Owen, Of Communion With God, File 15
    (... continued from File 14)

    Chapter 7. The nature of purchased grace; referred to three
               heads: - 1. Of our acceptation with God; two parts
               of it. 2. Of the grace of sanctification; the 
               several parts of it. 
        The fountain of that purchased grace wherein the saints
    have communion with Christ being discovered, in the next place
    the nature of this grace itself may be considered. As was
    said, it may be referred unto three heads: - 1. Grace of
    acceptation with God. 2. Grace of sanctification from God. 3.
    Grace of privileges with and before God.
        1. Of acceptation with God. Out of Christ, we are in a
    state of alienation from God, accepted neither in our persons
    nor our services. Sin makes a separation between God and us: -
    that state, with all its consequences and attendancies, [it]
    is not my business to unfold. The first issue of purchased
    grace is to restore us into a state of acceptation. And this
    is done two ways: - (1.) By a removal of that for which we are
    refused, - the cause of the enmity. (2.) By a bestowing of
    that for which we are accepted.
        Not only all causes of quarrel were to be taken away, that
    so we should not be under displeasure, but also that was to be
    given unto us that makes us the objects of God's delight and
    pleasure, on the account of the want whereof we are distanced
    from God: -
        (1.) It gives a removal of that for which we are refused.
    This is sin in the guilt, and all the attendancies thereof.
    The first issue of purchased grace tends to the taking away of
    sin in its guilt, that it shall not bind over the soul to the
    wages of it, which is death.
        How this is accomplished and brought about by Christ, was
    evidenced in the close of the foregoing chapter. It is the
    fruit and effect of his death for us. Guilt of sin was the
    only cause of our separation and distance from God, as has
    been said. This made us obnoxious to wrath, punishment, and
    the whole displeasure of God; on the account hereof were we
    imprisoned under the curse of the law, and given up to the
    power of Satan. This is the state of our unacceptation. By his
    death, Christ - bearing the curse, undergoing the punishment
    that was due to us, paying the ransom that was due for us -
    delivers us from this condition. And thus far the death of
    Christ is the sole cause of our acceptation with God, - that
    all cause of quarrel and rejection of us is thereby taken
    away. And to that end are his sufferings reckoned to us; for,
    being "made sin for us," 2 Cor. 5: 21, he is made
    "righteousness unto us," 1 Cor. 1: 30.
        But yet farther; this will not complete our acceptation
    with God. The old quarrel may be laid aside, and yet no new
    friendship begun; we may be not sinners, and yet not be so far
    righteous as to have a right to the kingdom of heaven. Adam
    had no right to life because he was innocent; he must,
    moreover, "do this," and then he shall "live." He must not
    only have a negative righteousness, - he was not guilty of any
    thing; but also a positive righteousness, - he must do all
        (2.) This, then, is required, in the second place, to our
    complete acceptation, that we have not only the not imputation
    of sin, but also a reckoning of righteousness. Now, this we
    have in the obedience of the life of Christ. This also was
    discovered in the last chapter. The obedience of the life of
    Christ was for us, is imputed to us, and is our righteousness
    before God; - by his obedience are we "made righteous," Rom.
    5: 19. On what score the obedience of faith takes place, shall
    be afterward declared.
        These two things, then, complete our grace of acceptation.
    Sin being removed, and righteousness bestowed, we have peace
    with God, - are continually accepted before him. There is not
    any thing to charge us withal: that which was, is taken out of
    the way by Christ, and nailed to his cross, - made fast there;
    yea, publicly and legally cancelled, that it can never be
    admitted again as an evidence. What court among men would
    admit of an evidence that has been publicly cancelled, and
    nailed up for all to see it? So has Christ dealt with that
    which was against us; and not only so, but also he puts that
    upon us for which we are received into favour. He makes us
    comely through his beauty; gives us white raiment to stand
    before the Lord. This is the first part of purchased grace
    wherein the saints have communion with Jesus Christ. In
    remission of sin and imputation of righteousness does it
    consist; from the death of Christ, as a price, sacrifice, and
    a punishment, - from the life of Christ spent in obedience to
    the law, does it arise. The great product it is of the
    Father's righteousness, wisdom, love, and grace; - the great
    and astonishable fruit of the love and condescension of the
    Son; - the great discovery of the Holy Ghost in the revelation
    of the mystery of the gospel.
        2. The second is grace of sanctification. He makes us not
    only accepted, but also acceptable. He does not only purchase
    love for his saints, but also makes them lovely. He came not
    by blood only, but by water and blood. He does not only
    justify his saints from the guilt of sin, but also sanctify
    and wash them from the filth of sin. The first is from his
    life and death as a sacrifice of propitiation; this from his
    death as a purchase, and his life as an example. So the
    apostle, Heb. 9: 14; as also Eph. 5: 26, 27. Two things are
    eminent in this issue of purchased grace: - (].) The removal
    of defilement; (2.) The bestowing of cleanness in actual
        (1.) For the first, it is also threefold: -
        [1.] The habitual cleansing of our nature. We are
    naturally unclean, defiled, - habitually so; for "Who can
    bring a clean thing out of an unclean?" Job 14: 4; "That which
    is born of the flesh is flesh," John 3: 6. It is in the
    pollution of our blood that we are born, Ezek. 16, - wholly
    defiled and polluted. The grace of sanctification, purchased
    by the blood of Christ, removes this defilement of our nature.
    1 Cor. 6: 11, "Such were some of you; but ye are washed, ye
    are sanctified." So also Tit. 3: 3-5, "He has saved us by the
    washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost."
    How far this original, habitual pollution is removed, need not
    be disputed; it is certain the soul is made fair and beautiful
    in the sight of God. Though the sin that does defile remains,
    yet its habitual defilement is taken away. But the handling of
    this lies not in my aim.
        [2.] Taking away the pollutions of all our actual
    transgressions. There is a defilement attending every actual
    sin. Our own clothes make us to be abhorred, Job 9: 31. A
    spot, a stain, rust, wrinkle, filth, blood, attends every sin.
    Now, 1 John 1: 7, "The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from
    all sin." Besides the defilement of our natures which he
    purgeth, Tit. 3: 5, he takes away the defilement of our
    persons by actual follies. "By one offering he perfected for
    ever them that are sanctified;" by himself he "purged our
    sins," before he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on
    high, Heb. 1: 3.
        [3.] In our best duties we have defilement, Isa. 64: 6.
    Self, unbelief, form, drop themselves into all that we do. We
    may be ashamed of our choicest performances. God has promised
    that the saints' good works shall follow them. Truly, were
    they to be measured by the rule as they come from us, and
    weighed in the balance of the sanctuary, it might be well for
    us that they might be buried for ever: But the Lord Christ
    first, as our high priest, bears the iniquity, the guilt, and
    provocation, which in severe justice does attend them, Exod.
    28: 38; and not only so, but he washes away all their filth
    and defilements. He is as a refiner's fire, to purge both the
    sons of Levi and their offerings; adding, moreover, sweet
    incense to them, that they may be accepted. Whatever is of the
    Spirit, of himself, of grace, - that remains; whatever is of
    self, flesh, unbelief (that is, hay and stubble), - that he
    consumes, wastes, takes away. So that the saints' good works
    shall meet them one day with a changed countenance, that they
    shall scarce know them: that which seemed to them to be black,
    deformed, defiled, shall appear beautiful and glorious; they
    shall not be afraid of them, but rejoice to see and follow
        And this cleansing of our natures, persons, and duties,
    has its whole foundation in the death of Christ. Hence our
    washing and purifying, our cleansing and purging, is ascribed
    to his blood and the sprinkling thereof meritoriously, this
    work is done, by the shedding of the blood of Christ;
    efficiently, by its sprinkling. The sprinkling of the blood of
    Christ proceedeth from the communication of the Holy Ghost;
    which he promiseth to us, as purchased by him for us He is the
    pure water, wherewith we are sprinkled from all our sins, that
    spirit of judgement and burning that takes away the filth and
    blood of the daughters of Zion. And this is the first thing in
    the grace of sanctification; of which more afterward.
        (2.) By bestowing cleanness as to actual grace. The blood
    of Christ in this purchased grace does not only take away
    defilement, but also it gives purity; and that also in a
    threefold gradation: -
        [1.] It gives the Spirit of holiness to dwell in us. "He
    is made unto us sanctification," 1 Cor. 1: 30, by procuring
    for us the Spirit of sanctification. Our renewing is of the
    Holy Ghost, who is shed on us through Christ alone, Tit. 3: 6.
    This the apostle mainly insists on, Rom. 8, - to wit, that the
    prime and principal gift of sanctification that we receive
    from Christ, is the indwelling of the Spirit, and our
    following after the guidance hereof. But what concerns the
    Spirit in any kind, must be referred to that which I have to
    offer concerning our communion with him.
        [2.] He gives us habitual grace; - a principle of grace,
    opposed to the principle of lust that is in us by nature. This
    is the grace that dwells in us, makes its abode with us;
    which, according to the distinct faculties of our souls
    wherein it is, or the distinct objects about which it is
    exercised, receiveth various appellation, being indeed all but
    one new principle of life. In the understanding, it is light;
    in the will, obedience; in the affections, love; in all,
    faith. So, also, it is differences in respect of its
    operations. When it carries out the soul to rest on Christ, it
    is faith; when to delight in him, it is love; but still one
    and the same habit of grace. And this is the second thing.
        [3.] Actual influence for the performance of every
    spiritual duty whatever. After the saints have both the
    former, yet Christ tells them that without him "they can do
    nothing," John 15: 5. They are still in dependence upon him
    for new influences of grace, or supplies of the Spirit. They
    cannot live and spend upon the old stock; for every new act
    they must have new grace. He must "work in us to will and to
    do of his good pleasure," Phil. 2: 13. And in these three,
    thus briefly named, consists that purchased grace in the point
    of sanctification, as to the collating of purity and
    cleanness, wherein we have communion with Christ.
        3. This purchased grace consists in privileges to stand
    before God, and these are of two sorts,- primary and
    consequential. Primary, is adoption, - the Spirit of adoption;
    consequential, are all the favours of the gospel, which the
    saints alone have right unto. But of this I shall speak when I
    come to the last branch, - of communion with the Holy Ghost.
        These are the things wherein we have communion with Christ
    as to purchased grace in this life. Drive them up to
    perfection, and you have that which we call everlasting glory.
    Perfect acceptance, perfect holiness, perfect adoption, or
    inheritance of sons, - that is glory.
        Our process now, in the next place, is to what I mainly
    intend, even the manner how we hold communion with Christ in
    these things; and that in the order laid down; as, -
        I. How we hold communion with him in the obedience of his
    life and merit of his death, as to acceptance with God the
        II. How we hold communion with Christ in his blood, as to
    the Spirit of sanctification, the habits and acts of grace.
        III. How we hold communion with him as to the privileges
    we enjoy. Of which in the ensuing chapters.

    Owen, Of Communion With God
    (continued in File 16...)

    file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: owcom-15.txt