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Its Minister also was as far superior to Moses, as the dispensation is more excellent.
For God, who at sundry times and in divers manners, spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed Heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds ; who is the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His Person, and upholdeth all things by the word of His power. And it is said especially, that He was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. And Moses was verily faithful in all his house as a servant; but Christ as a Son, over His own house.48 He was the only begotten Son of God.
Moses was a faithful servant of God. Christ was the Builder of the house, or He who made all things. Moses was an eminent stone in the building; was one of His creatures.
And as to the dispensation itself, which was introduced by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, the ministration of it is the ministration of righteousness, or of justification, instead of being the ministration of condemnation; and it is not the ministration of death, nor of the letter which killeth, but of the Spirit which giveth life. As the ministration of righteousness, it makes known the way in which the sinful guilty children of men may be justified or accounted righteous before God, even through the obedience unto death of our Divine Redeemer, who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification : therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ.49 This is the only foundation of hope with respect to God and heaven that fallen man can have. How glorious is that dispensation which makes it known to us! How highly ought we to prize it! How gratefully should we accept the benefits which it confers, and seek to enjoy the consolations which it brings to the consciences of those who heartily embrace it. It is not, however, until a man has been led to see that as a sinner he is cut off from communion with God, and all hope of heavenly blessedness, that he is anxious to know any thing on the subject of justification before God, or that he is disposed to ask the question, How can man be just with God? When he sees himself to be under the condemnation and curse of the law of God, as a transgressor, and exposed to eternal death as the wages of sin, then it is that he begins to set a value upon the righteousness of God, which is manifested without the law, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 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
47 1 Kings xix. 11, 12.
48 Heb. i. 1-3; iii. 3, 5, 6.
Here is a plain statement of what is meant by the ministration of righteousness. The perfect obedience of the Lord Jesus Christ in human nature to the holy law of God, is placed to the account of them that put their trust in Him; so that by His obedience they are made righteous, or justified before God by faith. God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.50
This doctrine of being “accounted righteous before God only for the merit of our Lord Jesus Christ, by faith, and not for our own works or deservings,” is a fundamental article of our holy religion. He who has a right understanding of it, will love the Lord his God with all his heart, and will walk humbly with Him, and circumspectly before Him in his life and conduct. On the other hand, if our views on this subject are obscure, we must naturally look to our imperfect obedience to the law of God as the ground of our hope of acceptance with Him; on which subject the apostle plainly asserts, As many as are of the works of the law, or seek to be justified before God by their imperfect obedience to it, are under the curse.
If our hope for the favour of God be founded upon our own imperfect obedience, we shall incur His displeasure, instead of being accepted with Him.
Jesus Christ is the only
49 Rom. iv. 25; v. i; iii. 21-24.
50 2 Cor. v. 21.
Mediator between God and man; and unless we come before God, trusting in His merits alone, it is utterly impossible that we can be accepted with Him. He is the Lord our righteousness, on whom we must depend for acceptance in the Divine presence, or we shall be rejected by Him, who is of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on iniquity. If we rely upon His righteousness we shall look up to the God of heaven as our Father, and shall be accepted with Him as the sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty. Let the righteousness of Christ then be that in which we place our confidence, that being reconciled to God through His beloved Son, we may live as the children of God, as in His presence and to
It may be said also, that the Christian dispensation is the ministration of righteousness, not only as it reveals God's method of justifying sinners through faith in the merits of Jesus Christ the righteous, but as it provides by this means for the observance of the moral law among mankind. Many persons seem to think that justification before God and obedience to His law, are things unconnected with each other. But this is a mistake. The man who is justified before God and accepted with Him, will walk humbly with his God; and will of necessity and of choice seek and desire conformity to His image. It cannot possibly be otherwise; for faith worketh by love ;51 and love produces obedience. We naturally wish to assimilate ourselves to those whom we love. If we truly love God, and have fellowship with Him, we cannot but desire to be like Him. To be perfectly conformed to Him will then be regarded as the highest bliss.
In order to the accomplishment of this under the Christian dispensation, the Spirit of God is given to the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ ; and therefore the dispensation is called the ministration of the Spirit. The great object proposed by it is, That we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith in the redemption of Christ. Our Saviour therefore declared to His disciples, If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him. The great characteristic of the ministry of the Spirit is, that He giveth life. He quickens the soul from that death in trespasses and sins under which mankind are held by nature, so that it is made spiritually alive to God. vinces of sin. He applies to the heart and conscience the truths of the word of God. He comforts the mourning penitent. He sanctifies those who partake of His Divine influences, in order that their whole spirit and soul and body may be preserved blameless unto the coming of our
51 Galatians y. 6;
52 Luke xi. 13.