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But I shall pass from this to the third thing found in the text, and that is the AMPLIFICATION OF THE REASON I told you that there were in the text these three things: 1. An exhortation to the children of God to hope in the Lord: “Let Israel hope in the Lord.” 2. A reason to enforce that exhortation: “For with the Lord there is mercy.” 3. An amplification of that reason: “And with him is plenteous redemption.” I have gone through the two first, and shall now come to this last.
In these last words, which I call the amplification of the reason, we have two things. 1. A more particular account of the nature of the mercy propounded for an encouragement to Israel to hope. 2. An account of the sufficiency of it.
I. The NATURE of the mercy propounded, is expressed by that word “redemption: ” the sufficiency of it is expressed by that word “plenteous.” “Let Israel hope in the Lord: for with the Lord there is mercy, and with him there is plenteous redemption.”
Redemption may be diversely taken, as shall be further shown anon; but forasmuch as the term here is made mention of indefinitely, without nominating this or that part of redemption particularly, I shall speak of it in the general, with respect at least to the main heads thereof.
To redeem, is to fetch back, by sufficient and suitable means, those at present in an enthralled, captivated, or an imprisoned condition; and there are two sorts of this redemption. 1. Redemption by purchase. 2.
If we speak of redemption by purchase, then three things present themselves to our consideration: 1. The person redeeming; 2. The nature of the price paid to redeem withal; 3. The thing or state from which this Redeemer, with this price redeemeth. The subject of this redemption (or person redeemed) is Israel: of him we have spoken before.
Now; with reference to his person, we have two things to inquire after: 1. What this person was; 2. How he addressed himself to this work.
How he addressed himself to the work of redeeming, take as follows. (1.) He became true man. For he was conceived, through the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of a maid; and in the fullness of time, brought forth of her; true, real, natural man, I say; though not in the worst, yet in the best sense. Being thus brought forth without spot or blemish. (2.) He began to address himself to the work. First by works preparatory, and then by the act itself.
The works preparatory were as follows. (1.) He prepares himself a priestly robe, which was his obediential righteousness; for without these holy garments, he might not adventure to come unto the presence of God to offer his gift. (2.) Before he offered his gift for the people, he was to be himself sanctified to his office: and that, 1. By blood; 2. By prayers and tears. (1.) By blood; for before Aaron was to offer his sacrifice for the people, he must himself be sprinkled with blood: and because Jesus could not be sprinkled with the blood of beasts, therefore was he sprinkled with that of his own: not as Aaron was, upon the tip of his ear, and upon the tip of his toe; but from top to toe, from head to foot; his sweat was blood. So that from his agony in the garden, to the place where he was to lay down the price of our redemption, he went as consecrated in his own blood. (2.) He offered also his sacrifice of strong crying and tears, as his drink-offering to God; as a sacrifice preparatory, not propitiatory; in pursuit of his office, not to purge his person.
Now the redemption is often ascribed particularly to his blood; yet in general, the act of his redeeming of us, must either more remotely, or more nearly, be reckoned from his whole suffering for us in the flesh; which suffering I take to begin at his agony, and was finished when he was raised again from the dead. By his flesh I understand his whole man, as distinguished from his divine nature; and so that word doth comprehend his soul as well as his body, as by Isaiah 53 appears. His soul after that manner which was proper to it; and his body after that manner which was proper to it.
His sufferings began in his soul, some time before his body was touched; by virtue of which was his bloody sweat in his body. The sorrows of his soul began at the apprehension of what was coming from God, for our sakes, upon him; but the bloody sweat of his body, was from that union it had with such a soul.
His sufferings were from the hand of God, not of man; not by constraint, but of his own will: and they differ from ours in these six things. (1.) His sufferings were by the rigor of the law; ours according to the tenor of the gospel. (2.) His sufferings were from God’s hand immediately; ours by and through a Mediator. (3.) God delighted himself in every stroke he gave him; he doth not willingly grieve nor afflict his people. (4.) He suffered as a common or public person; we for our private offenses. (5.) He suffered to make amends to justice, for the breach of a holy law; we to receive some small correction, and to be taught to amend our lives. (6.) He was delivered from the nature of suffering by the merit of his person and sufferings; we from ours, by the mercy of God through Christ.
Redemption, then, by a price was this; the blood of Christ, which he willingly suffered to be spilt on the cross, before the face of God. The cause of this price was our sins, by which we were justly delivered up to the curse, the devil, death and hell; and should everlastingly have so continued, but that this price of redemption was for us paid. Hence it is said, “Christ died for us;” “Christ died for our sins;” Christ “gave himself” for our sins; “We have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.” And that we are “bought” with this price.
Now in all this Christ respected the holiness of the law, and the worth of our souls; giving full satisfaction to the one, for the love that he bare to the other: and this has redeemed his people from sin and the curse the cause of our captivity. 2. But besides this, there is redemption by power; and that respecteth that of those things unto which we become not legally indebted by our transgression. There was that unto which we became legally indebted, and that was the justice and holiness of the law. Now from this, because God had said it, (for his word made it so,) there could be no deliverance, but by a reverend and due respect to its command and demand, and an answer to every whit of what it could require; for not one tittle, not one jot or tittle of the law could fail.
Jesus Christ, therefore, with respect to the law, that he might redeem us, paid a full and a sufficient price of redemption; but as for these things that hold us captive, not for any injury we had done to them, but of power, tyranny, or the like; from them he redeemed us by power. Hence, when he had made satisfaction or amends for us to the law, he is said ‘to lead captivity captive, to spoil principalities and powers, and to make a show of them openly.’ But to take captive, and to spoil, must be understood of what he did, not to the law, but to those others of our enemies from which we were to be redeemed, not by price but by power.
And this second part of redemption is to be considered under a twofold head. 1. That these enemies were overcome personally, in and by himself, for us. 2. That they shall be overcome also in and by his church, through the power of his Spirit.
For the first, these enemies were overcome personally, in and by himself for us; to wit, at his resurrection from the dead. For as by his death he made amends for our breach of the law, so by his resurrection he spoiled those other enemies; namely, death, the devil, and the grave, etc., unto which we were subjected, not for any offense we had committed against them, but for our sin against the law; and men when they have answered to the justice of the law are by law and power delivered from the prison.
Christ therefore, by power, by his glorious power, did overcome the devil, hell, sin, and death, then when he arose and revived from his grave, and so got the victory over them, in and by himself, for us. For he, engaging as a common or public person for us, did on our behalf what he did, both in his death and resurrection. So then, as he died for us he rose for us; and as by his death he redeemed us from some, so by his resurrection from other, of our enemies.
Only it must be considered, that this redemption as to the fullness of it, as yet resides in his own person only, and is set out to his church as she has need thereof, and that orderly too. First, that part thereof which, respecteth our redemption from the law; and then that part of it which respecteth our redemption from those other things. And although we are made partakers of redemption from the curse of the law in this life, so far forth as to be justified therefrom; and also as to the receiving of an earnest while here, of being wholly possessed of the glory of the next world hereafter; yet we neither are, nor shall be, redeemed, from all those things which yet our Head has, as head, got a complete and eternal victory over, until just before he shall deliver up the kingdom to the Father, that God may be all in all. “For the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death;” death, as it has hold upon us, (for death as it had hold on our Head, was destroyed, when he rose from the dead; but death as we are subject to it,) shall not be destroyed, until we all and every one of us shall attain to the resurrection from the dead: a pledge of which we have by our spiritual resurrection, from a state of nature to a state of grace; a promise of which we have in the word of the truth of the gospel: and an assurance of it we have by the resurrection of Christ from the dead. Wherefore let us hope.
Now, as to redemption from the law; and from those other things from which we are, and are to be, redeemed with power; do but consider the different language which the Holy Ghost useth, with reference to our redemption from each.
When it speaketh of our redemption from the just curse of the law, which we have sufficiently deserved, it is said to be done, not by destroying but by fulfilling the law. “Think not,” says Christ, “that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy but to fulfill. For, verily, I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” For it became him, as our Redeemer, to fulfill all, and all manner of righteousness, by doing and suffering what justly should have been done or borne of us.
But now when our redemption from those other things is made mention of, the dialect is changed. For then we read, to the end we might be delivered from them, Christ was to destroy and abolish them. “That through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, which is the devil,” and so deliver. And, again; “O death, I will be thy plague! O grave, I will be thy destruction!” And, again, “That the body of sin might be destroyed;” “And I have the keys of hell and of death:” having thereby sufficiently declared, that the power of it is destroyed as to Israel, who are the people concerned in this redemption.
Now, as was hinted before, the redemption is already obtained, and that completely, by the person of Christ for us; as it is written, “He has obtained eternal redemption for us.” Yet these enemies, sin, death, the devil, hell, and the grave, are not so under the feet of his as he will put them, and as they shall be in conclusion under the feet of Christ. I say they are not; wherefore as the text also concludeth, this redemption is with the Lord; and under our feet they shall be, by the power of God towards us. And for this let Israel hope.
The sum then is, God’s people have with the Lord redemption, and redemption in reversion; redemption, and redemption to come; all which is in the hand of the Lord for us, and of all we shall be possessed in his time.
This is that, called plenteous redemption. “For with him is plenteous redemption.”
A little therefore, to touch upon the redemption that we have in reversion, or the redemption yet to come:
First , There is yet much sin and many imperfections that cleave to our persons and to our performances from which, though we be not yet in the full sense delivered, yet this redemption is with our Lord, and we shall have it in his time; and in the mean time it is said, it shall not have dominion over us. “Sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” We are, by what Christ has done, taken from under the law, the curse; and must by what Christ will do, be delivered from the very being of sin. He gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity; that he might present us to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that we should be without blemish.
That we are already without the being of sin, none but fools and madmen will assert; and that we shall never be delivered from it, none but such men will affirm neither. It remains then, that there is a redemption for Israel in reversion, and that from the being of sin. And of this it is that the text also discourseth, and for Which let the godly hope.
Again, we are not yet quite free from Satan’s assaults: though our Head by himself, and that for us, has got a complete conquest over him. But the time is coming, and himself knows that it is but a little while to it, in which he shall for ever be bruised under our feet. “Be wise unto that which is good and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace shall bruise (tread down) Satan under your feet shortly.” Some may think that this text will have a fulfilling in the ruin and downfall of Antichrist; and so it may; but yet it will never be wholly fulfilled, as long as Satan shall have any thing to do with one of the children of God. There is, therefore, a redemption in reversion for the children of God from Satan, which they are to hope for, because this redemption is with the Lord their head, and that to manage and bring about for them; for he shall bruise him under their feet in his time.
There is yet also, belonging to the church of God, a redemption from what remains of Antichrist, although as yet he is stronger than we; which I also call a redemption in reversion, for-that it is yet to come, nor shall it be accomplished till the time appointed. In this redemption, not only saints, but truths will have a share; yea, and many also of the men that belong to the kingdom of Christ and of God. This redemption God’s people are also to hope for, for it is with their Lord; and he has promised it to them, as the scripture doth plainly declare.
There is yet, moreover, a redemption to come, which is called “the redemption of our body.” Of this redemption we have both the earnest and the seal, to wit, the Spirit of God. And because the time to it is long, therefore, we are to wait for it; and because it will be that upon which all our blessedness will be let out to us, and we also let into it, therefore we should be comforted, at all the signs of the near approach thereof. “Then,” saith Christ, “look up and lift up your heads.” The bodies of saints are called the purchased possession: a possession, because the whole of all that shall be saved shall be for a temple or house for God to dwell in, in the heavens; a purchased possession, because the body, as well as the soul, is bought with the Nice of blood. But what then doth he mean by the redemption of this purchased possession? I answer, he meaneth the raising it up from the dead. “I will ransom them from the power of the grave, I will redeem them from death.” And then shall be brought to pass that saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory.” ‘That saying,’ that is, this in Isaiah, and that of Hosea, for they speak both the self-same thing.
And this was signified by Moses, where he speaks of the year of jubilee, and of the redemption of the house that was sold in Israel, how in that year it should return to the owner. Our bodies of right are God’s, but sin still dwells in them we have also sold and forfeited them to death and the grave, anal so they will abide; but at the judgment-day, that blessed jubilee, God will take our body which originally is his, and will deliver it from the bondage of corruption, unto which by our souls, through sin, it has been subjected; he will take it, I say, because it is his, both by creation and redemption, and will bring it to that perfect freedom, that is only to be found in immortality and eternal life; and for this should Israel hope.
From what hath been said to this first thing, it appears, that the mercy that is with God for his people (as it is in general what has been described before, so it) is redeeming mercy, or mercy that has with it the virtue of redemption. Of the advantageousness of this mercy, we will farther discourse by and by; but now we will look into the second thing, that from this amplification of the reason, was propounded to be spoken to; to wit: 2. An account of the SUFFICIENCY Of this redemption: “Let Israel hope in the Lord: for with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.”
The sufficiency or plenteousness of it may be spoken of, as it respecteth the many difficulties and dangers that by sin we have brought ourselves into; or as it respecteth the superabundant worth that is found therein, let the dangers attending us be what they will, though we should not be acquainted with the half or the hundredth part thereof.
To speak to it as it respecteth those particular difficulties and dangers, that by sin we have brought ourselves into: and that, 1. By showing the suitableness of it. 2. By showing the sufficiency of the suitableness thereof’. 1. The suitableness of it lieth in the fit application thereof to all the parts of thralldom and bondage.
Thus was our Redeemer made, as to those things, a suitable recoverer, taking all and missing nothing that stood in the way of our happiness; according to that a little below the text; “and he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities,” that is, from them, together with their evil fruits. 2. Now, as to the sufficiency that was in this suitableness. That is declared by his resurrection, by his ascension, by his exaltation to the right hand of God; that is also declared by God’s putting all things under his feet, and by giving him to be head over all things for his redeemed’s sake. It is also further declared in that God now threateneth none but those that refuse to take Jesus for their Savior, and in that he is resolved to make his foes his footstool. What are more natural consequences flowing from any thing, than that by these things is the sufficiency of the suitableness of redemption by Christ proved?
For all these things followed Christ. Because, he humbled himself to the death of the cross, that he might become a Redeemer; therefore God raised him up, took him to his throne, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God by him.
But alas! what need we stand to prove the sun is light, the fire hot, the water wet? What was done by him was done by God, for he was true God; and what comparison can there be betwixt God and the creature — betwixt the worth of God’s acts and the merit of the sin of poor man! And can death, or sin, or the grave hold us, when God saith, “Give up? “Yea, where is that, or he, that shall call into question the superabounding sufficiency that is in the merit of Christ, when God continueth to discharge day by day, yea, hourly and every moment, sinners from their sin, death, and hell, for the sake of the redemption that is obtained for us by Christ?
God be thanked, here is plenty; but no want of any thing; enough and to spare. It will be with the merit of Christ, even at the end of the world, as it was with the five loaves and two fishes, after the five thousand men, besides women and children, had sufficiently eaten thereof. There was, to the view of all at last, more than showed itself at first. At first there were but five loaves and two fishes, which a lad carried. At last there were twelve baskets full, the weight of which, I suppose, not the strongest man could bear away. Nay, I am persuaded, that at the end of the world, when the damned shall see what sufficiency there is left of merit in Christ, besides what was bestowed upon them that were saved by him, they will run mad for anguish of heart to think what fools they were, not to come to him, and trust in him that they might be saved as their fellow sinners did. But this is revealed, that Israel, that the godly may hope and expect. Let Israel, therefore, hope in the Lord; for with him is plenteous redemption.