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IV. Godly sorrow worketh reformation. Luke 15: 17– 19. comp. v. 7:10. 2 Cor. 7: 9, 10.
V. The prodigal son applies with confidence to his father, Luke 15: 18--20.
VI. A sorrrow for sin which is accompanied by a despair of salvation, has a prejudicial influence; for a despair of success will naturally destroy all courage to attempt a reformation, as we see in the example of Judas, Matth. 27: 4.? And the false impression, that even those who entertain a reverence for God nevertheless cannot regain bis favour, sometimes degenerates into the most criminal levity and neglect of every duty.?
VII. Rom. 6:2, 6, 11. 1 Pet. 3:21. 4: 2. Compare 111.
1 Melancthonis Loc, theol. p. 498-500.
2 Psalm 130: 4. See the work on the Design of Christ's death, p. 570.
Connexion between obedience to the commands of Christ, and a
reliance on his merits.
Finally, our reliance on the merits of Christ (John 3: 14-16.) as the ground of our justification [pardon), is founded (1) on a belief in his divine authority (v. 11—13) and in the divine attributes (2); in short, it is based upon a faith which is most intimately connected with a desire for holiness a “carefulness to maintain good works” (Tit. 3: 8): For, this faith is necessarily connected with obedience (3) to all the instructions of Christ, or to the Gospel taken in its widest sense (4). It is connected with obedience not only to the glad tidings of the pardon of our sins and the consequent salvation (the Gospel in its more confined latitude) (5), but involves also obedience to the law of Christ (6).
I. No one can receive the instructions of Jesus and his apostles in reference to the design of the Saviour's death, with entire sincerity of heart, who does not receive Jesus and his apostles as divine messengers,' and has not entire confidence in the veracity of God ($6. Il. 10.) ($ 27); nay, who does not believe the supreme dignity of the person of Jesus. And every one who entertains these high ideas of the person of Jesus Christ, must also necessarily attribute divine authority to all his doctrines and also to those taught by his apostles. $ 82. IlII. Faith in Christ implies a belief in the divine attributes. Rom. 4: 20 compared with 23. These passages refer to faith in the divine promises; and 1 John 5: 10, to a belief in the veracity of God. In Acts 16: 34 compared with v. 31, “to believe in Christ” is interchanged with the phrase, “ to believe in God."
1 See the work on the Design of Christ's death, p. 533 &c.
III. Every individual who sincerely believes in Christ and his apostles, does, even by this belief, glorify God. Thus Abraham, as he “staggered not (at the promise of God) through unbelief, but was strong in faith, gave glory to God;" and John tells us " he that receives his testimony, hath set his seal that God is true.”2
For, it is his reverence for the infallibility and other attributes of God (e. g. power Rom. 4: 21) on which the divine veracity and immutability are founded (826), which induces him to give his assent to the divine doctrines of Christ and his apostles. And as it is the duty of those to whom the doctrines of Christ are published, to glorify God by faith in these doctrines, and as these doctrines expressly require men thus to glorify God, it is evident that this belief, by virtue of which we do not resist these doctrines, but yield obedience to them, is itself an obedience to the will and instructions of God.5 But if we cordially acquiesce in those doctrines which refer to ourselves, our acquiescence cannot be a mere cold, indifferent assent ($ 119). Some of the doctrines announce joyful events and promises, whilst others present to our view a picture of our lamentable condition and warn us of the punishment awaiting the transgressor. Some enjoin duties, and others forbid their neglect. Hence the effect of a cordial reception of these divine instructions, must necessarily be a diversity of feelings corresponding to the various nature of the doctrines themselves, it must naturally produce joy, cheerfulness, hope, gratitude (§ 118), penitence ($ 120. Ill. 2), fear, a sense of moral obligation. 2 Cor. 5: 10 &c. Heb. 12: 28. v. 29, hat evOJEV TO DE MEτα αιδους και ευλαβειας-« the christian feeling of reverence for God, aidws, must sometimes be supported by the fear of punishment, even in the friends of Jesus."2 Heb. 11:1. “Faith is a belief in the existence of things which we do not see,” ov Blenouev, partly of future events which we hope or fear, partly of things actually existing which we do not see, and partly of events which are past.3
1 Rom. 4: 20.
5 Rom. 1: 5, vnaxon TOTEWS. Comp. Acts 6: 7. Útnxovov TY πιστει. Ηeb. 2: 1, προσεχειν τοις ακουςθεισι-the opposite is μη υποταγηναι, ουχ υπακουειν, Rom. 10: 3, 16.
IV. The term evayyehov or “Gospel" is used in its more extended sense in the following passages : 1 Tim. 1: 10 &c. Rom. 2: 16. 1 Pet. 4: 17. Matth. 4: 23. comp. v. 17. Luke 3: 18. comp. v. 7 &c. 20: 1. Acts 15: 35. 14: 15. 17: 28. 1 Cor. 15: 1-11.
V. In its more confined sense the word evayyelov is used in Rom. 10: 16 comp. v. 3—15. 9: 31. 1: 16, 17. 3: 21 &c. As “Gospel,” in this sense of the word, signifies the doctrine concerning the unmerited grace of God through Christ, in which we may justly repose our confidence, in other words, the doctrine of "the righteousness of God by faith” (dlxalo OUVY JEOV EX TTLOTEWS 10: 3, 6. 1:17. 3: 21 &c); the doctrine which requires us to rely, not on our own works, but on the merits of Christ, which requires faith motiv, in that sense in which the word is used Gal. 2: 16–3: 22. ($118); therefore, this Gospel may also be called “the doctrine concerning faith in Christ," (onua rns tiotews Rom. 10: 8) or "faith” itself (Tulotis Gal
1 On the Design of the atonement, p. 507, 2 Comment, on Heb, in loc. note ga 3 Comment. in loc. note u.
. 3: 23. Comp. $ 117. Ill. 16), or “ faith in the blood of Jesus” (πιστις εν τω αιματι Ιησου Rom. 3: 25). And this name (Tulotis or faith) was by synecdoche applied to the whole doctrine, that is, to the Gospel in its most extended sense, of which the doctrine of “ faith” or reliance on the merits of Christ is a part, as e. g. in Acts 6: 7. Rom. 1: 5. Jude v. 3, 20. And, in truth, it is not only that part of the doctrines of Christ which teaches reliance on his merits, but his entire doctrines, which are the joyful tidings ευαγγελιoν, καλον ρημα Ηeb. 6: 5. For all his doctrines have a reference to our salvation, even the commands themselves and the menaces which are intended to deter us from sin. Heb. 4: 1. And even if nicotis faith, is used, not in its more limited, but in its widest sense, as having a reference to all the doctrines of Christ, it may still, according to a very common metonymy, signify the entire doctrines of Christ. For “Gospel,” in its more extended sense, signifies the doctrines which we are under obligation to receive with approbation, to believe, which are the object of our faith or assent.
VI. True faith is uniformly productive of obedience to the divine law. By the “ law of Christ” (vouos Xolotov Gal. 6: 2. comp. 1 Cor. 9: 21) is meant the precepts of Christ in reference to our duty.3 The greater part of our duties are indeed
1 Rom. 1: 17, “ Justification before God through faith in Christ is published in the Gospel, in order that this faith (reliance) in Christ may be produced.” ELS Nuotiv, see Diss. de sensu vocis diraios, Note 68. Hermann's Erklaerung des N. T. Th. VII. S. 50.
2 1 Cor. 15: 2," the Gospel, by which ye are saved,” Eph. 1: 13,“ the Gospel of salvation.” Heb. 2: 3: 4: 2.
3 John 15: 10, 12, 14. Matth. 5: 22. 7: 23. 1 John 2: 3-5.