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Home arrow 50 Yrs Among The Baptists arrow Justification and Kindred Subjects: Chapter 16
Justification and Kindred Subjects: Chapter 16 PDF Print E-mail
Written by J.H. Oliphant   

It has been thought by some that sin exists as in a general or promiscuous way, and that Christ died for sin in the abstract---that is, for sin as separated from the sinner, but for no man’s sins in particular. But this is a faulty view of the Saviour’s death. In some countries there are herds of horses and cattle that roam over the plains without an owner. But that is not the way with sin. There are no sins belonging to no one; there are no sins, great or small, the world over, that have no owner. I have never been able to see any use or beauty in the atonement only as Christ gave himself in a representative manner for our sins. When Paul called them "our sins" he was conscious they had an owner, and when he said of Christ, "Who loved me and gave himself for me," he described the definite character of the atonement. Aaron was to confess over the scapegoat "All the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness." Their sins were enumerated and confessed, and Christ bore the individual sins of his people in his own body on the tree. Take away the transfer of our sins to Christ, and the necessity for his death will be destroyed. None could tell why he should die or why it should result in our salvation. I would impress upon the reader’s mind the necessity for a definite and roper relation between the Redeemer and the redeemed, so that every stripe and act of suffering He bore should accomplish the end He had in view. When the angel said he should save his people from their sins; when Paul declared that Christ loved the church as the husband the wife and gave himself for it; when Jesus said that the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep, and that of all which the Father gave him he should lose nothing; and when he exclaimed, "Behold, here am I, and the children which thou hast given me," we understand that a proper and legal relation or union existed between him and them, by which he could put away their sins and the merits of his death be applied to them.

"T’was with an everlasting love,

Jehovah his elect embraced,

Before he made the worlds above

Or earth on her huge pillars placed;

Then in the glass of his decree

Christ and his bride appeared as one:

Her sin by imputation his,

While she in spotless splendor shone."


That the Lord Jesus Christ came not to try an experiment, but to perform a definite and appointed work---to die a representative death for a foreknown people, according to God’s purpose in eternity, who was able to forecast the very hour when he should suffer, is so plainly told that every true believer may draw comfort from such evidences of God’s everlasting love. And yet how many go halting and blinded to the richest joys of redeeming grace! They have none of that strong consolation that should flow from the promise and the oath of God, but in ignorance strike as the infant does at its source of life and strength. No doubt many of the Lord’s redeemed have been snared by the fair speeches and unfair arguments of modern organizations, who repudiate the scriptural truth of covenant union and the efficacious power of the Saviour’s blood. "The blood of the everlasting covenant" is a myth to them; its preciousness they do not perceive, and so they fail to honor him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will, and who will do all his pleasure. As the man having a hundred sheep leaves the ninety and nine and goeth into the mountains seeking the one which went astray, so would the Lord’s minister follow his brother to the mountains of error and save him from the error of his way. Should you, my reader, be one who has tasted the grace and mercy of God, and yet who stands among the opposers of free and unmerited grace, let us compare the ground of your hope with the system I have tried to present---a system that rests upon the certainty of Christ’s mediatorial work. We believe as John the inspired writher declares, that, "The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." This blood the Bible calls "The blood of the everlasting covenant," and that its application will be sure to every human being for whom it was shed.

"There is a fountain filled with blood

Drawn from Immanuel’s veins,

And sinners plunged beneath that flood

Lose all their guilty stains.

Dear dying Lamb, that precious blood

Shall never lose its power

Till all the ransomed church of God

Be saved to sin no more."


There are thousands who sing this, but who do not believe it, and yet it is written almost in the words of inspiration. "In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and uncleanness." Every one for whom that fountain was opened shall certainly be saved from sin. Jesus Christ was that fountain, and Paul declares that Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it, that he might present it to himself, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish. He offered himself without spot to God, and the offering was accepted, leaving his entire church without blemish. He came to do his Father’s will, which was that of all he had given him he should lose nothing. Every one should come to him, and not one that cometh should be cast out. The salvation we trust in is founded upon the hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began. It is a system that rests upon the immutability of his counsel, and it was confirmed by his oath, which is also immutable; and in this Paul declares our hope is sure and steadfast, entering into that within the vail. The whole of our salvation rests upon the eternal and unchangeable purpose of God, his promise, his sovereignty, his faithfulness and power, and in no sense upon man. It grows out of his love and his mercy, and, as the angel declared, we believe that "He shall save his people from their sins." All religious bodies believe as we do, that Christ died for all that are now in heaven and for all that ever will be saved. We do not differ in that; but the point of difference is as to whether he died for them that never will be saved. Did Jesus pay the penalty for them? Did he shed his blood for them, obtain redemption for them, pay all the debts they owed---and yet thousands upon thousands never reach heaven at all? All modern churches maintain that the Redeemer gave himself for the last as much as he did for them that shall live with him in glory. They hold that the sufferings and death of Christ made nothing certain---that it provided a salvation that is incomplete---a salvation that saves no one only as men secure it by their ability and meritorious efforts. From this weak, uncertain, comfortless system we would pray God to deliver all his children. "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins." his is the gospel we preach, and it is "Glad tidings of great joy." It reveals the righteousness of Christ; it proclaims his atoning blood, his finished work. It crowns him with honor and gives him all the glory, and the riches of his grace will be the song of the redeemed in the eternal home that God will give them. We believe in a salvation that is not left in doubt. God has so joined this salvation with the death of Christ that they are inseparable. He has established such a state of things that the eternal salvation of man certainly follows the fact that Christ died for them; and what God has joined together let no man put asunder. The Lord says by Isaiah, "When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed. 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." This language cannot be misunderstood. He justifies his people because he bears their iniquities. And Paul asks, as if to confirm the above, "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" The inheritance is of the Father’s will, and it has this seal, "The Lord knoweth them that are his."

How certain then and how glorious must that salvation be that has God for its author, Jesus Christ for its surety, and which is witnessed and sealed by the sanctifying Spirit of Truth! It cannot fail while God is on his throne, nor till the blood of Christ has lost its power to save. Compared to Christ’s certain work, how weak, uncertain and dishonoring to God must every system be that calls for the help of man to make it effectual. To leave this marvelous work to man is to introduce contingencies and to surround it with the elements of failure; and yet the world loves to have it this way, it would seem, as ground for boasting. Plans are perfected and the forces set in motion to capture this country or that, or, sometimes, the whole world for Christ; and yet nothing stands secure. Theological and training schools are established to prepare men to save their fellow men, and when these are educated it depends upon their willingness whether they go or not. If willing, then their going depends upon a proper salary being paid them, and this in turn depends upon the state of the treasury of the great Board that supplies the funds. The treasuries are not always full, for they are dependent upon the financial condition of the country, the profitableness of trade, the condition of the harvests, and always upon the will or minds of the people. Modern churches look to the institutions of the day, the eloquence and industry of man, to the excitement of revivals, for their success. An infinite number of ever-changing circumstances may operate as to who will be saved. May God’s ever child turn from such a refuge as this, which puts to shame the Redeemer in the house of his friends; which would thwart the purpose and mercy of God and count the blood of the covenant an unholy thing!

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The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.