glorycloud's Diaryland Diary


true saving grace

"2. If the sacred Scriptures be duly observed, where grace is called by the name of "Spirit," it will appear that 'tis so called by an ascription of the Holy Ghost, even the third person in the Trinity, to that divine principle in the heart of the saints; as though that principle in them were no other than the Spirit of God itself, united to the soul, and living and acting in it, and exerting itself in the use and improvement of its faculties.

Thus it is in the Romans 8, as does manifestly appear by Romans 8:9–16: But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if you live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our Spirit, that we are the children of God.

Here the Apostle does fully explain himself what he means when he so often calls that holy principle that is in the hearts of the saints by the name "Spirit." This he means, the Spirit of God itself dwelling and acting in them. In the Romans 8:9 he calls it the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of Christ in the Romans 8:10. He calls it Christ "in them" in the eleventh verse. He calls it the "Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead" dwelling in them; and in the Romans 8:14 he calls it the Spirit of God. In the Romans 8:16 he calls it the "Spirit itself." So it is called the Spirit of God in 1 Corinthians 2:11–12. So that that holy, divine principle, which we have observed does radically and essentially consist in divine love, is no other than a communication and participation of that same infinite divine love, which is God, and in which the Godhead is eternally breathed forth and subsists in the third person in the blessed Trinity. So that true saving grace is no other than that very love of God; that is, God, in one of the persons of the Trinity, uniting himself to the soul of a creature as a vital principle, dwelling there and exerting himself by the faculties of the soul of man, in his own proper nature, after the manner of a principle of nature.

And we may look back and more fully understand what the apostle John means when he says once and again, "God is love: and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him" [1 John 4:16]; and "If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Hereby we know that we dwell in him and he in us, because he has given us of His Spirit" [1 John 4:12–13].

By this also we may understand what the apostle Peter means in his second epistle, 2 Peter 1:4, that the saints are made "partakers of the divine nature." They are not only partakers of a nature that may in some sense be called divine, because 'tis conformed1 to the nature of God; but the very Deity does in some sense dwell in them. That holy and divine love dwells in their hearts, and is so united to human faculties that 'tis itself become a principle of new nature. That love, which is the very native temper2 and spirit of God, so dwells in their souls that it exerts itself in its own nature in the exercise of those faculties, after the manner of a natural or vital principle in them.

This shows us how the saints are said to be the "temples of the Holy Ghost," as they are [1 Corinthians 3:16–17, 1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16].

By this also we may understand how the saints are said to be made "partakers of God's holiness," not only as they partake of holiness that God gives, but partake of that holiness by which he himself is holy. For it has been already observed, the holiness of God consists in that divine love in which the essence of God really flows out.

This also shows us how to understand our Lord when he speaks of his joy being fulfilled in the saints. John 17:13, "And now I come unto thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves." It is by the indwelling of that divine Spirit, which we have shown to be God the Father's and the Son's infinite love and joy in each other. In the John 17:13 he says he has spoken his word to his disciples, that his joy might be fulfilled; and in John 17:26 he says, "And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it; that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them."

And herein lies the mystery of the vital union that is between Christ and the soul of a believer, which orthodox divines speak so much of: Christ's love, that is, his Spirit, is actually united to the faculties of their souls. So it properly lives, acts and exerts its nature in the exercise of their faculties. By this love being in them, he is in them (John 17:26); and so it is said, 1 Corinthians 6:17, "But he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit."" Jonathan Edwards "A Treatise on Grace'

10:08 a.m. - 2022-06-12


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