Robert Tichborne
{1610 - 1682}

  This work is currently in progress!

Biographical Sketch of Robert Tichborne

I have delightfully looked upon these Clusters of Canaan’s Grapes, and have helped them to the Press, that they may be Wine for common drinking; I only mind the reader, that these Grapes yield the New Wine of the Gospel; let him take heed he puts it not into the Old Bottles of envy or of malice, of prejudice or of contempt; if he do, his Bottles will break; and though the wine, {because it is saving wine} cannot but be safe, yet himself will be a loser, yea, in danger to be lost; whereas, his profit and salvation are {I believe, on this side the glory of God} the highest end of the Author, is this publication, as they are of the licenser.

Joseph Caryl

A Saint in Christ

Printable PDF Format

What a saint is not? What a spiritual saint is; first he is more than a moral man; for he that is less than a moral man is a beast, and he that is at the height of a moral man is but merely a man, a fine civilized piece of clay, loving himself, and therefore doth not devour one another, because another man should not devour him; decked with his own accomplishments, and glorying in his own Babel, but surely a spiritual saint is more than this! Yea secondly; he is more than a formal or legal professor. What is a formal professor? He is one that lives by sense, and not by faith, that is only taught of man and not of God, that hath all his light from within him, from the practice and notion of others, and not from the precepts or Spirit of God within him. A formal professor is one that can see and practice anything which may please all, or, the most of men; he is always learning, but never learned, because he is always studying man and never Christ; he is one which you shall ever find in the crowd where the majority are, there you shall be sure to find him. If you meet him and tell him of a Christ crucified, “I but {saith he,} doth any of the Pharisees believe in his name?” He is a man much in worship, but the inscription is to the unknown God; his eyes are in another’s head, and therefore he is led about by another to act as a blind man; no form comes amiss to him, for he is nothing else but form; he is one so ignorant as that he thinks it a crime for any man to see more than himself, though he be blind; and if the man that sees will but deny his light, he will do the best he can to pluck out his eyes; he is so proud of his chains of darkness that none shall live where he can rule that will not wear his feathers; this soul is mother and nurse both, to that brat of hell, the persecution of the true saints; this man of form knows no heights, bredths or length above himself, and if he snatch a piece of the Word of God, he only hath it in the letter, and so never reaches Christ in it; this is a formal professor. But what is a legal professor? He is a man seemingly nearer heaven, but if he be not carried along further no man farther from it, for he is a man full of the word in the letter; but altogether empty of it in the Spirit; he is a man exact in the language of Mount Sinai, but cannot pronounce a plain syllable of the language of Zion; he can tell you that God is a just God, and a severe Judge, a revenger of himself upon sinners, but is not able to pronounce God as a Father, and a reconciled God in Christ; he is exact to tell you of precept, duty and transgression, but is not able to unfold the Mysteries of Godliness, Christ in the flesh; if a word of Christ drop out of his mouth, it is to tell you what qualifications must fit you for Christ as he thinks; when he hath found a leprous soul of sin, he cannot show it Christ, but says he, “go wash in the tears of repentance and you shall be clean,” though he never show him Christ which must wash his repentance; if he finds a poor saint under some affliction, he cannot make up the wound by leading the soul to the love of God, from whence that affliction came, but saith he, “look into yourself, inquire for that sin the punishment of which you now lie under, God is a just God, if you will sin you must bear the indignation of the Lord for it; go fall on your knees, weep and fast, and pray and vow, make God some amends.” This is all the relief he can give, and so he pours oil into the flames of sorrow, and vinegar into the bleeding wounds of poor saints. This legal soul lives upon his duties, and not upon the Free Grace of God in Christ, and therefore he can give no other counsel than he hath experience of, for he never tasted in the spirit the goodness of the Lord, and therefore can never speak good to his own soul, or any other from God; and if he speak any good to a soul it is from duties; “do and live,” is the effect of all his language. I only give this as a word of caution, that we hearken not to the councils of such men, lest we become like those foolish Galatians, which began in the spirit, but were like to end in the flesh. Let this be enough in the negative what a spiritual saint is not. What a saint is? But then what is a spiritual Saint? Why he is one that lives by faith above sense; one that is all in God, and nothing in himself; he is taught of God to know him; he is drawn by God to love him; he is persuaded by God to trust in him; he is filled with God, and lives upon him; he is satisfied with Christ, and rejoices in him; he so lives in Christ, that he makes his boast of him, as the Apostle, Romans 8, the latter end. “Who shall condemn; nay who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” He is one which in the spirit is able to look from eternity to eternity, and therein behold that eternal love of God which gave out Christ to manifest his love to us in him, and hath made him one with Christ in all his merits, righteousness and benefits; he is able to see into that love and eternal purpose of God that made Christ to be sin for us, “that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” He can see God his Father, and in the spirit of adoption call him Father; he can read his Salvation written in the Covenant of Grace; he can behold himself one in Christ, as Christ is in God; he assuredly knows that Christ hath borne his grief, and that God hath wounded Christ for his transgressions, bruised him for his iniquities, and laid the chastisement of his peace on him, and all this so fully and really, as that by the stripes that God laid on Christ, his soul is healed. He sees that God hath made Christ’s soul an offering for the sins of his people; and that he hath beheld the travail of his soul, and is well pleased; so that now this spiritual man draws up this conclusion. Whatever of sin and punishment was mine, was taken from me, and made Christ’s, and he has fully satisfied for the one, and borne the other; so that now from the justice of God I can conclude this, that neither of them shall be laid on me again. Christ’s Righteousness and his glory is so made mine, that I stand spotless in the one, and shall be perfect in the other to all eternity. Thus is a spiritual soul led up to God, and made to know his great design from eternity; namely, to make Christ his wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption, and that in all these he stands perfect before God, in the perfection of Christ. This soul lives in the region of God’s love, and in Christ’s Righteousness, and sees himself above all condemnation; and yet the least transgression {in him} discovered to him by the love and Spirit of God, melts his contrite heart into nothing; “I see {says he,} that I am alive in Christ through the eternal love of God, and that makes me thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead. I died to sin in Christ, and if now I live, it should not be to myself but to Christ.” {II Cor.5:14,15} And to this the love of Christ constrains me; for, {says he,} “this I know, whoever is in Christ is a new creature, old things are passed away and behold all things are become new.” {vs.17} And therefore saith he, “whatever is sin is the old man;” and of this he cries out as the Apostle in Romans 7:24, “O wretched man that I am;” the law of my flesh rebels against the law of my mind. Sin hath less entertainment nowhere than where the love of God by his Spirit dwells, for perfect love casts out fear, {saith the text,} and perfect love kills corruption. Love to Christ kills and buries sin, when legal fear only lays it on the ground, and thus it lives again and possibly kills the legalist at last; but the spiritual man keeps nothing to himself, but carries all to God and Christ; he lives only in God and Christ; and when he finds corruption in himself, he presently by the Spirit lays it down at the feet of Christ, and tells him, “Oh Lord, my glory, {saith he,} is to live to thee and whatsoever is thine. Oh then {oh Lord,} be zealous of thy glory; thou has taken the guilt and punishment of all my corruptions from me; is it not also for thy glory to take the reign and the power of them from me too?” Yes, {saith Christ,} and I will make my promise good, for “sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under the Law, but under Grace.” {Rom.6:14} “True Lord, {says the soul,} and I believe it, that to live under the reign of Grace is the only way to keep sin under me.” Thus a spiritual soul having a sight of his sins, of all men hath least fear in point of condemnation, because this soul is filled with the perfect love of God which casts out fear, but the inbeing of this love of God in the soul makes as little love to all the incitements of sin, as it hath fear of the condemnation thereof. Sin in all its temptations hath the quickest denial from such a soul of any, for he answers sin thus; “sin, {says he,} the love of Christ constrains me to hate thee;” this soul tells sin he will but lose his labor in tempting him, “for, {says he,} I am not at my own disposing, I have given myself up to Christ already, and Christ have taken possession of me, and lives in me by his Spirit, and for thy temptations I shall carry them to Christ, and sure I am thou canst not live in his presence, for he hath overcome thee for me, and he will destroy thee in me.” Thus the Spirit changes a soul from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, and is made to live in this light, which is the light of God’s reconciled countenance in the face of Christ; and in this vision of God in Christ the soul is changed into the image of Christ from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. {II Cor.3:18} This spiritual man as he lives upon God in the spirit, so he worships God in the Spirit; he knows neither the Mount, nor Jerusalem as his place to worship in; he only knows Christ as the proper medium to worship God in, and he knows not Christ after the flesh neither, but after the spirit; his feasting is with God and upon God, and he knows no form or figure, nor externals to make him a rest of, for he can only rest in the bosom of God and Christ; he knows no fellowship but with the Father and the Son, and as he enjoys God and Christ in the saints, so he hath sweet fellowship with them. God is both the light and the life of his worship; his way and his end in his worship. This is a dove that can rest nowhere but in the ark; Church fellowship to him without Christ, is no more than a selected piece of a sunken world; the ordinances, {if Christ be not in them,} is to him but as the grave. When Christ was risen all his inquiries are, “where is he whom my soul loves?” “Show me Christ in a saint, Christ in an assembly, and Christ in an ordinance, and then you show me my life, and upon this ground I can live and die with you,” saith he. This soul can measure all men and things by Christ; but Christ by nothing but himself, that Spirit of Christ which dwelleth in him; and thus you have some weak discourses of a spiritual saint. Oh let us stand in that liberty with which Christ hath made us free; we can stand in none but in Christ, and that is the freeness of Grace, that we should stand forever spotless and blameless in the sight of God through him. Oh then, if the glory and honor of God in Christ be dear to us, how can we that are delivered from sin live any longer thereto. It is impossible that we can love Christ and sin too; and therefore where Christ lives by his love he constrains the death of sin. The exhortations is to saints to live in the Spirit; and that is, trampling upon all below God and Christ, and behold ourselves heirs of that glory, and co-heirs with Christ in that glory that is God and Christ to all eternity. Robert Tichborne, “Cluster of Canaan’s Grapes,” 1649.

Christ - the Bread of Life

Printable PDF Format

“I am that bread of life.” {Jn.6:48} These words are a clear and plain testimony of our Saviour concerning himself. In verse 33 of this chapter, he tells the Jews that the bread of God came down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.” For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world; and then in verse 35, and verse 48. This is the marrow and the life of all our Saviour’s discourse in this chapter as it were centered in this 48th verse. “I am that bread of life.” In verse 33 he calls himself “the bread of God,” and the “life of the world;” and in verse 38, he shows how he came to be the life of the world, even by the will of God, sent by God, and his business the work and will of God. In the 39th and 40th verses, he tells us, “and this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that everyone which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” Here our Saviour clears up whom he meant by the world; namely, the elect and chosen of God, which are given to Christ by his Father, and then declares that his work is his Father’s will, and tells us what it is; namely, that all which God his Father had given him, should have everlasting life in him. He tells us how faithful he will be in this work, so that nothing shall be lost that God hath committed to him; and tells us that this is the will of God, that every soul which he hath given to Christ should have a discovery of him, and believe on him, and that in all this will of God runs the seed of eternal life. For that part which is capable of lying down in the dust to sleep, even that part shall not be lost, but shall be raised up at the last day; that is, the last day of the world, which passeth away like a dream in the night. Now if we lay all this together, must we not needs acknowledge this truth, that Christ is the bread of God, the bread of life; yea, the God of life! Our Saviour uses this term of bread indulgently to the weakness of our flesh; but his work is in the Spirit, and if God give us the Spirit with the letter, we shall discern the glory of Christ as he is our life in his own light. This appears by our Saviour’s own words in verse 63 of this chapter. “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” Christ’s words are spirit and life, because he himself is our spiritual life. In verse 49, Christ tells us what he doth mean by this bread of life. “Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead;” as if Christ should say, no externals whatsoever in your life; you may feed on them all your way in the wilderness, and yet soul and body die. But in the two next verses, he speaks plainly what is the bread that he meant. “This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” {Jn.6:50,51} Here I say Christ demonstrates what is the bread that he meant, namely himself in the flesh, and he becomes this bread of life by giving his life in the flesh for us. In the 53,54,55 & 56 verses of this chapter, our Saviour shows us how that interest in him as a crucified Jesus is our life, and that he may fully clear this out to us, he holds forth himself not only a crucified Saviour, but a living God. “As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.” {vs.57} Our Saviour’s argument seems to be thus; I live as one in God, and you as one in me; and thus is Christ that bread of life, or that bread which gives life to his own in the world. Thus much for proof to the two heads that were first to lay down; I shall now hold out such spiritual observations from what hath gone before, as I have received from Christ. --- And the first observation shall be this namely, that Christ only is a saints life. By this I mean, that every spark of a saints life lies in Christ, and so in Christ, that it is nothing else in which Christ is not all. Christ is so fully and solely a saints life, that take all duties, ordinances, privileges and external advantages, whatsoever subtracted from Jesus Christ, and they are all dead things; but like the grave clothes in the sepulture, when Christ was risen. Our Saviour himself bears witness to this truth, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no man comes to the Father but by me.” Is a Truth so dear to God and Christ, that Christ speaks to it in this place as fully as terms can express it, both in the affirmative and the negative. “I am the life,” {saith Christ;} that is, in the affirmative; and so the life, that no man comes to my Father, the fountain of life, but by me; there is the negative and affirmative; affirmative, both in the negative exclusive from Christ, and in the affirmative, inclusive. If we consult that place and John 16:14, where our Saviour speaks of the office of the Spirit, and his work in the hearts of his people, we shall find him speak to this thing that we have in hand. “He shall glorify me; for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.” Mark it, the work of the Spirit is to reveal Christ to us as he is our life, and so glorify Christ in showing him to be our life. And if Christ had said, the Holy Ghost when he comes, he shall show you your names written in the book of Life with my blood; all your sins laid on me, and that I have buried them in my own wounds, so that they shall never rise up in judgment more against you; my Righteousness your robe of glory, perfect glory in the sight of God; my Law of love written in your hearts to be the power that shall slay sin in your lives. Thus the Spirit shall glorify me in showing you that I am your life in whole and every part thereof; Christ as he is one with God is our fountain of life, &c., and in all our addresses to God, he is our way, truth, and life. For further confirmation take the experience of the Apostle; for says he, “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God,” {Gal.2:20;} and in another place, “for ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” {Col.3:3} “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” {I Cor.1:30} Mark it, for here Christ is made all by God to us; for what can you call life, but is not bound up in some or all of these. The 29th verse of that chapter gives a good and full reason why God made Christ all to his people; namely this, that no flesh should glory in his presence. This reason is so full that the truth stand strong upon it against all gainsayers; grace would be no grace if flesh had anything in itself to glory of in the presence of God; our life to be only in Christ, preserves as entirely the glory of God, free Grace, as it doth the safety of our souls; for that soul that glories in Christ as his life, glorifies the free Grace of God which gave that life. When the Apostle speaks of the acts of life in his soul, he makes Christ all; for says he, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” And the same Apostle in another place says, it is merely of Grace that I am what I am; so that you see where Christ is made all, there Free Grace hath the glory of all, and this is the great design of God to all eternity to glorify his free Grace in Christ. --- Thus much shall suffice for the first observation that Christ only is a saints life. A second observation is this; that if it be thus, saints should value and esteem Christ as their life. Saints, what mean these carnal fears? Does not Christ live? If the world be nothing, is not Christ enough? Why fear ye so much to lose that meat which perishes, when Christ this bread of life lives forever; cannot you be content that the world should bring forth wants? Why there is no other place of want but that, for there is bread enough in your Father’s house. Heaven only is the proper place of fullness; doth it not speak an undervaluing of Christ that carnal fear shall possess our spirits of want, when Christ the fullness of the Godhead bodily is our life and our portion. Nay, what mean these stoopings and bendings of our judgments, affections, and services to the world, and worldly ends; is not this the end of it, to live in their love and esteem, for as to make a portion of perishing things and friends of the unrighteous mammon? Saints, will this stand with an esteem of Christ as our life? A soul that truly values Christ, it pants thus in spirit, O let me know truths as they are in Jesus, and obey them in the Spirit of Christ. God hath made the world my footstool, as it his, and I am one with him; Christ is only my life and glory; I would trample upon my footstool, and lie down in the bosom of Christ who is my life and glory; this is a soul that truly values Christ. But tell me saints, if we value Christ as our life or portion, and our crown of glory, our best and truest friend, our faithful brother and our loving husband, one that hath borne all God’s wrath for us, who hath died that we might live, and whose love is so great. If we thus look on Christ and value him, why is it that we so easily grieve him? Ingenuous nature reaches this, to be tender of offending them that we value, and put a price upon their love. Doth not Grace exceed nature in this? Surely it doth! Oh then let our lives speak our love to Christ, and our value of him. --- An experienced soul in the ways of Christ will tell you that it is the hardest travel that ever it went, to step a step in the ways of sin, after it hath apprehended the love of Christ and been taught by the Spirit to value that love; and I believe that if Satan could speak truth, he would confess it to be the hardest work he hath to draw a soul that beholds Christ’s love and values that love in any soul. Therefore as the only remedy against sin, eye Christ, love and value him! But saints, if we thus value Christ as our life and our all, whence is it that in time of distress we seek relief of broken cisterns, and forsake the Fountain of Life? My meaning is this; when under a weak or wounded state by sin, we fly to duties for relief, and not to Christ to renew the graces of Christ in us, and not to eye our interest in Christ as he is the gift of free Grace; this is an undervaluing of Christ who in Proverbs 3:18 is said to be a tree of life; those graces you would live on is the fruits of this tree, and are only fruits of life as they flow from interest and communion with this tree of life. Do but consider the folly of your spirits when we fly from Christ to duties, and to the stirring up of gifts and graces in us for our relief in such a state, for fallen man is a creature that can act no grace in himself, and grace without the breathings of Christ is as dead as man, as no grace can act itself. Take our Saviour’s testimony to this truth, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches; He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing.” {Jn.15:4,5} Christ is the life and motion of every Grace. It is a mistaking Christ, and an undervaluing of him, when we go to duties that they may carry us and commend us to God. Christ is the only way to God, and is only he that carries us as living souls to duties, and through duties, in and by his own Spirit. The Apostle knew this well enough when he made that prayer, “that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power.” {Col.1:10,11} His desire was that the Colossians should live up to Jesus Christ and walk worthy of the Lord. I think that there is not any piece of the old man in saints that darkens more of the glory of God’s free Grace, and damps more of the comforts of his people than this doth, to go any wither but to Christ in straits; for this must needs put a dishonour upon him, and be an undervaluing of him; for doth it not imply thus much, that the thing we seek after is not to be had in Christ, or not so soon in Christ as in duties, or at least that it is not only to be had in Christ, but it is all one whether we go to him or not. Now all these are conceptions of the old man in us, when we through the Spirit look upon Christ as our life, we shall see all fullness in him; grace enough to pity, to pardon, and to die for us; righteousness enough to clothe us, and to present us spotless to the pure eyes of his Father’s glory. Power enough to take us out of Satan’s hands, and to defend us from all enemies and all evil. Wisdom enough to make us wise in him, to guide and to govern us, that our conversations may be like children of light and heirs of glory; goodness enough to supply all wants in us, and to give out fullness of his own Grace to us, yes and happiness enough to satisfy our souls to all eternity, and the soul says, Christ is enough; yea, he is all, and whether should I go but to him, for he hath the words of eternal life; yea, he is my eternal life. This is the frame of such souls as do truly prize Christ as their life. Robert Tichborne, “Cluster of Canaan’s Grapes,” 1649.

Law & Grace Distinctions in Christ

Printable PDF Format

What Christ hath borne for saints, they shall never bear themselves: “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident; for, the just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith; but, the man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us; for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” {Gal.3:10-13} “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” {Gal.3:28,29} The general scope of the Apostle in these verses, I humbly conceive to be this; namely, to empty the creature of all hopes or possibility ever to attain a happy and blessed condition in itself out of Christ; in which work he strips the soul of all external privileges and duties in points of Justification, and then makes Jesus Christ to be all in all to every redeemed soul. The former part of this tenth verse is a positive conclusion that whoever is under the works of the Law for life, is also under the curse of the Law for death; that is, he which chooses to be approved and justified in the sight of God by the works of his own hands and heart must also be condemned before God in the failings and imperfections of those works. The latter part of this verse is a full proof to the position laid down in the former part of it; that if all things in the book of the Law be done and fulfilled, then the curse of the Law attends and seizes upon every soul as would live by the works of the Law. “Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.” {Deut.27:26} That soul which would fetch life from the works of the Law must perform all, or he loses all that he hath done, and his soul, along with his dying duties. The observations which I have received from hence are these. --- Observation#1. That God hath not made a separation of the works of the Law from the curse of the Law to that soul which would live by them. And if God hath not, man cannot; this is that state of bondage spoken of in Galatians 4:9,23,30,31. Those who are children of the freewoman, are such as whom Christ hath made free. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” {Jn.8:36} And those are children of the bondwoman that are obliged to anything that is holy in their own strength without Christ. There is no soul free from these bonds but those which are bound up in the arms and cords of Christ’s love; and this is the redemption which Christ made of his elect body, when he was in the flesh, made under the Law, to redeem them that were under the Law, to the adoption of sons. {Gal.4:4,5} Christ was made under the curse of the Law, {Gal.3:13,} for the curse and the work of the Law was not separated to Christ when he came to satisfy Divine Justice, no more is it to any soul. In the 11th verse is a second position of the Apostle, which is also a confirmation of the former. The position is this; that no man is justified by the Law in the sight of God; and the demonstration of this truth followeth in the end of the same verse, and in the 12th verse, which shows; first, that God never intended life by the Law. {Gal.3:21} If there had been a Law which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the Law. This is plain, for it was never God’s design and purpose that Righteousness should be by the Law, because he hath not given such a Law out of Christ, which is able to give life. “For by Grace ye are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” {Eph.2:8} All Salvation is entirely of Grace, wholly out of ourselves. God had another end in giving the Law, than that the soul of his people should work life from it; and this end is fuller of glory to his own Grace, and of safety to our souls; namely, that sin might become exceeding sinful, and Grace to be exceeding riches of Grace. The Apostle tells us that he had not known sin but by the Law, and had there been no Law, there had been no transgression; and if no transgression had been, nor any sin known, then the glory of Free Grace had not been lifted up as it is now in Christ. If the Law had not discovered sin, the soul had never known the want, nor the worth of a crucified Saviour, who is the great gift of the Free Grace of God, and a perfect Eternal Redeemer of a poor lost soul. Secondly, as God never intended life to fallen man by the works of the Law, so man can never gain life by the works of the Law. {Lev.18:5} There must be a perfect performance of all the statutes and judgments of the Lord, by every soul that means to live in them and have life from them. It is not a tittle less than keeping the whole Law which can advantage any soul that seeks life from it; so as that soul which in itself cannot keep the whole Law, shall never gain life by the works of the Law. {Gal.2:16} The Apostle there speaks positively twice, that no man is justified by the works of the Law; and that by the works of the Law no flesh shall be justified. This is such a standing truth, that nothing which either is, or can be done shall contradict it. --- Observation#2. That the Law of works condemns every soul in the first Adam, but justifies no soul. The Law speaks only thus, ‘do and live,’ which to fallen man is nothing but the language of death. {Rom.7:8,9} A righteous Law to an unrighteous soul gives life to the sin, but death to the soul. Observe the text; “when the commandment came, sin revived and I died.” By the command sin became exceeding sinful. A soul fallen from God can in itself make no other use of the knowledge of God’s righteous Law, but to sin against it; consult the text in this case. “But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence;” {Rom.7:8;} as if he had said; when once God discovered his holy Law, that sinful nature and unholiness that is in me, made use of it by way of opposition, to run into all manner of concupiscence; though the Law of creation justifies a Holy Creator, yet it condemns a fallen unholy creature. “By the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified in his sight;” but that soul which lives upon them shall be accursed and condemned in the want of one tittle; there lies a curse, a condemnation in the Law to fallen man, but no possibility of being justified by it in the sight of a holy and just God. --- But now that we may not be as souls without hope, though he strips us here of all our own righteousness and leaves us by nature under the curse of the Law; yet in the next verse he shows us a Perfect Redemption from the curse of the Law by Christ who was made under the Law to bear the curse and to fulfil the Law on our behalf. And here I shall be a little more large than in what hath gone before; for I have found by experience, that the more clear knowledge the soul hath in this point, the more is the Free Grace of God with the comfort and safety of a poor soul advanced. In this 13th verse the Apostle lays down a third position; namely, that every elect soul is redeemed from the curse of the Law through or by Christ being made a curse for us. {Deut.21:23} The text speaks plainly thus, he that is hanged is accursed; and it is a parallel place with the end of this 13th verse, “cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” Thus Christ was made a curse; now that Christ was thus made a curse for us, for his elect body which was under the Law, look into that word in Galatians 4:4,5, where the text saith, “but when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” None can doubt but that Christ is here meant by the Son of God; and then the text plainly speaks, that God in the fullness of his own time sent Christ in the flesh, made under the Law, to redeem his elect body, that were under the works and the curse of the Law, and to bring them to receive the adoption of sons; and in this work Christ was made a curse for us. --- The first observation from hence is this, that whatever Christ hath borne for a believer, that a believer is fully redeemed from. It is the Apostle’s own argument in this place, for that Christ being made a curse for us, we are thereby redeemed from the curse. The same Apostle in Romans 8:32-34, hath the same argument. If God delivered Christ up to death to die for us, then we are indeed delivered; and Christ having died for us, who shall lay anything to our charge, for it is God that justifies, and Christ that died. Christ died that God might justify. Christ was made a curse for us, so that God in justice might acquit us from the curse. So in the first two verses of Romans 8, “there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit; for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” The Law of the Spirit of life in Christ makes the soul free from the Law of sin and death; and in John 8:36, “if the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” This is our Saviour’s answer to those Jews which thought themselves not to be under bondage, because they were Abraham’s seed in the flesh; though our Saviour tells them that this external interest did not make them free men; for says he, notwithstanding this, you are under sin. “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin;” {vs.34;} and your fleshly interest in Abraham does not acquit you from the bonds and servitude of sin, but “if the Son hath made you free, then you are free indeed.” As if Christ had said, Abraham could not bear your sins, and the wrath of God due to them for you; and therefore you are in bondage still; but what the Son bears, he makes them perfectly free from, for all for whom he bears it. Christ came to save those that were lost, and he tells us when he gave up the ghost upon the cross, that the work was finished; and in John 17:4, “I have glorified thee on the earth; I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” Christ tells his Father that he had lost no glory in sending him upon the work of Redemption; for says he, “I have finished the work thou gavest me to do;” which was to work out a perfect Redemption for his people. “To bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” {Is.61:1} If this be a truth, as doubtless it is, that whatever Christ hath borne for a believer, that a believer is fully redeemed from; then it will be worthy a saints best and most serious consideration in searching the Scriptures, and in the Spirit giving ear to hear and heart to consider, what they say Christ hath borne for us. --- First, I find by that verse in II Cor.5:21, that Christ hath borne sin for us. “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” The text speaks in the abstract, “he was made sin for us.” There cannot be a fuller expression; there is the act, God making Christ to be sin for us, or taking all sin off from us, and laying it upon him, as was typified under the Law in the scapegoat, which went into the land of forgetfulness. {Lev.16:8-10} Now the issue and effect of this act followeth in the text, “that we might be made the Righteousness of God in him.” This expression is as full as the former, the Holy Ghost expresseth the sinner for whom Christ was made sin, to be as fully acquitted from sin, as Christ is made sin. Mark the words, “made the Righteousness of God in him;” so perfectly righteous that God owns the soul as one with himself, righteous as being one with Christ, who is the Righteousness of God. Now the soul that is thus righteous must needs be acquitted from all sin. The Righteousness of God and Condemnation for Sin is as light and darkness, which cannot be together in one soul. If Christ once comes into a soul, and tells that soul by his Spirit, that he hath borne all its sins, and so makes the soul to believe in the free Grace of God, and to rest upon Christ as his Righteousness, that soul is as fully in the sight of God acquitted from sin, as Christ was by God made sin for it. This soul stands before God complete in Christ, not having spot or wrinkle in it; all that can be said, is said in this; that soul for whom Christ was made sin is thereby made the Righteousness of God in him; so that Christ having borne the sin, that soul never more bears that in his own person before God, but doth always stand, both before the throne of Justice and the throne of Grace, as fully clothed with Christ his Righteousness, as Christ upon the cross was with his sin. “The LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” {Is.53:6} Iniquity is one with sin here; now then read this truth with an eye and heart of faith, that what Christ hath borne for us, we are fully delivered from, and then will the glory of Free Grace be lifted up, and our souls made to rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory in believing. --- Secondly, Christ hath fulfilled the Law, and borne the curse of it for his people. “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” {Gal.4:4,5} Christ was made under the Law to redeem his people from all that in the Law which was weight and burden; yeah, from the curse of the Law itself. “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the Law.” {Gal.3:13} From the reigning and condemning power of the Law; Christ hath fully satisfied the Law on our behalf. In Gal.4:5,6, there Christ hath redeemed us to the liberty of sons, the spirit of adoption reigning in our consciences and conversations above the letter of the Law. So that in Rom.8:2-4; there the Apostle tells us, that by virtue of the Law of the Spirit of life in his union with Christ Jesus, he had freedom from the Law of sin and death. That Law of commandment by which sin revived, and the soul died, he was delivered from by the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. For says he, what the Law could not enable the soul to do because of the weakness of the flesh, that did God by sending his Son in the flesh, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh; that is, condemned our sins, and satisfied his Law and Justice for them all in the death of Christ; so that now the Righteousness of the Law is fulfilled by Christ for us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. The Law was fulfilled and had its accomplishment in Christ; that is, the Law in the letter, and the soul now through union with Christ is taken up to live in the Law of the Spirit of life; that is, the Spirit of God lives in the soul, and is a law, and a life to it, not only teaching, but leading the soul into all Truth. It is the Law of the Spirit, and so the Law of life; it is the Law of love, and so the Law of life. Nay it is God himself dispensing his love, and reigning by his Spirit in the souls and consciences of his people, and so it is the Law of the Spirit of life; and all this to the souls of his people in Christ Jesus. “But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” {Gal.5:18} A soul which lives not, and acts not upon Christ in the Spirit, {so far as he doth not,} he is under the Law of Sin and Death in all that he doth; but it is a certain deliverance from the law of the flesh in our conversations, and the law of the letter in our consciences, it is to be led by the Spirit of Christ, and to walk in that Spirit. “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord; walk as children of light; for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth, &c.” {Eph.5:8,9} They were never without the letter; yet sometimes dark saith the text, but the light of the Lord, in which the redeemed of Christ should walk is the light of the Spirit. Now we have all this freedom, because the Son hath made us free, by bearing those burdens for us; and what Christ hath borne for a believer, that a believer is fully redeemed from. --- Thirdly, Christ hath borne the punishment due to sin for us. Observe the text; “surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” “He was taken from prison and from judgment; and who shall declare his generation; for he was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgression of my people was he stricken; 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. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied; by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” {Is.53:4,5,8,10,11} I know not how fuller expressions could be made to set forth this thing; that Christ hath borne the punishment due to sin for the believer as fully as he hath the sins themselves. With his stripes we are healed; that is, the punishment of our sins which he did bear for us; so that as the wrath of God due to sin, we shall never bear them again; for what Christ hath borne for us, he hath delivered us from the bearing of it in our own persons, otherwise Christ died in vain; and this text is not made good if we be not healed by his stripes. Now if the punishment be not taken from the believer, as well as the sin, how are the wounds of that soul healed by the stripes that Christ bore for it? And if any shall say, God made Christ to bear the believer’s sins, but the believer must bear the punishment due to those sins, though Christ was wounded, bruised and chastened for them. Such an affirmation will bear very hard upon the Justice of God, and question that truth of our Saviour upon the cross, that he had finished the work of Redemption, part of which is the punishment as well as the sin. I verily believe when Christ bore the curse of the Law, he did bear the punishment due to all the sins of his people; and though I do believe that God chastens every child whom he loveth, yet those chastenings are the fruits of his love and not of his wrath; Christ hath borne all that in being made a curse for us. --- Lastly, Christ hath borne death for us as it is the wages of sin. I Cor.15:53, to the end. By which means death is swallowed up of victory; the sting of death which is sin, and the strength of sin which is the Law, hath lost themselves and their strength when they entered into Christ; so that now a believer can bless God, and through Christ he hath victory over death, sin, hell, law, and the grave; and why so? Why, because Christ had gone through, he has borne and overcome all these for us; and we are more than conquerors through Christ that loved us. We are more, because none of these can conquer Christ; but he hath to all eternity overcome them for us. This sting of death is swallowed up of victory; for it is buried in the wounds of Christ; and Christ is risen, and is seated at the right hand of God, and because he lives, we live also. {Jn.14:19} Robert Tichborne, “Cluster of Canaan’s Grapes,” 1649.

Design and Work of God
 in the Salvation of his People in Christ

Printable PDF Format

EXTRACT: Believers should be exceedingly tender of preserving the glory of God’s grace, for it is by grace that we are saved and only of grace that we are what we are; and for this very cause was faith made the hand to lay hold on grace; grace in God hath not made a hand to destroy itself, as we must be very watchful in this thing, lest we build a shrine unto faith, for that faith cannot be true which doth not solely advance that Gospel of Grace in its riches in Christ; the highest pitch of faith in which it is very glorious, is to apply the grace of God to the soul, and to cast the soul upon the free grace of God in Christ, to un-self the creature, to trample its best works under feet as dross and dung, and resting full in the grace of God through Christ, desiring only to be found in him.
 
To believe in what God doth, and in what God saith, as the word and works of God wraps up the Salvation of his people in them, I shall here put them both together, under this consideration. Namely, a brief collection with its proofs of the whole design and work of God in the Salvation of his people. And it is this; to manifest the glory of his free grace in the full redemption of his people through Christ, and in their receiving and applying it to themselves by believing.
    First, the great design of God in his saving work to his people is to glorify, or to manifest and declare the glory of his own eternal, original free grace and rich love in Christ Jesus. The free grace and rich love of God is God himself, that God which is an incomprehensible and inexpressible Essence, the true and perfect God, who is first without all cause of being, and of Infinite Great Majesty and Eternal Supremacy, the Almighty God. This is the God of Free-grace. Now the design of this God in the Salvation of sinners, which is the worst and most miserable piece of the whole creation in itself to all eternity, is to glorify, or to manifest the glory of his own free grace. For this, take the testimony of the Holy Ghost by the Apostle Paul in Romans 9:23, “that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy.” The Holy Ghost in the former part of that chapter, pleads the Sovereignty of God; not any piece of clay could find fault with the Potter whatever he made it, nor any creature with God. Now in this verse he tells us, that if any be made vessels of honour, and heirs of glory, it is that God might make known the riches of his glory in his mercy and free grace. As if the Holy Ghost had said, God accounts of his Grace and Mercy to be the riches and excellency of his glory. Now to make it known that this is his great design, God fills heaven and earth with this his glory; as the redeemed in heaven, and the redeemed in earth shall be one in heaven at last, and there in ages to come, even to all eternity, be swallowed up into the exceeding riches and glory of his grace. “That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” {Eph.2:7} And the Holy Ghost in this, and the verse before it, tells us, that it is God’s end and design, in raising us up together, and making us to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness towards us through Christ Jesus. If we observe this Scripture, it holds forth this, that all the kindness we receive from God, it is his grace in Christ, and God’s design in the manifesting of his Grace in Christ is to show forth the exceeding riches and glory of it. The whole work of Salvation will clear up this Truth, for if we consider all the subjects of Salvation, we shall find no object for anything of God, but his free grace and rich love; the pollution of fallen man in his natural condition could not be an object of preservation to the holy, just and pure eyes of an Omnipotent God, nothing but free grace and rich love in God could breathe the breath of life to souls dead in trespasses and sins; and if thus, then it plainly appears, that God’s great design in the Salvation of sinners is namely to glorify or to manifest the glory of his own eternal rich love and free grace in Christ Jesus. God will have souls live by his grace, that he might manifest the life and glory of his grace; that grace which giveth life, appears in the life it giveth, so that every saved soul is a monument of the riches and glory of the love and grace of God, and the wise God laid his design sure when he made choice of the Salvation of sinners to manifest the glory of his free grace by.
    In the next place, I shall hold forth how God doth accomplish this great end and design of his; namely, by the making the whole frame and work of Salvation to flow from and to depend upon his own grace, so as there is nothing in the whole work of Salvation from first to last, but the free grace of God. “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, by grace ye are saved.” {Eph.2:5} The time speaks grace, when dead in sins; this is a season only for grace, and that the grace of God too, appearing, when not only in sin, but dead in sin, past all recovery as from self, if doing could prevail; yet here is no life to do with all, this is only a time for a living love in God to act free grace in, and if ever Salvation comes to souls dead in sin, it must be by this grace. The grace of God saves of itself, without any cause out of itself, and this is the true Salvation of souls dead in sin; “by grace ye are saved;” and to be saved by grace; that is, to be saved in the Salvation of God, the whole work to be of his free grace, not any title of it to ourselves. “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” {Rom.3:24} Mark it, there is all self under sin; but saved, justified and acquitted souls from sin are the fruits of God’s free grace; though self comes short of the glory of God; yet free grace makes perfection that justifies, and this is the Salvation of God to justify freely by his grace. “That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” {Rom.5:21} Here sin and self hath its reign, but it is to death; but all the parts of Salvation is the work of God’s free grace; that is grace reigning through Righteousness in Jesus Christ. The Righteousness of Christ to save souls, or Christ made Righteousness to such souls, what is it but the design of God’s Grace; that is, grace is supreme, the grace is all the whole work of Salvation; and this Truth will be made more clear in setting forth the parts of this great work of Salvation.
    But now consider that God lays this work, {Salvation & Grace,} in the full satisfaction of his own Divine Justice, that so the saved of his grace might stand spotless before him to all eternity. And herein is the mystery of Salvation; that God’s Justice is fully satisfied, and yet that his grace in saving his people should be perfectly free; but both these doth plainly appear in the Salvation of God to his people, the work of his free grace.
    Now the way of grace in God to satisfy Divine Justice to the full, and to set forth this free grace to all that are saved, is this; namely, to choose out, appoint, and to send Christ in the flesh {God man} to satisfy the Divine Justice of God for man, in whom the wisdom of God giveth full satisfaction to his own justice and perfect Salvation to his people in Christ, by grace. In this glorious mystery, free grace in God is the fountain, full Salvation to Divine Justice the way, and perfect Salvation and Redemption to all his elect body in Christ the end.
    I shall now come more particularly to the parts of this great work of God, the Salvation of his own Free grace. And first of God’s electing grace. That it is free grace in God which elects to Salvation; that I shall first prove by the subjects of God’s Salvation, which are fallen sinners, “dead in trespasses and sins.” {Eph.2:1} A lump of sinners dead in trespasses and sins, hath God to choose out as subjects for his love, vessels of honour, and heirs of glory. If grace in God makes not the choice, surely the whole lump of fallen sinners would be left to remain dead in trespasses and sins, but the Apostle tells us that God hath mercy on whom he will have mercy. {Rom.9:18} That is, God is full of mercy; but he is a free Sovereign therein, as his mercy lies in his own will, as he chooses his own vessels of mercy, that he might dispense his grace, and make known the riches of his own glory. The Lord chooses whom he pleases, that it might appear that he chooses according to his own sovereign will and good pleasure; that is, that all his mercy and grace is free, and that the first work or part of the work of Salvation, his election, is of and from his own free and sovereign grace. “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love; having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” {Eph.1:4,5} That is, God chooses from all eternity, such as he will make his children, and heirs of glory by Christ, and this he doth according to the good pleasure of his own will, for all fell alike in the first Adam, nothing in the one more than in another to move God to love, for all were dead in sins; but the whole work in God is the work of his grace, as it is begun and finished according to the good pleasure of his own will, all is the work of his free grace.
    But secondly, whom God thus chooses by his grace, he chooses in Christ. “According as he hath chosen us in him;” {that is in Christ;} so that all along grace is free in God, and the whole work of Salvation only of his free grace. “The gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.” {Rom.5:15} Whatever is in Christ is the gift of grace; so that Christ being the way by which God works Satisfaction to his own Justice and Salvation to his people, it is all of grace; the reign of life in saints by Christ is the reign of grace in God to saints through Christ. “Much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.” {Rom.5:17} God in Christ doth reign over souls in Righteousness as the God of life and Salvation; it is God in Christ, a God of free grace.
    But in the carrying on of this work of God’s sovereignty and distinguishing grace in the Salvation of his people through Christ, it is needful that Christ take flesh, according to that promise in Genesis 3:15. The seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the serpent; and this is accomplished in the fullness of God’s time; “for unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given;” {“and the government - of grace - shall be upon his shoulder.”} The child which is born is the Son which is given, Christ in the flesh; the Son of God is the gift of God’s absolute grace, and this child Jesus is the gift of God’s grace, for a Covenant of the people, for a light to the Gentiles, “to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.” {Is.42:6,7} So that as grace giveth him, so his work in the flesh is that work of grace in all the parts thereof. Thus far we have saints in Christ, and Christ in the flesh, and the free grace of God in all.
That which followeth will appear to be as pure grace in God as what hath gone before, though now God comes to have actual and full satisfaction to his justice. Now the elect are in Christ, and Christ stands for us in the flesh; now the Holy Law and Divine Justice of God comes for fulfilling and satisfaction. But to whom? Why to Christ, so that when Justice is fully satisfied, yet that the whole of Salvation might be a work of God’s free grace.
    Question: But why should Justice come to Christ for satisfaction? Had he sinned?
    Answer: I answer, no; but in the great design of God’s grace to redeem his people in Christ, Christ was willingly made sin for us, and took our nature that he might stand before God’s Justice in our room as the sinner. The Holy Ghost clears this truth in II Cor.5:21, “for he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin;” the verse before clears up this ‘he’ in the text to be meant of God. “Be ye reconciled to God;” for ‘he’ hath made him sin; and this ‘him’ in the text must needs be meant of Christ, for it is said of this ‘him’ that he knew no sin; that is, he had no sin of his own; he was that spotless Lamb without sin, so was never any in flesh since the Fall from innocency but Christ; so that the Scripture is plain, that God made Christ to be sin for his elect body; that is, not to be guilty of any sin in himself, but to be the Surety, the Debtor, and Paymaster to the Justice of God for all the sins past, present and to come, of all his elect body, so that Divine Justice goes only to Christ for satisfaction, and in Christ Divine Justice hath full Satisfaction, so that Justice and Grace in God are both pure in the Salvation of sinners through Christ that is thus made sin for us. Here we have Christ made both sin and flesh by God, and now in the flesh we shall find Christ making full satisfaction to the Justice of God for all those whom he is made sin for; as Christ came in the flesh to take up the debt of sin for his people, and to lie under the wages of sin, which is death; so in the flesh and in his death he giveth such full satisfaction to Almighty God, that God doth acknowledge himself fully pleased in the travail of his soul. “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied; by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” {Is.53:11} That is, God doth behold that Satisfaction which Christ hath made to his Justice for the sins of his people, and in it doth acknowledge himself fully satisfied, and forever well pleased with his elect in him; that whole chapter of Isaiah 53 is a proving of Christ in the flesh being made by God an offering for sin, to be wounded for the transgression of his people and bruised for our iniquities, having the chastisement of our peace put upon him, so that by his stripes we are healed, it having pleased the Lord to lay on him the iniquity of us all.
    So that here is not only Christ in the flesh, but Christ made sin for his people; that is, hath all the iniquities of his people laid on him by God, with all the wounds, bruises and chastisements due to them; that is, all the punishment due to sin from God’s Justice; and this Christ undergoeth to the utmost, so that by his stripes we are healed; that is, by his sufferings and satisfaction his elect are in the justice of God entirely acquitted and discharged, for God chose Christ to satisfy his justice for sin, and having laid the debt with all the weight of it upon him; and Christ having discharged this debt to the full, God’s Justice cannot but discharge it wherever it was due; otherwise as one text speaks, Christ had died in vain, and the design of God’s free grace to poor sinners could never be accomplished; so the Apostle tells us, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.” {Gal.3:13}
    Christ as our Surety and public Redeemer took sin with all its weight and curse upon himself, and what he hath taken from us, he hath fully delivered us from; so that in his satisfaction he doth fully acquit his elect body; the first debtor, from the whole debt and danger of sin, either in curse or punishment; and the Apostle Paul argues out his triumph upon this very consideration; “who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again.” {Rom.8:33,34} As if the Apostle had said, God doth justify his elect body as he is a just God, for Christ hath died and is risen again; that is, Christ is risen as the satisfier of God’s justice in his death, for had not Christ’s death satisfied God’s Justice when all the sins, curses and punishment of sin, for all his elect body was laid upon him, he could never have risen again; but now he is risen, and risen as the Justifier of his people, and the Satisfier of God’s justice. Now if any shall charge the elect of God with what Christ hath borne and satisfied for them, even the justice of God or the just God will acquit them, and if God acquit who can condemn, and therefore the Apostle glories. So the same Apostle speaking of Christ as being risen from the dead, says thus, “who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification;” {Rom.4:25;} that is, it was the sins of his elect that crucified him, and it is the Justification of his elect for whom he died, and for whom he is risen; and as nothing could have crucified him but our sins, so now nothing can condemn those for whom he died, he being risen, his resurrection pleads to all justice, satisfaction in his death; and Christ was therefore delivered up to death for our offenses, that in his resurrection we might be justified from all offenses, God’s great aim and design of grace, runs through the former to the latter of these; the Holy Ghost tells us there, “that Christ is the end of the Law for Righteousness to everyone that believeth;” {Rom.10:4;} as if he had said, the believing soul shall find that Christ hath fulfilled and hath fully kept the whole Law for him, and so is an end to it for Righteousness; that is, Christ is now the soul’s Righteousness and not the Law; the Law is kept and fulfilled by Christ for a believer, so that it cannot charge any soul in Christ to condemnation, but the Righteousness and Justification of the soul in the sight of God is Christ, not the Law; if any soul should keep the whole Law in itself, the Law might have been for Righteousness to that soul, but all have sinned and come short. Now the Law is an accuser and not a justifier, but Christ for his people hath fully satisfied and kept the Law; so that Christ is the Righteousness of his people and an end to the Law for Righteousness. “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” {I Tim.1:15} It was the end of God’s giving Christ, and of Christ’s coming to save sinners from sin, law, death, hell, and all that would ever destroy them, and this end is effected, for Christ did not only die, but is risen; did not only take sin upon himself, but hath satisfied for sin, and all this is the work of grace which appears in this, it is the work of God in Christ. The Apostle Paul doth acknowledge and confirm this truth. “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” {Rom.3:24} The Apostle here says it is redemption through Christ, but that doth not hinder our being justified by free grace in God; though God works through Christ, yet it is all the work of his free grace, it is through Christ, and Christ is through grace, and there is not any title of Redemption or Justification through self, for it is all through Christ and by grace, which is no more but grace working through Christ, the great gift of God’s free grace. Whatever God doth in Christ can in no ways diminish free grace, for Christ is the Mediator or middle Person between God and man, in whom God magnifies his grace to man, and gives to his people the riches and greatness of his love wherewith he loved them through him. This indeed doth manifest the wisdom and justice of God to redeem his people through Christ, but in no ways lessens the freeness of his grace, nay it makes it more glorious grace, for that justice is fully satisfied, makes mercy the greater mercy, and the justified is nothing in himself all this whilst but a sinner; now that God should make Christ his way to satisfy his Divine justice by, and to save sinners, this must needs magnify the grace of God, because the saved and the justified are nothing in the work themselves, only sinners and the worst of sinners, saved only of grace by grace, as it is grace in God and grace in Christ, the grace of God through Christ that makes such as are dead in sins to be quickened together with Christ; and from this the Holy Ghost tells us, “that by grace we are saved.” Christ came from heaven to do his Father’s will; that was to save all which his Father had given him, and not to lose any but to raise them up at the last day. {Jn.6:38,39} God chooses Christ a body, of which he maketh him Head and Saviour, and sends him into the world that he might redeem his body by satisfying justice, so that he might save the whole, and raise them up at that last day as his redeemed bride, and all this the work of God’s free grace through Christ, for Christ doth acknowledge that his work of redemption was his Father’s will, and his work was to perfect the design of his Father’s grace, that all God had given him might be redeemed through him, and justified freely. In the death of Christ God commended his love and grace to us; “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us;” {Rom.5:8;} mark it, the satisfaction that Christ gave to the justice of God for sinners was so far from being any diminution to God’s grace, that it is a commendation of it, or an exaltation and glory of it, for it exceedingly commends the glory of God’s love and grace, that Christ should die because we were sinners. Herein lies the immensity of God’s love, it is Christ the gift of his grace dying for sinners, this makes all the work grace, grace in God sends Christ to die for sinners, whom otherwise must die eternally in sin. Can there be anything but grace in this; in the Apostles account Christ dying for us when we were sinners, doth much demonstrate the love and grace of God and surely so it doth. Thus doth God save his people by grace and satisfy his justice in Christ. Now Christ having satisfied his Father’s justice, fulfilled and kept the Law to the utmost for all his elect body, he bringeth them to the throne of his Father’s justice, as well as the throne of his grace, and there God as a just God doth justify Head and members. “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily; and ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.” {Col.2:9,10} As if God should say, Christ hath satisfied my justice as God-man, and though my justice be of infinite inflexibility; yet him in whom the fullness of the Godhead dwelleth bodily, hath fully satisfied it, and all his members are complete in him, as I have received full satisfaction for them in him, and in him do fully acquit and discharge them of all guilt and unrighteousness before me to all eternity, for ye are complete in him. That is, complete in his completeness; “for he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Mark it, the end of Christ being made sin was, that in him his elect body might be made the Righteousness of God; that is, that Christ might be our Righteousness as the gift of God, so that Christ being our Righteousness we might be righteous in the Righteousness of God, and so complete in him, namely in Christ, as Christ is the Righteousness of God to his people. So are they all complete in him; and in this the Righteousness of God, saints are justified at the throne of God’s justice, and taken up into his bosom of grace, for in union with Christ there can be no condemnation. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” {Rom.8:1} Thus doth free grace in God accomplish and finish its work of Salvation for all his elect through Christ. God doth this work in Christ that it might be all of grace, and that he might take off all boasting in the creature by the Law of faith; {Rom.3:27;} all those whom he chooses from eternity to be heirs of glory, and so he chooses them in Christ, {Eph.1:4,} and those whom he calleth out of nature into his grace, he calleth in Christ; and such as he redeems he redeems through Christ, and makes Christ to be redemption to them. “Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” {I Cor.1:30} Them which God justifies and makes righteous, he justifies and makes righteous in Christ. {Rom.4:25, Rom.10:3,4} So Christ is made sanctification to his people, {I Cor.1:30, Rom.8:10,} and when saints are taken up into their fullness of glory, then they reap the fullness of their union with Christ. {Jn.14:19, Rom.8:17} So that this whole Salvation is the work and gift of God’s free grace wrought in Christ.
    Now that it might be free grace in God, and only free grace, which begins, carries on, and perfects this work of Salvation in all the parts and degrees thereof; this is the will of God, that the hand which taketh, receiveth, applieth and appropriateth this free gift of God’s grace to the souls of his elect body, should be the hand of faith; so that as it reigns in the souls of believers, it might appear to be of sheer grace and not of works. {Rom.3:24} “And this is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ.” {I Jn.3:23} The will of God appears in his commandment, and that is to believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, to believe in Jesus as a Saviour and a Redeemer, to save and redeem his people from their sins. “And thou shalt call his name JESUS; for he shall save his people from their sins.” {Mt.1:21} This is to believe in the name of Jesus, to believe in Jesus, as the Saviour of his people from their sins; this is the will and commandment of God; and in this sense in Scripture, we are often said to be justified by faith. “Therefore being justified, by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ;” {Rom.5:1;} that is, not by faith as a meritorious grace to merit Justification, for then it were of works which would destroy the nature of faith, and the design of God’s free grace, but by faith as an appropriating and applying hand to lay hold on the Salvation of God’s free grace through Christ in the believing of God’s Word and Work of Salvation, by his free grace through Christ, so as to cast the Salvation of our eternal souls upon God’s free grace alone, in the Satisfaction and Redemption of Christ; and therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; that is, by faith laying hold on Jesus Christ as our Lord Jesus Christ, so the soul comes to be at peace with God, and to find God to be reconciled to it, and is thus justified in its own bosom by believing in Christ; that is, the soul doth now believe all that God hath said concerning Christ, and what Christ hath done and suffered for sinners, and does by faith apply and appropriate this to itself. My Lord Jesus Christ saith a believing soul, whom God made to be sin for me, that I might be made the Righteousness of God in him, upon whom God hath laid all mine iniquities, and the chastisements due to my sins, and by whose stripes we are healed; so that now I stand complete before God in him. Thus by believing and appropriating Christ to our own souls we come to be justified in our own spirits, and to be at peace with God; in believing God to be at peace with us, we come to be at peace with him; that is, all hard thoughts of God they are squelched, unbelief receives a deadly blow, and now the soul believeth in God through Christ, finding God to be a gracious, loving and reconciled Father, and is now at peace with God, or at peace in God, full of peace by believing in God through Christ. This is the Justification that Faith giveth the soul, as it lives upon the peace of God in Christ Jesus, and quiets the soul in this, that God is at peace with it through Jesus Christ, and in this sense through the whole Book of God, we must understand those Scriptures wherein it is said that we are justified by faith. “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ.” {Gal.2:16} That is, knowing that God doth justify all through Christ by his free grace in believing, and not any by works, we do believe in his free grace through Christ, and are thereby justified, not of works; no, not by faith as a grace, for then by works; but of his grace through Christ, laid hold on and applied by faith the Apostle Paul sets forth “the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe.” {Rom.3:22} The Righteousness of God is the grace of God in Christ, or the grace of God making Christ our Righteousness, which Righteousness of God by Jesus Christ we apply to ourselves by believing in the God of all grace which made Christ our Righteousness, and in Christ as he is made Righteousness to us. Righteousness is the gift of grace, but if faith as an act in us could justify us, then Righteousness and Justification would not be of grace, but as faith is only a hand to lay hold on Christ, the Righteousness of God, and this faith the gift of God, not of ourselves. {Eph.2:8} So it hath its place and work in the great design of God, the Salvation of his elect in Christ. “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” {Rom.10:4} The Holy Ghost doth not there say, that by believing, which is a work of grace in the soul, the soul doth put an end to the Law; that is, satisfy it and make it self-righteous; no, for then Righteousness would be of the Law, but Christ hath put an end to the Law for Righteousness to everyone that believeth; that is, by believing in Christ as our Righteousness, there is an end put to the Law, the Law is no Righteousness, but Christ is Righteousness, and the fulfiller of the Law for all that thus believe on him; faith is only the hand to lay hold of and to appropriate and apply Christ to the soul whom is God’s Righteousness, and the fulfiller of this Law for all that do believe on him. Believers should be exceedingly tender of preserving the glory of God’s grace, for it is by grace that we are saved and only of grace that we are what we are; and for this very cause was faith made the hand to lay hold on grace; grace in God hath not made a hand to destroy itself, as we must be very watchful in this thing, lest we build a shrine unto faith, for that faith cannot be true which doth not solely advance that Gospel of Grace in its riches in Christ; the highest pitch of faith in which it is very glorious, is to apply the grace of God to the soul, and to cast the soul upon the free grace of God in Christ, to un-self the creature, to trample its best works under feet as dross and dung, and resting full in the grace of God through Christ, desiring only to be found in him. “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” {Phil.3:8,9} True faith lifts up God’s free grace in Christ, by seeking his Righteousness alone; and aims no higher, but to be a hand to receive the gift of grace in Christ. {Eph.4:7}
    The true work of faith in the soul is to bring in Christ, and cast out the Law, as that schoolmaster which kept the soul under fear until Christ came, and to acquaint the soul that it is a child of God through Christ Jesus; and that in Christ it hath everlasting life. {Jn.6:40,47} “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” {Gal.3:26} Thus believing in Christ the soul is strengthened in the inward man, Christ dwelling in the heart by faith, {Eph.3:16,16,} and establishing the soul in its union with Christ, that soul which believeth in Christ as the gift of God’s free grace, in whom God giveth eternal life, hath this witness in himself. “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself;” “and this is the record, {or witness,} that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” {I Jn.5:10,11} He is sealed up to the love of God, in believing the record of God concerning his Son; and now the soul believes this word of God, and rests upon it, takes God’s word for its eternal Salvation; and this is the true office of faith in the soul to lay hold of the Salvation of God in Christ declared by his word, and to apply and appropriate it to itself, so as to rest and depend wholly upon it for Salvation, and herein the soul comes to have the witness within itself, by believing thus on the Son of God, that it might appear to be the will of God that all which are saved of his grace by Christ should be made partakers of this Salvation in themselves by believing in him. I shall offer two more things in consideration.
    First, the Covenant of God’s free grace; and secondly, the promulgation and spreading abroad of the Gospel. First, God’s Covenant of free grace in which God doth freely engage himself to be our God and that we shall be his people, according to the prophet Jeremiah. “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah; not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD. But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; after those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people; and they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” {Jer.31:31-34} {See also Hebrews 8:8-12} In this Covenant God wraps up all the parts of Salvation by grace, and doth fully oblige himself to them all. Now what is the reason that God doth thus oblige himself by Covenant, is it because of himself, that he might not go back from his design of grace to his people? No, for the Lord is a God that changes not, an immutable God. {Num.23:19} God “from everlasting to everlasting.” {Ps.90:2} “For I am the LORD, I change not.” {Mal.3:6} God makes this Covenant for our sake, that we might believe in him as a God of grace, and a faithful Covenant keeping God; the Holy Ghost argues thus, telling us that a faithful man will keep his covenant, then how much more God; as if he had said, the faithful God hath made his Covenant of grace, that you might believe he will make good his Covenant, as he is absolutely faithful; thus God obligeth his own faithfulness in an Everlasting Covenant of Grace that his people might have both his Grace and his Faithfulness for a foundation of their faith. God will be believed by his people, and therefore he engages himself as a faithful gracious God. To the faith of his people, saith the Lord, I will pardon your sins and remember them no more, I will put my law into your hearts, the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people; believe all this, for I will accomplish all saith the Lord; I the faithful, the gracious and omnipotent God; I that am omnipotent, who can hinder me; I that am gracious, so that your sins can be no bar; nay, I that am faithful, I have spoken it and I will make it good, so that we might ask what is the meaning of all this; but that we should believe the faithful word of our faithful and gracious Saviour, as he will oblige his own faithfulness by way of Covenant, that we might believe in the free Salvation of his own grace made out in that Covenant.
    Secondly, consider what is God’s end in the promulgation and spreading abroad of the Gospel. Is it not that his people should believe in the Salvation of his own grace; why is Christ pleased to be the way of God’s Salvation to his people, so that whomever believeth thus on him hath everlasting life. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” {Jn.6:47} But that they might believe and be saved by him, “this is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” {Jn.6:29} This is the end of the Gospel, for it is the effect of it, where it works savingly, and it is God’s work, or the work of his Spirit in the Gospel, to make souls believe in Jesus Christ whom he hath sent; for when Christ sent forth his disciples to preach the Gospel, he directs them to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and bids them to preach this, that the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand. {Mt.10:6,7} That is, go to poor lost souls in themselves, and tell them that Salvation has been accomplished, that Christ has died; and thus this Kingdom of Grace is at hand, it is near to them, it seeks them, and saves them freely; but what is the end of this, only that the grace of Christ might come to these lost souls, that they might believe in Christ as the Salvation of God and to be saved, and for this end hath God preserved his Gospel in the world, and made it to prosper, against all the power and malice of Satan and his instruments, that thereby his people might hear the glad tidings of Salvation by free grace in Christ, and in the believing of it be saved and established. “And this is the will of him that sent me, that everyone which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” {Jn.6:40} It is not only a bare hearing or seeing of Christ in the flesh, but believing on him, that makes Christ to be everlasting life to the soul; and this is the end of God in the Gospel, that souls might have everlasting life through believing in Christ. “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” {Jn.11:25,26} It is faith in the souls of his people that God intends both by giving the Gospel to the world, and preserving it in the world; so that for these two reasons, which might have been exceedingly more enlarged, it doth appear that this is the will of God in keeping his Salvation to be entirely the work of his grace; that the hand which received and applies it should be a hand of faith, which is the work of his own free grace in the soul. Robert Tichborne “The Rest of Faith; that is, souls fixed and established in God by believing on Him through the Lord Jesus Christ.” 1657.

 

Home Page

Index of Authors

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