Imágenes de páginas
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]




BY them which are in. Christ Jesus: St Paul evidently

means, who being justified by faith, have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ. They who thus believe do no longer walk after the ftesh, nolonger follow the motions of corrupt nature: But after the Spirit: Both their thoughts, words, and works are under the direction of the blessed Spirit of God,

2. There is, therefore, now no condemnation to these. There is no condemnation to them from God : For he hath jus-tifted them freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesuus. He hath forgiven all their iniquities, and blotted out all their sins. And there is no condeinnation to them from withiņ: For they “ have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God, that they might know the things which are freely given to them of God* : Which spirit beareth witness with their spirits, that they are the children of God.'!. And to this is added,

of the testimony of their conscience : that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with freshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, they have had their conversation in the world."

3. But because this scripture has been so frequently misunderstood, and that in so dangerous a manner, because such multitudes of unlearned and unstable men, (ou apabais u;snpitos, men untaught of God, and consequently unestablished in the truth which is after godliness) have wrested it to their own destruction. I propose to shew, as clearly as, I cah, First, Who those are which are in Christ Jesus, and walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit ; and Secondly,


[ocr errors]

M 2

* 1 Cor. ii, 12.

of 2 Cor. i. 12.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]


[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

How there is no condemnation to these. I shall conclude with some practical inferences.

I. 1. First, I am to shew, Who those are that are in Christ Jesus. And are they not, Those who believe in his name? Those who are found in him, not having their own righteousness, but the righteousness which is of God by faith? These, who have redemption through his blood, are properly said, to be in him. For they dwell in Christ, and Christ in them. They are joined unto the Lord in one Spirit

. They are ingrafted into him as branches into the vine, They united, as members to their head, in a manner which words cannot express, nor could it before enter into their hearts to conceive.

2. Now, whosoever alideth in him, sinneth not ; walkeib natı after, the flesh. The flesh, in the usual language of St. Paul, signifies corrupt nature. In this sense he uses the word, writing to the Galatians. The works of the flesh are manifest; Gal. v. 19." And a little before, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust (or desire) of the flesh fr. 16.): To prove which, namely, that those who walk by the Spirit, do not fulfil the lust of the flesh, he immediately adds, "For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit; but the Spirit lustech against the flesh (for these are contrary to each other) that ye may not do the things which ye would.” So the words are literally translated; (lice per'a av Dernile tauta wcints) Not, so that ye cannot do the things that ye would, as if the flesh overcame the Spirit: A translation which hath not only nothing to do with the original text of the apostle, but likewise makes his whole argument nothing worth, yea, asserts just the reverse of what he is proving.

Ž. They who are of Christ, who abide in him, have crucified ihe. fresh, with its affe&tions and lusts. They alsstain from all those works of the flesh; from adultery and fornication, from uncleanness and lasciviousness : from idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, ruiriance; from emulations, wrath, strife, sedition, heresies, envyings; murders, drunkenness, revellings : From every design, and word, and work to which the corruption of nature leads. Although they feel the root of bitterness in themselves, yet are ihey endued with power from on high, to trample it continually under foot, so that it cannot spring up to trouble them : Insomuch that every fresh assault which they undergo, only gives then fresh occasion of praise, of

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

crying out, Thanks. be unto God, who giveth us the victory, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

4. They now' walk after the Spirit, both in their hearts and lives. They are taught of him to love God and their neighbour with a love which is as a well of water, springing up into everlasting life. And by him they are led into every holy desire, into every divine and heavenly temper, till every thought which arises in their heart is holiness unto the Lord.

si 5. They who walk after the Spirit, are also led by him, into all holiness of conversation. Their speech is always in grace, seasoned with salt, with the love and fear of God. No corrupt comutůnication comes out of their mouth, but only that which is good"; that which is to the use of edifying, which is meet to minister grace to the hearers. And herein likewise do they exercise themselves day and night, to do only' tho things which please God: in all their outward behaviour to follow him, who left us an example that we might tread in his stips : 'Th all their intercourse with their neighbour tą walk in justice, mercy, and truth; and whatsoever, they do; in every circumstance of life, to do all to the glory of God.

6. These are they who indeed walkbythe Spirit. Being filled with faith, and with the Holy Ghost, they possess in their hearts, and shew forth in their lives, in the whole course of their words and actions, the genuine fruits of the Spirit of God, vaimely, love, joy, pecice, long-suffering, gentleness, goodnless, fidelity, meekness, temperance, and whatsoever else is love. ly or praise-worthy. They adorn in all things the igospel of God our Saviour, and give full proof to all mankind, that they are indeed actuated by the same Spirit, which raised up Jesus from the dead.

II. 1, I proposed to shew, in the second place, How there is no condemnation to them, which are thus in Christ Jesus, and thus walk, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

And, First, To believers in Christ; walking thus, there is no condemnation on account of their past sins. God condemneth them not for any of these : They are as though they had never been. They are cast as a stone into the depth of the sea, and he remembereth them no more. God having set forth his Son to be a propitiation for thein, through faith in his blood, hath declared unto them his righteousness, for the remission of the sins that are past. He layeth, therefore, none of these to their charge; their memorial is perished with them.

2. And


2. And there is no condemnation in their own breast; no sense of guilt, or dread of the wrath of God. They have the witness in themselves ; they are conscious of their interest in the blood of sprinkling. They have not received again the Spirit of bondage unto fear, unto doubt and racking uncertainty; but they bave received the spirit of adoption, crying in their hearts; Abba, Father. Thus being justificd hy faith, they have the peace of God ruling in their hearts: flowing from a continual sense of his pardoning mercy, and the answer of a good conscience toward Göd.

3. If it be said, But sometimes a believer in Christ may lose his sight of the mercy of God; sometimes such darkness may fall upon him, that he no longer sees him that is in visible; no longer feels that witness in himself of Iris part in the atoning blood, and then he is inwardly condemned, he hath again the sentence of death in himself : I answer, supposing it so to be, supposing him not to see the mercy of God, then he is not a believer; for faith im plies light; the light of. God shining upon the soul. So far, therefore, as any one loses this light, he for the time loses his faith. And no doubt a true believer in Christ may lose the light of faith. And so far as this is lost, he may for a time fall again into condemnation. But this is not the case of them who now are in Christ Jesus, who now believe in his name. For so long as they believe and walk after the Spirit, neither God condemns them nor their own heart.

5. They are not condemned, Secondly, for any present sins, for now. transgressing the commandments of God. For they do not transgress them ; they do not walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit. This is the continual proof of their love of God, that they keep his commandments : Even as St. John bears witness, Whosoever is born of God doth not coininit sin. For his seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin, because he is burn, of God: He cannot, so long as that seed of God, that loving, holy faith, remaineth in him. So long as he keepeth himself herein that wicked one toucheth him not. Now it is evi-, dent, he is not condemned for the sins which he doth not commit at all. They, therefore, who are thus led by the Spirit are not under the law, (Gal. v. 18.) Not under the curse or condemnation of it ; for it condemns none but those who break it. Thus, that law of God, Thou shalt not steal, condemns none but those who do steal. Thus, Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy, condemns those only


[ocr errors]

who do not kecp it holy. But against the fruits of the Spirit, there is no law (verse 23.) As the Apostle more largely declares, in those memorable words of his former epistle to Timothy. We know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing this, (if while he 'uses the law of God, in order either to convince or direct, he knows and remembers this) ori dincios vou & xeitai. (Not that the law is not made for a righteous man; but) That the law does not lie against a righteous man : it has no force against him, no power to condemn him, but against the lawless and disobedient, against the ungodly and sinners, against the unkoly and profane--according to thé glorious gospel of the blessed God. - 1 Tim. i. 8, 9, 11.

6. They are not condemned, Thirdly, for inward sin, even though it does now remain.

That the corruption of nature does still remain, even in those who are the children of God by faith, that they have in them the seeds of pride and vanity, of anger, lust, and evil desire; yea, sin of every kind, is too plain to be denied, being matter of daily experience. And on this account it is, That St Paul speaking to those whom he had just before witnessed to be * in Christ Jesust, to have been called of God into the fellowship (or participation) of his Son Jesus Christ, yet declares, Brethren, I could not speak unto you as unto spiritual; but as unto carnal ; even as unto bahes in Christ (1 Cor. iii. 1.) babes in Christ-So we see they were in Christ; they were believers in a low degree. And yet how much of sin renained in them? Or that carnal inint, which is not subje&t to the law of God? 7 And

yet, for all this, they are not condemned. Although they feel the flesh, the evil nature in them, although they are more sensible day by day, that their heart is deceitful and desperately wicked: Yet so long as they do not yield thereto, so long as they give no place to the devil, so long as they maintain a continual war, with all sin, with pride, anger, desire, so that the flesh hath not dominion over them, but they still walk after the Spirit : There is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus. God is well pleased with their sincere, though imperfect obedience: And they have confidence toward God, knowing they are his by the Spirit which he bath given them.- 1 John,


iii. 24.

8. Now

* I Cor. i. 2

of Versegi

« AnteriorContinuar »