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1 COR. i. 30. Who of God is made unto us Wisdom, and
Righteousness, and Sanctification, and Redemption.
person of whom the Apostle is here speaking is Jesus Christ, the great finisher of the whole economy of Divine Grace, relative to the recovery of fallen
What the Apostle says of Him on this occasion, at the same time that it is comprehensive of his character and office, may be considered moreover, as descriptive of the nature and genius of that Religion, which he came to establish in the world.
The words of the text, therefore, place before us the greatest subject that can be
submitted to human consideration; namely, the work of Redemption by Jesus Christ ; whether we regard the work itself, or the Worker'of it.—They point out particularly those essential qualities, by which the character of Jesus Christ is distinguished from that of every other teacher or messenger from God whatever: a distinction necessary to be attended to by all, who would form an adequate judgement of the Christian Dispensation.
Noah and Moses, the prophets and John the Baptist, were all, in their respective departments, commissioned from God to teach wisdom and righteousness to mankind; but with a view only of preparing them to reap the benefit of that great work, which was, in the fulness of time to be accomplished. Whilst the object of Christ's ministry on earth was, not merely to teach men the good and the right way, but to place them in a condition to be benefited by his instructions ; by finishing that great work of reconciliation, which, according to the covenant of
he had engaged to perform ; for that purpose becoming unto them “ of God wisdom,
and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.”
The personal ministry of Jesus Christ then is to be considered, as the last of God's Dispensations, for the salvation of his fallen creature; and the perfection of that wisdom, which had at sundry times and in divers manners been revealed to mankind from the beginning: that consequently, to which all former dispensations were designed to lead, and in which they have their ultimate completion. On this account, we who live under this last Dispensation of Divine Graçe, are said by the Apostle, “ to be compleat in Christ.'
No new Dispensation is therefore to be expected by us; every thing necessary to our salvation, in conformity with the plan of the divine economy, having been fully accomplished. By which we understand, every thing that God undertook to perform in the great work of Redemption, so far as the personal ministry of the Son of God on earth was concerned in the business, has been fulfilled. When Jesus Christ bowed his sacred head on the Cross, he expired uttering these memorable words; “ It is
finished.”—The work which the Father had given him to do on earth, was then finished. The penalty due to sin being paid, and satisfaction made, the hand-writing that was against us was thereby so removed; as to render it possible, consistently with divine justice, for sinners to be saved.
But Christ, (says the Apostle,) “ in that he died, he died unto sin once: Death hath no more dominion over Him.”_“ There remaineth consequently no more sacrifice for sin.” A consideration, which obviously leads to the following awakèning conclusion ; that whosoever is to be saved, must be saved in conformity with that divine plan, which, so far as God is concerned in it, has already been carried into effect.
Ilence it was that St. Peter, at the commencement of his ministry, delivered himself so decidedly on this subject, to the Chief Priests, Rulers, and Scribes, who required to know the authority by which he exercised his Apostolic function. “ Be it known (says he) unto you all, and to all the people of Israel; that by the name of Jesus of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by Him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the Stone which was set at naught of you builders, which is become the Head of the Corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts iv. 10, &c.
By the terms of the Gospel then, the final condition of fallen man is to be irrevocably determined. From whence it follows that a proper acquaintance with those terms becomes a matter of primary consideration : that man, knowing what he has to expect, and what to perform, according to the tenor of that covenant under which he lives, may so conduct himself in this world, that the Grace revealed by the Gospel may not be bestowed on him in vain.
To this end, he must know not only to whom he looks for Salvation, but also the ground on which he is authorized to expect it. He must know in what sense Jesus Christ is made unto him wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: or he will never form a true estimate of the character, in which Christ appeared in