No. 10

Matthew 17:5
While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.
This voice is full of consolation to all who know and feel their misery by nature as sinners.  Such might expect that if God would speak to them from heaven, they should surely hear a declaration of his deserved wrath – but his thoughts are not as ours.  It is a voice of mercy and love, not of anger, pointing out to us his beloved Son as the object of our hope.  In him God is well pleased, propitious and favourable, pardoning iniquity, transgression and sin.  We have spoken of his character, The beloved Son, and proceed to consider:
2. What is said of him
In him I am well pleased.  That God is well pleased with him is implied in the word Beloved.  The love of the Father to his Own Son is infinitely beyond all our feeble thoughts and expressions.  He is indeed the only adequate and suitable object of the Father's love, as he is the brightness of his glory and the express image of his person, his human nature was absolutely perfect, his obedience to the will and law of the Father complete. But what he is in the human nature and in his office as Mediator, he is for us.  It is to us poor miserable sinners, this declaration is made.  Here he is set forth as the propitiation, the mercy seat – in him he reveals and confirms the purposes of his love, to save and deliver those who are appointed unto death.  In him and with all who are in him I am well pleased.  May the Lord give and increase faith, while we are attending to these gracious words.
  2.1 We may note that God, who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, is displeased and angry with sinners considered in themselves.  They have broken his righteous laws, they are become degenerate.  When he looks down from heaven upon the children of men, he sees not one that does good, no not one. [1]  They are all turned aside, they are not only transgressors in a few instances, but they have altogether broken the yoke and burst the bonds – they have cast off allegiance, and are filled with a spirit of enmity and rebellion against him.  In this view his holiness, his justice, his truth and his power are all against them.  What an awful breach is this, how fearful are the expectations of an awakened conscience when these things are known.  If one man sin against another, there may be a reconciliation, but if a man sin against the Lord, who shall entreat for him? [2]
  2.2 There is no possible way whereby a sinner by his own strength and in his own name can possibly come to God, with a well-grounded hope that he will be well pleased.
    2.2.1 The law against which he has sinned provides no place for repentance.  Its language is absolute, Do this and live [3] – but upon failure, it does not say, Repent and be sorry and do better, but, Cursed is the man that continueth not in all things. [4] The Scripture gives no hope of favour with God upon the account of our personal repentance.  They who trust to this, trust to a spider's web. [5]
    2.2.2 If repentance could be available it is out of our power to perform it.  Sin has so ruined our nature that we are incapable of thinking a good thought.  To be sorry when we have sinned against God, that we cannot escape his hands, to tremble at the fear of punishment for sin, when the love of it yet remains in our heart – this is not repentance, which implies a change of heart, motives and conduct.  But by nature we can go no higher than a fruitless sorrow, which neither springs from a gracious principle, nor is accompanied with any gracious fruits.  In this sense it is said Judas repented. [6]  The awakened sinner sees this twofold impossibility of being reconciled to God in his own person.  Much he would do rather than perish as Micah 6:6,7. [7]  But he knows outward things are worthless in the sight of the Lord; he finds he can do nothing spiritually and even if he could there is no provision in the covenant of works for the acceptance of his services when once he has been convinced of transgressing the law.  But the case is not desperate, for:
    2.2.3 What the law cannot do in that it is weak, weak through the flesh, is affected by the grace reflected in the Gospel – God has sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us.  He says, Behold my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Well pleased with his blood and death as a proper atonement for sin (Ephesians 5:2) [8] Well pleased with his righteousness; he has by his obedience not only satisfied the law, but magnified and made it honourable.  He has received double for the sins of his people (Isaiah 40:2 and 42:21). [9]  Now he can be just and justify the sinner that believes in Jesus (Romans 3:26). [10] Well pleased with his intercession.  Him the Father heareth always. [11]  He is a righteous and a powerful Advocate.
How highly pleased God is with those who believe in his[him] appears from:
1. The full and absolute pardon of all sin (Matthew 12:31). [12]
2. He owns them as children (2 Corinthians 6:18; Romans 8:16,17). [13]
3. He delights in them as his treasure and portion (Deuteronomy 32:9). [14]
4. He has prepared them a kingdom (Matthew 25:34). [15]
God is well pleased with sinners in Christ – are you well pleased with God in Christ?  If not, you shut the door of mercy against yourselves.

[1] Psalm 14:2,3 The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
[2] 1 Samuel 2:25 If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the Lord, who shall intreat for him? Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the Lord would slay them.
[3] Deuteronomy 4:1 Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers giveth you.
Luke 10:28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
[4] Deuteronomy 27:26 Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.
Galatians 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
[5] Job 8:13,14 So are the paths of all that forget God; and the hypocrite's hope shall perish: Whose hope shall be cut off, and whose trust shall be a spider's web.
[6] Matthew 27:3,4 Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.
[7] Micah 6:6,7 Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
[8] Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
[9] Isaiah 40:2 Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins.
Isaiah 42:21 The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness' sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable.
[10] Romans 3:26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
[11] John 11:42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.
[12]  Matthew 12:31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.
[13] 2 Corinthians 6:18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
Romans 8:16,17 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
[14] Deuteronomy 32:9 For the Lord's portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.
[15] Matthew 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

Cowper & Newton Museum, 714(16), N40

Marylynn Rouse, 06/08/2020