Friday, July 19, 2013

Christ's Treasures Opened by Himself

Extract from sermon "Christ's Treasures Opened by Himself, Declaring He hat All Things that God the Father hath" - Ralph Erskine's Works, Volume 6, page 180 (Free Presbyterian Publications).

Now, O believer, improve the doctrine delivered out of Christ's mouth, saying, "All things that the Father hath are mine:" and therein see the new covenant and the superiority of the second Adam to the first: we have all things in the second Adam to greater advantage than ever we could have had, if the stock had remained in the hands of the first Adam. Why, we have all things in Christ.

1. More gloriously, he being the glorious God, the brightness of the Father's glory: hence the new covenant ministration is said to exceed in glory, 2 Cor. 3:9, and the gospel is called the glorious gospel: because therein the glory of God shines more brightly than ever it did under the law, or could have done in the first covenant.

2. In Christ we have all things more abundantly, John 10:10. "He came to give life, and to give it more abundantly:" he came to give grace, and to give it more abundantly: he came to give glory, and to give it more abundantly: he came to give obedience to the law more abundantly, even to magnify the law: to give satisfaction to justice more abundantly: to give satisfaction to all the attributes of God more abundantly than could have been done any other way.

3. In Christ we have all things more safely, all the stock being so well secured in his hand: the bonds of provision being all sealed with his blood: for, all the promises of God are so many bonds and obligations faith hath to rely upon: they are all Yea and Amen in Christ Jesus to the glory of God, 2 Cor. 1:20.

4. In Christ we have all things more comfortably. This is the comfort as well as the honour of all the saints, that now their store is lodged in the hand of the Father's Beloved, and their Beloved: in whom God is well pleased, and they are well pleased: and that their supply runs in such a sweet channel: for, thus "We enjoy God, through Jesus Christ, by whom we have received the atonement," Rom. 5:11.

5. In Christ we have all things more wonderfully, to the surprise and admiration of men and angels. Christ's name is wonderful to all the rational world, that are enlightened in the knowledge of him; "Great is the mystery of godliness." Angels desire to look into it: and new scenes of wonder will open out of this contrivance of infinite wisdom to all eternity.

6. In Christ we have all things more durably: I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever," Psalm 89:2. The covenant of grace and mercy is an everlasting covenant: it stands fast in Christ. The covenant of works was properly betwixt God and man, like a bridge over a river, the one end built with firm stone, the other of fading clay, and so the weak end fell down: and there is no passing to heaven by any such bridge: by any such covenant: Such is the Arminian's covenant, that makes God's will one end of it, and man's free will another: but no wonder that the weak end fall down, and there be no passage that way. But the covenant of grace is better ordered, and better built: it is made betwixt God and Christ, two divine and everlasting persons: therefore, "Mercy shall be built up for ever." If it be asked, What is our part of the covenant? Indeed we make no part of the bridge at all: we are only called by faith to pass along by this bridge: this faith is properly no part of the bridge itself, but a taking the bridge, when, in a day of power, we are persuaded to take it: that is, to embrace Christ and receive him, and then to walk in him: and so to walk along the bridge till we come to heaven, and thus to live a life of faith and gospel obedience.

7. In Christ we have all things more freely. As the new covenant bridge is firm, so it is free to all passengers. At some bridges there is money to pay before you be allowed to pass: but there is none here; whosoever will, may come and pass. But the old covenant bridge is still the old price: it requires more money of personal obedience, to the law than you are able to give it: whereas the new covenant bridge is such a free passage that it requires less money than you are willing to give, Isaiah, 55:1,2,3, till God, by a work of humiliation let you see your empty purse, and make you willing to be saved by free grace, and content to be obliged to Christ for all things and that because all things that the Father hath are his. You that have a full purse, and are rich and increased in goods, and stand in need of nothing, valuing yourselves upon your good hearts, your good duties, your good endeavours and meanings, your privileges, performances, and attainments, you mistake if you expect passage for your money by the old bridge of the covenant of works: know, that you and your money will perish: that bridge will fail you: for "By the deeds of the law no flesh can be justified, All your righteousness are as filthy rags:" you will fall into the gulf of wrath. But, for you that are poor, miserable, wretched, blind, and naked, having no money, no grace, no good qualifications that you can see, which indeed is the case with all, though all have not their eyes open to see it: here is a good passage to you, free passage: and the poorer you come, the welcomer. As Christ hath laid himself like a bridge over the gulf of God's wrath and terrible justice, over which we may pass to the enjoyment of God: so, he hath all things provided for the poorest passenger. Christ is the way to the Father: and there is no fear of lack of provision for them that take this way: for, "All things that the Father hath are his."

8. In Christ we have all things more honourably: and this is the honour of all the saints, that Christ is their all: and that of God they are in Christ Jesus, who of God also is made unto them, wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption, and all things. Here is divine plenty and variety; for, in him, as a Prophet, they have all things necessary for their instruction and illumination: in him, is a Priest, they have all things necessary for their justification: in him as a King, all things needful for their sanctification: in him, as a Physician, they have all things needful for their healing: in him, as a Surety, they have all things necessary for paying their debt in him, as a Treasurer, all things necessary for supplying their needs: in him, is a Counsellor, all things necessary for their direction in him, is a Commander, all things necessary for their protection in him, as in everlasting Father, all things necessary for their everlasting provision. Here, indeed, is royal provision, and honourable accommodations. Nothing is wanting where all things are: and surely, if you be a gospel believer, who are a hearer of these glad tidings, you will not be standing on dishonourable terms with God. It were dishonourable to a great man to offer money for a free feast, to which he invites his guests: how dishonourable to the great God is it to stand upon terms and conditions with him? He stands upon no terms with us who have nothing, when he invites us to come and share of all things freely.