God Takes Salvation Into His Own Hands

Come, you multitude of impenitent men, and contemplate the only chance which remains for your salvation.

God has taken the work of delivering his people into his own hands, is the only foundation of human hope. This doctrine of divine agency and human dependence, though it is opposed by all that is proud in man, by all his love of independence, by all his hatred of divine government, is yet one of the sweetest doctrines of the Christian system. While the world complain that their salvation is dependent on the will of God, they may be very sincere, but really they know not what they do; for they murmur against that which is the only foundation of human hope.

 

The following, with minor alterations, is taken from Vol. 2 of Sermons by the late Edward Griffin (1770-1837), 1839. These volumes contain an excellent memoir by William B. Sprague.

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According to the plan of grace revealed in the Gospel, God has taken the work of salvation into his own hands. The great design originated in the mind of God. In the ages of eternity it arose out of his own self-moving goodness, without the counsel of any creature — without the intercession of any creature — without respect to the merits of any creature. It was his own purpose — his own favourite choice — induced by nothing but a regard to his own glory and compassion for a ruined world. Having conceived the design, it was he that prepared the means of its execution. He organized the whole plan without the counselor solicitation of any creature. Eternal ages before creatures had existence, the covenant of redemption between the sacred Persons was formed, in which every circumstance relating to the salvation of the world was settled. From the resources which were found in the ever-blessed Trinity, the means of atonement and redemption were derived. The second Person stood forth and offered himself to die in a human form to expiate human guilt. The offer was accepted, and in return a numerous seed were promised him, whose names were ‘written in the book of life.’ The plan of redemption thus settled, these lower worlds were formed. Man was placed on the earth. He fell. Immediately an intimation of the great purpose was made to him. The design was still further disclosed during the lapse of following ages. It was known on earth that God would redeem his people; but so far from man’s being consulted in regard to this design, he knew not the means nor the manner of its accomplishment. In the fulness of time the Son of God appeared on earth ‘to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself’; and by once offering himself ‘to bear the sins of many’, he brought in ‘everlasting righteousness’ and ‘perfected forever them that are sanctified’. He arose from the dead for their justification, and in his own release from the sins he had borne, received the seal of their acquittal and salvation.

All this was done by God, independently of creatures. And now the charge of applying to the promised seed the benefits of redemption, was committed to Christ, who, with the consent of the Father, sent out the Holy Spirit to bring invitations to a universal world, and to subdue as many as the Father had given him. The work of enlightening the world by the preaching of the gospel, was taken into the hands of the blessed Trinity, who employed in the work such human instruments as wisdom saw fit; but it was God and not man who undertook to provide that the gospel should be preached to every nation under heaven. It was the blessed Trinity who created the Christian Church, and undertook the charge of it, and settled the point that it should be supported and enlarged, until its overflowing glory should fill the world. The management of the Church and all her interests — her preservation, advancement, and final triumph — the whole has God himself provided for without the counsel of creatures. His purpose is fixed and will not change. She shall live; she shall be enlarged; the gates of hell shall not prevail; her overflowing glory shall fill the earth as the waters fill the sea. In like manner God has taken into his own hands the salvation of every individual of his elect. It belongs to him to awaken the conscience, which never would be done if not done by him.

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