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he brought into the temple; they cried out, Men of Israel, belp, this is the man that teacheth all men every where, against the people, and the law, and this place", From all which it is most manifeft, that the apostle must be fully acquainted with, and be aware of this popular objection to his doctrine; and which he here makes answer to; partly by way of deceftation and abhorrence, God forbid; a way of speaking he often makes use of, when vile objections were made to his doctrine, or such wicked consequences drawn from it, as were abominable to him ; as when he obferves, What fall we say then? Shall we continue in fin that grace may abound? God forbid: How shall we that are dead to fin live any longer therein ? Again ; What shall we say then? is the law fin? God forbid : Nay, I had not known fin but by the law'. Once more; If while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, Is therefore Christ the minister of fin? God forbid?: and partly he replies to this objection, by afferring the contrary, yea, we establish the law; in like manner as Christ had done before, in a passage already referred to, I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil; and indeed, he is not destroying, but the fulfilling end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes
By faith here we are to understand either the grace or the doctrine of faith, or both. Faith may be considered as a grace ; which, by an inspired writer is defined to be the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen'. It is a grace peculiar to the chosen of God, and precious; it is a fruit and effect of electing love, and so an evidence of it; and is therefore stiled The faith of God's ele&t. It is a gift of God', an instance of his grace; and a special blessing of the everlasting covenant; it is not obtained by the industry, power and will of man; it is implanted in the heart by the Spirit of God, and the power of his grace; whence it is said to be the faith of the operation of God". This grace has a considerable place and concern in the justification of a poor finner before God, in the court of conscience. This is the eye of the soul, by which it fees and looks unto the righteousness of Chrift for justification ; for that in the gospel is revealed from faith to faith"; it is the hand of the soul, by which it receives the blefling from the Lord, even righteousness from the God of its salvation"; or in other words, by which it receives abundance of grace, and of the gift of righteousness'. Hence fuch as are poffeffed of it, are said to be justified by it ; not by it as an habit implanted in them by the Spirit of God; for, as such, it is a branch of sanctification; nor as an act performed by them; for as such, it is their act and deed, under the influence of the Spirit of God; but relatively, organically, or objec
tively m Als xxi. 28. * Rom. vi. 1, 2.
Rom. vii. 7.
P Gal. ii. 17. & Rom. X. 4.
Heb. xi. 1.
• Ephes. it. 8.
y Rom. v. 172
tively considered; that is, as it relates to, and is concerned with, or has for its object Christ's righteousness; or as it is a means of apprehending and receiving that as its justifying one ; for faith itself doth not make us righteous; it is not our righteousness, nor does it give us one; no, nor an interest in Christ's ; but it is that grace by which we claim our interest in Christ's righteousness; by which we have the knowledge and perception of it, and possess that spiritual peace, joy and pleasure which arise from it: it is that grace by which we live on Christ as the Lord our righteousness; who was delivered into the hands of justice and death for our offences; and was raised again for our justification”. Now faich, considered as having such an hand in this affair, is no way contrary to the law of God; that is not made void by it; nor is obedience to it, on the account of faith, rendered unnecessary and insignificant, as will be shewn hereafter.
Again ; By faith may be meant the doctrine of faith; and that either as it may intend in general the whole gospel, or in particular, che doctrine of justification by faith in Christ's righteousness. The whole gospel sometimes goes by the name of faith, and is called, The faith once delivered to the saints; our most boly faith ; and the faith of the gospel“; because it contains things to be believed at once, upon the credit of the revealer, and not to be disputed by carnal reafon : it proposes, and points out the great object of faith, Jesus Christ; its language is, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be savedo: it is the means, in the Spirit's hands, of begetting and implanting the grace of faith in the hearts of God's elect: Faith comes by hearing, and bearing by the word of Gods. Yea, the word preached is unprofitable, unless it be mixed with faith by them that bear itd. Now there is an entire harmony and consistency between this doctrine of faith and the law of God. The law is so far from being made void by it, that whatsoever is against that, is also contrary to sound doEtrine, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, committed to the trust of his servants Moreover, since the apostle is manifestly inlifting, in the context, upon the doctrine of a sinner's justification before God, it is reasonable to suppose, that this is what he principally designs by faith ; and it is not to be wondered at, that this should be so called ; since the grace of faith is of so much use in it, to the apprehension, knowledge and comfort of it; and since it is so fundamental an article of faith, that he that goes off from it, is said to be removed unto another gospel; Christ is become of no effe&t unto him: and wbosoever seeks to be justified by the law, is fallen from gracef ; that is, from the doctrine of it. Now by this particular doctrine also, the law is not made null and void; nor are good works, done in obedience to it, useless and unprofitable.
i Rom. iv. 25.
• Jude 3. Phil. i. 27.
Acts xvi 3.1.
e Rom. X. 17. f Gal. i, 6. and v. 4.
By' the law, I apprehend, we are to understand not the ceremonial law, that law which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and earnal ordinances imposed on them, the Jews, until the time of reformations, that is, the gospeldispensation, or times of the Messiah; which law only had a shadow of good things to come, but not the very image of the things; and could never, by its daily or yearly facrifices, make the comer's thereunto perfez"; and therefore there was a disannulling of the commandment, for the weakness and unprofitableness of it'. This law is indeed made void and useless ; Christ has broken down the middle wall of partition which stood becween, separated and distinguished between Jew and Gentile ; he has abolished in his flesh the enmity, that which was the cause of fo much enmity between the people of Israel and the nations of the world, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances *; wherefore no man should now judge or condemn christians in respect of meat or drink, or of an boly day, or of the new moon, or of the fabbath-days, which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ'; he is the fum and substance of all these ceremonies: nor was this law abolished and made void until it was fulfilled in and by Christ; for every type and figure, every shadow and sacrifice, every office and ordinance pertaining to that dispensation, had their entire accomplishment in him. But by the law in this our text, I judge, the moral law is intended; that law which was written in Adam's heart in innocence; some remains of which are to be observed in fallen man, and even among the Gentiles, destitute of a divine revelation; and because of the depravity of human nature, and the treachery of human memory, and because this law was so much obliterated, and almost erased out of the hearts of men; a new edicion of it was delivered to Mofes in writing, calculated particularly for the people of the Jews; and which is opposed unto, and contradistinguished from the gospel of Christ; the law was given by Mses, but
grace and truth came by Jesus Christm. The sum of this law is love to God and to our neighbour; and is established by sanctions of rewards and punishments, promising life in case of obedience, and threatening with death in case of disobedience.
Now to make void the law, according to the import of the word here used, is to destroy and abolish it, to render it idle, inactive, weak, useless, and insignificant"; and to establish it, according to the notation of the word in the text, is to make it stand, to place it upon a fure basis and firm foundation, or to make it effcaual to answer the ends and purposes for which it is designedo.
Upon & Heb. ix. 10. h Heb. x I. I Heb. vii. 18.
k Ephes. ii. 14, 15 I cools. ii. 16, 17.
John i. 17. Ketagyuu:r, inutilem reddimus, five otiofam & ignavam, omnibusque viribus delitutam. Hoc vocant Græci quali asegon cui opponitur erseys
Beza in loc.
Upon the whole, the observation on the text, or the doctrine of it, is this ; that the moral law is not made null and void, but is established both by the grace and do&trine of faith. The proposition consists of two parts, a negative and an affirmative. I shall first confider the one, and then the other.
First, The negative part of the proposition is, That the law of God is not made void either by the grace or doctrine of faith.
1. Not by the grace of faith. It is certain, indeed, that believing and working, or faith and works, are continually opposed to, and contradiftinguished from each other in the business of justification; every one that has read his Bible, with any care, will be able to observe this. How often does the apostle say, that a man is justified by faith, without the deeds of the law”; and that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ? Even we, says he, have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law : for by the works of the law shall no fles be justifieds. And again; To him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, bis faith is counted for righteousness'. But then it should be known, that faith is not opposed to the doing of good works, in obedience to the law of God, from right principles, and with righc views ; but to trusting to, and depending upon them, and glorying in them, as the matter of justification before God, and acceptance with him ; for that there is an entire agreement and consistency between faith in Christ, and works done in obedience to the law upon gospel principles, will clearly appear from the following hints. Let it be observed then,
That that faith only is right, which looks to and lays hold upon Christ's righteousness for justification, that is attended with good works, as fruits of righseousness; for as the apostle James says, What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say be bath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him ? Faith, if it bath not works, is dead, being alone.: and such a faith can never be true and
genuine, nor of any use and advantage; though good works do not, and cannot justify a man's person before God; yet they justify a man's faith, or evidence the truth of it before men; they are fruits of faith, and so teftimonies of the reality of it. A man may say, adds the same apoftle, thou hast faith and I have works : fhew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Yea, he further observes, that by works faith is made perfeét; and that, as the body without the spirit is dead; so faith without works is dead also". Not that the essence, perfection, and life of faith lie in, or flow from works; but
because, I Rom. ii. 28. 9 Gal, ii. 16. s Rom. iv. S.
• James ii. 14, 17. James ii. 18.
James ii. 22, 26.
because, as one rightly judges ", works are second acts, necessarily flowing from the life of faith; and faith is said to be perfected by them, not with an eilential perfection, as the effect is perfected by the cause; but with a complemental one, as the cause is made perfect, or rendered actually complete in the production of the effect. Faith is not an idle, inactive, inoperative grace; but a very industrious, active, and working one ; it works by love to God and Christ, to fellow-christians and fellow.creatures ; and love, by which faith works, takes a large compass of operation; it is very extensive, both as to its objects and its acts. Hence that which is perfect, as it is in Christ, is the fulfilling of the law; and though love is iinperfect in the saints, yet so far as it acts aright, it acts in agreement with the law; and therefore the law can never be made void by that faith which operates by it. Owe no man any thing, saith the apostle, but 10 love one another; for be that loveth another, bath fulfilled the law. For this, Ikou shalt not commit adultery ; Thou shalt not kill; Thou shalt not steal; Thou shalt not bear false Witness ; Thou shalt not Covet ; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying ; namely, Thou shalt love t by neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour ; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law *.
Again ; As faith without works is dead; so, on the other hand, works without faith, are dead works also ; yea, Whatsoever is not of faith is fin'; and wilhout faith it is impossible to please God”, or to perform any duty acceptable unto him. Hence the law, and obedience to it, can never be made void by this grace, and the exercise of it, or its concern in justification; since the end of the commandment is charity, out of a pure beart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned
Besides, believers, or such as have true faith in Christ and his righteousness, are the only persons that are capable of yielding spiritual obedience to the law, or of performing good works in a spiritual manner. Men may as soon expect to gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles, as to imagine that good works, such as are in all their circumstances so, can be performed by an evil man. Men must become the workmanship of God, and be created in Christ Jesus, in order to perform good works; wbich God bath before ordained that we should walk in them "; they must be made new creatures, and put on the new man; wbich after God is created in, os, unto righteousness and true boliness; and such as are born again,
who * Fides illa quæ fine charitatis operibus exiftit dicitur mortua, Jac ii 26. Non quia fidei vita ab operibus fuit, fed quia opera sunt actus fecundi ex fidei vita necessario fuentes. Fides ex operibus dicitur perfici, Jac. ii. 22. Non essentiali perfectione, ficut effectum perficitur a causa ; sed compli. mentali, ficut caufa perficitur, aut a&u completa redditur, in productione effe&i.
Amel. Medulla Theolog l. 2. c: 7. 9. 35. 36. p. 242, 243. * Rom. xiii 8-10
y Rom. xiv. 23.
2 Heb. xi. 6.' ai Tim. i. s. • Ephes. ii. 10.
• Ephes. iv. 24.