A Sermon Delivered On Sunday Evening, At Exeter Hall, Strand, By Pastor C. H. Spurgeon.
With him is plenteous redemption. (Ps 130:7)
1. Redemption is a word which has gladdened many ears, when there was no heavenly sound in its blessed chime. Apart from any theological use of it, the word is a very sweet one, and has been melodious to many hearts. In those days when piracy was carried on continually along the coast of Africa, when our fellow Christian subjects were caught by corsairs,1 and carried away captive, you can well understand how the burdened soul of the manacled slave, chained to the oar of his galley, was gladdened by the hope that possibly there would be redemption. His cruel master, who had forced him into his possession, would not willingly emancipate him; but a rumour came, that in some distant nation they had raised a sum of money to purchase the freedom of slaves—that some wealthy merchant had dedicated from his substance to buy back his fellow countrymen; that the king himself upon his throne had promised to give a liberal redemption so that the captives among the Moors might return to their homes. Truly I can suppose the hours quickly fly by, and the dreariness of their toil would be assuaged, when once that word “redemption” had sounded in their ears. So with our fellow subjects and our fellowmen, who once were slaves in our West Indian settlements. We can well conceive that to their lips the word redemption must have been a very pleasing song. It must have been almost as sweet to them as the marriage peals to a youthful bridegroom, when they knew that the noble British nation would raise the twenty million pounds of their redemption money; that on a certain morning their fetters should be snapped asunder, so that they should no more go out to the plantations to sweat in the sun, driven by the whip but they should call themselves their own, and no one should be their masters to own their flesh, and have property in their souls. You can conceive when the sun of that happy morning arose, when emancipation was proclaimed from sea to sea, and the whole land was at liberty, how joyful must their new found freedom have appeared. Oh there are many sonnets in that one word “redemption.”
2. Now, you who have sold for nothing your glorious heritage; you who have been carried bondslaves into Satan’s dominion; you who have worn the fetters of guilt and groaned under them; you who have smarted beneath the lash of the law; what the news of redemption has been to slaves and captives, that will it be to you tonight. It will cheer your souls and gladden your spirits, and more especially so when that rich adjective is coupled with it—“plenteous redemption”
3. This evening I shall consider the subject of redemption, and then notice the adjective appended to the word: “plenteous redemption.”
4. I. First, then, we shall consider the subject of REDEMPTION.
5. I shall commence in this way, by asking, “What has Christ redeemed?” And in order to let you know what my views are upon this subject, I would announce at once what I conceive to be an authoritative doctrine, consistent with common sense, and declared to us by Scripture, namely, that whatever Christ has redeemed, Christ will most assuredly have. I start with that as an axiom, that whatever Christ has redeemed, Christ must have. I hold it to be repugnant to reason, and much more to revelation, that Christ should die to purchase what he never shall obtain; and I hold it to be little less than blasphemy to assert that the intention of our Saviour’s death can ever be frustrated. Whatever was Christ’s intention when he died—we lay it down as a very groundwork truth, which ought to be granted to us by every reasonable man—that Christ will most certainly gain. I cannot see how it can be that the intention of God in anything can be frustrated. We have always thought God to be so superior to creatures, that when he has once intended a thing, it must most assuredly be accomplished; and if I have that granted to me, I cannot for a moment allow you to imagine that Christ should shed his blood in vain; that he should die with an intention of doing something, and yet should not perform it; that he should die with a full intention in his heart, and with a promise on the part of God, that a certain thing should be given to him as a reward for his sufferings, and yet should fail to obtain it. I start with that; and I think that everyone who will weigh the matter, and truly consider it, must see it to be so, that Christ’s intention in his death must be fulfilled, and that the design of God, whatever that may be, must certainly be carried out. Well then, I believe that the efficacy of Christ’s blood knows no other limit than the purpose of God. I believe that the efficacy of Christ’s atonement is just as great as God meant it to be, and that what Christ redeemed is precisely what he meant to redeem, and exactly what the Father had decreed he should redeem. Therefore I cannot for one moment give any credence whatever to that doctrine which tells us that all men are redeemed. Some may hold it, as I know they do, and hold it very strongly, and even urge it as being a fundamental part of the doctrine of revelation. They are welcome to it; this is a land of liberty. Let them hold their views, but I must tell them solemnly my persuasion, that they cannot hold such doctrine if they only would consider the matter well; for if they once believe in universal redemption, they are driven to the blasphemous inference that God’s intention is frustrated, and that Christ has not received what he died to procure. If, therefore, they can believe that, I will give them credit for being able to believe anything; and I shall not despair of seeing them living in Salt Lake City with the Mormons, or in any other region where enthusiasm and credulity can flourish without the checks of ridicule or reason.
6. Starting, then, with this assumption, I now shall tell you what I believe, according to sound doctrine and Scripture, Christ has really redeemed. His redemption is a very compendious redemption. He has redeemed many things; he has redeemed the souls of his people; he has redeemed the bodies of his people; he has redeemed the original inheritance which man lost in Adam; he has redeemed, in the last place, the world, considered in a certain sense—in the sense in which he will have the world at last.
7. 1. Christ has redeemed the souls of all his people who shall ultimately be saved. To state it after the Calvinistic form, Christ has redeemed his elect; but since you do not know his elect until they are revealed, we will alter that, and say, Christ has redeemed all penitent souls; Christ has redeemed all believing souls; and Christ has redeemed the souls of all those who die in infancy, since it is to be received, that all those who die in infancy are written in the Lamb’s book of life, and are graciously privileged by God to go at once to heaven, instead of toiling through this weary world. The souls of all those who were written before all worlds in the Lamb’s book of life, who in process of time are humbled before God, who in due course are led to lay hold of Christ Jesus as the only refuge for their souls, who hold on their way, and ultimately attain heaven; these, I believe, were redeemed, and I most firmly and solemnly believe the souls of no other men were in that sense subjects of redemption. I do not hold the doctrine that Judas was redeemed; I could not conceive my Saviour bearing the punishment for Judas, or if so how could Judas be punished again? I could not conceive it possible that God should exact first at Christ’s hands the penalty of his sin, and then at the sinner’s hands again. I cannot conceive for a moment that Christ should have shed his blood in vain; and though I have read in the books of certain divines, that Christ’s blood is fuel for the flames of hell, I have shuddered at the thought, and have cast it from me as being a dreadful assertion, perhaps worthy of those who made it, but utterly unsupported by the Word of God. The souls of God’s people, whoever they may be, and they are a multitude that no man can number—and I could fondly hope they are all of you—are redeemed effectually. Briefly, they are redeemed in three ways. They are redeemed from the guilt of sin, from the punishment of sin, and from the power of sin. The souls of Christ’s people have guilt on account of sin, until they are redeemed; but when once redemption is applied to my soul, everyone of my sins are from that moment blotted out for ever.
The moment a sinner believes,
And trusts in his crucified Lord,
His pardon at once he receives,
Salvation in full through his blood.
The guilt of our sin is taken away by the redemption of Christ. Whatever sin you may have committed, the moment you believe in Christ, not only will you never be punished for that sin, but the very guilt of that sin is taken from you. You cease to be any longer a guilty person in God’s sight; you are considered by God as a justified believer to have the righteousness of Christ around you; and therefore, you can say—to recall a verse which we often repeat—
Now freed from sin I walk at large
My Saviour’s blood’s my full discharge;
At his dear feet my soul I lay,
A sinner saved, and homage pay.
Every sin, every particle of guilt, every atom of transgression, is by the redemption of Christ, effectually taken away from all the Lord’s believing family.
8. And note next: not only the guilt, but the punishment of sin is taken away. In fact, when we cease to be guilty, we cease to be the objects of punishment altogether. Take away the guilt; the punishment is gone; but to make it more effectual, it is as it were written over again, that condemnation is taken away, as well as the sin for which we might be condemned. “Therefore now there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” None of those who were redeemed by Christ can ever be damned; they can never be punished on account of sin, for Christ has suffered their punishment in their place, and therefore, they cannot, unless God is unjust, be sued a second time for debts already paid. If Christ their ransom died, they cannot die; if he, their surety, paid their debt, then they owe nothing any longer to God’s justice, for Christ has paid it all. If he has shed his blood, if he has yielded up the ghost, if he has “died, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God,” how, then, would God be just, and yet the punisher of those whom he has already punished once in the person of Jesus Christ their Saviour? No beloved, through the plenteous redemption of Christ we are delivered from all punishment on account of sin, and from all guilt which we had incurred by it.
9. Moreover the believing family of Christ—or rather, all for whom he died—are most effectually delivered from the power of sin. Oh! there are some who suck in the two truths I have been mentioning, as if they were honey; but they cannot endure this other point—Christ delivers us from the power of sin. Note this then—we affirm it very strongly—no man can ever be redeemed from the guilt of sin, or from the punishment of sin, unless he is at the same time delivered from the power of sin. Unless he is made by God to hate his own sin, unless he is enabled to cast it to the ground, unless he is made to abhor every evil way, and to cleave to God with full purpose of heart, walking before him in the land of the living, in the strength of the Holy Spirit, such a man has no right to believe himself to be redeemed. If you are still under the dominion of your lusts, oh wicked sinner, you have no right to think yourself a purchased heir of heaven. If you can be drunk, if you can swear, if you can curse God, if you can lie, if you can profane the Sabbath, if you can hate his people, if you can despise his Word, then you have no right whatever, any more than Satan in hell, to boast that you are redeemed; for all the Lord’s redeemed are in due time brought out of the house of bondage, out of the land of Egypt, and they are taught the evil of sin, the horrible penalty of it and the desperate character of it in the sight of God. Are you delivered from the power of sin, my hearer? Have you mortified it? Are you dead to it? Is it dead to you? Is it crucified to you, and you to it? Do you hate it as you would a viper? Do you stamp on it as you would stamp upon a serpent? If you do, albeit there are sins of frailty and infirmity, yet if you hate the sin of your heart, if you have an unutterable enmity to it, take courage and comfort. The Lord has redeemed you from the guilt and penalty, and also from the power of sin. That is the first point of redemption. And hear me distinctly again, lest any should misunderstand me. I always like to preach so that there can be no mistake about it. I do not want so to preach that you will say in the judgment of charity, he could not have meant what he said. Now, I mean solemnly again to say what I have said—that I do believe that no others were redeemed than those who are or shall be redeemed from the guilt, the punishment, and the power of sin, because I say again, it is abhorrent to my reason, much less to my views of Scripture, to conceive that the damned ever were redeemed, and that the lost in perdition were ever washed in the Saviour’s blood, or that his blood was ever shed with an intention of saving them.
10. 2. Now let us think of the second thing Christ has redeemed. Christ has redeemed the bodies of all his children. In that day when Christ redeemed our souls, he redeemed the tabernacles in which our souls dwell. At the same moment when the spirit was redeemed by blood, Christ who gave his human soul and his human body to death, purchased the body as well as the soul of every believer. You ask, then, in what way redemption operates upon the body of the believer. I answer, first, it ensures it a resurrection. Those for whom Christ died, are ensured by his death of a glorious resurrection. “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ, shall all be made alive.” All men are by virtue of the death of Christ quickened to a resurrection, but even here there is a special property of the elect, seeing that they are quickened to a blessed resurrection, while others are quickened only to a cursed resurrection; a resurrection of woe, a resurrection of unutterable anguish. Oh Christian, your body is redeemed.
What though your inbred sins require
Your flesh to see the dust,
Yet, as the Lord your Saviour rose,
So all his followers must.
What! though in a little while I shall slumber in the tomb, though worms devour this body, I know that my Redeemer lives, and because he lives I know that in my flesh I shall see God. These eyes which soon shall be glazed in death, shall not be always closed in darkness; Death shall be made to give back his prey; he shall restore all that he has taken. Lo, I see him there! He has the bodies of the just locked up in his dungeons; they are wrapped up in their grave clothes, and he thinks they are secure: he has sealed their tombs and marked them for his own. Oh Death! foolish Death! your caskets shall be rifled; your storehouses shall be broken open. Lo, the morning is come! Christ has descended from on high. I hear the trumpet, “Awake! Awake!” and lo! from their tombs, the righteous rise; while Death sits in confusion howling in vain, to find his empire all bereft of its subjects, to find all his dungeons rifled of their prey. “Precious shall their blood be in his sight;” precious shall be their bones! their very dust is blessed, and Christ shall raise them with himself. Think of that, you who have lost friends—you weeping children of sorrow! your redeemed friends shall live again. The very hands that grasped yours with a death clutch, shall grasp them in paradise; those very eyes that wept themselves away in tears, shall, with eye strings that never shall be broken, wake up in the noonday of felicity. That very body which you sorrowfully conveyed, with sombre funeral attire, to bury in its tomb—yes, that very same body, made like the image of Jesus Christ, spiritualized and changed, but nevertheless the very same body, shall rise again; and you, if you are redeemed, shall see it, for Christ has purchased it, and Christ shall not die in vain. Death will not have one bone of the righteous—indeed, not a particle of their dust—indeed, not a hair of their heads. It shall all come back. Christ has purchased all our body, and the whole body shall be completed, and united for ever in heaven with the glorified soul. The bodies of the righteous are redeemed, and redeemed for eternal happiness.
11. 3. In the next place, all the possessions of the righteous which were lost in Adam are redeemed. Adam! where are you? I have a controversy with you, man, for I have lost much by you. Come here. Adam! you see what you are now, tell me what you once were; then I shall know what I have lost by you, and then I shall be able to thank my Master that all you lost he has freely bought back for all believers. What did you lose? “Alas!” cries Adam, “I had a crown once; I was king of all the world; the beasts crouched at my feet and reverenced me; God made me, so that I might have supreme command over the cattle upon the hills, and over all fowls of the air; but I lost my crown. I had a mitre once,” Adam said, “for I was a priest to God, and often in the morning I climbed the hills, and sang sweet orations of praise to him who made me. My censer of praise has often smoked with incense, and my voice has been sweet with praise,
These are your glorious works,
Parent of good,
Almighty, yours this universal frame,
Thus wondrous fair;
Yourself how wondrous then;
Oft I have bidden misty exhalations, sun, and moon, and stars, sing to his praise; daily I have bidden the herds upon the hills low out his glories, and the lions roar his honours; nightly I have told the stars to shine it out, and the little flowers to blossom it forth: but ah! I lost my mitre, and I, who was once a priest to God, ceased any longer to be his holy servant.” Ah! Adam, you have lost me so much; but up there I see my Saviour; he takes his crown off his head, so that he may put a crown on my head; and he puts a mitre on his head, to be a priest, so that he may put a mitre on my head too, and on the head of all his people; for, as we have just been singing,
You have redeemed our souls with blood,
Have set the prisoners free;
Have made us kings and priests to God,
And we shall reign with thee.
Just what Adam lost: the kingship and the priesthood of Christ, is won for all his believing people. And what else did you lose, Adam? “Why, I lost paradise.” Hush, man! say nothing about that; for Christ has bought me a paradise worth ten thousand such Edens as yours. So we can well forgive you for that. And what else did you lose? “Why, I lost the image of my Maker.” Ah! hush, Adam! In Jesus Christ we have something more than that; for we have the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ, and surely that is even better than the image of the Maker, for it is the very dress and robe that the Maker wore. So, Adam, all that you have lost I have regained. Christ has redeemed all that we sold for nothing. I, who have sold for nothing a divine heritage, shall have it back unbought,—the gift of love, says Christ, even mine. Oh! hear it, then! The trumpet of Jubilee is blown; Christ has redeemed the lost possessions of his people.
12. 4. And now I come to the last thing that Christ has redeemed, though not the last point of the discourse. Christ has redeemed this world. “Well, now,” one says, “that is strange, sir; you are going to contradict yourself flatly.” Stop for a moment. Understand what I mean by the world, if you please. We do not mean every man, in it; we never pretended such a thing. But I will tell you how Christ has redeemed the world. When Adam fell God cursed the world with barrenness. “Thorns also and briars shall it bring forth to you, and in the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread.” God cursed the earth. When Christ came into the world they twisted a crown made of the cursed thorn, and they put that on his head, and made him king of the curse; and in that day he purchased the redemption of the world from its curse; and it is my very belief, and I think it is warranted by Scripture, that when Christ shall come a second time, everywhere this world will become as fertile as the garden of Paradise used to be. I believe that Sahara, the literal desert, shall one day blossom like Sharon, and rejoice like the garden of the Lord. I do not conceive that this poor world is to be a forlorn planetary wanderer for ever; I believe that she is yet to be clothed with verdure, such as she once wore. We have evidences in the beds of coal underneath the earth, that this world was once much more fertile than it is now. Gigantic trees once spread their mighty arms, and I had almost said one arm of a tree in that day would have equalled half a forest for us now. Then mighty creatures, far different from ours, stalked through the earth; and I believe firmly that a luxuriant vegetation, such as this world once knew shall be restored to us, and that we shall see again a garden such as we have not known. No more cursed with blight and mildew, with no more blast and withering, we shall see a land like heaven itself—
Where everlasting spring abides,
And never withering flowers.
When Christ comes he shall do even this.
13. In the day of the fall, too, it is currently believed that animals for the first time received their ferocious temperament, and began to prey on each other; this may be so and if I read Scripture correctly, I find that the lion shall lie down with the kid, and that the leopard shall eat straw like the ox, and that the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice den. I do believe that in millennial years that are coming, and coming soon, there shall be known no more devouring lions, no blood thirsty tigers, no creatures that shall devour their kind. God shall restore to us again, and even to the beasts of the field, the blessing which Adam lost.
14. And, my friends, there is a worse curse than that which has fallen on this world. It is the curse of ignorance and sin: that, too, is to be removed. See that planet? It is whirling along through space—bright, bright and glorious. Do you hear the morning stars sing together, because this new sister theirs is made? That is the earth; she is bright now. Stop! Did you see that shadow sweep across her? What caused it? The planet is dimmed, and on her trace there lies a sorrowful shadow. I am speaking, of course, metaphorically. See the planet there; she glides along in tenfold night; scarcely does a speck of light illuminate her. See again, the day is not come, when that planet shall renew her glory, but it is quickly coming. As the snake slips off its skin, and leaves it behind in the valley, so that planet has slipped its clouds, and shone forth bright as it was before. Do you ask who has done it? Who has cleared away the mist? Who has taken away the darkness? Who has removed the clouds? “I have done it,” says Christ, the Sun of Righteousness; “I have scattered darkness, and made that world bright again.” Lo, I see a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. To explain myself, lest I should be misunderstood, I mean this. This world is now covered with sin, ignorance, mistakes, idolatry, and crime; the day is coming when the last drop of blood shall be drunk by the sword; it shall be no more intoxicated with blood; God shall make wars to cease to the ends of the earth. The day is coming—oh that it were now!—when the feet of Christ shall tread this earth. Then idols shall be dethroned; superstitions cast down from their pinnacles; then slavery shall cease; then crime shall end; then peace shall spread its halcyon wings over all the world; and then you shall know that Christ has died for the world, and that Christ has won it. “The whole creation,” said Paul, “groans and travails in pain together until now;” waiting for what? “waiting for the redemption;” and by the redemption, I understand what I have just explained to you, that this world shall be washed from all her sin; her curse shall be removed, her stains taken away and this world shall be as fair as when God first struck her from his mind; as when, like a glowing spark, struck from the anvil by the eternal hammer she first flashed into her orbit. This Christ has redeemed; Christ shall, and most assuredly must have this.
15. II. And, now, a word or two concerning the last thought—“PLENTEOUS REDEMPTION.”
16. It is plenteous enough, if you consider what I have already told you Christ has bought. Surely I should have made it no more plenteous, if I had lied against my conscience, and told you that he had bought every man; for of what avail is it that I am bought with blood, if I am lost? Of what use is it to me that Christ has died for me, if I still sink in the flames of hell? How will that glorify Christ, that he has redeemed me, and yet failed in his intentions? Surely it is more to his honour to believe, that according to his immutable, sovereign, and all wise will, he laid the foundation as wide as he intended the structure to be, and then made it just according to his will. Nevertheless, it is “plenteous redemption.” Very briefly, lend me your ears just for a moment.
17. It is “plenteous,” when we consider the millions who have been redeemed. Think if you can, how great that host who have already “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb;” and then think how many now with weary feet are plodding their way to Paradise, all of them redeemed. They all shall sit down at the marriage supper of the Lamb. Is it not “plenteous redemption,” when you reflect that it is a “multitude that no man can number” that will be gathered in? Let us close that by saying, “And why not you?” If so many are redeemed, why should you not be? Why should you not seek for mercy on the strength of that, knowing that all who seek will most assuredly receive, for they would not have sought unless it had been prepared for them?
18. It is “plenteous,” again, if are consider the sins of all who are redeemed. However great the sins are of any redeemed soul, this redemption is enough to cover it all and to wash it all away—
What though your numerous sins exceed
The stars that spread the skies,
And aiming at th’ eternal throne,
Like pointed mountains rise;
Yet this plenteous redemption can take all your sins away. They are no greater than Christ foresaw, and vowed to remove. Therefore, I beseech you, flee to Jesus, believing that however great your guilt, his atonement is great enough for all who come to him, and therefore you may safely come.
19. Remember, again, that this “plenteous redemption” is plenteous, because it is enough for all the distresses of all the saints. Your needs are almost infinite; but this atonement is infinite. Your troubles are almost unutterable; but this atonement is unutterable. You can scarcely count what your needs are; but this redemption I know you cannot count. Believe, then, that it is “plenteous redemption.” Oh believing sinner, what a sweet comfort it is for you, that there is “plenteous redemption,” and that you have a portion in it. You will most certainly be brought safely home, by Jesus’ grace. Are you seeking Christ? Or rather, do you know yourselves to be sinners? If you do, I have authority from God to say to everyone who will confess his sins, that Christ has redeemed him. “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” Are you a sinner? I do not mean a sham sinner; there are lots of them around, but I have no gospel to preach to them just now. I do not mean one of those hypocritical sinners, who cry, “Yes, I am a sinner,”—who are sinners out of compliment, and do not mean it. I will preach another thing to you: I will preach against your self-righteousness another day; but I shall not preach anything to you just now about Christ, for he “do not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” But are you a sinner, in the bona fide sense of the word? Do you know yourself to be a lost, ruined, undone sinner? Then in God’s name I urge you to believe this—that Christ has died to save you; for as sure as ever he has revealed to you your guilt by the Holy Spirit, he will not leave you until he has revealed to you your pardon by his only Son. If you know your lost estate, you shall soon know your glorious estate. Believe on Jesus now; then you are saved, and you may go away happy,—blest beyond what kings could dream of. Believe that since you are a sinner, Christ has redeemed you—that just because you know yourself to be undone, guilty, lost and ruined, you have tonight a right, a privilege, and a title, to bathe in the fountain filled with blood, “shed for many for the remission of sins.” Believe that, and then you shall know the meaning of this text—“Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, by whom also we have received the atonement.” God dismiss you with a blessing, for Jesus’ sake!