"Christ has redeemed the souls of all his people who shall ultimately be saved. To state it after the Calvinistic form, Christ has redeemed his elect; but since you do not know his elect until they are revealed, we will alter that, and say, Christ has redeemed all penitent souls; Christ has redeemed all believing souls; and Christ has redeemed the souls of all those who die in infancy, seeing it is to be received, that all those who die in infancy are written in the Lamb's book of life, and are graciously privileged by God to go at once to heaven, instead to toiling through this weary world. The souls of all those who were written before all worlds in the Lamb's book of life, who in process of time are humbled before God, who in due course are led to lay hold of Christ Jesus as the only refuge of their souls, who hold on their way, and ultimately attain to heaven; these, I believe, were redeemed, and I must firmly and solemnly believe the souls of none other men were in that sense subjects of redemption. I do not hold the doctrine that Judas was redeemed; I could not conceive my Saviour bearing the punishment for Judas, or if so how could Judas be punished again. I could not conceive it possible that God should exact first at Christ's hands the penalty of his sin, and then at the sinner's hands again. I cannot conceive for a moment that Christ should have shed his blood in vain; and though I have read in the books of certain divines, that Christ's blood is fuel for the flames of hell, I have shuddered at the thought, and have cast it from me as being a dreadful assertion, perhaps worthy of those who made it, but utterly unsupported by the Word of God. The souls of God's people, whoever they may be, and they are a multitude that no man can number—and I could fondly hope they are all of you—are redeemed effectually. Briefly, they are redeemed in three ways. They are redeemed from the guilt of sin, from the punishment of sin, and from the power of sin. The souls of Christ's people have guilt on account of sin, until they are redeemed; but when once redemption is applied to my soul, my sins are every one of them from that moment for ever blotted out."
Delivered at Exeter Hall, Strand, by the
REV. C. H. Spurgeon.
"With him is plenteous redemption."—Psalm 103:7.
Now, ye who have sold for nought your glorious heritage; ye who have been carried bondslaves into Satan's dominion; ye who have worn the fetters of guilt and groaned under them; ye who have smarted beneath the lash of the law; what the news of redemption has been to slaves and captives, that will it be to you to-night. It will cheer your souls and gladden your spirits, and more especially so when that rich adjective is coupled with it—"plenteous redemption."
I shall commence in this way, by asking, What has Christ redeemed? And in order to let you know what my views are upon this subject, I would announce at once what I conceive to be an authoritative doctrine, consistent with common sense, and declared to us by Scripture, namely, that whatever Christ has redeemed, Christ will most assuredly have. I start with that as an axiom, that whatever Christ ahs redeemed, Christ must have. I hold it to be repugnant to reason, and much more to revelation, that Christ should die to purchase what he never shall obtain; and I hold it to be little less than blasphemy to assert that the intention of our Saviour's death can ever be frustrated. Whatever was Christ's intention when he died—we lay it down as a very groundwork truth, which ought to be granted to us by every reasonable man—that Christ will most certainly gain. I cannot see how it can be that the intention of God in anything can be frustrated. We have always thought God to be so superior to creatures, that when he has once intended a thing, it must most assuredly be accomplished; and if I have that granted to me, I cannot for a moment allow you to imagine that Christ should shed his blood in vain; that he should die with an intention of doing something, and yet should not perform it; that he should die with a full intention in his heart, and with a promise on the part of God, that a certain thing should be given to him as a reward of his sufferings, and yet should fail to obtain it. I start with that; and I think that everyone who will weigh the matter, and truly consider it, must see it to be so, that Christ's intention in his death must be fulfilled, and that the design of God, whatever that may be, must certainly be carried out. Well then, I believe that the efficacy of Christ's blood knows no other limit than the purpose of God. I believe that the efficacy of Christ's atonement is just as great as God meant it should be, and that what Christ redeemed is precisely what he meant to redeem, and exactly what the Father had decreed he should redeem. Therefore I cannot for one moment give any credence whatever to that doctrine which tells us that all men are redeemed. Some may hold it, as I know they do, and hold it very strongly, and even urge it as being a fundamental part of the doctrine of revelation. They are welcome to it; this is a land of liberty. Let them hold their views, but I must tell them solemnly my persuasion, that they cannot hold such doctrine if they do but well consider the matter; for if they once believe in universal redemption, they are driven to the blasphemous inference that God's intention is frustrated, and that Christ has not received what he died to procure. If, therefore, they can believe that, I will give them credit for being able to believe anything; and I shall not despair of seeing them landed at the Salt Lake, or in any other region where enthusiasm and credulity can flourish without the checks of ridicule or reason.
And trusts in his crucified Lord,
His pardon at once he receives,
Salvation in full through his blood."
The guilt of our sin is taken away by the redemption of Christ. Whatever sin you may have committed, the moment you believe in Christ, not only will you never be punished for that sin, but the very guilt of that sin is taken from you. You cease to be in God's sight any longer a guilty person; you are reckoned by God as a justified believer to have the righteousness of Christ about you; and therefore, you can say—to recal a verse which we often repeat—
My Saviour's blood's my full discharge;
At his dear feet my soul I lay,
A sinner saved, and homage pay."
And mark, next: not only the guilt, but the punishment of sin is taken away. In fact, when we cease to be guilty, we cease to be the objects of punishment altogether. Take away the guilt, the punishment is gone; but to make it more effectual, it is as it were written over again, that condemnation is taken away, as well as the sin for which we might be condemned. "There is, therefore, now, no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus." None of those who were redeemed by Christ can ever be damned; they can never be punished on account of sin, for Christ has suffered their punishment in their stead, and therefore, they cannot, unless God be unjust, be sued a second time for debts already paid. If Christ their ransom died, they cannot die; if he, their surety, paid their debt, then unto God's justice they owe no longer anything, for Christ hath paid it all. If he hath shed his blood, if he hath yielded up the ghost, if he hath "died, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God," how, then, would God be just, and yet the punisher of those whom he has already punished once in the person of Jesus Christ their Saviour? No beloved, through the plenteous redemtion of Christ we are delivered from all punishment on account of sin, and from all guilt which we had incurred thereby.
2. Now let us think of the second thing Christ has redeemed. Christ has redeemed the bodies of all his children. In that day when Christ redeemed our souls, he redeemed the tabernacles in which our souls dwell. At the same moment when the spirit was redeemed by blood, Christ who gave his human soul and his human body to death, purchased the body as well as the soul of every believer. You ask, then, in what way redemption operates upon the body of the believer. I answer, first, it ensures it a resurrection. Those for whom Christ died, are ensured by his death a glorious resurrection. "As in Adam all die, even so in Christ, shall all be made alive." All men are by virtue of the death of Christ quickened to a resurrection, but even here there is a special property of the elect, seeing that they are quickened to a blessed resurrection, whilst others are quickened only to a cursed resurrection; a resurrection of woe, a resurrection of unutterable anguish. O Christian, thy body is redeemed.
"What though thine inbred sins require
Thy flesh to see the dust,
Yet, as the Lord thy Saviour rose,
So all his followers must."
What! though in a little time I shall slumber in the tomb, though worms devour this body, I know that my Redeemer liveth, and because he lives I know that in my flesh I shall see God. These eyes which soon shall be glazed in death, shall not be always closed in darkness; death shall be made to give back his prey; he shall restore all that he has taken. Lo, I see him there! He hath the bodies of the just locked up in his dungeons; they are wrapped up in their cerements, and he thinks they are secure: he has sealed their tombs and marked them for his own. O death! foolish death! thy caskets shall be rifled; thy storehouses shall be broken open. Lo, the morning is come! Christ hath descended from on high. I hear the trump, "Awake! Awake!" and lo! from their tombs, the righteous start; while death sits in confusion howling in vain, to find his empire all bereft of its subjects, to find all his dungeons rifled of their prey. "Precious shall their blood be in his sight;" precious shall be their bones! their very dust is blessed, and Christ shall raise them with himself. Think of that, ye that have lost friends—ye weeping children of sorrow! your redeemed friends shall live again. The very hands that grasped yours with a death clutch, shall grasp them in paradise; those very eyes that wept themselves away in tears, shall, with eye-strings that never shall be broken, wake up in the noon-day of felicity. That very frame which thou didst sorrowfully convey, with dread attire of funeral, to bury in its tomb—yes, that selfsame body, made like the image of Jesus Christ, spiritualized and changed, but nevertheless the selfsame body, shall rise again; and thou, if thou art redeemed, shalt see it, for Christ has purchased it, and Christ shall not die in vain. Death will not have one bone of the righteous—nay, not a particle of their dust—nay, not a hair of their heads. It shall all come back. Christ has purchased all our body, and the whole body shall be completed, and united for ever in heaven with the glorified soul. The bodies of the righteous are redeemed, and redeemed for eternal happiness.
3. In the next place, all the possessions of the righteous which were lost in Adam are redeemed. Adam! where art thou? I have a controversy with thee, man, for I have lost much by thee. Come thou hither. Adam! thou seest what thou art now, tell me what thou once wast; then I shall know what I have lost by thee, and then I shall be able to thank my Master that all thou didst lose he has freely bought back to all believers. What didst thou lose? "Alas!" cries Adam, "I had a crown once; I was king of all the world; the beasts crouched at my feet and did me reverence; God made me, that I might have supreme command over the cattle upon the hills, and over all fowls of the air; but I lost my crown. I had a mitre once," said Adam, "for I was a priest to God, and ofttimes in the morning did I climb the hills, and sing sweet orisons of praise to him that made me. My censer of praise hath often smoked with incense, and my voice has been sweet with praise.
'These are thy glorious works, parent of good,
Almighty, thine this universal frame,
Thus wondrous fair; thyself how wondrous then;'
"Thou hast redeemed our souls with blood,
Hast set the prisoners free;
Hast made us kings and priests to God,
And we shall reign with thee."
Just what Adam lost: the kingship and the priesthood of Christ, is won for all his believing people. And what else didst thou lose, Adam? "Why, I lost paradise." Hush, man! say nothing upon that; for Christ hath bought me a paradise worth ten thousand such Edens as thine. So we can well forgive thee that. And what else didst thou lose? "Why, I lost the image of my Maker." Ah! hush, Adam! In Jesus christ we have something more that that; for we have the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ, and sure that is even better than the image of the Maker, for it is the very dress and robe that the Maker wore. So, Adam, all that thou hast lost I have again. Christ has redeemed all that we sold for nought. I, who have sold for nought a heritage divine, shall have it back unbought,—the gift of love, says Christ, e'en mine. Oh! hear it, then! The trump of Jubilee is blown; Christ hath redeemed the lost possesions of his people.
4. And now I come to the last thing that Christ has redeemed, though not the last point of the discourse. Christ has redeemed this world. "Well, now," says one, "that is strange, sir; you are going to contradict yourself flatly." Stop a moment. Understand what I mean by the world, if you please. We do not mean every man, in it; we never pretended such a thing. But I will tell you how Christ has redeemed the world. When Adam fell God cursed the world with barrenness. "Thorns also and briars shall it bring forth unto thee, and in the sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat bread." God cursed the earth. When Christ came into the world they twisted a crown made of the cursed thorn, and they put that on his head, and made him king of the curse; and in that day he purchased the redemption of the world from its curse; and it is my very belief, and I think it is warranted by Scripture, that when Christ shall come a second time, this world will become everywhere as fertile as the garden of Paradise used to be. I believe that Sahara, the literal desert, shall one day blossom like Sharon, and rejoice like the garden of the Lord. I do not conceive that this poor world is to be a forlorn planetary wanderer for ever; I believe that she is yet to be clothed with verdure, such as she once wore. We have evidences in the beds of coal underneath the earth, that this world was once much more fertile than it is now. Gigantic trees once spread their mighty arms, and I had almost said one arm of a tree in that day would have builded half a forest for us now. Then mighty creatures, far different from ours, stalked through the earth; and I believe firmly that a luxuriant vegetation, such as this world once knew shall be restored to us, and that we shall see again a garden such as we have not known. No more cursed with blight and mildew, with no more blast and withering, we shall see a land like heaven itself—
"Where everlasting spring abides,
And never withering flowers."
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