Promise and Grace

J. N. Darby.

(Notes and Comments Vol. 2.)

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There are three things in Scripture which go before God's work and grace in Christ, and to which His coming applies. First, conscience - man fell in sin into the knowledge of good and evil; next came full and absolute promise before law - law put the promise on condition, and brought in the curse; then Christ purged the conscience, giving God's own holiness as the proper measure of it - accomplished and put us in possession of the promise, and took the curse of the law, working out a better righteousness. Yet He has not simply met them, for he has raised conscience to the height, not of what fitted man as a creature, but to the height of God's holiness by the blessed revelation of it. He has given the promise in His Person, and added union with Himself, which, while it accomplished, was beyond all promise - this is the great truth of the Church - and has brought in a far better righteousness, God's righteousness. And the great difference is this - the former things were in relationship with men, and though the promise was God's, and as sure as His Word could be, yet it was in connection with, and could have and will have its accomplishment in men (through Christ) on the earth; but the fulfilment was in the revelation of God accomplishing His own thoughts, and revealing His own nature. It had its character and fulness necessarily in connection with and measured by Himself and His thoughts.