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of all men being by birth made partakers of the evil infusion, and so identified with the First Adam, as far as the sentence of mortality is concerned, whilst those only are identified with the Second Adam, who by a conscious act of choice, join themselves to his nature.
I may observe, also, with regard to the rule in God's government, above adverted to, of identifying those who join themselves either to the good or the evil infusion or principle, with the Head out of which the infusion flows, that it seems to have given rise to the doctrine of the Imputation of Christ's right
But the difference between the true doctrine, and the popular doctrine of that name, lies in this, that according to the former, when a man in the spirit of Christ, really trusts himself to be led by God, God declares such trust to be truly, and in its own nature, righteousness, yea, Christ's righteousness ;—and then He deals with the man not according to the evil desert of his past life, but according to the good desert of Jesus, from whom, as from its Fountain, that faith or trust flowed into him, and to whom it unites him as a member to the Head :whereas, according to the popular doctrine, a righteousness is supposed to be conferred on the man by imputation, whilst yet he continues in fact unrighteous. There is a fiction of law in this latter, which has no place in the former.
I read this Chapter, as a commentary on the spectacle which Jeremiah saw in the Potter's house. It opens up to us the plan of God in the whole history, past and future, of our race-I see in it the Second Adam set forth' as the seed of the second vessel, sown in the first, by the breaking of which it is to be developed, and for the breaking of which, its developement is abundantly to compensate.
I shall now take leave of it, after a single observation on its concluding passage, from the middle of verse 20th, “But where sin abounded, there hath grace abounded over it, (beyond it, and after its exhaustion ;) that as sin hath reigned, in the infliction of death,
so might .grace reign, through the reception of righteousness, unto eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Grace does not interfere with sin's infliction of death, or the breaking of the first vessel,--that goes on, --but grace sows the gift of righteousness, as a seed of eternal life, and sows it wherever sin hath put her stamp, that is, throughout
the whole nature; and wherever that seed is accepted, it becomes righteousness and eternal life in the souls which accept it, and carries them through the dissolution of the clay, into the incorruptible glory.
The following Chapter (chap. vi.,) carries forward the argument which we have been considering, by teaching how a man may become a true participant in Christ's nature, and a true receiver of the gift of righteousness, so that he may reign in life with Christ.
Supposing the interpretation which I have given of chap. v. 17, to be correct and just, we should expect the explanation of this very point, to come in here—for though the importance of receiving, is much magnified in that passage, yet the way of doing so, is not explained.
The Apostle evidently fears, that the disciples may mistake the abounding of the gift to the many, for the real blessing, which only belongs to those who accept the gift ; or, in other words, that they may mistake a mercy of God towards them, for a union with the Spirit of God. And so he proceeds in chap. vi., which I thus translate :
Ver. 145. “Shall we continue in sin, because* grace abounds ? Not so, how shall we who have died to sin, or under the condemnation of sin, yet continue to live in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death; we were therefore buried with him, by our baptism into his death, to the end that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in a new life. For if we have been united to him in the likeness of his death, we shall be also united to him in the likeness of his resurrection.”
This last verse gives the needed instruction as to the way of “accepting the gift of righteousness,” which in chap. v. 17th, is declared to be the essential condition, on the fulfilment of which alone, “we shall reign in life through Jesus ;” and this needed instruction in reality sends us back to the passage so often quoted in 2 Tim. ii. 11, “If ye die with him, ye shall also live with him ; if ye suffer with him, ye shall reign with him.”
I am led to this opinion, by comparing this 5th verse of chap. vi., with the latter half of verse 17th of chap. v.
* The tenor of the argument is best sustained by translating ivce, either because or when. For examples of both these uses of it, I refer to Schleusner, in loco, (5,) (6.)
Both verses conclude with a promise, which, though expressed in different words, is surely one and the same promise — for “ the being planted or united with Jesus, in the likeness of his resurrection," must mean the same thing “as reigning in life with him ;” -it seems to me, therefore, to follow, that the two previous steps conducting to the promise, in the two verses, must also agree in one; and thus that “the being united with Jesus in the likeness of his death,” is the indicated way of “accepting the gift of righteousness.” But Christ's death we know was a willing surrender of himself up to the Father, through faith in the Father's love and purpose to raise him from the dead. A likeness to this death, then, is the only way of accepting of the abundance of the grace, and of the gift of righteousness.
The supposition that the expression opowice T8 bævetov, the likeness of his death, refers in this place to the mode of baptism by submersion, appears to me quite inconsistent with the whole context. For if submersion or baptism be the likeness of Christ's death, what is the likeness of his resurrection ? To