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2. Ye are none of God's children, but of the devil's, John viii. 44. Ye are ftill of the family ye were born of. A fad family, against which God will have war for ever. Ye can have no accefs to God nor communion with him, nor may any of the privileges of the children of God be claimed by you. Your inheritance is fuitable to the family ye are of, namely, that ye are children of wrath, and heirs of hell.
3. Ye are not fanctified. There is no fanctification without the Spirit of Chrift dwelling in you; ye have not Chrift's Spirit, for ye are none of his. A form of godliness ye may have, but the power of it ye are trangers to. Ye are Satan's drudges and fin's flaves, though all are not employed in alike coarse work by the mafter of that family, Eph. ii. 2. 3.
Mot. 2. If ye will come to Chrift on his call, ye fhall partake of all these benefits. If your fins were never fo great and many, they fhall be pardoned, If. lv. 7. Ye thall be the children of God through Jefus Chrift, John i. 12. Ye shall be made holy, 1 Cor. vi, 11. Come in under the covert of his blood, and then neither law nor juftice fhall reach you. Match with the Son of God, and ye fhall be of his Father's family, Anfwer his call, and he will break the yoke from off your necks, and make you free,
O Sirs, do not ye need these benefits? How will ye live without them? are ye able to bear the weight of unpardoned guilt? How will ye die without them? what will it be to die in an unpardoned ftate, ftrangers to the family of heaven, and fill in your fins? May not thefe glorious privileges prevail with you? Do ye think nothing of the white ftone and the new name, which ye may get by coming to Chrift? Seemeth it a light thing to you to be ad opted into the family of the King of heaven, and to have his image drawn on you? Think with your felves how it will aggravate your condemnation, that Chrift and all his falvation was in your offer, and ye would have none of him, Heb. ii. 3.
Secondly, To converted finners that have anfwere d
1. Labour to know your great privileges for time and eternity, 2 Pet. i. 10. O, it is a fad matter that the people of God fhould have fo little knowledge of their itate. This would be a notable means to promote fanctification, and tenderness in heart and life.
2. Be thankful for thefe privileges. Blefs God for Chrift and the gofpel. O blefs him for his holy and powerful Spirit. Admire and adore his rich grace, bestowed on worthlefs worms through Chrift, 1 John iii. 1.
3. Lastly, Walk worthy of the vocation, and fuitable to the privileges of it, that is, humbly, holily, heavenly, contentedly, patiently, and chearfully, in hopes of the glory that is to be revealed.
ROMANS iii. 24.
Being juftified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
HE firft of thofe benefits which the called do partake of is juftification, which is the great relative change made upon them, bringing them out of the state of condemnation, wherein they are born and live till they come to Chrift. In the text we have,
1. The perfons juftified, finners, viz. believing in Chrift. It is the juftification of a finner that the a-. poftle fpeaks of, as is implied in the connection, ver. 23. 24. For all have finned, and come fhort of the glory of God: being justified freely by his grace; but helieving, ver. 26.-the justifier of him which believeth in Jefus.
2. The party juftifying, God the judge of all, hs grace. It is God's act to juftify a finner.
3. The manner and moving caufe, freely by his grace. It is done freely, without any thing of ours done by us to procure or merit it; and it flows from God's grace or free favour to undeferving and ill-deferving creatures.
4. The material and meritorious caufe, the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. He has paid the price and ranfom whereby the finner is fet free.
The text affords this great and important doctrinal note, viz.
DocT. The juftification of a finner before God is of free grace, through the fatisfaction of Chrift.
In difcourfing from this fubject, I fhall fhew, I. What it is to juftify a finner, in general, in thẹ fcripture fenfe.
II. What are the parts of juftification.
I. I fhall fhew what it is to juftify a finner, in general, in the fcripture-fenfe. Juftification and fanctification are indeed infeparable, In vain do they pretend to be juftified who are not fanctified; and in vain do they fear they are not juftified who are fanctified by the Spirit of Chrift, 1 Cor. vi. 11. But yet they are diftinct benefits, not to be confounded, nor taken for one and the fame.
Juftification is not the making of a perfon juft and righteous, by infufing of grace or holiness into him, But it is a difcharging him from guilt, and declaring or pronouncing him righteous. So it is a law-term, taken from courts of judicature, wherein a perfon is accufed, tried, and after trial abfolved. Thus the fcripture oppofeth it to accufation and condemnation, Rom. viii, 33. 34. Who fhall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth: Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is ri̟
fen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh interceffion for us. Deut. xxv. i. They shall juftify the righteous, and condemn the wicked. And fo it is declared to be a fin to justify the wicked, Prov. xvii. 15. not to make them righteous, but to pronounce them righteous. Hence it follows, that,
1. Juftification is not a real change, of the finner's nature, but a relative change, of his ftate. The change of the finner's nature, from fin to holiness, is infeparably annexed to it: but it is only the bringing of him out of the ftate of condemnation, and setting him beyond the reach of the law, as a righteous perfon, which is an unfpeakable benefit.
2. Juftification is an act done and past in an instant in the court of heaven, as soon as the finner believes in Chrift; and not a work carried on by degrees. For if a finner be not perfectly juftified, he is not juftified at all. If a man were accufed of ten capital crimes, if one of them be fixed upon him, he is condemned, and muft die. And hence alfo, though one may be more fanctified than another, yet no believer is in the fight of God more juftified than another, fince the ftate of juftification is not capable of degrees.
II. I proceed to fhew what are the parts of juftification. Thefe are two, the pardoning of fin, and accepting of the finner's perfon as righteous. This double benefit is conferred on the finner in juftification. That we may the more clearly take up this matter, we muft view the procefs of a finner's juftification. And here,
First, God himself fits Judge in this process, Pfal. ix. 4. Thou fatteft in the throne judging right. He gave the law; and as he is the Lawgiver, to he is the Judge of all the earth, Men may juftify themselves, Luke x. 29. and others may juftify them: but what does it avail, if God do not juftify them? for only he has the authority and power to do it, Rom. viii. 33. It is God that juftifieth. Many a man looking overly into his
own ftate and cafe, paffes a very favourable fentence on himself, and his way may be fo blameless before the world, that others muft judge him a righteous man too; but the judgement of God comes after, and reverfes all. And he only can justify authoritatively and irreversibly. For,
1. He only is the Lawgiver, and he only has power to fave or to deftroy, and therefore the judgement must be left to him, Jam. iv. 12. The cafe concerns his honour and law, and muft be tried at his tribunal; and whoever take it in hand, he will call it to his own. bar.
2. To him the debt is owing, and therefore he only can give the discharge. Againft him the crime is committed, and he only can pardon it. Accept us as righteous who will, if he do it not, who gave the law of righteoufnefs, it is nothing, Mark ii. 7.
Secondly, The finner is cited to answer before God's judgement-feat, by the meffengers of God, the minifters of the gofpel, Mal. iii. 1. Every fermon an unconverted finner hears, is a fummons put in his hand to anfwer for his living in a state and courfe of fin. He is told he has broken God's law, and he must go to God and fee what he will anfwer, and what courte he will take with his debt. But alas for the most part, finners are fo fecure, that they fit the fummons, flight it, and will not appear.
But that is not all. Some keep themselves out of the meffengers way; either they will not come at all, or very feldom, to the public affemblies where the fummons is given, Heb. x. 25. But the leaving of the fummons there will hold in law before him that fends them, and the duft of the meffengers feet will be sufficient witness to the execution, Matth. x. 14. Some never read the fummons, they never once ferioufly confider or apply to themfelves the word preached. They hear it as if they heard it not, it never finks into their hearts. Others tear the fummons in pieces; their hearts, like Ahab in the cafe of Micaiah, rife a