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CCCCLXXX. THE ABUNDANT GRACE OF GOD.
Rom. v. 20, 21. Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus
Christ our Lord.
FROM eternity God determined to glorify his graceFor this end he permitted sin to enter into the worldThe publication of his law also promoted the same end
It served to shew how awfully sin had aboundedAnd consequently to magnify that grace which destroyed sin
To this effect the apostle speaks in the text and the words preceding it—
We shall endeavour to shew
I. How sin has abounded
The transgression of Adam was of a very malignant
[In the whole preceding context that sin in particular is referred to
And it may well be considered as of a crimson dye
It argued a contempt of God's goodness, which had bestowed so much upon him1
It argued a doubt of his veracity, which was engaged to inflict the penalty
It argued a rejection of his authority, which forbad the eating of that fruit
It argued an attempt to invade the peculiar prerogatives of Godd
Surely in this single transgression sin greatly abounded-] But sin spread also over the whole world
[Adam begat sons" in his own fallen likeness"All his descendents inherited his corruption
And cast off the yoke which their Maker had imposed upon them
There was not so much as one single exception to be found
a Gen. ii. 8, 9. a Gen. iii. 5.
b Gen. iii. 4.
e Job xiv. 4.
e Gen. ii. 17.
Ps. xiv. 2, 3.
On this very account God once destroyed all but one family-]
It had moreover prevailed in every heart to an awful degree
[Every faculty of men's souls was debased by itThe understanding was blinded, the will made obstinate, the conscience seared
All the "members of their bodies also were made instruments of unrighteousness"
There was not an imagination of their thoughts that was not evils-]
It even took occasion from the holy law of God to the more rage
[God gave his law to discover and repress sin
But sin would not endure any restraint
Ít rose like water against the dam that obstructs its progressb
And inflamed men both against the law, and against him who gave it
Thus, in using so good a law to so vile a purpose, it displayed its own exceeding sinfulness-]
But God did not altogether abandon our wretched world
II. How grace much more abounded
God determined that his grace should be victoriousAnd that it should establish its throne on the ruins of the empire which sin had erected
For this purpose he gave us his Son to be a second Adamk
He laid on him the curse due to our iniquities-enabled him to "bring in an everlasting righteous
-accepted us in him as our new covenant-head-restores us through him to eternal lifeThus the super-abundance of his grace is manifest 1. In the object attained
[The destruction of man for sin was certainly tremen
Yet was it no more than what was to be expected-
h Rom. vii. 8.
8 Gen. vi. 5.
i Rom. vii. 13.
No wonder then if man was made a partaker of their misery
But how beyond all expectation was the recovery of man!How wonderful that he should be restored while a superior order of beings were left to perish!
And be exalted to a throne of glory from whence they had been cast down!
This was indeed a manifestation of most abundant grace-] 2. In the method of attaining it
[Sin had reigned unto death by means of AdamAnd certainly the destruction of the whole world for one sin argued a dreadful malignity in sin
Yet was there nothing in this unjust or unreasonable1—
But who could have thought that God should send us his own Son?
That he should constitute HIM our new covenant-head and representative?
That he should remove the curse of sin by HIS death— accept sinners through His righteousness?remedy by a second Adam what had been brought upon us by the first?
This was a discovery of grace that infinitely transcends the comprehension of men or angels—]
3. In the peculiar advantage with which it was at tained
[If Adam had retained his innocence, we also should have stood in him as our representative
We should however have possessed only a creature's righte
But in Christ we possess the righteousness of God himselfm Our reward therefore may well be augmented in proportion to the excellence of that, for which we are accepted—
1 If, instead of being represented by Adam, we had all undergone the same probation for ourselves, we have no reason to think that we should not have fallen, like him: if we had possessed exactly the same grace as he, and been subjected to the same temptation, we should have acted as he did. The constituting of him our representative was a great advantage to us, because he had much stronger inducements to fidelity than we could have: we should have been concerned only about ourselves; whereas he had the interests of all his posterity depending on him. Besides, he met his temptation when all his powers were in a state of maturity, and when there was no evil example before him; whereas we should be tempted from our earliest infancy, and with the additional influence of bad examples. m 2 Cor. v. 21.
Besides, the glory of God is infinitely more displayed in Christ, than ever it would have been if Adam had not fallenOur happiness therefore, in beholding it, must be greatly increased
Thus our restoration through Christ will bring us to the enjoyment of far greater happiness than ever we lost in Adam"
What can more fully manifest the superabounding grace of God?-]
1. For caution
[This doctrine seems liable to the imputation of licentious
St. Paul foresaw the objection, and answered it°
His answer should satisfy every objector
But the reign of grace consists in destroying every effect of sin
Therefore to indulge sin would be to counteract, and not to promote, the grace of God—
Let the professors of religion however be careful to give no room for this objection
Let them "put to silence the ignorance of foolish men by well-doing"]
2. For encouragement
[How strange is it that any should despair of mercy!The infinite grace of God has been exhibited in many striking instances?—
Let us seek to become monuments of this mercyLet us not indeed "sin, that grace may abound”. But let us freely acknowledge how much sin has abounded in us
And yet expect through Christ" abundance of of the gift of righteousness"-]
■ Rom. v. 15. This point is insisted on from ver. 15 to 19. • Rom. vi. 1, 2.
P Luke vii. 47. 1 Tim. i. 14, 16.
CCCCLXXXI. THE GOODNESS OF GOD.
Ps. ciii. 8—13. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide; neither will he keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.
WE cannot form a juster conception of the Deity than from the history of the Israelites. In the mixture of mercy and judgment which is there recorded, we see every one of his perfections displayed in most lively characters. His dealings with us indeed are less discernible: but, the more they are scrutinized, the more will they appear to be regulated according to the counsels of unerring wisdom and unbounded goodness. The words before us will naturally lead us to a contemplation of this subject: and we shall have abundant evidence of their truth, while we consider his goodness I. Generally, as it is in himself
The "mercy and grace" of our God are chiefly discovered by
1. His patience in bearing with us
[Had God been such an one as ourselves, he would long since have broke forth in anger against the whole world, and consumed them in his heavy displeasure. But, notwithstanding the multitude of their provocations, he has been long-suffering towards them, and has waited to be gracious unto them. He has borne with many vessels of wrath, that have been daily fitting themselves for destruction:d and has kept mercy for thousands, who have been continually occupied in casting it away. The description which Nehemiah gives of the divine patience as manifested in his day, is no less realized towards the whole world at this very hour.]
2. His mercy in pardoning us
[God, in infinite compassion, laid our iniquities upon his
a Ver. 7.
d Rom. ix. 22.
b 2 Pet. iii. 9.
e Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7.
c Isai. xxx. 18.
f Neh. ix. 16-21.