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Posts Tagged ‘Gospel’

The Wednesday Word: Built on the Rock

It is a Biblical fact that the true Church is founded and built upon the Lord Jesus.” “Oh, but,” says someone, “the Church was built upon Peter, for Jesus said, ‘Thou art Peter, and upon this rock, I will build My Church’ (Matthew 16:18).

Christ’s Church built upon Peter? Hardly!

Peter above all? Bah Humbug!

Peter was doubtless a decent man but look at his performance. He was the very opposite of a steady rock. A foundation built on that dear brother would be worse than shaky, it would be quite inept and useless.

Three times in scripture the Holy Spirit records Peter’s fallings.

1. He fell in Matthew 16:21-23. Peter would have kept the Lord Jesus from the cross and because of this Jesus called Peter ‘Satan’ and an offense. That’s hardly material to build the church upon.

2. He fell in Matthew 26:74 where we read, “Then began he (Peter) to curse and swear saying, “I know not the man (Jesus).”

3. He fell in Galatians 2:11-14. There we read that Paul had to rebuke Peter because he was not ‘walking according to the truth of the gospel.’

Yet some people insist that the true church is indeed built on Peter and those of us who disagree are outside of and without salvation.

Apart from that, to hold that Peter is the foundation stone of the Church is to twist Matthew 16:18. For a moment, let´s look at the context of Christ´s declaration. Jesus and the disciples had come to the district of Caesarea Philippi, (Matthew 16:13) and He asked them, “Whom do men say that I the Son of Man am?” Some replied one thing, and some another; but, to bring the matter close to home, Jesus asked His disciples, “But who do you say that I am.” Simon Peter immediately and emphatically responded, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God;”

Now see what follows.

Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: for flesh and blood has not revealed it unto you, but My Father which is in heaven.’ The revelation was that Jesus was the Christ, (the anointed, promised one) the Son of the living God.

By the way, in scripture, Jesus is not called God the Son but rather the Son of God. In fact, the expression “son of God” is applied to Christ more than 40 times in the New Testament, but the designation God the Son is nowhere to be discovered.

Don’t worry, Christ, of course, was and is the Mighty God, (Isaiah 9:6), God manifest in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16), the eternal Word made flesh (John 1:14) and the I am (John 8:58). The term, Son of God points, however, to His identity as God in human flesh.

Notice what Jesus said to Peter. He said, you are a Petros, (in the Greek language that means a pebble), and upon this Petra (in the Greek language Petra is a large rock). So, Jesus was saying that upon this large rock He would build His church.

So, what is the rock on which the church is built? It is the revelation that Jesus is the Christ, the anointed, promised one, the God-Man. As the anointed one, He is Prophet, Priest and King. The True Church is built on Jesus, His person, work and offices. He is both God and man, our only saviour and hope.

Scripture does not contradict itself. Listen to what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:11. “Other foundation can no man lay than is laid, which is Jesus Christ and in Psalm 18:31 God Himself is identified as the Rock

Instability and impulsiveness were Peter’s great defects. A Church built on him would be no church at all. It would have a very sandy foundation. The true Church, however, is built upon Christ, the Rock of Ages, the God-Man, the Son of the living God.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com   

The gospel makes some men in this world more miserable than they would be

CharlesSpurgeoniii. Yet, once more. I believe the gospel makes some men in this world more miserable than they would be. The drunkard could drink, and could revel in his intoxication with greater joy, if he did not hear it said, “All drunkards shall have their portion in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone.” How jovially the Sabbath breaker would riot through his Sabbaths, if the Bible did not say, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy!” And how happily could the libertine and licentious man drive on his mad career, if he were not told, “The wages of sin is death, and after death the judgment!” But the truth puts the bitter in his cup; the warnings of God freeze the current of his soul. The gospel is like the skeleton at the Egyptian feast. Though by day he laughed at it, by night he will quiver as the aspen leaf, and when the shades of evening gather around him, he will shake at a whisper. At the thought of a future state his joy is spoiled, and immortality, instead of being a boon to him, is in its very contemplation the misery of his existence. The sweet wooings of mercy are to him no more harmonious than peals of thunder, because he knows he despises them.

Yea I have known some who have been in such misery under the gospel, because they would not give up their sins, that they have been reedy to take their own lives. Oh! Terrible thought! The gospel is “a savor of death unto death.” Unto how many here is it so? Who are now hearing God’s Word to be damned by it? Who shall retire hence to be hardened by the sound of the truth? Why, every man who does not believe it, for unto those that receive it, it is “a savor of life unto life,” but to unbelievers it is a curse, and “a savor of death unto death.”

Charles H. Spurgeon- The Two Effects of the Gospel, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, May 27, 1855; at Exeter Hall Strand.

The Wednesday Word: He Must Increase!

Have you ever felt dissatisfied with your faith? Have you ever thought that if only you had a better quality of faith, then you could be sure of your salvation? This is dangerous thinking.

Why? Because we are never called to have faith in faith. Since when does the Bible say, “Being satisfied with our faith, we have peace with God”? (See Romans 5:1).

Satisfaction with Jesus, His person and work is what is called for. We are never called to be satisfied with our faith but called rather to be occupied with Christ and His objective, outside of us, finished work!

Let’s look further at this.

Gospel faith takes a hold of Christ and His accomplishments on our behalf. Gospel faith releases us to set our affection on things above where Christ is seated in cosmic authority. (Colossians 3:2). Gospel faith takes us out of ourselves and into the Lord Jesus.

The result of gospel faith is satisfaction with Christ and His substitutionary work done on our behalf. Christ is all (Colossians 3:11). Gospel faith sees and rests on this!

If our desire, however, is to be satisfied with our faith, we are evidently dissatisfied with Jesus. We are not thinking as gospel believers. Our thoughts have somehow been re-arranged. By way of contrast, the gospel believer is learning to be dissatisfied with self and to be satisfied with Christ Jesus. He has taken John the Baptist’s words to heart, Do you remember, John the Baptist’s words? Speaking of Jesus, the Baptist said “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30)? As we apply them, we see that for the gospel-focused believer, growth can be explained with these three little words, “He must increase.”

He. The Lord Christ who has conquered, death, sin and the grave.

Must. It is not an alternative

Increase. In our understanding, appreciation thinking and love.

For Him to increase does not mean an increased inward self- occupation with our warm fuzzy subjective experiences, but rather it means enjoying being occupied with the risen and exalted Christ. When He, the risen Christ is increasing, everything else that vies for our attention is decreasing.

Near the pulpit, in an old church in the Highlands of Scotland there is a sign that says, “No man can give at once the impression that he himself is clever and that Christ is mighty to save.” This is just another way of saying, ‘He Must Increase.’ With the Lord’s help, may we all learn to be thrilled with faith’s glorious object, the Lord Jesus.

In summary, faith, no matter how perfect, is nothing in and of itself. Faith, however, points us to Jesus. It commands us to look away from ourselves and look to Christ, the risen, exalted, crucified Lord. Faith agrees that “Christ is all.” (Colossians 3:11). Faith constantly urges us to look to the One who says, “Look unto me” (Isaiah 45:22).

He must Increase!

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com   

The gospel of Jesus Christ will increase some men’s damnation at the last great day

Spurgeon 3ii. But another. It is a fact that the gospel of Jesus Christ will increase some men’s damnation at the last great day. Again, I startle at myself when I have said it; for it seems too horrible a thought for us to venture to utter-that the gospel of Christ will make hell hotter to some men than it otherwise would have been. Men would all have sunk to hell had it not been for the gospel. The grace of God reclaims “a multitude that no man can number;” it secures a countless army who shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation;” but, at the same time, it does to those who reject it, make their damnation even more dreadful. And let me tell you why.

First, because men sin against greater light; and the light we have is an excellent measure of our guilt. What a Hottentot might do without a crime, would be the greatest sin to me, because I am taught better; and what some even in London might do with impunity-set down, as it might be, as a sin by God, but not so exceeding sinful-would be to me the very height of transgression, because I have from my youth up been tutored to piety. The gospel comes upon men like the light from heaven. What a wanderer must he be who strays in the light! If he who is blind falls into the ditch we can pity him, but if a man, with the light on his eyeballs dashes himself from the precipice and loses his own soul, is not pity out of the question?

How they deserve the deepest hell,

That slight the joys above!

What chains of vengeance must they feel,

Who laugh at sov’reign love!”

It will increase your condemnation, I tell you all, unless you find Jesus Christ to be your Savior, for to have had the light and not to walk by it, shall be the condemnation, the very essence of it. This shall be the virus of the guilt-that the “light came into the world, and the darkness comprehended it not;” for “men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil.”

Again: it must increase your condemnation if you oppose the gospel. If God devises a scheme of mercy, and man rises up against it, how great must be his sin? Who shall tell the great guilt incurred by such men as Pilate, Herod, and the Jews? Oh! Who shall picture out, or even faintly sketch, the doom of those who cried “Crucify him! Crucify him!” And who shall tell what place in hell shall be hot enough for the man who slanders God’s minister, who speaks against his people, who hates his truth, who would, if he could, utterly cut off the godly from the land? Ah! God help the infidel! God help the blasphemer! God save his soul: for of all men least would I choose to be that man. Think you, sirs, that God will not take account of what men have said? One man has cursed Christ; he has called him a charlatan Another has declared, (knowing that he spoke a lie) that the gospel was else. A third has proclaimed his licentious maxims, and then has pointed to God’s Word, and said, “There are worse things there!” A fourth has abused God’s ministers and held up their imperfections to ridicule. Think you God shall forget all this at the last day? When his enemies come before him, shall he take them by the hand and say, “The other day thou didst call my servant a dog, and spit on him, and for this I will give thee heaven!” Rather, if the sin has not been cancelled by the blood of Christ, will he not say, “Depart, cursed one, into the hell which thou didst scoff at; leave that heaven which thou didst despise; and learn that though thou saidst there was no God, this right arm shall teach thee eternally the lesson that there is one; for he who discovers it not by my works of benevolence shall learn it by my deeds of vengeance: therefore depart, again, I say!” It shall increase men’s hell that they have opposed God’s truth. Now, is not this a very solemn view of the gospel, that it is indeed to many “a savor of death unto death?”

Charles H. Spurgeon- The Two Effects of the Gospel, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, May 27, 1855; at Exeter Hall Strand.

The Wednesday Word: Jesus Our Hiding Place

How do we, with confidence, come before the all-holy God, and stand in His presence? This is a great question for both the unsaved and believers alike. The unsaved person, under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, knows that his sin has separated him from God (Isaiah 59:2). Likewise, the believer, through the ministry of the Word and the Spirit, is conscious that his best efforts are flawed and that his very righteousness is like a filthy rag (Isaiah 64:6). How then can either of them come before God and receive a welcome?

No doubt this was Adam’s question when he put his fig leaves together for a makeshift covering. Somehow, he knew that, because of sin, what he really needed was a covering that left him unexposed. He tried his best, but even then, his fig leaves were inadequate … and he knew it. Sensing the inadequacy of his covering see how he rushed into the bushes to hide when God came near. But even then, concealed in the bushes, he knew there was no hiding place.

It’s interesting, by the way, to note that man’s impulse, because of sin, is to hide from God … even as believers, we often make Adam’s ancient mistake.

But sin is no barrier to grace. Although man is the hider, God is the seeker and, in grace, He came seeking to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10). In grace, the Lord called Adam and began to tell of the coming deliverer, the Seed of the Woman. In Him, men would find a better covering than fig leaves and a much better hiding place. In that day, God revealed Himself as the God who hates and punishes sin, yet who, by grace, takes the sinner’s side against the sinner’s enemy, the old serpent (Genesis 3:15). Because of the promise of the seed of the woman, the true “hiding place”, Adam could now discard his makeshift concealment and know that with God’s new covering he could stand before the Almighty without fear or shame.

We too should hear the good news as Adam did … from the lips of God Himself. When God declares a matter, the declaration is true and filled with all authority. We believe, not because the truth feels right, but because God has spoken (Psalm 32:4; Psalm 138:2)! This is the foundation of our faith.

Adam’s fall gave God the opportunity to demonstrate His character of abounding grace towards His people. We deserve nothing, yet there is nothing God will not do for us. Calvary proves that. God will go to any length to heap favors on His people. Through Christ alone, He gives us the highest place in heaven and the nearest position to the throne (Ephesians 2:6). It is high time to abandon all other hiding places and be clothed in Christ alone.

“Hail, sovereign love that first began

The scheme to rescue fallen man!

Hail, matchless, free, eternal grace,

That gave my soul a hiding-place!

Against the God who rules the sky

I fought, with hand uplifted high;

Despised the mention of His grace,

Too proud to seek a hiding-place!

Enwrapped in thick Egyptian night,

And fond of darkness more than light,

Madly I ran the sinful race,

Secure, without a hiding-place!

But thus th’Eternal counsel ran:

“Almighty Love, arrest that man!”

I felt the arrows of distress,

And found I had no hiding place!

Indignant Justice stood in view,

To Sinai’s fiery mount I flew;

But Justice cried, with frowning face,

“This mountain is no hiding-place!”

Ere long, a heav’nly voice I heard,

And Mercy’s angel form appeared,

Who led me on, with gentle pace

To Jesus as my hiding-place.

On Him almighty vengeance fell,

That must have sunk a world to hell;

He bore it for the chosen race,

And thus became their Hiding-place.

Should storms of sev’n-fold vengeance roll,

And shake this earth from pole to pole,

No flaming bolt could daunt my face,

For Jesus is my hiding place.

A few more rolling suns, at most,

Will land me safe on Canaan’s coast.

Where I shall sing the song of grace,

To Jesus Christ, my hiding-place!

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

Many men are hardened in their sins by hearing the gospel

Spurgeoni. And the first sense is this. Many men are hardened in their sins by hearing the gospel. Oh! ‘tis terribly and solemnly true, that of all sinners some sanctuary sinners are the worst. Those who can dive deepest into sin, and have the most quiet consciences and hardest hearts, are some who are to be found in God’s own house. I know that a faithful ministry will often prick them, and the stern denunciations of a Boanerges will frequently make them shake. I am aware that the Word of God will sometimes make their blood curdle within them; but I know (for I have seen the men) that there are many who turn the grace of God into licentiousness, make even God’s truth a stalking-horse for the devil, and abuse God’s grace to pallate their sin. Such men have I found amongst those who hear the doctrines of grace in their fullness. They will say, “I am elect, therefore I may swear; I am one of those who were chosen of God before the foundation of the world, and therefore I may live as I list.” I have seen the man who stood upon the table of a public house, and grasping the glass in his hand, said, “Mates! I can say more than any of you; I am one of those who are redeemed with Jesus’ precious blood:” and then he drank his tumbler of ale and danced again before them, and sang vile and blasphemous songs. Now, that is a man to whom the gospel is “a savor of death unto death.” He hears the truth, but he perverts it; he takes what is intended by God for his good, and what does he do, he commits suicide therewith. That knife which was given him to open the secrets of the gospel he drives into his own heart. That which is the purest of all truth and the highest of all morality, he turns into the panderer of his vice, and makes it a scaffold to aid in building up his wickedness and sin. Are there any of you here like that man-who love to hear the gospel, as ye all it, and yet live impurely? Who can sit down and say you are the children of God, and still behave like liege servants of the devil? Be it known unto you, that ye are liars and hypocrites, for the truth is not in you at all. “If any man is born of God, he cannot sin.” God’s elect will not be suffered to fall into continual sin; they will never “turn the grace of God into licentiousness;” but it will be their endeavor, as much as in them lies, to keep near to Jesus. Rest assured of this: “By their fruits ye shall know them.” “A good tree cannot bring forth corrupt fruit; neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit.” Such men, however, are continually turning the gospel into evil. They sin with a high hand, from the very fact that they have heard what they consider excuses their vice. There is nothing under heaven, I conceive, more liable to lead men astray than a perverted gospel. A truth perverted is generally worse than a doctrine which all know to be false. As fire, one of the most useful of the elements, can also cause the fiercest of conflagrations, so the gospel, the best thing we have, can be turned to the vilest account. This is one sense in which it is “a savor of death unto death.”

Charles H. Spurgeon- The Two Effects of the Gospel, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, May 27, 1855; at Exeter Hall Strand.

The Wednesday Word: The God Who is not in Hiding

In Christ Jesus, God has brought His righteousness near (Isaiah 46:13). Therefore, when telling others of His salvation we need to stress that salvation is not some distant and mysterious thing that we have to work hard to obtain. We don’t have to coax God to come near to us. We don’t have to, for example, experience the ‘warm fuzzies’ about God in order to get saved. ‘Warm Fuzzies’ will not bring salvation any nearer than it already is. Waiting until we feel good about God before we receive salvation is just another form of legalism. Salvation has already been accomplished (2 Corinthians 5:21). It is finished!

God Himself tells us to call upon His name (Psalm 105:1) for to call upon Him is to believe on Him and to believe on Him is to rest in Him. (Romans 10:13; Romans 4:24; Acts 16:31).

As we gossip the gospel, we don’t offer people a long list of duties to do, or feelings to be formed to make God think well of us. The gospel is not about our work; rather it is the good news of the work and person of the cross, apart from and outside of us in history. Our saving work, if you would like to call it that, is to believe on Him … the One who has accomplished salvation on our behalf. (John 6:29).

God has already brought His salvation near. God is not in hiding. He has declared Himself in the person and work of the Lord Jesus (John 1:18).

When faith activates, it causes us to cease working to earn God’s favour. Faith sees that, for favour, we do nothing other than rest on the fact that all has been already accomplished on behalf of the believer.

Faith, however, does not complete our salvation; rather it embraces the salvation that has already been accomplished. Faith embraces the fact that Jesus Christ alone has paid for us and rescued us at the cross. Faith sees that this work has been successfully finished (Matthew 1:21; John 19:30).

Again, we must stress that salvation is not a matter of Christ plus faith (Acts 4:12). We must continually stress this truth because it is on this very point that so many depart from the gospel. Such people are sincere, they call themselves Christians, but they are not in the gospel. They believe that their faith makes them acceptable to God. It’s a common error. Nevertheless, to believe in Christ plus faith for acceptance is to nullify the finished work.

So, let’s say it again, although we are saved through faith, faith is not our Saviour. Our Saviour is Jesus Christ plus nothing. (John 14:6)! He is the object of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2). He alone is our rescuer. What faith does is to take hold of Jesus and His accomplishments and makes them our own. Faith grasps that our saving righteousness is not in us, but outside of us in Christ Jesus.

Faith does not bring salvation into existence, nor does it produce the righteousness by which God justifies us. What faith does, however, is to take something that is already in existence and enables us to reckon it as being our own!

Some years ago an aging Christian lady lay dying in hospital. The new minister of a certain church came on visitation to the ward and mistakenly thought this dying lady was a member of his flock. Approaching her he said, “My dear lady, I’m here to absolve you of your sins,” to which the woman sternly replied, “Let me see your hands” “My hands?” questioned the astonished priest. Reluctantly the priest proffered his hands and the old lady examined them. At length she released them, looked at the man and said, “Sir I perceive you to be an impostor: the only man who can absolve me of my sins has nail scars in his hands.”

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The gospel is to some men “a savor of death unto death”

Spurgeon1. The gospel is to some men “a savor of death unto death.” Now, this depends very much upon what the gospel is; because there are some things called gospel that are “a savor of death unto death” to everybody that hears them. John Berridge says he preached morality till there was not a moral man left in the village; and there is no way of injuring morality like legal preaching. The preaching of good works, and the exhorting men to holiness, as the means of salvation, is very much admired in theory; but when brought into practice, it is found not only ineffectual, but more than that-it becomes even “a savor of death unto death.” So it has been found; and I think even the great Chalmers himself confessed, that for years and years before he knew the Lord, he preached nothing but morality and precepts, but he never found a drunkard reclaimed by strewing him merely the evils of drunkenness; nor did he find a swearer stop his swearing because he told him the heinousness of the sin; it was not until he began to preach the love of Jesus, in his great heart of mercy-it was not until he preached the gospel as it was in Christ, in some of its clearness, fullness, and power, and the doctrine, that “by grace ye are saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” that he ever met with success. But when he did preach salvation by faith, by shoals the drunkards came from their cups, and swearers refrained their lips from evil speaking; thieves became honest men, and unrighteous and ungodly persons bowed to the scepter of Jesus. But ye must confess, as I said before, that though the gospel does in the main produce the best effect upon almost all who hear it either by restraining them from sin, or constraining them to Christ; yet it is a great fact, and a solemn one, upon which I hardly know how to speak this morning, that to some men the preaching of Christ’s gospel is “death unto death,” and produces evil instead of good.

Charles H. Spurgeon- The Two Effects of the Gospel, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, May 27, 1855; at Exeter Hall Strand.

The Wednesday Word: Jesus: Our Gospel!

The Lord Jesus is God’s good news from heaven about Himself. (Titus 2:13). He is our gospel.

Listen to the good news in its fullness. Christ was prophesied. Christ was born. Christ was sinless. Christ lived. Christ was crucified. Christ died. Christ was buried. Christ rose again from the dead. Christ ascended to heaven. Christ sat down in cosmic authority as our ever-living High Priest and Christ is coming back (see, 1 Corinthians 15:1ff; Romans 1:1-4; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 8:34; Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 10:12; 1John 2:1; Hebrews 7:25).

These are the great facts of the good news. They are few and simple; so simple that any among us can understand them. Yet these statements, although unassuming, have profound meaning. They are treasure chests that contain the riches of heaven. They are brief statements, but God’s wisdom is bound up in them. Indeed, these facts of the gospel are so simple that a child can grasp them, yet they are so deep that the intelligence of the world cannot refute them.

The gospel of Christ alone brings eternal salvation. (Romans 1:16). With respect, the collective wisdom of Confucius, Buddha and Mohamed could not cause one guilty person to be acquitted before God. But the gospel is different. In the gospel, we see that there are no lengths to which the Lord will not go to rescue His people powerfully and effectively. (Titus 2:13).

We, as believers, have the privilege to daily preach the gospel to ourselves. When we hear this gospel, something deep inside us reaches out to trust the truths that are unfolded therein. As we listen to the gospel, we learn to rest our total confidence on the risen Christ, His doing, dying and rising again.

In the gospel we discover the revelation of the name (the character and essence) of God. It is written, “They that know thy name will put their trust in thee.”(Psalm 9:10). How can anything be simpler? Salvation is in Christ alone. He Himself is the good news. He Himself is the exegesis of God. (John 1:18). He is God in human flesh appearing. (1 Timothy 3:16). In short, He is our gospel!

There’s an excellent text in 2 Timothy 1:12 where the apostle says, “… for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto Him against that day.” Notice the phrase, “I know whom I have believed.” Many years ago, ‘Rabbi’ Duncan the then Professor of Hebrew at New College, Edinburgh, was discussing this particular text with his class. One of the students quoted it saying, “I know in whom I have believed and am persuaded.”

Immediately, Professor Duncan stopped him and said, “Repeat that text.”

The student said, “I know in whom I have,”

“My dear sir,” interrupted ‘Rabbi’ Duncan, “you must never let even a preposition come between you and your Saviour.” It’s “I know whom I have believed.”

Yes indeed! We must never let even a preposition come between us and our Saviour!

He is our Saviour. He is our gospel.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

We are now required to consider how that in them God maintained the claims of His righteousness by what He required from the responsible agents

Arthur PinkLet it now be pointed out that in this chapter we are turning to another side of the subject from what we have mainly dwelt upon in the previous ones. In those we amplified what we said in the fourth and fifth paragraphs of the second chapter. Having dwelt so largely upon the divine sovereignty and grace aspects, we need to weigh carefully the divine righteousness and human responsibility elements. Having shown how the various covenants which God made with men adumbrated the central features in the everlasting covenant which He made with Christ, we are now required to consider how that in them God maintained the claims of His righteousness by what He required from the responsible agents with whom He dealt. It was not until after Noah “did according to all that God commanded him” (Gen. 6:22) by preparing an ark “to the saving of his house” (Heb. 11:7), that God confirmed His “with thee will I establish my covenant” (Gen. 6:18) by “I establish my covenant” (9:9). Noah having fulfilled the divine stipulations, God was now prepared to fulfill His promises.

The same thing is clearly seen again in connection with Abraham. There is no hint in Scripture that the Lord entered into any covenant with him while he was in Ur of Chaldea. Instead, the land of Canaan was then set before him provisionally: “The Lord said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee” (Gen. 12:1). The order there is unmistakably plain.

First, God acted in grace, sovereign grace, by singling out Abraham from his idolatrous neighbors, and by calling him to something far better.

Second, God made known the requirements of His righteousness and enforced Abraham’s responsibility by the demand there made upon him.

Third, the promised reward was to follow Abraham’s response to God’s call.

These three things are conjoined in Heb. 11:8: “By faith Abraham, when he was called [by divine grace] to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance [the reward], obeyed [the discharge of his responsibility]; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.”

Nor does what has just been said in anywise conflict with what was pointed out in previous chapters. The above elements just as truly shadowed forth another fundamental aspect of the everlasting covenant as did the different features singled out from the Adamic and the Noahic. In the everlasting covenant, God promised a certain reward unto Christ upon His fulfilling certain conditions—executing the appointed work. The inseparable principles of law and gospel, grace and reward, faith and works, were most expressly conjoined in that compact which God entered into with the Mediator before the foundation of the world. Therein we may behold the “manifold wisdom of God” in combining such apparent opposites; and instead of carping at their seeming hostility, we should admire the omniscience which has made the one the handmaid of the other. Only then are we prepared to discern and recognize the exercise of this dual principle in each of the subordinate covenants.

Not a few writers supposed they magnified the grace of God and honored the Mediator when affirming that Christ Himself so fulfilled the conditions of the covenant and so met every requirement of God’s righteousness that His people have been entirely freed of all legal obligations, and that nothing whatever is left for them to do but express their gratitude in lives wellpleasing to Him. It is far easier to make this mistake than it is to expose it. It is true, blessedly true, gloriously true, that Christ did perfectly discharge His covenant engagements, magnified the law and made it honorable, that God received from Him a full satisfaction for all the sins of His people. Yet that does not mean that the law has been repealed, that God rescinds His righteous claims upon the creature, or that believers are placed in a position of privilege from which obligation is excluded; nor does it involve the idea that saints are freed from covenant duties. Grace reigns, but it reigns “through righteousness” (Rom. 5:21) and not at the expense of it.

Christ’s obedience has not rendered ours unnecessary: rather has it rendered ours acceptable. In that sentence lies the solution to the difficulty. The law of God will accept nothing short of perfect and perpetual obedience; and such obedience the Surety of God’s people rendered, so that He brought in an everlasting righteousness which is reckoned to their account. Yet that is only one half of the truth on this subject. The other half is not that Christ’s atonement has inaugurated a regime of lawlessness or license, but rather has it placed its beneficiaries under additional obligations. But more: it had procured the needed grace to enable those beneficiaries to discharge their obligations—not perfectly, but nevertheless, acceptably to God. And how? By securing that the Holy Spirit should bring them from death unto life, impart to them a nature which delights in the law, and work in them both to will and to do of God’s good pleasure. And what is God’s good pleasure for His people? The same as it was for His incarnate Son: to be perfectly conformed to the law in thought and word and deed.

God has one and the same standard for the head and the members of His church; and therefore we are told, “he that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked” (1 John 2:6). In 1 Peter 2:21 we read, “Christ also suffered for us.” With what end in view? That we might be relieved from all obligation to God? That we might pursue a course of lawlessness under the pretense of magnifying “grace”? No, indeed; but rather “leaving us an example that ye should follow his steps.” And what is the nature of that example which Christ has left us? What, but “fulfilling the law” (Matthew 5:17), loving the Lord His God with all His heart and mind and strength, and His neighbor as Himself? But in order to do this there must be a nature in harmony with the law and not enmity against it. Could Christ declare, “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart” (Ps. 40:8), so can each of His redeemed and regenerated people say, “I delight in the law of God after the inward man,” (Rom. 7:22). And were there nothing else in them but the new man they would render perfect obedience to the law. Such is their honest desire, but the presence of the old man thwarts them.

The everlasting covenant was, in its nature and contents, a mixed one, for the principles of both law and grace were operative therein. It was grace pure and simple which ordained that any from Adam’s fallen race should be saved, as it was amazing and infinite grace that provided the Son of God should become incarnate and serve as their surety. But it was law pure and simple that the Surety should earn and purchase their salvation by His rendering unto God a perfect satisfaction on their behalf. Christ was “made under the law” (Gal. 4:4). His whole life was perfectly conformed to the precepts of the law, and His death was an enduring of the penalty of the law; and all of this was in fulfillment of His covenant engagements. In like manner, these two principles of grace and law are operative in connection with the administration of the everlasting covenant— that is, in the application of its benefits to those on whose behalf Christ transacted. “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law” (Rom. 3:31).

The work of Christ has released the believer from the law as a procuring cause of his justification, but it has in nowise abolished it as his rule of life. Divine grace does not set aside its recipient’s responsibility, nor does the believer’s obedience render grace any the less necessary. God requires obedience (conformity to His law) from the Christian as truly as He does from the non-Christian. True, we are not saved for (because of) our obedience; yet it is equally true that we cannot be saved without it. Unless Noah had heeded God and built the ark, he had perished in the Flood; yet it was by the goodness and power of God that the ark was preserved. It is through Christ, and Christ alone, that the believer’s obedience is acceptable to God. But it may be asked, Will God accept an imperfect obedience from us? The answer is yes, if it be sincere; just as He is pleased to answer our poor prayers when presented in the all—meritorious name of His Son.

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Part Four-The Abrahamic Covenant