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ed him to offer up himself a sacrifice for us: "I have power (saith he) to lay down my life; this commandment have I received of my Father." John, 10:18. And upon that account, his offering up of his blood is, by the apostle, styled an act of obedience: "He became obedient unto death." Phil. 2: 8. He also called him to intercede for us. "Those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath, by him that said unto him, The Lord sware, and will not repent, Thou art a Priest for ever," Heb. 7: 21, 24, 25: his sacrifice is virtually continued, in his living for ever to make intercession, as verse 24.
3. He called him to his regal office; he was set upon the highest throne of authority by his Father's commission : All power in heaven and earth is given to me." Matt. 28:18. To all this was Christ sealed and authorized by his Father.
II. What doth the Father's sealing of Christ to this work and office imply?
1. The validity and efficacy of all his mediatorial acts. For by virtue of this his sealing, whatever he did was fully ratified. And in this very thing lies much of a believer's comfort and security; forasmuch as all acts done without commission and authority, how great or able soever the person that performs them, are in themselves null and void. But what is done by commission and authority, is authentic, and valid among men.
2. It imports the great obligation lying upon Jesus Christ to be faithful in the work to which he was sealed: for the Father, in this commission, devolves a great trust upon him, and relies upon him for his most faithful discharge of it. And, indeed, upon this very account Christ reckons himself specially obliged to pursue the Father's design and end: "I must work the works of him that sent me." John, 9:4. And, "I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me."
John, 5:30. His eye is still upon that work and will of his Father. He reckons himself under a necessity of punctual and precise obedience to it; and, as a faithful servant, will have his own will swallowed up in his Father's will.
3. It imports Christ's complete qualification and fitness to serve the Father's design and end of our recovery. Had not God known him to be every way fit and qualified for the work, he would never have sealed him a commission for it. Men may, but God will not seal an unfit or incapable person for his work. And, indeed, whatever is desirable in a servant, was eminently found in Christ. For faithfulness, none like him. Moses, indeed, was faithful in every point, but still as a servant; but Christ as a Son. Heb. 3:6. He is "the faithful and true witness." Rev. 1:5. For zeal, none like him. The zeal of God's house did eat him up. John, 2: 16, 17. He was so intent upon his Father's work that he forgot to eat bread, counting his work his meat and drink. John, 4:32. Yea, love to his Father carried him on through all his work, and made him delight in the hardest piece of his service; for he served him as a Son. Heb. 3:5, 6. All that ever he did was done in love. For wisdom, none like him. The Father knew him to be most wise, and said of him before he was employed, "Behold, my Servant shall deal prudently." Isa. 52:13. For self-denial, never any like him; he sought not his own glory, but the glory of him that sent him. John, 8:50. Had he not been thus faithful, zealous, full of love, prudent, and self-denying, he had never been employed in this great affair.
4. It implies Christ's sole authority in the church, to appoint and enjoin what he pleaseth; and this is his peculiar prerogative. God's sealing him is a single, not a joint commission; he hath sealed him, and none beside him. Indeed there were some that pretended a call and
commission from God; but all that came before him, giving themselves out for the Messiah, were "thieves and robbers," that came not in at the door, as he did. John, 10:8. And he himself foretells, that after him some should arise, and labor to deceive the world with a feigned commission, and a counterfeit seal: "There shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch, that if it were possible, they should deceive the very elect." Matt. 24: 24. But God never commissioned any besides him, neither is there any other name under heaven. Acts, 4: 12.
III. Let us inquire how God the Father sealed Jesus Christ to this work.
1. By solemn designation to this work. He singled him out and set him apart for it: and therefore the prophet Isaiah calls him God's elect, chap. 42: 1; and the apostle Peter, Chosen of God. 1 Pet. 2:4. This word which we render elect, not only signifies one that in himself is surpassing, worthy, and excellent, but also one that is set apart and designed, as Christ was, for the work of mediation. And so much is included in John, 10:36, where the Father is said to sanctify him, that is, to separate and devote him to this service.
2. He was sealed, not only by solemn designation, but also by supereminent and unparalleled sanctification. He was anointed, as well as appointed to it. The Lord filled him with the Spirit, and that without measure, to qualify him for this service. So Isa. 61: 1-3, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach," &c. Yea, the Spirit of the Lord was not only upon him, but he was full of the Spirit, Luke, 4: 1, and so full as was never any beside him; for God "anointed him with the oil of gladness above his fellows." Psa. 45:7. Believers are his fellows, or co-partners of this Spirit; they have an anointing also, but not as Christ had:
in him it dwelt in its fullness, in them according to measure. It was poured out on Christ, our Head, abundantly, and ran down to the hem of his garment. "God gave not the Spirit to him by measure." John, 3: 34. God filled Christ's human nature, to the utmost capacity, with all fullness of the Spirit of knowledge, wisdom, love, &c. beyond all creatures, for the plenary and more effectual administration of his mediatorship. He was full extensively, with all kinds of grace; and full, intensively, with all degrees of grace. "It pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell," Col. 1: 19, as light in the sun, or water in a fountain; so that the holy oil that was poured out upon the head of kings and priests, whereby they were consecrated to their offices, was but typical of the Spirit by which Christ was consecrated or sealed to his offices. Exod. 30: 23-25; 30-32.
3. Christ was sealed by the Father's immediate testimony from heaven, whereby he was declared to be the person whom the Father had solemnly designed and appointed to this work. And God gave this extraordinary testimony of him at two remarkable seasons: the one was just at his entrance on his public ministry, Matt. 3: 17; the other but a little before his sufferings. Matt. 175. By this God owned, approved, and, as by a seal, ratified his work.
4. Christ was sealed by the Father, in all those extraordinary miraculous works wrought by him, by which the Father gave yet more full and convincing testimonies to the world, that this was he whom he had appointed to be our Mediator. These proved to the world that God had sent him, and that his doctrine was of God. God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and power, who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him." Acts, 10; 38. And so, John, 5: 36, "I have
a greater witness than that of John; for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me." Therefore he still referred those that doubted of him, or of his doctrine, to the seal of his Father, even the miraculous works he wrought in the power of God. Matt. 9: 3-5.
IV. We will inquire why it was necessary Christ should be sealed by his Father to this work.
1. He had not otherwise corresponded with the types which prefigured him ; and in him it was necessary that they should be all accomplished. Under the law, the kings and high priests had their inauguration by solemn unctions, in all which this consecration, or sealing of Christ to his work, was shadowed out: and therefore you find, Heb. 5 : 4, 5, "No man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. So also," (mark the necessary correspondence between Christ and them,) "Christ glorified not himself to be made an High Priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son."
2. Hereby the hearts of believers are the more engaged to love the Father, inasmuch as the Father's love and good will to them was the origin and spring of their redemption. For had not the Father sealed him such a commission, he had not come; but now he comes in the Father's name, and in the Father's love as well as his name; and so all men are bound to ascribe equal glory and honor to them both, as John, 5: 23.
3. Christ would not come without a commission, because we should have had no ground for our faith in him. How should we have been satisfied that this is indeed the true Messiah, except he had opened his commission to the world, and showed his Father's seal annexed to it? If he had come without his credentials from heaven, and only told the world that God had sent