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not be: they do but lose their labor ; could they swelter their very hearts out, weep till they can weep no more, cry till their throats be parched, alas, they can never recompense God for one vain thought ; for such is the severity of the law, that when it is once offended, all we can do to make amends is vain ; it will not discharge the sinner for all the sorrow in the world. Indeed, if a man be in Christ, sorrow for sin is something, and renewed obedience is something : God looks upon them favorably, and accepts them graciously in Christ : but out of hiin they avail no more than the entreaties and cries of a condemned malefactor to reverse the legal sentence of the judge. Reader, be convinced that one act of faith in the Lord Jesus pleases God more than all thy strivings to meet the claims of his law, through thy whole life, can do.
THE INHERITANCE PURCHASED BY THE OBLATION OF CHRIST.
THE SECOND EFFECT OF HIS PRIESTHOOD.
But when the suiness of time was come, God sent forth his Son,
made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we mighl receive the adoplion of sons." Gal. 4:4, 5.
The payment of our debt, expressed by our redemption, or buying us out from the obligation and curse of the law, was considered in the last discourse.
The purchase of an inheritance for the redeemed, expressed here by their" receiving the adoption of sons,” is our present subject. Adoption, according to the civil law, has been defined as a lawful act, an imitation of nature, invented for the comfort of them that have no children of their own.” " Divine adoption is that spe
cial benefit whereby God, for Christ's sake, accepteth us as sons, and makes us heirs of eternal life with him.”
Between this civil and sacred adoption there is a twofold agreement, and disagreement. They agree in this, that both flow from the pleasure and good-will of him who adopts; and in this, that both confer a right to privileges which we have not by nature: but in this they differ, one is an act imitating nature, the other transcends nature; the one was found out for the comfort of them that had no children; the other for the comfort of them that had no father. This divine adoption is, in Scripture, either taken properly for that act or sen. tence of God by which we are made sons, or for the privileges with which the adopted are invested: and so it is used Rom. 8: 23, and in the passage now before us. We lost our inheritance by the fall of Adam ; we receive it, as the text speaks, by the death of Christ, which restores it again to us by a new and better title. The doctrine hence is, that The death of Jesus Christ has not only satisfied for our
debts, but purchased a rich inheritance for the children of God.
"For this end 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 which are called might receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.” Heb. 9: 15.
We will here see what Christ paid; what he purchased; and for whom.
I. What Christ paid. Divines comprise the virtue and fruits of the priesthood of Christ in these two things, Solutio debiti, et acquisitio hæreditatis, payment and purchase. Accordingly the obedience of Christ has a double relation, the relation of a legal righteousness, and of a merit over and beyond the law.
Here divines rightly distinguish between the substance and circumstances of Christ's death and obe. dience. Christ's suffering, as to the substance of it, was no more than what the law required; for, neither the justice nor love of the Father would permit that Christ should suffer more than was necessary for him to bear, as our Surety ; but, as to the circumstances, the person of the sufferer, the efficacy of his sufferings, &c. it was much more than sufficient, a merit above and beyond what the law required; for, though the law required the death of the sinner, who is but a poor con. temptible creature, it did not require that one perfectly innocent should die ; it did not require that God should shed his blood; it did not require blood of such value and worth as Christ's. I say, the law did not require this, though God was pleased, for the advancement and manifestation of his justice and mercy in the highest, to allow and order this by way of commutation, admitting him to be our ransomer, by dying for us. And, indeed, it was a most gracious relaxation of the law that admitted such a commutation; for hereby justice is fully satisfied, and yet we live and are saved ; which, before, was a thing that could not be imagined. Yea, now we are not only redeemed from wrath, by the adequate compensation made for our sins by Christ's blood and sufferings substantially considered, but entitled to a most glorious inheritance, purchased by his blood, considered as the blood of an innocent, as the blood of God, and therefore as most excellent and efficacious blood, above what the law demanded. By this you see how rich a treasure lies in Christ, to bestow in a purchase for us, above what he paid to redeem us; even as much as his soul and body were more worth than
ours, for whom it was sacrificed; which is so great a sum, that all the angels in heaven, and men on earth, can never compute and show us the total of it. This was the inexhaustible treasure that Christ expended to pro.
cure and purchase the fairust inheritance for believers. Having seen the treasure that purchased, let us next inquire into the inheritance purchased by it.
II. This inheritance is so large that it cannot be surveyed by creatures; nor can the boundaries and limits thereof be described, for it comprehends all things; "All is
yours, and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's.” 1 Cor. 3: 22, 23. " He that overcometh shall inherit all things." Rev. 21:7. But to be more particular,
1. All temporal good things are purchased by Christ. "He hath given us all things richly to enjoy.” 1 Tim. 6: 17. Not that they have the possession, but the comfort and benefit of all things: others have the sting, gall, wormwood, baits and snares of the creature; saints only have the blessing and comfort of it. So that "the little that a righteous man hath, is (in this among other respects) better than the treasures of
wicked :" which is the true key to open that dark saying of the apostle, " As having nothing, and yet possessing all things.” 2 Cor. 6:10. They only possess, others are possessed by the world. The saints "use the world, and enjoy God” in the use of it. Others are deceived, defiled, and destroyed by the world; but these are refreshed and furthered by it.
2. All spiritual good things are purchased by the blood of Christ for them; as justification, which comprises remission of sins and acceptance of our persons by God: "Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ." Rom. 3:24. Sanctification is also purchased for them; for of God, he is made unto us, not only "wisdom and righteousness, but " sanctification” also. 1 Cor. 1: 30. These two, our justification and sanctification, are among the most rich and shining robes in the wardrobe of free grace. How glorious and lovely do they render the soul that wears them! These are like the bracelets and jewels Isaac sent to Rebecca. Adoption into the family of God is purchased for us by his blood; "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Jesus Christ.” Gal. 3 : 26. Christ, as he is the Son, is hæres natus, "the heir by nature;" as he is Mediator, he is hæres constitutus, " the heir by appointment," appointed heir of all things. Heb. 1:2. By the sonship of Christ, we, being united to him by faith, become sons; and if sons, then heirs. O "what manner of love is this, that we should be called the sons of God!” 1 John, 3:1: that a poor beggar should be made an heir, yea, an heir of God, and joint heir with Christ! Yea, that very faith, which is the bond of union, and consequently the ground of all our communion with Christ, is the purchase of his blood also : "To them that have obtained like precious faith with us, through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” 2 Pet. 1:1. This most precious grace is the dear purchase of our Lord Jesus Christ; yea, all that peace, joy, and spiritual comfort, which are sweet fruits of faith, are with it purchased for us by this blood. So speaks the apostle in Rom. 5:1-3. "Being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Moreover the Spirit himself, who is the author, fountain, and spring of all graces and comforts, is procured for us by his death and resurrection: Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us; for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” Gal. 3: 13, 14. That Spirit that first sanctified, and since hath so often sealed, comforted, directed, resolved, guided, and quickened your souls, had not come to perform any of these blessed offices upon your hearts, if Christ had not died.