Category Archives: salvation

“Can there be a more delightful employment, this side of heaven, than to send the blessed news of salvation to a perishing world?” by Lemuel Haynes

“I stand here this day, my friends and brethren, to plead for thousands of poor, perishing, dying, fellow mortals, who need the bread of life, and whose cries and distresses call for compassion.

We stand this day to plead the cause of Jesus, who sits upon the holy hill of Zion with pardon in His hands.

We plead the promises and predictions of God’s Word that may encourage your hope and trust.

Be not afraid of the haughty mandate of the prince of darkness, for it shall be made to subserve the interest of Christ’s kingdom.

Can there be a more delightful employment, this side of heaven, than to wrest souls from the jaws of death and hell, and to send the blessed news of salvation to a perishing world?

To promote the felicity of the universe is the happiness of the redeemed in glory. And this spirit among Christians is heaven begun on earth.

If your hearts do not glow with holy affections towards perishing sinners, by which you are disposed to do something for their relief, then you have reason to fear and tremble that you have no inheritance among the saints in light.”

–Lemuel Haynes, “Divine Decrees: An Encouragement to the Use of Means,” in Black Preacher to White America: The Collected Writings of Lemuel Haynes, 1774-1833, Ed. Richard Newman (Brooklyn, NY: Carlson Publishing, 1990), 99-100.

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“Jesus Christ, and Him crucified, will be the great topic and darling theme of his preaching” by Lemuel Haynes

“A minister that watches for souls as one who expects to give account will have none to please but God.

When he studies his sermons, this will not be the enquiry, ‘How shall I form my discourse so as to please and gratify the humors of men, and get their applause?’ but ‘How shall I preach so as to do honor to God, and meet with the approbation of my Judge?’

This will be his daily request at the throne of grace. This will be ten thousand times better to him than the vain flattery of men. His discourses will not be calculated to gratify the carnal heart, but he will not shun to declare the whole counsel of God.

The solemn account that the faithful minister expects to give another day will direct him in the choice of his subjects. He will dwell upon those things which have a more direct relation to the eternal world.

He will not entertain his audience with empty speculations, or vain philosophy, but with things that concern their everlasting welfare. Jesus Christ, and Him crucified, will be the great topic and darling theme of his preaching.

If he means to save souls, like a skillful physician, he will endeavor to lead his patient into a view of their maladies, and then point them to a bleeding Savior as the only way of recovery. The faithful Watchman will give the alarm at the approach of the enemy, will blow the trumpet in the ears of the sleeping sinner, and endeavor to awake him.”

–Lemuel Haynes, “The Character and Work of a Spiritual Watchman Described,” in Black Preacher to White America: The Collected Writings of Lemuel Haynes, 1774-1833, Ed. Richard Newman (Brooklyn, NY: Carlson Publishing, 1990), 49-50.

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“None but He who spoke all nature into existence can triumph over the opposition of the heart” by Lemuel Haynes

Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. I would consider the agent, or who it is that effects this great work.

If we consider the state that mankind are by nature, as has been described above, we need not stand long to know who to attribute this work to. It is a work too great to attribute to men or angels to accomplish.

None but He who, by one word’s speaking, spoke all nature into existence, can triumph over the opposition of the heart. This is the work of the Holy Spirit, who is represented in Scripture as emanating from the Father and the Son, yet co-equal with them both.

It is God alone that slays the native enmity of the heart– that takes away those evil dispositions that govern man– takes away the heart of stone and gives a soft heart– and makes him that was a hater of God, an enemy to God, to become friendly to His divine character.

This was not wrought by any efficiency of man, or by any external motives, or by any light let into the understanding, but of God. Hence we read that those that receive Christ are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:13).

And that is a gift of God (Eph. 2:8). Also it is God which worketh in us (Phil. 2:13).”

–Lemuel Haynes, “A Sermon on John 3:3,” in Black Preacher to White America: The Collected Writings of Lemuel Haynes, 1774-1833, Ed. Richard Newman (Brooklyn, NY: Carlson Publishing, 1990), 34.

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“The wrath of God drove us out of paradise, but the grace of God invites us to return” by Jonathan Edwards

“‘Tis proclaimed in the gospel

  • that God is willing again to receive us into His favor, to pardon all our sins, to quit all enmity, to bury all former difference and to be our friend and our Father;
  • that He is willing again to admit us to sweet communion with Him, and that He will converse with us as friendly and intimately as He did before the Fall;
  • that God is willing to receive us to paradise again, to a like freedom from all grief and trouble;
  • that He will wipe away all tears from our eyes, and that sorrow and sighing shall flee away;
  • that He will make us to forget our former melancholic, forsaken, and doleful state;
  • that we may be again admitted to as great a fullness of blessings, to as pleasant and delightful a dwelling place as the garden of Eden, as full of those things which tend the delight of life, to pleasures as refreshing and satisfying;
  • that we shall be as free from want, and the curse shall be removed, and all frowns and tokens of displeasure. The world shall again smile upon us and congratulate us.

God will be our friend and the angels shall be our friends, and all things shall be at peace with us, and we shall enjoy as great and uninterrupted a pleasure in mutual society. The wrath of God drove us out of paradise, but the grace of God invites us to return.

The Son of God in the name of His Father comes and calls to us to return from our banishment. He ceases not to call us. He beseeches us to return again. He is come forth on purpose to make known those joyful tidings to us.

Christ calls us away from this cursed ground that brings forth briars and thorns, to a better country. Our first parents were driven away very loath and unwilling to go, but we are invited back again.”

–Jonathan Edwards, “East of Eden,” in Sermons and Discourses, 1730–1733, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Volume 17, Ed. Mark Valeri and Harry S. Stout (New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 1999), 17: 342–343.

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“Jesus Himself establishes and opens the gates of the kingdom through His perfect obedience” by Brandon Crowe

“As we conclude, I submit that we do indeed find much good news in the Gospels by focusing on the life of Jesus unto salvation. As the last Adam, Jesus vicariously realizes the obedience necessary for eternal life, overcoming the problem of sin and death.

One would need many, many volumes to discuss the grace that is manifested to us through Jesus Christ; indeed, I suppose that the whole world would not be able to contain the books that could be written. I finish, then, with a few brief reflections on the wonders of the grace of Jesus Christ that is revealed in the Gospels.

In the Gospels we see that Jesus accomplishes the righteousness that characterizes the kingdom of God, and this righteousness is a gift. The kingdom demands a better righteousness than that of the scribes and Pharisees for those who would enter it (Matt. 5:20), yet it is also the Father’s good pleasure to grant the kingdom (Luke 12:32).

The stringency in entering the kingdom is ultimately answered by the full obedience of Jesus Himself, who establishes and opens the gates of the kingdom through His perfect obedience—both active and passive. Jesus shows us the unity of obedience and love that the covenantal law of God always required.

Jesus’s people, then, must be united to Him by faith, and so receive the blessings of salvation through the work of the last Adam. By following in the righteous steps of the Messiah, we learn how to truly love God and love our neighbor.

Jesus is definitively and representatively obedient as the last Adam and Son of God, and His people are obedient in a derivative sense, through faith in Him. Jesus is the mediator of the new covenant, which is sealed in His blood.

The full measure of the law has been met, and the penalty of sin has been overcome through Jesus’s death and resurrection. Our faith and hope must therefore be in Jesus Christ, who has proven obedient on our behalf.

I conclude with the confidence expressed by New Testament scholar J. Gresham Machen. As he lay dying in a North Dakota hospital, Machen’s last recorded words came via telegram: ‘I’m so thankful for the active obedience of Christ. No hope without it.’

Machen’s hope is gloriously narrated for us in the Fourfold Gospel, where we read of salvation accomplished by the fully obedient last Adam. As Jesus delighted to do His Father’s will, may we delight to trust in and follow a gracious Savior.”

–Brandon Crowe, The Last Adam: A Theology of the Obedient Life of Jesus in the Gospel (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2017), 214-215.

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“He drank the cup of suffering to the last drop” by Herman Bavinck

“The state of death in which Christ entered when He died was as essentially a part of His humiliation as His spiritual suffering on the cross. In both together He completed His perfect obedience.

He drank the cup of suffering to the last drop and tasted death in all its bitterness in order to completely deliver us from the fear of death and death itself.

Thus He destroyed him who had the power of death and by a single offering perfected for all time those who are sanctified (Hebrews 10:14).”

–Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics: Sin and Salvation in Christ, Volume 3, Ed. John Bolt and trans. John Vriend (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2006), 3: 417.

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“The doctrine of substitution is the key to all the sufferings of Christ” by Charles Spurgeon

“The doctrine of substitution is the key to all the sufferings of Christ. I do not know how many theories have been invented to explain away the death of Christ.

The modern doctrine of the apostles of ‘culture’ is that Jesus Christ did something or other, which, in some way or other, was, in some degree or other, connected with our salvation. But it is my firm belief that every theory, concerning the death of Christ, which can only be understood by the highly-cultured, must be false.

‘That is strong language,’ says someone. Perhaps it is, but it is true. I am quite sure that the religion of Jesus Christ was never intended for the highly-cultured only, or even for them in particular.

Christ’s testimony concerning His own ministry was, ‘The poor have the gospel preached to them.’ So, if you bring me a gospel which can only be understood by gentlemen who have passed through Oxford or Cambridge University, I know that it cannot be the gospel of Christ.

He meant the good news of salvation to be proclaimed to the poorest of the poor. In fact, the gospel is intended for humanity in general.

So, if you cannot make me understand it, or if, when I do understand it, it does not tell me how to deliver its message in such plain language that the poorest man can comprehend it, I tell you, sirs, that your newfangled gospel is a lie, and I will stick to the old one, which a man, only a little above an idiot in intellect, can understand.

I cling to the old gospel for this, among many other reasons, that all the modern gospels, that leave out the great central truth of substitution, prevent the message from being of any use to the great mass of mankind.

If those other gospels, which are not really gospels, please your taste and fancy, and suit the readers of Quarterly Reviews, and eloquent orators and lecturers, there are the poor people in our streets, and the millions of working-men, the vast multitudes who cannot comprehend anything that is highly metaphysical.

And you cannot convince me that our Lord Jesus Christ sent, as His message to the whole world, a metaphysical mystery that would need volume upon volume before it could even be stated.

I am persuaded that He gave us a rough and ready gospel like this: ‘The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost,’ or this, ‘With His stripes we are healed,’ or this, ‘The chastisement of our peace was upon Him,’ or this, ‘He died the Just for the unjust to bring us to God.’

Do not try to go beyond this gospel, brethren. You will get into the mud if you do. But it is safe standing here.

And standing here, I can comprehend how our Lord Jesus took the sinner’s place, and passing under the sentence which the sinner deserved, or under a sentence which was tantamount thereto, could cry, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?‘”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, ‘The Saddest Cry From the Cross,’ in Majesty in Misery, Volume 3: Calvary’s Mournful Mountain (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2005), 177-178. (MTPS, 48: 523-524)

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