Friday, February 9, 2018

The Benefits Of The Cross

From a sixteenth-century book about justification, titled The Benefit of Christ's Death:

"let us run unto [Christ] with the feet of lively faith, and cast ourselves between his arms, [since] he allureth us so graciously, crying: "Come unto me, all you that labour and are heavy laden; and I will refresh you;" what comfort or what joy in this life can be comparable to this his saying there, when as a man, feeling himself oppressed with the intolerable weight of his sins, understandeth so sweet and amiable words of the Son of God, who promiseth so graciously to refresh and rid him of his great pains?...

O great unkindness! O thing abominable! that we, which profess ourselves Christians, and hear that the Son of God hath taken all our sins upon him, and washed them out with his precious blood, suffering himself to be fastened to the cross for our sakes, should nevertheless make as though we would justify ourselves, and purchase forgiveness of our sins by our own works; as who would say, that the deserts, righteousness, and bloodshed of Jesus Christ were not enough to do it, unless we came to put to our works and righteousness; which are altogether defiled and spotted with self-love, self-liking, self-profit, and a thousand other vanities, for which we have need to crave pardon at God's hand, rather than reward….

Now, if the seeking of righteousness and forgiveness of sins, by the keeping of the law which God gave upon mount Sinai, with so great glory and majesty, be the denying of Christ and of his grace [Galatians 5:4], what shall we say to those that will needs justify themselves before God by their own laws and observances? I would wish that such folks should a little compare the one with the other, and afterward give judgment themselves. God mindeth not to do that honour, not to give that glory to his own law; and yet they will have him to give it to men's laws and ordinances. But that honour is given only to his only-begotten Son, who alone, by the sacrifice of his death and passion, hath made full amends for all our sins, past, present, and to come…

let us give the whole glory of our justification unto God's mercy and to the merits of his Son; who by his own bloodshed hath set us free from the sovereignty of the law, and from the tyranny of sin and death, and hath brought us into the kingdom of God, to give us life and endless felicity….

for the love of his only begotten Son, [the Father] beholdeth [Christians] always with a gentle countenance, governing and defending them as his most dear children, and in the end giving them the heritage of the world, making them like-fashioned to the glorious image of Christ….

O happy is that man that shutteth his eyes from all other sights, and will neither hear nor see any other thing than Jesus Christ crucified; in whom are laid up and bestowed all the treasures of God's wisdom and divine knowledge!" (15-16, 21-23, 26, 69, 93)

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