There is not a sin against me in God’s book: they have all been for ever obliterated by the blood of Christ, and cancelled by his own right hand. I have nothing to fear; I cannot be condemned. “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” Not God, for he hath justified; not Christ, for he hath died. But if I am justified, who made me so? I say—“And hath made me what I am.” Justification, from first to last, is of God. Salvation is of the Lord alone.
Many of you are sanctified persons, but you are not perfectly sanctified, you are not redeemed altogether from the dross of earth; you have still another law in your members, warring against the law of your mind; and you always will have that law while you tabernacle in faith; you never will be perfect in your sanctification until you get up yonder before the solemn throne of God, where even this imperfection of your soul will be taken away, and your carnal depravity rooted out. But yet, beloved, there is an inward principle imparted; you are growing in grace—you are making progress in holiness. Well, but who made you have that progress? Who redeemed you from that lust? Who ransomed you from that vice? Who bade you say farewell to that practice in which you indulged? Cannot you say of Jesus, “And hath made us!” It is Christ who hath done it all, and to his name be honor, and glory, and praise, and dominion.
Let us dwell one moment on this thought, and show you how it is that it can be said that Christ hath made us this. When did Christ make his people kings and priests? When could it be said, “And hath made us kings and priests unto our God?”
First of all, he made us kings and priests, virtually, when he signed the covenant of grace. Far, far back in eternity, the Magna Charta of the saints was written by the hand of God, and it needed one signature to make it valid. There was a stipulation in that covenant that the Mediator should become incarnate should live a suffering life, and at last endure a death of ignominy; and it needed but one signature, the signature of the Son of God, to make that covenant valid, eternal, and “ordered in all things and sure.” Methinks I see him now, as my imagination pictures the lofty Son of God grasping the pen. See how his fingers write the name; and there it stands in everlasting letters—“THE SON!” O sacred ratification of the treaty; it is stamped and sealed with the great seal of our father in heaven. O glorious covenant, then for ever made secure! At the moment of the signature of this wondrous document, the spirits before the throne—I mean the angels—might have taken up the song, and said of the whole body of the elect, “And hast made you kings and priests unto your God;” and could all the chosen company have started into existence, they could have clapped their hands and sung, “Here we are by that very signature consituted kings and priests unto our God.”
But he did not stop there. It was not simply agreeing to the terms of the treaty; but in due time he filled it all—yes, to its utmost jot and tittle. Jesus said, “I will take the cup of salvation;” and he did take it—the cup of our deliverance. Bitter were its drops; gall lay in its depths; there were groans, and sighs, and tears, within the red mixture; but he took it all, and drank it to its dregs, and swallowed all the awful draught. All was gone. He drank the cup of salvation, and he ate the bread of affliction. See him, as he drinks the cup in Gethsemane, when the fluid of that cup did mingle with his blood, and make each drop a scalding poison. Mark how the hot feet of pain did travel down his veins. See how each nerve is twisted and contorted with his agony. Behold his brow covered with sweat; witness the agonies as they follow each other into the very depths of his soul. Speak, ye lost, and tell what hell’s torment means; but ye cannot tell what the torments of Gethsemane were. Oh! the deep unutterable! There was a depth which couched beneath, when our Redeemer bowed his head, when he placed himself betwixt the upper and nether millstones of his Father’s vengeance, and when his whole soul was ground to powder. Ah! that wrestling man-God—that suffering man of Gethsemane! Weep o’er him, saints—weep o’er him; when ye see him rising from that prayer in the garden, marching forth to his cross; when ye picture him hanging on his cross four long hours in the scorching sun, overwhelmed by his Father’s passing wrath—when ye see his side streaming with gore—when ye hear his death-shriek, “It is finished,”—and see his lips all parched, and moistened by nothing save the vinegar and the gall,—ah! then prostrate yourselves before that cross, bow down before that sufferer, and say, “Thou hast made us—thou hast made us what we are; we are nothing without thee.” The cross of Jesus is the foundation of the glory of the saints; Calvary is the birth-place of heaven; heaven was born in Bethlehem’s manger; had it not been for the sufferings and agonies of Golgotha we should have had no blessing. Oh, saint! in every mercy see the Saviour’s blood; look on this Book—it is sprinkled with his blood; look on this house of prayer—it is sanctified by his sufferings; look on your daily food—it is purchased with his groans. Let every mercy come to you as a blood-bought treasure; value it because it comes from him; and evermore say, “Thou hast made us what we are.”
Beloved, our Saviour Jesus Christ finished the great work of making us what we are, by his ascension into heaven. If he had not risen up on high and led captivity captive, his death would have been insufficient. He “died for our sins,” but he “rose again for our justification.” The resurrection of our Saviour, in his majesty, when he burst the bonds of death, was to us the assurance that God had accepted his sacrifice; and his ascension up on high, was but as a type and a figure of the real and actual ascension of all his saints, when he shall come in the clouds of judgment, and shall call all his people to him. Mark the man-God, as he goes upward towards heaven; behold his triumphal march through the skies, whilst stars sing his praises, and planets dance in solemn order; behold him traverse the unknown fields of ether till he arrives at the throne of God in the seventh heaven. Then hear him say to his Father, “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do; behold me and the children thou hast given me; I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course; I have done all; I have accomplished every type; I have finished every part of the covenant; there is not one iota I have left unfulfilled, or one tittle that is left out; all is done.” And hark, how they sing before the throne of God when thus he speaks: “Thou hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.”
Thus have I briefly spoken upon the dear Redeemer’s doings. Poor lips cannot speak better; faint heart will not rise up to the height of this great argument. Oh! that these lips had language eloquent and lofty, that they might speak more of the wondrous doings of our Redeemer!Charles Spurgeon, “The Kingly Priesthood of the Saints” Sermon #10, 1855
What is the Covenant of Redemption?…
The Prince of Preachers describes this theological concept with metaphorical language as he likens the covenant of grace (covenant of redemption) as the Magna Charta of the saints. This covenant is described by Mr. Spurgeon as a treaty that was written by the hand of God and signed by the hand of God. The covenant of redemption is a theological concept that describes the plan and agreement of the Trinitarian persons before creation to bring about the redemption of God’s elect. Spurgeon’s brilliant sermon helps us to recognize the beauty of theology isn’t found in knowledge alone, but beauty is found in the assurance and comfort that theological knowledge ought to accomplish. Spurgeon asks the question, “when did Christ make His people kings and priests?” The answer he provides is aimed to bring comfort, “virtually, when he signed the covenant of grace. Far, far back in eternity, the Magna Charta of the saints was written by the hand of God, and it needed one signature to make it valid.” Your salvation is eternally secure because God has covenanted in Himself on your behalf.
Spurgeon never uses the term “covenant of redemption” in this sermon. Instead, he uses the term “covenant of grace” as he describes what many Covenant Theologians call the covenant of redemption. Not only does Spurgeon not use the term in this sermon, but seemingly he does not use the term “covenant of redemption” until many years later in sermon #2096 titled “The Marriage of the Lamb”, preached in 1889. Why didn’t Spurgeon use the term covenant of redemption? I certainly cannot say definitively. Spurgeon certainly had the theological vocabulary, but it may be that he chose to stay closer to the vocabulary of the great English confessions like his beloved 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith. We all would be better theologians if we decided to be careful not to stray from the old way of talking and thinking about God.