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in making it out. The covenant being violated, the sinner is necessarily excluded from the divine favour till sin be removed. He cannot effect this himself; God has, therefore appointed a surety to do it for him. "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. The death of Christ for us, and all divine blessings, as the result of it, are connected by the Apostle, Rom. viii. 32. "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" The elect were chosen to be the heirs of eternal life, but they cannot attain to the inheritance without the death of Christ as an atonement for sin, which had made them heirs of hell. "And for this cause he is the Mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they who are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance." Heb. ix. 15.
BUT sin has also a power of subjecting the sinner to condemnation. This power must be destroyed in order to the sinner's being pardoned. This was the immediate effect of Christ's death. "Seventy weeks," said God to Daniel," are determined upon thy people, and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in an everlasting righteousness," &c. Dan. ix. 24. This was to be done by the death of the Messiah as is plain from ver. 26. after three score and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself." The Apostle expresses this truth in similar, but emphatical language. "He ap
peared to put away sin
by the sacrifice of himself.”
"Put away" signifies to disannul or abrogate the obligation and force of a law, that it shall no longer bind the subject. Christ by his sacrifice destroyed, finished and abrogated the power of sin, that it should not condemn sinners, nor bind them over to punishment. In consequence of this, God passed sentence upon it in the person of Christ. "For what the law could not
do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God having sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh." Rom. viii. 3. The sentence lay against Christ binding him over to death, but when he had suffered all the punishment due to sin, God reversed the sentence and executed it upon sin, pronouncing its power completely destroyed.
THIS prepared the way to pardon, without which no sinner could ever have become an heir of eternal life. While he remains the slave of sin and Satan, and under the power of spiritual death, the displeasure of God is not actually removed from him; but this is done when he bestows pardon, and liberates the sinner from bondage. This favour the Scriptures represent as a peculiar fruit and effect of the death of Christ. Heb. x. 1118. The legal priests offered many sacrifices "which could never take away sins:" but " Jesus offered one sacrifice for sins," on account of which God says, "Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more." This is owing to the value of the sacrifice which Christ offered, for "where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin." Christ's sacrifice, then, did what the legal sacrifices could not. Pardon, though of free grace to the sinner, is an act of justice on the part of God. In the execution of the economical scheme, Christ has done all that justice can claim, in order to the sinner's pardon, whence justice
demands that favour to be conferred upon him. Agreeably to this are the words of Paul concerning Christ, "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins-that he might be just and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus." Rom. iii. 25-27. I shall now conclude with some brief improvement.
1. THE salvation of sinners is now rendered certain, and the complete destruction of sin secured. This is owing to the complete satisfaction made by Christ to divine justice. This sacrifice has rendered it consistent with the the divine honour to pardon sin. It has secured that pardon, and also made provision for the sinner's return to God. Had it not done this, the sin ner must have perished in impenitence and unbelief, and the Saviour could have had no security of ever seeing the travail of his soul. All that stands in the way of salvation now is the dominion of sin in the heart; but the destruction of this is secured by the atonement. Jesus died for all that were given him of the Father, and all these shall come to him. He died for the ungodly, for sinners; they obtain justification by his blood, and are saved from wrath through him. His blood cleanseth from all sin. All the divine perfections are engaged in the work, and pledged to execute it. The arm of Omnipotence laid hold on the avenging sword, and God issued the awful mandate, "Smite the Shepherd," and then added, "I will turn mine. hand upon the little ones,"-his hand to gather them, not the sword to smite them. The Father had pledged himself to the Son that, "He should see his seed, the travail of his soul," which he was to pour out unto Shall he prove unfaith
death, as an offering for sin.
on earth, and finished his work? No: A channel of conveyance between God and sinners is opened, and the Spirit shall be communicated, to bring a willing people to Jesus; to accomplish the new creation; and to work faith and repentance. You see then, gospel hearers, that God is not merely placable, but satisfied; that he not only may pardon sin but will do it; and that it is not only possible that those, for whom Christ died, may be saved, but it is certain. All that is necessary to the complete salvation of your souls is as certainly secured by Jesus, as that sin is expiated. Mercy pleads for this salvation, justice sustains her claim, and divine power executes. "Grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life, through the Lord Jesus Christ." Justice has nothing more to demand, and so secures salvation.
2. FAITH and repentance have no place in the atonement of our sins. That was completed by Jesus, when he finished the work assigned him by his Father, of which faith and repentance are fruits. Some have ascribed to repentance what belongs only to the atoning sacrifice of Christ; "That justice does not require wrath to be executed upon the sinner when he repents; because in that case justice is pacified, and God delights to grant pardon." And; "That Christ as a High Priest in heaven expiates all sins, provided they be truly repented off." On such a supposition, if there be any merit in what Jesus has done, it must be wholly derived from the repentance of the sinner; whence it will follow, that the expiating virtue lies wholly in repentance. The blood of Christ, as atoning, is the immediate object of faith for pardon. "God hath set him forth a propitiation through faith in his blood." Rom. iii. 25. Repentance is the fruit of this faith, "They shall lock
on me whom they have pierced: and they shall mourn for him." Zech. xii. 10. And both are the fruit of that grace which God promises to pour "out upon the house of Judah," &c. To attribute to faith, or repentance, any efficacy in atoning for sin, is to detract from the value of the blood of Christ, depreciate free grace, "and establish creature merit. Though the sinner ought to repent of his sin, yet the act can have nothing in it by which the divine honour can be repaired, and justice satisfied. There are promises of pardon to such as be lieve and repent, but not on account of faith and repentance. These are means by which God applies and intimates pardon to the conscience; while that blessing flows from his being reconciled in Christ, as do also faith and repentance. "That thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, when I am pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done, saith the LORD God." Ezek. xvi. 63.
LET us not, then, Christian brethren, think faith and repentance unnecessary because they have no influence in atoning for our sins. According to the constitution of the new covenant, they are equally necessary, in their proper place, as the blood of Christ. "If ye believe not, said Christ, that I am he, ye shall die in your sins." "He that believeth not shall be damned." ' Except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish." As it is by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ that we are saved, let us beware lest there be in us the evil heart of unbelief; lest our hearts be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin, instead of being broken with godly sorrow on account of it. Had not Jesus died, and expiated sin, he could never have been exhibited to us as the object of faith; nor could we have had any warrant to believe in