GRACE TRUTH MINISTRIES
We are a ministry declaring God's Grace in Truth.





COVENANT SALVATION

by B. A. RAMSBOTTOM

Sermon preached at Bethel Chapel, Luton on Thursday, February 4th, 1988

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me. 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 every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:37-40)

The speaker is the Lord Jesus, He who spake as never man spake. And here the subject is salvation. O what a sacred revelation there is here of the glories and the divine certainties of salvation, which is entirely of grace! And beloved friends, this is the only salvation which will suit you if you realize something of your lost condition. No other salvation will do.

"No news can suit a ruined race,
But sovereign, free, eternal grace;
No other gospel can impart
Joy, peace and comfort to the heart."

You will want a salvation in which the Lord does everything. You will want a salvation which is certain and sure. You will want a salvation which the Lord begins, carries on and completes. O the divine realities, the divine certainties that are here! Don't you find a sweet attraction to your soul? Don't you find these to be soul-establishing truths?

The Lord Jesus embraces both eternities (so to speak.) He looks right back to eternity past and right forward to eternity to come, and there He speaks to His beloved people, saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation. And some of you tonight say, "O that I knew that I were one of them!" Well, I do not think any scripture rises higher than this and I do not think any scripture comes lower, because it embraces both the eternities, and then it comes right down to that poor, lost, trembling sinner venturing on Christ and embraces him in the arms of this everlasting salvation.

"All that the Father giveth Me." This is an expression that the Lord Jesus uses. He uses it several times in this chapter. He uses it especially in that wonderful prayer in John 17. He speaks of some mysterious transactions in a past eternity when a number that no man can number, all ruined and lost and guilty through the Fall, were given into His hands. So here we have that wonderful covenant ordered in all things and sure, the eternal covenant of grace. There was a time when covenant realities, covenant truth and covenant salvation were the glory of England's pulpits--not so much so today. It would be a wonderful thing if we as a congregation were well established in the truths of the everlasting covenant, and if we knew the difference between the two covenants--one of works, which can only condemn, and one which is of grace from first to last; and not only knew the difference between the two covenants in the doctrine, but knew them both written upon our hearts.

"All that the Father giveth Me." The Lord Jesus here very clearly reveals the origin of salvation, a people eternally chosen, a people viewed as ruined in the Fall, yet loved with an everlasting love, a people predestinated to eternal life and salvation, and so a people given into the hands of the Lord Jesus. And He willingly received that gift, though knowing it would cost Him His life.

"All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me." They were given into the hands of the Lord Jesus as their Surety. What is a Surety? A person who makes himself completely responsible for another. All the responsibility of salvation was laid on Christ as the Surety in this covenant. He undertook to lay down His life and shed His precious blood to redeem them all, to save them by His grace, to seek them out as poor, lost, wandering sheep, to keep them and then to bring them safely to heaven at last. "All that the Father giveth Me." So in a past eternity they were all as safe, eternally secure, bound up in the bundle of life, as they shall be when at last they are landed safe in heaven. O the wonders, the blessedness of this people standing in eternal union with Christ! O their eternal happiness, their glory, as even from everlasting in Christ they stand having neither spot, nor wrinkle, nor any such thing! A blessed people, the only blessed people. "Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord?"

"All that the Father giveth Me." If you will, here you have the eternal decrees, the eternal counsels of God in election and in predestination, in the covenant of grace. "All that the Father giveth Me." You say, "This is high ground." Well, the Lord Jesus then brings it down and He could not bring it any lower. He brings it right down to a poor sinner feeling his lost condition, venturing on Christ for salvation, and He says, "This is the effect of that eternal covenant: 'All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me.' Each one of them, they shall all be gathered out. They shall all be taught their need. They shall all be brought to repentance. They shall all confess their sin, and they shall all effectually be brought to the Saviour's feet. 'All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me.'" The Lord does not try to save; He does not propose salvation. "Shall come." Some of you know Joseph Iron's hymn on shall come. He personifies it, how he was wandering on in the ways of sin and "shall come stopped his feet," and how he felt his unworthiness to come to the mercy seat, to the feet of Jesus, but shall come brought him. It is not exaggerated language. There is no uncertainty. These are eternal promises that can never falter, never fail. "Firmer than heaven His covenant stands."

"All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me." I understand that in the original this word all is really as if we should say, "the whole lot." There will not be one left out. There will not be one left behind. "The whole lot that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me." So you see, beloved friends, election is most clearly, most certainly taught in Scripture, but it is never taught nakedly. There are two things that God has joined together and they must never be separated. One is election; the other is calling. "All that the Father giveth Me"--that is election--shall come to me"--that is calling.

"There is a period known to God
When all His sheep, redeemed by blood,
Shall leave the hateful ways of sin,
Turn to the fold, and enter in."

"All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me." Now election is known by calling. All the given ones are coming ones, and all the coming ones are given ones. It means this: that is you were given to Christ in the covenant of grace in eternity, then by grace you will be brought to Christ in time. And if in time by grace you are brought to Christ, it means that you were given to Him in eternity. It is the identical people here.

"All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me." So the great point is this: are you and I these coming sinners? Of course, it is a spiritual coming. Many come to chapel who never come to Christ. It is coming to Christ in prayer. That is the mark of being among the given ones. Why, it was the mark that was given to Ananias. He was concerned about Paul. He said that they knew of this man, what havoc he had wrought. The Lord said, "He is a chosen vessel unto Me." Yes, Lord, but what is the mark of it? "Behold, he prayeth." God could have said a multitude of things to Ananias. He said, "He is a chosen vessel unto Me." Yes, Lord, but how shall I know this? Where is the mark, the evidence? The Lord could have said, "I cut him down on the road to Damascus. There has never been a sinner brought so low, cut down so suddenly, severely." The Lord could have said any of these things, but He did not. He said, "Go thy way; for, behold, he prayeth."

"All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me." In prayer, praying that the Lord will forgive your sin, praying that He will make you right for eternity, that He will fit you, prepare you, make you meet to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light. "They shall come to Me," praying, "Remember me, O Lord, with the favor that Thou bearest unto Thy people," praying to be blessed, praying to be forgiven, praying to be washed in the precious blood, praying to be sweetly assured of their interest. Now these are the given ones. You view them in eternity, but now you view them in their souls' experience: "They shall come to Me." They shall come to humility, conscious of their own complete unfitness, their own unworthiness, conscious of their sin. They shall come in helplessness, unable to do anything, unable to merit anything. Sometimes they shall come with their hard heart, because they want it made soft. Sometimes they come with a prayerless heart because they want the Lord to teach them to pray. Sometimes they will come with a carnal heart, praying to be set free from it. Sometimes they will come with storms within them and all about them. But "they shall come." What is it?

"For if I stay away, I know
I must for ever die."

That is why they shall come. They shall come to Jesus as their only hope. They shall come by faith. They shall come to fix all their dependence on Him. They shall come empty-handed. "They shall come."

"Nothing in my hand I bring;
Simply to Thy cross I cling."

They shall come to His feet. They will not be able to get low enough. Their cry will be for mercy. Have you a sweet hope that you are amongst these coming sinners, who of necessity have to venture on Christ? "Unto Him shall the gathering of the people be." "And ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel." "They shall come." And their language is something like this, perhaps not the letter of it, but something like this:

"Lo! glad I come; and Thou, blest Lamb,
O take me to Thee as I am;
Nothing but sin I Thee can give;
Nothing but love may I receive."

"They shall come." They shall not just come once. It will be a continual coming. They will have to come day by day and hour by hour and sometimes moment by moment, and they will have to come continually for the same things, because they do not feel to get any better. They will have to come in all their weakness to Him for strength, in all their helplessness to Him for grace, in all their waywardness to Him that they might be kept, in all their sin to be washed in the precious blood, in all their emptiness to that wonderful fullness in Christ. O but they shall come in hope, their only hope this:

"My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness."

Now these are the given ones as they are being brought to Christ--nothing in themselves, everything in the Saviour.

"All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out."--Not now, and not in the great day. The Jews knew this expression, being "cast out." They knew of people being cast out of the synagogue. It was an expression that was well-known to them. The Lord Jesus says, "Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out." You remember how Bunyan speaks of this him who ventures on Christ, and he takes these various hims. He says there have been some poor, wretched hims, some sinful hims, some vile hims. But "him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out."

One of our old members in her early days was in great distress of soul, and the minister preached on this text and the Lord delivered her. It was as simple as this: it was solid ground. She felt she could not deny, she dare not deny, that of necessity she had had to venture on Christ. She could not deny it. Her own conscience bore witness to the many secret errands, the pleas, the cries for mercy. She could not deny that she had had to come and then she saw this: "Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out." The Lord Jesus had said it and His word could be trusted. He is faithful who has promised. So came that sweet hope and that deliverance: as she knew that of necessity she had come, then she would in no wise be cast out. It is as true today as in the day when the Lord Jesus spoke it.

"The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavour to shake,
I'll never, no never, no never forsake."

"All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out." A three-fold cord is not easily broken. There is a three-fold cord here, but you need the Holy Ghost to tie the knot. First of all that witness in your conscience that amidst all your fears and hardheartness and carnality and death, you have ventured on Christ, and then secondly that He is faithful who says, "I will in no wise cast out." And then the Holy Ghost there tying that knot: then though such a sinner, I can never, never be cast out.

"All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out." If it were a matter of merit, then we would, we must be cast out. But it is all of grace, and it is all according to promise.

"Venture on Him, venture wholly,
Let no other trust intrude.
None but Jesus
Can do helpless sinners good."

"All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out." And then, you see, the Lord Jesus Christ goes on and He seals home the certainty of it. He seals home the security of it, both the security of His own promise and the security of these given ones, these coming ones. "For I came down from heaven"--He speaks of the wonders of His incarnation, His matchless condescension. "For I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me"--His eternal Father. This is the outworking, the fulfillment of the covenant of grace. And then you see the revelation of the purpose of His coming, and what the eternal Father's will was, and what the terms of the covenant of grace are.

"This is the Father's will which hath sent Me"--and let us be clear, this is His eternal will that can never be broken. "My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure" (Isa. 46:10)--"This is the Father's will which hath sent Me." Here is the security of these given ones, these coming ones. They are bound up securely in the Father's will. "This is the Father's will which hath sent Me, that of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing." The given ones, the coming ones, they can never be lost.

"Of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing." That great multitude that the everlasting Father gave into the hands of Christ in the covenant of grace, He became Surety for them. That is, He was responsible that He would not lose them, not lose one of them, not lose even the feeblest, not lose even the greatest sinner, but bring them all to glory at last. That was His responsibility. We think of Judah, and Jacob, and Benjamin. Jacob was so loath to entrust his beloved Benjamin to any of his sons. Then Judah said, "I will be surety for him; of my hand shalt thou require him: if I bring him not unto thee, and set him before thee, then let me bear the blame for ever." (Gen. 43:9) "For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah." He is the lion of the tribe of Judah. "Father, I will be surety for him; of my hand shalt thou require him: if I bring him not unto thee, and set him before thee, then let me bear the blame for ever."

"And this is the Father's will which hath sent Me, that of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing." There are really four aspects of this, very beautiful aspects. "Of all those which He hath given Me I should lose nothing." So first of all He must die for them and pay the ransom price, shed His precious blood, atone for all their sin, remove all their guilt so that "Of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing." Their sin, for ever taken away, can never keep them out of heaven.

And then secondly He must seek them out and find them and save them by His grace. And that work has been going on right down the ages. Some of them seemed an impossibility. One of these given ones was called Manasseh. There never was such a wicked man in all the Old Testament. He made the streets of Jerusalem run with blood. We are accustomed to that expression. You think of these dreadful massacres that have taken place and filled our country with horror, and then think of this man Manasseh, worse than this. "Of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing." So the time comes when the Lord lays His hand on this vilest of sinners and he trembles and confesses his guilt. His heart is made soft. He finds forgiveness.

"That sacred flood, from Jesus' veins,
Was free to take away
Mary's or Manasseh's stains,
Or sins more vile than they."

"Of them which Thou gavest me have I lost none." A dying thief, he was given to Christ in the covenant of grace, and Satan thinks that now he has triumphed, because this one has come right to the last moments of his life, when he is beginning to gasp for breath and his life is ebbing out. They both reviled Him. "Of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing." "And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this Man hath done nothing amiss." (Luke 23:41) And that very day the Lord Jesus took the dying thief to paradise as a trophy of His love and blood. And this work is going on and not one shall be lost who is given to Him, not one shall miscarry.

And then the third thing is that when He has found them out, He keeps them. They are preserved in Jesus.

"They may on the main of temptation be tossed;
Their sorrows may swell as the sea;
But none of the ransomed shall ever be lost;
The righteous shall hold on his way."

"Of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing." It is a miracle if one endures to the end and gets safely to heaven, but Satan has never snatched one from the Saviour's hands and never will. Not one is lost.

"Of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing." And then the fourth and final thing. He shall present them in the great day. O what a day that will be: "Father, behold Me and the children which Thou hast given Me." Not one lost, not one perished in the strife, in the battle. David falling in sin, but he was not lost, and Peter denying with oaths and curses, but he was not lost. Not a sheep missing from His fold, not a jewel from His crown, not one member from His body.

"He will present our souls
Unblemished and complete
Before the glory of His face,
With joys divinely great."

It is a complete salvation for the greatest of sinners.

"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." You and I would have thought it would have said, "should lose none." Why did the Lord Jesus say, "should lose nothing?" Why, because He will not lose their souls and He will not lose their bodies, because their bodies will be laid in the grave, there to be changed back into dust. But there will be a shout on the resurrection morning and the dead in Christ shall rise first. The bodies of the saints are redeemed as well as their souls. "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 every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him"--the identical people, the ones who are given, the ones who come, of necessity venturing, the ones who are in no wise cast out, the ones for whom the Lord Jesus died, the ones He seeks out, the ones He keeps, the ones that He presents. They are the identical people with these who see the Son and believe on Him.

"And this is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him." That does not mean that they see Him with their bodily eyes. There were many in the days of His flesh who saw Him with their bodily eyes and they perished. They saw no beauty in Him that they should desire Him. These see Him in His holy Word; they see Him in the preaching of the gospel; they see Him in His beauty. They are attracted towards Him. They see Him in His suitability. They see Him in that great work of redemption, laying down His life, shedding His precious blood. They see Him in His promise: "Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out." But there is an effect of it, and the effect is wrought by the Holy Ghost in their heart. As they see Him in His Word and in the gospel, in His beauty, in His redemption, as they see Him in the promise, there is this effect: they believe on Him. What is that? Well, the simplest way I can put it is this. They are brought to this point as they see Him, that they cannot do without Him. They must have Him. They know that otherwise they shall perish, and so the feeling of their souls, if not the very language, is this:

"Other refuge have I none,
Hangs my helpless soul on Thee."

Now beloved friends, that is what it is to see the Son and to believe on Him. And the Lord Jesus said that this is the Father's will that can never be broken, the Father's will which must stand for ever; it is the Father's will that all these who through grace see Him and believe on Him shall have everlasting life. O what blessings here--everlasting life! There is so much in it. There is forgiveness in it. There is cleansing in it. There is justification in it. There is adoption in it. There is security in it. There is heaven in it. In a word Toplady puts it like this. This is eternal life:

"Eternal life, at His request,
To every saint is given;
Safety on earth, and, after death,
The plenitude of heaven."

"And this is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one"--however vile, however ruined, however unworthy--"that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day."




BACK TO MAIN PAGE