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tained the forgiveness of all trespasses. faith is wrought in the soul by the same Divine power as that which was manifested in the resurrection of Christ from the dead. It is said to be the gift of God, in order to lead us to apply for it to Him, who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not.29 And to them that ask of God, the promise is, it shall be given; they shall not humbly and earnestly ask in vain.
It becomes us to examine ourselves, brethren, whether we are risen with Christ through the faith of the operation of God. Have we this faith in Christ, which leads us to trust in His atonement for the pardon of our sins? Are our consciences at peace with God, in consequence of being Justified by faith in the merits of our Redeemer, and having a good hope through grace that our sins are forgiven us for His name's sake? 31 Have we been quickened from a death in trespasses and sins, and made alive to God, so that we are walking in newness of life, and seeking grace from Him to enable us to deny all ungodliness, and to walk in His holy ways? These are the marks which the apostle gives us for the purpose of ascertaining who are the persons that are risen with Christ. It is important that we should know for ourselves that they belong to us; for those only who are risen with Christ
29 James i. 5.
30 Matthew vii. 7.
31 1 John ii. 12.
by faith, shall rise to the life immortal in His eternal kingdom. It is an easy thing to make a profession of faith in Christ in the present day. It is easy to say that we believe these things. There is no difficulty in that. But really to live the life which we now live in the flesh by the faith of the Son of God, who loved us, and gave Himself for us; and therefore to love Him above all things, and be truly devoted to His service, is another matter. This however is required of us, if we be Christians indeed. We must be dead to sin, so as henceforth not to serve sin; and being made free from sin, become servants to God, as those who are alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord; and walking in newness of life, have our fruit unto, or in a state of, holiness, the end of which is everlasting life. We are to consider,
Secondly, The exhortation founded upon the apostle's supposition, which points out the line of conduct that must be pursued by those who profess to be risen with Christ, or to bear the Christian character. The apostle exhorts such persons to seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. The object of regard here proposed is Christ seated on the right hand of God, or having all power in heaven and earth, as the Head of His body the church, the Head of all principality and power,35 This is said
32Gal. ii. 20. 33 Rom.vi. 2,6,11,22. 34 Matt. xxviii. 18. 35 Col.i.18.
of Him as to His human nature, which for the suffering of death, is crowned with glory and honour.36 He is on the right hand of God, angels, and authorities, and powers, being made subject unto Him.37 God hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.3 He is there as the Mediator of the new testament, or the Christian dispensation, to impart to His believing people all the blessings which He came upon earth and was obedient unto death to procure for them. He is there in human nature, to assure us that we have not a High Priest, which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but one who was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.36 In that He Himself hath suffered, being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted; and therefore we may look up to Him with confidence as a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people,36 who will undertake our cause when we apply to Him, who will deliver us from the power of all our enemies, and will bring us safe at length to His everlasting glory.
36 Heb. ii. 9; ix. 15; iv. 15; ii. 17,18. 371 Pet. iii. 22. 38 Phil. ii. 9,10.
Having such an Advocate on high, believers in Christ are to seek those things that are above, to seek them diligently. The things above are called, An exceeding and eternal weight of glory; things not seen, and eternal; a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.3 To these things the people of God in former ages directed their attention. They confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. They desired a better country, that is, a heavenly one, a city which God had prepared for them. They looked for a city which hath foundations, whose Builder and Maker is God. These things which are above are worthy of our most ardent desire, and earnest seeking after, worthy of all the labour and pains which we can possibly undergo in pursuit of them. And they are objects which will not disappoint the expectations of those who diligently seek them. The desires of those who obtain them will be fully satisfied. And all who seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness11 shall most assuredly obtain the blessing. It shall not be denied them. They shall not fail of receiving it. He who is seated on the throne of His glory, and is invested with almighty power, will give grace and glory to His waiting people, to the praise of His holy name. This is the encouragement we have to comply with the ex
39 2 Cor. iv. 17, 18. 40 Heb. xi. 13, 16, 10.
41 Matt. vi. 33.
hortations of the word of God, that obedience to them is not in vain; but every one that asketh receiveth, and he that seeketh findeth, and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. The diligent use of the appointed means will not fail of procuring the promised blessing; not indeed on account of the merit of the seeker, but because of the faithfulness of the Giver to His own word, on which He hath caused us to hope.
But the apostle speaks of things above, not only as worthy of our pursuit, but also of our most ardent affection. He says, Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. Our whole soul, as it were, is to be set upon the attainment of spiritual and heavenly blessings. There is nothing so worthy of our regard as the things above. Here is scope for the exercise of our best affections, which will not be misplaced when set upon these things. The things on earth, on the contrary, are transitory and unsatisfying. All here is vanity and vexation of spirit." At one time the mind of man is elated with vanity; at another time it is depressed with vexation of spirit. Let us not set our affection on those things which perish in the using, and which give no solid or lasting pleasure; but let us seek for that fulness of joy and those pleasures for evermore, which are to be
found in the things above.
42 Psalm lxxxiv. 11; xvi. 11. 43 Matt. vii. 8. 44 Eccl. i. 14.