September 18th, 2011
James Durham, in his 59th sermon on Isaiah 53 says this:
These three are the great warrant that a sinner has to roll himself over on; a complete Mediator; a faithful God promising to answer all grounds of fears, doubts and jealousies; and free grace, which answers all challenges that may come in to hinder his closing with, and resting on the promise. For if it should be said, ‘How dare you lay hold upon the promises?’ The answer is, ‘It is free.’ It is not the mount that may not be touched, but it is Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, etc. It is grace that is the rise, the end, and the condition of it. These are the three on which faith yields itself to Christ, and which are the object of it, on which it dare hazard, and on which it does hazard; and these three are revealed in the gospel of the grace of him that is faithful, and cannot deny himself.
May we not then say, ‘O sinners, if you will believe that, you have a good resting place,’ a sure Foundation, a tried Cornerstone, as it is Isa. 28:16 cited Rom. 9:33, where the apostle has it, He that believes on him shall never be ashamed. There is a sufficient surety, a full Mediator, there is a faithful God that will keep his word, and there is a free covenant and promise, softer a bruised soul to roll itself over upon, than any bed of the finest downs is for a weary and crazy body. This is a chariot paved with love for the daughters of Jerusalem.
Single out Christ from all that is in the word, without slighting any part of it, and believe in him and lippen to him; let him have another weight and lift of you than you give to any other thing; he is able to bear it, and God will never quarrel you for so doing, but will keep his word to you that do betake yourselves, or that have betaken yourselves to him. He that believes shall never perish, nor come into condemnation. O! know what a ground you have to rest upon; it is even the substance and marrow of all the Word of God. You have Christ and his fullness, God and his faithfulness, grace and its freeness. And are there such three things beside? Or is it imaginable or possible that there can be any beguile, or failure here? Spare not then to lay the weight of your souls upon it. Let it be the foundation of your peace, and let it answer all challenges that may be, whether for many, or for great and grievously aggravated sins. Only by faith take hold of this righteousness, and rest upon God’s faithfulness, and free promise to make it forthcoming to you. But upon the other side, O how great will it aggrege your guilt, that had such a remedy in your offer, such a tried cornerstone, elect and precious, to rest upon, and yet made no use of it! Let me exhort, beseech, and even obtest you, That ye receive not this grace in vain. But as Christ is laid for a sure Foundation, so come to him, and build upon him, that you may not be ashamed in the day of the Lord, when all the believe not, how presumptuously so ever they may hold up their heads now, shall be ashamed and confounded, world without end. O happy, thrice happy will they all be found to be then, who have trusted in him.
September 4th, 2011
Patrick Fairbairn, The Revelation of Law in Scripture
In short, the question handled by the apostle in this part of his writings upon the law, was not whether the holiness and love it enjoined were to be practised, but how the practice was to be secured. The utterance of the law’s precepts in the most peremptory and solemn form could not do it. The converting of those precepts into the terms of a covenant, and taking men bound under the weightiest penalties to observe them, could not do it. Nor could it be done by a regulated machinery of means of instruction and ordinances of service, intended to minister subsidiary help and encouragement to such as were willing to follow the course of obedience. All these had been tried, but never with more than partial success—not because the holiness required was defective, but because the moral power was wanting to have it realized. And now there came the more excellent way of the Gospel—the revelation of that love which is the fulfilling of the law, in the person of the New Head of humanity, the Lord from heaven—the revelation of it in full-orbed completeness, even rising to the highest point of sacrifice, and making provision for as many as would in faith receive it, that the spirit of this noble, pure, self-sacrificing love should dwell as a new life, an absorbing and controlling power, also in their bosom. So that, ‘what the law could not do in that, it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit.’ He who is replenished with this spirit of life and love, no longer has the law standing over him, but, as with Christ in His work on earth, it lives in him, and he lives in it; the work of the law is written on his heart, and its spirit is transfused into his life. ‘The man (it has been justly said) who is truly possessor of “the spirit of life in Christ Jesus,” cannot have any other gods but his Father in heaven; cannot commit adultery; cannot bear false witness; cannot kill; cannot steal. Such a man comes down upon all the exercises and avocations of life from a high altitude of wise and loving homage to the Son of God, and expounds practically the saying of the apostle, “Whosoever is born of God sinneth not, but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.”. . . . Christ’s cross, then, delivers Christians from what may be termed moral drudgery; they are not oppressed and pined serfs, but freemen and fellow-heirs, serving the Lord Christ with all gladness of heart. It magnifies the law and makes it honourable, yet delivers those who accept Jesus Christ as their Saviour from the bondage of the letter. Instead of throwing the commandments into contempt, it gave them a higher moral status, and even Sinai itself becomes shorn of its greatest terrors when viewed from the elevation of the cross. Love was really the reason of the law, though the law looked like an expression of anger. We see this, now that we love more; love is the best interpreter of God, for God is love.’