Salvation – The Work of God Alone
“And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; and he doeth according to, his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou!”
These words were spoken by a great and mighty king who certainly had been one of the most proud and ostentatious monarchs that ever governed a kingdom, as his own words testify:
“The king spàke and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?”
What a display of the pomp and pride of the human heart!
Nevertheless, this very man was brought down by the power of God, to acknowledge the superlative weakness of a mortal arm, and vindicate the sovereignty of Jehovah. What daring rebels must those persons be, who presume to arraign the eternal God at the bar of their human reason. Thousands, in the present day, are telling God he has a right to give all men a chance of being saved, and that unless he does so, he does not act fairly.
What awful words!
What! is the Most High God to give an account of his dealings towards mankind, to mortal flesh?
“Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
“Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid! For be saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy.”
The Lord, in his infinite wisdom and love, was pleased to choose a portion of the human race that should be for the praise and glory of his grace. Had he seen fit, he might justly have passed by them and left them eternally to perish with the reprobate; but being determined to display the riches of his grace, in saving them from the rubbish and ruin of the fall, and raising them to eternal glory, he devised means (honorable to himself and all his glorious attributes) to bring about his gracious purposes:
“Not Gabriel asks the reason why;
Nor God the reason given;
Nor dares the favorite angel pry
Between the folded leaves.”
The church of God never merited anything at the hands of God. O, no;
“All title to favour she lost in the fall,
And was brought down to ruin, ‘neath Satan’s great thrall,
Her sins must have damned her, had not Jesus stood nigh,
And in her stead suffer, and bleed, too, and die.”
God gave his righteous commands to man; he had a sovereign right to do so; man broke them, consequently the curse was due to him: “The soul that sinneth shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:20)
What man or angel could revoke this curse?
No one; therefore says God’s word, by the mouth of his servant Isaiah, “And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor; therefore, his arm brought salvation unto him, and his righteousness it sustained him; for he put on righteousness as a breast-plate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head.” (Isaiah 59:16-17)
This arm of the Lord is no other than our glorious Redeemer, Jesus; “his reward is with him, and his work before him” (Isaiah 40:10).
The favoured Isaiah again cries out, “Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord; awake as in the ancient days, in the generations of old Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon? Art thou not it which hath dried the sea, the waters of the great deep?” (Isaiah 51:9-10)
The eternal Father’s wrath due to the church – it was laid on the glorious Christ; here it’s awful blaze was totally quenched, and its mighty torrent, dried up, and no where else; but this was all done from the love he bore unto his spouse, as the poet sweetly sings:
“Twas love that brought the Saviour down,
To suffer, bleed, and die.”
Solomon says, “Many waters cannot quench love; neither can the floods drown it” (Song of Solomon 8:7).
Thus it was with the dear Redeemer: the waters of his heavenly Father’s wrath could not quench the love he had for his bride.
“On him almighty vengeance fell,
Which must have sunk his church to hell:
He bore, it for the chosen race,
And thus became their hiding-place.”
Oh, a precious hiding-place too! — from the wrath of God, the curse of the law, the rage of men and the spleen of devils. The Saviour’s merits are prevailing pleas before God, on behalf of his church; she is viewed complete in him. Jesus stood in the sinner’s place: “He was made sin for us.”
Not a sinner!
O, no; he was and is the spotless Son of God. Nevertheless, all God’s family are brought to acknowledge that they never deserved such a Saviour; that if ever they are saved, it must be by the matchless, unparalleled, and undeserved grace of God.
Where is the sensibly lost and ruined sinner (through the blessed Sprit’s teaching) but would blush at the idea of telling God he ought to have mercy on him?
Reader, if thou art one truly taught by God the Holy Ghost, thou seest thyself to be the vilest sinner on earth, and thy language before God, when approaching his sacred Majesty, is like the poet’s,
“My sole desert is hell and wrath.”
Paul declares, “That every mouth must be stopped, and all the world become guilty before God” (Romans 3:19).
Blessed be the eternal God, be stops his people’s mouths while on earth, and constrains them to plead guilty before him; but the rest of mankind are stopped from boasting in another world, by feeling the pains of hell, which their own consciences tell them they justly deserve, as the demerit of sin.
“By grace are ye saved.”
Now, what is grace?
Free and pure mercy to the unworthy.
Then where is the merit of the sinner?
No where; he has none; no, he has not, by nature, so much as one good thought. I am confident, if God had left but one good deed for me to do, to complete my salvation, I must have been everlastingly damned, for all that mere nature could have done for me.
God declares, that “every imagination of the thought of the heart (or purposes and desires) is evil continually;” (Genesis 6:5) that is, while in a state of nature; consequently, if ever I do anything spiritually good, it is through the grace of God given me. Grace is God’s gift, and he will regard his own work, and give grace for grace; but it is bestowed all in and through the person, obedience, and blood of the dear Redeemer.
Salvation, how great the word!
How glorious a work!
In this was displayed the infinite condescension of the eternal, Three-One Jehovah. The Father in choosing, the Son in redeeming, and the Holy Ghost in regenerating the church of God, and making, known unto her her interest in the glorious work of Jesus. The everlasting glory of the everlasting Three-in-Out was consulted, when the plan of salvation was drawn in heaven, and we may rest assured, that Jehovah will not be frustrated in his designs.
What a wretched jargon would it be in the song we find the redeemed sing in heaven, to hear some of the party, every now and then, ascribing a song of praise to themselves, for accepting the offers of Grace, embracing heaven.
But this, blessed be God, shall never, be; for the song shall ever be sung, “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (Revelation 1:5-6).
The good Lord add his blessing to the few thoughts for his name’s sake.
A PENSIONER – Mr Mildenhall – Gospel Standard – 1837