The Law: The Handmaid of Grace

Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. – Galatians 3:24

Hagar was not intended to be a wife; she never ought to have been anything but a handmaid to Sarah. The law was never intended to save men: it was only designed to be a hand-maid to the covenant of grace. When God delivered the law on Sinai, it was apart from His ideas that any man would ever be saved by it; He never conceived that man would attain perfection thereby. But you know that the law is a wondrous handmaid to grace. Who brought us to the Saviour? Was it not the law thundering in our ears? We should never have come to Christ if the law had not driven us there; we should never have known sin if the law had not revealed it. The law is Sarah’s handmaid to sweep our hearts, and make the dust fly so that we may cry for blood to be sprinkled that the dust may be laid. The law is, so to speak, Jesus Christ’s dog, to go after His sheep, and bring them to the Shepherd; the law is the thunderbolt which affrighteth ungodly men, and maketh them turn from the error of their ways, and seek after God.

What is God’s law now? It is not above a Christian-it is under a Christian. Some men hold God’s law like a rod, in terrorem, over Christians, and say, “If you sin you will be punished with it.” It is not so. The law is under a Christian; it is for him to walk on, to be his guide, his rule, his pattern. “We are not under the law, but under grace.” Law is the road which guides us, not the rod which drives us, nor the spirit which actuates us. The law is good and excellent, if it keeps its place…but when it is set up as mistress, away with her; we will have nought to do with legality.~ C.H. Spurgeon

https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/0069.cfm

The Original Covenant

For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. – Galatians 4:24

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. -Romans 8:29

Before (Abraham) knew anything about Hagar, Sarah was his wife. The covenant of grace was the original covenant after all. There be some bad theologians who teach that God made man upright, and made a covenant with him; that man sinned, and that as a kind of afterthought God made a new covenant with Christ for the salvation of His people. Now, that is a complete mistake. The covenant of grace was made before the covenant of works; for Christ Jesus, before the foundation of the world, did stand as its head and representative; and we are said to be elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus. We, long ere we fell, were loved of God; He did not love us out of pity to us, but He loved His people, considered purely as creatures. He loved them when they became sinners; but when He started with them He considered them as creatures. He allowed them to fall into sin, to show forth the riches of His grace, which existed before their sin. He did not love them and choose them from among the rest, after their fall, but He loved them beyond their sin, and before their sin. He made the covenant of grace before we fell by the covenant of works. If you could go back to eternity, and ask which is the oldest born, you would hear that grace was born before law-that it came into the world long before the law was promulgated. Older even than the fundamental principles which guide our morals is that great fundamental rock of grace, in covenant made of old, long ere seers preached the law, and long ere Sinai smoked. Long before Adam stood in the garden God had ordained His people to eternal life, that they might be saved through Jesus.~ C.H. Spurgeon

https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/0069.cfm

The Two Covenants Compared

…which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar—…but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all. -Galatians 4: 24, 26

The first covenant for which Hagar stands, is the covenant of works, which is this: “There is my law, O man; if thou on thy side wilt engage to keep it, I on my side will engage that thou shalt live by keeping it. If thou wilt promise to obey my commands perfectly, wholly, fully, without a single flaw, I will carry thee to heaven. But mark Me, if thou violatest one command, if thou dost rebel against a single ordinance, I will destroy thee for ever.” …The Sarah covenant is the covenant of grace, not made with God and man, but made with God and Christ Jesus, which covenant is this: “Christ Jesus on His part engages to bear the penalty of all His people’s sins, to die, to pay their debts, to take their iniquities upon His shoulders; and the Father promises on His part that all for whom the Son doth die shall most assuredly be saved; that seeing they have evil hearts, He will put His law in their hearts, that they shall not depart from it, and that seeing they have sins, He will pass (these sins) by and not remember them any more for ever.”…There are no conditions whatever in the covenant of grace, or if there be conditions, the covenant gives them. The covenant gives faith, gives repentance, gives good works, gives salvation, as a purely gratuitous unconditional act; nor does our continuance in that covenant depend in the least degree on ourselves. The covenant was made by God with Christ, signed, sealed, and ratified, in all things ordered well.~ C.H. Spurgeon

https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/0069.cfm

 

Learning the Difference

For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. -Galatians 4:22, 23

There cannot be a greater difference in the world between two things than there is between law and grace. And yet, strange to say, while the things are diametrically opposed and essentially different from each other, the human mind is so depraved, and the intellect, even when blessed by the Spirit, has become so turned aside from right judgment, that one of the most difficult things in the world is to discriminate properly between law and grace. He who knows the difference, and always recollects it-the essential difference between law and grace-has grasped the marrow of divinity. He is not far from understanding the gospel theme in all its ramifications, its outlets, and its branches, who can properly tell the difference between law and grace. There is always in a science some part which is very simple and easy when we have learned it, but which, in the commencement, stands like a high threshold before the porch. Now, the first difficulty in striving to learn the gospel is this. Between law and grace there is a difference plain enough to every Christian, and especially to every enlightened and instructed one; but still, when most enlightened and instructed, there is always a tendency in us to confound the two things. They are as opposite as light and darkness, and can no more agree than fire and water; yet man will be perpetually striving to make a compound of them-often ignorantly, and sometimes willfully. They seek to blend the two, when God has positively put them asunder.~ C.H. Spurgeon

https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/0069.cfm

 

A Mixed Multitude

And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children. And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle. – Exodus 12:37, 38

O ye mixed multitude! ye are the ruin of the churches; ye set us a lusting; the pure Israelite’s blood is tainted by union with you; you sit as God’s people sit, and yet you are not His people; you hear as God’s people hear, and yet you are “in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity.”

My dear hearers, do try yourselves, to see whether you are real Israelites. Oh! could Christ say to you, “Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no guile.” Have you the blood on your door-post? Have you eaten of Jesus? Do you live on Him? Do you have fellowship with Him? Has God the Holy Ghost brought you out of Egypt? or have you come out yourself? Have you found refuge in His dear cross and wounded side? If you have, rejoice, for Pharaoh, himself, cannot bring you back again; but if you have not, I pray my Master to dash your peace into atoms, fair and lovely as it may be; I beseech Him to send the winds of conviction and the floods of His wrath, that your house may fall now, rather than it should stand to your death, and then, in the last solemn hour, the edifice of your own hands should totter. Mixed multitude! hear ye this! ye assembled gatherings of professors! “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your-own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” But if He be not in you, then are ye reprobates still, whom God abhorreth. The Lord bring all His people out of Egypt, and deliver all His children from the house of bondage.~ C.H. Spurgeon

https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/0055.cfm

 

Safely and Securely Delivered

It came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.” -Exodus 12:51

Our dear Arminian friends think that some of the Lord’s people will not come out of Egypt, but will be lost at last. Ah! well, as good Hart says-

“If one poor saint may fall away,
It follows so may all;”

and none of us are safe and secure. Therefore, we do not give way to that. But all the hosts came out of Egypt, every one of them; not a soul was left behind…They all came out, every one of them; there was not one left behind…So beloved, if you are “the meanest lamb in Jesus’ fold,” you are “one in Jesus now;” though you have very little learning, and very little common sense, you will come out of Egypt. If the Lord has put you there in bondage, and you have been made to groan there, He will make you sing by-and-by, when you are redeemed from it. There is no fear of your being left behind; for if you were, Pharoah would say, “He delivered the strong ones, but He was not able to fetch out the weak;” and then there would be laughter in hell against the might and omnipotence of God. They all came out… He hath not only delivered His people, but they have gone out with flying colours, taking their shields with them. Stand and admire and love the Lord, who thus delivers all His people. ~ C.H. Spurgeon

https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/0055.cfm