Preached by James Dearmore, a Missionary of Rodgers Baptist Church, Garland, TX,
at Pleasant Run Baptist Church, 5/24/2000. Portions adapted from J. K. Popham.
I want to speak to you today on the subject of SALVATION: Past, Present and Future. Salvation is always the same by Grace through Faith in the Finished Work of Christ.
First Promise of the Redeemer Genesis 3:15 "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."
Lamb Slain from the Foundation of the World Revelation 13:8 "And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."
Kingdom for the Saved Prepared from Foundation of the World Matthew 25:34 "Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:"
Thief on the Cross Luke 23:39 - 43
Salvation has always been by grace through Faith, -- From Creation, before the Law, During the Law, and After the Law.
In Abraham's case, he not only was imputed righteousness long before the law, by faith, but even before Circumcision he was righteous because of imputed righteousness, which comes by faith.
Repeating Salvation has always been by Faith BEFORE the Cross, ON the Cross (repentant thief) and SINCE the Cross.
Those before the Cross looked FORWARD to the coming of the Saviour in faith, and His righteousness was imputed to them.
The thief on the Cross, looked AT the Saviour in faith, and Christ's righteousness was imputed to him.
We who are after the Cross, look BACKWARD to the Cross in faith, and the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, and we are justified before God.
CHRIST MADE A CURSE AND SINNERS BLESSED
Galatians 3:13-14 "13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."
There were three things in this, namely:
1. that His eternal Deity was the altar;
2. that His sinless and perfect incarnation was the sacrifice;
3. and that He Himself was the High Priest.
He offered the sacrifice, as it is written in the Hebrews (9:14): "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God". This was the blessed work of Christ. Never was that Divine Person more active when on earth than when He was on the cross. The activity of the priest under the old dispensation was all centered in his work as a priest. He was then busy, if one may use that poor word. He was active; he was doing God's bidding, he was serving God in things pertaining to God. He was serving for the people, the things of God were before him, the claims of God, the justice of God was there and God's purpose that there should be a way to God for mankind, all these were in the priestly office, and the priest was engaged in meeting these things.
Now take the type and put it to the anti-type Jesus Christ. He was there, He had a tabernacle, the Lord God tabernacled with man there. Peculiarly, metaphorically, He was in His own tabernacle pitched by the Lord and not man, and He was there engaged and alone. In Tabernacle days it was required that there should be none with the priest in the tabernacle while the atonement was being made. Only when the priest who made it came out, could the people enter.
What was this but a type of the great truth, that no poor sinner should ever have access to God to serve Him, but in the atonement of Christ? Christ was alone. Christ was active on our behalf when He was suffering, when He was obeying, when He was offering Himself a Priest. O they knew it not who crucified Him! They thought He was crying for one to help Him, they mocked Him; they said, "He saved others, Himself He cannot save".
They knew not what was going on in that Person. He was hanged by their own hands on that cross. They knew not the eternal God was there, and there was the altar; the altar on which no human hands had come, as God would have none of the hands of man to fashion the altar that should be used for His service. And there was the Priest before that altar and before God; and there was the spotless sacrifice which by His own eternal Deity and the Spirit of God within Him He was offering to God, without spot, answering to the perpetual prohibition given by the Lord, that the bullock and the red heifer and the creatures offered in sacrifice should be without blemish.
Jesus Christ was without spot or blemish and He offered Himself and it was then that the curse in its great strength, in its dreadful power, in its terrible fulness came upon Him. I must leave this great subject my lips are not worthy to name it, and there is no creature on earth that is worthy to think of it, and yet it was for sinners.
What was the end of it? A few words upon this: "That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith". The blessing of Abraham. Abraham was called of God to leave his country and his father's house. That was a blessing; for Abraham like all others was born in a land alienated, of a race alienated, and to be called from his own house and his own country meant that he was to come to God, that God would have him. What a blessing to be called by God's grace through the Gospel! Who can estimate it? Who can sufficiently praise God for it, for a call to reach the heart of a sinner, for the heart to be changed, the will renewed and the feet turned to Zion's hill?
That is the blessing of Abraham: "I called him alone and blessed him" (Isaiah 51:2). And the blessing of Abraham was, to be spoken to by the Lord, and for a covenant to be made with him. Yes, God speaks to sinners, He speaks still to sinners. Think of it, my friends! The Holy Ghost comes and calls a sinner purchased by blood, and quickens him.
And then comes to pass a wonderful thing, namely that conscience seared, hardened, blinded, and dead to God by the Fall becomes quickened and made tender and enlightened and enlivened, and conscience thus dealt with by the Spirit becomes at once concerned for God and concerned for the sinner, and conscience that has ever been ready to take the sinner's part against God, now takes God's part against the sinner. Conscience tells the sinner that God is just and points hell out to the sinner and says, "You deserve to go there". Conscience that was ever ready to trample under foot God's testimony, now stands to that testimony and bears witness to the righteousness and holiness and goodness of God. And that conscience made, so to speak, on the side of God has a principle in it that forbids the conscience ever to be satisfied with anything that does not satisfy God.
And this is one of the most remarkable effects of the grace of the Spirit in a sinner, that He gives him such a conscience Godward that the conscience stands as it were for God and says: "Nothing that dishonours that divine Being can please me, nothing that falls short of giving satisfaction to God can give me satisfaction". Now follow me! O the blessing of having a conscience that is made sensitive and sensible of a load of dead works, to use Paul's expression! Now here comes that extolling of the atonement, of which the Word of God is so full.
Remember what Paul said: "If the blood of bulls and of goats and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh", (Hebrews 9:13-14) if those carnal ordinances which are only for time effect so much for the Jew, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God! Yes, and one says: "I cannot think my conscience can ever be purified, it is so burdened and so defiled with sin." The blood of Christ is more than all you have of sin and doubt and fear and shame.
The blood of Christ thy soul can cure. The blood of Christ, a precious blood, cleanses from all sin, and reconciles the soul to God, from every folly, every fault." The Lord keep us from browbeating our consciences, keep us from trying to appease them. The work of appeasing conscience is reserved for the blood of Christ, nothing less will suffice. The blessing of Abraham comes on a sinner when he finds that, in place of Isaac's life there is the ram caught by the horns in the thicket. Yes, and when you feel that you yourself ought to be, according to the law, condemned and slain and cut off, then for faith's eye to be turned in another direction to see a Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, what joy! Jesus Christ, God's eternal Son, cut off for sins not His own, and thus bringing in an everlasting righteousness, this is another part of the blessing of Abraham.
The blessing of Abraham we find consisted also in the fact that God did come to Abraham to commune with him. That he who deserved, as do all sinners, being for ever banished from God, and deserved that God should be silent to him for ever and ever except in condemnation, should find the Lord approaching him and saying, "Abraham, I am thy shield and thy exceeding great reward, I am thy God". And there follows this great privilege when the Lord comes to commune, namely, a sinner permitted and taught and enabled to fall on his face while the Lord speaks to him.
There must always be one to start communion between two or more, and God is the One who commences communion with a sinner. He speaks, and then Samuel like a child says, "Speak Lord, for Thy servant heareth". Is it not a blessing, and wonderful, that God should ever draw near to a sinner and tell him not to fear; tell him not to fear who has, properly been filled with fear, on the ground of his sin? Tell him not to fear condemnation, not to fear his guilt, not to fear his distance, not to fear any enemy, or any death, because there has been found a Ransom: "I have found a Ransom". The sinner could never have found it, even enlightened as he is and as he knows the Scriptures in the form of them, he can never find a ransom for himself till the Lord says: "I have found a Ransom; therefore deliver him from going down to the pit." (Job 33:24).That Ransom is Jesus!
Another part of the blessing of Abraham was, that he got the Lord's promise, he got the Lord's covenant in his soul. The covenant grace made in eternity in the Trinity becomes the covenant of a sinner's own sweet experience when the Lord takes him up and promises never to leave him nor forsake him, to be his God; so that the sinner says: "This God is my God for ever and ever, and will be my guide even unto death".
And the blessing of Abraham was, to say no more but this, to die well. O yes, to die well, and this belongs to all true Christians: "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord." (Revelation 14:13). No curse, no pain, no tears, no want, shall ever touch the child of the Most High when once he gets home. "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord." Here then we have two wonderful things the curse coming to Christ who was holy, harmless and undefiled; and then and therefore by the wonderful eternally designed plan of God, the blessing coming to sinners. The Lord give us to enter into both of them. Amen! And Amen!
Galatians 3:6 9 "6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham."
Here we see the Apostle Paul, having already observed that the special grace of the spirit was received not through the preaching of the law, but through the doctrine of faith, goes on with a smooth transition to the further confirmation of the doctrine of justification by faith, by producing the instance of Abraham, what the Scripture says of him, and the promise made unto him; which is very suitable to his purpose, since Abraham was certainly a righteous man, the first of the circumcision, and the head of the Jewish nation.
Abraham was also the one in whom the false teachers gloried, and boasted of their being his seed, and of being circumcised as he was; and would have liked to persuade the Gentiles to follow the same practice, in imitation of him, and as if it were necessary for their justification before God.
But the Apostle Paul here shows, referring to Gen. 15:6, that Abraham was justified by faith, and not by any works whatsoever, much less by circumcision; for what he here refers to, was many years before his (Abraham's) circumcision; and since, therefore he was a justified person, and declared to be so, before it and without it, it was not necessary to his justification, nor is it to any other person's: he believed God.
The object of faith is God Father, Son, and Spirit; here the Son, seems principally intended, who in Genesis 15:1 is called the Word of the Lord. He is the Word, who was with God from everlasting, and was God, and in the fulness of time was made flesh and dwelt among men. He was Abraham's shield, the same which the apostle in Ephesians 6:16 calls the shield of faith; meaning not the grace of faith, but Christ the object of' faith; which faith lays hold on, and makes use of as a shield against the temptations of' Satan. Christ was also his (Abraham's) exceeding great reward.
Christ, though only seen by the eyes of faith, was yet Abraham's all in all, being made to him, as to all believers, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption: Him he believed, not only that he was God, but he believed His word of promise, and in His power and faithfulness to fulfil it; which regarded not only his natural offspring, and a numerous race, the enjoyment of the land of Canaan, and many temporal good things in it, but the Messiah also, and spiritual blessings in Him.
Abraham believed in the Lord, Genesis 15:6.He believed in Jehovah the Word, in Him as his shield, and as his exceeding great reward, and in Him as the Lord his righteousness: and "it was accounted to him for righteousness;" that is, by God, whom he believed. For the sense and main point of the passage is, not that Abraham ascribed righteousness to God, and celebrated his Justice and faithfulness, as some say; nor, as others say, that Abraham was accounted a righteous man by the world; but that something was accounted by God to Abraham as his righteousness, which could not be the ACT of his faith; for faith is not a man's righteousness , neither in whole nor in part; faith and righteousness are two distinct things, and are often distinguished one from another in Scripture.
And besides, that which was accounted to Abraham for righteousness, is imputed to others also; see Romans 4:23, 24, which can never be true of the act of his faith; but is of the object of it, the word of the Lord, his shield and exceeding great reward, the Lord his righteousness and strength, who is made or accounted to him, and also to others, righteousness. The righteousness of Christ, whom he believed in, was accounted to him as his justifying righteousness: now for faith to be accounted for righteousness, is all the same as to be justified by faith; that is by Christ, or by his righteousness imputed and received by faith; and if Abraham was justified this way, as he was, the apostle has his argument completed against the false teachers, who always try to mix works with grace or faith.
Remember that Galatians 3:7 says --- "Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham." Or we could say "this is a thing known by you, or at least should be; it ought not to be contradicted or disputed, it is so plain a case, and so clear a point:" that they which are of faith; of the faith of Abraham, as in Romans 4:16, have the same faith as he had, for nature and kind; though it may not be to the same degree yet fixed on the same object, Jehovah the Word, the Lord our righteousness, and wrought by the same spirit; or who are of the faith of Christ, believers in him with all their hearts, and for themselves; who look to him for righteousness and life, who seek for justification by his righteousness, and trust in him alone for it, and not in the works of the law: the same are the children of Abraham; his spiritual seed, though they may not be his natural offspring; for he is the father of all that believe.
Here the apostle strikes at the false teachers, who boasted of their being the seed of Abraham, his natural descendants, which they might be, and yet not his spiritual children; for none are such, but they that are of faith, or seek for righteousness by faith; not they that are of the law, or seek for justification by the works of it, and so not heirs of the blessing; if they were, then faith would be made void, and the promise of none effect, as Roman 4:14 plains says.
Here in Galatians 3 the Apostles effort is to prove that the Gentiles and all of mankind Who believe, are the true seed of Abraham, those in many nations whose father he was to be; and his further work in this passage is to teach that, as the father of the faithful was justified, so are all his children; and that as he was justified by faith, so are they.
Galatians 3:8 "And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed."
This seems to agree with the Jewish forms of citing passages of Scripture: what does the Scripture foresee? and what does the law foresee? The Scripture here by a "prosopopeia", (rhetorical introduction of a pretended speaker or personification of an abstract thing) is represented as foreseeing an event that would come to pass, and accordingly spoke of it before hand, and designates God the author of the Scripture.
One could explain this beginning of verse 8 by saying "for seeing that God foreknew," and so on. This rhetorical construction means either the Holy Spirit, who searches the deep things of God, and is privy to all his counsels and decrees, and to this doctrine of the justification of the Gentiles; or God the father, who justifies the uncircumcision through faith, according to his own foreknowledge or prevision of it, before the world was; for he was in Christ, reconciling all who would ever believe and receive Christ from all eternity; when he resolved not to impute their sins to them, but to his son, who engaged to be their surety: or it could be referring to the son of God, since he was the preacher of this to Abraham; who was eternally the beloved son of the father, and was not only acquainted with all his purposes and determinations, but entered into a covenant with him, for, and on the behalf of all believers, past, present and future, among the Gentiles as well as Jews.
This is that marvelous plan by the wisdom of God, by which both as God and as Mediator, God could justify the heathen through faith: that is, that whereas a righteousness would be wrought out, and brought in, for the justification of all who would believe, and the doctrine of it be preached among the Gentiles, to whom faith would be given to lay hold on, and receive this righteousness, God would hereby pronounce the sentence of justification and a clear conscience.
And from this follows peace and joy in the Holy Ghost; the Scripture, the author, and substance of it, God the Word, preached before the gospel unto Abraham; for not to the Father or the Spirit, as to the Son, can preaching be so well ascribed: Christ was the first preacher of' the Gospel that ever was; he first preached it to Adam and Eve in the Garden, and afterwards to Abraham. This was Gospel, it was good news to Abraham that the Messiah should spring from him, and all nations be blessed in him; he rejoiced at it, and by faith saw Christ's day and was glad!
And particularly that part of the Gospel, and which is justification by faith; and that it concerned the Gentiles, was preached unto him. This was before his circumcision, of which that was a sign and seal, namely, that the righteousness of faith should be upon the uncircumcised Gentiles. It was also before the law of works was given on Mount Sinai, and long before the doctrine of justification by faith was preached unto the Gentiles, and they enjoyed the comfort of it. This is clearly shown to be the Gospel, and and NOT a new doctrine, nor different from what was so early taught; the sum and substance of which lies in these words, ". . . in thee shall all nations be blessed;" the passage referred to is Genesis 12:3, and is repeated in 18:18, and in chapter 22:18 is written as, ". . . in thy seed shall all nations of the earth be blessed;" which shows that this is not to be understood of Abraham personally, but of his seed. And it cannot mean Isaac, the immediate seed of Abraham, in whom it was never fulfilled and besides, is carried down to his seed, Genesis 26:4 as not terminating in him. And for the same reason it cannot mean Jacob, the immediate seed of Isaac; see Genesis 28:14.
Nor can it mean the whole body of the Jews, descendants of Jacob, in whom it never had its completion; for when and how have the nations of the earth been blessed in the Jews as a whole? either in their own land, when they would have no conversation with them, neither on a civil or sacred account, unless they conformed to their rites; or since their dispersion, so far from it, that their name is used as a proverb, a taunt, and a curse everywhere. Nor is it yet fulfilled in their re-gathering and re-establishment in Israel today. But this is to be understood of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the son of Abraham, or of the seed of Abraham. See also the comment by the Apostle Peter, in Acts 3:25, & 26.
The phrase "being blessed in him," does not signify a blessing of themselves or others, or a proverbial expression used among the Gentiles, "God bless thee Abraham, or the God of Abraham bless you as he did the Israelites." No example can be produced of the nations ever using such a form of blessing; no history, sacred or profane, makes mention that these, or any other Jewish forms of blessing, were ever widely used among the Gentiles: but here it signifies blessings in Christ, not temporal, but spiritual ones, even all spiritual blessings; as redemption, reconciliation, peace, pardon, adoption, sanctification, and eternal life, and particularly justification; this is the blessedness, which comes not upon the Jews (or circumcision) only, but the uncircumcision (non-Jews or Gentiles) also.
And all those who partake of this are blessed indeed! They are justified from all sin, are free from condemnation, secure from the wrath of God, have a title to eternal life, and shall certainly be glorified! And when it is said that all nations shalt be thus blessed, the meaning is not that every individual of all nations shalt enjoy this happiness, for all are not in Christ, nor have His righteousness imputed to them, nor have faith in Him. There are many that will be condemned with the world.
But there will be some of all nations, that God will have saved, and Christ has redeemed by His blood; and these are the many He justifies, even all the believers in Christ alone as their Saviour and Redeemer, their only hope of heaven. That is all real believers in all the various nations of the world.
Verse 9. "So then they which be of faith, are blessed with faithful Abraham." (that is all true believers, those who have been born again and washed in the blood of the Lamb). This is the apostle's conclusion, from the example of Abraham, and the promise made to him; and is an explanation of the preceding clause! It only refers or applies to those who are of the same faith with Abraham, are believers in Christ, and seek for justification by faith in him, and not by the works of the law: these are blessed with faithful Abraham. In his seed, Christ, they are blessed with a justifying righteousness in Christ as he was, and will be blessed with eternal life as he is; they shall sit with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.
The character of "faithful" given to him, refers not to his uprightness and integrity among men, but to his faith in God. This does not teach that he was blessed for his faith, but that it was through faith that he received the blessing of justification, and not by the works of the law; and that in the same way, all those that believe (past, present, and future) have, do, and will enjoy the same favour, And this special favour of God is clearly limited to those, who like Abraham, receive it by faith.
Nor can the unbelieving Jews (or any other unbelieving men) find fault with this interpretation of the apostle's, since even the old Jewish Rabbinical teachers did themselves interpret the above clause as meaning some particular persons of the nations of the world, and say in so many words, that the meaning is not "that all the men of the world should be blessed," but rather that every family that is in the world, that comes to the obedience and "faith of him (God,) to it shall adhere the blessing and providential smiles of God."
Then in verse 10 (Galatians 3:10) the Apostle goes on to explain clearly that all those among mankind who are dependent upon the "works of the law" or what we today would call "good works" are under the curse of the law. Paul then explains again that there is no possible justification under the law, or by the law of good works, making it very clear that the only means of justification is by the faith way, freely offered to all mankind by the grace and mercy of God. This free offer of the Gospel to all is made possible only by the sacrifice of the Lamb of God at Calvary.
END - Prayer or Invitation
Suitable Scripture Reading for Background With this Sermon
Genesis 22:1 13 --- "1. And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.
2. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
3. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.
4. Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.
yonder and worship, and come again to you.
6. And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.
7. And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?
8. And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.
9. And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.
10. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.
11. And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.
12. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.
13. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son."