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Ir In the first Epistle to the Corinthians, šv. 45, the Apostle speaks of two sources of life. He says, “ The first man Adam was made a living soul, the last Adam was made a quickening spirit." By the living soul he means the prin ciple of natural life which we derive from Adam by natural generation. The quickening Spirit refers to the heavenly and supernatural life communicated from Jesus Christ. The reason of the comparison is, that as Adam receiving a living soul his body was made alive, in like manner, we receiving in our souls the Spirit of Christ receive a new life--new in wisdom, in righteousness and holiness. It is not meant that the Spirit of Christ is not also the author of our natural life; but here the life referred to is that life which the Apostle calls “ the life of God.”_Eph. iv. 18. For before regeneration we are dead in trespasses and sins.
The Spirit of life is in Christ Jesus. Jesus Christ is set before us in two points of view, namely, as God and mediator. As God, the Spirit of life resides in him as its origin; but as mediator, the Spirit of life has been given to him in all its plenitude to be communicated to his people. That Jesus Christ is the source of the Spirit of life, not only as God, but also as mediator, is a ground of the most unspeakable consolation. It might be in him as God, with
out being communicated to men; but, as the head of his people, it must be diffused through them as his members. In this way they are
complete in him," and from this they learn their adoption as the sons of God.
Law of sin and death.— The word law is used in different senses.
In the conclusion of the preceding chapter, the law of sin, which the Apostle says he served with his flesh, signifies the powerful corrupt principle in the heart operating with the force of a law. But through the former part of the same chapter, the word law is employed to denote the moral law. It is there spoken of as the law of God with its sanction, which, although holy, and just, and good, is, to fallen man, the occasion of both sin and death. Although it was ordained to life, it brings the sinner under the penalty of death. Ch. vii. 10. “ The letter”--the law written on tables of stone—“ killeth.” The ministration of it is the ministration of condemnation and death.—2 Cor. ii. 3, 7, 9. In this view, then, it may, without arguing the smallest disrespect to the holy law, or disparagement of it, be called the law of sin and death. In the Westminster Confession of Faith, in which an explanation of the verse before us is given, it is said, “ Albeit the Apostle himself, (brought in here for example’s cause), and all other true believers in Christ, be by nature under the law of sin and death, or under the covenant of works, (called the law of sin and death, because it bindeth sin and death upon us, till Christ ' set us free ;) yet the law of the spirit of life
in Christ Jesus, or the covenant of grace, (so called, because it doth enable and quicken a man to a spiritual life through Christ,) doth set the Apostle, and all true believers, free from the covenant of works, or the law of sin and death; so
with him, 5.66 The law of the spirit of life,” or the covenant of grace,
66 hath made me free from the law of sin and death," or covenant of works.' The import, then, of the verse before us, is that there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, because, by their union with him-being dead to the law by the body of Christ, and being married to him who is raised from the dead, ch. vii. 4—they have been freed from the curse of that law, which, though good in itself, is the occasion of sin and death to all who remain under it, and are consequently justified before God.
Hath made me free. On this it is to be remarked, that the Apostle, instead of speaking generally of believers, as he does in the first and fourth verses, saying, “ them ” and “ us,” changes the mode of expression, and refers to
himself particularly-hath made me freel 1A very striking contrast is thus pointed out between his declaration in the 24th verse of the preceding chapter, and that contained in the verse before us. There he is speaking of the pollution of sin, which adheres to believers ias long as they are in this world. Here he is speaking of the guilt of sin, from which they are perfectly freed the moment they are united to the Saviour. In the former case, therefore, where he is speaking of sanctification, he refers to his deliverance, verse 24, as future, and exclaims, who shall deliver me! In reference to the latter, in which he is treating of justification, he speaks of his deliverance as already obtained, and affirms that he hath been made free.
V. 3.-For what the law could not do, in that it wo through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh
This verse confirms the interpretation that has been given of the preceding, with which it stands connected. It is introduced to explain what is said in the two preceding verses. Both this and the following verse are illustrations of that great truth, that the believer in Christ is not liable to condemnation. There are here three principal considerations ; namely, the misery of our natural condition; the mercy of God
in the incarnation of his Son; and the effect of sending him into the world, which is our redemption. Under these three heads the Apostle removes the difficulties that might present themselves from what he had asserted in the
preceeding verse, by which it might be supposed that, con account of some imperfection in the law, it could not justify. In answer to this, it is here bshown that the imperfection is not in the law, but in us. The law could justify those who efulfilled it, as it is said, “ the man that doeth -them shall live in them ;” but the corruption of obuman nature renders this impossible. And as it might be objected, that the law, which subjects' every transgressor to death, is violated by the freedom from it which we obtain by the death of Jesus Christ, the Apostle shows that the punishment it demands was inflicted upon him. Hence the first proposition, that there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, is established ; and in the following verse it is added, that the law, which we were required to fulfil, has been fulfilled in us by him. In this view the justice of God, which naturally terrifies man, gives us confidence. For if God is just, will he exact double payment and satisfaction ? Will he condemn those for whom the Surety has borne the condemnation ? No; b# He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,"