The True Gain, Works IX, pp. 43-45
“…that I may win Christ, and be found in him…“
(1) Christ is our gain in this life; (2) He is our gain in death; and (3) He is our gain after death.
1. Ten Ways Christ Is The Christian’s Gain In This Life.
To return to the first, He is our gain in life if we turn from our evil ways and believe in Him, in as much as He has gained for us many benefits, which I will reduce to ten heads.
The first is pardon of sin without term of time, whether past, present, or to come. Yet, we must here remember that pardon of sin is not given absolutely whether men repent or not, but upon condition of repentance.
The second is the imputation of Christ’s obedience in fulfilling the law for our justification before God. From the former benefit arises our freedom from hell and from the law, in respect of the curse thereof. And from the second arises a right to eternal life, whereof the possession is reserved to the life to come.
The third is our adoption whereby we are the children of God and brethren of Christ. And hence we have a right of lordship or dominion over the whole world and all things contained therein, whether in heaven or in earth. This right was lost by Adam and is now restored by Christ. Indeed, wicked men and infidels have and use the things of this life at their wills, and that by God’s permission, but yet they receive and enjoy them not otherwise than children of traitors do the goods of their parents, who peradventure are suffered to take benefit of some part of them for the preserving of their lives, though title and interest to them is not restored.
The fourth is the ministry, that is, the presence, aid, and protection of the good angels (Heb. 1:14).
The fifth gain or benefit is that all the miseries and calamities of this life cease to be curses, and are made blessings, being turned to the good of them who are to be saved by Christ (Rom. 8:28).
The sixth is the mortification of original sin, with all the parts thereof, by the virtue of the death of Christ.
The seventh is a spiritual life, whereby we live not, but Christ lives in us, making us partakers of His anointing, and thereby enabling us to live as prophets, priests, and kings. Prophets, to teach and make confession of our faith in Christ; priests, to dedicate and present our bodies and souls to God for the service of His majesty; and kings, to bear rule and dominion over the corruptions and lusts of our hearts.
The eighth gain is that Christ presents all our prayers and good works to His Father in His own name, and thus by His own intercession makes them acceptable unto Him.
The ninth gain is the presence of His Spirit. For when Christ ascended, He took with Him our pawn, namely our flesh, and left with us His own pawn, the presence of the Comforter, to supply His own presence, to guide, comfort, and to assure us of our adoption and salvation (John 16:7).
The tenth and last is perseverance in having and holding the former gains. For thus says the Lord: “I will put my fear into their hearts, that they shall not depart from me” (Jer. 32:40). And it must be remembered that these words are not spoken only in general to the church, but also in singular to every true member thereof, because they are the words of the covenant. Again, David says that “the righteous man is like a tree planted by the water’s side, whose leaf never withereth” (Ps. 1:3) who therefore always has the sap of grace in the heart to the end.
2. Christ Is The Christian’s Gain In Death.
Second, as Christ is our gain in life, so He is also our gain in death, in as much as He has taken away the sting of death, and has changed the condition of it by making it of the gate of hell to be the way to eternal life.
3. Christ Is The Christian’s Gain After Death.
Third, He is our gain after death in three ways. Our first gain is the resurrection of our bodies to eternal life in the day of judgment. The second is a privilege to judge the world (1 Cor. 6:2). For, first of all, judgment shall pass upon the godly. Once this is done, they shall be taken up to Christ, and there as witnesses and approvers of His sentence of condemnation, judge together with Him the wicked world. The third is the eternal retribution in which God shall be all in all, first in Christ, and then in all the members of Christ, and that forever and ever.