« PreviousContinue »
the words of our Lord himself, "Those whom the Son makes free, are free indeed;" or in the language of his Apostle, "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." They are free from the Law, that is, from its curse and condemnation; for "there is no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus;" "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse in our stead." They are not freed from the restraints and the precepts of the law, nor do they wish to be, for they esteem all the commandments of the Lord concerning all things to be right; nor can they be, for they " are not without law to God but under the law to Christ," and the contrary would be licentiousness and not liberty. They are also free from sin, that is, from its reigning and domineering power, for "sin shall not have dominion over you, because ye are not under the law, but under grace;" "the spirit of life in Christ Jesus shall make you free from the law of sin and death." They are freed moreover from fear; from fear of God, for "because they are sons, God hath sent forth the spirit of his
Son into their hearts, whereby they cry, Abba, Father"-from fear of Satan, for God will bruise him under their feet:-from fear of the law, for Christ hath not only redeemed them from the curse of the law, but hath fulfilled it on their behalf:-and finally from fear of death, for they "know whom they have believed; that he is the resurrection and the life;" that "whosoever liveth, and believeth in him, shall not die eternally;" and that "blessed are the dead, who die in the Lord." Thus contemplating their freedom from all the condemnation, punishment, and miseries which would otherwise fall upon them after death through sin and the law, they triumphantly exclaim, "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
I must here conclude these observations with a brief address.
1. First, to those who are not true and spiritual members of the church of Christ.
You, according to the language of the allegory, are born after the flesh, and therefore are not the children of God, nor heirs of his promises and kingdom. You rest your salvation, in reality, upon your own works, and therefore, belonging to the covenant of the law, you are under its curse. You are
inclined to despise and ridicule others on account of their religion, and therefore you bear the likeness of Ishmael, and will be cast out of the family of God. You are in bondage under the rule of Satan and sin, and therefore must suffer their eternal doom, except you be made free by the grace of the Gospel. Now this is a perilous condition, from which you must earnestly pray and diligently seek to be delivered. You will obtain that deliverance by a faithful reception of the christian covenant. If you become the true members of Christ by a living faith in him, then you will be made the children of God; and "if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.
2. Secondly, to those who through a true and living faith in Christ are members of
that new and better covenant which is made in him as its head with all the faithful. Consider your privileges. Behold what manner of love the father hath bestowed upon you that you should be called the sons of God. Contemplate the inheritance that is reserved for you, an inheritance with the saints in light, incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away. Endeavour to live up to these privileges. And if by the mercy of Christ, and the power of divine grace you are already "delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God," abhor the very thought of ever using that liberty as an occasion to the flesh, or of sinning, because you are not under the law, but under grace. Maintain the sacred character of sons of God by the holiness of your lives, and the excellencies of all your deeds; and so wait, till an entrance be abundantly ministered to you into the everlasting kingdom of your God and Saviour.
THE OFFERING UP OF ISAAC.
GENESIS xxii. 2.
And he said, take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt-offering upon one of the mountains, which I will tell thee of.
WE are here presented with a most remarkable display of the power of faith. Well has the transaction thus recorded established the character of Abraham as the father of the faithful. Here may we see how his faith wrought by his works; and hence may we learn, how we should walk in his steps, if we profess the same faith. In expounding the chapter before us, we shall endeavour to consider,