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degree by his agony in the garden, and the bitter out. cries he made upon the cross, which we have already considered.
It was also a most precious work which Christ finished by his death ; that work was done in few hours, which will be the matter of everlasting songs and triumph by angels and saints to all eternity. Oh it was a precious work! The mercies that now flow from this fountain, such as justification, sanctification, adoption, are not to be estimated, besides the endless happiness and glory of the world to come, which it cannot enter into the heart of man to conceive. If the angels sang when the foundation-stone was laid, what shouts, what triumphs should there be among the saints, as this voice is heard, " It is finished !”
II. Let us inquire in what manner Jesus Christ finished this glorious work.
1. It was finished most obediently, "He became obedient to death, even the death of the cross.” Phil. 2: 8. "His obedience was the obedience of a servant, though not servile obedience.” So it was foretold of him be. fore he entered upon his work, "The Lord God hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turn. ed away
back.” Isa. 50 : 5. 2. As Christ finished it obediently, so he finished it freely. Freedom and obedience in acting are not at all opposite to, or exclusive of each other. Moses' mother nursed him in obedience to the command of Pharaoh's daughter, yet most freely for her own delight. So it is said of Christ, and that by his own mouth, Therefore doth my
Father love me, because I lay down my life that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself: I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father." John, 10 : 17, 18. He liked the work for the sake of the end to be accomplished. When he had a prospect of it from eternity; then were his delights with the sons of men : then he rejoiced in the habitable parts of the earth. Prov. 8:30, 31. And when he came into the world, with what a full and free consent did his heart echo to the voice of his Father calling him to it! "Lo, I come: I delight to do thy will: thy law is within my heart." Psalm 40.
3. He also finished the work diligently; he was nerer idle wherever he was, but " went about doing good." Acts, 10:38. Sometimes he was so intent upon his work that he "forgat to eat bread." John, 4:30, 31. As the life of some men is but a diversion from one trifle to another, from one pleasure to another; so the whole life of Christ was spent between one work and another: never was a life so filled up with labor : the very moments of his time were all employed for God to finish this work.
4. He finished it completely and fully. All that was to be done by way of meritorious redemption is fully done ; no hand can come after his ; angels can add nothing to it. That is perfected to which nothing is wanting, and to which nothing can be added. Such is the work which our Lord Jesus Christ finished. Whatever the law demanded is perfectly paid; whatever a sinner needs, is perfectly obtained and purchased ; nothing can be added to what he hath done ; he put the last hand to it, when he said, " It is finished."
III. Let us consider what evidence we have that Christ so finished the work of redemption.
1. When Christ died, the work of redemption must be finished, inasmuch as the blood, as well as the obedience of Christ, was of infinite value and efficacy, sufficient to accomplish all the ends for which it was shed; when that therefore is actually shed, justice is fully paid, and, consequently, the souls for whom it is paid are fully redeemed from the curse.
2. It is apparent that Christ finished the work, by the discharge or acquittance God the Father gave him, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand. If Christ the sinner's surety, be, as such, discharged by God the creditor, then the debt is fully paid. Now Christ was justified and cleared, at his resurrection, from all charges and demands of justice; therefore it is said, 1 Tim. 3:16, that he was "justified in the Spirit," that is, openly discharged by that very act of the Godhead, his raising him from the dead. For when the grave was opened, and Christ arose, it was to him as the opening of the prison-doors, and setting a surety at liberty, who was confined for another man's debt. To the same sense Christ speaks of his ascension. The Spirit shall convince the world of righteousness ; John, 16 : 10; that is, of a complete and perfect righteousness in me, imputable to sinners for their perfect justification. And whereby shall he convince and satisfy them that it is so ? By this, "Because I go to the Father, and ye see me no more.
.” There is a great deal of force and weight in those words, " because ye see me no more :” as if he had said, By this you shall be satisfied that I have fully and completely performed all righteousness, and that, by my active and passive obedience, I have so fully satisfied God for you,
you ver be charged or condemned; because, when I go to heaven, I shall abide there in glory with my Father, and not be sent back again, as I should if any thing had been omitted by me. And this the apostle gives us also in plain words, " After he had offered one sacrifice for sins, for ever sat down on the right hand of God.” Heb. 10: 12–14. And what doth he infer from that, but the very truth before us, that " by one offering he hath per. fected for ever them that are sanctified ?"
3. It is evident Christ hath finished the work, by the blessed effects of it upon all that believe in him : for by
virtue of the completeness of Christ's work, finished by his death, their consciences are now pacified, and their souls, at death, actually received into glory; neither of which could be, if Christ had not in this world finished the work. If Christ had done his work imperfectly, he could not have given rest and tranquillity to the laboring and burdened souls that come to him, as now he doth. Matt. 11:28. Conscience would still be hesitating, trembling, and unsatisfied; and had he not finished his work, we could not have had entrance through the veil of his flesh into heaven, as all that believe in him have. Heb. 10: 19, 20.
INFERENCE 1. Hath Christ perfected and completely finished all his work for us? How sweet a relief is this to them that believe in him against the defects and imperfections of all our services. There is nothing finished that we do : all our duties are imperfect. Oh there is much sin and vanity in the best of our duties: but here is the grand relief, and that which answers to all our doubts and fears upon that account; Jesus Christ hath finished all his work, though we can finish none of ours: and so, though we be defective, poor, imperfect creatures in ourselves, yet we are complete in him. Col. 2:9, 10. Though we cannot perfectly obey, or fulfil one command of the law, yet is "the righteousness of the law fulfilled in us that believe.” Rom. 8:4. Christ's complete obedience makes us complete, and without fault before God. It is true, we ought to be humbled for our defects, and troubled for every failing in obedience; but we should not be discouraged, though multitudes of weaknesses be upon us, and
infirmi. ties compass us about, in every duty: though we have no righteousness of our own ; yet, of God, Christ "is made unto us righteousness;" and that righteousness is infinitely better than ours: instead of our own, we have his. Oh blessed be God for Christ's perfect righteousness!
2. Did Christ finish his work? How dangerous is it to join any thing of our own to the righteousness of Christ, in point of justification before God! Jesus Christ will never endure this; it reflects upon his work dishonorably: he will be all, or none, in our justification. If he have finished the work, what need of our additions ? And if not, to what purpose are they? Can we finish that which Christ himself could not? But we would fain be sharing with him this honor, which he will never endure. Did he finish the work, and will he ever divide the glory and praise of it with us ? No, no, Christ is no half Saviour. Oh it is a hard thing to bring these proud hearts to live upon Christ for righteousness. God humbles proud nature, by calling sinners wholly from their own righteousness to Christ for their justification.
3. Did Christ finish his work for us? then there can be no doubt but he will also finish his work in us. As he began the work of our redemption, and finished it; so " he that hath begun the good work in you, will also finish it” upon your souls. Phil. 1:6. Jesus Christ is not only called the author, but the finisher of our faith. Heb. 12:2. If he begin it, no doubt he will finish it. And indeed the finishing of his own work of redemption gives full evidence that he will finish his work of sanctification within us; and that because these two works of Christ have a respect and relation to each other; such a relation, that the work he finished by his own death, resurrection, and ascension, would be in vain to us, if the work of sanctification should not in like manner be finished. Therefore, as he presented a perfect sacrifice to God, and finished redemption; so will he present every one perfect and complete, for whom he offered up himself; for he will not lose the end of all his sufferings. To what purpose would his meritorious work be, without complete and full application? Therefore be not discouraged at defects and imperfections in