Entering the Covenant
by Benjamin Keach
[One of the early Baptists, Benjamin Keach, preached a funeral for a fellow minister on the covenant between God and man, called the Covenant of Grace. Below is an excerpt, with some minor updating.]
2. Let the Fruits of God’s Grace shine forth in your Lives: what shall we render to God for all his Covenant-Blessings? You are bought with a price, and are not your own, therefore glorify God in your Body, and in your Spirit, which is the Lord’s (1 Cor. 1:19-20).
Quest. But I think I hear some poor sinner crying out,“How may I come to be in this Covenant?”
Answ. Soul, it is by your being united to Christ, or by Union with him through the Spirit ‘tis by Faith. O, close with Christ, cry to God for his Spirit, attend to the means of Grace. See if you can find it in your heart to love Christ, to espouse him, enter into a Holy Contract with him; to this end, he sends his Ministers. O, that you did but see the want of him! and behold the Beauty that is in him, he that has the Son, has Life, he is actually in this Covenant. But know this is the Work of Christ; ’tis he must make your heart willing, and dissolve those bonds you have tied with other lovers. You are not first to enter into a Covenant with God, or offer your terms of Gospel-Faith and Holiness, so as on that Condition, to oblige God to enter into a Covenant with you. No, Christ is first given, and then God gives us to him; no, himself with him. Christ’s Love is first set on us, before we can love him, and when we were in our blood (not washed) that was the time of his Love, and then he entered into a Covenant with us, (Ezek. 16). Reverend Mr. Cotton says,
The Lord is the first thing that he gives by his Covenant, and with himself all things else (Rom 8:32). And there is the precedency: Christ is given, and in him all spiritual blessings, (Eph. 1:3). And this for the order of nature in giving in the Covenant: not Obedience first, nor Faith first, nor anything else first, but himself: Donum primum & primarium [First and Supreme/Chief Gift], and in him all his Goodness. (p 14. on the Covenant [p.12]).
Are you weary? Do you thirst? Are you a wretched sinner? Then take Christ, go to him and drink.
You are not, O sinner!, first to wash yourself from your wickedness, and get a clean heart, and then come to the fountain of Christ’s Blood! But as a poor, vile, lost sinner to come unto him: believe in him that justifies the ungodly (Rom. 4:5). Also, ’tis Christ who is your Physician, ’tis he that has undertaken your cure, and must apply the remedy, and none can do it but he. And tho’ you have no money, yet this Physician is to be had, and his medicines too, and all freely, (Isa. 55:1-2).