The Work of the Lord
Jesus Christ in Our Salvation
L. R. Shelton, Jr.
These messages were delivered over
THE WORD OF TRUTH RADIO NETWORK
In previous weeks we have been setting before you the need of the work of God the Holy Spirit in applying God’s Word to our hearts and using His holy law as a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ for salvation. This need is pressed upon us throughout the Scripture because of our sinfulness before the Holy God, because of the utter ruin of our fall in Adam and because of our dead, hopeless condition outside of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We have shown you in our messages on The Law of God in Our Salvation that by the law is the knowledge of sin, and that the law was given that we might know the exceeding sinfulness of sin. Also we have shown you that the Holy Spirit was given that He might convince us of sin and free our wills so we might seek the Savior Whom God Himself has provided, even His eternal Son the Lord Jesus Christ.
We desire by the grace of God to follow those messages with this series on THE WORK OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IN OUR SALVATION by showing first, God’s eternal purpose in giving us Christ, His Son, as our Substitute, third, Christ as our Federal Representative in substitution and fourth, the great truth of imputation by Christ’s substitution.
So in these messages I would be pleased to set before our hearts the glory, the beauty, the majesty, the love, and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ as our Blessed Substitute, the One sent down by the Father, to gather to Himself by His death and resurrection His people whom the Father had given Him before the foundation of the world (John 17:6,9,11,12, and John 6:37).
My dear friend, the purpose of God in Christ Jesus to bring many sons into glory was not just an after-thought of God, but was His eternal purpose as set before us in language plain to understand upon the pages of Holy Writ. Listen now as we set before you the eternal decrees of our sovereign God in His purpose to save sinners by and through the substitutionary death of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In II Tim. 1:9-10 we read: God “hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began; but is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” You will note in verse 9 that God has done something: that is, He issued an holy calling, which calling is unto His salvation; and this is not done according to our works, for we have shown you many times before from Scripture that we are dead sinners, and therefore can bring forth nothing that will commend us to God. No dear friend, this holy calling unto salvation in Christ Jesus shown us here is according to His own purpose and grace; for all the whys and wherefores are of Him, the purpose is in Himself, the reason for the salvation of poor sinners is found only in Him, based only upon His marvelous, matchless grace. And dear friend, when we say grace, WE HAVE RULED OUT ALL MERIT, NO MERIT IN YOU AND I AT ALL!
Let us go further! Not only is this salvation to be according to God’s purpose and flowing out of His heart of love-through His grace-but this salvation was to be invested in ONE PERSON: and that Person was the eternal Son of His bosom, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Scriptures plainly declare that SALVATION IS IN NONE OTHER; “for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Salvation is only in the Name and Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Listen to it again and rejoice! The purpose of God in Christ to save poor sinners was given us in Christ before the world began; therefore God’s eternal purpose cannot be brought to naught and consequently our blessed Lord can say in John 6:37: “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out.” And again in His High Priestly prayer to the Father in John 17 He can say, “those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost;” for “my sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I gave unto them eternal life: and they shall NEVER PERISH” (Jn. 10:27).
This same truth of God’s eternal purpose is set forth in Eph. 1 where we read that God chose His people in Christ before the foundation of the world. And for what reason? “that we should be holy and without blame before him” (vs. 4); and in vs. 5 we read: in love he “predestined us unto adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself;” which was done “according to the good pleasure of his will.” And for what purpose? that it would be “to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved” (vs. 6). This blesses my heart to know that the salvation God gives in Christ reaches from eternity past to eternity future.
The reason God has done this for poor sinners is out of the love of His heart, for we read in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” And this SALVATION FROM SIN unto everlasting life through the substitutionary death of God’s only begotten Son, was “according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Eph. 1:11). And my friend, if you would meditate upon Eph. 1:8-10, you would see very clearly that it was God the Father’s good pleasure-something He purposed in Himself-that in the fulness of times He would send His only begotten Son to die in the place of His people so He might gather together in One all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth. It was God’s eternal purpose to head up all things in Jesus of Nazareth the Christ of God. This eternal purpose led our Blessed Lord by the way of the cross where He would pour out His life’s blood as our Substitute, that in love to our souls He would deliver us from the pit of corruption, cast all our sins behind His back, reconcile us unto God and present us perfect in Himself forever before the courts of heaven.
To further set forth this great truth of the eternal purpose of God in Christ in making Him our Substitute, we read in Heb. 13:20 these words: “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant.” We see here that God has a covenant, which is an everlasting covenant, signed and sealed with the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ; and those for whom this covenant was made are all His blood-bought ones. This is made known by these words in I Pet. 1:18-19: “Ye know that ye were...redeemed...with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.”
Yes, this everlasting covenant made by God with Christ for the salvation of His people, who are poor sinners, was made in eternity and reaches to eternity. It was signed in the blood of Christ Who became Surety for all His people. He gave Himself, He pledged Himself, to come die the death of the cross and go to hell for His people. He did this back in eternity before the foundation of the world. Therefore in time He came, born of a woman, made under the law, so He might save His people from their sins (Gal. 4:4).
His name was called Jesus-Saviour, Deliverer-“for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). He said in prophecy through David “a body hast thou prepared me...Lo, I came (in the volume of the book it is written of me) to do thy will, O God” (Heb. 10:5,7). Then we read of Him in Phil. 2:6-8: “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
Yes, our blessed Lord CAME, for “without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness: GOD WAS MANIFEST IN THE FLESH, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (I Tim. 3:16).
Praise be to His holy Name! Christ Jesus our Lord CAME; He came to do the Father’s will: to lay down His life as an offering for the sins of His people; therefore we praise, love, adore, honor and obey Him, for He is the King of kings and Lord of lords. All glory and honor and praise is given unto Him on earth and in heaven. No wonder the saints in heaven and upon earth sing a “new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth” (Rev. 5:9-10); and “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing” (Rev. 5:12).
Yes, and while on earth each one of these saints were made to know their sinnership before God, counting all things as dung that they may know Christ Who gave Himself for them. Listen to one of them specking in Phil. 3:7-10 as he describes what they all experienced! “What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.” Why? “for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith, that I may know him.”
Oh what grace, what mercy then to be enabled by the grace of God and the operation of the Holy Spirit within us to fall at the feet of the crucified, risen Lord and crown Him King; to fall at His feet in repentance, confessing our guilty heart and life, laying down the arms of our rebellion and crying: “I surrender all, I surrender all my Lord, I want Thee above all earthly pleasures and joys, I want Thee above father, mother, sister, brother, wife, husband, children, self and the world. Here is my will, break it; here is my heart, it shall be Thy throne; here is my life, do with it as Thou dost please. If Thou didst leave heaven’s heights to come to earth’s depths to die in my place, then Lord, I yield all I have and all I am up to Thee; nothing will I withhold, all to Thee I give; Thou hast won my heart, I am thine forever.”
So we see then that the SUBSTITUTION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST WAS THE ETERNAL PURPOSE OF GOD, carried out in time; for God “hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (II Cor. 5:21).
Oh my dear friend, if indeed the living God has worked in your heart, then you should praise Him that He did it according to the good pleasure of His will and to the praise of the glory of His grace.
Dearly beloved friends in radio land, I praise the Lord for this opportunity to again share with you the truth about the precious Lord Jesus Who loved me and gave Himself for me.
I desire again today to declare unto you that the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s beloved Son, is precious. Yes, “unto you therefore which believe, he is precious” (I Pet. 2:7). I have found Him to be precious to my never-dying soul, and I labor in His vineyard by His grace that you too may know Him in His preciousness to your soul.
In our continued messages on the general theme THE WORK OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IN OUR SALVATION, I have been led today to consider the reconciliation work of our Lord Jesus, through the shedding of His precious blood. We read in I Peter 1:18-19 these words: “Ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things as silver and gold...but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
In our Lord’s work of redemption, reconciliation came first; for it is by Christ our Substitute that we are reconciled to God. This is brought out in II Cor. 5:18-19 in these words: “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.”
To understand what reconciliation by the blood of Christ means to you and me, let us consider these things together today: FIRST, let us consider the act of sin, which made reconciliation by the blood of Christ necessary. In all the work of Christ, and above all in reconciliation, GOD’S OBJECT IS THE REMOVAL AND DESTRUCTION OF SIN. Therefore the knowledge of sin in our heart and nature is necessary for the knowledge of reconciliation.
When man fell into sin in Adam, he, by the law of sin, was brought under the power of sin and separated from God. Therefore the effect of sin on God was terrible and disastrous. And what was the effect of sin upon God? It is this: SIN IS DISOBEDIENCE, A CONTEMPT FOR THE AUTHORITY OF GOD. It seeks to rob God of His honor as God and Lord. Also SIN IS DETERMINED OPPOSITION TO A HOLY GOD, therefore it not only can, but must, awaken God’s wrath. It has changed God’s relationship toward man and has made us God’s enemies. You see, while it was God’s desire to continue in love and fellowship with man, sin has COMPELLED Him to become our opponent. Although the love of God toward man remains unchanged, sin made it impossible for Him to admit man into fellowship with Himself. It has compelled Him to pour upon man His wrath, curse and punishment instead of His love. The change which sin has caused in God’s relationship to man is awful.
This being so, then each one of us stands guilty before God as trespassing His rights and laws. Therefore God cannot disregard His own demand that sin must be punished; and His glory, which has been dishonored, must be upheld. So as long as the debt of sin is not paid, nor the guilty removed, then it is impossible for the Holy God to allow sinners to come into His presence.
The question we ask then is, “How can we be delivered from the guilt which is heaped up before God? Can the guilt of sin be removed? Can the effect of sin upon God, in awakening His wrath, be removed?” Yes, dear friend, these things can be done: and when they are done, the power of sin will be broken in us; we are then at liberty to come into the presence of God. How? I praise the Lord this can be done through reconciliation, by the substitutionary death of Christ, by the shedding of His precious blood. And this, dear friend, is THE SUBSTANCE OF THE GOSPEL, CHRIST BECOMING OUR SUBSTITUTE.
Listen now! In reconciliation by the blood of Christ, our sins are so covered and the guilt of sin so removed that the original relationship between God and man can be entirely restored. It so removes the guilt of sin-that which awakens God’s wrath-that man can now draw near to God in the blessed assurance that there is no longer the least guilt resting on him to keep him from His presence.
Brethren, this is the essence of the gospel, the good news brought down from heaven: God can be just in justifying a poor, repenting, believing sinner, because Christ has made us one in His death, burial and resurrection and has brought us unto God as reconciled to Him.
The wonder of this all is that the holy wrath of God and the holy love of God both find satisfaction in the work of Christ in the shedding of His precious blood for our sins. You see, the holy love of God was unwilling to let man go. In spite of all his sins, LOVE WOULD NOT GIVE HIM UP; he must be redeemed. On the other hand, THE HOLY WRATH OF GOD WOULD NOT SURRENDER ITS DEMANDS FOR PUNISHMENT of the sinner, because the law of God had been broken and dishonored and God’s standards therein must be upheld. There could be no thought of releasing the sinner as long as the law of God was not satisfied. The terrible effect of sin in heaven on God must be removed, otherwise the sinner could not be delivered. The only salvation then that could satisfy both God’s holy love and His holy wrath was RECONCILIATION BY SUBSTITUTION.
This satisfaction of both the wrath of God and the love of God could take place only through a divine Substitute. This is the essence of the gospel, the GOOD NEWS that One has taken my place as a sinner and died beneath my sins. This the Lord Jesus Christ has done for poor sinners, for me. By His own blood He entered once into the holy place, having made eternal redemption for me(Heb. 9:12). Praise the Lord that in this redemptive work of Christ God is satisfied and so am I. I have rested my eternal, never-dying soul upon Christ and His work in death and resurrection; upon Christ and His complete satisfaction to the broken law of God I am resting my weary, sin-tossed, guilty soul. He is all I need, all I want and all God requires for both time and eternity. Yes, God’s righteousness demands full payment for His broken law, and His love in Christ’s death satisfied it; and I am satisfied. My Substitute has paid my sin-debt in full and God cannot collect my sin-debt twice: from the hands of my Surety, the Lord Jesus Christ, and then from me.
“Oh Pastor, how do you KNOW this?” I know it because the Word of God declares that the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished it for me. He rendered, in fullest measure of obedience and punishment, all that the law of God could ever ask or desire. The law was perfectly satisfied by Him. This is what the Word of God tells me. This is what the Holy Spirit bears witness to in my heart and life. You see, the Holy Spirit assures to me what the blood of Christ has secured for me. They work together; for you see, according to Rom. 8:16 the Holy Spirit “beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God,” through the reconciliatory work of the Lord Jesus Christ at the cross and the empty tomb.
You might say, “Pastor, but I have never known this reality, this experiential reality of the work of Christ for me in bringing me back to God.” This I can understand because I have been there, for until sin was made real to me I had no real need of Christ. Dear friend, you have not experienced this because you have not truly become a lost sinner before God; for Christ came only to seek and to save those that are LOST. You have never been lost so you have never been found. If you have never been lost spiritually, and Christ found you as you cried unto Him for mercy, you would know it, rejoice in it, and walk in the experiential knowledge of it the rest of the days of your life.
Also if you had ever known yourself to be a guilty, hell-deserving sinner before God, and God saved you for Christ sake, and pardoned you from all your sins, you would know it. It would be a thing remembered and rejoiced in before God.
Also if you had ever known the burden of sin and that no matter what you did or tried, you could not get rid of it; and then God for Christ’s sake gave you faith to look away to the Lord Jesus Christ Who bore that burden of sin in His own body upon the tree, you would know it. It would be a thing remembered and rejoiced in the rest of the days of your life.
Also if you had laid at the feet of a sin-hating God and mourned over your sins, your far distance from God-mourned over the way you had treated God and made Him to look upon your wicked, vile heart; and then He for Christ’s sake heard your cry and delivered your poor, never-dying soul from going down into the pit, you would know it, remember it and rejoice in the experiential knowledge of it the rest of the days of your life.
Yes, to those whom God saves by His grace, He gives the assurance that He has blotted out as a thick cloud their trespasses because the blood of the Son of God has secured this blessing for them.
This to me is the greatest blessing of all: that I can walk in the knowledge of sins forgiven, that I can commune with God at the mercy seat through Jesus Christ my Lord. You see, it is no good that I know that Christ shed His precious blood for Peter and Paul, James and John, but oh to know that He shed it for me: this is where the blessing lies.
Therefore when I hear from God’s Word that He invites me to come to Him, that He says, “Come now, and let us reason together saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isa. 1:18); then I want to come to Him just as I am.
My poor soul, you cannot make yourself one bit better; come to Christ as you are, cry after Him, tell Him your need, for He will hear and do His work in you by His Holy Spirit.
Perfect reconciliation has been made to God by Christ, so HE INVITES YOU TO COME to Him. He alone can save, so I invite you to look away from yourself and look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of saving and keeping faith; look to Him to do the work which only He by His Spirit can do in you. Repent and believe in Him.
We desire by the grace of God to continue these messages on the general theme THE WORK OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IN OUR SALVATION.
Rom. 5:12-21 describes one of the most important truths of the Bible. It is the fundamental doctrine of federal representation, and the fact of imputation. It reads: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law, sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed where there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace, and of the gift of righteousness, shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore, as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover, the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign, through righteousness, unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Here in these words is revealed the basic principle of how God deals with the human race. Here we see the old and the new races receiving from their respective heads-the first and the last Adam-all that they did for them. Here are the two central figures and facts of history, the first Adam and his disobedience, and the last Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ, and His obedience.
Listen as we go into this great truth of IMPUTATION as set forth in these verses, which I believe are the most important verses in God’s Word. In Rom. 5:12 we read: “By one man” [the first Adam] “sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” In verse 15 we read: “Much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.” Watch the comparison and contrast!
Verse 16: By one man [Adam] came condemnation; by one Man [Jesus Christ] came justification. Verse 17: by one man [Adam] came death; by one Man [Jesus Christ] came life. Verse 19: by one man’s disobedience [by Adam] many were made sinners; by one Man’s obedience [by Jesus Christ] many shall be made righteous. Verse 20: by one man [Adam] sin abounded; by one Man [Jesus Christ] grace did much more abound. Verse 21: by the first Adam sin hath reigned unto death; by the last Adam, Jesus Christ, grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life.
Surely then we have here the gracious truth of imputation: the first Adam stands as the federal head of the sinful human race, and what Adam did passes on to all his race. So the Lord Jesus Christ, the last Adam, stands as the Federal Head of the redeemed race, and what He did as the last Adam passes on to all His people. They both stand as our representatives. Therefore if we never acknowledge the first Adam as our representative and know that we became sinners in him, then we will never know anything of the blessings that the second Adam bought for us by His death, burial and resurrection as our representative.
Before we go any further, let me show you that this truth of imputation is also spoken of elsewhere in Scripture. We find in Rom. 4:3-8: “...Abraham believed God, and it was counted [imputed] unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted [imputed] for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not imput sin.”
We find here that Abraham was saved not by any righteous acts of his own, but by the grace of God in Christ; and that when he believed God and trusted Him, then God’s righteousness was imputed to his account in heaven. Also, we see here that no more were his sins imputed to him, but were imputed to the account of Christ; that is they were put to the account of Christ; they were laid upon Him.
We see then in our Scriptures in Rom. 5 that by the sin of Adam we were all brought under guilt and condemnation. Adam was not a mere private individual, but the head and representative of all mankind. What he did in eating the forbidden fruit as recorded in Gen. 3 is imputed unto us-put to our account- as though it had been done by us; and therefore we are subjected to the punishment that was pronounced against his transgression: “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen. 2:17).
This is confirmed over and over again in Rom. 5:12-19; listen as we give it to you again! This is important, don’t miss it, for if we know nothing about the imputation of Adam’s sin to us, then we will know nothing about the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to our account in heaven. Verse 12: “by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” Verse 15: “...through the offence of one, many be dead;” verse 16: “...the judgment was by one to condemnation;” verse 18: “...by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation;” verse 19: “by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners;” verse 20: by one man, “sin abounded;” verse 21: by one man, “sin hath reigned unto death.”
This truth of imputation of sin and death can be proved with one simple truth. Listen! Death, that is, physical death, has passed on all men. The death of infants demonstrates this truth, for nothing is plainer than the fact that God will not inflict punishment where there is no guilt (Ezek. 18:20), but He does inflict punishment-even death itself-on infants who cannot possible have committed sin in their own person. For whose sin then is this punishment inflicted? for the sin of Adam, the first parent, who was the head and representative of all mankind; and this is what Rom. 5:12-19 is teaching us.
The law which pronounced death as the penalty of transgressions was not given to Adam only, but to us also; therefore having transgressed the law in Adam, we are considered sinners and are subjected to all the penalties of sin, for it is written: “...it is appointed unto men once to die” (Heb. 9:27).
Now the first death [physical], we die because of Adam’s sin; the second death [separation from God] we will die for our own sins, those committed personally, unless we be found in the second Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ, before we die.
Yes, Adam as our representative opened the door through which sin and death entered and seized us all. All of our suffering, pain, sorrow and heartaches came in because of sin; by this one man’s disobedience it came upon all of us.
All manner of sin-hatred, bitterness, wickedness, murder, backbiting, deceit, spitefulness and pride-all came in Adam. All the inventions of evil things: drunkenness, drugs, torture, war, famine, sickness, insanity, debauched lives, broken homes, broken marriages, hungry children, butchered babies, covetousness, greed and all manner of lustful acts came in by Adam. Yes, the first Adam by his disobedience opened the door to the floodgates of sin, and then hell opened her mouth to receive all of the disobedient sons of Adam. Dear friend, this is the way sin entered into this world and death by sin.
I understand what you are thinking, which is this: “I am not to blame then for what I do.” yes, you are, because you are a responsible creature before God. To reject the fact of God’s Word that Adam acted as your representative is to also reject the only way out of your situation of sin and that is by another REPRESENTATIVE, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is able to impute to you His righteousness.
You see, my friend, the Lord is to be praised that He did not sit idly by and let the whole human race perish; for this is what we deserve. But in love to our souls, He came in person of His Son as the last Adam, the Lord from glory, and opened the door, a door off mercy for poor sinners.
Listen now as we go back over our verses in Rom. 5 and see what the second Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ, brought in for His people as their Federal Head: verse 15: “...much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many;” verse 16: by one Man [Jesus Christ] came justification; verse 17: by one Man’s [Jesus Christ’s] obedience came life; verse 19: by one Man’s [Jesus Christ’s] obedience many shall be made righteous; verse 20: by one Man [Jesus Christ] “grace did much more abound;” grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life.
We see then that Christ is given to us as a second Covenant Head. He became the Head of the spiritual seed, for all His spiritual seed are included in Him; and all that He did or suffered is put to their account as though they themselves had done or suffered that which He did.
The Scripture teaching then is this: Christ’s entire righteousness is imputed to His people for justification precisely as Adam’s disobedience is imputed to us for condemnation. This to me is one of the greatest truths of God’s Word: that all Christ did while He was here on earth was done IN MY STEAD, IN MY PLACE, IN MY NAME so I can say, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but CHRIST LIVETH IN ME: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). Yes, the Scriptures teach that all my sins were imputed to Christ upon the cross, for He bore my sins in His own body upon the tree, and all His righteousness was imputed to me.
In use the first person here because this is what He has done for me, but all of God’s children can speck in the first person because it is a living reality to them that Christ took their place.
So the Scriptures plainly teach that Christ became our Substitute that He might bring us back to God. In order to do this, He must needs die in the place of His people. But this He was willing to do that in Him many sons would be brought into glory by His resurrection from the grave (John 10:17,18; Heb. 2:9-10).
By His death, burial and resurrection the Lord Jesus Christ brought in life, hope, and salvation from the power and penalty of sin. Where sin reigned in our mortal bodies and we obeyed it through the lust of the flesh, our blessed Lord came in with the power of His blood and set us free from the law of sin and death. He gives us a new heart and a new nature like unto His and gives us victory over sin, death and hell.
PRAISE THE LORD HE DOES NOT LEAVE US TO OURSELVES, but sends His Holy Spirit to make us willing in the day of His power to lay down our arms of rebellion, to leave Adam’s representation and to come to Christ Who is the appointed One of God to bring us back to Himself.
He commands us to repent and believe. He commands us to forsake our sinful ways and our sinful thoughts and to return unto Him Who abundantly pardon. He gives us this grace to lay down our arms of rebellion. He gives us the hatred for sin; He gives us the desire after Christ and a cry after His righteousness. He puts within us the power to crown Jesus Christ Lord. He gives us the faith to believe to the saving of the soul; He saves and keeps and delivers by His marvelous grace. He works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure.
You see, dear friend, if left to ourselves, we would be lost forever in Adam and with Adam we would be in hell; but praise the Lord He has not only made salvation possible for us in Christ, but has also given the power to perform all that He commands us to do, for SALVATION IS OF THE LORD.
Praise God for Jesus Christ our blessed Lord, the second Adam, Who as our Federal Head has imputed His righteousness to every repenting, believing sinner. This, dear friend, is all of grace, the gift of God worked in us by His Holy Spirit.
What a privilege to be enabled by God’s grace to again come into your homes with another message from God’s Word! We desire again to share with you these messages on the general theme THE WORK OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IN OUR SALVATION.
Last week you remember we spoke to you from Rom. 5 on the subject of Imputation, showing how by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. Adam being the federal head of the human race stood for them; therefore when he sinned and fell, he brought all of the human race into bondage with him and into the consequences of his transgression, which was eternal separation from God.
But, praise the Lord, we also showed you from that same 5th chapter of Romans that God was not taken by surprise when Adam sinned and fell, but had from eternity prepared Himself another Federal Head in the Lord Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son Who was willing to come and die in behalf of His people that He might bring many redeemed souls into heaven with Him.
So we understand from Scripture that this blessed doctrine of imputation not only works in our behalf, by Adam’s sin being imputed to us, but it also works in our behalf by the free grace of our God being given to us in Christ and His perfect righteousness being imputed to us in the new birth.
Therefore this brings us to our text for today as we continue these messages and look again at the blessed truth of IMPUTATION. In II Cor. 5:21 we read: God “hath made him [Christ] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” What our text plainly declares unto us in this: God has done something for us-something we could not have done ourselves-which consisted in His providing a Substitute for us, One Who was willing to DIE OUR DEATH and to go to the hell that we should have gone to, that we might be enabled by the power of grace to stand justified before Him in the righteousness of Another. He did this so He could be just in justifying poor sinners who come to Him through Christ.
God has done this BY HIS POWER according to His own gracious loving heart He has done this. He has overcome all obstacles, removed all barriers and cast down all opposition that He, out of His goodness, could save poor hell- deserving sinners like you and me. It is all of God’s work in this matter of reconciliation, in this matter of imputation, in this matter of substitution, in this matter of salvation. For you see, salvation is of the Lord. I repeat it again: GOD HAS DONE THIS. The problem of sin necessitated that God and God alone do this if ever any poor sinner out of Adam’s race would be saved.
Yes, if we could have produced a righteousness that God could have accepted, then He would never have come to this earth; He would never have died. If there had been any other way for poor sinners to be saved, He would never have come to die. But there was no other way BECAUSE WE WERE DEAD in trespasses and sin and must be quickened; we must be made alive by the power of God.
Our text also shows us it is in Christ that God has done this, making a way of salvation by substitution. It is ALL IN CHRIST; apart from Him there is no salvation, no peace, no hope, no deliverance, no mercy, no putting away of sin. The theme of the whole Bible is this: that God’s salvation which He gives to poor, hell-deserving sinners is by blood and by power: by the blood of the cross of Christ and by the quickening power of His Holy Spirit. page 22 Let me repeat it again and again: Only by Christ, in Christ, and through Christ, our divine Substitute, are we brought back to God. There is no other name, NO OTHER WAY, no other righteousness, no other blood whereby we might be saved (Acts 4:12). This the Scriptures plainly declare over and over again.
Also the Scriptures keep on emphasizing that it is all of GRACE. “By grace ye are saved” (Eph. 2:5); nothing of ourselves; it is wholly and completely of God’s sovereign, free grace. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us” (Titus 3:5), based upon His free sovereign grace.
Oh what a wonder, that God would so provide such a salvation for poor hell- deserving sinners! That it would be wholly and completely through His blood, wholly and completely given to us out of a heart of overflowing love, for we do not deserve God’s salvation; He has provided it for poor sinners out of a heart of love. His Word declares that He justifies us freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Rom. 3:24).
Oh what a wonder, that His salvation is given to us FREELY in Christ without cause or reason in us at all! The Scriptures plainly declare that there is in us nothing that would commend us unto God; nothing but that which would compel Him to cast us into hell for eternity. He sees nothing in us but sin, pure, undisguised sin, which is rebellion against His authority and hatred toward His Person. He sees sin in all of its blackness of pride, lust, unbelief, covetousness, envy, strive and confusion.
But yet He condescended to come and die beneath all of our sins and have those sins imputed to Himself so He could impute His perfect righteousness to our account, that God might be just in justifying us and absolving us from all our sins for Christ’s sake. He did all this so we might be partakers of His divine nature and that we might forever be free from the power, penalty and presence of sin. Praise His Holy Name, my heart rejoices in Him and His salvation!
If the Scriptures teach anything, they teach this gracious truth of imputation based upon substitution: that our sins-the sins of every repenting, believing sinner-were imputed to Christ, and His righteousness was imputed to us, based upon His substitutionary death, burial and resurrection.
Listen now as we show you from Scripture how faithfully and freely Christ acted on behalf of those who believe in Him. Watch the word “for”, and let us see Christ as our Substitute as He gave Himself FOR us, for me. In specking to His disciples at the last supper in Luke 22:19-20, He presented the bread of the supper as the type of His body which He said, “is given FOR you” and the cup as a type of His blood, which is “shed FOR you.”
In John 10:15 we hear Christ saying, “I lay down my life FOR the sheep.” In John 10:11 He says, “the good shepherd giveth his life FOR the sheep.” As the Good Shepherd He voluntarily laid down His life FOR His sheep, in the place of His sheep, that they could be members of His fold. The Good Shepherd died FOR the sheep. He became what they are, SIN, that they may be what He is, RIGHTEOUSNESS. It is indeed an exchange of places. What grace, what mercy, what redeeming love is this!
In Rom. 5 we read: “Christ died FOR the ungodly.” He took the place of the ungodly sinner that they may take a place with Him in righteousness before God. The 8th verse of Rom. 5 also declares this great and glorious truth in these words: “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died FOR us.”
I Cor. 15:3 declares that “Christ died FOR our sins according to the Scriptures,” meaning that there was no other way for God to put them away except that Jesus Christ our Lord would die beneath them and so fulfill the broken law of God FOR us.
In Gal. 1:4 we read: Christ “gave himself FOR our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world...: He gave Himself for a purpose, THAT HE MIGHT DELIVER US. We can not deliver ourselves; we can not take ourselves out of this present evil world. We can not of ourselves break the power of this evil world over us. We can not of ourselves produce a righteousness that God would accept. He has done this for us, and works this in us by His Spirit so that we know this in reality as faith lays hold of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Our God wants us to get this great truth today if we get nothing else. Nothing less than the mighty power of God must work in our behalf. He must die for us and by His power resurrect us if we are ever to be delivered from sin, its power, penalty and presence. Education can’t do it; church membership can’t do it; baptism can’t do it; living a morally clean life can’t do it; making a profession can’t do it; “doing our best” can’t do it; going to church, saying our prayers, reciting some creed, giving of our money can’t do it; because we are dead in trespasses and sins. It must be by the power of God, based upon the grace of God because Christ has willingly died in our place and made peace by the blood of His cross. Therefore the apostle would write to the church at Thessalonica in thanksgiving to God that the gospel had come to them not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit (I Thess. 1:5).
We could go on multiplying the Scriptures that teach SALVATION BY SUBSTITUTION, showing that Christ Jesus our Lord gave Himself FOR us, was made a curse FOR us; but these are enough to show to our hearts the necessity of this great exchange of Christ dying in the place of His people if ever we were to be delivered from sin, Satan, the world and hell.
Now we must face the fact of HOW God saves a sinner. How is a poor sinner brought into this state of reality that he or she can say, “Christ died for me?” Will you listen? First there must be, of a necessity, the knowledge of sin; for without the knowledge of sin there is no need of salvation or a Savior. Yes, there must be a knowledge that I have sinned and come short of the glory of God. It is here that John 16:8 tells us the Holy Spirit begins His work, and that is in convincing us of sin, the sin of unbelief. He also convinces us that we are sinners by nature, for this is the foundation of all our transgressions. By this I mean original sin, that original corruption which each of us brings into the world with us, which renders us liable to God’s wrath and damnation.
We must and will be convinced of this by the Holy Spirit if we will know Christ in reality as the Savior and Deliverer of our never-dying soul.
Next, the Holy Spirit will convince us of the holiness of God and of His righteous character against Whom we have sinned. This knowledge will be of the holy God against Whom we have daily and hourly sinned, WHO MUST PUNISH SIN and must put it out of His presence forever, Yes, the justice of God and the wrath of God burns against every soul outside of Christ; and rightly so because we stand as guilty criminals before His throne, rebels to His government if we be not in His divine substitute, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Again, the Holy Spirit must convince us of our need for a Substitute, and show us by His power from the Scriptures the suitableness of the Lord Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
Then there follows the bringing forth of fruit for repentance. Yes, the soul whom God saves and brings by His Spirit into the reality of a living union with Christ lays down the arms of rebellion and cries unto God for mercy in Christ. There is a confession of sin, a hatred for sin, a turning to God from sin, a mourning over sin and the acknowledgment of my hell-deserving condition.
Only God knows when a soul has truly repented, for repentance, is toward God against Whom you have sinned. He only knows when you have surrendered up yourself completely to Him, taking the blame for your condition before Him.
Then saving faith is given by the Holy Spirit to look away to Christ as your only Savior and Hope of deliverance from the wrath to come.
The Scriptures declare that salvation is by grace through faith and not of ourselves (Eph. 2:8). It is by faith that we turn from ourselves and embrace Christ in all His offices of Prophet, Priest and King, and find in Him a suitableness for all our needs. It is by faith that we are justified and have peace with God. It is by faith we follow Him all the days of our lives. For “as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believeth on his name “ (John 1:12).
And my dear friend, when God does save you for Christ’s sake, you will never stop praising Him for having mercy upon your never-dying soul.
It is a privilege to again come into your homes with God’s message from His eternal Word, which is forever settled in heaven and given unto us by inspiration of God; being profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works (II Tim. 3:16,17).
Also the Word of God is a two-edged sword to cut and heal us; it is bread to feed us; it is water to quench our thirst; it is a fire to burn its way into the deepest recesses of our hearts; it is a hammer to break up our stony hearts; it is a lamp to light our pathway; it is a rod to chastise us; it is a staff to lead us; it is life to quicken us and make us alive; it is the power of God in the hands of the Holy Spirit to save us, cleanse us, deliver us, make us suitable for the inheritance of the saints.
The Word of God warns us, commands us, guides us, leads us, and points us to the Lamb of God Who takes away our sins by the shedding of His own precious blood. It also reveals unto us the gracious invitation of our Savior God to come to Him and find rest, peace, forgiveness and deliverance from sin. It is in these gracious invitations of our Savior God that we shall see again THE WORK OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IN OUR SALVATION as we continue this series of messages.
In our last message we saw from the Word of God the things that each soul experiences in his coming to Christ for salvation. He sees sin as it is in his nature; he sees sin as they flow from a wicked heart; he sees the awful sin of unbelief that bars the heart from Christ; but he also knows the experience of deliverance through Christ as he seeks Him and closes in with Him by faith.
Today I would direct our attention to the many gracious invitations that the Word of God gives to poor, needy sinners. It is written as it were in bold letters on the pages of Holy Writ: COME AND WELCOME TO JESUS CHRIST. And my friend, what a theme to preach on! what a theme on which to meditate! what a mercy for poor, hell-deserving sinners to hear: Come and welcome to Jesus Christ, for HE ALONE IS OUR SALVATION!
Oh how my soul rejoices in such an invitation: Come and welcome to Jesus Christ; come and welcome to the only One Who can deliver us from sin and its deserved damnation. Come and welcome to the only One Who can save us from the wrath of God; come and welcome to the only One Who was lifted up for our transgressions and raised again for our justification. Come and welcome to the only One Who can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; come and welcome to the only One Who can bring us back to God. Come and welcome to the only One Who can bring us to heaven; come and welcome to the only One Who is rich in mercy, grace and love. Come and welcome to the only One Who has gone to prepare a place of rest and peace for us in His Father’s home. Come and welcome to the only One Who opened the fountain of cleansing by the shedding of His precious blood for sin and for uncleanness.
What a mercy is this then that is bestowed upon poor sinners, to be invited to come to the feast made ready by the Master Himself! You might ask the question, “To WHOM is this invitation of mercy given?” Matt. 11:28 has our Lord saying, “Come unto me, ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Yes it is given to those who have labored long and hard to save themselves by the works of their own hands and are no closer to God than when they started, but are in fact laden down with a heavy burden of sin. Our Lord says, “Come and welcome to me, come lay down your burden of sin upon me, and I will give you rest.” Oh what a mercy to lay that burden of sin upon Christ! I tell you from a heart of personal experience today that there is no rest like the rest of the sin-weary soul upon the bosom of Christ by faith. I don’t know of another soul living that tried to work his way into the good graces of God as I did; but to quit my work and rest in Christ as my all in all was indeed a great mercy.
Again Luke 14:117 has our Lord saying: “Come; for all things are now ready.” What is ready for those who are invited to come? SALVATION FROM SIN IS READY, for Christ Himself finished the work of redemption on the cross and gave proof of its accomplishment by rising from the dead and leaving our sins in the grave.
THE FATHER WHO PLANNED OUR SALVATION IS READY to receive us in Christ because He has allowed the Lord Jesus back into His presence as our Representative. No sin was upon Him when He returned to glory as our High Priest; Our sins had all been left in the tomb, therefore the Father received Him and set Him above all principalities and powers.
THE RICHES OF HIS GRACE AND MERCY ARE READY. HIS WHITE ROBE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS IS READY, HIS EYE-SLAVE TO PUT UPON OUR BLINDED EYES IS READY for Rev. 3:18 has our Lord saying: “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich, and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye salve, that thou mayest see.”
ALL POWER IS READY to save, deliver and keep each poor soul that comes to Christ, for Matt. 28:18 and Jn. 6:37 has Christ saying: “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth;” therefore “him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” Yes, He has power to save and to keep; He will not cast us out, for He Himself said in Jn. 10:27-28: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” Yes, ALL THINGS ARE READY.
Again Isa. 55:1 has our Lord saying: “Ho every man that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat; yea come, but wine and mike without money and without price.” What a gracious invitation this is, to come and welcome to Jesus Christ as poor, bankrupt paupers! Oh praise the Lord, that fits my case; for that is all I am, a poor, worthless, penniless pauper. But this is the one to whom the invitation is given. No money, yet come and buy; for God freely gives us all things in Christ. What are they? He freely pardons us for His sake. He freely forgives us all our sins for His sake; He blots them out as a thick cloud never to be remembered against us anymore. This is a blessed invitation, for it invites both the thirsty and the hungry [both the cursed of God and the devil’s castaways] to come and welcome to Jesus Christ, the only Friend of sinners.
Again, Isa. 1:18 has our blessed Savior saying: “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Ponder this! meditate upon this! The Lord of glory inviting poor sinners to come and reason with Him about their eternal souls!
He invites those who are sin-sick, sin-laden, sin-convicted and convinced to come and reason with Him, to learn that every sin you confess to be as scarlet and every sin you confess to be red like crimson, He will forgive and cleanse. You might say, “But I am a great sinner;” but Jesus Christ says, “Come and welcome, I died for great sinners.” You might say, “But I am an old sinner, having lived all my life in sin;” but Jesus Christ says, “Come and welcome, I died for old sinners, black and dirty as they are.” You might say, “But I am a hard-hearted sinner;” but Jesus Christ says, “Come and welcome, I died for hard-hearted sinners, I give them new hearts.” You might say, “But I have served Satan all my days;” but Jesus Christ says, “Come and welcome, I died to deliver you from Satan’s clutches.” You might say, “But I have sinned against light and knowledge;” but Jesus Christ says, “Come and welcome, I died for sinners like you.” You might say, “But I have sinned against mercy, and the prayers of father, mother and all of God’s people;” but Jesus Christ says, “Come and welcome, for I died for the ungodly sinner like you.” You might say, “But I have no good thing to bring with me, I have nothing but sin.” Praise God if this is so; for Jesus Christ says, “Come and welcome, for I have put away your sin by the sacrifice of Myself.
I could go on to the end of time and show you that if you are indeed a convinced soul before God that you need pardoning from all your sins, you need them put away, washed away in the blood of Christ; if you hate them, and cry out against them, then indeed God says He will put them out of His sight. Come and welcome to Jesus Christ is still the word which I preach unto you this day. I never preach along this line that I don’t think of the hymn which reads: Come, ye sinners, poor and wretched, Weak and wounded, sick and sore; Jesus ready stands to save you, He is able, He is able, He is willing, doubt no more.
Come, ye needy, Come, and welcome, God’s free bounty glorify; True belief and true repentance, Every grace that brings us nigh; Without money, without money, Come to Jesus Christ and buy.
Come, ye weary, heavy laden, Bruised and broken by the fall; If you tarry till you’re better, You will never come at all. Not the righteous, not the righteous, Sinners Jesus came to call.
Lo! the incarnate God, ascended, Pleads the merit of His blood; Venture on Him, venture wholly, Let no other trust intrude; None but Jesus, none but Jesus, Can do helpless sinners good.
At times my soul seems unable to contain itself as I understand that my blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ STILL INVITES ME TO COME TO HIM. As I Pet. 2:4 puts it: “to whom coming,” always coming; for He is still my Lord and Savior, my Refuge and Hiding place in every battle. He allows me to KEEP COMING to Him to find in Him my all; for I need a Savior just as much today as when I first came to Him as a poor, hell-deserving sinner.
Then also what a privilege to speck of His worth and of His glory to you, to cry across the ether waves: Come and welcome to Jesus Christ for this man receiveth sinners!
“How do I come to Him?” you ask. How do you come to Him? This hymn will tell us:
Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me.
And that Thou bidst me come too Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come! I come!
Just as I am, and waiting not,
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come! I come!
Just as I am tho’ tossed about,
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings within and fears without,
O Lamb of God, I come! I come!
COME AND WELCOME TO JESUS CHRIST.
Obtained from Mt. Zion Bible Church (www.mountzion.org). Reformatted by Eternal Life Ministries.
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