William Plumer on the Primary Gifts of Christ to His People

William Plumer, a 19th century Southern Presbyterian pastor-teacher, has written beautifully of the primary gifts Christ Jesus gives to His people: His merits, and His Spirit. Read and worship:

“Christ is the life of the saints, as he is their Prophet, Priest, and King – their Sacrifice, Savior, and Redeemer. He is God and man in two distinct natures and one person forever. As the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself. This life is the light of men. Of the fulness which dwells in him, he gives to all his saints, and so they receive grace for grace.

“This he does chiefly by making them partakers of his merits, and of his Spirit. By his merits, we are forgiven and taken into the divine favor. By his Spirit, we are created anew in Christ Jesus unto good works. His righteousness justifies us; his Spirit sanctifies us. By his righteousness, sin is pardoned; by his Spirit, sin is expelled. By his merits, we become righteous in law; by His Spirit, we become upright in heart. By his righteousness imputed, we are accepted; by his Spirit imparted, we are purified. His righteousness removes condemnation; his Spirit takes away depravity.

“Christ’s righteousness is put upon us; his Spirit is put within us. His righteousness is reckoned to our account; his Spirit is poured upon us. His righteousness was wrought out for us; his Spirit works in us. By his life of obedience and suffering, Christ brought in everlasting righteousness; by his amazing energies, the Spirit becomes the author of our personal holiness. Christ’s righteousness gives us a title to heaven; his Spirit gives us a fitness for heaven. His righteousness give us authority to become the sons of God; his Spirit gives us meetness for beholding the face of our Father who is in heaven. The one answers all the demands of the penalty of the law; the other secures conformity to the precepts of the law. Christ’s blood washes away our guilt; his Spirit washes away our defilement. The former delivers us from the curse of the law; the latter removes the stains from our soul. One purges our consciences, the other our hearts. Without the former, we are accursed; without the latter, we are polluted.

“In the possession of Christ’s righteousness, we defy the accuser; in the indwelling of his Spirit, we have proof that our confidence shall not be disappointed. The former is the foundation of salvation; the latter is the evidence that we have built on the Rock of ages. The one is perfect here, the other shall surely bring forth judgment unto victory. Of Christ’s righteousness being ours let us know the reality; of his Spirit abiding in us let us seek for larger measures.

“Christ’s righteousness makes our prayers prevalent; his Spirit makes them frequent and fervent. The one brings us into the covenant; the other makes that covenant dear to our hearts. The former makes us resplendent before God; the latter makes our light shine before men. Christ’s righteousness removes all just cause of dread of the wrath to come; his Spirit implants in our hearts that love which casteth out fear. By the former, God’s justice demands our acquittal; by the latter, we obtain rectitude of nature. The one gives us grace, the other enables us to exercise grace. One gives us God’s favor; the other, God’s image.

“Whoever has Christ’s righteousness, has in some measure his Spirit also. These gifts are never wholly separated, though they are easily distinguished. Where one is, there is the other also. Both are essential to salvation. ‘If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.’ ‘All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags,’ and so cannot save us. If to any man Christ is made righteousness, to him also he is made sanctification. We must be in Christ; we must be new creatures.

“Oh that men would flee to Christ! Of that they would cease to reject his righteousness, and to grieve his Spirit! Oh that we may all be found in him, who is The Lord our Righteousness!”

(From “Will You Have This Christ,” tract #208 of the Presbyterian Tracts, published by the Presbyterian Board of Publication, Richmond, VA)

SDG,
Ezra

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