“Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow” – 2 Sam. 23:5.
“Now these be the last words of David, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, (who) said, the Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.” So these dying words were inspired. All his salvation was in the covenant that the Lord had made with him, and he desired nothing more than what God had made sure to him in this covenant. The covenant contained several wonderful properties: it was everlasting; it was ordered in all things; it was sure, and all salvation was in it. So it did not grow either larger or smaller; that is, it changed not, but stood fast. “My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him,” said God to the Son of David. “My covenant was with him of life and peace. “I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, thy seed will I establish forever, and build up thy throne to all generations. “I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. “It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel; I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayst be my salvation unto the end of the earth.” To the people of the covenant he says, “My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.” In all these excellent things is Jesus the mediator of the New Testament, the better covenant, “the sure mercies of David.”
Now God made this everlasting covenant with David, not only as representing Jesus, but also as representing every one of his covenant people, both Jews and Gentiles, and God makes this covenant with every one of them, and in it is all their salvation. For the Son of David, the Lord of life and Prince of peace, is the Mediator and Surety of the covenant, the everlasting head of all the covenant people, the great Shepherd of the sheep, whom God brought again from the dead through the blood of the everlasting covenant; therefore in him they have eternal redemption and full salvation unto eternal glory, according to the sure provisions of the everlasting covenant. It was because of all this infinite fullness of the covenant that God himself had made with King David that he said when walking through the valley of the shadow of death, “this is all my salvation.” He neither knew nor desired any other salvation. There was not the smallest condition in the covenant; for his God made it with him, and he made it sure, ordered it in all things, and made it everlasting. The covenant embraced Jesus, the Messenger of the covenant, David’s Son and his Lord; therefore it was the covenant of life and peace; yea, it was salvation, and he joyfully said, “This is all my salvation. “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” Blessed assurance! In this his soul found safety and rest. His all was in the covenant. He knew nothing of any other salvation: he desired no other.
Let us now notice the mention of the word “salvation” in some of its many places in the Holy Bible, and we shall see that the word salvations is not in the oracles of God, neither is the term conditional salvation there. The one good reason is, the covenant that God made with David, and with his Son Jesus, had not a creature condition in it, and all salvation was in it; therefore all salvation is unconditional, for it is by the blood of the everlasting covenant.
With Jesus in his arms, Simeon said, “Mine eyes have seen thy salvation. “Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will show to you today.” This was the temporal salvation of the Lord’s people in time, in time of need. “Salvation is of the Lord,” cried Jonah out of the depths of the sea. He meant it in the fullest sense, as David said, “This is all my salvation. “Neither is there salvation in any other,” said Peter when filled with the Holy Spirit. “Sing unto the Lord, bless his name: shew forth his salvation from day to day,” sung the sweet psalmist. Salvation from day to day is in time, yet it is of the Lord. “For today the Lord hath wrought salvation in Israel. “Salvation belongeth unto the Lord: thy blessing is upon thy people,” said David when he fled from Absalom. “Lead me in thy truth, and teach me; for thou art the God of my salvation. “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? “The salvation of the righteous is of the Lord; he is their strength in the time of trouble.” This is salvation in time. All our trouble is in time, not in heaven, and the Lord is both the salvation and strength of his justified people in every time of trouble. “Our God is the God of Salvation; and unto God the Lord belong the issues from death. “But I am poor and sorrowful: let thy salvation, O God, set me up on high.” This is salvation from poverty and sorrow in time, and it is the cry of every one who is poor in spirit. “My mouth shall shew forth thy righteousness and thy salvation all the day.” So the Lord is our salvation all the day. “Turn us, O God of our salvation.” Shew us thy mercy, O Lord, and grant us thy salvation. “Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land.” This is a blessed assurance of salvation to all them that fear the Lord, and that hope in his mercy. All these inspired words of salvation belong to the dear children of God in time, and they teach us that he is now our salvation.
“The Lord is my strength and song, and is become my salvation. “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation,” sung Isaiah. “In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah: We have a strong city: salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks. “O Lord, be gracious unto us; we have waited for thee: be thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble,” prayed Isaiah. And Jeremiah said, “Truly in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel.” Again: “It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.” Now we know that hoping and waiting belong to time, and it is good that a man should possess these patient graces, until the Lord comes and saves him. This is opposite to the notions of conditional salvations in time. But we have not found any mention of any such salvations which are not of the Lord, but “depend upon ourselves.” Yet let us look further, what the Lord says: “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation,” said Habakkuk in prayer, though famine should rage in the land. “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation” Zed. 9:9.
After the King of glory had thus come, and returned to God in glory, it is said of him, “For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, and thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. “Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it. “The gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation, to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith. “Salvation is come unto the Gentiles. “Behold, now is the day of salvation. “And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.” How carefully do the Scriptures testify that our salvation is of God! and this because it is the truth, and to teach us not to dishonor him by claiming that our salvation in time is of ourselves, which men have ever been prone to do. So, when Paul commended his brethren for their obedience of faith, and exhorted them to continue, saying, “Work out your own salvation with fear, and trembling,” he gave as the effective cause: “for it is God which worketh in you both to Will and to Do of His good pleasure.” Thus clearly he shows that neither the will nor the power to declare and show forth our salvation are of our selves, but of God, who thus worketh in us of his good pleasure, in which he is Sovereign; and so the salvation is of God and is ours, both now and forever. Going on, Paul says, “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.” This proves that our salvation is of God, through our dear Redeemer, that it spans all time and glorifies us in the life of Christ with him, “God has from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth. “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.” This is salvation in this time world, the grace of God brings it to us, and it teaches us thus to live. Could another kind of so-called conditional salvation in time be any better or do any more than this grace of God? Impossible. Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you.” This is all in time to us who now have the faith of Jesus and know the grace of God, and is our salvation.
“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” Salvation is the common inheritance of all the saints in Christ for they are all equally or in common the heirs of salvation, which is the prime meaning of the word “Common”. It is deplorable that this text has been perverted, either wantonly or ignorantly, to try to support an inferior or low sort of salvation, different from the salvation of God by his grace; that is, a conditional sort of salvation, which depends upon puny man. And so a base meaning is tried to be given to the clause, “the common salvation,” as a thing of little value and easy to be had. Well, we must think that a salvation of this sort, which is conditional upon a poor, weak creature, would be very “common” in this bad or vulgar sense of the word. But Jude used the word as showing that all the saints in common are the heirs of this glorious salvation in Christ Jesus. Paul also used the same word, saying, “To Titus, mine own son after the common faith.” Yet he says, just above, “according to the faith of God’s elect.” So the “common” faith does not mean a creature faith, of secondary value, but the blessed gift of God to all his elect in common, “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” If Jude was with us now, he would surely think it was needful to exhort us to earnestly contend for this faith, and for the salvation which is of God and to all them that are preserved in Christ and called.
John beheld a great multitude, which no man could number, “clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. “And I heard a voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.”
Not once in all the Bible is the plural of salvation found, as if there are two kinds of salvation, or salvations many, one of God, the others of men; neither is the word “conditional” found, as telling how salvation is; nor is the term “time salvation” in the Bible; but in all the sacred texts we have the one full, complete word, “SALVATION,” and in all places salvation is clearly shown to be of God and his Christ and grace, from its beginning to its end, and through all time to eternity. Salvation is always from sin and its results; therefore it always embraces sinners, and it is the salvation of the Lord’s people from their sins, by the blood and death and life of Christ. His blood cleanseth us from all sin. Nothing else can save us from any sin. Salvation is always wrought in time, for it begins and ends in us with time. When the last day and hour shall come, the full victory of our salvation shall be complete, and we are sinners and need salvation from our sins, and Jesus only has salvation. “Salvation is of the Lord” He who says otherwise, or that while eternal salvation is of the Lord, salvation in time is conditional and so it is of man, denies the abundant testimony of the Lord. For he has not divided salvation into parts, nor, has he said salvation is partly of the Lord and his grace, and partly of man and his works, or partly unconditional and partly conditional. The gospel of salvation is not a yea, and a nay gospel; but it is ever yea and amen; for it “bringeth salvation”.
Salvation in our text is qualified by a strong adjective or word before it, but it is far from the adjective “conditional;” thus, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered: and being made perfect he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him. “Eternal salvation” is salvation world without end, or unto eternity; the same as “grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” So Jesus said of his sheep, “I give unto them eternal life.” The salvation of the Lord is everlasting or forever; that is, it is not for the present time only, but it endures and abides unto eternity. Through the perfect obedience and everlasting righteousness of Christ, the High Priest of all his people, “he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” This text has been used as proving that our obedience to the Lord is a condition of our salvation here in time; but it proves entirely too much for the notion (it is but a notion) of conditional time salvation; for this text connects “eternal salvation” with our obedience to Christ, and it positively says that he is the Author of this salvation. It cannot be conditional salvation upon our part and our obedience, therefore; for then it would depend upon our obedience, which, at best, is very imperfect, and cannot be the condition of “eternal salvation,” nor of salvation at all. But this text teaches the perfection of Christ in relationship to all his people as their mediator and eternal High Priest unto God, and that they shall all be perfected in his obedience for them, and so, “he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him. “So by the obedience of ONE shall many be made righteous. “Of God are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” This is all we need unto salvation—salvation full and everlasting. “This is all my salvation and all my desire.” It is all in the fullness and perfection of the “everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure.” In this salvation sin is ended, and “Death is swallowed up in victory,” and all the redeemed of the Lord shall be for ever holy and glorious in his salvation.
(Elder) David Bartley
September 1, 1901
THE LONE PILGRIM, SELMA, NC
JULY 1927, Vol. 5, No. 54