A Sermon Delivered On Sunday Morning, April 3, 1881, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington. *3/16/2013
But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many are dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, has abounded to many. [Ro 5:15]
1. This text affords many opportunities for controversy. It can be made to bristle with difficulties. For example, — there might be a long discussion concerning the manner in which the fall of Adam can justly be made to affect the condition of his posterity. When this is settled there might arise a question concerning the exact way in which Adam’s fault is connected with ourselves — whether by imputation of its sin, or in some other form; and then there might be further dispute concerning the limit of the evil resulting from our first parents’ offence, and the full meaning of the fall, original sin, natural depravity, and so forth. There would be another splendid opportunity for a great battle over the question of the extent of the redeeming work of the Lord Jesus Christ; whether it covers with respect to people, the whole area of the ruin of the Fall; whether, in fact, full atonement has been made for all mankind or only for the elect. It would be easy in this way to set up a thorn-hedge, and keep the sheep out of the pasture; or, to use another metaphor, to take up so much time in pelting each other with the stones as to leave the fruit untasted. I have, at this time, neither the inclination nor the mental strength either to suggest or to remove the difficulties, which are so often the amusement of impractical minds. I feel more inclined to chime in with that ancient father of the church who declined controversy in a wise and explicit manner. He had been speaking concerning the things of God and found himself at length confounded by a certain clamorous disputant, who shouted again and again, “Hear me! Hear me!” “No,” said the father, “I will not hear you, nor shall you hear me; but we will both be quiet and hear what our Lord Jesus Christ has to say.” So we will not at this time listen to this side nor to that; but we will incline our ear to hear what the Scripture itself has to say apart from all the noise of sect and party. My object shall be to find out in the text what is practically of use for us, what may save the unconverted, what may comfort and build up those of us who are brought into a state of reconciliation with God; for recently I have been so often confined to my sickroom that when I do come out I must be more eager than ever for fruit for the glory of God. We shall not, therefore, dive into the depths with the hope of finding pearls, for these could not feed hungry men; but we will navigate the surface of the sea, and hope that some favouring wind will bear us to the desired haven with a freight of grain by which to supply the famishing. May the Holy Spirit bless the teaching of this hour to the creation and nourishment of saving faith.
2. I. The first observation from the text is this — THE APPOINTED WAY OF OUR SALVATION IS BY THE FREE GIFT OF GOD.
3. We were ruined by the Fall, but we are saved by a free gift. The text tells us that “the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, has abounded to many.” “Where sin abounded, grace much more abounded.” “Grace reigns through righteousness to eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Although this doctrine is well known, and is taught in our synagogues every Sabbath day, yet this grand essential truth is often forgotten or ignored enough that it needs be repeated again and again. I could wish that every time the clock struck it said, “By grace you are saved.” I could wish that there were a trumpet voice ringing out at daybreak both on sea and land, over the whole round globe the words, “By grace you are saved.” As Martin Luther said of a certain other truth so I say of this one, “You so constantly forget it that I feel inclined to take the Bible and beat it into your head, so that you may feel it and keep it in your memory.” Men do not naturally love the doctrine of grace, and therefore they cast it out of their minds as much as possible. The majority of mankind do not believe that salvation is by grace: another part of them profess to believe it, but do not understand its meaning; and many who do understand it have never yielded to it or embraced it. Happy are those who belong to the remnant according to the election of grace, for they know the joyful sound very well, and they walk in the light of the glory of the grace of God which is in Christ Jesus.
4. Observe, that salvation is a free gift, that is to say, it is bestowed upon men by God without regard for any merit, supposed or real. Grace has to do with the guilty. Mercy in the very nature of things is not an appropriate gift for the righteous and deserving, but for the undeserving and sinful. When God deals out to men his gracious salvation they are regarded by him as lost and condemned, and he treats them as people who have no claim upon him whatever, to whom nothing except his free favour can bring deliverance. He saves them, not because he perceives that they have done anything that is good, or have hopeful traits of character, or form resolutions to aspire to something better; but simply because he is merciful, and delights to exercise his grace, and reveal his free favour and infinite love. It is according to the nature of God to pity the miserable and forgive the guilty, “for he is good, and his mercy endures for ever.” God has a reason for saving men; but that reason does not lie in man’s merit in any degree whatever. This is clear from the fact that he often begins his work of grace upon those who can least of all be credited with goodness. It was said of our Lord, “This man receives sinners,” and the saying was most emphatically true. Sovereign grace selects such as Rahab the prostitute, and Manasseh the persecutor, and Saul of Tarsus, the mad zealot against Christ: such as these have been seized upon by grace, and arrested in infinite love, so that the Lord might reveal in them the power and plenitude of his mercy. Salvation is a work which is begun by the pure, unpurchased, free favour of God, and in the same spirit it is carried on and perfected. Pure grace, which lays the foundation, also brings out the top-stone.
5. Salvation is also brought to men irrespective of any merit which God foresees will be in man. Foresight of the existence of grace cannot be the reason for grace. God himself does not foresee that there will be any good thing in any man, except what he foresees that he will put there. What is the reason, then, why he determines that he will put it there? That reason, as far as we are informed, is this, “He will have mercy on whom he will have mercy.” The Lord determines to display his love, and advance the active work by his attribute of grace, therefore he saves men according to the good pleasure of his will. If there is salvation given to men upon the foresight of what they are yet to be, it is clear it is a matter of works and debt, and not of grace; but the Scripture is most decided that it is not by works, but by unmingled grace, for the apostle says, “If by grace, then is it no more by works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it is by works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” Our text explicitly says that salvation is “the free gift,” and that it comes to us by “the grace of God, and the gift of grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ.”
6. I go a little further in trying to explain how salvation is a free gift, by saying that it is given without reference to conditions which imply any deserving. But I hear someone murmur, “God will not give grace to men who do not repent.” I answer, God gives men grace to repent, and no man ever repents until first grace is given to him by which he is led to repentance. “God will not give his grace to those who do not believe,” one says. I reply, God gives grace to men by which they are moved to believe, and it is through the grace of God that they are brought into the faith of Jesus Christ. You may say, if you please, that repentance and faith are conditions of salvation, and I will not quarrel with you; but please remember that they are not conditions in the sense of deserving anything from God. They may be conditions of receiving, but they are not conditions of purchasing, for salvation is without money and without price. We are expressly told that salvation “is through faith, so that it might be by grace”: for faith is not to be numbered with works of the law, to which the idea of merit may be attached. Faith is as far apart as the poles from claiming anything of God by way of debt. Faith comes as a poor, undeserving thing, and simply trusts the free mercy of God. It never attempts to wear the crown, or grasp a particle of praise. The believer never can be a boaster, for boasting is excluded by the law, by faith. If a Christian should begin to boast, it would be because his believing is failing, and his evil nature is coming to the forefront; for faith is of all graces most self-denying; her song is always, Non nobis Domine, “Not to us, but to your name give praise.” While, therefore, the word of God assures us that unless we repent we shall all likewise perish, and that if we do not believe in Jesus Christ we shall die in our sins, it would have us at the same time know that there is no merit in repenting or believing, but grace reigns in God’s acceptance of these graces. We are not to regard the requirement of faith, repentance, and confession of sin as at all militating against the fulness and freeness of divine grace, since, in the first place, repentance, faith, and true confession of sin are all gifts of grace, and, in the next place, they have no merit in themselves, being only such things as honest men should render when they know that they have erred and are promised forgiveness. To be sorry for my sin is no punishment for having sinned; and to believe God to be true is no work for which I may demand a reward; if, then, I am saved through faith, it is by the pure mercy of God, and by that alone that pardon comes to me.
7. Beloved, so far is God from giving salvation to men as a matter of reward and debt, and therefore bestowing it only upon the good and excellent, that he is pleased to bestow that salvation over the head of sin and in the teeth of rebellion. As I said before, mercy and grace are for the sinful, for no others need them; and God’s grace comes to us when we are far off by wicked works. “God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Free grace breaks out like a mighty flood, and sweeps in torrents over the hills of our transgressions, rising above the high alps of our presumptuous sins. Twenty cubits upward does this sea of grace prevail until the tops of the mountains of iniquity are covered. The Lord passes by transgression, iniquity, and sin, and does not remember the iniquity of his people, because he delights in mercy. Almsgiving needs a pauper, and grace needs a sinner. There is no opportunity for forgiveness where there is no offence. If men are meritorious how can God be gracious to them? In such a case it will be enough for him to be just. When good works can put in a valid claim peace and heaven can be obtained by the rules of debt; but since it is clear that eternal life is the gift of pure favour, you need not marvel when I say that grace comes to men leaping over the mountains of their iniquities. Abounding mercy delights to blot out abounding sin, and it will never lack for opportunity to do its pleasure. There is no lack of occasions for grace in this poor fallen world, and of all the places where there is most room I know of one place not far from here where there is a grand opportunity for infinite mercy and super-abounding grace to exercise their power. Here is the place — it is this treacherous, guilty heart of mine. I think, my brother, you know of another place that is very like it; and you, my sister, too, can say, “Wondrous mercy! Surely there is room for all its heights and depths to be shown in this sinful soul of mine.” Indeed, and it will be shown, too, if you can only look for it through Christ Jesus; for it is the delight of God’s grace to flow into unlikely places: mercy is the glory of God, and he loves to bestow it on those who least deserve it.
8. We are saved by grace, free grace, pure regard to grace, grace with merit or to the possibility of such a thing, and many of us have been saved by grace of the most abounding and extraordinary kind. Some of us will be prodigies of divine love, miracles of mercy, to be marvelled at throughout eternity: we shall be set up in heaven as monuments for angels to gaze at, in which they shall see a display of the amazing goodness of the Lord. Some of us, I said; but I suppose that in each one of the redeemed there is some particular development of grace which will make him especially remarkable, so that the whole body of us, as one glorified church, shall be made known to angels, and principalities, and powers, the manifold wisdom of God. Oh, what a revelation of grace and mercy will be seen when all the blood-washed race shall gather safely around the eternal throne, and sing their hallelujahs to him who loved them and washed them from their sins in his own blood.
9. Notice one thing more concerning this plan of salvation, that all this grace comes to us through the one man, Jesus Christ. I sometimes hear people talking about a “one-man ministry.” I know what they mean, but I know also that I am saved by a one-man ministry, even by one who trod the wine-press alone, and there was no one with him from the people. I was lost by a one-man ministry, when father Adam fell in Eden; but I was saved by a one-man ministry, when the blessed Lord Jesus Christ bore my sin in his own body on the tree. Oh matchless ministry of love, when the Lord from heaven came into the world and took upon himself our nature, and became in all respects human, and being found in fashion as a man, was obedient to death, even the death of the cross! It is through the one man, Christ Jesus, that all the grace of God comes streaming down to all the chosen. Mercy flows to no man except through the one appointed channel, Jesus the Son of man. Get away from Christ, and you leave the highway of God’s everlasting love; pass by this door, and you shall find no entrance into life. You must drink from this conduit-pipe, or you must thirst for ever, and ask in vain for a drop of water to cool your parched tongue. “In him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” All the infinite mercy of God and love of God — and God himself is love — is concentrated in the person of the well-beloved Son of the Highest, and to him be glory for ever. Sing to him, you angels! Chant his praise, you redeemed! For by the one man Christ Jesus the whole company of the elect have been delivered from the wrath to come, to the praise of the glory of the grace of God.
10. So I have tried to set before you God’s way of salvation.
11. II. Turning aside, as it may seem, from the current of our thoughts, but only with the view of coming back to it with a forcible argument, we next notice that IT IS CERTAIN THAT GREAT EVILS HAVE COME TO US BY THE FALL.
12. Paul speaks in this text of ours of the “offence,” which word may be read the “Fall,” which was caused by the stumbling of our father Adam. Our fall in Adam is a type of the salvation which is in Christ Jesus, but the type is not able completely to explain all the work of Christ: hence the apostle says, “But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many are dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, has abounded to many.” It is certain, then, that we were heavy losers by the offence of the first father and head of our race. I am not going into details and particulars, but it is clear that we have lost the garden of Eden and all its delights, privileges, and immunities, its communion with God, and its freedom from death. We have lost our first honour and health, and we have become the subjects of pain and weakness, suffering and death: this is the effect of the Fall. A desert now howls where otherwise a garden would have smiled. Through the sin of Adam we have been born under conditions which are far from being desirable, heirs to an inheritance of sorrow. Our griefs have been alleviated by the bounty of God, but still we are not born under such conditions as might have been ours had Adam remained in his integrity and kept his first estate. We came into the world with a bias towards evil. Those of us who have any knowledge of our own nature must confess that there is in us a strong tendency towards sin, which is mixed up with our very being. This is not derived solely from faults of education, or from the imitation of others; but there is a bent within us in the wrong direction, and this has been there from our birth. Alas! that it should be so; but so it is. In addition to having this tendency to sin, we are made liable to death — indeed, not only liable, but we are sure in due time to bow our heads beneath the fatal stroke. Only two of the human race have escaped death, but the rest have left their bodies here to moulder back into mother earth, and unless the Lord comes speedily, we expect that the same thing will happen to these bodies of ours. While we live we know that the sweat of our brow must pay the price of our food; we know that our children must be born with pangs and travail; we know that we ourselves must return to the dust from where we are taken; for dust we are, and to dust must we return. Oh Adam, you did a sad day’s work for us when you listened to the voice of your wife and ate of the forbidden tree. The world has no more a Paradise anywhere, but everywhere it has the place of wailing and the field of the dead. Where can you go and not find traces of the first transgression in the sepulchre and its mouldering bones? Every field is fattened with the dust of the departed: every wave of the sea is tainted with atoms of the dead. Scarcely blows a March wind down our streets but it sweeps aloft the dust either of Caesar or his slave, of ancient Briton, or modern Saxon; for the globe is worm-eaten by death. Sin has scarred, and marred, and spoiled this creation by making it subject to vanity through its offence. So terrible evils have come to us by an act in which we had no hand: we were not in the Garden of Eden, we did not incite Adam to rebellion, and yet we have become sufferers through no deed of ours. Say what you wish about it, the fact remains, and cannot be escaped from.
13. This sad truth leads me on to the one which is the essence of the text, and constitutes my third observation.
14. III. FROM THE FALL WE INFER THE MORE ABUNDANT CERTAINTY THAT SALVATION BY GRACE THROUGH CHRIST JESUS SHALL COME TO BELIEVERS.
15. If all this mischief has happened to us through the fall of Adam why should not immense blessing flow to us by the work of Christ? Through Adam’s transgression we lost Paradise, that is certain; but if anything can be more certain we may with greater assurance declare that the second Adam will restore the ruin of the first. If through the offence of one man many are dead, much more the grace of God and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, shall abound and has abounded to many. Settle in your minds, then, that the fall of Adam has done us great damage, and then be as much assured that the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, in which we had no hand whatever, must do us great service. Believing in Christ Jesus, it becomes beyond all measure certain to us that we are blessed in him, since that it is already certain that through the fall of Adam we have become subject to sorrow and death.
16. For, first, this appears to be more delightful to the heart of God. It must be fully according to his gracious nature that salvation should come to us through his Son. I can understand that God, having so arranged it that the human race should be regarded as one, and should stand or fall before him in one man, should carry out the arrangement to its righteous end, and allow the consequences of sin to fall upon succeeding generations of men: but still I know that he takes no pleasure in the death of any, and finds no delight in afflicting mankind. When the first Adam transgressed it was inevitable that the consequences of his transgression should descend to his posterity, and yet I can imagine a perfectly holy mind questioning whether the arrangement would be carried out. I can conceive of angels saying to each other, “Will all men die through this entrance of sin into the world? Can it be that the innumerable sons of Adam will all suffer from his disobedience?” But I cannot imagine any question being raised about the other point, namely, the result of the work of our Lord Jesus. If God has so arranged it that in the second Adam men rise and live, it seems to me most gloriously consistent with his gracious nature and infinite love that it should come to pass that all who believe in Jesus should be saved through him. I cannot imagine angels hesitating and saying, “Christ has been born; Christ has lived; Christ has died; these men have had nothing to do with that: will God save them for the sake of his Son?” Oh, no, they must have felt, as they saw the babe born at Bethlehem, as they saw him living his perfect life and dying his atoning death, “God will bless those who are in Christ; God will save Christ’s people for Christ’s sake.” As for ourselves, we are sure that if the Lord executes judgment, which is his strange work, he will certainly carry out mercy, which is his delight. If he kept to the representative principle when it involved consequences which gave him no pleasure, we may be abundantly assured that he will keep to it now that it will involve nothing but good for those concerned in it. Here, then, is the argument, — “For if through the offence of one many are dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, has abounded to many.”
17. This assurance becomes still stronger when we think that it seems more inevitable that men should be saved by the death of Christ than that men should be lost by the sin of Adam. It might seem possible that, after Adam had sinned, God might have said, “Notwithstanding this covenant of works, I will not lay this burden upon the children of Adam”; but it is not possible that after the eternal Son of God has become man, and has bowed his head to death, God should say, “Yet after all I will not save men for Christ’s sake.” Stand and look at the Christ upon the cross, and see those wounds of his, and you will become absolutely certain that sin can be pardoned, indeed, must be pardoned for those who are in Christ Jesus. Those flowing drops of blood demand with a voice that cannot be contradicted that iniquity should be put away. If the voice of Abel crying from the ground was prevalent, how much more the blood of the only-begotten Son of God, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot? It cannot be, oh God, that you should despise or forget the sacrifice on Calvary. Grace must flow to sinners through the bleeding Saviour, since death came to men through their transgressing progenitor.
18. I do not know whether I shall get into the very soul of this argument as I desire, but to me it is very sweet to look at the difference with respect to the causes of the two effects. Look now at the occasion of our ruin, — “the offence of one.” The one man transgresses, and you and I and all of us come under sin, sorrow, and death. What are we told is the fountain of these streams of woe? The one action of our first parents. Far be it from me to say a word to depreciate the greatness of their crime, or to raise a question concerning the justice of its consequences. I think no one can have a more decided opinion upon that point than I have; for the offence was very great, and the principle which led to our participation in its results is a just one, and, what is more, is full of the most blessed results for fallen men, since it has left them a door of hope of their rising by the same method which led to their fall. Yet the sin which destroyed us was the transgression of a finite being, and cannot be compared in power with the grace of the infinite God; it was the sin of a moment, and therefore cannot be compared for force and energy with the everlasting purpose of divine love. If, then, the comparatively feeble fount of Adam’s sin sends out a flood which drowns the world in sorrow and death, what must be the boundless blessing poured out from the infinite source of divine grace? The grace of God is like his nature, omnipotent and unlimited. God does not have a measure of love, but he is love; love to the uttermost dwells in him. God is not only gracious to this degree or to that, but he is gracious beyond measure; we read about “the very great riches of his grace.” He is “the God of all grace,” and his mercy is great above the heavens. Our largest conceptions fall far short of the lovingkindness and pity of God, for “his merciful kindness is great towards us.” As high as the heavens are above the earth, so are his thoughts above our thoughts in the direction of grace. If, then, my brethren, the narrow fount which yielded bitter and poisonous waters has sufficed to kill the myriads of the human race, how much more shall the river of God which is full of water, even the river of the water of life, which proceeds out of the throne of God and of the Lamb, supply life and bliss for every man who believes in Christ Jesus? So Paul says, “For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.” That is the argument of the text, and to me it seems to be a very powerful one, sufficient to dash out the very life of unbelief and enable every penitent man to say, “I see what I have lost in Adam, but I also see how much I obtain through Christ Jesus, my Lord, when I humbly yield myself to him.”
19. Furthermore, I would have you notice the difference between the channels by which the evil and the good were individually communicated to us. In each case it was “by one,” but what a difference in the people! We fell through Adam, a name not to be pronounced without reverence, since he is the chief patriarch of the race, and the children should honour the parent: let us not think too little of the head of the human family. Yet what is the first Adam as compared with the second Adam? He is only from the earth earthy, but the second man is the Lord from heaven. He was at best a mere man, but our Redeemer considers it not robbery to be equal with God. Surely, then, if Adam with that puny hand of his could pull down the house of our humanity, and hurl this ruin on our first estate, that greater man, who is also the Son of God, can fully restore us and bring back to our race the golden age. If one man could ruin us by his fault, surely an infinitely greater man in whom dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily can restore us by the abounding grace of God.
20. And look, my brethren, at what this man did. Adam commits one fault and spoils us; but Christ’s works and achievements are not one, but as many as the stars of heaven. Look at that life of obedience: it is like a crown set with all manner of priceless jewels: all the virtues are in it, and it is without flaw in any point. If one sinful action of our first covenant-head destroys, shall not a whole life of holiness, on the part of our second covenant representative be accepted for us?
21. But what is more, Adam only ate from the forbidden fruit, but our Lord Jesus died, pouring out his soul to death, bearing the sin of his people upon himself. Such a death must have more force in it than the sad deed of Adam. Shall it not save us? Is there any comparison between the one act of rebellion in the garden and the matchless deed of superlative obedience upon the cross of Calvary which crowned a life of service? Am I sure that the act of disobedience has done me damage? Then I am much more certain that the glorious act of self-sacrifice must be able to save me, and I cast myself upon it without question or misgiving. The passion of God’s Only Begotten must have in it infallible virtue for the remission of sin. At this moment my soul depends upon the perfect work of Jesus, without a suspicion of possible failure, and without the addition of the shadow of a confidence anywhere else. The good which may be supposed to be in man, his best words and holiest actions, are all to me as the small dust of the balance as for any claim on the favour of God. My sole claim for salvation lies in that one man, the gift of God, who by his life and death has made atonement for my sin, but that one man, Christ Jesus, is a sure foundation, and a nail upon which we may hang all the weight of our eternal interests. I feel all the more confidence in the certainty of salvation by Christ because of my firm persuasion of the dreadful efficacy of Adam’s fall. Think for a while and it will seem strange, yet strangely true, that the hope of Paradise regained should be argued and justified by the fact of Paradise lost, that the absolute certainty that one man ruined us should give us an abounding guarantee that one glorious man has in very deed effectively saved all those who by faith accept the efficacy of his work.
22. Now, if you have grasped my thought, and have drunk into the truth of the text, you may derive a great deal of comfort from it, and it may suggest to you many painful things which will henceforth yield you pleasure. A babe is born into the world amid great anxiety because of his mother’s pains, but while these go to prove how the consequences of the Fall are still with us, according to the word of the Lord to Eve, “in sorrow shall you give birth to children,” they also assure us that the second Adam can abundantly bring us bliss through a second birth, by which we are begotten again to a living hope. You go into the arable field and see the thistle, and tear your garments with a thorn: these prove the curse, but also preach the gospel. Did not the Lord God say, “Cursed is the ground for your sake; thorns also and thistles shall it produce for you?” Through no fault of ours, for we were not present when the first man offended, our fields reluctantly yield their harvests. Well, inasmuch as we have seen the thorn and the thistle produced by the ground because of one Adam, we may expect to see a blessing on the earth because of the second and greater Adam. Therefore with unbounded confidence I believe the promise — “You shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break out before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”
23. Do you wipe the sweat from your brow as you toil for your livelihood? Did not the Lord say, “In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread?” Ought not your labour to be an argument by which your faith shall prove that in Christ Jesus there remains a rest for the people of God? In toiling into weariness you feel that Adam’s fall is at work upon you; he has turned you into a tiller of the ground, or a keeper of sheep, or a worker in metals, but in any case he has made you wear a yoke; say then to the Lord Jesus, “Blessed second Adam, as I see and feel what the first man did, I am abundantly assured concerning what you can accomplish. I will therefore rest in you with all my heart.”
24. When you observe a funeral passing slowly along the street, or enter the churchyard, and notice mound after mound above the lowly beds of the departed, you see unquestionably before your eyes the result of the Fall. You ask, — “Who killed all these? and at what gate did the foul destroyer enter this world? Did the first Adam through his disobedience lift the latch for death?” It is surely so. Therefore I believe with the greater assurance that the second Adam can give life to these dry bones, can awaken all these sleepers, and raise them in newness of life. If so weak a man as Adam by one sin has brought in death, to pile the carcasses of men heaps upon heaps, and make the earth reek with corruption, how much more shall the glorious Son of God at his coming call them again to life and immortality, and renew them in the image of God. How blessed are those words, — “Now Christ is risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of those who slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. The first man is from the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are also those who are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are those also who are heavenly. And since we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” Is this not killing a lion, and finding honey in its carcass? “Out of the eater comes out food, and out of the strong comes out sweetness,” when from the fact of the Fall we derive a strong assurance of our restoration by Christ Jesus.
25. Time fails me; otherwise I meant to have dwelt somewhat at length upon the last point which can now only be briefly noticed.
26. IV. It seems certain that if from the fall of Adam such great results flow, GREATER RESULTS MUST FLOW FROM THE GRACE OF GOD, AND THE GIFT BY GRACE, WHICH IS BY ONE MAN, JESUS CHRIST.
Brethren, suppose that Adam had never sinned, and we were at this
moment unfallen beings, yet our standing would have remained in
jeopardy, since that at any moment he might have transgressed and so
have pulled us down. Thousands of years of obedience might not have
ended the probation, since there is no such stipulation in the
original covenant. You and I therefore would be holding our happiness
by a very precarious tenure; we could never glory in absolute
security and eternal life as we now do in Christ Jesus. Now we have
lost everything in Adam, and so the uncertain tenure has come to an
end, our lease on Eden and its joys has altogether expired; but we
who have believed, have obtained an inheritance which we hold by an
indisputable and never-failing title which Satan himself cannot
dispute; “All things are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is
God’s.” The Lord Jesus Christ has finished the work by which his
people are saved, and that work has been certified by his
resurrection from the dead. There are no “ifs” in the covenant now;
there is not a “perhaps” in it from beginning to end; no chances of
failure caused by unfulfilled conditions can be found in it. “He who
believes and is baptized shall be saved.” Do you say “I believe
he shall be saved if he — ?” Do not dare to add an “if” where God has
placed none. Remember what will happen to you if you add anything to
the book of God’s testimony. No, it is written, “He who believes and
is baptized shall be saved”: “He who believes in him has
everlasting life.” “There is therefore now no condemnation to
those who are in Christ Jesus.” So we have obtained a firmer standing
than we could have had under the first Adam, and our hymn is true to
the letter when it sings —
He raised me from the deeps of sin,
The gates of gaping hell,
And fix’d my standing more secure
Than ’twas before I fell.
Our Lord has not only undone the mischief of the Fall, but he has given us more than we have lost: even as the Psalmist says, “Then I restored what I did not take away.”
28. By the great transgression of Adam we lost our life in him, for so ran the threatening — “In the day that you eat of it you shall surely die”; but in Christ Jesus we live again with a higher and nobler life, for the new life being the direct work of the Spirit, and being sustained by feeding upon the person of the Lord Jesus, is higher than the life of innocence in the garden of Eden. It is of a higher kind in many respects, of which we cannot now speak particularly, but this much we may say, “The first Adam was made a living soul, the second Adam is a quickening Spirit.”
29. The Lord Jesus has also brought us into a closer relationship to God than we could have possessed by any other means. We were God’s creatures by creation, but now we are his sons by adoption; in a certain narrow sense we were the offspring of God, but now by the exaltation of the man Christ Jesus, the representative of us all, we are brought into the closest possible relationship to God. Jesus sits upon the throne of God, and manhood is thus lifted up next to deity: the nearest akin to the Eternal is a man, Christ Jesus, the Son of the Highest. We are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones, and therefore we share his honours and participate in his triumphs. In Christ Jesus man is made to have dominion over all the works of God’s hands, and the redeemed are raised up together with Christ and made to sit in the heavenly places with him, above all principalities and powers, and all other things; for these are the favourites of heaven, the beloved of the great King. No creatures can equal perfected men; they rise superior even to the angels who have never sinned; for in them the riches of the glory of God’s grace is more fully seen than in pure, unfallen spirits.
Oh beloved, has not the Lord Jesus Christ done much for us, and ought
we not to expect that it should be so, for the grace of God, and the
gift by grace by the man Christ Jesus, are infinitely stronger forces
than Adam’s sin. There must be much more sap in the man, the Branch,
than in that poor plant, the one man who was made from the dust of
the earth. Oh the bliss which opens up before us now. We have lost
Paradise, but we shall possess what the earthly garden was only a
lowly type: we might have eaten from the luscious fruits of Eden, but
now we eat from the bread which came down from heaven; we might have
heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of
the day, but now, like Enoch, we may walk with God in a nobler and
closer manner. We are now capable of a joy which unfallen spirits
could not have known: the bliss of pardoned sin, the heaven of deep
conscious obligation to eternal mercy. The bonds which bind redeemed
ones to their God are the strongest which exist. What a joy it will
be to love the Lord more than any other of his creatures, and
assuredly we shall do so. Do not think that this is an unwarrantable
assertion, for I feel sure that it is the truth. Do you not read in
the gospels about a woman who washed the Saviour’s feet with tears
and wiped them with the hairs of her head, and anointed them with
ointment? Did not the Saviour say that she loved much because she had
much forgiven? I take it that the same general principle will apply
to all places, to eternity as well as to time, and therefore I
believe that forgiven sinners will have a love for God and for his
Christ such as cherubim and seraphim never felt; Gabriel cannot love
Jesus as a forgiven man will do. Those who have washed their robes
and made them white in the blood of the Lamb will be nearer and
dearer to him, and he will be nearer and dearer to them, than all the
ministering spirits before the throne, for he took upon him our
nature and not theirs. Glory be to you, oh Christ! As I look into the
awful depths of Adam’s fall, I tremble, but when I lift up my eyes
again to the eternal heights where you have raised me by your passion
and your resurrection I feel strengthened by the former vision. I
magnify the infinite grace of God, and believe in it unstaggeringly.
Oh, that I had power to magnify it with fit words and proper speech,
but these are not with me. Accept the feeling of the heart when the
language of the lip confesses its failure. Accept it, Lord, through
the Well-Beloved. Amen.
[Portion Of Scripture Read Before Sermon — Ro 5]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Lord’s Day — Hosannah” 909]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Work of Grace as a Whole — ‘Grace Reigns’ ” 233]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “God the Father, Acts, Covenant — The Covenant God Extolled” 229]
Public Worship, The Lord’s Day
909 — Hosanna
1 This is the day the Lord hath made,
He calls the hours his own;
Let heaven rejoice, let earth be glad,
And praise surround the throne.
2 Today he rose and left the dead;
And Satan’s empire fell;
Today the saints his triumphs spread,
And all his wonders tell.
3 Hosanna to th’ anointhewyd King,
To David’s holy Son!
Help us, oh Lord! descend and bring
Salvation from thy throne.
4 Blest be the Lord, who comes to men,
With messages of grace;
Who comes in god his Father’s name,
To save our sinful race.
5 Hosanna in the highest strains
The church on earth can raise;
The highest heavens, in which he reigns,
Shall give him nobler praise.
Isaac Watts, 1719.
The Work of Grace as a Whole
233 — “Grace Reigns”
1 Grace! ‘tis a charming sound!
Harmonious to the ear!
Heaven with the echo shall resound,
And all the earth shall hear.
2 Grace first contrived the way
To save rebellious man;
And all the steps that grace display
Which drew the wondrous plan.
3 Grace first inscribed my name
In God’s eternal book:
‘Twas grace that gave me to the Lamb,
Who all my sorrows took.
4 Grace led my roving feet
To tread the heavenly road;
And new supplies each hour I meet
While pressing on to God.
5 Grace taught my soul to pray,
And made my eyes o’erflow;
‘Twas grace that kept me to this day,
And will not let me go.
6 Grace all the work shall crown,
Through everlasting days;
It lays in heaven the topmost stone,
And well deserves the praise.
Philip Doddridge, 1755;
Augustus M. Toplady, 1776.
God the Father, Acts, Covenant
229 — The Covenant God Extolled <6.8.4.>
1 The God of Abraham praise
Who reigns enthroned above,
Ancient of everlasting days,
And God of love!
Jehovah, great I AM!
By earth and heaven confest;
I bow, and bless the sacred name,
For ever blest!
2 The God of Abraham praise,
At whose supreme command,
From earth I rise, and seek the joys
At his right hand:
I all on earth forsake,
Its wisdom, fame, and power;
And him my only portion make,
My shield and tower.
3 The God of Abraham praise,
Whose all sufficient grace
Shall guide me all my happy days
In all his ways:
He calls a worm his friend,
He calls himself my God!
And he shall save me to the end,
Through Jesus’ blood.
4 He by himself hath sworn,
I on his oath depend;
I shall, on eagles’ wings upborne,
To heaven ascend:
I shall behold his face,
I shall his power adore,
And sing the wonders of his grace
THE SECOND PART.
5 Though nature’s strength decay,
And earth and hell withstand,
To Canaan’s bounds I urge my way
At his command:
The watery deep I pass
With Jesus in my view,
And through the howling wilderness
My way pursue.
6 The goodly land I see,
With peace and plenty blest;
A land of sacred liberty,
And endless rest:
There milk and honey flow
And oil and wine abound,
And trees of life for ever grow,
With mercy crown’d.
7 There dwells the Lord our King,
The Lord our righteousness!
Triumphant o’er the world and sin,
The Prince of Peace.
On Sion’s sacred height,
His kingdom still maintains;
And glorious with his saints in light,
For ever reigns.
8 The whole triumphant host
Give thanks to God on high,
“Hail Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!”
They ever cry:
Hail, Abraham’s God, and mine!
I join the heavenly lays;
All might and majesty are Thine,
And endless praise.
Thomas Olivers, 1772.