« السابقةمتابعة »
may forgive iniquity, transgression, and sin, for Christ's sake, and yet preserve his glory unsullied, his honor as Moral Governor undiminished, his rectitude unimpeached, and his purity unstained. Neither they that are saved, nor any of the spectators of the divine treatment of them, can have room to think the less ill of sin, on account of their being forgiven.
At the same time, as this reconciliation must be received by us, it implies our laying aside all our wrong opinions, or hard thoughts of God; all our favorable views of sin, or high thoughts of self. We must see it a great privilege to be reconciled to God; must be willing to be indebted to rich mercy, which provided such a Saviour; willing to be saved in a way that condemns sin, that secures all the glory to God, that binds to new obedience, and makes us the Saviour's property. The reconciliation cannot be received unless it thus becomes mutual.
THIRDLY: The consequent ground of glorying and rejoicing in God.
Surely, in saving creatures so guilty and unworthy, it
uld have been inconsistent with wisdom to have permitted glorying in self ; to have given them leave to boast as though their own merit made them to differ. God has wisely secured all the glory to himself, The glory of planning salvation is due to his infinite wisdom, and we can put in for no share.
The glory of providing the Saviour is due to God; he provided for himself a lamb. “ God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life." Great misrepresentation is used, when we are charged with representing the Father as all sternness and severity, and the Son as all pity and compassion. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." The glory of effecting this reconciliation is due to a divine person, who is one in essence with the Father, though personally distinct, who became incarnate for this very purpose.
The glory of applying salvation also belongs to a divine agent, without whose influence we should have rejected the counsel of God against
ourselves; but who made us willing in the day of his power to return to God.
But we have not the less reason for joy, because God has secured all the glory to himself. He has displayed all his perfections in the highest; none is eclipsed in our salvation. He will get himself an everlasting revenue of praise. Of him, and through him, and to him, are all things appertaining to this blessed business, to whom be glory for ever. Amen..
My dear hearers ! Did you ever think of these things, and feel about them, as you should do? Do you feel that you are without strength, ungodly, sinners, enemies, and justly exposed to divinė wrath? Do you long to be brought into a state of reconciliation? Do you know how it can be effected ? Have you seen the beauty and propriety of the method of reconciliation? Do you fall in with it? Are you cordially reconciled ? Does it appear to you ground of the highest glory, that the Son of God has become incarnate, has finished transgression, has ascended on high, taken your nature into the third heavens, and given you his Spirit ?
Rom. viii. 7. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
Would it have been worth while for the Apostle to have inserted this observation in the richest chapter he ever wrote, if Christ had come, not to honor the law, but to abrogate it? If believers had nothing to do with it, no, not so much as to form an estimate of what they are indebted to Christ for redeeming them from its righteous curse? Or, if God had so totally set it aside, that they might retain their old disposition toward it, and yet lay a confident claim to the blessings of the gospel ? I trow not, verily. Look at the preceding verse. See how the mind of the flesh and the mind of the Spirit are contrasted, and then judge if they can be both alike as to the divine law. Or, read the text, and judge, if the converse of this proposition be not true; viz.
The mind that cannot bear subjection to the law of God, is a carnal mind.
But while I hope that the 9th verse is fulfilled in many of you, yet it will be useful for such to remember, that this text was once fulfilled in them; and I greatly fear is still fulfilled in too many of my hearers. The subject is awful and humbling ; but, through a divine blessing, it will prove instructive and profitable, if we are enabled properly to improve it.
First: Let us consider, who are included in the charge ? What is meant by the carnal mind, which is enmity against God?
It is a serious charge! a shocking charge! If it were applicable to only one man in a thousand, you would think that man to be a dreadful character, whose mind was enmity against God. I know not what worse could be said of fallen angels, than that they are enemies to God: but this is here affirmed of fallen men, and I fear will be found applicable universally. Yes, this is the description of a whole race of intelligent creatures, though I hope only of one; but it is that race to which we belong, and was therefore once true of us, if it be not so still. The carnal mind, or the mind of the flesh, is enmity against God; the mind or will of man as he is born of the flesh; the disposition of every man, who is not born of the Spirit, or renewed in the spirit of his mind. Not merely the minds of persons brought up in heathenism, under Jewish prejudice; nor yet of avowed atheists or infidels, profligates or sensualists; but it is true of fallen men universally. It is called the carnal mind, not merely because unrenewed men generally prefer the body to the soul, and things of time to those of eternity ; but because it is the native disposition of men. Man's whole nature, as he is fallen, is termed flesh. John iii. 6. Gal. v, 19. Pride, envy, hatred, wrath, and strife, are works of the flesh, as well as gluttony, drunkenness, and lasciviousness. Man's native disposition is totally corrupt. He that is after the flesh, savors, or minds, the things of the flesh; there is, in his fallen mind, nothing which would lead to sincere, voluntary, cordial subjection to God,
This interpretation is confirmed by the frequent testimony of scripture to universal and total depravity. Gen. vi. 5. viii. 21. Rom. iii. 9-19. There is none understandeth, or seeketh after God.
The Apostle speaks of himself, and other Christians, both Jews by birth, and Gentile converts, as having been enemies to God, even all for whom Christ died. Rom. v. 8. 10. So in Eph. ii. Children of disobedience, and children of wrath. It is implied in our Lord's assertion of the universal necessity of the new birth ; (John iii.) and the intimation given, that no one will unite with Christ but a new creature. And it is abundantly confirmed by lamentable fact.
SecondLY: Let us consider the purport of this charge. What is intended by it?
Not that all carnal, unrenewed men refuse to admit the existence of God, or that none of them can be induced to lead moral lives, in the laxer sense of that expression. Scarcely any people can be found, in any age, but what have allowed the existence of a being, or beings, superior to men, to whom they have paid some sort of worship; though none have attained to a steady conviction of the unity of the godhead, who have not borrowed that idea from divine revelation. And generally, idolaters have formed the moral character of their supposed divinities after the resemblance of their own. Men have generally allowed a distinction between virtue and vice, though their standard of morals has been fluctuating and defective.
But the second great branch of the divine law, when once it is stated, will be approved of by all men, when viewed on one side only ; i. e. as the rule of other men's conduct toward themselves : though a regard to God's authority is generally left out of the question, and inordinate self-love prevents their conforming to it themselves, except so far as it may
subserve their own credit and interest. And all carnal men are very far from realizing their obligations to the Most High. They do not think of loving God supremely, delighting in him superlatively, and making his glory the ultimate end of all their actions.
On the contrary, the mind of the flesh is enmity against
God. This is a very strong expression; not merely alienated from God, and rather averse to him, but opposite to him. The sinner is not an inadvertent wanderer only, but an obstinate rebel; not merely inactive for God, but active against him. Not only unaffected by divine excellencies, but opposed to them. Alive to sin, as well as dead in sin. Men are not only said to be enemies to God by wicked works, but their minds are enmity. Enemies may be reconciled, enmity cannot. It must be subdued and slain. Enmity against God, the first, best, and greatest being; against his very nature, and essential perfections, especially his holiness, which is the beauty of all his attributes ; against his authority, his moral government, and holy law !
All are enemies to God, who scorn to submit to his authority. Whatever pretences men may make to love God under other characters, they are all fallacious, if they are enemies to him as a lawgiver ; and no one can love a legislator, who cannot abide his law. Supreme dominion is essential to the character of God, and cannot be separated from it. God's moral government is so essential to his very nature and existence, that no one can be a friend to him, who is not willing to be subject to his law and government.
· But the carnal mind is not subject to the law of God. God's law is the eternal standard of rectitude, declaring the duty of all rational creatures, or what is fit to be required of them. That law is summed up in one word — Love; and is divided by our Lord into two great commandments, which are farther explained in the decalogue, and in the whole preceptive part of the divine word. To this, God has a right to add what positive precepts he may think proper to enact,
, which may be limited, changed, or revoked, according to his pleasure. But the moral law itself can never be repealed or abrogated. God cannot deny himself, nor claim less than supreme
affection; nor can he so abandon his creatures, as to give them leave to injure and hate one another. God considers all as his enemies, who are not willing to be his subjects, and do not delight to do his will.
When therefore the Apostle says, the mind of the flesh is not subject to the law of God, his assertion relates to a