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The Nature and Beauty of Gospel Worship.

The Nature and Beauty of Gospel Worship.

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Published by glennpease
BY JOHN OWEN, D.D.


"For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father."
Ern. ii. 18.
BY JOHN OWEN, D.D.


"For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father."
Ern. ii. 18.

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Published by: glennpease on Jul 02, 2013
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THE ATURE AD BEAUTY OF GOSPEL WORSHIP.BY JOH OWE, D.D."For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father."Ern. ii. 18.In the foregoing verses the apostle makes mention of a double re-conciliation, AVTought by the blood of the cross, — the one, of the Jewsand Gentiles unto God; the other, of the same persons one to another.There were two things in the law: — First, Worship instituted underit; Secondly, The curse annexed unto it. The first of these beingappropriated to the Jews, with an exclusion of the Gentiles, was thecause of unspeakable enmity and hatred between them. The latter,or the curse, falling upon both, was a cause of enmity between Godand both of them. The Lord Jesus Christ, in his death removingboth these, ¦wrought and effected the twofold reconciliation mentioned.First, He brake down " the middle wall of partition between us,"verse 14, and so "made both one;" that is, "between us," — the Jewsand Gentiles. He hath taken away all cause of difference that shouldhinder us to be one in him. And how hath he done this? By tak-ing away " the law of commandments contained in ordinances,"verse 1 5 ; — that is, by abolishing that way of worship which Avas theJews' privilege and burden, from which the Gentiles were excluded ;so breaking down that wall of partition. Secondly, By the cross at64 THE ATURE AD BEAUTYhis death he slew the enmity, or took away the curse of the law; soreconciling both Jews and Gentiles unto God ; as verse 16. By bear-ing the curse of the law, he reconciled both unto God ; — by takingaway and abolishing the worship of the law, he took away all groundsof difference amongst them.Upon this reconciliation ensueth a twofold advantage or privilege ; — an access into the favour of God, who before was at enmity withthem ; and a new and more glorious way of approaching unto God
 
in his worship than that about which they were before at differenceamong themselves.The first of these is mentioned, Eom. v. 2. And that which isthere called, an " access into this grace wherein we stand," may inthe text be called, an " access unto the Father;" that is, the favourand acceptance with God which we do enjoy. Thus our accessunto God is our sense of acceptance with him upon the reconcilia-tion made for us by Jesus Christ. But this seems not to me tobe the special intendment of the text; for that access unto God herementioned seems to be the effect of the reconciliation of the Jewsand Gentiles among themselves, by the abolishing of the ceremonialworship ; — a new and more glorious way of worship being nowprovidedfor them both in common, is there expressed. Before the reconcilia-tion made, one party alone had the privilege of the carnal worshipthen instituted ; but now both parties have in common such a way of worship, wherein they have immediate access unto God ; — in whichtheapostle asserts the beauty and glory of the gospel worship of Jews andGentiles above that which, enjoyed by the Jews, was a matter of separation and division between them. And this appears to be theintendment of the words from verse 1 7. That which is here asserted,is not an immediate effect of the reconciliation made by the blood of Christ on the cross, but of his preaching peace unto, and calling bothJews and Gentiles, — gathering them unto himself, and so to the wor-ship of God. Being called by the word of peace, both the one andthe other, as to our worship, we have this access.And the following words, to the end of the chapter, do make it yetmore plain and evident. Sundry things doth the apostle, upon theaccount of this their access unto God, speak of the Gentiles.First, egatively, — that they are no more " strangers and foreign-ers," verse 19 ; that is, that they are not so in respect of the worshipof God, as in that state and condition wherein they were before theircaUing, through a participation of the reconciliation made by the bloodof Christ. The apostle had declared, verses 11, 12, they were the un-circumcision, aliens, foreigners ; that is, men who had no share in, noradmittance unto, the solemn worship of God, which Avas empaled in
 
thecommonwealth of Israel. " But now," says he, " ye ai-e so no more;"OF GOSPEL WORSHIP. 55that is, you have a portion and interest in that worship wherewithGod is well pleased.Secondly, Positively, the apostle affirms two things of them: — first. That they are " fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the house-hold of God," verse 19; secondly, That they were built up to be "anholy temple," or " an habitation to God," verses 20-22. Both whichrelate to the solemn worship of God imder the gospel. The firstasserts them to be now members of the church ; — the latter, that byand among them God was worshiijped wth that divine service whichcame in the room of that which was appointed in the temple, nowby Christ removed and taken away.This being the design of the Holy Ghost in this place, I shall pre-sent it in this one proposition unto you : — That it is an eminent effect and fruit of our i^econciliation untoGod and among ourselves, by the blood of Christ, that believers enjoythe privileges of the excellent, glorious, spiritual worship of God inChrist, revealed and required in the gospel.I shall, in the prosecution of this subject, — I. Briefly prove thatWG obtain this privilege as a fruit, and upon the account of the recon-cihation made by the blood of Christ. II. Show that the worshipof the gospel is indeed so beautiful, glorious, and excellent, that theenjoyment of it is an eminent privilege: which I shall principallymanifest from the text; and, in so doing, open the several parts of it.I. That believers enjoy this privilege as a fruit and effect of thedeath and blood of Jesus Christ, I shall confimi only with one or twoplaces of Scripture, Heb. ix. 8, compared with chap. x. 19-22. Whilstthe fii-st tabernacle was standing, before Christ by his death had re-moved it, and the worship that accompanied it, — which was the parti-

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