Living Worthy Reflecting God’s Image (Jeremiah Burroughs)

Image

Jeremiah Burroughs

Member of the Westminster Assembly of Divines

The gospel of Christ is the good tidings that God has revealed concerning Christ. As all mankind was lost in Adam and became the children of wrath, put under the sentence of death, God, though He left His fallen angels and has reserved them in the chains of eternal darkness, yet He has thought upon the children of men and has provided a way of atonement to reconcile them to Himself again.

The second Person in the Trinity takes man’s nature upon Himself, and becomes the Head of a second covenant, standing charged with sin. He answers for it by suffering what the law and divine justice required, and by making satisfaction for keeping the law perfectly. This satisfaction and righteousness He tenders up to the Father as a sweet savor of rest for the souls that are given to Him.

And now this mediation of Christ is, by the appointment of the Father, preached to the children of men, of whatever nation or rank, freely offering this atonement unto sinners for atonement, requiring them to believe in Him and, upon believing, promising not only a discharge of all their former sins, but that they shall not enter into condemnation, that none of their sins or unworthiness shall ever hinder the peace of God with them, but that they shall through Him be received into the number of those who shall have the image of God again to be renewed unto them, and that they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

That these souls and bodies shall be raised to that height of glory that such creatures are capable of, that they shall live forever enjoying the presence of God and Christ, in the fullness of all good, is the gospel of Christ. This is the sum of the gospel that is preached unto sinners.

When you hear someone speaking of the gospel, your thoughts may be about this glad tiding that is come into the world for the salvation of sinful creatures through Jesus Christ, and all the good things that Jesus Christ, by His blood, has purchased for sinners. When ministers are called the ministers of the gospel, the meaning is that they are appointed by God as ministers to declare and to preach these glad tidings to the world. Oh, it is glad tidings to the world indeed! Could there be such glad tidings preached at hell’s gates, that there was any such way of reconciling them to God, we could not conceive of the joy that would be there. They would count it as acceptable news indeed.

Now, then, those who believe this gospel, or profess that they have entertained this gospel, these glad tidings, must be careful to walk in their conversation so it becomes this gospel, as becomes such glorious glad tidings sent to them from heaven.

As becomes. The word signifies “worthy of the gospel.” But this cannot mean that our conversation should be such as deserves all the good that there is in the gospel. No, the worthy, that is, as much as becomes the gospel, as is meet for the gospel, or as it is translated in your books, “becoming the gospel.” The Scripture says that he who eats or drinks unworthily eats and drinks to his own damnation. Why, can one eat and drink so as to be worthy of the body and blood of Christ? No, but he who eats and drinks so carries himself so in that ordinance of the Sacrament as is unbeseeming the body and blood of Christ that he comes to receive. On the other hand, those who eat and drink so as to sanctify God’s name in that ordinance (as you have heard) do it worthily, for so the same word is here in the phrase, “worthy of the gospel of Christ.” “And so bring forth fruit worthy of repentance,” said John to those who came to him. It is the same as saying, “Bring forth fruits fitting for, or meet for, repentance,” such fruit as may manifest your repentance, such fruit as may manifest your repentance, such fruit as is suitable for men or women who profess repentance for their sins. Further, I find that the word that is here translated “becoming” in another place is translated “convenient” and “meet.” It can be understood in no other sense. In 1 Corinthians 16:4 we read, “If it be meet that I shall go also…” The word translated “meet” is the same word which is translated “worthy” or, in this passage, “becoming.” If it is a comely thing, or a meet or convenient thing, then I’ll go. So, then, it’s clear that this word which we have here is “meet”, “convenient”, “suitable”, or “becoming the gospel.” “Let your conversation be such as is meet for, or becoming the gospel.”

pp.4-6 Gospel Conversation by Jeremiah Burroughs

God delights to have His image held forth in the world that men may behold something of the glory of His image. But how can the world see the image of God? They cannot see it in your hearts, but God would have it conspicuous. Therefore, have a care of your conversations (conduct) that, in your conversations, you may hold forth the image of God in the world. p.12

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