ON THE RULE OF NEW LIFE
Consider first, that in the epistle which is read on New Year’s Day, Titus ii. 11-15, the Apostle has in a few words declared to us the rules we are to follow in our lives, in consequence of the Son of God coming amongst us: viz., what are we to renounce; what we are to practise; what we are to look for; and what we are to attend to. ‘The Grace of God our Saviour,’ saith he, ‘hath appeared to all men; instructing us, that, denying ungodliness and worldly desires, we should live soberly, and justly, and godly in this world; looking for that blessed hope, and the coming of the glory of that great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and might cleanse to himself a people acceptable, a pursuer of good works.’ O how many great lessons are here contained in a few words! Let us reflect on them one after another.
Consider therefore, 2ndly, the end for which our God and Saviour came down amongst us by the mystery of his incarnation – to enlighten us by his Gospel and by his life; and at length offer to himself in sacrifice for us, by his death upon the cross. ‘He gave himself for us,’ saith the Apostle, ‘that he might redeem us from all iniquity:’ by setting us at liberty from being slaves to Satan, sin, and hell: by breaking asunder all the chains of our vices and passions: and by purchasing all mercy, grace, and salvation for us: to the end that, by the virtue of his precious blood, ‘he might cleanse us for himself, and make us an acceptable people (a chosen generation, a kingly priesthood, a holy nation,’ 1 Pet. ii. 9), a zealous ‘pursuer of all good works.’ See, Christians, what kind of men we ought to be, in consequence of what the Son of God has done for us, in coming down from heaven for us, and laying down his life for us. O let us never more degenerate, by leading lives unworthy of him! Let us never more return to our former slavery!
Consider 3rdly, that being purchased by the Son of God with so great a price, we are to consider ourselves henceforward as his property; and therefore we must not pretend to dispose of ourselves any otherwise than according to his will and pleasure. This ought to be our rule in all we do: this we ought to consult in all our deliberations: this holy will of him that has bought us with his own blood should be in every thing a law to us, so as ever to renounce all that we know to be displeasing to him; and ever to pursue with all our strength what we know to be agreeable to him. ‘You are not your own; you are bought with a great price,’ says the Apostle, 1 Cor. vi. 19, 20. ‘Glorify, and bear God in your body.’
Conclude to take in practice for the rule of your life this holy will of our Redeemer, and according to the whole extent of the Apostle’s exposition and declaration of the Christian’s rule, Titus ii. 11, &c., and you will be religious men indeed, of that excellent order which Jesus Christ came from heaven to institute, and you will be with him for ever.