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gift is by faith actually claimed and received; whence it is called the gift of righteousness, (Rom. v. 17.) revealed unto faith, (Chap. i. 17.); namely, to be believed on, and fo received. (2.) By right of communion with Chrift: inafmuch as finners being united with him by faith, have thereby communion, or a common interest with him in his righteousness, Philip. iii. 9. And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ. Upon these grounds, the holiness of Chrift's nature, the righteoufnefs of his life, and the fatisfaction made by his death and fufferings, being the conftituent parts of that righteousness, are, according to truth, imputed to the believer, or legally reckoned his: and, upon the ac count thereof precifely, he is accepted of God as righteous, being made the righteousness of God in him, 2 Cor v. 21. the righteousness of God being upon all that believe, Rom. iii. 22.
Here is life to the foul, righteousness unto justifi cation of life, Chap. v. 18.; an everlasting righteoufness, Dan. ix. 24.; a garment that never waxeth old, is never rent, nay, nor fullied; but always continues in its original luftre, from the monrent that it is put on. Wherefore the life must needs be eternal, grace must needs reign through that righteoufnefs unto eternal life, Rom. v. 21.; for being once put on, it is never put off again for one moment, in time nor eternity.
Now, the promise of juftification, in both branches thereof, is grafted upon the promise of justification made to Chrift. The condition of the covenant being fulfilled, the head is justified, according to the promife; and then the members in him. First, the Mediator gets up his discharge for the whole debt; and then they pleading it by faith for their own behoof, are discharged in their own perfons.
II. The promife of a new and faving Covenant-relation to God.
The promise of eternal life to the elect, doth alfo comprehend the promise of a new and faving covenant relation to God, which they, and each one of them, being juftified, fhall be brought into: Hof. ii. 23. I will fay to them which are not my people, Thou art my people; and they fhall fay, Thou art my God. Dying both morally and legally, through the breach of the first covenant, they fall under a relative death too; whereby the bleffed relation between God and them was diffolved: and it could not be constituted again, while they lay under the condemnatory fen tence of the law. But upon Christ's undertaking in the covenant, to bring in an everlasting righteoufnefs, the price of the redemption of all faving benefits, this promife was made. Wherefore they being come to Christ by faith, united with him, and justi-* fied through his righteousness, which they partake of in him; God meets him there, even in Chrift the appointed meeting place: and there, with the fafety of his honour, he takes them by the hand, and joins them again in a faving relation. Thus they have a relative life, according to that, Pfalm xxx. 5. In his favour is life. The which life is eternal: foráfmuch as the relation is for ever indiffoluble; the bond of the fecond covenant being fo much furer than the bond of the firft, as the fecond Adam's undertaking was furer than the first Adam's.
Now, of this promise there are three chief branches; namely, the promise of reconciliation, of adoption, and of God's being their God.
1. The promise of reconciliation between God and them: Ezek. xxxvii. 26. I will make a covenant of peace with them, it shall be an everlasting covenant. They were by fin in a state of enmity with God: on their part, there was a real enmity against God;
on God's part, a legal enmity against them, such as a judge hath against a malefactor, whom notwithstanding he may dearly love. But Jefus Christ hav ing undertaken, in the covenant, to expiate their guilt, by the facrifice of himself, the Father made a promife of peace and reconciliation with them thereupon. Hence we are said to be reconciled to God by the death of his Son, Rom. v. 10.; inafmuch as by his death and sufferings he purchased our reconcilia. tion, which was promised on these terms.
Now, this promife is accomplished to the justified finner: being pardoned, he is brought into a ftate of peace with God, as faith the Apostle, Rom. v. 1. Being juftified by faith, we have peace with God. God lays down his legal enmity against him, never to be taken up again. And more than that, he takes him into a bond of friendship; fo that he is not only at peace with God, but is the friend of God: James ii. 23. Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteoufnefs: and he was called the friend of God.
This promife is grafted upon the promise of ac ceptance and juftification made to Chrift. For his facrifice being accepted as well pleasing to God, and he discharged off the debt he became furety for; the reconciliation, as well as the pardon, of thofe united to him by faith, natively follows thereupon: 2 Cor. v. 19. God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them. Eph: i. 6. He hath made us accepted in the beloved. Ver. 7. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of fins.
2. Another branch of his promife, is the promise of their adoption into the family of God: Hof i. 10. It shall be faid unto them, Ye are the fons of the liv ing God. And this is more than the former; as it is more to be one's fon, than to be his friend. We have before declared, how all mankind was, by the first covenant, constituted God's hired-fervants; and
by the breach of the covenant, bond-fervants under the curfe and how Chrift transferred that ftate of fervitude off his fpiritual feed on himself. Now, upon confideration of his taking on him the form of a bond-fervant for them, the promise of their adoption into the family of God was made. He was made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of fons Gal. iv. 4, 5·
And being juftified by faith, and reconciled to God, it is accomplished to them: forafimuch as then Chrift's fervice is imputed to them, and a way is opened withal for their admiffion into the family of God, through their actual reconciliation to him: Rom. v. 1. Being juftified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jefus Chrift. Ver. 2. By whom alfo we have access by faith into this grace wherein we ftand. John i. 12. As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the fons of God. Then are they taken as children into the family of heaven: God becomes their father in Chrift; and they his fons and daughters, to abide for ever in his houfe, John viii. 35. And fo they have a right to all the privileges of that high relation.
Now, this promife is grafted upon the promise made to Chrift of a new kind of intereft in God as his Father: according to that, John xx. 17. I afcend unto my Father, and your Father. For by the Spirit of adoption we call God our Father, in the right of Jesus Christ our elder brother, spiritual husband and head.
3. The last branch is the promise of God's being their God: Heb. viii. 10. I will be their God. This is more than reconciliation and adoption: it is the height of the relation to God, which a finful creature could be advanced unto. They were by nature without God, Eph. ii. 12: but forafmuch as the Son of God did, in the covenant, undertake to give him
felf for them, in their nature perfectly to fatisfy the law, in his holy birth, righteous life, and exquifite death; a ranfom of infinite value, quite beyond all created things whatfoever, graces, pardons, heavens; there was made, upon that confideration, a promife of God's giving himfelf to them, as the adequate reward of that fervice; which being performed by the Mediator, this reward was purchafed for them. Hence God faith to Abraham, Gen. XV. I. I am thy exceeding great reward.
Now, to the believer being juftified, reconciled, and adopted, into the family of God, this heritage falls, in accomplishment of this promife, Rom. viii. 17. And if children, then heirs; heirs of God. Gal. iv. 7. And if a fon, then an heir of God through Chrift God himself being, the heritage. He becomes their God: they have a right to him, and are poffeffed of him, as their own property; a property which the thought of men and angels cannot fully reach the contents of. Not only are all the works and creatures of God in the heavens, earth, and feas, theirs, 1 Cor. iii. 22. All are yours; but himfelf is theirs; which is more than all that, as the bridegroom is more than all his marriage-robes, or his large poffeffions. All his attributes are theirs; his infinite wif dom to direct them, his power to afford them protec tion, his juftice to make all the benefits purchased by Chrift for them forthcoming to them, his holiness to transform them into the fame image, his mercy to pity and fuccour them, his grace to deal bountifully with them, his faithfulness to fulfil all the promifes to them in their time, and his all-fufficiency to render them completely happy. He is theirs in all his relations; their Shepherd, Provifor, Protector, King, Hufband, Head, and whatfoever may contribute to their happiness. All the perfons of the glorious Trinity are theirs; the Father is theirs, the Son is theirs, and the holy Spirit is theirs: Ifa.