Oct 29, 2011

He will visit their transgression with the rod - Israel Atkinson

Respecting the penalty of disobedience to Christians, two or three things require to be premised Disobedience is, frequently chargeable upon them. If any Christians say they have no sin they deceive themselves ; and if they say they have not sinned, they make God a liar. In many things we offend all, both against moral and against Christian law. Further, God, as King and Father, in his economical dealings with his subjects and children, punishes them for their transgressions ; but this punishment, it should be observed; is wholly independentof,. And difterent from the judicial. penalty of their sins, which was borne alone by their Surety, when he was wounded for their transgressions and bruised for their iniquities. Further, that in all economical punisliments God never deals. with his children after their sins, nor rewards them, according to , their iniquities (Psa.: ciii; 10 ;) but which is wholly unlike the Judicial penalty borne by Christ he ever punishes them less than their faults deserve. (Ezra. Ix. 13.) `Further, unlike the case of Adam in Eden, and like that of the Jews in Canaan, repentance is admitted to Christian,. For them there is forgiveness with God, that he maybe feared. If they confess their sins, God is faithful and just to forgive them their sins. " If any (Christian) man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father." 1 John i. 1. Yet one thing more: just as the Christian contributes nothing to his salvation by his obedience, so he suffers the loss of nothing that constitutes his salvation by his disobedience. Being entirely of the Lord, this great matter exists wholly independently of Christian obedience, and is altogether unharmed by Christian disobedience; and concerning nothing of all that " God doeth," can it be affirmed more completely and confidently than of " the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory," that nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it." It is immutably true that, " Whom he did foreknow he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called ; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified." Rom. viii. 29, 30. No obedience of man ever formed a link in that wondrous chain of sequences, which Christians can never enough admire, and no disobedience has ever broken, or ever can break one.

What then is the penalty of Christian disobedience? Much, and many things, the barest contemplation of the least of which may well enough fill a Christian with awe, and lead him to say humbly to God, " My flesh trembleth for fear of thee, and I am afraid of thy judgments." But this is a subject which must not be laborated here. Briefly, by their faults, churches may lose their purity of doctrine, their spiritual vitality, their moral honour, their " candlestick," and their organic existence. Ministers may build improper materials on the true foundation, and suffer the loss of their reward ; they may make shipwreck concerning the faith ; they may defile the temple of God, and themselves may be defiled by God; (pheirie, phtherei, 1 Cor. iii. 17 ;) that is, God may put them aside as vessels that are unsanctified and unfit for his, the Master's, use, and they may end their days in that condition which, for himself, Paul so earnestly deprecated and so sedulously endeavoured to avoid, namely, 0 horrible consummation ! that of a castaway. Christians of every condition, although not condemned with the world, are, nevertheless, judged of the Lord. Although their God Still never suffer his loving kindness and faithfulness to fail, yet if they forsake his law, and walk not in his judgments; if they break his statutes, and keep not his commandments, he will visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. If they walk contrary to him, he will walk contrary to them. If they sow to their flesh, they shall of the flesh reap corruption. Pride will lead to destruction. A haughty spirit will be followed by a fall. Covetousness will tend to penury. Envy will be the rottenness of the bones. Wrath will bring strife and drive away peace. A lying tongue will be silenced in shame. The house of the idle will drop through. A backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways. Fleshly lusts indulged will become an army with banners warring against the soul. Sin will separate from communion with God, and make all the means of his grace dry breasts. What God said to Israel by Azariah he says to Christians now : " The Lord is with you, while ye be with him ; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you ; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you." Indeed, over and above all of a like kind recorded in the New Testament, having a due regard to existing differences, almost all the promises and threatenings, the reasonings and the invitations which were delivered to the Jews, not only may, but should be, transferred to Christians. Those were to enjoy their Jewish, these are to enjoy their Christian privileges, by keeping the commandments of God. All those promises, and threatenings, and expostulations, and invitations, addressed to the Jews in the typical economy were written, partly, for the learning of Christians. Christians, therefore, should be taught their truth and importance relative to themselves. But the monstrous blunder and criminal folly already alluded to, namely, the use of the language of the law of works addressed to the Jews as that of the law of faith addressed to men in general, cannot be avoided with a too sedulous care, nor, where it is found, be denounced too strongly, by whomsoever it may be committed, or sanctioned.

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