Robert Garner

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Behold the Lamb of God

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I will now proceed to the consideration of the Scripture in hand: “Behold the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world.” {Jn.1:29} By ‘them’ here they {Arminians} understand all persons, all men and women from first to last. Before I come to give the true and natural meaning of this Scripture, I shall first show one or two Reasons from the words themselves to clear them from their corrupt sense which they put on them. The first reason is taken from the consideration of these words ‘takes away.’ He takes away the sin of the world. The words are exceeding clear, and full, and of great force, for he doth not say, ‘Tis probable, or it is possible, he takes them away; but he takes them away; that is, he certainly, absolutely, solely, freely, perfectly, powerfully, and forever takes them away; and I am confident that the words ‘take away,’ ‘taken away,’ and ‘takes away,’ when they are spoken of things done or to be done, do always signify in Scripture a perfect, powerful, absolute and complete removal or taking away of things; so that the things do not remain any more. I would give many Scriptures to prove this; but I will content myself with a few, which I desire may be well noted: “Thine iniquity is taken away.” {Is.6:7} “For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.” {Rom.11:27} “He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.” {Heb.10:9} “And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins.” {I Jn.3:5} So that in the Scripture Language to take away a thing, it is powerfully, thoroughly, perfectly, and forever to take it away, so to remove it as that it come not into remembrance any more. And therefore the reason why there was a remembrance of sins once every year under the sacrifices of the Law was because those sacrifices could not take away sin; {Heb.10:3,4;} implying, that if their sins had been taken away by those sacrifices, then they should never have been remembered any more. Therefore I conclude, that when John saith, the Lamb of God, he taketh away sins; we are to understand that he removes them, or takes them away as effectual to the complete perfection and salvation of those from whom he takes them away; so as they shall never come into remembrance against them anymore. Agreeable with that of David, “as far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” {Ps.103:12} And this will be further manifest, if we consider what it is to take away sin. Now to take away sin, in the Scripture sense, is to take away the merit, wages, power, dominion, lordship, and strength of sin; so as neither the one or the other shall ever return again anymore; and therefore when it is said, “this is my Covenant with them, when I shall take away their sins;” {Rom.11:27;} he saith in the former verse, “there shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” And indeed, this is the Office and Power of this Deliverer, to take away sins and ungodliness in all respects; not only in respect of merit and wages, but of strength and lordship also; so that them who have their sins taken away, they have the merit and wages of their sins taken away; they have their ungodliness, disobedience, darkness, pride, and rebellion of heart taken away; and are enabled by the power of this Deliverer to turn unto Christ, and believe in him. And therefore repentance and remission of sins always goes together in Scripture, either expressed or understood. Neither do I read that the sins of any are said to be remitted, but such to whom the Lord gives repentance also, enabling of them to return and believe in Him. Not that repentance is a condition of remission; but to teach us, that these two are never separated, but are given together {as being linked within another} by this Lord God, this Deliverer, this Priest, this Savior, who gives repentance unto Israel, and remission of sins. I say further, that he so takes away sin, both the merit, strength, lordship and power of it, as that neither the one nor the other shall again be put upon those or any of those to whom it was taken away. This is the meaning of that place of John, in his first Epistle, {3:5,} “And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.” And so I have in part declared what means to take away sin; and this will be further minded if we consider in the second place, who it is that John saith takes away sin; namely, the Lamb of God, the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world; that is, the Son of God, in giving himself a sacrifice to God for the sins of the world, doth by the price, power, and virtue of that Sacrifice, fully, perfectly, and forever take away their sins. And so he answers most fully, perfectly, and superabundantly unto those lambs slain, and other sacrifices under the first Covenant, which did carnally, and as figures for the time present, take away the sins of the people. {Read Lev.4:32 to latter end; and chapter 5:6} And indeed this Lamb of God, by the price & power of his bloodshed, doth perfectly, powerfully, and forever take away sins; for he thereby hath wrought & obtained a most perfect, full, and eternal redemption. “For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.” {Heb.10:14} Neither do I know that he hath obtained any other redemption {in this sense we have now in hand} but that which is perfect and eternal. And thus the Lamb of God takes away the sin of the world. And if any shall make scruple at the word ‘sin,’ because it is here expressed ‘sin’ {in the singular number} and not ‘sins;’ let them consider, that it is usual in the Scripture indifferently to put the one for the other; as is evident by comparing Isaiah 53:6 with I Peter 2:24; for that which Isaiah called ‘iniquity,’ in the singular number, Peter called ‘iniquities,’ or ‘sins’ in the plural number. And again, by comparing Isaiah 59:20 with Romans 11:27 for that which Isaiah called ‘transgression,’ Paul called ‘transgressions.’ Therefore, though John expressed it {sin} here in the singular number, yet is it most certain that under this word ‘sin,’ he included all sins of all degrees at all times. Now from all that I have said, we are thus to understand these words. The Lamb of God by the price and power of his blood-shed doth perfectly, powerfully, and forever take away the sins of the world. Now how this doth agree to all persons, or to every man in the world, I leave to the consideration of the understanding Reader, who I doubt not, will weigh these things together which I have declared, for the clearing of this Scripture from that corrupt sense which they {Arminians} put upon it. And having thus far opened these words, I shall now come to the true and natural meaning of them. By the ‘world’ in this place, we are to understand the nations of the Gentile Church. And they are therefore called the world, because until the manifestation of the death of the Lamb of God, they were shut out from all privileges, they were far off, they were the wild olive tree, a forlorn and hopeless people; and thus they stood in opposition to the Jewish Church. The nation of the Jews were the Church of God and the Gentiles were the world; the Jews were the Circumcision, the Gentiles were the Heathen, or the uncircumcision; the Jews were nigh, in respect of many excellent laws, and glorious privileges, and the Gentiles were far off, as being without privileges; the Jews were the natural branches, and the Gentiles were the wild Olive tree; the Jews did enjoy Christ and God, in respect of many glorious Ordinances, Sacrifices and Offerings, {which in their time were glorious} as many figures and shadows of Jesus Christ, and the Gentiles were without Christ, having no hope, and without God in the world; the Jews were the people of God and his peculiar treasure in respect of an outward covenant, and the Gentiles were not the people of God. In these and the like respects, the Gentiles are called the World. And for the World this Lamb of God is now manifest, ready to be slain to take away their sins; and therefore the Lamb of God stands here in opposition by way of power and excellency to all other lambs. The lambs slain under the Law, which are shadows of Christ, extended no further than the Jewish nation who were the Church of God; the Gentiles, who were the world, had no share in them; but this Lamb of God, by the price and power of his blood-shed, takes away the sins even of the world. O glorious mystery! Here is a Lamb indeed, a Lamb by way of eminency; the Lamb of God which redeems this uncircumcised world, this world without Christ, without God, without hope, without privileges, without law, without ordinances. And therefore John sets him out in this place with a note of attention and admiration, “Behold the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world.” And thus Jesus Christ the Righteous is the Propitiation, Reconciliation, or Redemption for the full and perfect remission of the sins of the whole world. Mind it well, and admire at it. This indeed is that glorious mystery which is so much spoken of throughout the Scripture; namely, that the Gentiles, ‘the world,’ should obtain remission of sins, and salvation by the death of Christ. {Eph.2:11 - 17 & 3:5 – 8, I Tim.3:16, Is.11:10 & 42:1 – 6, Jer.16:19, Mal.1:11, Mt.4:15 & 12:21, Lk.2:32, Acts 28:18, Rom.15:8 – 12, Gal.3:13,14} And this is that which the Jews so much stumbled at, and was so much enraged at; namely, that the Gentiles, the ‘world,’ the uncircumcision, the heathen, a people without privileges, without Laws and Ordinances, should be accounted the people of God, and obtain remission of sins, and salvation by Jesus Christ. {Acts 22:21-23, I Thes.2:14-16} Robert Garner {Mysteries Unveiled; wherein the Doctrine of Redemption by Jesus Christ, flowing from the glorious Grace, and everlasting Love of God, the very fountain of Life and Salvation unto lost Sinners is Handled, 1646}

Particular & Effectual Redemption in Christ

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For whomsoever Christ died, for them also he rose again, and for them he sits at the right hand of God, and makes intercession for them. This four-fold golden chain is so sure and strong that it can in no wise be broken or divided. It may, and is, and must be distinguished; but it neither may, nor must be broken. This four-fold glorious work of the Son of God, Paul linked together in one golden chain. “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea, rather that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” {Rom.8:34} And upon this ground he triumphed in behalf of himself and others who have a part in the same love of Christ, saying, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ.” And Isaiah saith, “He poured out his soul unto death, and he was numbered with transgressors, and he bear the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Where the prophet linked these together, “He bear the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Those whose sins he bare, for them also he made intercession. And the Apostle John teaches us, that those for whom Christ is the propitiation, he is for them also an Advocate with the Father. Saith he, “My little children, if any of us do sin {though let us take heed of sinning} we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous.” How doth he prove that? Saith he, “He is the propitiation for our sins;” that is, He who is the propitiation, or reconciliation for our sins, he is without doubt our Advocate also with the Father. {I Jn.2:1,2} And indeed propitiation and advocation are inseparable benefits; for he that hath an interest in the one, hath an interest in the other also. Propitiation is the ground of advocation, and advocation is a fruit necessarily and inseparably flowing from Propitiation. Neither is advocation without propitiation, neither doth propitiation go alone, to any persons, without the power and benefit of advocation. And therefore those who go about to divide advocation from propitiation pervert the Scriptures and divide Christ. And again Paul witnesses, that those who have a part in the death of Christ, they have a part in his resurrection also. “He was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” {Rom.4:25} From all this that hath been said, it is manifest, that whosoever hath a part in the death of Christ, they have a part in his resurrection, in his sitting at the right hand of God, and in his intercession also. And is this any less than salvation? Those who have a part in these things, are they not saved? Hence I conclude, that seeing all persons have not a part in the benefit of his resurrection, advocation, or intercession at the right hand of God, neither have they a part in the benefit of his death, or sufferings; for these benefits are inseparably linked together; for they that have a part in the one, have a part in the other also. Secondly, those whom Jesus Christ redeemed, he redeemed them as he is a Priest, a King and a Prophet. These are inseparable benefits. Whosoever hath a part in one, hath a part in all; for though they must be distinguished, they must not be divided. And this indeed, the Son of God is a complete Savior and Redeemer. The Scripture doth not teach us, that Christ is a Redeemer, or Savior, as he is a Priest only, {to shed blood, or to offer sacrifice} but as he is a King and Prophet also, applying to us the benefit of his Priesthood or bloodshed, ruling in us, and teaching us the things which concern our peace. It is said of Christ, “Thou art a Priest forever after the order of Melchisedec.” And what was this Melchisedec? He was first by interpretation, King of Righteousness, and after that also, King of Salem, which was King of Peace. So that such a Priest Christ was, a Kingly Priest, a ruling Priest, a teaching Priest, a Priest with a Crown upon his head, and a Scepter of Righteousness in his hand. And thus indeed Christ is a perfect and complete Savior. Neither is he a Savior to rely in point of Salvation otherwise than as he is a complete and perfect Savior to them, this thing Isaiah teaches, when he saith, “By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” {Is.53:11} Where it is evident, that these to whom he is a Priest, bearing their iniquities; to them he is a Prophet also, instructing them in the knowledge of himself unto justification. Thus, he is a Ransom, a Redeemer, a Savior, and no otherwise. And hence it appears, that he shed not his blood for all persons, neither have all a part in him, as he is a Priest, seeing that by his Kingly and Prophetical power, he doth not apply to them the benefit of his Priesthood; for these are inseparable benefits, those who have a part in one, have a part in all; and they who have not a part in all, have a part in none; and those who go about to divide these, they divide Christ. Thirdly, Christ shed his blood only for those upon whom he sprinkles the same, to the purging of their conscience, and the remission of their sins. Neither doth the Lamb of God any otherwise take away the sins of any, or redeem any, but by sprinkling his blood upon them. Neither doth his blood any otherwise take away our sins, by as it is sprinkled upon our conscience by the Spirit of God, drawing our hearts to believe in him. Neither did he shed his precious blood for any {nor for any other end} but for those upon whom he sprinkles the same for remission of sins. This is most evident from those patterns of heavenly things under the Law. “For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” {Heb.9:19-22} And in the 13th verse of the same chapter it is said, that the blood of Bulls, and of Goats, & the ashes of an Heifer, SPRINKLING the unclean, did sanctify to the purifying of the flesh. And whosoever shall read with understanding, what the Holy Spirit witnesses in the Scriptures: Ex.12:7,13 & 24:5-8 & 29:16,20 & 21; Lev.1:5,11 & 3:2,8,13 & 4:6,7,17,18,25,26,30,31 & 5:9,10 & 7:2 & 8:15,18,19,23,24 & 9:12,18 & 14:6,7 & 19:17,18,19; they shall find that the people were legally cleansed by the sprinkling of blood, and almost all things under the Law were purged by the sprinkling of the blood shed; and without sprinkling or application of the blood shed there was no remission or atonement. Now if it was necessary that the patterns of heavenly things should be thus purged; namely, by the sprinkling or application of blood; then {without doubt} the things themselves {of which those were a pattern} are so purged also; that is, there is no taking away of sin, no reconciliation, redemption, or atonement wrought for any, but by the sprinkling or application of the blood of Christ upon them. Hence it is, that the blood of Christ is called the blood of sprinkling. {I Pet.1:2 & Heb.12:24} Neither is it any other way of use to us, neither doth it any other way speak good for us before God, but as it is sprinkled upon our conscience by the power of the Spirit. Therefore Isaiah saith that Christ shall SPRINKLE his blood upon them; for that which hath not been told them shall they see, and that which they have not heard, shall they understand. {Is.52:15} And thus indeed Christ doth redeem or purchase us with his own blood. Neither are any persons redeemed, or purchased, or reconciled with the blood of Christ, neither have they any part in his death or blood-shed, who have not their consciences sprinkled with the blood of Christ. Neither doth his blood any other way redeem, purchase, reconcile, or make atonement, but as it is the blood of sprinkling. Wherefore it is most certain, that all persons are not redeemed, or reconciled by the death or blood-shed of Jesus Christ, seeing he shed his blood for none, but those upon whom he sprinkles the same, to the purging of their consciences and remission of their sins. His blood is the blood of sprinkling. Fourthly, the End of Christ’s death or sufferings was not to redeem or save any by the halves, but fully and forever to redeem and save. And surely, the Son of Man did not fail to fulfill what was the End of his dying. The Son of God did not come into the world, and lay down his life to work a half redemption, or salvation, but to work a perfect and complete redemption and salvation. “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” {I Tim.1:15} He doth not say, Half to save them, but to save them; that is, fully to save them as Paul was saved; for such a saving he there speaks of. And Christ thus witnesses of himself, “the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost; that is, to find out and fully to save lost sinners; to save them as Zacheus was saved; for such a seeking and saving he there speaks of. And Isaiah witnesses, that the very End of the travail of Christ’s soul was to bring forth a seed. “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief; when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.” {Is.53:10} And again, “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.” {53:11} This is a glorious mystery. Why did the Son of God suffer such child-bearing pangs? Why did he undergo such a painful travail? Was it not to bring forth a seed? Was not this the very end? It is therefore most certain, that the very end of the death of Christ was to bring forth a seed, to work a full redemption, to save sinners; that is, to heal them of their blindness, pride, rebellion, obstinacy; to deliver them from the power of sin and Satan, to make them alive, to bring them to God, to enable them to believe in him unto remission of sins, and to carry them on in believing, by his power unto salvation. This is the redemption, and this the salvation which Christ came into the world to work. This was the very end of his dying. And I say further, that as the Son of God did come into the world, and suffered death for this very end; so he did not fail to fulfill the same; for he was every way prepared to do the work; he wanted neither willingness, ability, nor faithfulness to do the work most perfectly. Hence it is that the Scripture thus witnesses of him, “I have laid help upon one that is MIGHTY; I have exalted one chosen out of the people.” {Ps.89:19} And it is said of him, “who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah; this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, MIGHTY to save.” {Is.63:1} And Zacharias speaking of his power prophesied, saying, “blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, and hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David.” {Lk.1:68,69}  Neither was his willingness and faithfulness less than his power; for he witnesses himself, “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” {Jn.4:34} And in another place he saith, “Lo, I come {in the volume of the book it is written of me,} to do thy will, O God;” {Heb.10:7;} and Isaiah speaking of him, saith, “the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand;” {Is.53:10;} and to put all out of doubt, Christ further witnesses of himself, “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” {Jn.17:4} Now then, if this was the very end of Christ’s coming into the world, and of his suffering in the world, to work a full, perfect, and eternal redemption; and if he did not fail to fulfill and finish this work; if indeed he did prosper in it; {for so the Scripture saith, “by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us;”} then surely, they are much mistaken, who say, that JESUS CHRIST died for all persons, and that he hath redeemed all persons, seeing that all those whom Christ hath redeemed he hath redeemed with a perfect and everlasting redemption; and this was the very end of his death or sufferings. Fifthly; Reconciliation, Redemption, Atonement, Remission of Sins, Justification, are in the Scripture sense one and the same fruit, or benefit flowing from the death of CHRIST; and they are usually in the Scripture put one for another. Let the Reader diligently consider these Scriptures: Rom.5:8-11; Eph.2:7; Col.1:14,21,22; II Cor.5:18,19. In which last place the Apostle saith, “all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ;” and whereas he saith in the twentieth verse, “we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God;” he means, ‘We beseech you to believe in Jesus Christ unto reconciliation or remission of sins.’ Neither are we to understand this, as though those to whom he writes it, were now enemies or unreconciled ones; {for it is against the scope and nature of the Epistle so to understand it; for it is certain, he writes to them as believers in Christ, such as were reconciled to God through Christ;} but he here puts them in mind, that when they did formerly preach the Gospel to them, they came to them as the Ambassadors of Christ, with the Message of Christ, beseeching them to believe in Christ Jesus unto reconciliation or remission of sins. Now then, if reconciliation, redemption, atonement, remission of sins, not imputing of sins and justification, be in the Scripture sense, one and the same fruit flowing from the death of Christ; and that it is usual in the Scripture to put one for another, as the understanding Reader may well perceive; then surely, redemption, atonement, reconciliation by Christ is another thing then many take it for. And it is most sure, that Christ died for those only who do receive redemption, reconciliation, atonement, remission of sins, justification by Jesus Christ. Robert Garner {Mysteries Unveiled; wherein the Doctrine of Redemption by Jesus Christ, flowing from the glorious Grace, and everlasting Love of God, the very fountain of Life and Salvation unto lost Sinners is Handled, 1646}

Note: There is little known about the life of this author; apart from the fact that Garner wrote in 1645 a book entitled A TREATISE ON BAPTISM, wherein is clearly proved the lawfulness and usefulness of Believers Baptism; as also the sinfulness and vanity of Infants Baptism. This book entitled MYSTERIES UNVEILED was written one year later in 1646, and contains a preface written by the Baptist Hanserd Knollys. Some believe that Garner was perhaps a member of Knollys’ London Congregation. 


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Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle
and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus. Hebrews 3:1