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In that case,
1. From what has been said we may infer, that every requisite to legal suretiship is found in our adorable Surety. He was qualified for obeying and suffering in the room of sinners, by being of the same nature with them; and by being a Divine person, he was able to satisfy justice, to merit eternal life, and to save his people to the uttermost. He was the absolute proprietor of his own life, and so had a right to pledge that which was
He substituted himself in the room of poor sinners willingly, and did it with the full consent of the Creditor and Judge.
2. Did Jesus Christ, as your Surety, die for you who believe in him? Then you all died in him, 2 Cor. v. 14. You sinned in the first Adam, but you died, and so satisfied Divine justice in the second. And did he obey the precepts of the law, for life to
? you obeyed them for life in him, and you are not to attempt obedience to them for life in your own persons, but to rely on his surety-righteousness for all your title to eternal life.
3. Hence we may infer the wonderful grace and love of God the Father to poor sinners. Instead of sustaining Christ as a Surety for them, he might have insisted that the soul that sinned should die,—that the sinner himself should be left to perish under the avenging hand of inexorable justice. But instead of this, he, in the greatness of his love, not only admitted, but provided a Surety for you who believe, and laid your help upon One who is mighty. As he reversed the sign respecting Gideon's fleece, so he could have done the reverse of what he has done, by saving the angels who fell, and leaving you to perish for ever. Under the impressions of this amazing love, then, let all that is within you be stirred up to cry, Lord, what is man that thou hast thus loved him! · God so loved the world that he gave his onlybegotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” John iii. 16. Well might the holy psalmist call it "marvellous loving kind4. Hence we may also infer the astonishing love of Jesus Christ to poor sinners. To the Father's call to become Surety for them, he answered, “Lo, I come”“I delight to do thy will, O my God.” “ He rejoiced in the habitable part of his earth, and his delights were with the sons of men.” For you, believers, he, with infinite willingness, entered into a bond of suretiship. He engaged, without the smallest reluctance, to clear your boundless debt of perfect obedience for a title to life, and of infinite satisfaction for sin. What grace was this in the Lord Jesus ! Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor,” not merely that your debt might be cleared, but “that ye through his poverty might be rich.” So great was his love to you, that he not only paid your immense debt of satisfaction for sin, but has enriched you by giving you a sure title to all the blessings of grace, and to all the riches of glory. This is love that passeth knowledge. O be constrained by it to love him supremely, and to be fervent in spirit serving him.
5. From what has been said, see a firm foundation for the imputation of Christ's righteousness to all who believe in him. It is a surety-righteousness : it was ful. filled by Jesus Christ, as the Surety of a better testament. Having presented himself as a Surety for his people, and his suretiship having been accepted by the Father, he became one with them in the estimation of law. This is a sure ground for putting on their account whatever he did and suffered in that character. Let communicants, then, in view of sitting at his holy table, rely on his consummate righteousness only for all their title to eternal life. Let them desire above allthings to “be found in him, not having their own righteousness which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” Let them also pray in faith, and with fervent ini. portunity, that each may have reason, with the ancient Church, to say, “ I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh him. self with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels,” Isa. Ixi. 10.
6. Let believers rejoice in the oath of God, by which their adorable Surety was installed in his office. His oath to the Surety is in effect the source of his oath to you. As he hath sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so hath he sworn that he would not be wroth with
you, nor rebuke
in a vindictive manner, Isa. liv. 9. As there is a close connexion between Christ and his members, so is there between the solemn oaths which have been made to them. Neither the covenant of works, nor the priesthood of Aaron was confirmed by an oath, for both were to pass away.
Not so with the priesthood and suretiship of Jesus Christ. The certainty and immutability of both are attested by the oath of Jehovah. As these, then, are unalterably fixed, the salvation of you who cordially trust in the Lord Jesus is certain. God cannot recal his oath, and therefore you who sincerely trust in Christ for all his great salvation, and rely on his surety-righteousness only, for all your title to it, shall surely be saved. He hath, by his solemn oath, given you the fullest assurance of salvation; and therefore it is your duty to draw near now, not only in full assurance of faith, but in the exercise of the joy of faith. Say then, with David, “ God hath spoken in his holiness;
I will rejoice,” Psal. lx. 6. 7. Hence learn how the believer ought to perform the duties of holiness. He ought not to perform them for life, or in order to entitle himself to life; but to perform them from life, from the faith and hope of eternal life. Jesus the adorable Surety fulfilled all righteousness for life to his spiritual seed: his design in doing so was to entitle them to life. Instead then of obeying for life, or thrusting your duties in the room of his suretyrighteousness, your duty is to rely on his obedience for a title to life, and then to obey from life. You who have believed through grace are under the firmest obligat to advance in holiness; but you must not, under pre
tence of this, rely on your performances for your title to life. This would be to erase the Surety's name out of your debt-bond, or, at least, to impute imperfection to his payment of the bond. Relying on his righteousness for all your title to the justification of life, repose the confidence of your hearts in him for grace and glory. Trust that he will be graciously and sensibly present with you at his Holy Table; saying with the Psalmist, “ I shall surely be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple,” Psal. Ixv. 4.
8. Are you who hear the Gospel personally interested in Christ as a Surety ? Are you convinced that you cannot pay the smallest part of your immense debt to law and justice? Do ye rely on the righteousness of Jesus Christ for all your title to the favour of God, and to grace and glory? Do you acquiesce in his suretyrighteousness, as your only righteousness for justification? Do ye plead Christ's suretiship daily at the throne of grace, praying that God may hear you for the Lord's sake? Have you the law as a rule of duty, written in your hearts, and, by evangelical obedience to it, do you willingly pay a debt of gratitude to the adorable Surety, and to God in him ? Does your payment of it bear a resemblance to his payment of his people's debt to law and justice? Whilst you yield holy obedience to the law as a rule, is the old man crucified in you? And, trusting that God has forgiven you for Christ's sake, do ye love mercy and forgive one another? If so it is well.
9. In conclusion: Hence learn, what we are to think of such as have been brought up in a land of Gospel. light, and yet are willingly ignorant of the better Testament, and of Jesus as the surety of it: they must be considered as strangers and enemies to him. They are not fearers of God; for “ the secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, and he will show them his covenant.” By his word and Spirit he enlightens all who are enabled to fear him in the knowledge of his holy covenant; so that they know it savingly and experimentally. You, it may be, consider yourselves as good Christians, though your
consciences bear you witness that you have never thought it worth your while to study the suretiship of Jesus Christ. But be it known to you, that if you
know not Christ as the Surety of a better testament, nor believe in him, ye shall surely perish. “It is a people of no understanding, therefore he that made them will not have mercy on them, and he that formed them will show them no favour.” And, saith our Lord himself, “ He that believeth not shall be damned,” Mark xvi. 16. God hath sworn that obstinate unbelievers shall not enter into his rest, Heb. iii. 18. But why will ye die, O sinners? Jesus the compassionate Surety is freely and wholly offered in the Gospel to you i and God's offer of him to you, with his invitation and command to accept the
gracious offer, render it warrantable for you as sinners to trust in him for all his salvation, and to rely on his glorious righteousness for a complete title to it. Believe then in Jesus the Surety of a better Testament, and you shall be saved.