[Let us consider how] to … make application of this Christ [as the Mediator of the New Covenant] to the soul. And for this there are to be considered the following particulars:
1. That when Jesus Christ did thus appear, being born of Mary, He was looked upon by the Father as if the sin of the whole world was upon Him; nay, further, God did look upon Him and account Him the sin of man. “He has made Him to be sin for us,” (2 Cor. 5:21) that is, God made His Son Jesus Christ our sin, or reckoned Him to be, not only a sinner, but the very bulk of sin of the whole world, and condemned Him so severely as if He had been nothing but sin. “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh;” that is, for our sins condemned His Son Jesus Christ; as if He had in deed and truth been our very sin, although altogether “without sin” (Rom. 8:3; 2 Cor. 5:21).
Therefore, as to the taking away of your curse, you must reckon Him to be made sin for you. And as to His being your justification, you must reckon Him to be your righteousness; for, the Scripture says, “He,” that is, God, “has made HIM to be SIN for us, though He knew no sin, that we might be made the RIGHTEOUSNESS of God in HIM.”
2. Consider for whose sakes all this glorious design of the Father and the Son was brought to pass; and that you shall find to be for man, for sinful man (2 Cor. 8:9).
3. [Consider] The terms on which it is made ours; and that you will find to be a free gift, merely arising from the tender-heartedness of God “you are justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood,” etc. (Rom. 3:25).
4. [Consider] How men are to reckon it [the New Covenant] theirs; and that is, upon the same terms which God offers it, which is freely, as they are worthless and undeserving creatures, as they are without all good, and also unable to do any good. This, I say, is the right way of applying the merits of Christ to your soul, for they are freely given to you, a poor sinner, not for anything that is in you, or done by you, but freely as you art a sinner, and so stand in absolute need thereof.
And, Christian, you are not in this thing to follow your sense and feeling, but the very Word of God. The thing that does do the people of God the greatest injury, is their too little hearkening to what the Gospel says, and their too much giving credit to what the Law, sin, the devil, and conscience say; and upon this very ground to conclude that because there is a certainty of guilt upon the soul, therefore there is also for certain, by sin, damnation to be brought upon the soul. This is now to set the Word of God aside, and to give credit to what is formed by the contrary; but you must give more credit to one syllable of the written Word of the Gospel than you give to all the saints and angels in Heaven and earth; much more than to the devil and your own guilty conscience.
Let me give you a parable. There was a certain man that had committed treason against his king; but forasmuch as the king had compassion upon him, he sent him, by the hand of a faithful messenger, a pardon under his own hand and seal; but in the country where this poor man dwelt, there were also many that sought to trouble him, by often putting of him in mind of his treason, and the law that was to be executed on the offender. Now which way should this man so honour his king, but as by believing his handwriting, which was the pardon. Certainly he would honour him more by so doing than to regard all the clamours of his enemies continually against him.
Just thus it is here: you having committed treason against the King of Heaven, He through compassion, for Christ’s sake, has sent you a pardon; but the devil, the Law, and your conscience do continually seek to disturb you by bringing your sins afresh into your remembrance. But now, wouldst you honour your King? Why then, he that believes “the record that God hath given of His Son,” has set to his seal that God is true. “And this is the record, that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son” (1 John 5:11).
And therefore, my brethren, seeing God our Father has sent us damnable traitors a pardon from Heaven, even all the promises of the Gospel, and also has sealed to the certainty of it with the heart-blood of His dear Son, let us not be daunted, though our enemies, with terrible voices, do bring our former life never so often into our remembrance.
An excerpt of THE DOCTRINE OF THE LAW AND GRACE UNFOLDED, Part II Section 16: The Use of the New Covenant/
“For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God” (Heb. 7:19; Cf. Rom. 3:28; 4:5).
John Bunyan of Bedford, England (1628-1688) was a Puritan writer and preacher. He is best known as the author of Pilgrim’s Progress.
The title “Full Pardon in the New Covenant”, bracketed content, updated archaic English, and italics added – JBW.