« Prev Chapter XXIX. Of reconciliation by the death of… Next »

Chapter XXIX.

Of reconciliation by the death of Christ as it is a sacrifice.

II. The next consideration of the death of Christ is of it as a sacrifice, and the proper effect thereof is reconciliation by his death as a sacrifice.

Reconciliation in general is the renewal of lost friendship and peace between persons at variance. To apply this to the matter treated of, the ensuing positions are to be premised:—

1. There was at first, in the state of innocency, friendship and peace between God and man. God had no enmity against his creature; he approved him to be good, and appointed him to walk in peace, communion, confidence, and boldness with him, Gen. ii.. Nor had man, on whose heart the law and love of his Maker was written, any enmity against his Creator, God, and Rewarder.

2. That by sin there is division, separation, and breach of peace and friendship, introduced between God and the creature: Isa. lix. 2, “Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you.” Chap. lxiii. 10, “They rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit; therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and fought against them.” Chap. lvii. 21, “There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.” And therefore it is that, upon a delivery from this condition, we are said (and not before) to have “peace with God,” Rom. v. 1.

3. That by this breach of peace and friendship with God, God was alienated from the sinner, so as to be angry with him, and to renounce all peace and friendship with him, considered as such and in that condition. “He that believeth not, the wrath of God abideth on him,” John iii. 36.

And therefore by nature and in our natural 532condition we are “children of wrath,” Eph. ii. 3; that is, obnoxious to the wrath of God, that abides upon unbelievers, — that is, unreconciled persons.

4. This enmity on the part of God consists, —

(1.) In the purity and holiness of his nature, whence he cannot admit a guilty, defiled creature to have any communion with him. He is a God of “purer eyes than to behold evil,” Hab. i. 13. And sinners cannot serve him, because “he is a holy God, a jealous God, that will not forgive their transgressions nor their sins,” Josh. xxiv. 19.

(2.) In his will of punishing for sin: Rom. i. 32, “It is the judgment of God, that they which commit sin are worthy of death,” and this from the righteousness of the thing itself. 2 Thess. i. 6, “It is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation” to sinner. “He is not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness,” etc., Ps. v. 4–6.

(3.) In the sentence of his law, in the establishing and execution whereof his truth and honour were engaged: “In the day that thou cutest thereof, thou shalt surely die,” Gen. ii. 17. And, “Cursed is every one that continueth not,” etc., Gal. iii. 13, Deut. xxvii. 26. And of this enmity of God against sin and sinners, as I have elsewhere at large declared, there is an indelible persuasion abiding on the hearts of all the sons of men, however, by the stirrings of lust and craft of Satan, it may be more or less blotted in them. Hence, —

(4.) As a fruit and evidence of this enmity, God abominates their persons, Ps. i. 4–6; rejects and hates their duties and ways, Prov. xv. 8, 9; and prepares wrath and vengeance for them, to be inflicted in his appointed time, Rom. ii. 5; — all which make up perfect enmity on the part of God.

5. That man was at enmity with God as on his part, I shall not need to prove, because I am not treating of our reconciliation to God, but of his reconciliation to us.

Where there is such an enmity as this, begun by offence on the one part, and continued by anger and purpose to punish on the other, to make reconciliation is properly to propitiate and turn away the anger of the person offended, and thereby to bring the offender into favour with him again, and to an enjoyment of the same, or a friendship built on better conditions than the former. This description of reconciliation doth God himself give us, Job xlii. 7–9, “And it was so, that after the Lord had spoken these words unto Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for 533ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job,” etc. The offenders are Eliphaz and his two friends; the offence is their folly in not speaking aright of God; the issue of the breach is, that the wrath or anger of God was towards them. Reconciliation is the turning away of that wrath. The means whereby this was to be done, appointed of God, is the sacrifice of Job for atonement.

This, then, is that which we ascribe to the death of Christ when we say that, as a sacrifice, we were reconciled to God by it, or that he made reconciliation for us. Having made God our enemy by sin (as before), Christ by his death turned away his anger, appeased his wrath, and brought us into favour again with God. Before the proof of this, I must needs give one caution as to some terms of this discourse, as also remove an objection that lies at the very entrance against the whole nature of that which is treated of.

For the first, When we speak of the anger of God, his wrath, and his being appeased towards us, we speak after the manner of men; but yet by the allowance of God himself. Not that God is properly angry, and properly altered from that state and appeased, whereby he should properly be mutable and be actually changed; — but by the anger of God, which sometimes in Scripture signifieth his justice, from whence punishment proceeds, sometimes the effects of anger, or punishment itself, the obstacles before mentioned on the part of God, from his nature, justice, law, and truth, are intended; and by his being appeased towards us, his being satisfied as to all the bars so laid in the way of receiving us to favour, without the least alteration in him, his nature, will, or justice. And according to the analogy hereof, I desire that whatever is spoken of the anger of God, and his being appeased or altered (which is the language wherein he converseth with us and instructs us to wisdom), may be measured and interpreted.

The objection I shall propose in the words of Crellius:—

If this be the chiefest and highest love of God, that he sent Christ, his only Son, to be a propitiation for our sins, how then could Christ by his death appease the wrath of God that was incensed against us? for seeing that God’s love was the cause of sending Christ, he must needs before that have laid aside, his anger; for otherwise, should he not intensely love us and not love us at the same time? And if God could then be angry with us when he gave up his Son to bitter death for our everlasting happiness, what argument or evidence at any time can we have from the effect of it, whence we may know that God is not farther angry with us?505505   “Si in eo sita est dilectio, quod Deus nos dilexerit et Filium suum miserit ἱλασμόν, pro peccatis nostris, quomodo Christus morte sua demum iram Dei adversus nos incensam placarit? nam cum dilectio illa Dei quæ plane fuit summa, causa fuit cur Deus Filium suum charissimum miserit, necesse est ut iram jam suam adversus nos deposuerit; nonne aliter eodem tempore et impense amabit et non amabit? Si Deus etiam tum potuit nobis irasci cum Filium suum charissimum supremæ nostræ felicitatis causa morti acerbissimæ objiceret, quod satis magnum argumentum erit ex effectu ejus petitum, unde cognoscamus Deum nobis non irasci amplius.” — Crell. Defen. Socin. con. Grot. part. vi.

534To the same purpose Socinus himself: “Demonstravi non modo Christum Deo nos, non autem Deum nobis reconciliasse, verum etiam Deum ipsum fuisse qui hanc reconciliationem fecerit,” Socin. de Servator. lib. i. part. i. cap. i.

To the same purpose is the plea of the catechist, cap. viii., “De Morte Christi,” q. 31, 32.

Ans. 1. The love wherewith God loved us when he sent his Son to die for us was the most intense and supreme in its own kind, nor would admit of any hatred or enmity in God towards us that stood in opposition thereunto. It is everywhere set forth as the most intense love, John iii. 16; Rom. v. 7, 8, 1 John iv. 10. Now, this love of God is an eternal free act of his will; his “purpose,” Rom. ix. 11; “his good pleasure,” his purpose that he “purposed in himself,” as it is called, Eph. i. 5, 9; it is his πρόθεσις εὐδοκία πρόγνωσις, 1 Pet. i. 2, as I have elsewhere distinctly declared; a love that was to have an efficacy by means appointed. But for a love of friendship, approbation, acceptation as to our persons and duties, God bears none unto us, but as considered in Christ and for his sake. It is contrary to the whole design of the Scripture and innumerable particular testimonies once to fancy a love of friendship and acceptation towards any in God, and not consequent to the death of Christ.

2. This love of God’s purpose and good pleasure, this “charitas ordinativa,” hath not the least inconsistency with those hinderances of peace and friendship on the part of God before mentioned; for though the holiness of God’s nature, the justice of his government, the veracity of his word, will not allow that he take a sinner into friendship and communion with himself without satisfaction made to him, yet this hinders not but that, in his sovereign good-will and pleasure, he might purpose to recover us from that condition by the holy means which he appointed. God did not love us and not love us, or was angry with us, at the same time and in the same respect. He loved us in respect of the free purpose of his will to send Christ to redeem us and to satisfy for our sin; he was angry with us in respect of his violated law and provoked justice by sin.

3. God loves our persons as we are his creatures, is angry with us as we are sinners.

4. It is true that we can have no greater evidence and argument of the love of God’s good-will and pleasure in general than in sending his Son to die for sinners, and that he is not angry with them with an anger of hatred opposite to that love, — that is, with an eternal purpose to destroy them; but for a love of friendship and acceptation, we have innumerable other pledges and evidences, as is known, and might be easily declared.

These things being premised, the confirmation of what was proposed ensues:—

535The use and sense of the words whereby this doctrine of our reconciliation is expressed evince the truth contended for. Ἱλάσκεσθαι, καταλάσσειν, and ἀποκαταλάσσειν, which are the words used in this business, are as much as “iram avertere,” “to turn away anger:” so is “reconciliare, propitiare,” and “placare,” in Latin. “Impius, ne audeto placare iram deorum,” was a law of the Twelve Tables. Ἱλάσκομαι, “propitior, placor,” ἱλασμός, “placatio, exoratio,” Gloss. vetus. And in this sense is the word used: Ὅσα μέντοι πρὸς ἱλασμοὺς θεῶν η` τεράτων ἀποτροπὰς συνηγόρευον οἱ μάντεις, Plut. in Fabio, — to “appease their gods, and turn away the things they feared.” And the same author tells us of a way taken ἐξιλάσασθαι τὸ μήνιμα τῆς θεοῦ, — to “appease the anger of the goddess” And Xenophon useth the word to the same purpose: Πολλὰ μὲν πέμπων ἀναθήματα χρυσᾶ πολλὰ δὲ ἀργυρᾶ πάμπολλα δὲ θύων ἐξιλασάμην ποτὲ αὐτόν. And so also doth Livy use the word “reconcilio:” “Non movit modo talis oratio regem, sed etiam reconciliavit Annibali,” Bell. Macedon. And many more instances might be given. God, then, being angry and averse from love of friendship with us, as hath been declared, and Christ being said thus to make reconciliation for us with God, he did fully turn away the wrath of God from us, as by the testimonies of it will appear.

Before I produce our witnesses in this cause, I must give this one caution: It is not said anywhere expressly that God is reconciled to us, but that we are reconciled to God; and the sole reason thereof is, because he is the party offended, and we are the parties offending. Now, the party offending is always said to be reconciled to the party offended, and not on the contrary. So Matt. v. 23, 24, “If thy brother have ought against thee, go and be reconciled to him.” The brother being the party offended, he that had offended was to be reconciled to him by turning away his anger. And in common speech, when one hath justly provoked another, we bid him go and reconcile himself to him; that is, do that which may appease him and give an entrance into his favour again. So is it in the case under consideration. Being the parties offending, we are said to be reconciled to God when his anger is turned away and we are admitted into his favour. Let now the testimonies speak for themselves:—

Rom. v. 10, “When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son.” Κατηλλάγημεν τῷ Θεῷ, — “We were reconciled to God,” or “brought again into his favour.” Amongst the many reasons that might be given to prove the intention of this expression to be, “that we were reconciled to God” by the averting of his anger from us, and our accepting into favour, I shall insist on some few from the context:—

1. It appears from the relation that this expression bears to that of verse 8, “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” with which this upon the matter is the same, “We are reconciled to God 536by the death of his Son.” Now, the intent of this expression, “Christ died for us sinners,” is, he died to bring us sinners into the favour of God, nor will it admit of any other sense; so is our being “reconciled to God by the death of his Son.” And that this is the meaning of the expression, “Christ died for us,” is evident from the illustration given to it by the apostle, verses 6, 7. “Christ died for the ungodly;” how? As one man dieth for another, — that is, to deliver him from death.

2. From the description of the same thing in other words: Verse 9, “Being justified by his blood.” That it is the same thing upon the matter that is here intended appears from the contexture of the apostle’s speech, “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us; much more then being justified by his blood;” and, “If, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God.” The apostle repeats what he had said before, “If, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” and “we were justified by the blood of Christ;” that is, “If, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God.” Now, to be justified is God’s reconciliation to us, his acceptation of us into favour, not our conversion to him, as is known and confessed.

3. The reconciliation we have with God is a thing tendered to us, and we do receive it: Verse 11, Καταλλαγὴν ἐλάβομεν, “We have received the reconciliation (or atonement).” Now, this cannot be spoken in reference to our reconciliation to God as on our side, but of his to us, and our acceptation with him. Our reconciliation to God is our conversion; but we are not said to receive our conversion, or to have our conversion tendered to us, but to convert ourselves or to be converted.

4. The state and condition from whence we are delivered by this reconciliation is described in this, that we are called enemies, — being “enemies, we were reconciled.” Now, enemies in this place are the same with sinners; and the reconciliation of sinners, — that is, of those who had rebelled against God, provoked him, were obnoxious to wrath, — is certainly the procuring of the favour of God for them. When you say, “Such a poor, conquered rebel, that expected to be tortured and slain, is by means of such a one reconciled to his prince,” what is it that you intend? Is it that he begins to like and love his prince only, or that his prince lays down his wrath and pardons him?

5. All the considerations before insisted on, declaring in what sense we are saved by the death of Christ, prove our reconciliation with God to be our acceptation with him, not our conversion to him.

2 Cor. v. 18–21 is a place of the same importance with that above mentioned, wherein the reconciliation pleaded for is asserted, and the nature of it explained: “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation, to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling 537the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

There is in these words a twofold reconciliation:— 1. Of God to man: Verse 18, “God hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ.” 2. Our reconciliation to God, in the acceptance of that reconciliation which we are exhorted to.

The first is that inquired after, the reconciliation whereby the anger of God by Christ is turned away, and those for whom he died are brought into his favour, which comprises the satisfaction proposed to confirmation; for, —

1. Unless it be that God is so reconciled and atoned, whence is it that he is thus proclaimed to be a Father towards sinners, as he is here expressed? Out of Christ he is a “consuming fire” to sinners and “everlasting burnings,” Isa. xxxiii. 14, being of “purer eyes than to behold evil,” Hab. i. 13; before whom no sinner shall appear or stand, Ps. v. 4, 5. So that, where there is no “sacrifice for sins,” there “remaineth nothing to sinners but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries,” Heb. x. 26, How comes, then, this jealous God, this holy God and just Judge, to command some to beseech sinners to be reconciled to him? The reason is given before. It is because he reconciles us to himself by Christ, or in Christ; that is, by Christ his anger is pacified, his justice satisfied, and himself appeased or reconciled to us.

2. The reconciliation mentioned is so expounded, in the cause and effect of it, as not to admit of any other interpretation.

(1.) The effect of God’s being reconciled, or his reconciling the world to himself, is in these words, “Not imputing to them their trespasses.” God doth so reconcile us to himself by Christ as not to impute our trespasses to us; that is, not dealing with us according as justice required for our sins, upon the account of Christ’s [work] remitting the penalty due to them, laying away his anger, and receiving us to favour. This is the immediate fruit of the reconciliation spoken of, if not the reconciliation itself. Nonimputation of sin is not our conversion to God.

(2.) The cause of it is expressed, verse 21, “He made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin.” How comes it to pass that God, the righteous judge, doth thus reconcile us to himself, and not impute to us our sins? It is because he hath made Christ to be sin for us:— that is, either a sacrifice for sin, or as sin, — by the imputation of our sin to him. He was “made sin for us,” as we are “made the righteousness of 538God in him.” Now, we are made the righteousness of God by the imputation of his righteousness to us: so was he made sin for us by the imputation of our sin to him. Now, for God to reconcile us to himself by imputing our sin to Christ, and thereon not imputing it to us, can be nothing but his being appeased and atoned towards us, with his receiving us into his favour, by and upon the account of the death of Christ.

(3.) This reconciling of us to himself is the matter committed to the preachers of the gospel; whereby, or by the declaration whereof, they should persuade us to be reconciled to God. “He hath committed to us τὸν λόγον τῆς καταλλαγῆς, this doctrine concerning reconciliation mentioned, ‘we therefore beseech you to be reconciled to God.’ ” That which is the matter whereby we are persuaded to be reconciled to God cannot be our conversion itself, as is pretended. The preachers of the gospel are to declare this word of God, namely, “that he hath reconciled us to himself” by the blood of Christ, the blood of the new testament that was shed for us, and thereon persuade us to accept of the tidings, or the subject of them, and to be at peace with God. Can the sense be, “We are converted to God, therefore be ye converted?” This testimony, then, speaks clearly to the matter under debate.

The next place of the same import is Eph. ii. 12–16, “At that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: but now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.”

1. Here is mention of a twofold enmity: — (1.) Of the Gentiles unto God; (2.) Of the Jews and Gentiles among themselves.

(1.) Of the Gentiles unto God, verse 12. Consider them as they are there described, and their enmity to God is sufficiently evident. And what in that estate was the respect of God unto them? what is it towards such persons as there described? “The wrath of God abideth on them,” John iii. 36; they are “children of wrath,” Eph. ii. 3. So are they there expressly called. “He hateth all the workers of iniquity,” Ps. v. 5, and “will by no means clear the guilty,” Exod. xxxiv. 7; yea, he curseth those families that call not on his name, Jer. x. 25.

(2.) Of the Jews and Gentiles among themselves; which is expressed both in the thing itself and in the cause of it. It is called 539“enmity,” and said to arise from, or be occasioned and improved by, “the law of commandments contained in ordinances.” The occasion, improvement, and management of this enmity between them see elsewhere.

2. Here is mention of a twofold reconciliation:— (1.) Of the Jews and Gentiles among themselves: Verses 14, 15, “He is our peace, who hath made both one, abolishing the enmity, so making peace.” (2.) Of both unto God: Verse 16, “That he might reconcile both unto God.”

3. The manner whereby this reconciliation was wrought: “In his body, by the cross.”

The reconciliation unto God is that aimed at. This reconciliation is the reconciling of God unto us on the account of the blood of Christ, as hath been declared, — the bringing of us into his favour by the laying away of his wrath and enmity against us: which appears, —

(1.) From the cause of it expressed; that is, the body of Christ, by the cross, or the death of Christ. Now, the death of Christ was immediately for the forgiveness of sins: “This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” It is by shedding of his blood that we have remission or forgiveness. That this is by an atoning of God, or our acceptance into favour, is confessed.

(2.) From the expression itself: Ἀποκαταλλάξῃ ἐν ἑνὶ σώματι τῷ Θεῷ. Τῷ Θεῷ denotes one party in the business of reconciliation. He made peace between them both, between the Gentiles on the one hand and the Jews on the other, and he made peace between them both and God, Jews and Gentiles on the one hand and God on the other. So that God is a party in the business of reconciliation, and is therein reconciled to us; for our reconciliation to him is mentioned in our reconciliation together, which cannot be done without our conversion.

(3.) From the description of the enmity given, verse 12, which plainly shows (as was manifested) that it was on both sides. Now, this reconciliation unto God is by the removal of that enmity; and if so, God was thereby reconciled and atoned, if he hath any anger or indignation against sin or sinners.

(4.) Because this reconciliation of both to God is the great cause and means of their reconciliation among themselves. God, through the blood of Christ, or on the account of his death, receiving both into favour, their mutual enmity ceased; and without it never did nor ever will.

And this is the reconciliation accomplished by Christ.

The same might be said of the other place, Col. i. 20–22; but I shall not need to multiply testimonies to the same purpose. Thus we have reconciliation by Christ, in that he hath made atonement or satisfaction for our sins.

540The observations given on these texts have been suited to obviate the exceptions of Socinus, treating of this subject in his book “De Servatore,” without troubling the reader with the repetition of his words.

That which in the next place I thought to do is, to prove that we have this reconciliation by the death of Christ as a sacrifice. But because I cannot do this to my own satisfaction without insisting, first, on the whole doctrine of sacrifices in general; secondly, on the institution, nature, end, and efficacy of the sacrifices of the Aaronical priesthood; thirdly, the respect and relation that was between them and the sacrifice of Christ, both in general and in particular; and from all these considerations at large deducing the conclusion proposed; — and finding that this procedure would draw out this treatise to a length utterly beyond my expectation, I shall not proceed in it, but refer it to a peculiar discourse on that subject.

That which I proposed to confirmation at the entrance of this discourse was the satisfaction made by the blood of Christ. This being proposed under several considerations, hath thus far been severally handled. That his death was a price, that we have redemption thereby properly so called, was first evinced. That truth standing, the satisfaction of Christ is sufficiently established, our adversaries themselves being judges The sacrifice that he offered in his death hath also been manifested. Hereof is the reconciliation now delivered the fruit and effect. This also is no less destructive of the design of these men. What they have to object against that which hath been spoken shall have the next place in our discourse:—

Thus, then, our catechists to this business, in the 31st and 32d questions of the 8th chapter, which is about the death of Christ:—

Q. What say you, then, to those places that affirm that he reconciled us to God?

A. 1. That the Scripture nowhere says that God was reconciled to us by Christ, but this only, that by Christ, or the death of Christ, we are reconciled, or reconciled to God; as may appear from all those places where reconciliation is treated of: wherefore from those places the satisfaction cannot be proved. 2. Because it is evident in the Scripture that God reconciled us to himself, which evinceth the opinion of the adversaries to be altogether false, 2 Cor. v. 18, Col. i. 20–22.506506   “Ad hæc vero quod nos Deo reconciliarit quid affers? — Primum, nusquam Scripturam asserere Deum nobis a Christo reconciliatum, verum id tantum, quod nos per Christum, aut mortem ejus, simus reconciliati, vel Deo reconciliati, ut ex omnibus locis quæ de hac reconciliatione agunt videre est. Quare nullo modo ex iis omnibus locis ea satisfactio extrui potest. Deinde vero quod aperte in Scripturis extat, Deum nos sibi reconciliasse, id opinionem adversariorum prorsus falsam esse evincit, 2 Cor. v. 18, Col. i. 20–22.”

Ans. 1. Whether there be any mention in the Scripture of such a reconciliation as whereby the anger of God is turned away and we received into favour, the reader will judge from what hath been already proposed, and thither we appeal. It is not about words and syllables that we contend, but things themselves. The reconciliation 541of God to us by Christ is so expressed as the reconciliation of a judge to an offender, of a king to a rebel, may be expressed.

2. If Christ made reconciliation for us and for our sins an atonement, he made the satisfaction for us which we plead for.

3. It is true, God is said to reconcile us to himself, but always by Christ, by the blood of Christ, proposing himself as reconciled thereby, and declaring to us the atonement that we may turn unto him.

They add —

Q. But what thinkest thou of this reconciliation?

A. That Jesus Christ showed a way to us, who by reason of our sins were enemies to God and alienated from him, how we ought to turn unto God, and by that means be reconciled to him.507507   “Quid veto de hac reconciliatione sentis? — Christum Jesum nobis, qui propter peccata nostra Dei inimici eramus et ab eo abalienati, viam ostendisse, quemadmodum nos ad Deum converti, atque ad eum modum ei reconciliari oporteat.

Ans. I suppose there was never a more perverse description of any thing, part or parcel, of the gospel by any men fixed on. Some of the excellencies of it may be pointed out:—

1. Here is a reconciliation between two parties, and yet a reconciliation but of one, the other excluded.

2. An enmity on one side only, between God and sinners, is supposed, and that on the part of the sinners, when the Scriptures do much more abound in setting out the enmity of God against them as such, his wrath abiding on them, — as some will find one day to their eternal sorrow.

3. Reconciliation is made nothing but conversion, or conversion to God, which yet are terms and things in the Scriptures everywhere distinguished.

4. We are said to be enemies to God “propter peccata nostra,” when the Scripture says everywhere that God is an enemy to us “propter peccata nostra.” He hateth and is angry with sinners His judgment is, “that they which commit sin are worthy of death,” Rom. i. 32.

5. Here is no mention of the death and blood of Christ, which, in every place in the whole Scripture where this reconciliation is spoken of, is expressly laid down as the cause of it, and necessarily denotes the reconciliation of God to us, by the averting of his anger, as the effect of it.

6. Did Christ by his death show us a way whereby we might come to be reconciled to God or convert ourselves? What was that way? Is it that God lays punishment, and affliction, and death, on them who are no way liable thereunto? What else can we learn from the death of Christ, according to these men? The truth is, they mention not his death, because they know not how to make their ends hang together.

542This is the sum of what they say: “We are reconciled to God, that is, we convert ourselves, by the death of Christ; that is, not by his death, but according to the doctrine he teacheth. And this is the sum of the doctrine of reconciliation: Christ teacheth us a way how we should convert ourselves to God.” And so much for reconciliation.

« Prev Chapter XXIX. Of reconciliation by the death of… Next »
VIEWNAME is workSection