Reflections on how Christians help each other to grow and mature in loving God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love their neighbor as themselves.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Reflections on the person of Jesus for Monday of Holy Week

Jesus, thy far-extended fame
My drooping soul exults to hear;
Thy name, thy all-restoring name,
Is music in my sinner’s ear.

Sinners of old thou didst receive
With comfortable words and kind,
Their sorrows cheer, their wants relieve,
Heal the diseased, and cure the blind.

And art thou not the Savior still,
In every place and age the same?
Hast thou forgot thy gracious skill,
Or lost the virtue of thy name?

Faith in they changeless name I have;
The good, the kind physician, thou
Art able now our souls to save,
Art willing to restore them now.

Wouldst thou the body’s health restore,
And not regard the sin-sick soul?
The soul thou lovest yet the more,
And surely thou shalt make it whole.

My soul’s disease, my every sin,
To thee, O Jesus, I confess;
In pardon, Lord, my cure begin,
And perfect it in holiness.

-- Charles Wesley

… What is the righteousness of Christ? It is twofold, either his divine or his human righteousness.

1. His divine righteousness belongs to his divine nature, as he is 'He that existeth, over all, God, blessed for ever': the supreme, the eternal, 'equal with the Father as touching his godhead, though inferior to the Father as touching his manhood'. Now this is his eternal, essential, immutable holiness; his infinite justice, mercy, and truth: in all which 'he and the Father are one.'

But I do not apprehend that the divine righteousness of Christ is immediately concerned in the present question. I believe few, if any, do now contend for the imputation of this righteousness to us. Whoever believes the doctrine of imputation understands it chiefly, if not solely, of his human righteousness.

2. The human righteousness of Christ belongs to him in his human nature, as he is 'the mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus'. This is either internal or external. His internal righteousness is the image of God stamped on every power and faculty of his soul. It is a copy of his divine righteousness, as far as it can be imparted to a human spirit. It is a transcript of the divine purity, the divine justice, mercy, and truth. It includes love, reverence, resignation to his Father; humility, meekness, gentleness; love to lost mankind, and every other holy and heavenly temper: and all these in the highest degree, without any defect, or mixture of unholiness.

3. It was the least part of his external righteousness that he did nothing amiss; that he knew no outward sin of any kind, 'neither was guile found in his mouth'; that he never spoke one improper word, nor did one improper action. Thus far it is only a negative righteousness, though such an one as never did nor ever can belong to anyone that is born of a woman, save himself alone. But even his outward righteousness was positive too. 'He did all things well.' In every word of his tongue, in every work of his hands, he did precisely the 'will of him that sent him'. In the whole course of his life he did the will of God on earth as the angels do it in heaven. All he acted and spoke was exactly right in every circumstance. The whole and every part of his obedience was complete. 'He fulfilled all righteousness.'

4. But his obedience implied more than all this. It implied not only doing, but suffering: suffering the whole will of God from the time he came into the world till 'he bore our sins in his own body upon the tree'; yea, till having made a full atonement for them 'he bowed his head and gave up the ghost.' This is usually termed the passive righteousness of Christ, the former, his active righteousness. But as the active and passive righteousness of Christ were never in fact separated from each other, so we never need separate them at all, either in speaking or even in thinking. And it is with regard to both these conjointly that Jesus is called, 'the Lord our righteousness'.

-- John Wesley, excerpt from Sermon 20: The Lord Our Righteousness (1765)


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