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Spirit, and you shall be sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Consider your misery; you are now under the curse of the violated law, and you are no more able to bring forth fruit to God, than the cursed fig-tree was to bear figs. While you are under the curse, nothing that you do can be accepted by God. Every attempt of believers is acceptable to him; but nothing that you do can please him. Be persuaded that there can be no salvation without sanctification. To believe that you shall be saved in any sin, is to believe that God, who cannot lie, shall prove to be a liar, and that Christ shall be so far degraded as to be the minister of sin. Come to Christ for justification. and adoption, to give you a title to heaven, and for sanctification, to qualify you for the felicity and work of heaven. Consider what shall become of you without justification: "The unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God." What will you do if you be not sanctified? "Without holiness no man shall see the Lord." Come to him, and your death in trespasses and sins shall be removed by spiritual life; your deformity by beauty; your darkness by light; and your enmity against God by love to him. One will say, I cannot come to the Saviour; but he says in the promise, “To him shall men come." Another will say, How shall I come to him? You are to come to him by trusting that he cometh to you. But where shall I find him? You shall find him in the field of the Gospel. I am very unworthy. Yes, you are; but he intends to glorify the riches of his sovereign grace. I have no right to trust in the Lord Jesus. Yes, you have an ample warrant to place the confidence of your heart in him for all your salvation. He is offered freely to you, and is your Saviour by office: touch, then, the hem of his garment, and you shall be made whole. Come, you who are young sinners, and the Lord God will enter into a covenant with you, and you shall become his: then shall he wash you with water in your sanctification, and thoroughly wash away your blood from you.
SALVATION FROM SIN.
"And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS; for He shall save his people from their sins.” MATT. i. 21.
WHEN Joseph, who was espoused to the mother of our Lord, had, in consequence of observing that previous to their coming together, she appeared to be with child, begun to suspect her fidelity, and to.entertain thoughts of dissolving the connexion which had for some time subsisted between them; we are told, in the verse immediately preceding the text, that an angel appeared to him in a dream, and thus addressed him, "Joseph, thou Son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife; for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost;" and then he added the words which were now read, "She shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins." In which words, we have, first, a prediction of our Saviour's birth, "She shall bring forth a Son;" second, an injunction given with regard to his name, "Thou shalt call his name Jesus." Jesus, in the original language of the New Testament, is of the same import with Joshua in that of the Old, and signifies a Saviour. Thou shalt call his name Saviour, " for he shall save his people from their sins." This name is very comprehensive, and includes all the other appellations which are given to Christ in Scripture, considered as Mediator. Joshua, who was Israel's captain, at their first settlement in Canaan, and Joshua who was their high-priest, at their second settlement in it, after the Babylonian captivity, were both of them illustrious types of Jesus, who is, not only the Captain of our salvation, but the
Lastly, we have
great High Priest of our profession. in the words a reason assigned by the angel, for giving the incarnate Redeemer this name: "Thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins." By his people, here, we are to understand those who are chosen and given to him in the everlasting covenant, in order to be saved by him from sin and wrath: "He shall save his people from their sins."
In discoursing on this subject, it is proposed, through Divine assistance, I. To point out what it is in sin from which Jesus saves his people; II. To mention some of the properties of his salvation, and III. To describe the character of his people whom he saves from sin.
I. I am first, then, to point out what it is in sin from which Jesus saves his people.
And here, in the first place, he saves them from the guilt of sin.-By the guilt of sin, is meant an obligation to suffer eternal punishment on account of sin. They whom Christ undertook to save were, on account of their breach of covenant in the first Adam, and of their other innumerable transgressions of the Divine law, condemned as well as the rest of mankind, to endure such tremendous wrath, both in soul and body, as would have rendered them inexpressibly miserable. While, therefore, they continue under the law as a covenant of works, they are necessarily under this dreadful sentence; and were they to die in that state, it would be executed upon them to the uttermost, through the revolving ages of eternity. But since they were not appointed to wrath, but to obtain salvation by the Lord Jesus Christ, he comes in the day of regenerating power, and having united them to his person, admits them to actual communion with himself, in his infinitely precious atonement. No sooner is this atonement actually imputed to them, than they are legally absolved from condemnation, according to this Divine promise, "I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more," Jer. xxxi. 34.
They are then delivered from the guilt of sin, or from their obligation to endure punishment on account of sin, and have sufficient security afforded them, that though they may often incur the guilt of fatherly displeasure, they shall never enter into condemnation, or fall under the guilt of eternal wrath.
2d, Jesus saves his people from the dominion or reigning power of sin. "He that committeth sin, is the servant of sin." God had told the first Adam, as the federal head of all his natural posterity, that in the day he ate of the forbidden fruit, he should surely die. No sooner did he eat of it than he was punished with the loss of spiritual life; or, in other words, with the loss of the original righteousness of his nature, in which the spirtual life of the soul consists. Now, the corruption of the whole nature, or the dominion of sin in the soul follows as naturally, upon the want of original righteousness, as darkness follows the setting of the sun. Those, therefore, whom God hath appointed to obtain salvation, as they were involved in the guilt of Adam's first transgression as well as others, and consequently born under the condemning power of the law, which, in this sense, is the strength of sin; so they are all born destitute of original righteousness, and subject to the dominion of sin. The condemning power of the law as a covenant, so long as they continue under it, detains them as prisoners, under the reigning power of depravity. No sooner, however, does the Lord Jesus, whose office it is to say to such prisoners, Go forth! come and admit them to communion with himself, in his surety-righteousness, than they are delivered from the condemning power of the law, and consequently, from the reigning power of sin. This infinitely glorious righteousness, as it entitles them to the sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit, so it removes the curse of the law, which formerly stood in the way of those influences, and obstructed their entrance into the soul. Hence are these words of the apostle Paul: "Sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under the law, but under grace," Rom. vi. 14.
If believers would make more use of the righteousness of the incarnate Redeemer in their approaches to God than they do, they should find that sin would not prevail against them so much as it does.
3d, Jesus saves his people, not only from the dominion, but from the defilement or pollution of sin. As sin is infinitely opposite to the spotless holiness of God's nature, it cannot but be very impure and loathsome in his sight. Hence we read, that he is of " purer eyes than to behold evil, and that he cannot look upon iniquity.” As sin is in its own nature filthy, sinners in whose heart it reigns, are represented in Scripture as altogether filthy; and therefore as such, they are utterly unqualified to enjoy communion and intercourse with an infinitely holy God. Now, in order to render his people fit to enjoy fellowship with God, since without this it is impossible that they can be either holy or happy, Christ, as the glorious dispenser of grace in the new covenant, sends his Spirit, in the day of effectual calling, as a Spirit of holiness, to cleanse them from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, according to that promise, "Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness and from all your idols will I cleanse you." He begins thus to purify his people at their regeneration; for we read that they are "saved by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost." He continues to purify them from remaining depravity, by affording them fresh supplies of the sanctifying Spirit, and by enabling them to improve his death. and resurrection for that purpose; until at last he presents them to his Father without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. The fountain that is opened to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness, is kept continually open to them, in the offers of the Gospel; and the streams of it are appointed to follow them while they travel through this valley of tears, that they may always have an opportunity of washing away their spiritual pollution, until they come to the end of their journey.