Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Of the scape-goat...

"There was likewise a live goat, which the priest was to take; on the head of which he was to lay his hands, and there to make a public confession to God of all the people's sins; and when so done, the priest was to lay all the sins of the people on the head of the goat;  then was the goat to be sent away into the wilderness, never to return with them more, Lev. xvi. 7—9, 21, 22. This type, as well as the rest, sets forth the won derful grace of God in Christ to sinners, who hath prepared a scape-goat for them, to carry away their sin on his own head; which is Christ, his only Son. Oh! this is wonderful love, saith the Spirit, "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life," John iii. 16. Look to Christ, this scape-goat; he bears all the sins of his people; they are confessed over, and translated upon Christ's head, Isa. liii. 6; 1 Pet. ii. 24. And so they are made his sins, not ours, and he hath carried them into the wilderness of forget-fulness, where they shall never come into mind more; "I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more," Jer. xxxi. 34. Christ will leave all the sin and guilt, which he took on him, behind him in the wilderness; and let us assure ourselves that whenever Christ comes again, he will come "without sin unto salvation," Heb. ix. 28."
Thomas Worden, The Types Unveiled - chapter 40 (1640s)

Friday, March 10, 2017

Love covers a multitude of sins...

Romans 13

Owe no man anything, save to love one another: for he that loveth his neighbor hath fulfilled the law. i.e. The path of Sanctification 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Baptism signifies deliverance from guilt of sin... Christ's death - our death (5)

Robert Haldane continues to unpack the gospel as presented by the apostle Paul's as the defense against the false charge that justification by grace will produce the result of more sin in the lives of believers.

Ver. 3. — Know ye not, that so many of was were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into His death? 
In the verse before us, the Apostle proves that Christians are dead to sin, because they died with Christ. The rite of baptism exhibits Christians as dying, as buried, and as risen with Christ. Know ye not. He refers to what he is now declaring as a thing well known to those whom he addresses. Baptized into Jesus Christ. By faith believers are made one with Christ: they become members of His body. This oneness is represented emblematically by baptism. Baptized into His death. In baptism, they are also represented as dying with Christ. This rite, then, proceeds on the fact that they have died with Him who bore their sins. Thus the satisfaction rendered to the justice of God by Him, is a satisfaction from them, as they are constituent parts of His body. The believer is one with Christ as truly as he was one with Adam — he dies with Christ as truly as he died with Adam. Christ’s righteousness is his as truly as Adam’s sin was his. By a Divine constitution, all Adam’s posterity are one with him, and so his first sin is really and truly theirs. By a similar Divine constitution, all Christ’s people are one with Him, and His obedience is as truly theirs as if they had yielded it, and His death as if they had suffered it. When it is said that Christians have died with Christ, there is no more figure than when it is said that they have died in Adam... 
Ver. 4. — Therefore we are buried with him baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
The death of Christ was the means by which sin was destroyed, and His burial the proof of the reality of His death. Christians are therefore represented as buried with Him by baptism into His death, in token that they really died with Him; and if buried with Him, it is not that they shall remain in the grave, but that, as Christ arose from the dead, they should also rise. Their baptism, then, is the figure of their complete deliverance from the guilt of sin, signifying that God places to their account the death of Christ as their own death: it is also a figure of their purification and resurrection for the service of God. 

Saturday, March 4, 2017

"How can we that are dead to sin live any longer therein?" (4)

Haldane shows the Apostles reasoning...
"Live any longer therein. To continue in sin, and to live any longer therein, are equivalent expressions, implying that, before their death to sin, the Apostle himself, and all those whom he now addressed, were enslaved by sin, and lived in it. In the same way, in writing to the saints at Ephesus, he says that formerly he and all of them had their conversation among the children of disobedience, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind. By denying, then, that believers continue in sin, he does not mean to say that they never commit sin, or fall into it, or, according to Mr. Stuart, have become insensible to its influence, or to Mr. Tholuck, that they ‘obey it in nothing any more;’ for, as has been observed, it is abundantly shown in the seventh chapter, where he gives an account of his own experience (which is also the experience of every Christian), that this is very far from being a fact; but he denies that they continue to live as formerly in sin and ungodliness, which he had shown was impossible. Here it may, however, be remarked, that the full answer which in the following verses is given to the objection brought against the tendency of the doctrine of justification, cannot be understood by the natural man, to whom it must appear foolishness. Hence the same calumny is repeated to the present day against this part of Divine truth."
Robert Haldane, Romans Commentary 

"For he who is dead (with Christ) is justified from sin" (3)

Haldane completes his understanding as to what it means for the Christian to be "dead to sin" in Romans 6:2.
"In proof of the correctness of this view of the subject, let it be remembered that the Apostle’s refutation, in the following verses, of the supposed objection, does not rest on the supposition that sin is mortified in himself and those whom he is addressing, or that they are released from any propensity to it, but on the fact of their being one with Jesus Christ. They are united to Him in His death, and consequently in His life, which was communicated to them by Him who is a ‘quickening Spirit;’ and thus their walking with Him in newness of life, as well as their resurrection with Him, are secured. These ideas are exhibited in the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th verses. In the 7th verse, the reason of the whole is summed up, — ’For he who is dead (with Christ) is justified from sin;’ and in the 8th verse, that which will afterwards follow our being justified from sin is stated, — ’If we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.’ Finally, in the 9th and 10th verses, the Apostle declares the consequence of Christ’s dying to sin to be, that He liveth unto God. The same effect in respect to the members must follow as to the Head with whom believers are one; and therefore he immediately proceeds to assure them, in the 14th verse, that sin shall not have dominion over them. The result, then, of the doctrine of justification by grace is the very reverse of giving not merely license, but even place, to continue in sin. On the contrary, according to that doctrine, the power of God is engaged to secure to those who are dead to sin i.e., justified — a life of holiness, corresponding with that state into which, by their union with His Son, He has brought them.
"The full import and consequence of being dead to sin will be found, ch. 4:7, 8: — ’Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.’ They who are dead to sin, are those from whom, in its guilt or condemning power, it is in Christ Jesus entirely removed. Such persons, whose sins are thus covered, are pronounced ‘blessed.’ They enjoy the favor and blessing of God. The necessary effect of this blessing is declared in the new covenant, according to which, when God is merciful to the unrighteousness of His people, and remembers their sins and iniquities no more, He puts His laws into their mind, and writes them in their hearts, and promises that He will be to them a God, and they shall be to Him a people. In one word, they who are dead to Sin are limited to Him who is the Fountain of life and holiness, and are thus delivered from the curse pronounced upon those who, being under the law, continue not in all things that are written in the book of the law to do them. The guilt of their sins, which separated between them and God, having now been canceled, they enjoy His favor, and all its blessed effects. It is upon these great truths that the Apostle rests his absolute denial that the doctrine of justification by grace, which he had been unfolding, is compatible with continuing to live in sin."
Robert Haldane, Romans Commentary 

"We that are dead to sin" (2) - Refers not to their character or conduct but their state before God

Robert Haldane continues to unpack the apostle Paul's words in Romans 6:2...
"It should also be observed that, when the Apostle characterizes believers as dead to sin, he is not introducing something new, as would be the case were either Dr. Macknight’s, or Mr. Stuart’s, or Mr. Tholuck’s explanation of the term correct. He is indicating the state of those to whom the objection applies, in order to its refutation. That it does not lead them to continue in sin, he had in effect shown already, in verses 3rd and 4th of the foregoing chapter, where he had declared the accompaniments of their justification. But as this objection is constantly insisted on, and is so congenial to human nature, and, besides, might appear plausible from the fact that they are the ungodly who are justified, ch. 4:5, he still considered it proper to meet it fully and directly. Paul therefore proceeds formally to repel such a calumny against his doctrine, by exhibiting in further detail, in the following verses, the grounds of justification to which he had referred, ch. 4:24, 25, — namely, the interest of believers both in the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. The expression, then, dead to sin, does not in any degree relate to their character or conduct but exclusively to their state before God. Their character or conduct with regard to abstinence from the commission of sin, is referred to in the question that follows, demanding, How those who are dead to sin shall ‘live any longer therein?’ But to explain the expression, ‘dead to sin,’ as meaning dead to the influence and love of sin, is entirely erroneous, and what the Apostle by no means asserts. Death to the influence and love of sin must involve their annihilation in the person of whom this could be affirmed; for death annihilates to its subject all things whatsoever; and in this case it might well be said, with Mr. Stuart, that a man who is dead to sin has ‘become insensible to its exciting power or influence, as a dead person is incapable of sensibility.’ How Mr. Stuart could make such statements, thrice repeated, yet totally unfounded, and flatly contradicted by every man’s experience, is indeed astonishing.
"Utterly erroneous, too, is the explanation of other commentators, who say that the meaning is, dead to ‘the guilt and power’ of sin, — thus joining death to the power to death to the guilt, of sin. This indicates a condition with respect to sin which was never realized in any of the children of Adam while in this world. No believer is dead to the power of sin, as Paul has abundantly short in the seventh chapter of this Epistle. On the contrary, he there affirms that there was a law in his members which warred against the law of his mind; that he did the things he would not; and that when he would do good, evil (and what is this but the power of sin?) was present with him. The same truth is clearly exhibited in all the other Epistles, in which believers are so often reproved for giving way to the power of sin, and earnestly exhorted and warned against doing so. But when the expression is understood as exclusively signifying dead to the GUILT of sin, it may and must be taken in the full sense of what death imparts, being nothing less than absolute, total, and final deliverance from its guilt. To suppose, then, that in these words there is the smallest reference to the character or conduct of believers — to their freedom from the love or power of sin — to conjoin these in any respect or in any degree with their freedom from its guilt, — in other words, with their justified state, — is not merely to misapprehend the meaning of the Apostle, but to represent him as stating that to be a fact which has no existence; while it deprives the passage of the consolation to believers which, when properly understood, it is so eminently calculated to impart."
Robert Haldane, Romans Commentary 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

"We that are dead to sin" (1) - In what sense?

Romans 6:2 - God forbid. We that are dead to sin, how shall we any longer live therein?
We that are dead to sin. The meaning of this expression is very generally misunderstood, and extended to include death to the power of sin, to which it has not the smallest reference. It exclusively indicates the justification of believers, and their freedom from the guilt of sin, having no allusion to their sanctification, which, however, as the Apostle immediately proceeds to prove, necessarily follows. It was indispensable, in the view of obviating the objection proposed, distinctly to characterize both the persons, and their state of justification, to whom the answer he was about to give applied.  
Accordingly, by using the term we, he shows that he speaks of the same persons of whose justification he had been treating in the conclusion of the fourth, and in the first part of the foregoing chapter, to whom, in this way, he there refers more than twenty times. Their justification he expresses by the term dead to sin, which, though only a part of justification, implies all that it includes. No other designation could have been so well adapted to introduce the development of their state, and its inseparable consequences, as contained in the following verses. This term, then, is most appropriately employed. 
Formerly, the persons spoken of were dead in sin, but now they were dead to it, as it is said in the 7th verse, they are justified from it. In the seventh chapter, it is affirmed that believers are dead to the law. They are therefore dead to sin, for the strength of sin is the law; and consequently sin has lost its power to condemn them, their connection with it, in respect to its guilt, being for ever broken. In the 10th verse, it is said that Christ died unto sin, and liveth to God; and in the same way believers have died to sin, and are alive to God, to serve Him in newness of life. 
Romans Commentary, Robert Haldane