The introductory portion of the sermon:
First, Manton states the text:
What shall we say then ? shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound ? God forbid ! How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? — Rom. VI. 1, 2.
Second, Manton makes observations on the text:
The drift of the apostle in this chapter is to show that free justification by faith in Christ greatly tendeth to promote holiness ; In these words there are three things —
The objection is a preposterous inference from what the apostle had said, chap. v. 20, ‘ That where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.’ [The question derives from a prejudice that the doctrine of grace leads to sin.]
He rejecteth this inference as absurd and blasphemous,
Paul’s reason against it, or confutation of it, represented in an equivalent interrogation, ‘How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein ?’ Where observe —
That to continue in sin, and live longer in sin, are equivalent expressions ; for in the objection the expression is,
Observe that before grace we lived in sin
Observe the argument lieth here, ‘ We that are dead…Now, to be dead to sin and live in sin are things incompatible ; the dead are no longer alive.
Because this is the strength of his argument, it will be good to inquire what it is to be dead in sin….Well, then, every good christian is dead to sin by vow and obligation, therefore cannot, should not, live any longer therein. There is a double undertaking in baptism — one on God’s part, the other on ours; the undertaking on God’s part is to give us the sanctifying Spirit of grace, to quell the reign of sin ; the undertaking on our part is by the Spirit to mortify the deeds of the body.
Having made observations about the text, he states the doctrine:
Doctrine: That to take occasion to live in sin from free grace, or God’s mercy to sinners in Christ, is an inference most unjust, absurd, and blasphemous, and that which all Christians’ hearts should abominate.
Provides an outlines for the sermon:
Here in the text such an inference is mentioned with a denial joined with a detestation of the thing denied; the very thought and first mention of it ought to be entertained with abhorrency.
1. I will prove that the corrupt heart of man is apt to draw such a consequence.
2. I will prove the three charges —
[1.] That it is very unjust and ill grounded.
[2.] Absurd and contradictory to Christianity.
[3.] Wicked and blasphemous.
I. That the corrupt heart of man is apt to draw such inferences from the doctrine of grace.
A. Carnal men are ill skilled at reasoning about spiritual matters.
a) Proverbs 26:9 “That a parable in a fool’s mouth is like a thorn in the hand of a drunkard.”As a drunkard with a sharp thorn grievously hurts himself and others, neither his mind nor hand can do their office when the man is distempered with drink; so it is with men intoxicated by sin;
b) 2 Peter 3:4, Ps. 119:89-91; 1 Cor. 15:32 & 7:29-30; 2 Sam. 7:2; Haggai 1:2; 2 Kings 6:33.
c) But particularly, it is very natural to us to abuse the gospel,and plead God’s grace to quiet and strengthen ourselves in security and sin;
B. We all affect liberty to a degree of licentiousness.This is natural to us, as appeareth by our distaste of Christ’s strict laws: Ps. 2:3; 2 Pet. 2:19.
1. The flesh taketh all occasions to indulge itself, and that it may be done in a plausible cleanly manner, and with less remorse from conscience, it catcheth at every pretence to countenance it.
2. [There are two basic means by which we seek to avoid the true weight of killing sin;]
a) Sometimes it makes use of bodily austerities as a compensation for their sins …then they will not mortify the lust,but afflict the body for a while, and in some slight manner, which produceth hypocrisy, and we excuse the partiality of our obedience by some outward shows of strictness
b) On the other side, if men’s temper, education, and strain of religion carry them to another way, and they are all for the grace of the gospel, without the rudiments of men, the devil knows how to charm and lull souls asleep in sin by that way of profession also
C. This conceit is strengthened in us, because many that profess Christianity live licentiously. All sins propagate their kind, and among others, abuse of grace.
D. There is another cause, that is, Satan, who abuseth the weaknessof some teachers, and the ignorance of some hearers, to misapply the grace of the gospel [Satan will seek to] set Christ against Christ, his merits and mercy against his government and Spirit, his promises against his laws, justification against sanctification, he knoweth that he obtaineth his end and purpose, that the gospel, which was set up to destroy the works of the devil, will be a means to cherish his kingdom in the world.
II. That this inference is very unjust and ill-grounded.
A. For the meaning, the apostle showeth the law was given to the Israelites by Moses, not that they might be justified thereby, but that sin and punishment, to which we are liable by reason of sin, might the better be known; and so the grace of God in Christ, which justifieth us, notwithstanding the grievousness of sin, might be the more esteemed …. [What the law shows],
1. The multitude and heinous nature of our offences
2. The other use of the law is to give us an awakening sense of the punishment due to sin, as it exposes us to temporal and eternal death,
B. The injustice of the illation.
1. There is a difference between …a cause and an occasion. … it is a desperate adventure to try conclusions, to drink rank poison to experiment the goodness of an antidote,
2. There is a difference between the remission of sins past, and allowance of sin future. Our fixed purpose must be not to sin, but if we sin, we have the use of God’s remedy ….In short, we must not sin that grace may abound ; but when we have sinned, we must make use of abounding grace.
3. It is contrary to all ingenuity, and love to God or Christ. This is the difference between faith and presumption, or a sound and a blind confidence of pardon by Christ, namely, that faith maketh us hate sin, and presumption maketh us secure and bold in sinning,
III. It is absurd and contrary to the doctrine of grace: true Christianity is of a far different make from this conceit.
A. It is not consistent with the grace that goeth along with pardon, for God sanctifieth all those whom he justifieth …. [1 Cor. 1:30, 7:11; 1 John 1:9] Therefore we are both justified and sanctified ; continuing in sin cannot consist with the truth of regeneration.
B. It is contrary to the order of God’s grace in the new covenant, who requireth of us faith and repentance if we would be partakers of Christ.
1. It is against faith. …[Heb. 5:9] If you hope to be saved by him, and will not be ruled by him, you do not believe Christ, but the devil [Matt. 8:3; Acts 3:26; Matt. 1:26; Col. 2:6].
2. It is against repentance, which implieth a sorrow for sin, with a serious purpose to forsake it.
a) There is in it godly sorrow, 2 Cor. vii. 10. This is requisite to check the sensual inclination, or love of pleasure, which is the heart, root, and life of all sin : it dies when our affection to it dies. In repentance with bitterness of soul we bemoan ourselves for offending God ; now if we lick up our vomit again, and go round in a track of confessing sin and committing sin, our hearts are not sound with God ….Gal. 2:17-18 A man that truly seeks after pardon, seeks with it the ruin and destruction of sin.
b) There is a renouncing and forsaking of sin
c) This faith and repentance are solemnly professed in baptism, which is the initiating ordinance, wherein we profess to be baptized into the death of Christ, that is to say, to express the virtue, to be conformed to the likeness of it, and die unto sin. 2 Pet. 1:9
d) It is contrary to God’s design to call us out of our sinful estate to sincere reformation. Ps. 130:4; Acts 7:30; Ezek. 8:30; Is. 40:7.
IV. It is wicked and blasphemous.
A. Because, as much as in you lieth, you make Christ a minister of sin, or an encourager of sin. Gal. 2:7
B. They prevent the highest institution in the world for the recovery of men to God : Jude 4′ turning the grace of God into wantonness.’ The gospel is the only way of taking away sin
A. Use 1. Caution against this abuse.
1. Be not prejudiced against the doctrine of grace, as if it yielded these conclusions. It is a misunderstood and misapplied gospel
2. Let us not give occasion to others to think so, either — (1.) By entertaining opinions that may countenance this abuse, (2.) Nor by practices. Christians must be most averse from sin, and all enormous practices, else you dishonour Christ in the world; but let the blame and shame lie on us, and not on the gospel.
3. Let us not harbour this mistake in our own bosoms.
B. Use 2. To exhort you to three things.
1. To carry yourselves as those that are dead to sin
2. Honour grace. You should not only esteem it, and advance it in your minds, but set forth the glory of it in word and deed : Eph. 1:5 & 12; Matt. 5:16; 1 Pet. 3:9.
3. Fortify your minds against this abuse, which is so natural to us.
a) God’s principal will is that we should obey his laws rather than need his pardon. Heb. 9:14; Luke 1:74; Rev. 5:9-10
b) Remember what was Christ’s main design. 1 John 3:5.
c) Loose, carnal, and careless Christians, that wallow in all filthiness, and hope to be saved, are rather of the faction of Christians than of the religion of christians : 2 Tim. 2:19; 1 Peter 1:17-18.