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conciled Father, who having not spared His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, will with Him also freely give us all things. It is of great importance to have this conviction abiding in our minds, that we are alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord; or that if we place our dependence upon the Lord Jesus Christ for pardon, righteousness, and eternal life, it is our privilege to seek for the continual enjoyment of communion with God, to maintain intercourse with Him in the spirit of our minds at all times. Or in other words, that we are the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus," whose high privilege it is to call upon God as our Father, and to believe that, like as a father pitieth his children, so He will manifest His mercy and compassion towards us in every time of our need, when we call upon Him for grace to help us.
If we reckon ourselves to be alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord, we shall draw near with confidence to the throne of grace at all times. Being assured of our acceptance with God, we shall pray without ceasing, and in every thing give thanks, which is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning us.' We shall know that we have a Friend to apply to at all times, who is a very present help in trouble. We shall make Him our refuge, and rejoice in His
7 Gal. iii. 26.
8 Psalm ciii. 13; xlvi. 1.
9 1 Thess. v. 17, 18.
salvation. And we shall be enabled to rejoice in hope of the glory of God 10 hereafter; since our blessed Saviour has said to His believing people, Because I live, ye shall live also."
Let not the humble believer in Christ fear to comply with this exhortation of the apostle. Let him reckon himself to be alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord, and let him therefore yield himself unto God, as one that is alive from the dead, and his members as instruments of righteousness unto God. Let him with purpose of heart cleave unto the Lord, ie as his hope and his portion in the land of the living, as his shield and protector from all evil, as his exceeding great reward in time and in eternity. Oh! that we might all of us know the blessedness connected with being alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord; that we might walk humbly with our God here upon earth, as our Father and our Friend, and look forward with a good hope of being admitted into His blissful presence for evermore; that we might live as the children of God on earth, who are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, and shall be glorified together10 with Him in His eternal kingdom. That this blessedness may be ours, may God of His mercy grant for Christ's sake.
10 Rom. v. 2; viii. 17.
11 John xiv. 19.
12 Acts xi. 23.
SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY.
THE WAGES AND THE GIFT.
Romans vi. 23.
FOR THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH; BUT THE
GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE, THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD.
THESE words point out to us the end of the course through life which every individual of the human race is pursuing; and the way in which all the children of men are walking to each respective termination. How different are the courses here marked out; how wide asunder their termination! Of the latter it is said, that between the one and the other there is a great gulf fixed, so that none can pass it for evermore. How important then is it that we should pursue that course which will lead us to the enjoyment of eternal life; that the bitterness of eternal death,
from which there is no deliverance, may not be our portion.
In the Epistle for this day, the apostle addresses the Christians at Rome as persons who had been sinners, and were still compassed with the weaknesses of their fallen nature. He says, I speak after the manner of men, because of the infirmity of your flesh. As long as we are in the body, we are compassed with infirmity; exposed to the assaults of our spiritual enemies; and liable to be overcome by them on account of our weakness, if we rely upon our own strength. But Divine grace is sufficient for the children of God, and His strength is made perfect in their weakness, 13 when they call upon Him for help in the time of their need.
The apostle reminds the Romans of their former state, when they were unacquainted with the gospel of Christ: Ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness, and to iniquity, unto iniquity. When they were in a state of iniquity, under the dominion of sin, they readily gave themselves up to the practice of what God had forbidden in His holy law. But a change had taken place in their religious character and profession; which required that they should no longer act in this manner.
And therefore he exhorts them, Even so yield your members servants to
13 2 Corinthians xii. 9.
righteousness, unto, or in a state of, holiness. They had become a holy people unto the Lord their God; and therefore, instead of uncleanness and iniquity marking their conduct, they were to take the law of God for their directory, that they might live in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of their life.14 That this was not the state in which they had formerly been, the apostle repeats: For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. They were destitute of righteousness before God, as well as being unrighteous in the sight of men; and therefore were excluded from the kingdom of God, which the unrighteous shall not inherit.15 He had spoken before of the righteousness of which they had been made partakers through Divine grace, even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe, who are justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.16 Of this righteousness the servants of sin are destitute, they have no portion in it. They are not acceptable to God, and in many cases they are not approved of men;16 for the open transgressor of the law of God is condemned even by his fellow creatures.
The unprofitableness of a course of sin, or of being its servants or slaves, is next intimated by the question, What fruit had ye then in those things
14 Luke i. 75.
15 1 Cor. vi. 9.
16 Rom. iii. 22, 24; xiv. 18.