment have I received of my Father.” As mediator, he received this peculiar command of his Father, that he should lay down his life, and take it again; and he was obedient thereunto. Hence we say, he who is mediator did some things merely as a man, subject to the law of God in general; so he prayed for his persecutors, — those that put him to death, Luke 23:34; — some things as mediator; so he prayed for his elect only, John 17:9. There were not worse in the world, really and evidently, than many of them that crucified him; yet, as a man, subject to the law, he forgave them, and prayed for them. When he prayed as mediator, his Father always heard him and answered him, John 11:41; and in the other prayers he was accepted as one exactly performing his duty.
This, then, is the obedience of Christ; which was the first thing proposed to be considered. The next is, — [2.] That it has an influence into the grace of which we speak, wherein we hold communion with him, — namely, our free acceptation with God; what that influence is, must also follow in its order. 1st. For his habitual righteousness, I shall only propose it under these two considerations: — (1st.) That upon this supposition, that it was needful that we should have a mediator that was God and man in one person, as it could not otherwise be, so it must needs be that he must be holy. For although there be but one primary necessary effect of the hypostatical union (which is the subsistence of the human nature in the person of the Son of God), yet that he that was so united to him should be a “holy thing,” completely holy, was necessary also, — of which before. (2ndly.) That the relation which this righteousness of Christ has to the grace we receive from him is only this, — that thereby he was “hikanos” — fit to do all that he had to do for us. This is the intendment of the apostle, Hebrews 7:26. Such a one “became us;” it was needful he should be such a one, that he might do what he had to do.
And the reasons hereof are two: — [1st.] Had he not been completely furnished with habitual grace, he could never have actually fulfilled the righteousness which was required at his hands. It was therein that he was able to do all that he did. So himself lays down the presence of the Spirit with him as the bottom and foundation of his going forth to his work, Isaiah 61:1. [2ndly.] He could not have been a complete and perfect sacrifice, nor have answered all the types and figures of him, that were complete and without blemish.
But now, Christ having this habitual righteousness, if he had never yielded any continued obedience to the law actively, but had suffered as soon after his incarnation as Adam sinned after his creation, he had been a fit sacrifice and offering; and therefore, doubtless, his following obedience has another use besides to fit him for an oblation, for which he was most fit without it. 2ndly. For Christ’s obedience to the law of mediation, wherein it is not coincident with his passive obedience, as they speak (for I know that expression is improper); it was that which was requisite for the discharging of his office, and is not imputed unto us, as though we had done it, though the “apotelesmata” and fruits of it are; but is of the nature of his intercession, whereby he provides the good things we stand in need of, at least subserviently to his oblation and intercession; — of which more afterward. 3rdly. About his actual fulfilling of the law, or doing all things that of us are required, there is some doubt and question; and about it there are three several opinions: — (1st.) That this active obedience of Christ has no farther influence into our justification and acceptation with God, but as it was preparatory to his blood-shedding and oblation; which is the sole cause of our justification, the whole righteousness which is imputed to us arising from thence. (2ndly.) That it may be considered two ways: — [1st.] As it is purely obedience; and so it has no other state but that before mentioned. [2ndly.] As it was accomplished with suffering, and joined with it, as it was part of his humiliation, so it is imputed to us, or is part of that upon the account whereof we are justified. (3rdly.) That this obedience of Christ, being done for us, is reckoned graciously of God unto us; and upon the account thereof are we accepted as righteous before him. My intendment is not to handle this difference in the way of a controversy, but to give such an understanding of the whole as may speedily be reduced to the practice of godliness and consolation; and this I shall do in the ensuing observations: — [1st.] That the obedience that Christ yielded to the law in general, is not only to the peculiar law of the mediator, though he yielded it as mediator. He was incarnate as mediator, Hebrews 2:14; Galatians 4:4; and all he afterward did, it was as our mediator. For that cause “came he into the world,” and did and suffered whatever he did or suffered in this world. So that of this expression, as mediator, there is a twofold sense: for it may be taken strictly, as relating solely to the law of the mediator, and so Christ may be said to do as mediator only what he did in obedience to that law; but in the sense now insisted on, whatever Christ did as a man subject to any law, he did it as mediator, because he did it as part of the duty incumbent on him who undertook so to be. [2ndly.] That whatever Christ did as mediator, he did it for them whose mediator he was, or in whose stead and for whose good he executed the office of a mediator before God. This the holy Ghost witnesseth, Romans 8:3,4, “What the law could not do, in that it was wreak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us;” because that we could not in that condition of weakness whereinto we are cast by sin, come to God, and be freed from condemnation by the law, God sent Christ as a mediator, to do and suffer whatever the law required at our hands for that end and purpose, that we might not be condemned, but accepted of God. It was all to this end, — “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us;” that is, which the law required of us, consisting in duties of obedience. This Christ performed for us. This expression of the apostle, “God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh;” if you will add to it, that of Galatians 4:4, that he was so sent forth as that he was “hupo nomou genomenos”, made under the law,” (that is, obnoxious to it, to yield all the obedience that it does require), comprises the whole of what Christ did or suffered; and all this, the Holy Ghost tells us, was for us, verse 4. [3rdly.] That the end of this active obedience of Christ cannot be assigned to be, that he might be fitted for his death and oblation. For be answered all types, and was every way “hikanos” (fit to be made an offering for sin), by his union and habitual grace. So that if the obedience Christ performed be not reckoned to us, and done upon our account, there is no just cause to be assigned why he should live here in the world so long as he did, in perfect obedience to all the laws of God. Had he died before, there had been perfect innocence, and perfect holiness, by his habitual grace, and infinite virtue and worth from the dignity of his person; and surely he yielded not that long course of all manner of obedience, but for some great and special purpose in reference to our salvation. [4thly.] That had not the obedience of Christ been for us (in what sense we shall see instantly), it might in his life have been required of him to yield obedience to the law of nature, the alone law which he could be liable to as a man; for an innocent man in a covenant of works, as he was, needs no other law, nor did God ever give any other law to any such person (the law of creation is all that an innocent creature is liable to, with what symbols of that law God is pleased to add). And yet to this law also was his subjection voluntary; and that not only consequentially, because he was born upon his own choice, not by any natural course, but also because as mediator, God and man, he was not by the institution of that law obliged unto it; being, as it were, exempted and lifted above that law by the hypostatical union: yet, when I say his subjection hereunto was voluntary, I do not intend that it was merely arbitrary and at choice whether he would yield obedience unto it or no, — but on supposition of his undertaking to be a mediator, it was necessary it should be so, — but that he voluntarily and willingly submitted unto, and so became really subject to the commands of it. But now, moreover, Jesus Christ yielded perfect obedience to all those laws which came upon us by the occasion of sin, as the ceremonial law; yea, those very institutions that signified the washing away of sin, and repentance from sin, as the baptism of John, which he had no need of himself.
This, therefore, must needs be for us. [5thly.] That the obedience of Christ cannot be reckoned amongst his sufferings, but is clearly distinct from it, as to all formalities. Doing is one thing, suffering another; they are in diverse predicaments, and cannot be coincident.
See, then, briefly what we have obtained by those considerations; and then I shall intimate what is the stream issuing from this first spring or fountain of purchased grace, with what influence it has thereinto: — First, By the obedience of the life of Christ you see what is intended, — his willing submission unto, and perfect, complete fulfilling of, every law of God, that any of the saints of God were obliged unto. It is true, every act almost of Christ’s obedience, from the blood of his circumcision to the blood of his cross, was attended with suffering, so that his whole life might, in that regard, be called a death; but yet, looking upon his willingness and obedience in it, it is distinguished from his sufferings peculiarly so called, and termed hiss active righteousness. This is, then, I say, as was showed, that complete, absolutely perfect accomplishment of the whole law of God by Christ, our mediator; whereby he not only “did no sin, neither was there guile fold in his mouth,” but also most perfectly fulfilled all righteousness, as he affirmed it became him to do.
Secondly, That this obedience was performed by Christ not for himself, but for us, and in our stead. It is true, it must needs be, that whilst he had his conversation in the flesh he must be most perfectly and absolutely holy; but yet the prime intendment of his accomplishing of holiness, — which consists in the complete obedience of his whole life to any law of God, — that was no less for us than his suffering death. That this is so, the apostle tells us, Galatians 4:4,5, “God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law.”
This Scripture, formerly named, must be a little farther insisted on. He was both made of a woman, and made under the law; that is, obedient to it for us. The end here, both of the incarnation and obedience of Christ to the law (for that must needs be understood here by the phrase “hupo nomou genomenos”, — that is, disposed of in such a condition as that he must yield subjection and obedience to the law), was all to redeem us. In these two expressions, “Made of a woman, made under the law,” the apostle does not knit his incarnation and death together, with an exclusion of the obedience of his life. And he was so made under the law, as those were under the law whom he was to redeem. Now, we were under the law, not only as obnoxious to its penalties, but as bound to all the duties of it. That this is our being “under the law,” the apostle informs us, Galatians 4:21, “Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law.” It was not the penalty of the law they desired to be under, but to be under it in respect of obedience.
Take away, then, the end, and you destroy the means. If Christ were not incarnate nor made under the law for himself, he did not yield obedience for himself; it was all for us, for our good. Let us now look forward, and see what influence this has into our acceptation.
Thirdly, Then, I say, this perfect, complete obedience of Christ to the law is reckoned unto us. As there is a truth in that, “The day thou eatest thou shalt die,” — death is the reward of sin, and so we cannot be freed from death but by the death of Christ, Hebrews 2:14,15; so also is that no less true, “Do this, and live,” — that life is not to he obtained unless all be done that the law requires. That is still true, “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments,” Matthew 19:17. They must, then, be kept by us, or our surety. Neither is it of any value which by some is objected, that if Christ yielded perfect obedience to the law for us, then are we no more bound to yield obedience; for by his undergoing death, the penalty of the law, we are freed from it. I answer, How did Christ undergo death?
Merely as it was penal. How, then, are we delivered from death? Merely as it is penal. Yet we must die still; yea, as the last conflict with the effects of sin, as a passage to our Father, we must die. Well, then, Christ yielded perfect obedience to the law; but how did he do it? Purely as it stood in that conditional [arrangement], “Do this, and live.” He did it in the strength of the grace he had received; he did it as a means of life, to procure life by it, as the tenor of a covenant. Are we, then, freed from this obedience? Yes; but how far? From doing it in our own strength; from doing it for this end, that we may obtain life everlasting. It is vain that some say confidently, that we must yet work for life; it is all one as to say we are yet under the old covenant, “Hoc fac, et vives:” we are not freed from obedience, as a way of walking with God, but we are, as a way of working to come to him: of which at large afterward.
Romans 5:18,19, “By the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life: by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous,” saith the Holy Ghost. By his obedience to the law are we made righteous; it is reckoned to us for righteousness. That the passive obedience of Christ is here only intended is false: — First, It is opposed to the disobedience of Adam, which was active. The “dikaioma” is opposed “paraptomati”, — the righteousness to the fault.
The fault was an active transgression of the law, and the obedience opposed to it must be an active accomplishment of it. Besides, obedience placed singly, in its own nature, denotes an action or actions conformable to the law; and therein came Christ, not to destroy but to fulfill the law, Matthew 5:17, — that was the design of his coming, and so for us; he came to fulfill the law for us, Isaiah 9:6, and [was] born to us, Luke 2:11.
This also was in that will of the Father which, out of his infinite love, he came to accomplish. Secondly, It cannot clearly be evinced that there is any such thing, in propriety of speech, as passive obedience; obeying is doing, to which passion or suffering cannot belong: I know it is commonly called so, when men obey until they suffer; but properly it is not so.
So also, Philippians 3:9, “And be found in him, not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” The righteousness we receive is opposed to our own obedience to the law; opposed to it, not as something in another kind, but as something in the same kind excluding that from such an end which the other obtains. Now this is the obedience of Christ to the law, — himself thereby being “made to us righteousness,” 1 Corinthians 1:30.
Romans 5:10, the issue of the death of Christ is placed upon reconciliation; that is, a slaying of the enmity and restoring us into that condition of peace and friendship wherein Adam was before his fall. But is there no more to be done? Notwithstanding that there was no wrath due to Adam, yet he was to obey, if he would enjoy eternal life. Something there is, moreover, to be done in respect of us, if, after the slaying of the enmity and reconciliation made, we shall enjoy life: “Being reconciled by his death,” we are saved by that perfect obedience which in his life he yielded to the law of God. There is distinct mention made of reconciliation, through a non-imputation of sin, as Psalm 32:1, Luke 1:77, Romans 3:25, 2 Corinthians 5:19; and justification through an imputation of righteousness, Jeremiah 23:6, Romans 4:5, 1 Corinthians 1:30; — although these things are so far from being separated, that they are reciprocally affirmed of one another: which, as it does not evince an identity, so it does an eminent conjunction. And this last we have by the life of Christ.
1. The taking away of the guilt of our sin, our filthy robes; this is done by the death of Christ. Remission of sin is the proper fruit thereof; but there is more also required, even a collation of righteousness, and thereby a right to life eternal. This is here called “Change of raiment;” so the Holy Ghost expresses it again, Isaiah 61:10, where he calls it plainly “The garments of salvation,” and “The robe of righteousness.” Now this is only made ours by the obedience of Christ, as the other by his death.
Objection. “But if this be so, then are we as righteous as Christ himself, being righteous with his righteousness.”
Answer. But first, here is a great difference, — if it were no more than that this righteousness was inherent in Christ, and properly his own, it is only reckoned or imputed to us, or freely bestowed on us, and we are made righteous with that which is not ours. But, secondly, the truth is, that Christ was not righteous with that righteousness for himself, but for us; so that here can be no comparison: only this we may say, we are righteous with his righteousness which he wrought for us, and that completely.
And this, now, is the rise of the purchased grace whereof we speak, the obedience of Christ; and this is the influence of it into our acceptation with God. Whereas the guilt of sin, and our obnoxiousness to punishment on that account, is removed and taken away (as shall farther be declared) by the death of Christ; and whereas, besides the taking away of sin, we have need of a complete righteousness, upon the account whereof we may be accepted with God; this obedience of Christ, through the free grace of God, is imputed unto us for that end and purpose.
This is all I shall for the present insist on to this purpose. That the passive righteousness of Christ only is imputed to us in the non-imputation of sin, and that on the condition of our faith and new obedience, so exalting them into the room of the righteousness of Christ, is a thing which, in communion with the Lord Jesus, I have as yet no acquaintance withal. What may be said in the way of argument on the one side or other must be elsewhere considered.
(2.) The second spring of our communion with Christ in purchased grace, is his death and oblation. He lived for us, he died for us; he was ours in all he did, in all he suffered. I shall be the more brief in handling of this, because on another design I have elsewhere at large treated of all the concernments of it.
Now, the death of Christ, as it is a spring of that purchased grace wherein we have communion with him, is in the Scripture proposed under a threefold consideration: — [1.] Of a price. [2.] Of a sacrifice. [3.] Of a penalty.
In the first regard, its proper effect is redemption; in the second, reconciliation or atonement; in the third, satisfaction; which are the great ingredients of that purchased grace whereby, in the first place, we have communion with Christ. [1.] It is a price. “We are bought with a price,” 1 Corinthians 6:20; being “not redeemed with silver and gold, and corruptible things, but with the precious blood of Christ,” 1 Peter 1:18,19: which therein answers those things in other contracts. He came to “give his life a ransom for many,” Matthew 20:28, — a price of redemption, 1 Timothy 2:6. The proper use and energy of this expression in the Scripture, I have elsewhere declared.
Now, the proper effect and issue of the death of Christ as a price or ransom is, as I said, redemption. Now, redemption is the deliverance of any one from bondage or captivity, and the miseries attending that condition, by the intervention or interposition of a price or ransom, paid by the redeemer to him by whose authority the captive was detained: — 1st. In general, it is a deliverance. Hence Christ is called “The Deliverer,” Romans 11:26; giving himself to “deliver us,” Galatians 1:4. He is “Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come,” 1 Thessalonians 1:10. 2ndly. It is the delivery of one from bondage or captivity. We are, without him, all prisoners and captives, “bound in prison,” Isaiah 61:l; “sitting in darkness, in the prison house,” Isaiah 42:7, 49:9; “prisoners in the pit wherein there is no water,” Zechariah 9:11; “the captives of the mighty, and the prey of the terrible,” Isaiah 49:25; under a “captivity that must be led captive,” Psalm 68:18: this puts us in “bondage,” Hebrews 2:15. 3rdly. The person committing thus to prison and into bondage, is God himself. To him we owe “our debts,” Matthew 6:12, 18:23-27; against him are our offenses, Psalm 51:4; he is the judge and lawgiver, James 4:12.
To sin is to rebel against him. He shuts up men under disobedience, Romans 11:32; and he shall cast both body and soul of the impenitent into hell-fire, Matthew 10:28. To his wrath are men obnoxious, John 3:36; and lie under it by the sentence of the law, which is their prison. 4thly. The miseries that attend this condition are innumerable. Bondage to Satan, sin, and the world, comprises the sum of them; from all which we are delivered by the death of Christ, as a price or ransom. “God has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son; in whom we have redemption through his blood,” Colossians 1:13,14. And he “redeems us from all iniquity,” Titus 2:14; “from our vain conversation,” Peter 1:18,19; even from the guilt and power of our sin; purchasing us to himself “a peculiar people, zealous of good works,” Titus 2:14: so dying for the “redemption of transgressions,” Hebrews 9:15; redeeming us also from the world, Galatians 4:5. 5thly. And all this is by the payment of the price mentioned into the hand of God, by whose supreme authority we are detained captives, under the sentence of the law.
This the Holy Ghost frequently insists on. Romans 3:24,25, “Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins:” so also, 1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Peter 1:18; Matthew 20:28; 1 Timothy 2:6; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:13; Galatians 3:13. And this is the first consideration of the death of Christ, as it has an influence into the procurement of that grace wherein we hold communion with him. [2.] It was a sacrifice also. He had a body prepared him, Hebrews 10:5; wherein he was to accomplish what by the typical oblations and burnt-offerings of the law was prefigured. And that body he offered, Hebrews 10:10; — that is, his whole human nature; for “his soul” also was made “an offering for sin,” Isaiah 53:10: on which account he is said to offer himself, Ephesians 5:2; Hebrews 1:3, 9:26. He gave himself a sacrifice to God of a sweet-smelling savor; and this he did willingly, as became him who was to be a sacrifice, — the law of this obedience being written in his heart, Psalm 40:8; that is, he had a readiness, willingness, desire for its performance.
Now, the end of sacrifices, such as his was, bloody and for sin, Romans 5:10; Hebrews 2:17, was atonement and reconciliation. This is everywhere ascribed to them, that they were to make atonement; that is, in a way suitable to their nature. And this is the tendency of the death of Christ, as a sacrifice, atonement, and reconciliation with God. Sin had broken friendship between God and us, Isaiah 63:10; whence his wrath was on us, John 3:36; and we are by nature obnoxious to it, Ephesians 2:3. This is taken away by the death of Christ, as it was a sacrifice, Daniel 9:24. “When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son,” Romans 5:10. And thereby do we “receive the atonement,” verse 11; for “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not imputing to them their sins and their iniquities,” 2 Corinthians 5:19-21: so also, Ephesians 2:12-16, and in sundry other places. And this is the second consideration of the death of Christ; which I do but name, having at large insisted on these things elsewhere. [3.] It was also a punishment, — a punishment in our stead. “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him,” Isaiah 53:5. God made all our iniquities (that is, the punishment of them) “to meet upon him,” verse 6. “He bare the sins of many,” verse 12; “his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree,” 1 Peter 2:24; and therein he “who knew no sin, was made sin for us,” 2 Corinthians 5:21. What it is in the Scripture to bear sin, see Deuteronomy 19:15, 20:17; Numb. 14:33; Ezekiel 18:20. The nature, kind, matter, and manner of this punishment I have, as I said before, elsewhere discussed.
Now, bearing of punishment tends directly to the giving satisfaction to him who was offended, and on that account inflicted the punishment.
Justice can desire no more than a proportional punishment, due to the offense. And this, on his own voluntary taking of our persons, undertaking to be our mediator, was inflicted on our dear Lord Jesus. His substituting himself in our room being allowed of by the righteous Judge, satisfaction to him does thence properly ensue.
And this is the threefold consideration of the death of Christ, as it is a principal spring and fountain of that grace wherein we have communion with him; for, as will appear in our process, the single and most eminent part of purchased grace, is nothing but the natural exurgency of the threefold effect of the death of Christ, intimated to flow from it on the account of the threefold consideration insisted on. This, then, is the second rise of purchased grace, which we are to eye, if we will hold communion with Christ in it, — his death and blood-shedding, under this threefold notion of a price, an offering, and punishment. But, —
(3.) This is not all: the Lord Christ goes farther yet; he does not leave us so, but follows on the work to the utmost. “He died for our sins, and rose again for our justification.” He rose again to carry on the complete work of purchased grace, — that is, by his intercession; which is the third rise of it. In respect of this, he is said to be “able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them,” Hebrews 7:25.
Now, the intercession of Christ, in respect of its influence into purchased grace, is considered two ways: — [1.] As a continuance and carrying on of his oblation, for the making out of all the fruits and effects thereof unto us. This is called his “appearing in the presence of God for us,” Hebrews 9:24; that is, as the high priest, having offered the great offering for expiation of sin, carried in the blood thereof into the most holy place, where was the representation of the presence of God, so to perfect the atonement he made for himself and the people; so the Lord Christ, having offered himself as a sweet-smelling sacrifice to God, being sprinkled with his own blood, appears in the presence of God, as it were to mind him of the engagement made to him, for the redemption of sinners by his blood, and the making out the good things to them which were procured thereby. And so this appearance of his has an influence into purchased grace, inasmuch as thereby he puts in his claim for it in our behalf. [2.] He procureth the holy Spirit for us, effectually to collate and bestow all this purchased grace upon us. That he would do this, and does it, for us, we have his engagement, John 14:16.
This is purchased grace, in respect of its fountain and spring; — of which I shall not speak farther at present, seeing I must handle it at large in the matter of the communion we have with the Holy Ghost.