The apostle having at large asserted, opened, and proved, the great
doctrine of justification by faith, for fear lest any should suck
poison out of that sweet flower, and turn that grace of God into
wantonness and licentiousness, he, with a like zeal, copiousness of
expression, and cogency of argument, presses the absolute necessity of
sanctification and a holy life, as the inseparable fruit and companion
of justification; for, wherever Jesus Christ is made of God unto any
soul righteousness, he is made of God unto that soul sanctification,
1 Corinthians 1:30.
The water and the blood came streaming together out of the pierced side
of the dying Jesus. And what God hath thus joined together let not us
dare to put asunder.
||A. D. 58.|
1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace
2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any
3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus
Christ were baptized into his death?
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that
like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the
Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his
death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that
the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not
7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.
8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also
live with him:
9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more;
death hath no more dominion over him.
10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he
liveth, he liveth unto God.
11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto
sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye
should obey it in the lusts thereof.
13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of
unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those
that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments
of righteousness unto God.
14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not
under the law, but under grace.
15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law,
but under grace? God forbid.
16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to
obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto
death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye
have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was
18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of
19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of
your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to
uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your
members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from
21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now
ashamed? for the end of those things is death.
22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to
God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting
23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is
eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The apostle's transition, which joins this discourse with the former,
is observable: "What shall we say then?
What use shall we make of this sweet and comfortable doctrine? Shall we
do evil that good may come, as some say we do?
Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Shall we hence
take encouragement to sin with so much the more boldness, because the
more sin we commit the more will the grace of God be magnified in our
pardon? Is this a use to be made of it?" No, it is an abuse, and the
apostle startles at the thought of it
"God forbid; far be it from us to think such a thought." He
entertains the objection as Christ did the devil's blackest temptation
Get thee hence, Satan. Those opinions that give any countenance
to sin, or open a door to practical immoralities, how specious and
plausible soever they be rendered, by the pretension of advancing free
grace, are to be rejected with the greatest abhorrence; for the truth
as it is in Jesus is a truth according to godliness,
The apostle is very full in pressing the necessity of holiness in this
chapter, which may be reduced to two heads:--His exhortations to
holiness, which show the nature of it; and his motives or arguments to
enforce those exhortations, which show the necessity of it.
I. For the first, we may hence observe the nature of sanctification,
what it is, and wherein it consists. In general it has two things in
it, mortification and vivification--dying to sin and living to
righteousness, elsewhere expressed by putting off the old man and
putting on the new, ceasing to do evil and learning to do well.
1. Mortification, putting off the old man; several ways this is
(1.) We must live no longer in sin
we must not be as we have been nor do as we have done. The time past of
our life must suffice,
1 Peter 4:3.
Though there are none that live without sin, yet, blessed be God, there
are those that do not live in sin, do not live in it as their element,
do not make a trade of it: this is to be sanctified.
(2.) The body of sin must be destroyed,
The corruption that dwelleth in us is the body of sin, consisting of
many parts and members, as a body. This is the root to which the axe
must be laid. We must not only cease from the acts of sin (this may be
done through the influence of outward restraints, or other
inducements), but we must get the vicious habits and inclinations
weakened and destroyed; not only cast away the idols of iniquity out of
the heart.--That henceforth we should not serve sin. The actual
transgression is certainly in a great measure prevented by the
crucifying and killing of the original corruption. Destroy the body of
sin, and then, though there should be Canaanites remaining in the land,
yet the Israelites will not be slaves to them. It is the body of sin
that sways the sceptre, wields the iron rod; destroy this, and the yoke
is broken. The destruction of Eglon the tyrant is the deliverance of
oppressed Israel from the Moabites.
(3.) We must be dead indeed unto sin,
As the death of the oppressor is a release, so much more is the death
of the oppressed,
Death brings a writ of ease to the weary. Thus must we be dead to sin,
obey it, observe it, regard it, fulfil its will no more than he that is
dead doth his quandam task-masters--be as indifference to the
pleasures and delights of sin as a man that is dying is to his former
diversions. He that is dead is separated from his former company,
converse, business, enjoyments, employments, is not what he was, does
not what he did, has not what he had. Death makes a mighty change; such
a change doth sanctification make in the soul, it cuts off all
correspondence with sin.
(4.) Sin must not reign in our mortal bodies that we should obey
Though sin may remain as an outlaw, though it may oppress as a tyrant,
yet let it not reign as a king. Let it not make laws, nor preside in
councils, nor command the militia; let it not be uppermost in the soul,
so that we should obey it. Though we may be sometimes overtaken and
overcome by it, yet let us never be obedient to it in the lusts
thereof; let not sinful lusts be a law to you, to which you would yield
a consenting obedience. In the lusts thereof--en tais
epithymiais autou. It refers to the body, not to sin. Sin lies
very much in the gratifying of the body, and humouring that. And there
is a reason implied in the phrase your mortal body; because it
is a mortal body, and hastening apace to the dust, therefore let not
sin reign in it. It was sin that made our bodies mortal, and therefore
do not yield obedience to such an enemy.
(5.) We must not yield our members as instruments of
The members of the body are made use of by the corrupt nature as tools,
by which the wills of the flesh are fulfilled; but we must not consent
to that abuse. The members of the body are fearfully and wonderfully
made; it is a pity they should be the devil's tools of
unrighteousness unto sin, instruments of the sinful actions,
according to the sinful dispositions. Unrighteousness is unto sin; the
sinful acts confirm and strengthen the sinful habits; one sin begets
another; it is like the letting forth of water, therefore leave it
before it be meddled with. The members of the body may perhaps,
through the prevalency of temptation, be forced to be instruments of
sin; but do not yield them to be so, do not consent to it. This is one
branch of sanctification, the mortification of sin.
2. Vivification, or living to righteousness; and what is that?
(1.) It is to walk in newness of life,
Newness of life supposes newness of heart, for out of the heart are the
issues of life, and there is not way to make the stream sweet but by
making the spring so. Walking, in scripture, is put for the course and
tenour of the conversation, which must be new. Walk by new rules,
towards new ends, from new principles. Make a new choice of the way.
Choose new paths to walk in, new leaders to walk after, new companions
to walk with. Old things should pass away, and all things become new.
The man is what he was not, does what he did not.
(2.) It is to be alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord,
To converse with God, to have a regard to him, a delight in him, a
concern for him, the soul upon all occasions carried out towards him as
towards an agreeable object, in which it takes a complacency: this is
to be alive to God. The love of God reigning in the heart is the life
of the soul towards God. Anima est ubi amat, non ubi animat--The
soul is where it loves, rather than where it lives. It is to have
the affections and desires alive towards God. Or, living (our
live in the flesh) unto God, to his honour and glory as our end,
by his word and will as our rule--in all our ways to acknowledge him,
and to have our eyes ever towards him; this is to live unto
God.--Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Christ is our spiritual
life; there is no living to God but through him. He is the Mediator;
there can be no comfortable receivings from God, nor acceptable regards
to God, but in and through Jesus Christ; no intercourse between sinful
souls and a holy God, but by the mediation of the Lord Jesus. Through
Christ as the author and maintainer of this life; through Christ as the
head from whom we receive vital influence; through Christ as the root
by which we derive sap and nourishment, and so live. In living to God,
Christ is all in all.
(3.) It is to yield ourselves to God, as those that are alive from
The very life and being of holiness lie in the dedication of ourselves
to the Lord, giving our own selves to the Lord,
2 Corinthians 8:5.
"Yield yourselves to him, not only as the conquered yields to the
conqueror, because he can stand it out no longer; but as the wife
yields herself to her husband, to whom her desire is, as the scholar
yields himself to the teacher, the apprentice to his master, to be
taught and ruled by him. Not yield your estates to him, but yield
yourselves; nothing less than your whole selves;" parastesate
eautous--accommodate vos ipsos Deo--accommodate
yourselves to God; so Tremellius, from the Syriac.
"Not only submit to him, but comply with him; not only present
yourselves to him once for all, but be always ready to serve him. Yield
yourselves to him as wax to the seal, to take any impression, to be,
and have, and do, what he pleases." When Paul said, Lord, what wilt
thou have me to do?
he was then yielded to God. As those that are alive from the
dead. To yield a dead carcase to a living God is not to please him,
but to mock him: "Yield yourselves as those that are alive and good for
something, a living sacrifice,"
The surest evidence of our spiritual life is the dedication of
ourselves to God. It becomes those that are alive from the dead (it may
be understood of a death in law), that are justified and delivered from
death, to give themselves to him that hath so redeemed them.
(4.) It is to yield our members as instruments of righteousness to
God. The members of our bodies, when withdrawn from the service of
sin, are not to lie idle, but to be made use of in the service of God.
When the strong man armed is dispossessed, let him whose right it is
divide the spoils. Though the powers and faculties of the soul be the
immediate subjects of holiness and righteousness, yet the members of
the body are to be instruments; the body must be always ready to serve
the soul in the service of God. Thus
"Yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. Let
them be under the conduct and at the command of the righteous law of
God, and that principle of inherent righteousness which the Spirit, as
sanctifier, plants in the soul." Righteousness unto holiness,
which intimates growth, and progress, and ground obtained. As every
sinful act confirms the sinful habit, and makes the nature more and
more prone to sin (hence the members of a natural man are here said to
be servants to iniquity unto iniquity--one sin makes the heart
more disposed for another), so every gracious act confirms the gracious
habit: serving righteousness is unto holiness; one duty fits us for
another; and the more we do the more we may do for God. Or serving
righteousness, eis hagiasmon--as an evidence of
II. The motives or arguments here used to show the necessity of
sanctification. There is such an antipathy in our hearts by nature to
holiness that it is no easy matter to bring them to submit to it: it is
the Spirit's work, who persuades by such inducements as these set home
upon the soul.
1. He argues from our sacramental conformity to Jesus Christ. Our
baptism, with the design and intention of it, carried in it a great
reason why we should die to sin, and live to righteousness. Thus we
must improve our baptism as a bridle of restraint to keep us in from
sin, as a spur of constraint to quicken us to duty. Observe this
(1.) In general, we are dead to sin, that is, in profession and
in obligation. Our baptism signifies our cutting off from the kingdom
of sin. We profess to have no more to do with sin. We are dead to sin
by a participation of virtue and power for the killing of it, and by
our union with Christ and interest in him, in and by whom it is killed.
All this is in vain if we persist in sin; we contradict a profession,
violate an obligation, return to that to which we were dead, like
walking ghosts, than which nothing is more unbecoming and absurd. For
he that is dead is freed from sin; that is, he that is dead to
it is freed from the rule and dominion of it, as the servant that is
dead is freed from his master,
Now shall we be such fools as to return to that slavery from which we
are discharged? When we are delivered out of Egypt, shall we talk of
going back to it again?
(2.) In particular, being baptized into Jesus Christ, we were
baptized into his death,
We were baptized eis Christon--unto Christ, as
1 Corinthians 10:2,
eis Mosen--unto Moses. Baptism binds us to Christ,
it binds us apprentice to Christ as our teacher, it is our allegiance
to Christ as our sovereign. Baptism is externa ansa Christi--the
external handle of Christ, by which Christ lays hold on men, and
men offer themselves to Christ. Particularly, we were baptized into his
death, into a participation of the privileges purchased by his death,
and into an obligation both to comply with the design of his death,
which was to redeem us from all iniquity, and to conform to the pattern
of his death, that, as Christ died for sin, so we should die to sin.
This was the profession and promise of our baptism, and we do not do
well if we do not answer this profession, and make good this
[1.] Our conformity to the death of Christ obliges us to die unto sin;
thereby we know the fellowship of his sufferings,
Thus we are here said to be planted together in the likeness of is
to homoiomati, not only a conformity, but a conformation,
as the engrafted stock is planted together into the likeness of the
shoot, of the nature of which it doth participate. Planting is in
order to life and fruitfulness: we are planted in the vineyard in a
likeness to Christ, which likeness we should evidence in
sanctification. Our creed concerning Jesus Christ is, among other
things, that he was crucified, dead, and buried; now baptism is
a sacramental conformity to him in each of these, as the apostle here
takes notice. First, Our old man is crucified with him,
The death of the cross was a slow death; the body, after it was nailed
to the cross, gave many a throe and many a struggle: but it was a sure
death, long in expiring, but expired at last; such is the mortification
of sin in believers. It was a cursed death,
Sin dies as a malefactor, devoted to destruction; it is an accursed
thing. Though it be a slow death, yet this must needs hasten it that it
is an old man that is crucified; not in the prime of its strength, but
decaying: that which waxeth old is ready to vanish away,
Crucified with him--synestaurothe, not in respect
of time, but in respect of causality. The crucifying of Christ for us
has an influence upon the crucifying of sin in us. Secondly, We
are dead with Christ,
Christ was obedient to death: when he died, we might be said to die
with him, as our dying to sin is an act of conformity both to the
design and to the example of Christ's dying for sin. Baptism signifies
and seals our union with Christ, our engrafting into Christ; so that we
are dead with him, and engaged to have no more to do with sin than he
had. Thirdly, We are buried with him by baptism,
Our conformity is complete. We are in profession quite cut off from all
commerce and communion with sin, as those that are buried are quite cut
off from all the world; not only not of the living, but no more among
the living, have nothing more to do with them. Thus must we be, as
Christ was, separate from sin and sinners. We are buried, namely, in
profession and obligation: we profess to be so, and we are bound to be
so: it was our covenant and engagement in baptism; we are sealed to be
the Lord's, therefore to be cut off from sin. Why this burying in
baptism should so much as allude to any custom of dipping under water
in baptism, any more than our baptismal crucifixion and death should
have any such references, I confess I cannot see. It is plain that it
is not the sign, but the thing signified, in baptism, that the apostle
here calls being buried with Christ, and the expression of burying
alludes to Christ's burial. As Christ was buried, that he might rise
again to a new and more heavenly life, so we are in baptism buried,
that is, cut off from the life of sin, that we may rise again to a new
life of faith and love.
[2.] Our conformity to the resurrection of Christ obliges us to rise
again to newness of life. This is the power of his resurrection
which Paul was so desirous to know,
Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father,
that is, by the power of the Father. The power of God is his glory; it
is glorious power,
Now in baptism we are obliged to conform to that pattern, to be planted
in the likeness of his resurrection
to live with him,
Conversion is the first resurrection from the death of sin to the life
of righteousness; and this resurrection is conformable to Christ's
resurrection. This conformity of the saints to the resurrection of
Christ seems to be intimated in the rising of so many of the bodies of
the saints, which, though mentioned before by anticipation, is supposed
to have been concomitant with Christ's resurrection,
We have all risen with Christ. In two things we must conform to the
resurrection of Christ:--First, He rose to die no more,
We read of many others that were raised from the dead, but they rose to
die again. But, when Christ rose, he rose to die no more; therefore he
left his grave-clothes behind him, whereas Lazarus, who was to die
again, brought them out with him, as one that should have occasion to
use them again: but over Christ death has no more dominion; he
was dead indeed, but he is alive, and so alive that he lives for
Thus we must rise from the grave of sin never again to return to it,
nor to have any more fellowship with the works of darkness, having
quitted that grave, that land of darkness as darkness itself.
Secondly, He rose to live unto God
to live a heavenly life, to receive that glory which was set before
him. Others that were raised from the dead returned to the same life
in every respect which they had before lived; but so did not Christ: he
rose again to leave the world. Now I am no more in the world,
He rose to live to God, that is, to intercede and rule, and all
to the glory of the Father. Thus must we rise to live to God: this is
what he calls newness of life
to live from other principles, by other rules, with other aims, than we
have done. A life devoted to God is a new life; before, self was the
chief and highest end, but now God. To live indeed is to live to God,
with our eyes ever towards him, making him the centre of all our
2. He argues from the precious promises and privileges of the new
It might be objected that we cannot conquer and subdue sin, it is
unavoidably too hard for us: "No," says he, "you wrestle with an enemy
that may be dealt with and subdued, if you will but keep your ground
and stand to your arms; it is an enemy that is already foiled and
baffled; there is strength laid up in the covenant of grace for your
assistance, if you will but use it. Sin shall not have
dominion." God's promises to us are more powerful and effectual for
the mortifying of sin than our promises to God. Sin may struggle in a
believer, and may create him a great deal of trouble, but it shall not
have dominion; it may vex him, but shall not rule over him. For we
are not under the law, but under grace, not under the law of sin
and death, but under the law of the spirit of life, which is in Christ
Jesus: we are actuated by other principles than we have been: new
lords, new laws. Or, not under the covenant of works, which requires
brick, and gives no straw, which condemns upon the least failure, which
runs thus, "Do this, and live; do it not, and die;" but under the
covenant of grace, which accepts sincerity as our gospel perfection,
which requires nothing but what it promises strength to perform, which
is herein well ordered, that every transgression in the covenant does
not put us out of covenant, and especially that it does not leave our
salvation in our own keeping, but lays it up in the hands of the
Mediator, who undertakes for us that sin shall not have dominion over
us, who hath himself condemned it, and will destroy it; so that, if we
pursue the victory, we shall come off more than conquerors. Christ
rules by the golden sceptre of grace, and he will not let sin have
dominion over those that are willing subjects to that rule. This is a
very comfortable word to all true believers. If we were under the law,
we were undone, for the law curses every one that continues not in
every thing; but we are under grace, grace which accepts the willing
mind, which is not extreme to mark what we do amiss, which leaves room
for repentance, which promises pardon upon repentance; and what can be
to an ingenuous mind a stronger motive than this to have nothing to do
with sin? Shall we sin against so much goodness, abuse such love? Some
perhaps might suck poison out of this flower, and disingenuously use
this as an encouragement to sin. See how the apostle starts at such a
Shall we sin because we are not under the law, but under grace? God
forbid. What can be more black and ill-natured than from a friend's
extraordinary expressions of kindness and good-will to take occasion to
affront and offend him? To spurn at such bowels, to spit in the face of
such love, is that which, between man and man, all the world would cry
out shame on.
3. He argues from the evidence that this will be of our state, making
for us, or against us
To whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you
are. All the children of men are either the servants of God, or the
servants of sin; these are the two families. Now, if we would know to
which of these families we belong, we must enquire to which of these
masters we yield obedience. Our obeying the laws of sin will be an
evidence against us that we belong to that family on which death is
entailed. As, on the contrary, our obeying the laws of Christ will
evidence our relation to Christ's family.
4. He argues from their former sinfulness,
where we may observe,
(1.) What they had been and done formerly. We have need to be often
reminded of our former state. Paul frequently remembers it concerning
himself, and those to whom he writes.
[1.] You were the servants of sin. Those that are now the
servants of God would do well to remember the time when they were the
servants of sin, to keep them humble, penitent, and watchful, and to
quicken them in the service of God. It is a reproach to the service of
sin that so many thousands have quitted the service, and shaken off the
yoke; and never any that sincerely deserted it, and gave themselves to
the service of God, have returned to the former drudgery. "God be
thanked that you were so, that is, that though you were so, yet you
have obeyed. You were so; God be thanked that we can speak of it as a
thing past: you were so, but you are not now so. Nay, your having been
so formerly tends much to the magnifying of divine mercy and grace in
the happy change. God be thanked that the former sinfulness is such a
foil and such a spur to your present holiness."
[2.] You have yielded your members servants to uncleanness, and to
iniquity unto iniquity,
It is the misery of a sinful state that the body is made a drudge to
sin, than which there could not be a baser or a harder slavery, like
that of the prodigal that was sent into the fields to feed swine.
You have yielded. Sinners are voluntary in the service of sin.
The devil could not force them into the service, if they did not yield
themselves to it. This will justify God in the ruin of sinners, that
they sold themselves to work wickedness: it was their own act and deed.
To iniquity unto iniquity. Every sinful act strengthens and
confirms the sinful habit: to iniquity as the work unto iniquity as the
wages. Sow the wind, and reap the whirlwind; growing worse and worse,
more and more hardened. This he speaks after the manner of men,
that is, he fetches a similitude from that which is common among men,
even the change of services and subjections.
[3.] You were free from righteousness
not free by any liberty given, but by a liberty taken, which is
licentiousness: "You were altogether void of that which is
good,--void of any good principles, motions, or inclinations,--void of
all subjection to the law and will of God, of all conformity to his
image; and this you were highly pleased with, as a freedom and a
liberty; but a freedom from righteousness is the worst kind of
(2.) How the blessed change was made, and wherein it did consist.
[1.] You have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was
delivered to you,
This describes conversion, what it is; it is our conformity to, and
compliance with, the gospel which was delivered to us by Christ and his
ministers.--Margin. Whereto you were delivered; eis hon
paredothete--into which you were delivered. And so
observe, First, The rule of grace, that form of
doctrine--typon didaches. The gospel is the great
rule both of truth and holiness; it is the stamp, grace is the
impression of that stamp; it is the form of healing words,
1 Timothy 1:13.
Secondly, The nature of grace, as it is our conformity to that
1. It is to obey from the heart. The gospel is a doctrine not
only to be believed, but to be obeyed, and that from the heart, which
denotes the sincerity and reality of that obedience; not in profession
only, but in power--from the heart, the innermost part, the commanding
part of us.
2. It is to be delivered into it, as into a mould, as the wax is
cast into the impression of the seal, answering it line for line,
stroke for stroke, and wholly representing the shape and figure of it.
To be a Christian indeed is to be transformed into the likeness and
similitude of the gospel, our souls answering to it, complying with it,
conformed to it--understanding, will, affections, aims, principles,
actions, all according to that form of doctrine.
[2.] Being made free from sin, you became servants of
servants to God,
Conversion is, First, A freedom from the service of sin; it is
the shaking off of that yoke, resolving to have no more to do with it.
Secondly, A resignation of ourselves to the service of God and
righteousness, to God as our master, to righteousness as our work. When
we are made free from sin, it is not that we may live as we list, and
be our own masters; no: when we are delivered out of Egypt, we are, as
Israel, led to the holy mountain, to receive the law, and are there
brought into the bond of the covenant. Observe, We cannot be made the
servants of God till we are freed from the power and dominion of sin;
we cannot serve two masters so directly opposite one to another as God
and sin are. We must, with the prodigal, quit the drudgery of the
citizen of the country, before we can come to our Father's house.
(3.) What apprehensions they now had of their former work and way. He
appeals to themselves
whether they had not found the service of sin,
[1.] An unfruitful service: "What fruit had you then? Did you
ever get any thing by it? Sit down, and cast up the account, reckon
your gains, what fruit had you then?" Besides the future losses, which
are infinitely great, the very present gains of sin are not worth
mentioning. What fruit? Nothing that deserves the name of fruit.
The present pleasure and profit of sin do not deserve to be called
fruit; they are but chaff, ploughing iniquity, sowing vanity, and
reaping the same.
[2.] It is an unbecoming service; it is that of which we are now
ashamed--ashamed of the folly, ashamed of the filth, of it. Shame
came into the world with sin, and is still the certain product of
it--either the shame of repentance, or, if not that, eternal shame and
contempt. Who would wilfully do that which sooner or later he is sure
to be ashamed of?
5. He argues from the end of all these things. it is the prerogative of
rational creatures that they are endued with a power of prospect, are
capable of looking forward, considering the latter end of things. To
persuade us from sin to holiness here are blessing and cursing, good
and evil, life and death, set before us; and we are put to our choice.
(1.) The end of sin is death
The end of those things is death. Though the way may seem
pleasant and inviting, yet the end is dismal: at the last it bites; it
will be bitterness in the latter end. The wages of sin is death,
Death is as due to a sinner when he hath sinned as wages are to a
servant when he hath done his work. This is true of every sin. There is
no sin in its own nature venial. Death is the wages of the least sin.
Sin is here represented either as the work for which the wages are
given, or as the master by whom the wages are given; all that are sin's
servants and do sin's work must expect to be thus paid.
(2.) If the fruit be unto holiness, if there be an active principle of
true and growing grace, the end will be everlasting life--a very happy
end!--Though the way be up-hill, though it be narrow, and thorny, and
beset, yet everlasting life at the end of it is sure. So,
The gift of God is eternal life. Heaven is life, consisting in
the vision and fruition of God; and it is eternal life, no infirmities
attending it, no death to put a period to it. This is the gift of God.
The death is the wages of sin, it comes by desert; but the life is a
gift, it comes by favour. Sinners merit hell, but saints do not merit
heaven. There is no proportion between the glory of heaven and our
obedience; we must thank God, and not ourselves, if ever we get to
heaven. And this gift is through Jesus Christ our Lord. It is
Christ that purchased it, prepared it, prepares us for it, preserves us
to it; he is the Alpha and Omega, All in all in our