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Gold and silver might rivet our chains, and fix us more strongly in a vain conversation ; but it could never detach us from the love of present things.]
That, which alone was of value sufficient, was, “ the precious blood of Christ”
[The lamb that was offered daily in sacrifice to God was to be spotless and without blemish. By its blood, atonement was made for the sins of the Jewish nation; and they were preserved a holy and peculiar people. This was a typical ordinance: it represented Christ, who in due time offered himself without spot to God:” and the benefits visibly, and in a figure, enjoyed by the Jewish nation, are invisibly, but really enjoyed by us.
We have the substance of which they had the shadow. Well then might the Apostle call his blood precious.” There is no bondage from which it does not deliver us.
Were we under the curse and condemnation of the law? The blood of Christ redeems us from the penalty of all our transgressions : it gives peace to the guilty, and liberty to the captive, soul: it frees, moreover, from all the snares and entanglements of this vain world. This is mentioned both in the text and in other places as a principal end of Christ's death. Precious indeed is it, when its influence is thus felt. To a true Christian the blood of Christ is not less precious as delivering him from sin, than it is as delivering him from hell itself.]
While we wonder that such a price was ever paid, let us inquire into, III. The effect which the consideration of this price
should have upon usThe Apostle introduces the text as an argument for passing our time in fear
[A slavish fear is one of those things from which we are delivered by the blood of Christ. We sprinkle that blood on our door-posts, and have no dread of the destroying angel. But there is a holy jealousy, which it is our duty ever to maintain. We are only sojourners in this world, and are hastening to our Father's house. We are moreover in danger of being diverted from our path. We have a subtle adversary and a deceitful heart. Sin itself also is deceitful, and will beguile us, if we watch not against its wiles. We should therefore be on our guard, and pass the time of our sojourning here in fear.]
And well may this effect be produced by such a wonderful consideration
d Gal. i. 4.
[Were we laden with bags of gold, we should be cautious how we ventured ourselves among thieves and robbers. And shall we be careless when we carry about with us what is of more value than the whole world ? Shall we trifle with that which nothing but the precious blood of God's own Son could redeem? Shall Satan as a roaring lion go about seeking to devour us, and we not stand on our guard against him? Shall we suffer him to " destroy that for which Christ died?" O let not that precious blood be so vile in our eyes. Let not our souls appear of so little value. Let us rather watch night and day. It is but a little time : soon we shall be at home; safe in the bosom of our Lord, safe beyond the reach of harm.] APPLICATION
1. Let us inquire what we “know” concerning these things
[The Apostle takes for granted that all Christians "know" them. But do ye know them? Do ye know that a worldly conversation is a vain conversation ? Do ye know that no resolutions, no services, yea, nothing but the precious blood of Christ could ever redeem you from it? And do
know by daily experience the efficacy of his blood in that view? “Examine yourselves whether ye be in the faith," and whether you have that deadness to the world, which alone can warrant a favourable conclusion. If ye be Christ's, "ye are not of the world, even as he was not of the world e"
ye are dead to it," and “have your conversation in heaven?."]
2. Let us labour to experience them more and more
[There is something very fascinating in the temptations of the world. Its pleasures, riches, or honours are but too apt to draw us aside. But whenever ye are tempted, say, Shall I return to that bondage from which I have been redeemed with the precious blood of Christ ? Shall I trample under foot the Son of God, and crucify him afresh8? Shall I, as it were, see his dead corpse lying in my way, and go over that to the gratification of my base desires ? Surely such reflections will
not fail to animate your resolution, and to keep you at a distance from those scenes of vanity, where your steadfastness would be endangered. Let us live as citizens of a better country, and " no more fashion ourselves according to our former lusts in our ignoranceh.” Let us drink of purer pleasures, even of “that river, the streams whereof make glad the city of God.” Thus, experiencing the full benefits of redeeming love on earth, we shall ere long sing its praises in heaven for evermore.) e John xvii. 16. f Phil. iii. 20. 8 Heb. x. 29. h 1 Pet. i. 14.
THE FATHER'S PART IN THE WORK OF REDEMPTION.
1 Pet. i. 20, 21. Who verily was foreordained before the foun
dation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.
THE salvation of man is with great propriety ascribed to Christ, because he laid down his own life a ransom for us. But we shall have very imperfect views of this mystery, if we do not trace it up to God the Father, and see him concurring with Christ in every part, and performing, as it were, an appropriate office in the economy of redemption. Indeed a distinct knowledge of the Father's work is highly conducive to our progress in the divine life. This being intimated in the text, we shall endeavour to shew, I. What part the Father bore in the work of redemp
tionHe ordained his Son to his mediatorial office from all eternity
[As the prophets frequently speak of the Messiah as sent and qualified for his office by the Father“, so our Lord himself constantly acknowledged that he received his commission from him b. Nor was he first appointed when he became incarnate: he was fore-ordained before the foundation of the world. The time of his incarnation, the manner of his death, together with every the minutest circumstance relating to him, were fixed in the Divine counsels. Hence he is called the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world a.] In due season he manifested his Son to the world
[The Father prepared him a body in the Virgin's womb; and by a preternatural star conducted the Magi to him as soon as he was born. He afterwards bore testimony to him repeatedly by an audible voice from heaven, and by causing the Holy Ghost to light visibly upon him with the hovering
a I sai. xlii, la
6 John viii. 28, 42.
motion of a dove. In all the miracles which he wrought, the Father bore witness of hime- even in the hour of his dissolution, when most of all his divine mission might seem doubtful, even then did the Father so testify of him, as to make the Centurion, who superintended the execution, exclaim, Truly this was the Son of God'!]
After suffering him to be put to death, he raised him up again from the dead
[Jesus was able to raise himself, and is often said to have risen by his own power 6. But we are expressly told here, and in many other places, that the Father also raised him". Indeed, as the Father, to whose justice he paid the debt, gave, as it were, the commission, by virtue of which he was imprisoned in the grave, it was necessary that he should also give him his discharge, when the demands of justice were fully satisfied. Accordingly, his restoration to life is spoken of as the strongest evidence of his Messiahship, and of his having finished that work which the Father had given him to do!]
Lastly he exalted him to heaven, and invested him with all the glory thereof
[Jesus, in his obedience, had looked to "the joy that was set before him ;" and when that obedience was fulfilled, his Father gave him the promised reward. He placed that very person, who was crucified, at his own right hand. He seated him upon his own eternal throne, and committed the government of the universe into his handsk. He has commanded all to honour him even as himself; and to all eternity shall that adorable Lamb of God be the medium of his people's happiness, as he has been the Author and Procurer of it.]
That this is not a matter of mere speculation will appear, if we inquire, II. What effect the consideration of it is intended to
produce upon us ? The ultimate end, for which the Father has thus interposed on our behalf, is, to glorify himself in the salvation of man. But there are other and more immediate ends, which the knowledge of his interference is intended to accomplish :
1. It should confirm our faith
e John v. 36.
f Matt. xxvii. 54.
[We are called particularly to believe that Christ was the true Messiah ; that he performed every thing that was necessary for our salvation; and that the Father is willing to be reconciled to all who come to him by Jesus. Now it is not possible to entertain a doubt of any one of these points, if we duly consider what the Father has done for us. Would God have so frequently, and in such a wonderful manner, borne witness to Jesus if he had been an impostor?
Would he have liberated him from the prison of the grave, and have exalted him to glory, if the work assigned him had been left unfinished
Would he have sent him into the world to redeem us, and have so gloriously rewarded his services, if, after all, he were not willing to accept returning prodigals ?
Can we suppose that God has done all these things only to mock, and to deceive us ? Far be it from us to entertain the thought one moment. Let us rather conclude, that, as “it is impossible for God to lie," so it is most injurious to him to question one jot or tittle of the record which he has given us of his Son.] 2. It should enliven our hope--
[Many are the grounds upon which we are apt to indulge fear and despondency: but there is not one, which a due consideration of what God has done would not instantly remove. Do we suppose ourselves to have been overlooked by God? He gave his Son to be " a propitiation, not for our sins only, but also for the sins of the whole world ;” and has asserted with an oath, that he is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and live." Do we imagine ourselves to be too vile ? " It is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that he sent his Son to save sinners, even the chief.” Do we fear lest, notwithstanding we do believe, we should by some means or other be left to perish? Behold he has exalted his Son as our Head, our Representative, our Forerunner, in whom we are already accepted, and with whom we shall assuredly be glorified in due season: yea, “ he has made his Son to be Head over all things to his Church,” in order that he may put all his enemies under his feet, and secure the purchase of his own blood. Let us then yield no more to gloomy apprehensions, but ask of God the gift of his blessed Spirit, through whose powerful influence we shall both abound and rejoice in hope'.] In conclusion let me tell
you 1. Who they are that are especially interested in this great mystery
I Rom, xv. 13