« FöregåendeFortsätt »
to them that fear him, and glory dwells on the earth. He speaks peace to his people in such a manner, that they may not turn again to folly."
In this dispensation there is a door of hope opened to the most unworthy.
A sinner, under deep conviction of his guilt, is apt to fear, that there can be no forgiveness for him. When Peter represented to the Jews their horrible wickedness in crucifying the Lord of glory, the Redeemer of sinners, they were pricked in the heart and said, "What shall WE do? You teach us, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord, shall be saved. But do we come within this general encouragement? We have with wicked hands crucified and slain this Saviour. Is there any pardon for us?" Yes; says the Apostle, "the promise is to you; it is to all: Repent therefore for the remission of sins." In such a case as this, sin ners need some other ground of hope, than a general declaration that God is good. For though they are persuaded of God's goodness, they cannot from thence certainly conclude that sin may be forgiven-much less that all sins, such sins as they have committed, will be forgiven, and the offenders received to favor. To penitent souls such grace might appear incredible. To remove from them all fears and suspicions, God has displayed the riches of his grace in giving his Son to be a propitiation for sin. God's mercy to pardon is matter of faith; but the death of Christ is matter of fact, of which there is sensible evidence. On this our faith rests;-convinced of this, we can easily believe, that God's mercy will forgive the penitent.
In this dispensation believers have the greatest possible security. Their salvation is in the hands of a divine Saviour-not in their own hands. If it depended on themselves wholly, it must at best be very precariInnocent Adam, and many of the Angels, lost their first state. And surely the fallen sons of Adam cannot recover themselves. And if they were once re,
covered and pardoned, yet without a better security than their own strength and obedience, they still must perish; for one transgression would again involve them in guilt and ruin.
But their salvation is lodged in better hands than their own-in the hands of one who is mighty to save, and who will keep what is committed to him. They are justified by a righteousness which is perfect-by the righteousness of the Son of God-To him they are united by faith-From him they derive grace to help in time of need-By his grace they are strong; they are able to do all things-They are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
This dispensation holds forth the most awful terrors against sin, and the most powerful motives to obedi
When we see the holiness and justice of God displayed in the sufferings of Christ for the sins of men, it is a just and natural reflection," If these things were done in a green tree, what will be done in the dry ?"-If the Saviour, substituted in our place, endured such anguish, What are they to expect who, rejecting his atonement, are doomed to suffer the demerit of their own sins?-If God spared not his own Son, when our iniquities were laid upon him, surely on the unbeliev. ing and impenitent he will cast the fury of his wrath, and will not spare.
But, on the other hand, What glorious hopes are set before those, who by repentance flee from the wrath to come! God, who has done so much for the salvation of a guilty race, will assuredly accept those who submit to him; will assist their endeavors to serve him, and will reward their humble obedience. And how glorious must be that reward, which is purchased for believers, not by works of righteousness which they have done, but by the all perfect obedience and most precious blood of a divine Redeemer. "The gift by grace, which is through Jesus Christ, will abound to
the faithful They will receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness; and grace will reign through righteousness unto eternal life." Justly then might the Apostle say, "God has abounded to us in all wisdom and prudence."
Our subject ought to awaken the guilty and impenitent, and urge their speedy escape from the evil which threatens them. Great is the demerit of sin, or so costly a sacrifice for its expiation would not have been required. But let sinners remember, that their guilt, great as it is, will be greatly aggravated by their contempt of the blood of Christ, and their abuse of the riches of divine grace. If he who despises the law of God deserves death without mercy; how sore will be the punishment of those, who tread under foot the Son of God, resist the grace of the holy spirit, and profane the blood of the covenant!
What a happy security believers enjoy! They are made accepted in the beloved. And if they are accepted in him, they are doubtless safe. There is no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus. Nothing shall be able to separate them from the love of God, which is in him.-Their life is hidden with Christ in God and when Christ shall appear, they will appear with him in glory.
The Gospel designed to gather all things into One.
EPHESIANS, i. 9, 10, 11, 12.
Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to the good pleasure, which he hath purposed in himself, that, in the dispensation of the fulness of times, he might gather together in one, all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are in earth; even in him, in whom also we have obtained an inheri tance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him, who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will, that we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
REDEMPTION from the present guilt and the future punishment of sin, is a blessing which comes to sinners from the grace of God through our Lord Jesus Christ. This blessing is granted, not indiscriminately to all, but peculiarly to those who believe and trust in Jesus Christ, and who repent and become holy before God. These qualifications are the gifts of God, but gifts usually bestowed in a way of means. That divine operation, which disposes the hearts of sinners to repentance and faith, is offered to them in their at tendance on the instructions of the gospel. The grace of God, however, in bringing sinners to repentance of sin and faith in the Saviour, is no less to be acknowledged, than if all means were utterly excluded; for the gospel itself is as much a divine gift, as the influence of the Spirit. All things are of God, who hath recon
ciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath instituted for our benefit the ministry of reconciliation.
In the enumeration of the spiritual blessings granted us through Jesus Christ, the Apostle mentions, in our text, the mystery of the gospel, as one which deserves our most thankful regard.
In the words now before us, there are three things observable :
I. The sovereign grace of God in making known to us the mystery of his will.
II. The purpose of God in this dispensation; that he might gather together in one, all things in Christ.
III. The obligation, which lies on such as enjoy this privilege, to live to the praise and glory of God's
I. We are taught the sovereign grace of God in giving us the gospel. He hath made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in himself.
Let it here be particularly remarked,
1. The gospel is called the mystery of God's will; and, Chapter iii, the mystery which from the beginning was hid in God; and the unsearchable riches of Christ.
You will not imagine, that the Apostle by these phrases intends to represent the gospel as obscure and unintelligible; for he elsewhere says, that he and the other apostles" used great plainness of speech, and, by manifestation of the truth, commended themselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God." But his meaning is, that the gospel scheme was undiscoverable by the efforts and researches of human reason, and could be made known to men only by the light of divine revelation. He says, He says, "God has made known to us the mystery of his will." He calls the gospel a revelation of the mystery, which had been hidden from preceding ages. It is a mystery in regard to those ages, in which it was kept secret; but not in regard