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Showing That The Fruit Of Conversion Is The New Creature; Also, That The Christian Is, By Faith, A Lord Over All, And, By Love, A Servant Of All; And, That The Life Of Christ Is A Mirror For Us.
If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.—2 Cor. 5:17.
All that are in Christ by faith, are “new creatures;” that is, they are the children of God, are righteous before God, have forgiveness of sin, and the Holy Ghost; they are partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4), are heirs of everlasting life, and are liberated in their consciences from the law, the curse, death, the devil, hell, and damnation. All, whatever appertains to their salvation, is in them begotten of Christ by grace, and is conceived by them through faith; hence, neither time nor place, neither law, nor commandment, nor ceremonies, nor anything whatsoever, can be any hindrance to them. They are made perfect in Christ, who is now become a vital principle in them, and they have in him the accomplishment of the law through faith. Rom. 10:4.
2. Thence the name of a Christian is a higher and more excellent name than all the names in the world. It is a greater name than is to be found in palaces and courts, a name above all posts of greatness, above the whole 207 world, with all that it contains. But, on the other hand, the name of a Christian is also the lowest name of all the names in the world, without exception. Thus, in the same degree, faith exalts a Christian above all; love brings down a Christian under all. This thou wilt then best understand, when thou seriously considerest the holy life of Christ; which is the brightest mirror both of love, and of all other virtues. See Phil. 2:5-8.
3. Behold how Christ made himself the servant of all! how humble was he in heart! how meek in spirit! how kind and gracious in words! how benevolent in his behavior! how merciful towards the poor! how compassionate towards the distressed! how patient towards his slanderers! how calm in his answers! how merciful towards sinners! Whom did he ever despise? whom did he ever revile, being reviled? How condescending was he to the very meanest! how ready to show acts of grace to all, without distinction! how heartily did he seek the salvation of all men, praying for his very enemies and murderers! Luke 23:34. How did he bear our sickness, sorrows, reproaches, stripes, wounds, and punishments! And indeed, what else is the life of Christ, but a most accomplished pattern of love, humility, patience, and all other virtues whatsoever! This we ought to look into, and to reflect upon it in our hearts; but especially when we are alone. This is better than all the high boasts of knowledge, and all the art and wisdom of the world. This life of Christ is like a seal (Cant. 8:6) to be stamped upon our hearts, and leave there the impression of his image, life, love, humility, patience, cross, reproach, and death. This would prove a true celestial light to our hearts, and a powerful means both to renew us in the inner man, and to transform us more and more into the divine image. Now as Christ was under all men, yea, under all creatures, in his state of humiliation in this world; but is now in his state of exaltation, a Lord over all: so a Christian is, with reference to his faith, a lord over all, nothing being excepted but God; but with regard to his life and conduct, a servant of servants, being under all persons and things.
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