“Do but look in Eph. 2:4-10, and there you shall perceive how clear and full the apostle is in this business, that Christ is made a way to life absolutely and merely of free gift; ‘But God, saith he, ‘who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ; by grace ye are saved: and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Jesus Christ, that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness towards us through Christ Jesus.’
Mark how he goes on; ‘For by grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast; for we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.’ Still he runs upon mercy and grace, and works he excludes, that no creature might boast.
If any thing were done on our part, to partake of Christ, we might have whereof to boast. So likewise speaking of Abraham, Rom 4:2, ‘For if Abraham were justified by works, he had whereof to glory;’ we should have to glory, if we should have the least hand in the participating of Christ; therefore God would give Christ freely unto his creature; because man should have no stroke in participating of him, that so it might be to the praise of the glory of his grace; that we should not glory; yea, ‘That no flesh should glory in his presence.’ And therefore the same apostle, Eph. 3:12, tells us, that from this grace ‘we have boldness, and access with confidence through the faith of him.’ In regard that Christ is given unto men to be a way unto the Father, and merely of free gift, hence it is that we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.
Should we regard our own works or qualifications, there would be some mixture of distrust; we should have some fear that God would find out such and such a thought; therefore we could never come with boldness and confidence, if we did not come in Christ as a free gift bestowed upon us: for if there were one condition, and the least failing in that condition, God might take advantage upon that default, and so possibly we might miscarry; and we being jealous and privy to it, that there are faults in all we do, we should be ‘subject all our lives to bondage,’ (saith the apostle), and should fear that God will take advantage of all that which is undone on our part; and so not fulfil what he hath promised on his part. But seeing we have Christ bestowed as a free gift of the Father, ‘we come with boldness and access to the throne of grace.’
To establish, or a little more to clear this, look (Heb. 10:18-20) ‘Now where remission of sin is, there is no more offering for sin; having therefore boldness to enter into the holiest, by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way that he hath consecrated for us through the veil, that is to say, his flesh.’ How come we to have boldness? Through the new and living way made by the blood of Christ; not a new and living way by his blood and our actions, but by his blood; that is, only by his blood, merely by his actions; and so passed over freely to us; this is that which makes us come with so much boldness.
Look into the closure of all the scriptures, you shall find there can be nothing imagined more free; nay, so free, as the participating of Christ to be the way to the Father; nothing so free as this, (Rev. 22:17) ‘Both the Spirit and the bride say, come; let him that heareth, say, come; and let him that is athirst, come; and whosoever will, (mark the expression) let him take of the water of life freely.’
Hast thou but a mind to Christ?
come and take the water of life freely; it is thine; it is given to thee; there is nothing looked for from thee to take thy portion in this Christ; thine he is as well as any person’s under Heaven; therefore, you shall find our Saviour exceedingly complain of this, as a great fault, ‘You will not come to me, that you might have life;’ ‘He that comes to me, I will in no wise cast him off;’ upon no terms. Thou mayest object a thousand things, that if thou shouldst come, and conclude Christ is thy Christ, he will reject thee, and that it will be but presumption; but, in so doing, thou rejectest thyself, and forsakest thy own mercy; but Christ saith,
Whosoever he be, what person soever, ‘I will in no wise cast him off, if he come unto me.” – Tobias Crisp