Thursday, August 27, 2015

Two Mothers, Two Covenants, Two Children...

"This must follow, unless we break the chain of the apostle's reasoning. If Sara and Hagar were the typical mothers of believers and of unbelievers respectively, then indeed they were very expressive types of these two opposite covenants under which their respective seeds do stand. — As the one mother was a handmaid or servant to the other, so in the depths of adorable wisdom, the one covenant was made subservient to the other. The law is our school-master to bring us unto Christ, Gal. iii. 24. The covenant of works drives sinners to that of grace. Sara was prior to Hagar, and the Abrahamic covenant to that from Sinai. Sara excelled Hagar in dignity, and so does the Abrahamic covenant the Sinaitic. Hagar, however, soon brought forth a son, not so Sara. The children of the bond-woman are always older than those of the free. Never a saint, but he was a sinner first. The flesh is elder than the Spirit, nature than grace. How fitly may the two covenants be compared to mothers? In virtue of the covenant of works we are born the children of wrath, Eph. ii. 3. In virtue of the promise of the covenant of grace we are born again, Ezek. xxxvi. 26, 27. In both cases we are merely passive, corruption being conveyed by the curse of the one covenant, and regeneration by the promise of the other. These two mothers divide the whole of the human race betwixt them. Not a man but is a son of the one, or of the other. And, says our apostle, we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise, Gal. iv. 28." [emphasis added]
Thomas Bell, A View of the Covenants of Works and Grace. 1814 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Imputation - John Colquhoun

"From what has been stated, we may learn a satisfactory answer to this question, How shall man be just with God? How can an unrighteous person be accepted as righteous, by an infinitely righteous Judge? It can not possibly be on the ground of his own performances; for though he should even from the moment of his birth till that of his death, obey the law perfectly, it could never satisfy for the sin in which he was born. It is by the consummate righteousness of Jesus Christ received by faith, that he can be just in the eye of the law, or the sight of God. 
"Hence learn, that the righteousness which is the ground of a sinner's justification, is not the believer's because it is imputed to him; but it is imputed to him because it is already his. In God's imputation of it, he reckons it to be what it is already, the believer's justifying righteousness. It is the believer's, in virtue of his legal union with Christ from eternity, and of his vital union with him in time.

"See also the glorious design of Jehovah in imputing the surety-righteousness of Jesus Christ to his spiritual seed. It is that you, believer, may live; may have a legal right to spiritual, temporal, and eternal life. Your sin was imputed to Christ that he might die: his righteousness is imputed to you that you may live."
John Colquhoun, Sermon IX - Justification

Justification - John Colquhoun

"Hence learn the meaning of these expressions in the thirty-second Psalm, "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven," and "blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity." The first expresses the way in which God in justification pardons past and present sins; and the last, the way in which he forgives the sins, that the justified person afterwards commits: he pardons the first formally, and the last by securing the non-imputation of them. 
"From what has been said, the exercised Christian may see how to treat the law as a covenant, when it presents its indictment to his conscience, and demands eternal death. He is to send it to Jesus his responsible Surety, and it cannot refuse to go. He is united to Christ as his glorious Husband, and justified in him: and whatever claim the law may have upon him, he is to refer it to his Husband. It is the husband that pays the debts. 
"Hence, we may see the reason why the believer's good works are accepted by God: it is neither for their sake, nor his sake, but for Christ's righteousness' sake; it is because the believer's person is accepted in Christ the Beloved, in whom he is declared righteous. In the covenant of grace, acceptance begins with the person, and passes on to the work."
John Colquhoun, Sermon IX - Justification

A Saving Faith...

"Much more than being a mode of knowledge, faith involves a sincere trust in Christ and his gospel for salvation. 
"Question and Answer 86 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism provides a concise and helpful statement of this insight. In response to the question of what faith in Jesus Christ is, the catechism answers: "Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon him alone for salvation, as he is offered to us in the gospel." Not only must the mind grasp the things about Christ and his gospel, but also the heart must rest upon him as the perfect Savior from sins. This character of justifying faith as trust in Christ has prompted some theologians to speak of faith as "extraspective." The term introspective is familiar to most people: it refers to looking within oneself. Something that is extraspective, then, concerns looking outside oneself. That is precisely what faith as trust does: it looks outside of oneself (thereby forsaking all self-confidence) and rests upon another, the Lord Jesus Christ, who has done all things necessary for our salvation."
David VanDrunenThe Nature of Justifying Faith. Modern Reformation: Sept./Oct. 2007
Volume: 16 Issue: 5

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Spiritual Contentment...

"The comfort of justification, because it is founded upon a righteousness which is perfect, and always the same, is more stable and permanent, than that of sanctification." 
John Colquhoun, A Treatise on Spiritual Comfort

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Gospel Remedy For A Guilty Conscience...

"The cause of the Israelites' distress arose from the Egyptians marching behind them, with full purpose to ruin and destroy them, Exod. xiv. 10. The anti-type of this type shows the cause of the soul's abovesaid distress, which is the letting in of the soul's guilt of sin upon him, which, like a huge army, pursues the soul day and night, and like so many devouring lions with open mouths, standing ready to devour the soul; which makes the soul, as the Jews did, oftentimes to cry out for a grave to bury his distressed body, judging death to be preferred before life. There is no trouble in the world like to this trouble. A man had better stand in the field against all the armies and cannon in the world, than to stand to behold a guilty conscience....
"If any soul wants relief in such a condition, then let him make unto Jesus Christ for it, for he is thy Leader in this case, as Moses was the leader of the Jews in the other: read Deut. xviii. 15, "The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken." Now, where were the Jews to go in a time of danger, but to Moses? So, soul, if ever thou wouldest have ease and refreshment, thou must go to Christ alone. Some run to creatures, and think to find comfort there; others run to their duties and works of mercy, and think to get it from hence: again there are some that will send thee to thy inward qualifications, or work of God within thee, as they call it, or the light within the soul. I am not hereby undervaluing the works of grace, as they are signs or evidences of our union with Christ, but I send thee to thy true Leader, Christ, who is at the right hand of God, to make daily intercession for such as thou art, Rom. viii. 34. O, look out, and look up to him by faith, for this is the way to it, Isa. xlv. 22."


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Sanctification: Look On Christ in the Gospel...

"Let faith look on Christ in the gospel as he is set forth dying and crucified for us. Look on him under the weight of our sins, praying, bleeding, dying; bring him in that condition into thy heart by faith; apply his blood so shed to thy corruptions: do this daily."
John Owen, Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

We Know in Part...

"Hence it is with peculiar reference to Moses that it is said, “No man hath seen God at any time,” John i. 18; of him in comparison with Christ doth he speak, verse 17; and of him it is here said, “No man,” no, not Moses, the most eminent among them, “hath seen God at any time.” We speak much of God, can talk of him, his ways, his works, his counsels, all the day long; the truth is, we know very little of him. Our thoughts, our meditations, our expressions of him are low, many of them unworthy of his glory, none of them reaching his perfections."
- John Owen. Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers

Friday, July 31, 2015

The Answer To Our Longings...

"Through the gospel, [God] has become our Father, and he has declared that an inheritance awaits us, bought not by ourselves or any other mortal creature, but by Jesus Christ. He, though very God, became man, that we might find in him that which we could never have found in the world."
John Calvin. Sermon on Discerning Who Belongs To The True Church

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Assurance Rests on Christ Alone...

"Thus, Paul concludes here that if we wish to be grounded upon the gospel and enjoy assurance of salvation, we must never entertain thoughts of our own merit, nor believe that we can contribute anything of ourselves, for it is simply a matter of accepting that which has been offered to us. Jesus Christ is not half a saviour, he is the Saviour!"

John Calvin. Sermon - On Discerning Who Belongs to the True Church

The Ground of Justification

"The ground of our justification, therefore, is that God reconciles us to himself, from regard not to our works, but to Christ alone, and, by gratuitous adoption, makes us, instead of children of wrath, to be his own children. So long as God looks to our works, he perceives no reason why he ought to love us. Wherefore, it is necessary to bury our sins, and impute to us the obedience of Christ (because [his is] the only obedience which can stand his scrutiny), and adopt us as righteous through his merits. This is the clear and uniform doctrine of scripture, "witnessed," as Paul says, "by the law and the prophets" (Rom. 3:21); and so explained by the gospel, that a clearer law cannot be desired. Paul contrasts the righteousness of the law with the righteousness of the gospel, placing the former in works, and the latter in the grace of Christ (Rom. 10:5, etc.). He does not divide it into two halves, giving works the one, and Christ the other; but he ascribes it to Christ entirely, that we are judged righteous in the sight of God."
John Calvin. The Necessity of Reforming the Church

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

That which makes a man righteous, that which the law demands...

"The Apostle in express terms says that God imputes righteousness to the sinner. (Rom. iv. 6, 24.) By righteousness every one admits is meant that which makes a man righteous, that which the law demands. It does not consist in the sinner's own obedience, or moral excellence, for it is said to be "without works;" and it is declared that no man can be justified on the ground of his own character or conduct. Neither does this righteousness consist in faith; for it is "of faith," "through faith," "by faith." We are never said to be justified on account of faith. Neither is it a righteousness, or form of moral excellence springing from faith, or of which faith is the source or proximate cause; because it is declared to be the righteousness of God; a righteousness which is revealed; which is offered; which must be accepted as a gift. (Rom. v. 17.) It is declared to be the righteousness of Christ; his obedience. (Rom. v. 19.) It is, therefore, the righteousness of Christ, his perfect obedience in doing and suffering the will of God, which is imputed to the believer, and on the ground of which the believer, although in himself ungodly, is pronounced righteous, and therefore free from the curse of the law and entitled to eternal life." [emphasis added]
Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology

Friday, July 10, 2015

Christ Sent to Meet the Law's Demand for Both Satisfaction and Merit

... that the righteousness of the law may be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. - Romans 8:4
And so the Apostle's meaning is this; God sent his Son into the World not only to be a Sacrifice for sin, and thereby to condemn sin (by his bearing the Law's penalty due to it); but also, by his active obedience and conformity to the Law's commands, to bring things to this that the righteousness of the Law should be fulfilled in believers. Christ's being a Sacrifice for sin was not sufficient to answer all the ends and demands of the Law; there must be the doing of what it commanded as well as the suffering of what it threatened; therefore Christ was sent for both, and both were accomplished by him. Man in his lapsed state stood in need of two things, * Satisfaction and Merit; Satisfaction, with respect to God's punitive Justice, the expiation of sin by the undergoing of the punishment incurred by it, &c. Merit, with respect to eternal life and the possession of the heavenly blessedness; the measure and foundation of which Merit was the fulfilling of the Law in active obedience: Now both of these are here distinctly spoken unto; Christ for sin condemned sin in the flesh, there's Satisfaction; and he also fulfilled the righteousness of the Law in the stead (at leastwise for the good) of Believers, there's Merit. So that in the words we have a further account of that full benefit and complete Salvation which sinners have by the Lord Jesus: and so much for their main Scope and the general explication of the matter contained in them. [emphasis in the original]
Eighteen Sermons on Romans 8:1-4, p. 567 ( 1672). Thomas Jacomb