Paradise Opened, or the Secrets, Mysteries, and Rarities of Divine Love, of Infinite Wisdom, and of Wonderful Counsel—Laid Open to Public View
is that blessed compact between God the Father and Jesus Christ; concerning the conversion, sanctification, and salvation of the elect, through the death, satisfaction, and obedience of Jesus Christ; to the eternal honor, and unspeakable praise, of the glorious grace of God.
The covenant of REDEMPTION
X. The tenth plea that a believer may form up, as to these ten scriptures, [Eccles 11:9, and 12:14; Mat. 12:14, and 18:23; Luke 16:2; Romans 14:10; 2 Cor. 5:10; Heb. 9:27, and 13:17; 1 Pet. 4:5.] which refer to the great day of account, or to a man's particular account, may be drawn up from the consideration of that compact, covenant, and agreement, that was solemnly made between God and Christ, touching the whole business of man's salvation or redemption. We may present it to our understanding in this form: God the Father says to Christ the mediator, "I look upon Adam and his posterity as a degenerate seed, a generation of vipers, of apostates and backsliders, yes, traitors and rebels; liable to all temporal, spiritual, and eternal judgments; yet I cannot find in my heart to damn them all. My heart is torn within me, and my compassion overflows. No, I will not punish you as much as my burning anger tells me to. I will not completely destroy Israel, for I am God and not a mere mortal. I am the Holy One living among you, and I will not come to destroy (Hosea 11:8-9), and therefore I have determined to show mercy upon many millions of them, and save them from wrath to come, and to bring them to glory. But this I must do, while still upholding my law, justice, and honor. If, therefore, you will undertake for them, and become a curse for their sakes, Gal. 3:10, 13, and so make satisfaction to my justice for their sins; I will give them unto you, John 17:2, 6, 11, to take care of them, and to bring them up to my kingdom, for the manifestation of the glory of my grace.
"Well," says Christ, "I am content, I will do all you require with all my heart, and so the agreement is made between you and me." This may be gathered from these scriptures. [Psalm 2:7-9, and 40:6-8.] Christ the Son speaks in both places. In the first he publishes the decree or ordinance of heaven, concerning himself, and brings in the Father, installing him into the priesthood or office of mediator; for so the apostle applies that text, Heb. 5:5, "You are my son," etc., and also states this covenant and agreement in the two main parts of it.
1. First, What CHRIST must do, as mediator, "He must ask of God;" that is, not only verbally, by prayers and supplications, beg mercy, pardon, righteousness, and salvation for poor lost sinners; but also really, by fulfilling the righteousness of the law, both in doing and suffering; and so by satisfaction and merit, purchasing acceptance for them at his hands. [Consider Christ in the capacity of a mediator, for so only he covenanted with the Father, for the salvation of mankind.] The Father engaged so and so to Christ, and Christ reciprocally engaged so and so to the Father; a considerable part of the terms and matter of which covenant is set down: Isaiah 53:10, "When you shall make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed," etc. The Father covenants to do thus and thus for fallen man; but first in order thereunto, the Son must covenant to take man's nature, therein to satisfy offended justice, to repair and vindicate his Father's honor, etc. Well, he submits, assents to these demands, and covenants to make all good; and this was the substance of the covenant of redemption. But,
2. Secondly, Let us consider the promise which the FATHER engages to perform on his part; the Son must ask, and the Father will give: "He will give him the heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession," Psalm 2:8. An allusion to great princes, when they would show great affection to their favorites, they bid them ask what they will, as Ahasuerus did, and as Herod did; that is, he shall both be the Lord's salvation to the ends of the earth, and "have all power given him in heaven and earth; so that all knees shall bow to him, and every tongue shall confess him to be Lord." [Esther 5:3; Mark 6:23; Isaiah 49:6; Mat. 28:18; Phil. 2:10, 11; Psalm 40:6-8.]
In the other text before mentioned, Psalm 40:6-8, Christ declares his compliance to the agreement, and his subscribing the covenant on his part, when he came into the world, as the apostle explains it, Heb. 10:5, etc.; "Look, I have come to do your will, O God;" as if he had said, "O Father, you engage me to be your servant in this great work of saving sinners. Lo, I come to do the work, I here covenant and agree to yield up myself to your disposing, and to serve you forever."
Psalm 40:6. "Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have pierced; burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require." It seems to be an allusion to the master's "boring through the servant's ear," Exod. 21:6. Among the Jews only one ear was bored, but here are ears in the plural number, a token of that perfect and desirable subjection, which Christ, as mediator, was in to his Father.
But for a more clear, distinct, and full opening of the covenant of redemption, or that blessed compact between God the Father and Jesus Christ, which is a matter of grand importance to all our souls; and considering that it is a point that I have never yet treated of in pulpit or press, I shall therefore take the liberty at this time to open myself as clearly and as fully as I can. And therefore thus—
QUESTION. If you ask me, What is this covenant of redemption?
Answer 1. I answer, in the general, that a covenant is a mutual agreement between parties, upon articles or propositions on both sides, so that each party is tied and bound to perform his own conditions. This description holds the general nature of a covenant, and is common to all covenants, public and private, divine or human. But,
Answer 2. Secondly, and more particularly, I answer, the covenant of redemption is that federal transaction or mutual stipulation that was between God and Christ from everlasting, for the accomplishment of the work of our redemption, by the mediation of Jesus Christ, to the eternal honor, and unspeakable praise, of the glorious grace of God. Or, if you please, take it in another form of words, thus—
It is a compact, bargain, and agreement between God the Father and God the Son, designed mediator, concerning the conversion, sanctification, and salvation of the elect, through the death, satisfaction, and obedience of Jesus Christ, which in due time was to be given to the Father. But for the making good the definition I have laid down, I must tell you that there are many choice scriptures which give clear intimation of such a federal transaction between God the Father and Jesus Christ, in order to the recovery, and everlasting happiness, and salvation of his elect. I shall instance the most considerable of them—
(1.) The first is this, Genesis 3:15, "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; it shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel." Here begins the book of the Lord's wars, God's battles. ["The Scriptures are called the Book of the Battles of the Lord." Num. 21, Rupertas.] This is spoken of that holy enmity that is between Christ and the devil, and of Christ's destroying the kingdom and power of Satan: "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil," Heb. 2:14.
God, by way of threatening, told Satan that the seed of the deceived woman should overmatch him at last, and should break in pieces his power and crafty plots. He gives Satan permission to do his worst, and proclaims an open and an utter enmity between Christ and him. From this scripture some conclude that Christ covenanted from eternity to take upon him the seed of the woman, and the sinless infirmities of our true human nature; and under those infirmities to enter the lists with Satan, and to continue obedient through all his afflictions, temptations, and trials, to the death, even to the death of the cross, Phil. 2:8-9. And that God the Father had covenanted with Christ, that in case Christ did continue obedient through all his sufferings, temptations, and trials—that then his obedience to the death should be accounted as full satisfaction to divine justice for all those wrongs and injuries which were done to God by the sins of man. Christ must die, or else he could not have been the mediator of the new covenant through death, Heb. 9:15-16. But,
(2.) The second scripture is that, Isaiah 42:6, "I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles." Thus God speaks of Christ. In this chapter we have a glorious prophecy of Christ our Redeemer. Here are four things prophesied of him:
(1.) The divine call, whereby he was appointed to the work of our redemption: verse 1, "Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations." Jesus Christ would not, yes, he could not, he dared not, thrust himself upon this great work, or engage in this great work, until he had a clear call from heaven.
(2.) Here you have the gracious deportment of Christ, in the work to which he was called; this is fully set down, vers. 2-4, "He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets." He shall come clothed with majesty and glory, and yet full of meekness: "A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice." "He will not break," that is, he will bind up the bruised reed, he will comfort the bruised reed, he will strengthen the bruised reed. Christ will acknowledge and encourage the least degrees of grace; he will turn a spark of grace into a flame, a drop into a sea, etc. "He shall not fail, nor be discouraged." These words show his kingly courage and magnanimity. Though he should meet with opposition from all hands, yet nothing should daunt him, nothing should dismay him; no afflictions, no temptations, no sufferings should in the least abate his courage and valor.
(3.) The divine assistance he should have from him that called him. This is set down in two expressions: verse 6, "I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you." Divine assistance does usually concur with a divine call. When God sets his servants on work, he defends and upholds them in the work.
(4.) The work itself to which Christ was called. This is expressed under divers phrases: verse 6-7, "To be a light to the Gentiles, to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and to be a covenant to the people." In these last words you have two things observable; the first is one special part of Christ's office: "He was given for a covenant." Second, The persons in reference to whom this office was designed: "a covenant of the people." One end why God the Father gave Christ out of his bosom, was, that he might be a covenant to his people. Christ is given for a covenant both to the believing Jews and Gentiles.
As he is "the glory of the people of Israel," so he is "a light to enlighten the Gentiles." In this scripture last cited, you have the Father's designation and sealing of Christ to the mediatorial employment, promising him much upon his undertaking it, and his acceptance of this office, and voluntary submission to the will of the Father in it: "Behold, I come to do your will," Heb. 5:4-5; Psalm 40:7-8; John 10:17-18. And these together amount to the making up of a covenant between God the Father and his Son; for what more can be necessary to the making up of a covenant than is here expressed? But,
(3.) The third scripture is that, Isaiah 49:1, " Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations—Before I was born the Lord called me; from my birth he has made mention of my name." [This prophecy is applied to Christ, Luke 2:32; Acts 13:47; Gal. 3:16; Heb. 5:4-5. And many of the Jews do confess that this place is to be understood of Christ only, Mat. 1:21-22; Luke 2:10-11; Heb. 1:6.] These words are spoken in the person of Christ; he tells us how he is called by his Father to be a mediator and Savior of his people. Jesus Christ would not take one step in the work of our redemption until he was called and commissioned by his Father to that work. God the Father, who from eternity had fore-assigned Christ to this office of a mediator, a Redeemer—did, both while he was in the womb, and as soon as he was come out of it, manifest and make known this his purpose concerning Christ both to men and angels. Christ did not thrust himself, he did not intrude himself at random into the office of a Redeemer: "No man takes this honor to himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron," Heb. 5:4-5. So Christ took not upon himself the office of a mediator, a Savior, but upon a call and a commission from God. The sum is, that Christ took up the office of a Redeemer by the ordinance of his Father, that he might fulfill the work of our redemption unto which he was destined.
Verse 2, "He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver." Christ having agreed to his Father's calling of him to the work of man's redemption, he gives you a picture in this verse, of God's fitting and furnishing of him with abilities sufficient for so important a work, together with his sustaining and supporting of him in the performance of the same. Here are two similitudes or comparisons:
(1.) That of a "sharp sword;" that of a bright and "sharp arrow," to show the efficacy of Christ's doctrine. [See Eph. 6:17; Heb. 4:12; Rev. 1:16, and 6:2.] The word of Christ is a sword of great power and efficacy for the subduing of the souls of men to the obedience of it, and for the cutting off of whoever or whatever shall oppose or withstand it. Christ was not sent of the Father to conquer by force of weapons, as earthly princes do; but he conquers all sorts of sinners, even the proudest and stoutest of them, by the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, as you may see by comparing these scriptures together. [Acts 2:37, 41, 4:1-4, and 16:29-35; 2 Cor. 10:4, 6.]
Having spoken of the efficacy of Christ's doctrine, he tells us that he will take care of the security of his person: "In the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver." God the Father undertakes to protect the Lord Jesus Christ against all sorts of adversaries that should band themselves against him, and to maintain his doctrine against all enemies that should conspire to suppress it. [John 7:30, 44; Luke 22:53; Mat. 27:62-66, and 2-6; Acts 2:23-24.] God so protected his dear Son against all the might and malice of his most capital enemies that they neither could lay hold on him, or do anything, before the time by God fore-designed was come. Christ was sheltered under the wing of God's protection until he voluntarily went to his passion; neither could they keep him in death, when that time was once over, though they endeavored with all their might to do it.
Now in the third verse, God the Father tells Jesus Christ what a glorious reward he should have for undertaking the great work of redemption: "And said unto me, You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor." [Or, as some render the words, You are my servant to Israel, or for Israel; that is, for Israel's good, for my people's behalf. "Few," says Sasbont, "to this day do consider Christ's labor in preaching, prayer, fasting, and suffering a cruel death for us; for if they did, they would be more affected with love towards him that loved them so dearly."]
God having called Christ, set him apart, sanctified him, and sent him into the world for the execution of the office of a Redeemer, he does in this third verse encourage him to set upon it, and to go on cheerfully, resolutely, and constantly in it, with assurance of good and comfortable success, notwithstanding all the plots, designs, and oppositions that Satan and his imps might make against him.
Verse 4, "Then I said—I have labored to no purpose; I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing. Yet what is due me is in the Lord's hand, and my reward is with my God." In these words Jesus Christ complains to his Father of the incredulity, wickedness, and obstinate rebellion of the greatest part of the Jews against that blessed word which he had clearly and faithfully made known to them. When Christ looked upon the paucity and small number of those whom his ministry had any saving and powerful work upon, he pours out his complaints before the Father. Not that Christ's pains in his ministry among the Jews were wholly in vain, either in regard of God who sent him, or in regard of the persons unto whom he was sent, as if not any at all were converted. Oh no! for some were called, converted, and sanctified, as you may see by these scriptures. [Isaiah 6:13, and 8:18, etc.] Or in regard of himself, as if any loss or harm should thereby redound unto him. Oh no! but in regard of the small, the slender effect, that his great labors had hitherto found.
"Yet surely my reward is with my God." Christ, for the better support and re-encouraging of himself to persist in his employment, opposes unto the lack of the chiefly desired success of his labors with men—the gracious acceptance of them with God. It is as if Christ had said, "Although my labor has not produced such fruits and effects as I indeed desired, yet I do comfort and bear up my heart with this, that my heavenly Father knows that in the office and place wherein he has set me, I have faithfully done all that could be done for the salvation of poor sinners' souls, and for the securing of them from wrath to come." "Yet surely my reward is with my God;" that is, the reward of my work, or my wages for my work, which God will render unto me, not according to the outcome or success of my labors, but according to my pains therein taken, and the faithful discharge of my office and duty therein.
"What," says Christ, "though the Jews believe not, repent not, return not to the Most High; yet my labor is not lost, for my God will really, he will signally reward me." Upon this, God the Father comes off more freely and roundly, and opens his heart more abundantly to Jesus Christ, and tells him in the fifth and sixth verses following, that he will give him full, complete, and honorable satisfaction for all his pains and labors in preaching, in doing, in suffering, in dying, that he might bring many sons to glory.
Verse 5, "And now the Lord says—he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself, for I am honored in the eyes of the Lord and my God has been my strength." In this verse you have a further encouragement to our Lord Jesus Christ, God the Father engaging himself not only to support him and protect him in the work of his ministry, but of making him glorious in it and by it also; and that though his work should not prove so successful among his own people as he desired, yet his ministry should become very glorious and efficacious upon the Gentiles, far and near, throughout the whole world. [John 5:20, 23, 10:15, 17, and 17:1, 5; Phil. 2:9.]
Jesus Christ is very confident of his being high in the esteem of his Father for the faithful discharge of his duty; and that, notwithstanding all the hard measure that he met with from the most of the Jews, that yet his Father would crown him with honor and glory, and that he would enable him to go through the work that is incumbent upon him, and that he would protect him and defend him in his work, against all might and malice, all power and policy, that would make headway against him.
Verse 6, "And he said—It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth." Thus you see that God the Father still goes on to show that the labors of Christ should be very glorious, not only in the eyes of God, but in the eyes of all the world. You know elsewhere Christ is called "the way, the truth, and the life," John 14:6; and here he is called the light and salvation of the Gentiles. God the Father, speaking to Jesus Christ, tells him that it was but a small matter, a light thing—for him to have such happy and ample success as to reduce and win the Jews, in comparison of that further work that he intended to effect by him, even the salvation of the Gentiles unto the ends of the earth. God the Father seems to say thus to Jesus Christ, "The dignity and worthiness of your person, you being the eternal and only Son of God, as also the high office whereunto I have called you, requires more excellent things than that you should only raise up and restore the people of Israel. I have also appointed and ordained you for a Savior to the Gentiles, even to the ends of the earth; therefore though the greatest part among the Jews will not receive you nor submit unto you, yet the Gentiles shall own you and honor you, they shall embrace you and give themselves up unto you." I shall be briefer in the remaining proofs; and therefore,
(4.) The fourth scripture is, Isaiah 52:13-14, "Behold, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted." [Isaiah 42:1, and 53:11, etc.] The three last verses of this chapter, with the next chapter, do jointly make up an entire prophecy concerning Christ's person, parentage, condition, manner of life, sufferings, humiliation, exaltation, etc., with the noble benefits which redound to us, and the great honor which redounds to himself. In these two verses you have—
(1.) The two parties contracting, namely, God the Father, and Jesus Christ: "Behold my servant," says God the Father. This title is several times given by the Father to Jesus Christ, because he did the Father great service in the work of man's redemption, freeing fallen man from the thraldom of sin and Satan.
(2.) Both parties are very sure and confident of the event, and of the accomplishment of the whole work of redemption: "Behold, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted." Here are several terms heaped up to express in part the transcendent and unexpressible advancement of Jesus Christ. When men are raised from a base and low estate, to some honorable condition; when men are furnished with such parts and endowments of prudence, wisdom, and understanding as makes them admirable in the eyes of others; and when they are enabled to do and suffer great things whereby they become famous and renowned far and near—then we say they are highly exalted. Now in all these respects our Lord Jesus Christ was most eminently exalted above all creatures in heaven and earth, as is most evident throughout the Scriptures.
(3.) He tells you of the price which Jesus Christ should pay for the redemption of his people, agreed upon by covenant, namely, the humbling of himself to the death of the cross, as you may see in verse 14: "there were many who were appalled at him—his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness." This is the speech of the Father to Jesus Christ; his appearance was so marred that the Jews were ashamed to own him for their King and Messiah. The astonishment here spoken of is such an astonishment as arises from the contemplation of some strange, uncouth, and rueful spectacle of desolation, deformity, and misery. And no wonder if many were astonished at the sight of our Savior's condition, in regard of that base, disgraceful, and despiteful treatments which were done to him in the time of his humiliation here on earth, when his own followers were so amazed at the foretelling of them, Mat. 10:32-34. O sirs! the words last cited are not so to be understood as if our blessed Savior had, in regard of his bodily person or presence, been some strange, deformed, or misshapen creature, Isaiah 53:3, but in regard of his outward estate, coming of poor and obscure parents, living in a low, despicable condition, exposed to scorn and contempt, and to much affliction, through the whole course of his life; and more especially yet, in regard of what he was also in his personal appearance, through the base and scornful treatment which he sustained at the hands of his malicious and mischievous adversaries, when they had gotten him into their power; besides his watchings, draggings to and fro from place to place, buffetings, scourgings, carrying his cross, and other base treatment—could not but much alter the state of his body, and deface all the sightliness of it. And yet all this he suffered, to make good the compact and agreement that he had made with his Father about the redemption of his elect! But,
(5.) The fifth scripture is Isaiah 53. This scripture, among many others, gives us very clear intimations of a federal transaction between God the Father and Jesus Christ, in order to the recovery and everlasting happiness of poor sinners. The glorious gospel seems to be epitomized in this chapter. The subject-matter of it is the grievous sufferings and dolorous death of Christ, and the happy and glorious outcome thereof. Of all the prophets, this prophet Isaiah was the most evangelical prophet; and of all the prophecies of this prophet, that which you have in this chapter is the most evangelical prophecy. [Jerome calls him Isaiah the evangelist.] In this chapter you have a most plain, lively, and full description and representation of the humiliation, death, and passion of Jesus Christ; which indeed is so exact, and so consonant to what has actually occurred to Jesus, that Isaiah seems here rather to pen a history than a prophecy. [In this chapter you have the compact and agreement between God the Father and Jesus Christ plainly asserted and proved.] The matter contained in this chapter is so convicting, from that clear light that goes along with it—that several of the Jews, in reading of this chapter, have been converted, as not being able to stand out any longer against the shining light and evidence of it. Out of this chapter, which is more worth than all the gold of Ophir, yes, than ten thousand worlds, observe with me these eight things:
[1.] First, Observe that God and Christ are sweetly agreed, and infinitely pleased in the conversion of the elect: verse 10, "He shall see his seed," that is, he shall see them called, converted, changed, and sanctified; "he shall see his seed," that is, an innumerable company shall be converted to him by his word and Spirit, in all countries and nations, through the mighty workings of the Spirit, and the incorruptible seed of the word, Psalm 110:3; 1 Pet. 1:23. Infinite numbers of poor souls would be brought in to Jesus Christ—which he would see to his full contentment and infinite satisfaction, Rev. 7:9; Heb. 10, 13. "He shall see his seed," that is, he shall see them increase and multiply; he shall see believers brought in to him from all corners and quarters, and he shall see them greatly increase and grow by the preaching of the everlasting gospel, especially after his ascension into heaven, and a more glorious pouring forth of the Holy Spirit upon his apostles and others, Acts 2:37, 41, 4:1-4, and 8. No accountants on earth can count or reckon up Christ's spiritual seed. But,
[2.] Secondly, Observe with me, that in the persons redeemed by Jesus Christ, there was neither weight nor worth, neither portion nor proportion, neither inward nor outward excellencies or beauties, for which the punishment due to them should be transferred upon dear Jesus, Ezek. 16:1-10; for if you look upon them in their sins, in their guilt, you shall find them despisers and rejecters of Christ.
Verse 4, "Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted." Christ took upon him, not our nature alone—but the infirmities also of it; and became liable to such sorrows, and afflictions, and pains, and griefs, as man's sinful nature is exposed and subject unto. They are called ours because they were procured to him by our sins, and sustained by him for the discharge of our sins; unto the guilt whereof, out of love to us undertaken by him, they were deservedly due, Romans 8:3; Heb. 4:15.
Christ, for our sakes, has taken all our spiritual maladies, that is, all our sins, upon him—to make satisfaction for them; and as our surety, to pay the debt that we had run into. Christ, in the quality of a pledge for his elect, has given full satisfaction for all their sins, bearing all the punishments due for them, in torments and extreme griefs, both of body and soul. [You know they traduced him as a notorious deceiver, a drunkard, a friend of publicans and sinners, and one who wrought miracles by the power of the devil.] The reason why they so much disesteemed Christ was, because they made no other account, but that all those afflictions which befell him, were inflicted by God upon him for his own evil deserts. They accounted him to be one out of grace and favor with God, yes, to be one pursued by him with all those evils, for his sins. When the Jews saw what grievous things Christ suffered, they wickedly and impiously judged that he was thus handled by God, in way of vengeance for his sins. By all which, you may see, that in the persons redeemed by Christ, there was nothing of worth or honor to be found, for which the punishment, due to them, should be transferred upon our Lord Jesus Christ. But,
[3.] Thirdly, Observe with me, that no sin, nor meritorious cause of punishment, is found in Jesus Christ, our blessed Redeemer, for which he should be stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God: verse 5, 9, "He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed. He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth." Sin had cast God and us at infinite distance. Now Christ is punished—that our sins may be pardoned; he is chastised that God—that we may be reconciled. Guilt stuck close upon us, but Christ, by the price of his blood, has discharged that guilt, pacified divine wrath, and made God and us friends. [1 Pet. 1:18-19; Romans 3:25, and 5:1, 10; 2 Cor. 5:19, 21; Col. 1:19-20.] God the Father laid upon dear Jesus all the punishments that were due to the elect, for whom he was a pledge; and by this means they come to be acquitted, and to obtain peace with God.
"Christ was holy, harmless, and undefiled." No man could convict him of sin; yes, the devil himself could find nothing amiss in him, either as to word or deed. Christ was without original blemish—or actual blot. [Heb. 7:26; John 8:46, and 14:30; 1 John 3:5.] All Christ's words and works were upright, just, and sincere. Christ's innocency is sufficiently vindicated, verse 9. It is true, Christ suffered great and grievous things—but not for his own sins—but for ours! "For he had done no violence, neither was any deceit found in his mouth." Christ had now put himself in the sinner's stead, and became his surety, and so liable to whatever the sinner had deserved in his own person; and upon this account, and no other, was he wounded, bruised, and chastised. The Lord Jesus had no sin in him by inhesion; but he had a great deal of sin upon him by imputation: "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God," 2 Cor. 5:21. It pleased our Lord Jesus Christ to put himself under our guilt, and therefore it pleased the Father to wound him, bruise him, and chastise him. But,
[4.] Fourthly, Observe with me, that peace and reconciliation with God, and the healing of all our sinful maladies, and our deliverance from wrath to come—are all such noble favors as are purchased for us by the blood of Christ: [Thes. 1:10; 1 Pet. 1:18-19; Romans 3:25, and 5:1, 16; 2 Cor. 5:19, 21.] verse 5, "The chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed." Christ was chastised to procure our peace, by removal of our sins, which had set God and us asunder; the guilt thereof being discharged with the price of his blood, and we reconciled to God by the same price. Christ was punished, that we by him might obtain perfect peace with God—who was at enmity with us by reason of our sins.
By Christ's stripes, we are freed both from sin and punishment. Now because some produce this scripture to justify that corrupt doctrine of universal redemption, give me permission to argue thus from it. That chastisement for sin, which was laid upon the person of Jesus Christ procured peace—for those for whom he was so chastised, Isaiah 57:21; Eph. 2:14; but there was no peace procured for the reprobates, or those who would never believe. Further, "By his stripes we are healed." Whence I reason thus: the stripes inflicted upon Christ are intended, and do become healing medicines for those for whom they are inflicted; but they never become healing medicines for reprobates or unbelievers: Nahum 3:9, "There is no healing of their bruise." But,
[5.] Fifthly, Observe with me, that the great and the grievous sufferings which were inflicted upon Jesus Christ—he did endure freely, willingly, meekly, patiently; according to the covenant and agreement that was made between the Father and himself: verse 7, "He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth." This is a very pregnant place to prove the atonement and satisfaction made by Christ's sufferings for our sins; if we look upon the words as they run in the original, for thus they run; "It was exacted, and he answered;" that is, the penalty due to God's justice for our sins was exacted of Christ, and he sustained the penalty for us. The prophet does not speak of one and the same party or parties, both sinning and suffering or sustaining penalties for their own defaults; but as one suffering, for the sins of another, and sustaining grievous penalties for faults made and faults committed by other persons. The words, rightly read and understood, do sufficiently confirm the doctrine of atonement and satisfaction, made to God's justice by Christ's sufferings, for our sins. The penalty due to us was, in rigor of justice, exacted of him; and he became a sponsor or surety for us, by undertaking in our behalf the discharge of it. Christ did voluntarily undertake and engage himself unto God his Father in our behalf, as a surety for the payment of all our debts. They were exacted of him, and he answered for them all; that is, he not only undertook them, but he also discharged us of them! Just so, we use the word commonly in our English tongue; to answer a debt, for to discharge it; and this is most true of our dear Lord Jesus, for he answered our debt, and caused our bond to be cancelled, that it might never come to be put in suit against us, either in this or the eternal world, John 19:30; Romans 4:25; Col. 2:14.
"Yet he did not open his mouth." This has respect to his patience; for the oppressions and afflictions that he sustained for others, and that in regard of those by whom he suffered them unjustly—yet was he silent. He neither murmured or repined at God's disposal of things in that manner, nor used any railing or reviling speeches against those who dealt so despitefully with him, but behaved calmly and quietly under them; Christ having an eye to his voluntary obedience and submission to the will of his Father, and agreement thereunto, Mat. 26:39, 42; Mark 14:36; John 18:23; 1 Pet. 2:23. He undertook willingly what his Father required of him, and as willingly, when the time came, he underwent it; neither hanging back or opposing anything in way of contradiction thereunto, when it was by his Father propounded to him at first; nor afterward seeking to shift it off, when he was to actually perform what he had engaged himself unto, by pleading anything for himself, for a release from their most unjust proceedings, in whose hands he then was.
"Yet he did not open his mouth" to confute the slanders and false accusations of his enemies; neither did he utter anything to the harm of those who put him to death, but prayed for those who crucified him, Luke 23:34; Mat. 26:63, and 27:12, 14. "He was led as a lamb to the slaughter," properly, as a ewe-lamb, or she-lamb. The ewe is mentioned as the quieter of that species, because the rams are sometimes more unruly. "And as a sheep before her shearers is silent." A lamb does not bite or push him, who is going about to kill it, but goes as quietly to the slaughter-house, as if it were going to the fold wherein it is usually lodged, or the field where it is accustomed to feed. But,
[6.] Sixthly, Observe with me, that the original cause of this compact or covenant between the Father and the Son, by virtue of which God the Father demands a price, and Jesus Christ pays the price according to God's demands—is only from the free grace and favor of God! verse 10, "It pleased the Lord to bruise him, he has put him to grief." God the Father looks upon Jesus Christ as sustaining our person and cause; he looks upon all our sins as laid upon him, and to be punished in him. Sin could not be abolished, the justice of God could not be satisfied, the wrath of God could not be appeased, the terrible curse could not be removed—but by the death of Christ! Therefore, God the Father took a pleasure to bruise him, and to put him to grief, according to the agreement between him and his Son.
It must be readily granted that God did not incite or instigate the wicked Jews, to those vile and cruel treatments to Jesus Christ. But yet that his sufferings were by God predetermined for the salvation of mankind is most evident by these scriptures; [Acts 2:23, and 4:28.] And, accordingly, it pleased the Lord to bruise him, and to put him to grief. The singular pleasure that God the Father takes in the work of our redemption, is a wonderful demonstration of his love and affection to us!
[7.] Seventhly, Observe with me, that it is agreed between the Father and the Son—that our sins should be imputed unto him, and that his righteousness should be imputed unto us, and that all the redeemed should believe in him, and so be justified! Verse 11, "He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge (or faith in him) shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities;" or, as some render it, "He shall see the fruit of the travail of his soul—and shall be satisfied." That is, Jesus Christ shall receive and enjoy that, as the effect and outcome of all the great pains that he has taken, and of all the grievous things which he has suffered, as shall give him full contentment and satisfaction. When Christ has accomplished the work of redemption, he shall receive a full reward for all his sufferings. Christ takes a singular pleasure in the work of our redemption, and does herein, as it were, refresh himself, as with the fruits of his own labors. God the Father engages to Jesus Christ that he should not travail in vain, but that he should survive to see with great joy, a numerous family of souls begotten unto God.
You know when women, after sore, sharp, hard labor, have delivered, they are so greatly refreshed, delighted, gladdened, and satisfied, that they forget their former pains and sorrow, "for joy that a child is born into the world," John 16:21. God the Father undertakes, that Jesus Christ should have such a holy seed, such a blessed outcome, as the main fruit and effect of his passion, as should joy him, please him, and as he should rest satisfied in. Certainly there could be no such joy and satisfaction to Christ—as for him to see poor souls reconciled, justified, and saved by his sufferings and satisfaction; as it is the highest joy of a faithful minister to see souls won over to Christ, and to see souls built up in Christ, 1 Thes. 2:19-20; Gal. 4:19.
Christ did bear the guilt of his people's sins, and thereby he made full satisfaction and atonement; and therefore he is said here "to justify many;" not all promiscuously, but those only whose sins he undertook to discharge, and for whom he laid down his life. [Besides the elect, he intercedes for none, John 17:9-10.] Christ's justifying of many is his discharging of many from the guilt of sin, by making satisfaction to God for the same. But,
[8.] Eighthly, Observe with me, that it is agreed between the Father and the Son, that for those persons for whom Jesus Christ should lay down his life—that he should stand intercessor for them also, that so they may be brought to the possession of all those noble favors and blessings that he has purchased with his dearest blood. Verse 12, "He bore the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors," saying, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do," Luke 23:34. For those very transgressors, by whom he suffered, he does intercede; for the article here is emphatic, and seems to point unto that special act, and those particular persons. Not but that these words have relation also to Christ's intercession for all those sinners who belong to him, and who have a saving interest in him; which intercession continues still, and shall continue—to the end of the world, Heb. 7:25. But,
(6.) The sixth scripture is that, Isaiah 59:20-21, "The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins," declares the Lord. "As for me, this is my covenant with them," says the Lord. "My Spirit, who is on you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouths of your children, or from the mouths of their descendants from this time on and forever," says the Lord." Out of this blessed scripture you may observe these following things:
First, The parties covenanting and agreeing—and they are God the Father and Jesus Christ. God the Father in those words, "Says the Lord;" and Jesus Christ in those words, "The Redeemer shall come to Zion."
Secondly, You have God the Father, first covenanting with Jesus Christ, and then with his seed, as is evident in the 21st verse.
Thirdly, You have the persons described, who shall be sharers in redemption mercies, and they are the Zionites, the people of God, the citizens of Zion. But lest any should think that all Zion should be saved, it is added by way of explication, that only such of Zion "as turn from transgression in Jacob," shall have benefit by the Redeemer. The true citizens of Zion, the right Jacobs, the sincere Israelites, in whom there is no guile, Romans 11:26, are they and only they—who turn from their sins. None have a saving interest in Christ, none have redemption by Christ—but converts—but such as cast away their transgressions, as Ephraim did his idols, saying, "What have I any more to do with you?" Hosea 14:8.
Fourthly, You have the way and manner of the elect's delivery, and that is, not only by paying down upon the nail, the price agreed on; but also by a strong and powerful hand, as the original imports in these scriptures. [Romans 11:26; Isaiah 59:20.] The Greek word which is used by Paul, and the Hebrew word which is used by Isaiah, both signify delivering "by strong hand," to rescue by force, as David delivered the lamb out of the lion's paw.
Fifthly, You have the special blessings that are to be conferred upon the elect—namely, redemption, conversion, faith, repentance, reconciliation, turning from their iniquity; all comprehended under that term "the redeemed."
Sixthly, You have the Lord Jesus Christ considered as the head of the church, from whom all spiritual gifts—sanctification, salvation, and perseverance do flow and run, as a precious balsam, upon the members of his body: "My Spirit," says God the Father, to Christ the Redeemer, "and my word which I have put into your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth; nor out of the mouth of your seed," etc. In these words, God the Father engages, that his Spirit and word should continue with his church to direct and instruct it, in all necessities, throughout all ages successively, even unto the world's end. But,
(7.) The seventh scripture is, Zechariah 6:12-13, "Tell him this is what the Lord Almighty says—Here is the man whose name is the Branch, and he will branch out from his place and build the temple of the Lord. It is he who will build the temple of the Lord, and he will be clothed with majesty and will sit and rule on his throne. And he will be a priest on his throne. And the counsel of peace shall be between them both." Now that the business of man's redemption was transacted between the Father and the Son, is very clear from this text, "And the counsel of peace shall be between them both," that is, the two persons spoken of—namely, the Lord Jehovah, who speaks, and the man, whose name is the Branch, Jesus Christ. This counsel was primarily about the reconciliation of the riches of God's grace, and the glory of his justice. The design and counsel, both of the Father and the Son, was our peace. [Whatever Socinians say, it is most certain that reconciliation is not only on the sinner's part, but on God's also.] The counsel of reconciliation, is how man, who is now an enemy to God, may be reconciled to God, and God to him. This counsel or consultation shall be "between them both," that is Jehovah and the Branch. There were blessed transactions between the Father and the Son, in order to the making of peace between an angry God and sinful men. I know several learned men interpret it of Christ's offices—namely, of his kingly and priestly office; for both conspire to make peace between God and man. Now if you will thus understand the text, yet it will roundly follow, that there was a consultation at the council-board in heaven, concerning the reconciliation of fallen man to God; which reconciliation Christ, as king and priest, was to bring about.
Look, as there was a counsel taken, concerning the creation of mankind, between the persons in the blessed Trinity, "Let us make man after our image," Gen. 1:26; Col. 3:19; Eph. 4:24; so there was a consultation held concerning the restoration of mankind out of their lapsed condition: "The counsel of peace shall be between them both." Certainly there was a covenant of redemption made with Christ; upon the terms whereof he is constituted to be a reconciler and a redeemer, to say to the prisoners, "Go forth, to bring deliverance to the captives, and to proclaim the year of release or jubilee, the acceptable year of the Lord," as it is, Isaiah 61:1-2. But,
(8.) The eighth scripture is that, Psalm 40:6-8, "Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have pierced burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require. Then I said, "Here I am, I have come-- it is written about me in the scroll. I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart." Compared with that, Heb. 10:5-7, "Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said—Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said—Here I am--it is written about me in the scroll-- I have come to do your will, O God."
In these two scriptures, two things are concluded:
(1.) The impotency of legal sacrifices, verse 5-6;
(2.) The all-sufficiency of Christ's sacrifice, verse 7.
There is some difference in words and phrases between the apostle and the prophet, but both agree in sense, as we shall endeavor to demonstrate. Penmen of the New Testament were not translators of the Old Testament, but only quoted them for proof of the point in hand, so as they were not tied to syllables and letters—but to the sense of the text alone. That which the prophet speaks of himself, the apostle applies to Christ, say some. This may be readily granted; for David being a special type of Christ, that may in history and type be spoken of David, which, in mystery and truth, is understood of Christ. But, that which David uttered in the aforesaid text, is without question, uttered by the way of prophecy, concerning Christ, as is evident by these reasons.
First, In David's time, God required sacrifices and burnt-offerings, and took delight therein, 1 Chron. 21:26; 1 Sam. 26:19; for God answered David from heaven by fire, upon the altar of burnt-offering; and David himself advised Saul to offer a burnt-offering that God might accept of it.
Secondly, David was not able so "to do the will of God," as by doing it, to make all sacrifices void; therefore this must be taken as a prophecy of Christ.
Thirdly, In the verse before, namely, Psalm 40:5, such an admiration of God's goodness is premised, as cannot fitly be applied to any other evidence, than of his goodness in giving Christ; in reference to whom, it may be truly said, "That eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man—the things which God has prepared for those who love him," 1 Cor. 2:9.
Fourthly, These words used by the apostle, "when he comes into the world, he says," are meant of Christ; which argue that that which follows was an express prophecy of Christ. These things being premised, out of the texts last cited we may observe these following particulars that contribute to our purpose.
[1.] FIRST, That the Holy Spirit opens and expounds the covenant of redemption, bringing in the Father and the Son, as conferring and agreeing together about the terms of it; and the first thing agreed on between them is the price; and the price that God the Father stands upon is "blood;" and that not "the blood of bulls and goats, but the blood of his Son;" which was the best, the purest, and the noblest blood, which ever ran in veins. [Heb. 10:4, and 9:22; John 10:11, 15, 17, 18, and 1:29; 1 Pet. 1:18-19.]
Now Christ, to bring about the redemption of fallen man, is willing to come up to the demands of his Father, and to lay down his blood. The scripture calls the blood of Christ, precious blood. Oh, the virtue in it, the value of it! Through this red sea, we must pass to heaven; Christ's blood is heaven's key. "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the blood of the saints," Psalm 116:15, and truly "precious in the sight of the saints is the blood of Christ." One little drop is of more worth, than heaven and earth, [Luther.]
Christ's blood is "precious blood," in regard of the dignity of his person. It is "the blood of God himself," Acts 20:28, it is the blood of that person, who is very God as well as very man. Christ's blood was noble blood, and therefore precious. He came from the race of kings, as touching his manhood; but being always the Son of God. This renders his nobility matchless and peerless. It was Pharaoh's brag, that he was the son of ancient kings, Isaiah 19:11. Who can lay claim to this more than Christ? Who can challenge this honor before him? He is the Son of the ancientest king in the world, he was begotten as a king from all eternity, Dan. 7:9, 13, 27.
The blood of good kings is precious; "You are worth ten thousand of us," said David's subjects to him, 2 Sam. 18:3; and therefore they would not allow him to hazard himself in the battle. The nobleness of his person did set a high rate upon his blood. And whom does this argument more commend unto us, than Christ?
The blood of Christ is precious blood in regard of the virtues of it. By this blood, God and man are reconciled; by this blood, the chosen of God are redeemed. It was an excellent saying of Leo, "The effusion of Christ's blood is so rich and available, that if the whole multitude of captive sinners would believe in their Redeemer, not one of them should be detained in the tyrant's chains." This precious blood justifies our persons in the sight of God, it frees us from the guilt of sin, and it frees us from the reign and dominion of sin, and it frees us from the punishments that are due to sin, it saves us, "from that wrath to come," Acts 13:38-39; Romans 3:24-25; 1 John 1:7; 1 Thes. 1:10.
Now, were not Christ's blood of infinite value and virtue, it could never have produced such glorious effects. The blood of Christ is precious, beyond all account; and yet our Lord Jesus did not think it too dear a price to pay down for his saints. God the Father would be satisfied with no other price; and therefore God the Son comes up to his Father's price, that our redemption might be sure. But,
[2.] SECONDLY, Observe that God rejects all ways of satisfaction by men. Could men make as many prayers as there are stars in heaven and drops in the sea; and could they weep as much blood as there is water in the ocean; and should they "give all their goods to the poor, and their bodies to be burned," 1 Cor. 13:3, as some have done—yet all this would not satisfy for the least sin, not for an idle word, not for a vain thought! Heb. 10:5, "Sacrifice and offering you did not desire;" that is, you will not accept of them for an expiation and satisfaction for sin, as the Jews imagined.
The apostle shows the impotency and insufficiency of legal sacrifices, by God's rejecting of them. The things here set down, as not regarded by God—as sacrifices, offerings, burnt-offerings, and sacrifices for sin, together with other legal ordinances comprised under them—do evidently demonstrate that God regards none of those things in a way of satisfaction; they are no current price, they are no such pay that will be accepted of in the court of heaven. Remission of sin could never be obtained by sacrifices and offerings, nor by prayers, tears, humblings, meltings, watchings, fastings, penances, pilgrimages, etc. Remission of sins cost Christ dear, though it cost us nothing! Remission of sins drops down from God to us, through Christ's wounds, and swims to us in Christ's blood. It was well said by one of the ancients: "I have nothing I may boast in my own works; I have nothing whence I may boast myself; and therefore I will glory in Christ! I will not glory that I am righteous, but I will glory that I am redeemed! I will glory, not because I am without sin, but because my sins are forgiven! I will not glory because I have profited, or because any has profited me, but because Christ is an advocate with the Father for me, but because the blood of Christ is shed for me!"
Certainly the popish doctrine of man's own satisfaction in part, for his sins is most derogatory to the precious blood of Jesus; and to the plenary and complete satisfaction of Jesus Christ. But,
[3.] THIRDLY, Observe that nothing below the obedience and sufferings of Christ, our mediator, could satisfy divine justice. Heb. 10:5, "But a body have you prepared me." Christ having declared what his Father does not delight in, he further shows affirmatively what it was wherein he rested well pleased, in these words, "But a body have you prepared me." In this phrase, "A body have you prepared me," Christ is brought in, speaking to his Father. By body is meant the human nature of Christ. Body is a synecdoche, put for the whole human nature, consisting of body and soul; the body was the visible part of Christ's human nature. A body is fit for a sacrifice, fit to be slain, fit to have blood shed out of it, fit to be offered up, fit to be made a price, and a ransom for our sins, and fit to answer the types under the law. Applicable therefore, to this purpose, is it said of Christ, "He himself bore our sins in his own body," 1 Pet. 2:24; and those infirmities wherein he was "made like unto us," Heb. 2:9, 14, 17, were most conspicuously evidenced in his body; and hereby Christ was manifested to be a true man. He had a body like ours, a body subject to manifold infirmities, yes, to death itself.
That body which Christ had is said to be "prepared by God;" the Greek word, which is translated prepared, is a metaphor from mechanics, who do artificially fit one part of their work to another, and so finish the whole. God fitted his Son's body to be joined with the deity, and to be an expiatory sacrifice for sin. The word "prepared" implies that God the Father ordained, formed, and made fit and able, Christ's human nature—to undergo, suffer, and fulfill that purpose for which he was sent into the world. God the Father is here said to have prepared Christ a body; because Christ having received from his Father the human nature out of the flesh and blood of the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit, Mat. 1:20; Luke 1:31, 35, here gives up the same unto the service of his Father—to do, to suffer, to die—that he might be a sacrifice of expiation for our sins.
As for the words of the psalmist, Psalm 40:6, "My ear have you opened,"—Heb., "dug open," it is a proverbial manner of speech, whereby there is implied the qualifying or fitting a man unto obedience in service—the ear, or the opening of the ear, being an emblem, or symbol, or a metaphorical sign of obedience, Isaiah 55:5; Job 33:16. Now Paul, following the translation of the Septuagint, and being directed by the Spirit of God, expounds this of God's sanctifying and fitting a body unto Christ, wherein he was obedient, even unto the shameful death of the cross. These words, "You have bored through my ears," import that Christ, now becoming man, gives up himself to be a willing servant of his Father, to obey him unto the death of the cross. And it is a similitude taken from the servants of the Hebrews, who, after that they had served their masters six years, would not depart out of their masters' service the seventh year, but abide in it continually until death; for a testimony whereof their ear was bored through, on the posts of the door, as may be seen, Exod. 21:6. It is therefore as much as if he should say, You have given me a body that is willing and ready in your service, even unto death.
But to conclude this head, the apostle speaking of disannulling the sacrifice of the law, he uses this word body to set out a sacrifice which would come instead of the legal sacrifices, to effect that which the legal sacrifices could not effect. But,
[4.] FOURTHLY, Observe that Christ, our mediator, freely and readily offers himself to be our pledge and surety. "Then said I, Lo, I come," namely, as surety, to pay the ransom, and to do your will, O God. Every word carries a special emphasis as,
(1.) The time, "then," even so soon as he perceived that his Father had prepared his body for such an end—then, without delay. This speed implies forwardness and readiness; he would lose no opportunity.
(2.) His profession in this word, "said I;" he did not come secretly, timorously, as being ashamed thereof, but he makes profession beforehand.
(3.) This note of observation, "Lo;" this is a kind of calling angels and men to witness, and a desire that all might know his inward intention, and the disposition of his heart; wherein was as great a willingness as any could have to anything.
(4.) An offering of himself without any force or compulsion; this he manifests in this word, "I come."
(5.) That very instant set out in the present tense, "I come;" he puts it not off to a future and uncertain time, but even in that moment, he says, "I come."
(6.) The first person twice expressed, thus, "I said," "I come." He sends not another person, nor substitutes any in his place; but he, even he himself in his own person, comes. All which do abundantly evidence Christ's singular readiness and willingness, as our surety, to do his Father's will, though it were by suffering, and by being made a sacrifice for our sins.
God's will was the rule of Christ's active and passive obedience. Jesus Christ, our only mediator and surety, by free and ready obedience and death, did make a proper, real, and full satisfaction to God's justice for the sins of all the elect. Christ has, by his death and blood, as an invaluable price of our redemption, made sure—the favor of God, the pardon of our sins, and the salvation of our souls! Christ has freed his chosen people from all temporal, spiritual, and eternal punishments, properly so called; so that now the mercy of God may embrace the sinner without the least of wrong to his truth or justice. But,
[5.] FIFTHLY, Observe that Jesus Christ, our surety, does not only agree with his Father about the price that he was to lay down for our redemption, but also agrees with his Father about the persons who were to be redeemed; and their sanctification: Heb. 10:10, "By that will"—that is, by the execution of that will, by the obedience of Christ to his heavenly Father—"we are sanctified, through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all." Jesus Christ agrees with the Father that all those shall be sanctified, for whom he has suffered and satisfied. The virtue, efficacy, and benefit of that which arises from the aforesaid will of the Father and of the Son, is expressed under this word, "sanctified." To pass by the many acceptations of this word "sanctified," let it suffice to tell you it is not here to be taken, as distinguished from justification or glorification, as it is elsewhere taken, 1 Cor. 1:30, and 6:11; but so as comprising under it all the benefits of Christ's sacrifice, Heb. 10:14, and 2:11; Acts 26:18. In this general and large extent it is sometimes taken; only this word, sanctified, here gives us to understand that perfection consists especially in holiness; for he expresses the perfection of Christ's sacrifice under the word "sanctified," which implies "a making holy." This was that special part of perfection wherein man was made at first, Eccles. 7:31; and whereunto the apostle alludes, where he exhorts, "To put on that new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness," Eph. 4:24; for this end, Christ gave himself even unto death, for his church, "that he might sanctify it," Eph. 5:25.
The principal thing under this word "sanctified" in this place is, that Christ's sacrifice makes perfect. In this respect, Christ's sacrifice is here opposed to the legal sacrifices, which could not make perfect; so that Christ's sacrifice was offered up to do that which they could not do; for this end was Christ's sacrifice surrogated in the place of the legal sacrifices. Now this substitution had been in vain, if Christ's sacrifice had not made us perfect.
If the dignity of his person that was offered up, and his almighty power, and unsearchable wisdom, and other divine excellencies of his, be duly weighed, we cannot but acknowledge, that as his sacrifice is perfect in itself, so it is sufficient to make us perfect also. Christ's body was given up as a price and ransom, and offered up as a sacrifice for our sins; and that we might be sanctified and made holy, Christ, by the offering of his body once for all, has purchased from his Father, grace and holiness for all his redeemed ones. Christ agrees with his Father that he will lay down an incomparable price for his chosen ones; and then he further agrees with his Father that all those shall be sanctified, for whom he has laid down an invaluable price.
The will of God the Father was, that Jesus Christ should have a body, and that that body of his should be offered up, that his elect might be sanctified and saved. Now to this Christ readily answers, "Lo, I come to do your will." From what has been said from Psalm 40, compared with Heb. 10, we may very safely and roundly conclude that it is most clear and evident, that there was a covenant, compact, or agreement, between God the Father and Jesus Christ, concerning the redemption of fallen man. This I shall more abundantly clear up before I have said all I have to say about the covenant of redemption, which is under our present consideration. But,
(9.) The ninth scripture is Psalm 89:28, "My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him." With whom? why, with our dear Lord Jesus, of whom David was a singular type. There are many passages in this psalm which do clearly evidence that it is to be interpreted of Christ; yes, there are many things in this psalm that can never be clearly, pertinently, and appropriately applied to any but Jesus Christ. For a taste, see verse 19, "I have laid help upon one who is mighty," mighty to pardon, to reconcile, to justify, to save, to bring to glory; suitable to that of the apostle, Heb. 7:25, "He is able to save unto the uttermost"— that is, to all ends and purposes, perfectly, completely, fully, continually, perpetually. Christ is a thorough Savior, a mighty Savior: Isaiah 63:1, "Mighty to save." There needs none to come after him to finish the work which he has begun. Verse 19, "I have exalted one, chosen out of the people," which is the very title given to our Lord Jesus. Isaiah 42:1, "Behold my servant whom I uphold, my elect," or chosen one, "in whom my soul delights." Verse 20, "I have found David my servant." Christ is very frequently called by that name, as being most dearly beloved of God, and most highly esteemed and valued by God, and as being typified by him both as king and prophet of his church. Verse 10, "With my holy oil have I anointed him;" suitable to that of Christ. Luke 4:18, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor;" and therefore we need not doubt of the excellency, authority, certainty, and sufficiency of the gospel. Verse 27, "I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth." [See Jer. 30:9; Hosea 3:5; Ezek. 34:23.] Christ is the firstborn of every creature, and in all things has the pre-eminence: verse 29, "His seed also will I make to endure forever, and his throne as the days of heaven." [This cannot be understood of David's seed, for Solomon's throne was overthrown.] This is chiefly spoken of Christ and his kingdom. The kingdom of heaven is eternal; and such shall be Christ's seed, throne and kingdom. Verse 36, "His seed shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun before me." "Christ shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hands," Isaiah 53:10. "And his throne as the sun before me;" that is, perpetual and glorious, as the Chaldee explains it, "shall shine as the sun." Other kingdoms and thrones have their times and their turns, their rise and their ruins, but so has not the kingdom and throne of Jesus Christ. Christ's dominion is "an everlasting dominion," which shall not pass away; "and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed," Dan. 7:13-14.
I might give further instances out of this Psalm, but enough is as good as a feast. Now says God, "I have made a covenant with him;" so then there is a covenant that God the Father has made with Christ the mediator; which covenant, the Father engages to the Son, shall stand fast, there shall be no cancelling or disannulling of it. God the Father has not only made a covenant of grace with the saints in Christ, of which before; but he has also made a covenant of redemption, as we call it for distinction sake, with Jesus Christ himself, "My covenant shall stand fast with him;" that is, with Christ, as we have fully and clearly demonstrated. But,
(10.) The tenth scripture is Zechariah 9:11, "As for you also, by the blood of your covenant," or whose covenant is by blood, "I have sent forth your prisoners out of the pit, wherein is no water." Here God the Father speaks to Christ, with relation to some covenant between them both; and what covenant can that be but the covenant of redemption? All the temporal, spiritual, and eternal deliverances which we enjoy, they swim to us through the blood of that covenant which is passed between the Father and the Son. By virtue of the same blood of the covenant, wherewith we are reconciled, justified, and saved, were the Jews delivered from their Babylonish captivity. The Babylonish captivity, thraldom, and dispersion, was that waterless pit, that dirty dungeon, that uncomfortable and forlorn condition, out of which they were delivered by virtue of the blood of the covenant; that is, by virtue of the blood of Christ, figured by the blood that was sprinkled upon the people, and by virtue of the covenant confirmed thereby, Exod. 24:8; Psalm 74:20; Heb. 13:20. Look, as all the choice mercies, the high favors, the noble blessings that the saints enjoy, are purchased by the blood of Christ; so they are made sure to the saints by the same blood; by the blood of your covenant "I have sent forth your prisoners." Whatever desperate distresses, and deadly dangers, the people of God may fall into, yet they are "prisoners of hope," and may look for deliverance by the blood of the covenant.
By these ten scriptures it is most clear and evident that there was a covenant, a compact, and agreement between God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, concerning the work of our redemption. Christ's being called "the surety of the better covenant," Heb. 7:21, shows that there was a covenant between God the Father and him, as there is between a creditor and a surety. Christ gave bonds, as it were, to God the Father, and paid down the debt upon the nail—that breaches might be made up between God and us, and we restored to divine favor forever. But for the further clearing up of the covenant of redemption, I shall, in the second place, lay down these propositions.