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In the last place under this head, Jesus saves his people from the very being of sin.—Though the true Christian is an heir of complete salvation, yet he is never completely saved from sin while he is in this world. Though he is transformed into the Divine image, by the renewing of his mind, there is, notwithstanding, a law in his members which wars against the law of his mind, and often brings him into captivity to the law of sin, so as to make him sometimes exclaim as the holy apostle Paul did, “Oh wretched man that I am ! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" who shall deliver me from this cruel, this deceitful enemy, which often wounds my soul, disturbs my peace, retards my progress in the spiritual life, darkens my evidences for heaven, and prevents my complete happiness? How long shall I go mourning, because of the oppression of this enemy!
The Christian shall have reason thus to complain of indwelling sin, while he is in this valley of tears; and the higher the degree of holiness is to which he attains, the more sensibly he will feel it, and the more bitterly will he complain of it. The triumphing of this enemy, however, is but short ; its destruction is fast approaching. Yet a little while, and Jesus will call the oppressed believer, not only to put off the tabernacle of flesh and blood, but to put off the body of sin and death, so as never to be troubled with it any more for ever. Then sinning and suffering, sorrowing and sighing, shall
When spiritual death is entirely swallowed up in victory,
- the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces, and the rebuke of his people will he take away.”—Thus Jesus saves his people from the guilt, the dominion, the defilement, and the very being of sin: He saves them from the guilt of sin, in justification ; from the dominion of sin, in conversion; from the defilement of sin, in sanctification; and from the very being of it, in glorification.
cease at once.
II. Under the second general head I was to consider some of the properties of Christ's salvation.
And in the 1st place, it is a great salvation. shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation ?” The salvation of the Lord Jesus is great in its contrivance ; it is the result of the counsels of infinite wisdom. It is great in itself: peace is one of the blessings of it ; but
“great peace have they who love God's law.” The mercy which is displayed in it is great : “ As the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.” Joy constitutes a part of it, but it is great joy :“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,” said the ancient church. Nay, it is unspeakably great : “ Believing ye rejoice," says an apostle," with joy unspeakable.”
2d, The salvation of the Lord Jesus is a spiritual salvation. It is a deliverance from spiritual enemies ; it chiefly contains spiritual blessings ; and is spiritually discerned only by those whose understandings are savingly enlightened by the Holy Spirit.
3d, It is a cosily salvation. It cost no less than the holy incarnation, the righteous life, and the satisfactory death of the Father's dearly beloved Son. There are many in the visible church whose practice demonstrates that they estimate the salvation of their souls at
low price ; and yet the Lord Jesus Christ, before he could purchase salvation to his people, was obliged to stoop to the very lowest degree of humiliation, to endure the most excruciating sufferings, and to shed the most precious blood. How deeply ought we to be ashamed before God, that we value this salvation so little, when it cost our glorious Redeemer so much!
4th, The salvation of the Lord Jesus is a free salvation. It was purchased by Christ at a very high price ; but it is given to sinners freely, without money and without price. Hence are these expressions in Scripture: “We have received the Spirit which is of God, that we may know the things that are freely given to us of God.” • Whosoever will, let him come, and take the water of life freely.” Nothing can be freer than a gift. A gift is usually so free, that in so far as you begin to offer anything for it, however insignificant, you destroy the very
nature of it. But the blessings of salvation are expressly called gifts in Scripture: - Thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also.” There is nothing that the proud sinner is more unwilling to do than to accept of salvation as an absolutely free gift : since, however, God has resolved to bestow salvation on sinners as a gift, and delights to do it freely, every sinner who is appointed to obtain it, shall, sooner or later, be made willing, cheerfully to receive it, as God's free gift to him in particular.
5th, The salvation of Christ is an undivided salvation. It is undivided in the purpose of God : Whom he predestinated, them he purposed to call; whom he calleth, them he determined to justify; and whom he justifies, them he will glorify. It is undivided in the promises of God. He promises in one place, to “put his fear in the hearts of his people ;" and in another place, that to those to whom his promise begins to be fulfilled, or, to “ those who fear his name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings." When one promise begins to be fulfilled, it is a certain sign, not only that the same promise shall be completely fulfilled, but that all the other promises shall be fulfilled also in due time.
6th, It is a common salvation.—" Beloved,” says the apostle Jude, “when I gave all diligence to write to you
of the common salvation,” &c. Jude 3. This salvation is not only suited to the case of every sinner, and bestow. ed on some of all nations, kindreds, tongues, and languages, but wherever the light of the gospel shines, it is offered to all in common, so as to render it lawful and warrantable for any sinner of mankind to whom the gospel is preached, to receive the same. Accordingly, when Christ himself was preaching the gospel to a mingled multitude at Capernaum, he addressed them thus: “ Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.” He does not here mean, that this true bread was given them in actual possession, else they should all have been brought into a state of salvation; but that it was granted or offered to them, in such a manner as to afford to every individual of them a right of access to it, or a right to receive it.
7th, The salvation of the Lord Jesus is a glorious salvation. It is glorious in its design : it is to the praise of the glory of infinitely free grace. It is glorious in its own nature.
When persons are made partakers of it, they are glorious within : while they behold as in a glass the glory of the Lord Jesus shining forth in it, they are changed into the same image from glory to glory. As nothing is so mean and shameful as sin, so nothing about a rational creature is so glorious as holiness. When one is exalted in Christ's salvation, the glory of this present world shrinks almost into nothing in his view; and he is disposed from his very soul to pity that man, be his wordly magnificence ever so splendid, who appears to have his portion only in this life.
In the 8th and last place, It is an everlasting salvation. “ Israel shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation.” With respect to eternity past, this salvation took its rise from everlasting love. "I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.” With regard to eternity to come, though it was purchased, and is applied to sinners in time, it shall never have an end, but continue to be enjoyed by the saints, without the smallest interruption, through all eternity : Christ gives to his sheep eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of his hand.
According to the third general head, I was to describe the character of Christ's people, whom he thus saves from their sins.
Here it might be shown, that, previous to their regeneration and actual union with him, they are sinners, as well as others, in their heart, and in their life, and they are the servants of sin; that after their regeneration, they are truly convinced of sin ; that they obtain saving discoveries of the suitableness, ability, and willingness of Jesus, as a Saviour ; that they cordially approve of salvation by Him; that they accept of Him as their Saviour in particular, on the ground of God's free and unlimited offer of him in his word of grace ; that they trust cordially in him as their Saviour for all their salvation; that they live upon his grace, and act for his glory ;-—but, passing the illustration of these particulars, I shall conclude the discourse with some application.
From what has been said on the subject, we may be able to assign a reason why the Lord Jesus is so precious to them who believe: He saves them from their sins, and from all the dreadful effects of sin. Were it not for Jesus and his great salvation, instead of being at liberty to walk with God in newness of life, they should have been held under the dominion of sin, and fettered with the bands of spiritual death. Instead of having access to a reconciled God, and liberty to lift up their souls to hini at the throne of grace, they should have been lifting up their despairing eyes in that place of torment where God hath forgotten to be gracious, and where his mercy is clean gone for ever. Were it not for this compassionate Saviour, there would have been no such thing as true holiness, no such blessing as communion with God since the fall, among any of the children of men.
This subject also presents us with a touch-stone for selfexamination. Would we desire to know whether we be in a state of salvation or not? We have heard that Christ's salvation is undivided ; that where he saves a sinner from the guilt, he also delivers him from the dominion and pollution of sin. Now, when we profess to trust in Christ for salvation, whether do we cordially trust in him for the whole of his salvation, or not? There are many who
say that they trust in Jesus for salvation, and hope that all shall be well with them at last, whose habitual practice shows that they never trusted cordially in him for every part of his salvation ; and, indeed, no unregenerate man can do so. There is no unconverted sinner but has some darling lust or other with which he cannot endure to part. Now, such an one may very properly be said to fear that Christ may some time or other