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laments to find that his heart is still corrupt, and does all in his power to enliven it to a more complete and unmixed obedience. Let him pray on, feeling sure that God is faithful who will not suffer him to be tempted above what he is able to hear, regarding all such temporary coldness as a trial of his faith; determined, under the effectual aid of the Spirit of God, to crush and break down every rising of a peevish, or haughty, or discontented feeling in his heart; and God will undoubtedly bless his Christian warfare, and make him daily more like the perfect image of His Holy Son.
CHRIST RAISED FOR OUR JUSTIFICATION.
ROм. iv. 23, 24, 25. v. 1.
"Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our LORD JESUS CHRIST."
In this passage of the Epistle to the Romans, St. Paul puts forward in the strongest manner, in opposition to the judaizing Christians, the doctrine of Justification by Faith. He illustrates this doctrine by referring to the case of Abraham; and this, not only because Abraham was the person to whom the Jews themselves looked back with the utmost reverence as the first father of the chosen people, but because he was the great receiver of the evangelical promises,-promises
which the law, which was 430 years after, could not disannul, that it should make them of none effect,--and thereby the father of the faithful of all nations. In the early part of the fourth chapter, the Apostle shews that the justification received by Abraham was the gift of God, the gift to faith, not the payment to works; and in order to prove more clearly that the works of the Mosaic law could have no justifying power, he observes that Abraham's justification took place before his circumcision, that is, before his performance of the only deed which bore resemblance to the works of the Mosaic Law. He then pursues the argument in the 16th verse, as follows: "For this cause justification was made to depend upon faith, that thus it might be more clearly seen to be a free gift of God: and that thus the promise of blessing might be of such a kind as to be shared by all the children of Abraham, both by the natural children of his body, and the spiritual children of his faith (as it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations). For Abraham believed in God, the raiser of the dead to life'; at a time when there was no visible ground of hope, he believed God's promise that he should be a father of many nations, and hoped for the fulfilment of it: he did not consider his own old age, nor the deadness of Sarah's womb; but (giving thanks and glory to God) he felt strong and confident faith that what
God had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed unto him for righteousness." Let it be here observed that the particular point in Abraham's faith here put forward by the Apostle is that he believed in God, the raiser of the dead. St. Paul does not now speak of the faith which made Abraham quit his home, or offer up the son of promise, but that particular exercise of faith, of which the object was God the raiser of the dead. The argument then proceeds
"Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but for us also to whom it shall be imputed if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead." To us, as to Abraham, the same object of faith, of the faith which
is to justify, is once more offered; God, the raiser of the dead, has once more set before us an object of belief in Jesus Christ, (Himself both the raiser, and the raised,) whereby we may become the faithful children of faithful Abraham, and inherit the promise given to his faith. "Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification," that is, Christ, the blessed Son of God, died upon the cross in order to bear the penalty due to human sin, in order to put His people into that state of reconcilement with God in which they might be once more capable of pleasing Him. Herein is the precise reason for which Christ died; not so properly to save individuals, as to offer a sacrifice which should render all His people capa
ble of salvation.
He was delivered indeed for our
offences, (for unless atonement were first made to God for human sin there could be no opening for pardon ;) "but he was raised again for our justification," that is, He rose from the dead in order to give to individual Christians, made salvable by His death, an object of faith whereby they might inherit Abraham's blessing. By the resurrection they were enabled to have that faith in Him (Θεὸς ὁ ζωοποιῶν), which as it justified Abraham was also by God's mercy to justify them. If Christ had only died, doubtless the sacrifice would not have been less valuable or precious in the sight of God, doubtless the death of the Incarnate Son would still have been more than equal to atone for all human sin; but where then would faith have reposed herself? how should Christians have been justified? They would have walked sorrowfully; they would have been sad as they remembered how once they hoped that it was He who should have redeemed Israel. What should they have done which were baptized for the dead? faith would have had no resting place, the grave would have seemed to have closed upon their hopes. But "he was raised again for our justification." In His resurrection faith revived; in His resurrection faith found her scope, her strength, her cheerfulness. Once more was God, the raiser of the dead, exhibited to man; once more faith in Him was made the condition of personal salvation. Therefore being