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27, where then is boasting? It is excluded. 4: 2–4. Eph. 2: 8, 9, that no man should boast.
The important influence of the doctrine, that for salvation we are not indebted to our obedience, is discussed in the work on the Object of the death of Christ, p. 381, 668.1 This doctrine promotes an impartial conviction of our depraved state, which is calculated to urge us to reformation. It inspires us with gratitude and love to God, with courage, zeal, and a willingness to advance still farther in holiness; inasmuch as we have the confident hope of “so great salvation,” which is not to be purchased by our own inconsiderable moral worth, but is already provided for us by the grace of God.
IV. Eph. 2: 5, 7, it is the gift of God. 2 Thess. 2 : 16. Tit. 3: 7. Rom. 3: 24, being justified gratuitously by his grace. 11: 6.
V. Rom. 3: 24, being justified gratuitously, by his grace, through the redemption by Christ Jesus.
VI. 2 Tim. 1:9. John 3:16. 1 John 4:9, in this was the love of God toward us manifested, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Rom. 5: 8. Heb. 2:9. $75.
VII. The fundamental law of the divine government, is, “the man that fulfils the law, shall find salvation by it. Gal. 3: 12. And according to this law, even the most holy individual of the sinful race of man, could cherish no expectation of the happiness enjoyed by angels, whose obedience in the faith, is untarnished by any criminal dispositions or actions. The utmost which he could expect, would be some low degree of happiness, mingled with punishment, and corresponding to the multitude of his sins, and the magnitude of his imperfections.?
1 Zacharias' Biblical Theol. $ 265. Pt. 4, p. 595. 2 On the Object of the death of Christ, p. 672.
VIII. Eph. 2: 7, the exceeding riches of the grace of God. Just as little as the repentance of the prodigal son, and the confidence which he reposed in the paternal disposition of his father, gave him a right to claim the displays of paternal favour which were made to him, just as little as he was by his own personal character strictly worthy of the reception given him by his father; so little do our repentance and reformation give us a right to claim the reward which is destined for us, and which consists not only in an exemption from punishment, but also in the enjoyment of a state of glory in the world to come.
IX. If we who have enjoyed all the means of grace, must confess that we are unqualified for the society of the holy angels and of the Lord Jesus; how much more must this be the case with those who have not been acquainted with divine revelation, and who have therefore been destitute of such means ! Their very imperfect religion does not correspond to the greatness of that salvation which shall be bestowed on them also, on the condition, indeed, of their obedience, but on account of the pure grace of God and Christ, and not for the sake of their imperfect righteousness. $ 71.
God is not in any sense the cause of the ruin of those who
That God, who from eternity (1 Pet. 1: 20) appointed Christ to be the Redeemer of the human farnily, undoubtedly foresaw the fall and misery of men, from which, in accordance with his eternal de
1 Ibid. p. 392.
cree, he wished to deliver them. He also undoubtedly foresaw from eternity, what use each individual would make of the means of grace appointed for him, and which individuals would accept the offered salvation on the terms appointed by him ($ 67), and which of them would reject it (1). But the circumstance that God foresees it, is not the cause (2) either of the unfaithfulness or the misery which he foresees. But he foresees it because it will actually take place, though it is contrary to his will, that it should (S 67); and neither the one nor the other takes place because God foresaw it. Moreover, the object for which the law by which the disobedient are excluded from heaven was enacted, was not that those individuals might be excluded from future happiness, but that they might attain salvation on the condition prescribed by that law (3). It is through their own fault, that they are lost, and not in consequence of any decree of God (4). They will not be condemned because God decreed that they should not be saved on any condition; but because they, through their own fault, did not perform that condition on which God resolved to save them.
1. Foreknowledge and predestination.--Although God has not excluded any nation from the knowledge of christianity, but intended the christian doctrines for all without exception ($ 70); they have, nevertheless, for wise purposes inscrutable to us, hitherto remained unknown to a portion of the human family. These reasons, however, were known to God from eternity. Hence, God knew, from eternity, which individuals would become acquainted with christianity, and would embrace the Gospel, and also what particular persons would become acquainted with the doctrines of christianity in consequence of their descent from christian parents. Of these, therefore, it is justly said, that God, from eternity, selected them for citizens of his kingdom, or for his people. Eph. 1:4, according as he hath chosen us in him, before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love. Col. 1: 22, to present you holy and unblamable and unreprovable in his sight. Thus also, the Jewish people, in distinction from pagan nations, was called “a holy people, an unreprovable seed.” Book of the Wisdom of Solomon 10; 15, λαος όσιος, σπερμα αμεμπτον. 17:1, εθνος αγιον. 10: 17. 18: 1, 5, 9, οσιοι. 10: 20. 18: 7, 20, dixalor just." But the church of Christ shall appear before her Lord, “ holy and unblemished " in a much higher sense, than this in which it is applied to the Jewish people.”
Thus, in the above sense, it may be said that God had long ago, even from eternity, an' apxns, elected those persons, that they should obtain salvation through faith in the Gospel, Ev TilOTEL &ληθειας, i. e. του ευαγγελιου; and that he had called them by virtue of his eternal purpose through the Gospel, or actually received them among his people. Eph. 1: 4, 11. 2 Tim. 1:9. Rom. 8: 28. And certainly it is not an unimportant thought, that we are christians according to the eternal purpose and plan of God. It is not by accident, but in consequence of the eternal plan of God, that we are christians, xintou called ; in other words, the offer of salvation, made in the Gospel, is not brought to us by accident, so as to leave us in doubt whether it is specifically intended for us, but in consequence of the divine purpose formed in eternity. Long before the invitations of the Gospel were given to us, God foresaw that precisely we would become
i Comp. $ 99. Ill. 6.
2 Dissert. in Epist. Coloss. Note 42. 3 The expression atiaexns in general signifies formerly. 1 John 2: 7, 24. Ps. 74: 2. LXX. Heb.baixa -also from eternity. 1 John 1:1. 2: 13. Is, 43: 13,
christians or members of his people. Rom. 8: 29, aposyvw sc. εκλεκτους. ν. 28, προεγνω εκλεκτους. Christians are, according to the predestination of God, chosen from the mass of mankind (exdextov, comp. John 15:19) by the Holy Spirit, who has dedicated them to God by his instructions in the Gospel, and by the gracious influences connected with it; in order that they might manifest their obedience to God, and consequently be sprinkled with the blood of the covenant, with the blood of Jesus Christ.1 And for those, concerning whom he foresaw that they would belong to his people, he appointed a glory like unto his Son's glory (Rom. 8: 29, npowQLoe ovuuoogous ins Elκονος του υλου αυτου), and a participation in the happiness of his Son (v. 17); in short, them he has actually predestined to that salvation .to which the invitation is given in the Gospel. 2 Thess. 2: 13, 14. Comp. $ 64. To those concerning whom he foresaw that they would belong to his people, he gave, in accordance with his gracious and benevolent purpose (εν αγαπη Eph. 1 : 4), the right to become children of God (v. 5), and consequently possessors of the blessedness of Christ (ovyxanpovouoi Xolotov Rom. 8: 17), to the glory of his grace (ELS ETTALvov tns dogns ons yaqitos avtov Eph. 1:6). As to the others, concerning whom God foresaw that they would not be among the xintous, the called or his people, the apostle here says nothing, either affirmatively or negatively; but merely assures us that those who are called, are called in accordance with the saving purpose of God which had been long since formed. But God follows up the plans which he devised. Eph. 1: 11. Accord
1 On the Object of the death of Christ, p. 606, note.
Koppe, in his Nov. Test. p. 272, places the words ev ayann, not at the end of the 4th verse, but at the beginning of the 5th, and thus joins them to προορισας ημας. It accords better with the context to join these words to gros, as they relate to the blessings bestowed by God on christians ; whereas ayann would have to mean christian love, if the words are connected with the preceding verse.