The Everlasting Covenant
If the redeemed family was chosen out of the race of mankind, it follows that not all of mankind was so chosen and redeemed. Lest anybody might get the idea that some injustice was done to those who were not chosen, we need to remember that the elect family of God was
not chosen out of a race of kind, innocent people who were in every way deserving of the kindness of God. The entire race of mankind is by nature dead in trespasses and sins. Fallen man is by his very nature a wicked, depraved sinner, who lusts and pants after sin. He is totally alienated to all good, and totally inclined to all evil. In actual practice no man is as evil as he might be, but it is only because of the restraining power of God that he does not act out in actual practice the corruption that is in his own heart. If it was not for the restraining power of God, every man would be proven to be
the depraved sinner that he is. The earth would become a slaughterhouse, and there would be no place that any person could hide from the danger that raging all around him. Perhaps the most fundamental mistake of modern religion is the failure to realize how desperately sinful that man is, and how desperately he stands in need of a Savior. Gen. 6:5, "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that EVERY IMAGINATION of the thoughts of his heart was ONLY EVIL CONTINUALLY." Jer. 17:9, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" Rom. 3:10-18,
"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have use deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways and the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes." In this text Paul is now describing what
some men have become, but what all we are by nature.
If all men were left to themselves, there is no man who would choose God and righteousness. When Paul said there is "none that seeketh after God," he was describing the condition of every man who is devoid of the Spirit of God. If we encounter any man who is seeking after God we have found one who is already born of the Spirit.
Those who object to the doctrine of election, and wish that God had never made any such choice are really wishing that all men might perish eternally. If God had never chosen any man to salvation, and determined to do all things necessary to bring him home to eternal heaven there would never have been the first person saved. If sinful man was left to himself, there is no man who would have repented of sin, no man who would have believed the gospel, no man who would have had the love of God in his heart. Those are all the outworking of the Spirit of God implanted in the heart in the
work of regeneration.
This covenant is "ordered in all things and sure." It is ordered and sure in that it names every person who will ever benefit from its provisions. It binds every facet in secret. We are not able to look on God's book, and read the names that are recorded there; but God knows them, every one. II Tim. 2:19, "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, THE LORD KNOWETH THEM THAT ARE HIS."
Not only is this covenant "ordered in all things," it is also sure to be fulfilled. "Although my house be not so with God, yet hath he made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and SURE." God is sure to do all he has purposed to do. Sometimes it happens that somebody enters into a agreement that he does not intend to fulfill. Not every man can be depended on to do as he says. But you can be sure that God will do all he has promised to do. It is so certain that God will do all he has purposed to do that he CONFIRMS IT WITH AN OATH. It is not
necessary for God to swear that he will keep his promise; a simple statement is enough. It is not possible for God to lie, but FOR OUR BENEFIT God confirms his promise with an oath. Isa. 14:24,27, "The Lord of hosts hath SWORN, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand..... For the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back."
Consider for a moment, if you will, how firm and secure this covenant is. It is a binding agreement between God the Father and God the Son. It is "ordered in all things." There is not one consideration that is not completely provided for. God is so determined that every item of the agreement will be fulfilled that he confirms with an oath that he will do everything he has purposed to do. It is impossible to imagine anything more dependable than this covenant is.
In the eighty-ninth Psalm David talks about this covenant. He is still referring to the Greater David, the Son of God. Verse 3, "I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant." Again, notice that this covenant was made with David --- with the greater David the Son of God. The language of this chapter is too clear to be misunderstood. Throughout the entire chapter he is talking about this covenant that God the Father made with his Son. This covenant was not made with his people; it was made with his Son on behalf of his people.
There is no possibility that the Lord Jesus Christ was not be able to do what he has promised to do. In verse 19 "I have laid help upon ONE THAT IS MIGHTY." There are those who agree to do what they do not have the ability perform. But the parties to this covenant have the power to do what they have agreed to do. There are those who talk about God s if he was a whimpering, whining begging, pleading, trying and failing God, who tries to do ever so many things he is not able to do; but that is no the God
of the Bible. The God of the Bible speaks and is done; he commands and it stands fast (Psa. 33:9). He would never have entered into this agreement if he was not able to perform it. God is not so foolish to promise what he cannot do.
This covenant, and the benefits of it, are not base on the goodness of men, nor on their own personal righteousness; they are based wholly and solely on the mercy of God. The entire eighty-ninth Psalm deals with this covenant. Verse 1, "I will sing of the MERCIES of the Lord for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations." The first thing this chapter tells us about this covenant is that it is rooted in the mercy of God. There are those who think they can earn their way into heaven by their own accomplishment but they have never seen themselves for the sinners
the are, nor God for the righteous judge that he is. No ma who has seen himself for what he is could imagine that h could ever stand justified before God on the basis of own merit.
Isaiah said, "But we are all as an unclean thing, an all our righteousness are as filthy rags." When I was just a boy I remember hearing a preacher trying to preach on salvation by grace. He said, "I know that we are save by grace, but when I stand before God in judgment, I hope I have enough good works to finish out the score." I was just a boy, and I did not know much, and I still have a lot to learn --- but I knew there was something wrong with that. Can you imagine somebody standing before God in judgment and saying, "Lord, I believe I have enough good works to finish out
the score." And can you imagine that God might ask him to produce any claim he thinks he might have on eternal heaven, and he drags out an old dirty handkerchief he has been carrying around for two weeks with a cold, and dangling that filthy handkerchief before the throne, and saying, "Lord, here is my claim on eternal heaven." Now I know that is not a very pretty illustration, but that is the language the prophet uses. All of our righteousness is nothing more than "filthy rags" in the sight of a thrice holy God. Those who think they can work their way to heaven by their own merit have entirely too high
an opinion of themselves.
There is nothing about any of us to commend us to God. If we received what we justly deserve, there is none of us who would live with God in heaven. We are a lot like the old boy who was caught stealing chickens. The day of his trial arrived, and he could not sit still. He was pacing back and forth, up and down the corridors of the court house. His lawyer was trying to calm him down, and he said, "Just be patient; I will present your case; you will get justice." The old boy said, "Yassuh, yassuh, I knows that, but, you see, it's that justice I is so worried about."
Simple justice demands that every sinner who ever lived must suffer eternally as the just punishment for sin, and yet, it is the wonder of God's grace that the same justice which, apart from the grace of God, demands our eternal punishment, now --- because of God's grace--- demands the eternal salvation of everyone Christ died for. The shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ has made eternal satisfaction for the sins of all the redeemed. Our sins are put away; there is not a charge that can be made against any person for whom Christ died, so that God can be both just and the
justifier of every child of grace (Rom. 3:26). Verse 14, "Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face." God does not sacrifice justice in order to be merciful; he is both merciful and just in all he does.
Another lesson this chapter teaches us about this covenant is that it is grounded in the faithfulness of God. The ground of our hope is not our faithfulness to God, but rather his faithfulness to his own promises. Verse 2, "For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever; THY FAITHFULNESS shalt thou establish in the very heavens.' As faithless and unbelieving as most of us sometimes are (in spite of our best efforts to the contrary), if our salvation was based on our faithfulness, we would ever one be lost world without end. That person who is looking to his own
faithfulness to God as the ground of his hope of heaven, and has lost sight of God's faithfulness to promises has made a very poor trade.
It is amazing how simple the Bible becomes, when we just let it say what it says, without trying to read into something that is not there. Most of the problems studying the Bible are caused when people bring their own preconceived notions to the Bible, and try to make it say what they want it to say. Then the Bible does really become mysterious; it just will not say what men want it say.
It is very encouraging that the most effective of methods of Bible study is also the easiest and most nature of all methods. If the humble, faithful, prayerful child of God would study and benefit from his Bible, let him simply read the Bible, and believe it for what it says. Let him lay aside his own agenda; let him forget his own notions and prejudices, and accept God at his word. "Yea, let God be true, but every man a liar," Rom. 3:4.
Then it is amazing how simple the Bible become Habakkuk said, "Write the vision, and MAKE IT PLAIN upon tables, that he may run that readeth," Hab. 2:2. This book is as plain as it needs to be. The problem is not nearly so much that people cannot understand the Bible, as it is that they will not believe what they read. Isaiah said, "And a highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those; the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein," Isa. 35:8. Any humble, faithful, prayerful
child of God can study it and understand it, if he will just let it say what it says. There will always be mysteries the Bible that he will never entirely unravel, but he will be able to understand enough of it to satisfy his spiritual need.