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The Perfecting of the Church is the End of All Christ Has Done for It

The Perfecting of the Church is the End of All Christ Has Done for It

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY REV. CHARLES SIMEON, M. A.





Eph. V. 25 — 27. Christ loved the Church, and gave himself for
it ; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing
of water hy the word, that he might present it to himself a
glorious Church, not having spot, or ivrinkle, or any such
thing ; but that it should he holy and without blemish.
BY REV. CHARLES SIMEON, M. A.





Eph. V. 25 — 27. Christ loved the Church, and gave himself for
it ; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing
of water hy the word, that he might present it to himself a
glorious Church, not having spot, or ivrinkle, or any such
thing ; but that it should he holy and without blemish.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Oct 23, 2013
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THE PERFECTI G OF THE CHURCH IS THE E D OF ALL THAT CHRIST HAS DO E FOR IT. BY REV. CHARLES SIMEO , M. A.

Eph. V. 25 — 27. Christ loved the Church, and gave himself for it ; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water hy the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or ivrinkle, or any such thing ; but that it should he holy and without blemish. THE morality of the Gospel, though not more extensive than that of the law, is yet more clearly revealed, and exhibited in a more endearing light. Its obhgations are not set forth amidst denunciations of wrath, as those of the law were upon Mount Sinai ; but models of perfection are set before us, and we are invited by considerations of love and gratitude to make them the objects of our imitation. ot only our duty to God, but even our relative duties are set before us in this manner. St. Paul, instructing wives in their duty to their husbands, tells them, tliat the Church's obedience to Christ is the fittest pattern of their obedience to them. Then instructing husbands how to conduct themselves toward their wives, he proposes to them Christ's love to his Church as the model for their love to their wives. It is in this connexion that the words of our text are introduced.

406 EPHESIA S, V. 25—27. [2122. But the Apostle can never touch upon so glorious a topic as the love of Christ, without expatiating upon it, and being transported, as it were, to a forgetfulness

of his proper argument. The view which he here gives us of it, is deserving of peculiar attention. It will lead us to consider, I. The demonstrations which Christ has given us of his love — He loved his Church from before the foundation of the world : and he has displayed his love to it in a manner that must fill both men and angels with everlasting astonishment. Every member of it was dearer to him than his own happiness ; more desirable to him, if we may so speak, than his own glory. He loved us to such a degree, that for our sakes he gave up the happiness which he enjoyed in his Father's bosom, and the glory which he possessed upon his Father's throne : he gave himself for us, that he might be, 1. A surety for our persons — [The debt which we owed to divine justice could never be discharged by mortal man : nor was there any superior being able or willing to take upon himself our awful responsibility. Our case was desperate, as much so as that of the fallen angels. But the Son of God, of his own infinitely rich grace and mercy, was pleased to undertake for us^ What Paul said to Philemon respecting Onesimus, he said to his Father respecting us; " What do they owe thee? put it all to my account: I will repay thee. Whatever shall be necessary to ransom them from the hands of incensed justice, let it be exacted of me : I will be answerable for it ; I will pay it, to the uttermost farthing ^"] 2. A sacrifice for our sins — [It was not by corruptible things, as silver and gold, that we could be redeemed. Satisfoction must be made for all our violations of God's holy law. Death was the desert of man ; and death must be endured by the Son of God himself, if he

should put himself in the place of sinful man. This was fully known to our adorable Saviour ; and yet he would not shrink from the conditions. He had set his heart upon his chosen " I Tim. ii. 6. " Philemon, ver. 18, 19.

2 122. J BE EFITS OF CHRIST's DEATH. 407 people, and he was prepared to pay the price, even though it were his own life. Accordingly he took our nature for the express purpose of offering it up a sacrifice for sin. In that nature he made a full atonement for all our transgressions, and satisfied the utmost demands of law and justice. In short, he so gave himself to be an offering and sacrifice to God, that God smelled a sweet savour, and became instantly reconciled to his offending creatures''. What manner of love was this! Who can ever explore " its heights and depths, its length and breadth?" Well may " God commend his love to us" by this particular instance"^; for it is, and ever must be, without a parallel: it as far exceeds our conceptions as it does our deserts.] To assign any adequate reasons for such love is impossible : but the riches of it will appear in a striking point of view, if we consider, II. The ends for which it has been so demonstrated — The design of Jesus in the whole of his mediatory work has been, to bring back our fallen race to the enjoyment of all that they had lost by sin. He gave himself for us, that we might enjoy, 1. A restoration to his image — [It was not merely a salvation from misery that Christ came to impart, but a salvation from sin, which is the cause of misery. He came to set us apart for God as a holy and peculiar people ; and to cleanse us not only in " the laver of

regeneration in baptism, but by the renewing of the Holy Ghost." The washing of water in baptism was only the external sign of that spiritual grace which it is the delight of his soul to bestow. " He will sprinkle clean water upon us, and cleanse us from all our filthiness, and from all our idols ^." Without this spiritual renovation, all his other mercies would be in vain. Man could not be happy, if he were not first made holy. The instrument by which this grace is conveyed to the soul, is the word of God. The word, both written and preached, is that whereby we are begotten of him^; by which also, as newborn babes, we are nourished ^ ; and by which the whole work of sanctification is carried on'\ The Holy Spirit indeed is the agent, who renders the word effectual : but the Gospel is " the rod of his strength," and it is by that he renovates and saves the world.] c Rom. V. 8. ^ ver. 2. « Ezek. xxxvi. 25, 26. f Jam. i. 18. e 1 Pet. ii. 2. ^ John xv. 3.

408 EPHESIA S, V. ^^5-27. [2122. 2. A participation of his glory — [When sinners are in a measure cleansed with the washing of water by the word, the ministers who have been instrumental to that change, " espouse them to one husband, and present them as a chaste virgin to Christ'." And while the work of sanctification is advancing in them, they are like those virgins who wei-e destined for the embrace of eastern monarehs, who were purified during several months for that end, till they wex'e judged meet for the dignity to which they were to be exalted"^. The time for their complete honour and felicity is the day of judgment; when the Bridegroom himself shall come to take them home to himself, and to fix them in the mansions prepared for them. Then they will be " without spot or

wrinkle ; they will be perfectly holy and without blemish." They will be " presented faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy^" What " a glorious Church" will they then be ! Here their glory is obscured by spots and blemishes : but there they will not have " any such thing :" they will be " pure as God is pure," and " perfect as God is perfect." If any thing can account for the stupendous efforts of Christ's love, it must be this. This is an end worthy of the Supreme Being. This will be such a display of his power and grace as will for ever fill all heaven with wonder and admiration.] Suffer ye now " a word of exhortation," grounded on the foregoing subject — 1. Desire holiness — [This is what the Lord Jesus Christ has desired for you. To obtain this for you, he divested himself of all his glory, and endui-ed the accursed death of the cross. He desired this for you, because it was the only medium through which you could arrive at happiness, and because it could not fail of rendering you completely happy. Ah ! do not despise it. Do not turn away from it, as inimical to your welfare. Do not consider it as a mere system of restraints, a burthen that is intolerable. It is in truth tlie perfection of your nature, and the completest liberty: it is a liberty from the thraldom of corruption, and from the tyranny of Satan. Desire it therefore, even as Christ has desired it for you; and never think any sacrifice too great for the attainment of it.] 2. Use the means of attaining it — i 2 Cor. xi. 2. Ps. xlv. 13, 14. k Esth. ii. 12. 1 Judc, ver. 24.

[The word is the means which God in every age has made use of for the recovery of fallen man. By that he converted thousands in the primitive ages of the Church : and by that he is still can-ying on his work in the souls of men. Let the Scriptures then be searched by you, not to gratify curiosity merely, or to exercise a critical acumen, but to obtain the knowledge of God's will, and an increasing conformity to his image. Read the sacred volume as a book that is to make you holy. When you hear the word preached to you, hear it with a desire to get a deeper discovery of your sins, and a more perfect victory over them. Whether you read, or hear, or meditate, or pray, let it be with an immediate view to grow in holiness and a meetness for glory.] 3. Look forward to the perfection of holiness as the consummation and completion of all your wishes — [Higher than this you cannot look ; and lower you ought not. This was the ultimate design of all that Christ undertook for you, and of all that he did and suffered for you. Do but consider how happy you will be when not a spot or blemish can be found in you, even by God himself; when you shall be perfectly like your God ; and when you shall enjoy the most intimate and endearing fellowship with your Lord, without any alloy, or intermission, or end. Do not rest in any thing short of this. Suffer not any of the pleasures of time and sense to rob you of it. Surely the very prospect of such glory is enough to kindle in your souls the devoutest rapture, and to stimulate you to incessant activity in your Christian course. Yield yourselves now unfeignedly to the Lord™, and he will, in the last day, present you to himself, and acknowledge you as his for evermore.] "1 Rom, xii. 1.

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