The Persons Redeemed (Of the Covenant of Redemption – Part I) by David Dickson

By April 10, 2011Covenant Theology

The first article of the Covenant of Redemption concerneth the persons redeemed

THE redeemed in Scripture, are pointed forth under sundry expressions; sometime they are called the predestinate; sometime the elect; sometime these whom God foreknew; sometime they who are called according to His purpose; sometime they that were given to Christ of the Father; sometime Christ’s sheep; sometime the children of God, &c. But whatsoever name they have, the persons are the same, according to that of the Apostle, Rom 8.29,30, whom He did foreknow, them He did predestinate to be conform to the image of His Son—Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified. The number and the names of the persons here spoken of, are the same; and they are called the predestinate, in regard that God hath appointed them to a certain end, to wit, eternal life, to be brought thereunto effectually by certain means for the glory of God’s grace. They are called elect, verse 33, in regard God in the purpose of his good pleasure, hath severed them from among the rest of men, lying with them in the state of perdition by their own procurement, and hath designed them to be partakers of eternal salvation. They are called foreknown, and written in the book of life, in regard God hath comprehended them in his special love, no less distinctly and unchangeably, than if he had their names written in a catalogue, or book. And they are called given unto Christ, in regard the redeeming of them, and bringing them to life is committed to Christ. But by whatsoever name they are designed, the persons redeemed are still the same.

2. But whereas the elect, given to Christ, are called {35} the redeemed, it presupposeth, that they were considered and looked upon as now fallen by their own fault, and lying by their own merit in sin and misery, enemies to God, and altogether unable to help themselves. For, this much doth the notion of Redemption, or buying-back again import: and that it is so, is clear, because the mercy of God, the grace of God, the good-will of God, is put in Scripture for the only motive and impulsive cause of Redemption, Ephes. 1.7-9, In whom we have Redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his grace, wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known unto us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he had purposed in himself.

3. The Scripture sheweth us that there is an innumerable multitude of redeemed persons, and a sort of universality of them, extended unto all nations and ages and states of men; so that this huge multitude for whose redemption Christ’s blood was shed, Matth. 26.29, is justly called by the name of a world, an elect world, John 3.16, to be called out of that reprobate world, for which Christ refuseth to intercede, John 17.9, the truth of this matter, the redeemed do acknowledge in their worshipping Christ their Mediatour, Rev. 5.9, and they sang a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book and to open the seals thereof; for, thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred and tongue and people and nation. These are the all men whom God will have saved and doth save, 1 Tim. 2.4, these are the all men of whom the Apostle speaks, 2 Pet. 3.9: God is patient toward us (to wit, his elect) not willing that any of us should perish, but that we all should come to repentance: And this the Apostle giveth for a reason of the Lord’s deferring his coming, till all the elect should be brought in, of whom many were not yet converted in the Apostle’s time and many were not yet born, and if Christ should not delay his coming, till they were born and brought into reconciliation {36} with God, the number of the elect should be cut short.

4. In no place of Scripture is it said, that all and every man are elect, or every man is given to Christ, or every man is predestinate unto life; in no place of Scripture is it said, that Christ hath made paction with the Father for all and every man without exception; But by the contrary, it is sure from Scripture, that Christ hath merited and procured salvation for all them for whom he entered himself Surety. Their sins only were laid on Christ, and in him condemned, satisfied for, and expiated, Isa. 53, for these, and in their place he offered himself to satisfy Justice, for them he prayed, them only he justifieth and glorifieth: for, the sentence of the Apostle, 2 Cor. 5.15, standeth firm; in Christ all are dead (to the law) for whom and in whose room Christ did die. And therefore for these his people the law is satisfied: from these the curse is taken away, to them heaven and all things necessary to salvation are purchased, and shall infallibly in due time, yea invincibly be applied.

Christ hath not sanctified, consecrated, and perfected all and every one, Heb. 10.14, only for his sheep predestinate, he laid down his life, John 10.15,16,26, he did not buy with his blood all and every one, but his Church called out, and severed from the world, Acts 20.28, he saveth not all and every man from their sins, but his own people only, to wit, whom he hath bought with his blood to be his own, Matth. 1.21, whom he hath purchased to be his own peculiar, whom he doth purify, and kindle with a fervent desire to bring forth good works, Titus 2.14.

Such as Christ hath redeemed, he loveth them infinitely, and counteth them dearer to him than his life. But many shall be found to whom Christ shall say I never knew you, to wit, with approbation and affection, Matth. 7.23.

They for whom Christ hath died, shall sometime glory against all condemnation; but so shall not every man be able to glory, Rom. 8.34,35. {37}

Christ never purposed to lay down his life for those, whom going to die he refuseth to pray for; only for those who are given to him out of the world will he pray and die, and rise, and will raise them to eternal life, John 17.9.

So far is it from God’s purpose and Christ’s to redeem all and every man, that he hath not decreed to give every nation so much as the external necessary means for conversion and salvation, Psalm 147.19,20, He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel; He hath not dealt so with any nation; and as for his judgments they have not known them.

And for this wise and holy course of hiding the mystery of salvation from many, even wise men in the world, Christ Jesus glorifieth and thanketh the Father, Matth. 11.25, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to babes, even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight.

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