Of the Application of Christ

By William Ames

So much of Redemption: The application of the same Redemption follows.

1. This Application is that by which all those things which Christ has done, and does as Mediator, are made actually effectual in some certain Men.

2. This application by a special appropriation is attributed to the Holy Spirit. 1Cor 12.13, By one Spirit we are all baptised into one body. Yet it depends, 1. Upon the Decree and donation of the Father, whereby he has given some certain men to Christ to be redeemed and saved. Joh 6.36, This is the will of my Father, that of those he has given me, I should lose nothing; for all those and only those whom the Father has given to Christ, come to him, Joh 6.37.381 2. Upon the Intention of Christ, whereby he has determined his satisfaction for the good of those whom he has appointed to him by his Father. Joh 17.9, 11, 12, 19, I pray for those whom you have given me, because they are yours. 3. Upon the Acceptance of the Father, whereby he accepts and ratifies that satisfaction for the reconciliation and salvation of those same persons. 2Cor 5.19, Namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their sins to them.

3. This transaction between God and Christ was a certain foregoing application of our redemption and deliverance to our surety, and to us in him; as to finishing that secondary application in us, this respects an effectual example; so as that is a representation of this, and this is brought forth by virtue of that. [This is explained further in the next paragraph.]

4. Hence our deliverance from sin and death was not only determined in the decree of God, but also granted and communicated to Christ, and to us in him, before it is received by us. Rom 5.10-11, We were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, by whom we have now received a reconciliation.

5. Hence, both the Father and the Son are said to send the Spirit to perform this application. Joh 14.16; 16.7. The Father shall give you an advocate; I will send him to you.

6. Hence, every good giving, and every perfect good, is said to descend from above, from the Father, Jas 1.17. All saving things are said to be communicated to us in Christ, as the head — for Christ obtained it by his merit, and through Christ it is effectually applied to us, Eph 1.3, 5, 11.382

7. Hence also, Application is the end and the effect of impetration.383 But seeing that the end is intended by God the Father and Christ, it has a certain connexion with impetration as with its means. For if the redemption of Christ were an uncertain event, then the Father would appoint the Son to death, and the Son would also undergo it, being yet uncertain whether anyone would be saved by it or not; then also, all the fruit of this mystery would depend on the free will of men.

8. Hence Application is altogether of the same latitude as Redemption itself; that is, the redemption of Christ is applied to all and only those for whom it was obtained by the intention of Christ and the Father; yet for their sakes, the same temporal benefits of Christ redound to others also.

9. And in this sense, namely in respect to the intention of Application, it is rightly said that Christ satisfied only for those who are saved by him. Although in respect to that sufficiency which is in the mediation of Christ, it may also be rightly said that Christ satisfied for all, or everyone; and because those counsels of God are hidden from us, it is agreeable to charity to judge very well of everyone, even though we may not pronounce, concerning all together collectively, that Christ equally pleaded their cause before God.384

10. The way of Application, whereby with greatest firmness God performs what was contained in the covenant that was formerly made and broken, is called in the Scriptures a New Covenant, Heb 8.8-10.385 A covenant of life, salvation, and grace, Rom 4.16; Gal 3.18;386 which in the same sense is also called the Gospel, Rom 1.16; the good Word of God, Heb 6.5; a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, 1Tim 1.15; a good doctrine, 1Tim 4.6; the Word of Life, Phi 2.16; the Word of Reconciliation, 2Cor 5.19; the Gospel of peace, Eph 2.17; Eph 6.15; the Gospel of salvation, and the Word of truth, Eph 1.13; the Arm of God, Isa 53.1; the savour of life to life, 2Cor 2.16.

11. It is called a Covenant because it is a firm promise; for in the Scriptures, every firm purpose, even though it is about things without life, is called a covenant. Jer 33.20, 25, ...my covenant with the day, and my covenant with the night — if my covenant is not with day and night, and if I do not appoint the statutes of Heaven and Earth...

12. Yet because it consists of a free donation, and it is confirmed by the death of the giver, it is not so properly called a covenant, as a testament, Heb 9.16;387 and seeing that this sacrificial gift is not found in the former,388 it is not so properly called a testament, as a covenant.

But this New Covenant differs from the old in many ways.

13. 1. In the kind; for that was as it were, a covenant of friendship between the Creator and the creature; but this is a covenant of reconciliation between enemies.

14. 2. In the efficient; for in that, there was an agreement of two parties, namely God and man; but in this, only God covenants. For man, now dead in sin, had no ability to contract a spiritual covenant with God. But if two parties are to be appointed, in the manner of a covenant, only God is the party assuming and constituting the covenant; but man is the party assumed.

15. 3. It differs in the object; for that is extended to all men; but it belongs to some certain ones in a special manner. For even though its promulgation is often promiscuously propounded in the manner of men, yet by a special propriety, it belongs and it is directed to those for whom it was intended by Go; 389 they are therefore called sons and heirs of this promise, and of salvation, Gen 15; Act 2.17; 3.25; Rom 4.13, 16; 9.7-8; Gal 3.26, 29.

16. 4. It differs in the beginning or moving cause; for there, God worked out of his wise and just counsel according to his sovereignty; but here, only mercy has a place. There indeed, in some respect, grace shined forth in appointing a reward due to obedience; yet properly speaking, it was not directed by grace; and so it was not this covenant of grace, but that covenant which was accomplished [by Christ]; that is, it actually led man to happiness.

17. 5. In the foundation, which in the former covenant was the ability of man himself; but in this, it is Christ Jesus.

18. 6. In the matter of good things promised; for in that covenant God promised life only; but in this, he promises righteousness also, and all the means of life; because man being dead, it was not the continuance or perfection of life that was necessary, but restoring it.

19. 7. In the conditions; for that covenant required perfect obedience of works, which was also to be performed by man of his own strength before the promise would have any effect, so that the reward might have respect to its merit; but this covenant does not require any condition going before it, properly so-called, but only following after it, or coming between; and that condition is communicated by grace, so that it might be a means to perfect that grace — which is the proper nature of Faith.390

20. 8. In the effects; for that covenant teaches and shows what is righteous; but this bestows righteousness itself, in that there was a dead letter in the Law, and it was deadly to a sinner; but in this covenant there is a quickening391 spirit.

21. Hence, that covenant never brought salvation to any man, nor could it bring anything to a sinner except death; but this covenant does not properly, of itself, bring death or condemnation to anyone; instead, it brings assured salvation to all those by whom it is received.

22. 9. In the adjunct of continuance; for that covenant is antiquated392 in respect to those who are partakers of this new covenant; but this is everlasting, both in respect to the countenance it has in itself — because it allows no end or change touching its substance — and also in respect to those to whom it is communicated — because the grace of this covenant continues forever with those who are once truly in covenant.

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