August 28, 2007

William Bates (1625–1699) on the Perfection of Christ's Sacrifice

"The perfection of his sacrifice is evident by its expiating universally the guilt of all transgressions. It is true, sins in their own nature are different; some have a crimson guilt attending them, and accordingly conscience should be affected; but the grace of the gospel makes no difference. The apostle tells us, that "the blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin;" whatever the kinds, degrees, and circumstances are. As the deluge overflowed the highest mountains, as well as the least hills, so pardoning mercy covers sins of the first magnitude, as well as the smallest. Under the law, one sacrifice could expiate but one offence, though but against a carnal commandment; but this one washes away the guilt of all sins against the moral law. And in that dispensation no sacrifices were instituted for idolatry, adultery, murder, and other crimes, which were certainly punished with death; but under the gospel, sins, of what quality soever, if repented of, are pardoned. The apostle having reckoned up idolaters, adulterers, and many other notorious sinners that shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven, tells the Corinthians, that such were some of them; but they were sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Cor. vi. 11. It is true, those who sin against the Holy Ghost, are excepted from pardon; but the reason is, because the death of Christ was not appointed for the expiation of it; and there being no sacrifice, there is no satisfaction, and consequently no pardon, Heb. x. 26. The wisdom and justice of God requires this severity against them; for if "he that despised Moses' law died without mercy, of how much sorer punishment shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified an unholy thing, and hath done despite to the Spirit of grace?" Heb. x. 28, 29; that is, they renounce their Redeemer as if he were not the Son of God, and virtually consent to the cruel sentence passed against him, as if he had blasphemed when he declared himself to be so; and thereby out-sin his sufferings. How reasonable is it they should be for ever deprived of the benefits, who obstinately reject the means that purchased them!"

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