Underneath the Blood Of Christ

Underneath the Blood: The Gospel and the Cross by C. Matthew McMahon
Preached 2023 at Grace Chapel

Listen to the series on the blood of Christ:

Sermon 1: The What and How of the Gospel, OUR GOD REIGNS Through JESUS CHRIST, Romans 10:9-17 (October 8, 2023)
Sermon 2: Christ Knew all the Particular Sins of the Disciples and Still Went to the Cross, Mark 14:30 (October 15, 2023)
Sermon 3: The Covenant of Redemption, I Gave My Back to the Smiters, Isa. 50:6 (October 22, 2023)
Sermon 4: Arise, Shine for Your Light Has Come, Isa. 60:1-3 (October 29, 2023)
Sermon 5: Christ Offered His Sacrifice in the Eternal Spirit, Hebrews 9:13-14 (Nov. 5, 2023)
Sermon 6: Justified by Christ’s Blood, Romans 4:22 (Nov. 12, 2023)
Sermon 7: Adopted as Sons and Daughters of the Father, Titus 3:7 (Nov. 19, 2023)
Sermon 8: He Loved Me, Gal. 2:20 (Nov. 26, 2023)
Sermon 9: And Gave Himself for Me, (Limited Atonement) Gal. 2:20 (Dec. 3, 2023)
Sermon 10: When we behold Him, we are made like Him, 2 Cor. 3:18 (Dec. 10. 2023)
Sermon 11: The Intercession of Christ in Heaven for His Elect, Hebrews 7:25 (Dec. 17, 2023)
Sermon 12: The Happiness of Those Underneath the Blood, Psalm 144:15 (Dec. 24, 2023)


This is the first sermon of the series on the who, what, and how of the Gospel:

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:9-17).

What is the Apostle Paul explaining in this section of Romans? It is an interesting manner in which he sets up these verses. He gives a statement, and then backs up his statement with Scripture. Verses 9–10 are proven by verse 11. Verse 12 is proven by verse 13. 14–15a are proven by 15b. Verse 16a is proven by 16b. And then he renders a verdict and conclusion in verse 17, as it pertains to this section. The prophecies of the Old Testament, foretelling and persuading worship of the Father who is in heaven, is a duty prescribed by way of commentary in the New Testament. The Apostles teach something, proving it out of the Scriptures. It is a very sound practice that preachers ought to consider today. There is a section of Isaiah that the apostle Paul contemplates and explains in Romans 10, as it pertains to both Isaiah 52 and Isaiah 53, as a transition of sorts from his teaching of the state of mankind and salvation as he lays out the first 9 chapters of Romans. It is foretold by the prophet Isaiah that the time of the Gospel reaches its zenith when the feet of the messenger of glad tidings shall be considered beautiful, who will proclaim wonderful tidings of joy to the people of Zion. This, Paul explains of the times of the how of the Gospel (Romans 10:14). It is foretold in many places, but Isaiah is fitting to be used in its extensive explanation of the coming servant of the Father who covenantally saves his people and is proclaimed in the how of the what. The how of the Gospel is now overlaid clearly on the what of the Gospel; it may be that you are confused and didn’t know there were parts to this Gospel and such. When people hear this Gospel, they will “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord all ye Lands. Come before his presence with singing” (Psalm 100:1-2). All you lands, implies the nations of the Gentiles, as well as of the Jews, which pertains mainly to the times of the New Testament, so that now all peoples are exhorted to sing before the presence of God, with a loud noise or voice.

The Apostle John makes use of this Scripture in explaining the hardness of unbelief, “But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him” (John 12:37-41).

Isaiah saw Christ seated upon the ark of his covenant, set between the cherubim, surrounded by holy angels incessantly deeming him holy, holy, holy. In contrast to the ceaseless and persistent angelic proclamation was the hardness of heart of the people in Jesus’ day that did not listen to the Christ, nor his disciples, and such, because their hearts were hard. To whom is the arm of the Lord revealed, and to whom does the Lord revealed it, is the explanation of the first 9 chapters of Romans. God saves people by reversing the fall in them. His arm is strong to do it. He is able to save, to the uttermost, those who look to him, to be saved. The Apostle Paul in expounding how Christians are made, has already explained how calling works, how regeneration works, how justification is accomplished, and how all these things coalesce together to make Christian people by the power of the Spirit applying the work of Jesus Christ in fulfillment of the Covenant of Grace set down by the decree and counsel of the Father.

In setting down all these parts, there is often a summary of what he explains in pointing people to the how of the Gospel. When people understand what is revealed to them by the Spirit, Paul often summarizes it in terms of the practical application of the works of Christ for the believer. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Rom. 10:9). To believers, to those converted, if one confesses what is in the heart, they shall be saved; an outward expression of an inward change. They shall continue to be saved, and continue to believe what God has done for them. “For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed” (Rom. 10:11). Many of the Jews, with their hard hearts, did not believe, and yet, they were given the oracles of God, had the very scroll of Isaiah in their hand, and yet, a great portion of them rejected, and killed the Messiah, and they missed the Messiah altogether.

There is a great need for the preaching of the word, God’s means to bring the report of his work to bear throughout the nations so that they may worship him who reverses the fall in men. The Father has planned from before the foundation of the world to take Abrams and make them Abrahams through his redeeming hand. Or said this way, He can take liars and make them saints. He can take Jews and Gentiles and make them of one accord, with one mind and one heart and one purpose. As it pertains to everything that Paul said so far in the first 9 chapters, to what he is explaining here in Romans 10, it surrounds the Gospel. And he adds to the Gospel, the cross and resurrection as the how. This may be a very strange idea, that one would add the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ to the Gospel to complete the Gospel. One would think Jesus Christ in his death and resurrection is the Gospel. But rather, it is the completion of the Gospel. It is the jewel in the crown of the Gospel of the Father. Christ’s covenantal work is the crown jewel in the work of the Father to reverse the fall in his power and dominion as the reigning King.

So, Paul quotes Scripture to prove out his point, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good” (Rom. 10:15). It is interesting that Paul, instead of quoting further, expects the reader to finish the thought, as he then says, “But they have not all obeyed the gospel” (Rom. 10:16). As if they were to know what he meant by Gospel.

You know he does not quote nor explain the word Gospel until now; and instead only alludes to it and places the word only in it context of the Old Testament which he is teaching and quoting. Paul said he was “…separated unto the gospel of God, (which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)” (Rom. 1:1-2). The context of the Gospel is the Old Testament. What is this Old Testament Gospel? He says in verse 9, “whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son” (Rom. 1:9). He tells the Romans, “I am ready to preach the gospel to you ” (Rom. 1:15). Why, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ,” (Rom. 1:16). So you have the first 9 chapters of the fall, and the order of salvation set down, so that he might get to the culmination of this beautiful news in Romans 10.

So at this point, the apostle links all that he said before with this chapter in expressing what preachers do in bringing the Gospel, in that they have beautiful feet, with a beautiful message, one “that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, [what will they say – Jesus died on the cross and was raised from the dead], rather, he says, “Thy God reigneth!” (Isa. 52:7). When one takes the covenant work of the Messiah, as the zenith of the Gospel, the crown jewel of God’s covenanting work to save men in reversing the fall, when preachers preach the Gospel they preach, in essence, “Our God reigns.” If that encapsulates what Paul has explained in the first 9 chapters, which it does, the outcome is Isaiah 52:8 the next verse in the prophet, “Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion.”

Sadly, as Paul goes on to explain, that people reject the Gospel, people reject the sovereignty of God, people reject the covenant work of the Father, people reject election, people reject regeneration preceding faith, they are looking for something else to be the Gospel, something far more inclusive and better suited to their sensibilities, and so he says next, “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?” (Isa. 53:1).

  1. The Doctrine from the Text

Doctrine: The crown jewel of the Gospel is the work of the Redeemer. When Christians are plunged beneath the blood of Christ’s covenantal work, they are experiencing a change which enables them to believe the report given by God’s prophets, and see the work of Christ as the finishing and ultimate power of God for salvation in his Kingdom rule and reign. What does the Father reign over and then set his Son over as King? God reigns over everything, absolutely (in an absolute sense). And God reigns over the church, particularly (in a saving sense). Jesus’ message, his Gospel, which Paul longed to preach, were the good tidings, the happy tidings that watchman desire to sing over when they eye it. That the Father, through Jesus Christ, reigns over the fall and can reverse it, and bring many sons and daughters to glory. For fallen men, this is the good news, that our God reigns. That the Father, through the Son, in the power of the Spirit, reigns as King both absolutely as the Royal King over the whole earth, and particularly as Redeemer and Savior of his church. There is a call to the world to believe that God reigns. Most people don’t like that idea, especially many professing Christians; even many Reformed ministers – I had one minister say to me not a month ago, I’ve never heard about this concept, ever. Have they not heard God the King is sovereign? But in this sovereignty, God has explained how men are plunged into death and hell, and must be rescued out of the miry clay by the sovereignty of a God who is able to reach down and do the work needful for mercy to come to pass; to redeem them. There is a great proclamation made by those preachers with beautiful feet, who leap over mountains to bring the preached message of good tidings. It may be helpful to place this preaching and leaping over mountains, and bringing of the Gospel to the people as Isaiah wrote of it, in context, to ask a simple question, “What is the goal and end of preaching the Gospel?” Is it to save sinners? No, that is a happy consequence. Is it to sanctify Christians? No, that is a happy consequence. The goal and end of preaching the good news is to exalt King Jesus and glorify the living Father; the supremacy of God in preaching is the first end. If sinners are saved, and Christians sanctified, these are happy consequences of preaching, what would be called a subordinate end of preaching because the supremacy of God in preaching is found in glorifying King Jesus and exalting God as its main aim. God seeks to communicate himself to his creatures in a certain way. He said, “…therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth” (Ezek. 33:7). God will glorify himself in that communication. “Then shall they know that I am the LORD,” (Ezek. 33:29). It is the same as if he said, they will know I am the sovereign One, with a Gospel of happy tidings, that shows them I have a means and a manner of saving men plunged into darkness. These beautiful feet, these heralds, the goal of preaching, is a declaration, a show, a display of the Father’s glory in Jesus Christ. Shout the Gospel loudly: Thy God reigneth. “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” (Isa. 52:7); this is what Paul is quoting, and teaching.

He is glorified in everything, reigns supreme in all things. The very reason God created the world was for his own glory, and he does all things for his glory. The enthronement of Christ on his seat of mercy, preached, God reigning, is the heart of the salvation message. It is the what of the Gospel. So, to see Christ enthroned, to see the glory of the Father, is the heart-desire of every saint. To see God face to face. “Behold, the LORD our God hath shewed us his glory and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire: we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth,” (Deut. 5:24). Where is the glory of God seen? There at the mercy seat, where the crimson flow streams and pours down upon those that are protected by the mercy seat; which is his throne. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth,” (John 1:14). How does one confess with their mouth, they must have faith, they be saved, and how is one saved, but to believe the Gospel? Where is this Gospel found, but in the rule and reign of God, and how does God do this saving and reversing of the fall, through Christ fulfilling the reign of God in the world, and the reign of God in the hearts of sinners converted by his Gospel. Psalm 29:10 says, “The LORD sat enthroned at the Flood, And the LORD sits as King forever.” Christ sits on his mercy seat and a different flood now covers his people, for they are plunged beneath the blood of his eternal covenant. Psalm 22:3 says, “But You are holy, Enthroned in the praises of Israel.” Isaiah 55:11 says quite emphatically, “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” What is that sovereign thing for which it will not return void? The thing is that God reigns through his Christ. This is what is foremost on the mind of those who experience that shed blood. To bring Christ glory and announce his message of supreme rule as King Jesus and Savior. This is why the Gospel is so happy, and glad, because in opposition to it, the fall is terrible and filled with misery. What a blessed hearing do people who have this report preached to them, sit under.

Paul has already described and explained that the Scriptures distinguish between the effectual call of God through the Gospel and the external call of the Gospel addressed in the Word of God to all to whom that word is made known which hear it or read it. The external call includes a declaration of the plan of salvation and the promise of God to save all who consent to the terms of that plan. Those who believe the report are saved. Those who do not believe are condemned already. It is given, to believe, as a command, or exhortation and invitation to all who believe by faith the mercy proclaimed by the One who sits between the cherubim, exalted at the right hand of the Father, the slain Lamb, who is center stage in the courtroom of heaven. Paul said, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved,” (Rom. 10:13). This external call is universal in the sense that it is addressed to all men indiscriminately to whom the gospel is sent. It is not confined to an age, nation or class of men. Isaiah preached it, it is the Gospel, our God reigns. The external call of the gospel is addressed to all men. God is able ready to save; God is able and ready to reverse the fall through his Son, through his blood. David says in Psalm 86:5, “Thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.” The prophet Isaiah in 55:1 gives the same sentiments when he writes, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money, and without price.” Christ called men indiscriminately, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” (Matt. 11:28). And when one comes, they are coming because they are heavy laden, and burdened by the fall, and they look to the Father through the Son to lift the burden. And once they are saved “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved,” (Romans 10:9). This external call is not inconsistent with the doctrine of predestination since predestination concerns only the purpose of God to render effectual in particular cases the call addressed to all men. The external call is the means by which the Spirit of God will regenerate and change a heart (internal change) through the preaching of the Word of God. Happy tidings that come to the world by the will of the Father in his Gospel that he reigns, and that the crown jewel of that covenantal work in his Son has been completed.

When grace is effectual, efficacious grace, or the effectual call of the Gospel demonstrates the power of the Spirit of God instituting a successful influence on all those who have been given to the Son as his inheritance; his seed. Such grace and work are not hypothetical, but successful to render the subject changed and converted. This work is the exercise of “the mighty power of God,” who speaks change into existence. The reigning power of the Father, reversing the fall, in the work of the Son, applied in the power of the Spirit. The 1647 Westminster Confession says, “All those whom God hath predestinated unto life, and those only, He is pleased, in his appointed and accepted time, effectually to call, by his Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds, spiritually and savingly, to understand the things of God, taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them a heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and by his almighty power determining them to that which is good; and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ; yet so as they come most freely, being made willing by his grace,” (WCF 10:1, Of Effectual Calling). In this way the success of God’s power is seen in the grace which is irresistible and immediate as God intends; are those not happy tidings? Typically, the explanation of this successful call and work upon the soul is taught in the scriptural term regeneration; or born again. Titus 3:5 states, “…Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” Blood Shed from the mercy seat onto those in submission to the King who sits between the cherubim. The New Testament confirms what the Old Testament teaches in that the Father has a kingdom, in this Kingdom there is a king, who sits on a throne and has dominion over all things, can reverse the fall, and will plunge his people underneath the blood to do it in Jesus Christ. “Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest,” (Luke 19:38), speaking of the Christ. The people, “took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord,” (John 12:13). “Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords,” (1 Tim. 6:15). “Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints,” (Rev. 15:3). “…and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings,” (Rev. 17:14). The Father’s holy dominion over rebellious sinners consists in the absolute rule over the whole world, for the good of his people and for the overthrow of any power that opposes his rule, which is the central theme of salvation from a human point of view as it represents good tidings, happy tidings, glad tidings that there is someone who can reverse the fall in fallen people and make all the misery dispelled. Our Father, who is in heaven, who has holiness attached to all his titles, attributes, ordinances, words and works, is King, to whom disciples pray daily before the mercy seat, where King Jesus sits and reigns, where the blood pours down upon them, and they are set square underneath it. The Father sends the Spirit to shine a supernatural and divine light on the Gospel summit and pinnacle of his fall-reversing work, where people are not to disbelieve the report of those who bring the Gospel of peace, peace with the Father through the Son in the power of the Spirit, but they are to sing, wonder at the greatness of the God he worships, clad in radiant light that is brighter than the sun. The proclamation of such good tidings is a proclamation of holiness in the work of the great King in heavenly majesty.

The Father has given all authority to his Son as King in his covenant work. It is because the fall reversing power of the Gospel, Our God reigns, is seen in the way of salvation, in covenant with the Son, and the subsequent power of the Spirit on his people. Christ, then, has an absolute reign as King over the whole earth; his people are found all over the earth. Scripture explicitly declares his divine kingship to be universal. “For the kingdom is the LORD’S: and he is the governor among the nations,” (Psa. 22:28). “…his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation,” (Dan. 4:3). Such is the execution of his eternal purpose, embracing all his works from the beginning, all that was, or is, or ever shall be. In the prophecies of the psalms, of the accession of Christ in completing the revelation of the Father in the Gospel, as he ascends the throne, Christ is praised for his kingship. “For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth,” (Psa. 47:2). “Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting,” (Psa. 93:2). “Say among the heathen that the LORD reigneth,” (Psa. 96:10). Say among the heathen that God reigns? This seems out of place, doesn’t it? Heathen are lost people. Heathen are not the church. However, heathen are to be told that the Father reigns through the covenant work of his Son; they are to be instructed as to the truth of this matter.

They are to be so instructed by the life of Christian believers that they inquire as to what makes them so different. Oh, well, the Christian will say, I’ve been plunged beneath the blood of the cross of Christ and his merciful work. But how did this come to pass, they will ask. Oh, the Christians will say, it is because God reigns. To see such beautiful feet coming to them, leaping over the mountains, and bringing the Gospel in its fullness. Not that Jesus loves them and has a wonderful plan for their life; that is not the message, that is not the good news of the kingdom of Christ’s dominion.

What does it mean that Christ reigns? “The LORD reigneth; let the earth rejoice,” (Psa. 97:1). “The LORD reigneth; let the people tremble: he sitteth between the cherubims; let the earth be moved,” (Psa. 99:1). Let the earth be moved, what an interesting statement, Since Christ is the great King, the stability of the earth depends on him; He can shake the world to demonstrate his power over it if he so wishes (Matt. 24:29). He is the mercy seat, he sits upon the mercy seat and the disciples of Christ who are sovereignly changed by grace are set under the mercy seat to boldly come to the throne of Christ. They are to be moved in the heart, soul, and mind to love the reigning King of all the earth, of all heaven, of the whole universe, who if it pleases him can sovereignty shake the whole globe off its station and cause the world to tremble. The heathen are told all about this because Christians who have been plunged beneath the covenant work of the Messiah, who have been set underneath the blood, dipped in his blood, can’t contain themselves, which is why the prophets say that they worship and sing. Their worship testifies to the power of the king in reversing the fall in them. They know, having been plunged by faith in the blood of the cross, that the Gospel, God reigns, is very good tidings, the best of tidings; happy tidings. They know the Father’s reign and rule over them in his providence. All the temporal affairs of all things are necessarily in subjection to the Great King. God is the King of nations (against rebel heathens) and God is the King of saints, converted sinners plundered and rescued from the kingdom darkness, taking from the darkness of Satan’s kingdom to be plunged in the vat of Christ’s blood, beneath the flow of the blood of the cross. And Christ, as King, who has a sovereign kingdom, who sits on his sovereign throne, who has universal dominion, has a proclamation to make which constitute all these happy tidings. Christ’s reign as King is by covenant. He ministers and rules by covenant. The Father’s reign as King is very particular through his Messiah. What this means is that, it is the Christ as King through his covenant work that sets the crowing jewel in the cross of salvation. Salvation in light of the fall requires Christ to be King over the fall, because without his power to reverse it, there would be no reigning over it. What would he be able to change about the fall, to put to death sin, to put to death the deeds of the sinful man by the Spirit, if he had no power to do so? He is sovereign. This is why Jude states so emphatically that wicked messengers of the devil, are usurpers to the sovereignty of Christ. “…certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Jud. 1:4). That phrase is despotes, or the one who is both sovereign and Lord. They overthrow the Gospel, our God reigns, because they don’t want a reigning Christ, rather, the church at large today wants a cosmic butler to cater to them when they ring the bell. Christ is the church’s all-powerful, true spiritual King (Deut. 33:5; 1 Sam. 12:12; 1 Chron. 17:14; 28:5), able to command the heart in his reign over men’s hearts. This Christ in covenant with the Father works in such a way as to create the redeeming flow of blood that is necessary for the everlasting covenant to be the everlasting covenant. Christ as King desires the sinner’s initial, fundamental and universal repentance, (Ezek. 18:23, 33:11, 18:31-32). He commands it, (Acts 17:30; Mark 1:14-15). He invites to it, (Isa. 1:16, etc., and 55:7; Matt. 3:2; Ezek. 18:23, 31-32; Jer. 3:1). He promises great saving blessings and benefits to the penitent, (Isa. 55:7; Zech. 1:3; Acts 2:38; Hos. 14:1-4; Ezek. 18:21-22; Acts 26:18). He gladly receives sinners, (Luke 15:3ff). The Father then takes these sinners, by the power of the Spirit and plunges them beneath the blood of the covenant; they are covered. Christ’s Kingly dominion over the fall is very good news that men can be saved by the great King. Who shall save them if not he who can? Christ the King shall save them. How shall he save them? By his rule and reign. How is this done? His rule and reign are accomplished and enacted in his work and merit of perfect holiness. And what will he do with them, but set them underneath his blood.

Paul understood that God’s dominion is manifested in his law and in his will. His rule and reign are nothing else but his own will imposed. God told Adam to “not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil,” (Gen. 2:17), which was to be Adam’s assent to God’s asserted dominion over him. God shows himself the King and Lord of man, and that Adam was simply to be a steward of the King, reflecting the King’s laws. God’s kingly dominion is set in his laws, and his majesty is seen in publishing his laws. But Adam fell by not listening and instead desired to take a short cut to holiness. God cursed men and then continued to impose his same law on them.

The Father then sends the Son to reverse the fall for his people. Christ, the Messiah, shows himself as this King who can reverse the law. How can the Father reverse the madness of the curse he enacted on rebellious men? Our God Reigns; He reigns in the kingdom of heaven. His kingdom appears in its covenant as God enthroned absolutely and particularly over his people. How does he do this; through the shedding of his blood. As much as men would like to, they have no ability to save themselves. There is no strength in men to climb out of the hole of the curse; for, the kingdom of man, the kingdom of darkness, is a terrible kingdom, filled with darkness and sin, and to reverse the fall by blood, is found in the happy tidings of sovereignty. It is Christ’s kingly compassion on those he sees as miserable to receive mercy. Christ does not save by any obligation; he is King. He is indebted to no one but the Father by a voluntary covenant, and the Spirit, in fulfilling all that he must as Surety, which he promised to do as the King. The entirety of Romans is built on these words, Our God Reigns, as the happy tidings of the Gospel in which Christ is the crown jewel of the Father’s covenant work. Our God Reigns, and he reigns over the fall by Messiah the Prince; for Christ is the Prince of Peace and Mighty God, and King, and can reverse the fall by power of his blood, this sovereign work of redemption; how will fallen wicked Abrahams be saved and justified? And this Christ, by a kingly command, not only became God with us, but a crucified man, by the will of his Father (Gal. 1:4), “who gave himself for our sins according to the will of God.” The eternal Son, and Mediator of God’s covenant, by divine will, comes to bring the fulness of the Gospel, Our God Reigns. “Lo, I come; I delight to do thy will,” (Heb. 10:7), “Lo, I come to do thy will, O God.” The covenant of Christ to accomplish this work was an act of mercy, founded on the rule and reign of the King on his throne, the mercy seat of the ark.

To say one is underneath the blood, is to say that the Father’s kingly rule and dominion through his Son are seen in reversing the fall in transferring a sinner’s sins onto Christ as they believe by faith in the work of the crucified Messiah; this is the heart of God’s reigning in men; are they not happy tidings? Isa. 53:6 says, “The Lord hath laid upon him the iniquity of us all.” The Apostle says, “He hath made him to be sin for us,” (2 Cor. 5:21). He was made so by the fall reversing power and delight of the King in his sovereign pleasure to make him an offering for the sin of his people. Such a luster of wonder that “God gave him a name above every name” (Phil. 2:9), that name is LORD; and, therefore, he sits upon the throne called, “the throne of his Father,” (Rev. 3:21).

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is filled with salvation’s mysteries. There are many aspects of the Gospel that are often misunderstood. The sovereignty of God. The work of covenant. People often look to the how instead of taking Paul’s whole package, the what, the why the how: the crown of thorns, his pierced hands, the nails, the blood drenched beams of wood, the empty tomb, the Risen Savior, the exalted intercessor at the right hand of the Father, the fruit of the Spirit, the worship of God, all pointing to the fulness of the Gospel and the cross. The Gospel, our God reigns, the cross, the work of the Mediator to complete the covenant. There one will find the glory of God. The Gospel points men to see the infinite worth of King Jesus, the Son of God, the Redeemer of men, and helps them to glorify the Father forever. For it is to this end which they were created—to glorify the Living God and serve him in their service, their worship, their song, their singing, with an eye to his sovereign power, (Rom. 12:2; Eph. 5:10; 1 Peter 2:5). They find in Christ God rescuing them from the curse, setting them under the blood now able to glorify him for all eternity. The Gospel is somewhat simple, but see here, it must have content, and Paul’s content is set squarely in the sovereign work of the Redeemer. The good news is that, in the midst of the fallen world, in the midst of sin and misery, “Our God reigns.” God is able to reverse the fall of Adam. He is able to sovereignly save. How? Through the blood of Jesus Christ. It is no wonder that such a Scripture of the Gospel is so poetic, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” (Isa. 52:7). “And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Rom. 10:15).

Are you not happy that such a message has been brought home to you by the sovereignty of God? Isaiah is not the only one that preached the Gospel in this way in the Old Testament, “Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! ” (Nah. 1:15). “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” (Isa. 52:7). “How beautiful” Paul says, “are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Rom. 10:15). Isaiah’s Gospel is set in God’s sovereignty. Nahum’s Gospel is a repetition of Isaiah’s. It equally is set in God’s sovereign vengeance on all those who will not believe God’s word or report. Yet, still, there are happy tidings brought if one will practically consider God’s word. Paul equally sets the Christian in the midst of being under the sovereignty of God, yet, under the good tiding of peace procured by Christ.

The Gospel is sometimes called the Gospel of the grace of God, (Acts 20:24). because it publishes the rich grace and mercy of the Father in Christ Jesus. It is also called the Gospel of salvation, (Eph. 1:13; Acts 13:26), because it brings to light the way of life and salvation, provided of God for lost, perishing sinners. Likewise, it is called the Gospel of peace, proclaiming peace, made by the peace-speaking blood of Christ, that shed blood which pours forth and flows from the mercy seat of his throne. Such a Gospel, such a word from the Father spreads peace and tranquility into miserable and dejected souls. It produces a peaceable disposition, conducting their feet to walk in the paths of peace, and nurtures the soul for final glory in an eternal state of peace and blessedness!

The Gospel brings glad tidings of good things,—good things done for us; atonement being made for us, our debt of sin fully paid, a righteousness worked by Christ in covenant, pardon and acceptance procured for us who believe him. There are many good things given to us, worked in us by the Spirit, regeneration, faith, hope, love, obedience, every grace habitually to prepare us for heaven; all the good things of providence and grace that are necessary for our present use, during our passage through life, and, in their final work, the good things of heaven, the beatific state! The gospel, therefore, is a discovery of all good things from the sovereignty of the Father, who was not obliged, but by love set Christ in covenant for his people. Such infinite blessedness which is beyond what the tongues of angels and of men can express, or the powers of the human mind can conceive! This is why the apostle takes such a long time to gather all these thoughts together to then simple say, after all these things are explained, that the Gospel is beautiful in Christ. That pure revelation from the Father, entirely unknown and imperceivable by the light of nature, to be believed by the hearer when the preacher brings such happy tiding to them. The revelation of this Gospel has been progressive in every age. The first dawning of the Gospel, consequently the first solid ground of hope, appeared to Adam, in the promise that was made of the seed of the woman who was to bruise the serpent’s head, (Gen. 3:15). Here the eternal counsels of the grace of God began to unfold in God’s sovereign work to reverse the fall! In the promise made to Abraham, which was afterwards renewed to Isaac and to Jacob, the same Gospel of grace breaks forth with clearer light. What had before been spoken, in more general terms, of the seed of the woman, is now said, in a more particular manner, of the seed of Abraham, (Gen. 22:18). To Jacob, the very time of accomplishing the promise was pointed out, (Gen. 49:10). Moses speaks of the promise that would be more manifest, (Deut. 17:15), a king God will choose, he says. In the prophets, who were much further advanced in the progression of such promises, approaching to the fulness of time, quickening the coming of the Messiah, you have his mother mentioned in Isaiah 7:5, the place of his birth in Micah 5:2, and his work as Mediator, in so many places. When the Gospel of God was first given, he was to be pursued among all the human race in Genesis, afterwards we are directed to the particular seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; of Jacob’s numerous sons the tribe of Judah; of the tribe of Judah the family of Jesse; and of Jesse’s sons the house of David. Such promises and prophesies become brighter and brighter, until at last they shone more clear in their full actions in the prophecies of Isaiah in good tiding and happy tidings, and the Gospel of Peace, of which Nahum mentions, and Paul explains. This is when the sun of righteousness rose, dispelling darkness, and spreading the light of the gospel-day. The application of the Gospel, under the influence of the sovereignty of the Father and the Spirit of God, in the work of conviction and conversion, is absolutely necessary, in order for you to receive sensible benefit from it. It may be tedious for you to hear the word sensible so often. Its sensibleness, in both respects, to understand it aright and to experience it; sensible. In this precious work of grace on the heart, the law, and the gospel, as means, go hand in hand, and are often mentioned in the same verse. By the law is the knowledge of sin, by the other you discover deliverance through the blood of Christ. The one works despair because it requires perfection, the other emboldens faith and hope under the crown of the mercy seat. What will you sense of this crimson flow from the cross, where sins are double dyed – one scarlet in sin and the other dyed by the blood of the Savior? This glorious Gospel, being the work of the sovereign grace and mercy of Christ the King, that the plan of redemption was determined, published, and applied to the elect, with all its saving benefits. Will you say that it is a glorious and blessed Gospel! The

 sovereign grace and mercy of God, in and through a precious Redeemer! Paul echoes this sentiment in Romans 9 in jubilation.

Will you say that Jesus Christ is a good Savior, and brings good tidings, the best tidings that ever were reported to the world? And when Christ ascended into heaven, he commissioned his ministers to preach and publish the same tidings. So we come to poor sinners saying, tidings to you poor perishing sinners, tidings, tidings from God, tidings from heaven. What are they? they are glad tidings? Poor sinners think, may poor sinners expect any glad tidings? Tell us, oh tell us, what are these tidings that you bring? What are they? The tidings are that Christ is a Savior for lost sinners, for the Father has sent his King to reverse the fall, and snatch you from despair, and deliver you from sin and guilt and shame and cover you under the blood of the everlasting covenant. Christ may be to you a Physician for you as a wounded sinner. He is Pardon for the guilty sinner. He is Peace for the troubled sinner. He is abundant Life to the condemned sinner. He is Heaven for the Hell-deserving sinner. These, these are tidings that are brought to you! Oh, the prophet says, how beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of Peace, and bring glad tidings of good things, Oh, the apostle says, Rom. 10:15, I speak these same tidings to all who believe our report. But do you bring these tidings to great sinners of a who have sins like scarlet? Yes, if you repent, and turn to God, and receive of Christ upon the Father’s Gospel terms, him being your near Kinsman and Redeemer, here are tidings that are happy tidings. But what if we are likened to Isaiah’s people who did not believe their report? Has Christ brought any sad and heavy tidings for those people? Yes truly, Mark 16:16, “He that believeth not shall be damned.” What heavy tidings will it be to those who refuse the blood that pours down from the crown of the mercy seat. Christ will then tell them at their death, now your souls are forever lost, and the Father and I are forever lost to you, and you will have no happy tidings, and heaven’s happiness is forever lost. In a word, Christ came principally to preach good tidings to poor sinners; but yet he brings also terrible tidings to the impenitent and unbelieving.

When man by sin had broken covenant with God, he broke the peace with God, and all mankind died in Adam. They were broken for sin; but Christ was sent to bind up the broken, and he does so by plunging them deep below the blood of the cross. Christ alone can set and bind and give you ease. When your sorrowing and repenting heart is broken because you have broken the commands of God, he is well-pleased with you in your brokenness, Psalm 51:17, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God thou will not despise.”

Publishing, declaring, and making this wonderful report known, these happy tidings, is a proclamation of true liberty to captives. The gospel is good news, glad tidings. It is that most interesting part of sacred Scripture which is, by inspired writers, called the truth. Such a publication by the prophets and preachers of the Gospel, is called, preaching, or proclaiming the covenant of the Father in Jesus Christ. All which unite in the general idea of being set underneath the blood as joyful news.

The blood of the cross is established by the irrevocable death and blood of Jesus Christ in covenant. Promised by the Father to be Mediator for his people. He is the surety. He is the One fulfilling all things necessary to satisfy the wrath of God against sin. In the Old Testament, bulls and goats were given, but in the New Testament the blood of Christ was given. The death of Christ, the blood of Christ, the sacrifice of Christ this covenant consecrated and established, Heb. 9:12, 14-17, 23. Nothing but the blood of God could take away sins, and Christ, being God in the flesh, with infinite power, and an infinite satisfaction, established salvation for his people by covering them with his blood, placing them under the blood of the cross and establishing the completion of the Gospel.

Christ died, shed his blood, and offered up himself without spot to God by the eternal Spirit, as the Testator of the New Covenant for you as a believer. He seals up his people both with a promise, and with his blood. Such is established by his death, blood and sacrifice and in no other way could it have been possible, only through his blood, with his blood, by his blood, has he alone fully satisfied the wrath of God on behalf of believing sinners. He is your sacrifice. He is your Propitiation. You are reconciled to the Father, by way of his bloody merit, so that believing sinners are now brought to God by blood, to have peace with God. He has by his work and merit completely canceled your debt as a believer. He has utterly and completely satisfied Father’s justice and his commandments to the uttermost for you. Having bought you by his blood, and established such a covenant between you and the Father, and made peace, by his death he confirmed himself as your Testator, and now there is nothing else to do but intercede for you as High Priest for all of you that have come to the Father by faith.

In this, Christ has and continues forever to uphold his words on the cross, “It is finished.” He has completely and utterly conquered the fall, reversed the fall for you, his people; he defeated sin, Satan, death, the curse, all the blessings he has procured, he bestows on you because of this blood. Redemption, reconciliation, justification, adoption, sanctification, glorification are all the “things” given to you as a result of his blood and his everlasting covenant.

This work he has done cannot fail because the blood of Christ cannot fail, because Christ cannot fail, because Christ is King, and he is the sinless Christ who can never fail, who is the God of peace who has plunged you beneath the blood of his cross. Joseph had a coat of many colors, and was glorious as a gift, yet, when his brothers sold Joseph, and used the blood of the flock to cover the coat in stained blood, it was abhorrent. It was a sign of death. The coat was no longer beautiful. Take that same coat and plunge it beneath the blood of Jesus Christ, and the coat is far more glorious than when it was merely man made. It turns to be a coat that is crimson velvet, seemed with the righteousness of the branch, in rich embroidery of gold in its holiness, set under the work of the Surety. For sins of the deepest red this blood dye eradicates it. Let his crimson blood wash away your scarlet sins. That though your sins are of a scarlet color, yet Christ’s blood can cleanse you thoroughly. Those that are of a scarlet tint, Christ can wash them out in his blood. What is it then that you will stand on? Is it the greatness of all your offenses before him? Christ pardons great sins. Under this cross, in this sacred fountain Christ has bathed your scarlet sins and cankerous sores until you have become whiter than wool, or the newly driven snow. He has made you fair, whom he found foul, that he might present you to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing. But that his blood would make you holy and without blemish.

What happy tidings this report is, that is brought over the mountains by ministers leaping in haste to bring you such good news, that the crown jewel of the Gospel of the Father is the work of the Redeemer in the cross of Christ who has completed all things in covenant for his glory and your benefit – next time we will consider Christ going to the cross for your sins in particular.


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