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thority and power ; which is said to be God the Father. Though all the persons in the Godhead are equal in nature, dignity, and power, yet in their operation there is an order observed
them: the Father sends the Son, the Son is sent by the Father, the Holy Ghost is sent by both.
2. The subject in which God the Father lodges this authority, "Him," that is, the Son of man. God the Father hath so sealed him, as he never sealed any
other before him, or that shall arise after him. No name is given in heaven, or earth, but this name, by which we are saved. Acts, 4:12. "The government is upon his shoulder.” Isa. 9:6.
3. The way and manner of the Father's delegating and committing this authority to Christ; and that is, by sealing him. Where we have both a metonymy, the symbol of authority being put for the authority itself; and a metaphor, sealing, which is a human act for rati. fying and confirming an instrument or grant, being here applied to God. Like as princes, by sealed credentials, confirm the authority of those they send. Hence, Jesus Christ did not of himself undertake the work of our
redemption, but was solemnly sealed unto it by God the Father.
When I say he did not of himself undertake this work, I mean not that he was unwilling, for his heart was as fully and ardently engaged in it as the Father's: so he tells us, "Lo, I come to do thy will, O God; thy law is in my
heart.” Psa. 40 : 7, 8. But the meaning is, he came not without a due call, and full commission from his Father. And this is the meaning of that scripture, "I proceeded and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me." John, 8 : 42. And this the apostle plainly expresses, "No man taketh this honor to himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron: so also Christ glorified not himself to be made an High Priest ;
but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son." Heb. 5:4, 5. And on account of these sealed creden. tials which he received from the Father, he is called " the Apostle and High Priest of our profession,” Heb. 3:1, that is, one called and sent forth by the Father's authority. Our present business, then, is to open Christ's commission, and to view the great seal of heaven by which it was ratified.
I. What was that office, or work, to which his Father sealed him ? I answer, more generally, he was sealed to the whole work of mediation for us, thereby to recover and save all whom the Father had given him: so John, 17:2; it was to "give eternal life to as many as were given him :" it was "to bring Jacob again to him," " Isa. 49:5, or, as the apostle expresses it, "that he might bring us to God.” 1 Pet. 3:18. More particularly, in order to the sure and full effecting of this most glorious design, he was sealed to the offices of a Prophet, Priest, and King, that so he might bring about and compass this work.
1. God sealed him a commission to preach the glad tidings of salvation to sinners. This commission Christ opened and read in the audience of the people ; " And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and the recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised; to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, &c. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” Luke, 4:17-21.
2. He also sealed him to the priesthood, and that the most excellent; authorizing him to execute both the parts of it, namely, expiatory and intercessory. He called him to offer up himself a sacrifice for us : "I have power (saith he) to lay down my life; this commandment have I received of my Father.” John, 10:18. And upon that account, his offering up of his blood is, by the apostle, styled an act of obedience: "He became obedient unto death.” Phil. 2:8. He also called him to intercede for us. "Those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath, by him that said unto him, The Lord sware, and will not repent, Thou art a Priest for ever,” Heb. 7:21, 24, 25 : his sacrifice is virtually continued, in his living for ever to make intercession, as verse 24.
3. He called him to his regal office ; he was set upon the highest throne of authority by his Father's commission :
All power in heaven and earth is given to me.” Matt. 28:18. To all this was Christ sealed and authorized by his Father.
II. What doth the Father's sealing of Christ to this work and office imply?
1. The validity and efficacy of all his mediatorial acts. For by virtue of this his sealing, whatever he did was fully ratified. And in this very thing lies much of a believer's comfort and security ; forasmuch as all acts done without commission and authority, how great or able soever the person that performs them, are in themselves null and void. But what is done by commission and authority, is authentic, and valid among men.
2. It imports the great obligation lying upon Jesus Christ to be faithful in the work to which he was sealed: for the Father, in this commission, devolves a great trust upon him, and relies upon him for his most faithful discharge of it. And, indeed, upon this very account Christ reckons himself specially obliged to pursue the Father's design and end: "I must work the works of him that sent me.” John, 9:4. And, "I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me."
John, 5:30. His eye is still upon that work and will of his Father. He reckons himself under a necessity of punctual and precise obedience to it; and, as a faithful servant, will have his own will swallowed up in his Father's will.
3. It imports Christ's complete qualification and fit. ness to serve the Father's design and end of our recovery. Had not God known him to be every way fit and qualified for the work, he would never have sealed him a commission for it. Men may, but God will not seal an unfit or incapable person for his work. And, indeed, whatever is desirable in a servant, was eminently found in Christ. For faithfulness, none like him. Moses, indeed, was faithful in every point, but still as a servant ; but Christ as a Son. Heb. 3:6. He is " the faithful and true witness.” Rev. 1:5. For zeal, none like him. The zeal of God's house did eat him up. John, 2 : 16, 17. He was so intent upon his Father's work that he forgot to eat bread, counting his work his meat and drink. John, 4:32. Yea, love to his Father carried him on through all his work, and made him delight in the hardest piece of his service; for he served him as a Son. Heb. 3:5, 6. All that ever he did was done in love. For wisdom, none like him. The Father knew him to be most wise, and said of him before he was employed, "Behold, my Servant shall deal prudently." Isa. 52: 13. For self-denial, never any like him; he sought not his own glory, but the glory of him that sent him. John, 8:50. Had he not been thus faithful, zealous, full of love, prudent, and self-denying, he had never been employed in this great affair.
4. It implies Christ's sole authority in the church, to appoint and enjoin what he pleaseth ; and this is his peculiar prerogative. God's sealing him is a single, not a joint commission; he hath sealed him, and none beside him. Indeed there were some that pretended a call and commission from God; but all that came before him, giving themselves out for the Messiah, were "thieves and robbers,” that came not in at the door, as he did. John, 10: 8. And he himself foretells, that after him some should arise, and labor to deceive the world with a feigned commission, and a counterfeit seal: " There shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch, that if it were possible, they should deceive the very elect.” Matt. 24 : 24. But God never commissioned any besides him, neither is there any other name under heaven. Acts, 4:12.
III. Let us inquire how God the Father sealed Jesus Christ to this work.
1. By solemn designation to this work. He singled him out and set him apart for it: and therefore the prophet Isaiah calls him God's elect, chap. 42:1; and the apostle Peter, Chosen of God. 1 Pet. 2:4. This word which we render elect, not only signifies one that in himself is surpassing, worthy, and excellent, but also one that is set apart and designed, as Christ was, for the work of mediation. And so much is included in John, 10:36, where the Father is said to sanctify him, that is, to separate and devote him to this service.
2. He was sealed, not only by solemn designation, but also by supereminent and unparalleled sanctification. He was anointed, as well as appointed to it. The Lord filled him with the Spirit, and that without measure, to qualify him for this service. So Isa. 61 : 1-3, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach," &c. Yea, the Spirit of the Lord was not only upon him, but he was full of the Spirit, Luke, 4:1, and so full as was never any beside him; for God "anointed him with the oil of gladness above his fellows." Psa. 45:7. Believers are his fellows, or co-partners of this Spirit; they have an anointing also, but not as Christ had: