« EdellinenJatka »
will always have the mastery of sin, and the dominion over it, wherever it is applied. As sin hath reigned unto death, so grace reigns through rightrousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord; and if that begins, it will carry on the work, and perfect what concerns us; and in a little time more, our way and our work will be done, and grace and peace shall be multiplied to us, till we come to that good land where grace and peace glow. They are indeed planted here, but they belong :ot ti thus world, this world is not the soil for them; they are plants of heaven, and they grow best there. O how will all the possessors of it bless that grace, when they come there, which they never knew before but by report! and that peace which cannot be fully known till we get this ther! And there our ur.ce will be without any mixture, and our peace without a mixture of any thing contrary to it; and then indeed grace and peace shall be multiplied to us. Lord, hasten that time!
1 PETER i. 3, 4.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who
according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again to a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead; to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not
away, reserved on heaven for you. You
OU already know what is contained in the first and second verses of this epistle, directed by the apostle to the believing strangers scattered through several countries, who were elected by God the Father, sanctified by the Spirit, and sprinkled by the blood of Christ.
It now follows to speak of the apostle's entrance on this epistle ; it begins with praise : and here the apostle Peter is like the apostle Paul, who generally begins his episties this way, with praise unto God for his grace and mercy to them
to whom he writes. In the beginning of the epistle there are three things to be remarked, which I would speak to in their order. Ist, The person his praise is directed t), The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. A singular name of God, a name fitted to the faith of a believer ; a name whereby God is known, and which we must learn to know him by, The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2dly, The next thing in the words is the form and way of the apostle's praising ; « Blessed be he," saith he; Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
3dly, The third and last thing in these words is, the matter of his praise ; which branches forth itself into four things.
Ist, There is the blessing itself, begetting us again to a lively hope: this is a strange kind of begetting, the raising a poor dead sinner to a lively hope, who, if I may so say, had nothing before but deadly fear; here is a lively hope brought in. 2dly, We have in these words the spring and rise of this gracious work; it is according to his abundant mercy; so we read it: but if the English would bear it, it is according to his much mercy, according to his great mercy; so the Greek
All the saving operations of God for, and upon the heirs of glory, they all arise from great mercy; mercy is the great high spring of all. 3dly, Here is the grand means of this great work of God in begetting us again to a lively hope ; What way is this brought about ? By the resurrection of Christ from the dead. All the hopes of believers rise from something done by Christ, and done upon him ; our hope does not rise so much from any thing done by us, or done upon upon us ; it is by the resurrection of Christ from the dead. Lastly, We have the great end of this work of God in begetting us again to a lively hope, the great end that it is directed to, and will issue in, and this we have in the 4th verse : it is to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for them. It is little known now what the work of grace on a believer drives at, and what it will issue in. A poor dead sinner is wrought upon by the Spirit of God in the gospel, and nobody can imagine what this will turn to ; saith the apostle, it is to an inho ritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadet! not away. Be
fore God hath done with him, it will be known it is for the possession of a vast boundless glory; a blessed estate is provided for them above.
I. It is the first of these that I would now enter upon ; the name of the party the apostle gives thanks to, The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul, in his epistle to the Ephesians, calls God, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Father of glory, chap. i. 17. A little farther, in the same epistle, he saith, chap. iii. 14. For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In these two places, the apostle speaks distinctly: in one of them, he calls Goi, the God of our Lord Jesus Glirist; in the other place he calls him, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ: but, in the text, they are both joined together; the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. So doth the apostle Paul also, in his epistle to the Corinthians, 1 Cor. i. 9. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; and again, in his epistle to the Colossians, We give thanks to God, and to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Col. i. 3. It is plain by this description, that the apostle means the first person in the Goda head, God the Father; and he describes him by this, that he is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
There are two things necessary in the opening up this to you, and laying it before you for your edification ; 1st, I would shew you how this is to be understood ; 2dly, How it is to be used.
Ist, How this is to be understood, that God the Father is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. There are two names here, and I would speak to each distinctly : 1st, How is God the Father, the Gori of our Lord Jesus Christ? The meaning of it centers all in this, that God the Father is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ upon this account, that our Lord Jesus Christ is the Srst in the covenang with God. Sirs, no creature can have a relation to God, as his God, but by covenant. The relation of God as a Creator relates to his framing all things. Colis the creator of the sun, moon, and stars, and of all the works of his hands; but he is not the God thereof. The relation of a God always
springs from covenant, and therefore the word doth not speak of it; and blessed be the Author of the word, that it is never spoken of! God is never said to be Adam's God; he was certainly so, for all that. The grace of God, in being a God to a creature, is owing only to the second Adam.
It is only said, that Adam heard the voice of the Lord God in the garden; in the second and third chapters of Genesis, that give an account of Adam before the fall; we do not find it said that ever God was Adam's God: he was Alam's creator, and Adam was really in covenant with God, and really had God' to be his Ged, till he sinned ; yet he stood so little a while in his state of innocency, that the Spirit of God never thought it worth mentioning to call Adam by this, that God was his God. Now, the relation of God's being a God to a creature, resulting from covenant, our Lord Jesus Christ, as man, is the head of this covenant; and therefore it is that God the Father is called the God of our Lord Jesus Christ. There was never so near and close relation between God and a creature, as there was between him and the man Christ. Jesus Christ hath the first room in the covenant. Never had there been a poor sinner advanced to this privilege, to have God to be his God, unless there had first been a great man, Christ Jesus, who had God to be his God. Therefore thus our Lord directs his disciples, I ascend unta my Father and your Father, to my God and your God, John xx. 17. And there is great need that Christians should have this well fixed and established on their hearts :that relation which God had to Christ, is the foundation of all that relation we have to God.
2dly, How is God the Father, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? I answer, God's being the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ respects principally these three things : 1st, The inconceivable communication of the divine nature to the person of the Son. This is the highest and the greatest that we can arrive at; and we cannot arrive at it but by faith. He is called, Heb. i. 3. the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person. He is called frequently, the only begotten of the Father, John i. 14. ; iii. 16. . That from eternity the divine person of the Son was begotten by the divine person of
the Father. The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is then an expression of his divine nature. 2dly, The extraordinary way of the bestowing the human nature upon Christ, entitles him to this name, of being the Son of the Father, and the Father's being a Father to our Lord Jesus Christ. There are not a few amongst us, whom God hath left unto a reprobate mind, and forsaken to their utter destruction, who think that Jesus Christ is a mere man; I no more expect the salvation of such a man, than I do the salvation of the devils. A man who believeth that Jesus Christ is no more than a mere man, is as far from salvation as the very devils themselves are. But yet, notwith. standing, the way of the communication of the human nature to Christ inticles him to a sonship to God: Therefore, saith the angel to the virgin Mary, the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall over shadow thee : therefore also, that holy thing that shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God, Luke i. 35. There was never a holy thing born of a woman but only this child Jesus Christ. Indeed at first God made two holy things, the first Adam and his wife; but there was never a holy thing born of a woman but Jesus Christ; that holy thing that is born of thee shall be called the Son of God. 3dly, Jesus Christ comes under this name, that God the Father is his Father, because of the special engagements of love that the Father bears towards him, and proves towards him. Never was there such a love as that the Father bore to the Son. All the love that we partake of is but a bit, a short reflection frem this love. Therefore, saith our Lord, I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare its that the love wherewith thou hast loved me, may be in them, and I in them, John xvii. 26. So much for the explaining of these dames of God that he is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus. I am now to shew
how we are to use this name of God; what uses it serves for.
Ist, It serves to direct us in right thoughts of God; pray take heed to this; it serves, I say, to direct us in the right thoughts of God. There is a thought and a sense of God engraven in every man by nature ; for nature's light and rea. son points forth to us, that there is a God. How came all things to be ? Because there is a God. Why is there a world?