THAT our justification, or our being accounted righteous by Almighty God, consists in our being grafted into the Body of Christ or made His members, in God dwelling in us and our dwelling in God, and that the Holy Ghost is the gracious Agent in this wonderful work,—all this has been argued from Scripture in various ways; first from righteousness being there spoken of as a gift internal to the soul; or, again, from the great gift of the Gospel (which righteousness confessedly is) being spoken of as inward; secondly, on the ground that, if so high a privilege as God's indwelling be vouchsafed, it must necessarily involve justification as one of its benefits; thirdly, from righteousness being represented as an ornament of the soul beyond nature, and such an endowment having actually been lost in Adam,—from which it seemed to follow, that what is gained in Christ is a like ornament, which Scripture confirms by speaking of it as a glory and a power; and fourthly, from the analogy of such a view of justification to the special character of Christian privileges. In the present Lecture, following up a consideration already touched upon, I shall treat the matter thus:—whatever is now given to us by the Spirit is done within us; whatever is given us through the Church since Christ's ascension, is given by the Spirit; from which it follows that our justification, being a present work, is an inward work, and a work of the Spirit. This, I conceive, is supported, together with other passages of Scripture, by the emphatic words of St. Paul, that He "who was delivered for our offences was raised again for our justification," for, in saying that Christ rose again for our justification, it is implied that justification is through that second Comforter who after that Resurrection came down from heaven. In considering this view of the subject, I shall, as in the foregoing Lecture, appeal rather to the harmony of sacred doctrine and the light which the view in question throws upon particular texts, than to the passages of Scripture which prove it, ... .
Christ's work of mercy has two chief parts; what He did for all men, what He does for each; what He did once for all, what He does for one by one continually; what He did externally to us, what He does within us; what He did on earth, what He does in heaven; what He did in His own Person, what He does by His Spirit; His death, and the water and the blood after it; His meritorious sufferings, and the various gifts thereby purchased, of pardon, grace, reconciliation, renewal, holiness, spiritual communion; that is, His Atonement, and the application of His Atonement, or His Atonement and our justification; He atones by the offering of Himself on the Cross; and as certainly (which is the point before us) He justifies by the mission of His Spirit.
His Atonement is His putting away the wrath of God for our sins. In order to this, He took flesh; He accomplished it in His own Person, by His crucifixion and death. Justification is the application of this precious Atonement to this person or that person, and this He accomplishes by His Spirit. For He ceased, I say, to act towards us by His own hand from the day of His ascension; He sent His Spirit to take His place,—"I will not leave you orphans," He says, "I will come unto you."—"I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever." [John xiv. 16-18.] Whatever then is done in the Christian Church is done by the Spirit; Christ's mission ended when He left the world; He was to come again, but by His Spirit. The Holy Spirit realizes and completes the redemption which Christ has wrought in essence and virtue. If the justification, then, of a sinner be a continual work, a work under the New Covenant, it must be the Spirit's work and not simply Christ's. The Atonement for sin took place during His own mission, and He was the chief Agent; the application of that Atonement takes place during the mission of His Spirit, who accordingly is the chief Agent in it.