Dec 11, 2008

Bunyan on Col. 2:13

If I underdstand Bunyan correctly, he taught that faith was the means of becoming united to Christ. Then, being united to Christ, one is then justified and forgiven. Then, based upon this union and justification, the grace of regeneration and salvation are conferred.

Bunyan wrote:

"We received, by our thus being counted in him, that benefit which did precede his rising from the dead; and what was that but the forgiveness of sins? For this stands clear to reason, that if Christ had our sins charged upon him at his death, he then must be discharged of them in order to his resurrection. Now, though it is not proper to say they were forgiven to him, because they were purged from him by merit, yet they may be said to be forgiven us, because we receive this benefit by grace."

"And this, I say, was done precedent to his resurrection from the dead: "He hath quickened us together with him, having forgiven us all trespasses." He could not be "quickened" till we were "discharged"; because it was not for himself, but for us, that he died. Hence we are said to be at that time, as to our own personal estate, dead in our sins, even when we are "quickened together with him," Col. 2:13.

Therefore both the "quickening" and "forgiveness" too, so far as we are in this text concerned, is to him, as we are considered in him or to him, with respect to us.

Having forgiven you all trespasses. For necessity so required; because else how was it possible that the pains of death should be loosed in order to his rising, so long as one sin stood still charged to him, as that for the commission of which God had not received a plenary satisfaction? As therefore we suffered, died, and rose again by him; so, in order to his so rising, he, as presenting of us in his person and suffering, received for us remission of all our trespasses. A full discharge therefore was, in and by Christ, received of God of all our sins before he arose from the dead; as his resurrection truly declared; for "he was delivered for our offences,and was raised again for our justification," Rom. 4:25."

"Wherefore, hence it is that in time they partake of quickening grace from this their head, to the making of them also live by faith, in order to their living hereafter with him in glory; for if Christ lives, they cannot die that were sharers with him in his resurrection."

"This general offer of righteousness, of the righteousness of God, declares that it is in vain for men to think to be set just and righteous before God by any other means."

"There is here also insinuated, that for him that thinks himself the worst, God has prepared a righteousness, and therefore would not have him despair of life that sees himself far from righteousness. From all these scriptures, therefore, it is manifestthat "men must be justified from the curse of the law in the sight of God while sinners in themselves."

"Sixthly , "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest," Matt. 11:28.

Here we have a labouring people, a people labouring for life; but by all their labour, you see, they cannot ease themselves; their burden still remains upon them; they yet are heavy laden. The load here is, doubtless guilt of sin, such as David had when he said by reason thereof "he was not able to look up"; Psal. 38:3...wherefore "men must be justified from the curse in the sight of God while sinners in themselves."

"Sanctification (including regeneration - SG), then, is consequential, justification goes before the Holy Ghost by this scripture setteth forth to the life, free grace to the sons of men while they themselves are sinners. I say, while they are unwashed, unswaddled, unsalted, but bloody sinners; for by these words, "not washed, not salted, not swaddled," he setteth forth their unsanctified state; yea, they were not only unsanctified, but also cast out, without pity, to the loathing of their persons; yea, "no eye pitied them,to do any of these things for them"; no eye but his whose glorious grace isunsearchable; no eye but his who could look and love; all others looked and loathed; but blessed be God that hath passed by us in that day that we wallowed in our own blood; and blessed be God for the skirt of his glorious righteousness wherewith hecovered us when we lay before him naked in blood. It was when we were in our blood that he loved us; when we were in our blood he said, Live. Therefore, "men are justified from the curse in the sight of God while sinners in themselves."

"Thus Christ saveth from present condemnation those that be still in their sin and blood."

"But is he now quit? No; he standeth yet in filthy garments; neither can he, by aught that is in him, or done by him, clear himself from him. How then? Why, the Lord clothes him with change of raiment: the iniquities were his own, the raiment was the Lord's."

"When he saw Jesus, the devil in him, as being lord and governor there, cried out against the Lord Jesus. In all this what qualification shews itself as precedent to justification? None but such as devils work, or as rank Bedlams have." (he clearly could not put regeneration before justification - SG)

"I come now to the second use, Have faith in Christ. But what are we to understand by faith?

Answer: Faith importeth as much as to say, receive, embrace, accept of, or trust in, the benefit offered. All which are, by holy men of God, words used on purpose to shew that the mercy of God, the forgiveness of sins, and eternal life, are not to be had by doing or by the law; but by receiving, embracing, accepting, or trusting to the mercy of God through Christ "We believe that through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they," John 1:12; 2 Cor. 4:1; 11:4;Col. 2:6; Heb. 11:13; 1 Tim. 1:15; Ephes. 1:12, 13; Acts 15:11. Thus you see what the gospel is, and what faith doth do in the salvation of the soul."

It seems clear to me, from the above citations, that Bunyan put faith before justification (union with Christ) and regeneration after justification.

Bunyan said:

"Now faith is the eye of the godly man..."

If Bunyan were a Hyper Calvinist, and believed that regeneration preceded faith, then he would not speak of faith being the eye. The Hyperist says that God must give one a spiritual "eye" before he can have faith. But, such an idea makes the eye something other than faith itself.

(Justification By An Imputed RIGHTEOUSNESS OR No Way to Heaven but by JESUS CHRIST)

See here

No comments: