August 7, 2014

Richard Baxter (1615–1691) on the World in 2 Cor. 5:19

II. Verse 19. is mistaken by man, as if by [the World] were meant only [the Elect] because Reconciliation and not imputing Trespasses are mentioned: But the Text most plainly tells us of a General Reconciliation and non-imputation to Mankind, and a particular to Believers. God did so far reconcile and forgive the World, as not to deal with them merely on the terms of the violated Law of Innocency, but to give them a Redeemer, and a Law of Grace, and a Sealed Pardon of all sin, and free gift of Salvation by Christ, on condition of Believing Acceptance; and that is commonly said to be given, which is freely by a deed of Gift conferred, though Acceptance by implied or expressed as the Condition of enjoyment, and a Man may yet willfully refuse it or neglect it; yea, such Conditions are so naturally necessary, that they use not to be expressed. Yet no Man is Actually (but only Conditionally) possessed of Pardon and Reconciliation, till that Condition be performed: Yet God was forgiving them on his part, and was not imputing sin and unworthiness of Redemption to them, when he gave them a Savior. And yet the work of the Ministry remaineth, even to entreat Men to believe and accept this Pardon and Reconciliation as offered; and it is then actually theirs, when they thus accept it. To say, that then their Faith doth more than Christ's did, or God's Grace, is putid Cavil. Their Faith or Acceptance is no efficient cause at all of their Pardon or Justification: It is but a necessary Receptive Qualification; he that shuts the Window causes darkness: But it's sottish to say, that he that opens it does more than the Sun to cause light; which he causes not at all, but removes the impediment of reception; and Faith itself is God's Gift of Grace, though Preaching and Persuasion be the means of working it.
Richard Baxter, A Paraphrase on the New Testament, with Notes, Doctrinal and Practical (London: Printed for B. Simmons, at the Three Cocks in Ludgate-street, 1685), Ii11. [or p. 380; No pagination after page 3; pages numbered manually from page 3].

No comments: