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Christ, the Captain of our Salvation
By Christmas Evans (1776-1838)
From The Berea Baptist Banner

p. 41
      “And being made perfect, he became the Author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Hebrews 5:9). Words similar to these are recorded in the tenth verse of the second chapter of this epistle: “For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” I will take the word Captain, or rather Prince, from this text, as the antecedent to the pronoun he, in the passage under consideration; not because I am under the necessity of going so far for it, as it may be found in the substantive Son, in the preceding verse, but merely because of the similarity of the two texts. I will divide the passage thus:

      I. shall offer a few remarks on Christ, as the Captain or Prince of Salvation.
     II. The perfection of this Prince as the Author of salvation; and
     III. The characters interested in this salvation: “all them that obey him.”

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      I shall offer a few remarks on Christ as the Prince, Leader or Captain, as the great antitype of Moses, Joshua, Samson and David. The heroic deeds they wrought, and the glory they achieved during their lives, were but a faint resemblance of the glorious actions of Christ, the Captain of our salvation.

      We would notice in the first place, that Christ is a Prince in our nature. The Lord from Heaven is the Second Adam. The human and the divine natures are united in Him. The Word that was in the beginning was made flesh, and dwelt among us, or tabernacled among us, and we beheld His glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. According to the proclamation in Genesis, the Messiah was to be the seed of the woman. He is of the seed of David according to the flesh. In that sense God is nearer to His people than ever He was before. The Lamb’s bride is flesh, and bone of His bone. As the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself took part of the same.

      The Word being united to the nature of man, has restored the human nature to life; and having cast out the prince of this world, He demolished his empire, destroying his works, and evidently proved that the devil had not the least claim to the title of god and prince of this world, in short that he is a notorious liar, a great deceiver, and a vile impostor. On the cross the Captain of our salvation triumphed over the powers and principalities of darkness, and made a shew of them openly, so that the world might know what they are. When Jesus proclaimed aloud on Calvary, “It is finished,” the kingdom of darkness was shaken and the drooping spirits of the church of God were revived. The obedience of Christ to the death of the cross, is the title of His brethren to be kings and priests unto God.

      Three offices meet in the Captain of our salvation. He wears three crowns, of silver, gold and precious jewels on His head. The Branch, at the Rod of the stem of Jesse, shall bear all the glory and He shall sit as a priest upon His throne. The altar was consecrated; the house was purified, on the third day when He arose from the grave. By His blood He has secured liberty to captives and the people of the land are worshipping at the porch of the gate, which He opened by His blood. Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate.

      The Captain of Salvation is that Michael (the power of God,) that great and mighty Prince, who stood so firmly and fearlessly for the children of His people; and the world, death, Hell and the grave are under His feet. The Father proclaimed satisfaction in His sacrifice. As God smelled a sweet savour of rest, in the offering of the body and soul of Jesus once for all, to bear the sins of many as a “sacrifice of rest”; of whom he hath testified, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” And He graciously calls all the human race to come unto Him, and take their rest also in the sacrifice of the Son of Man. To shelter in Him, as the only hiding place from the world, and the only covert from the tempest: who is as rivers of water in a dry place, and as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.

      This is the Prince of Life, that was once dead, but is now alive, and behold He liveth for evermore, and He has the keys of death and of Hell. He carries the keys of these kingdoms with Him. His righteousness, as the High Priest of our Profession, is the key of eternal life.

      II. We would notice “the perfection of the Captain of our Salvation.” “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation for all them that obey him.” It is said that Christ was made perfect through sufferings. It was on the ground of His

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sufferings, death and resurrection, that He was constituted a complete Saviour. The law says, “without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins.” By the sufferings of Christ there was a fountain of blood opened for sin and for uncleanness. In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die, was the threatening. Christ died for our sins, and rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures.

      This perfection implies, in the first place, the incarnation of Christ. The priest must have something to offer as a sacrifice for sin. A body hast thou prepared for me, said He. This is that clean thing that is born of an unclean. Moses saw an emblem of this mystery in the bush that was burning and yet not consumed. Our God is a consuming fire, dwelling in a tabernacle of clay; the human nature, though dead, is not utterly consumed. On the third day the bush might be seen growing as usual, full of blossoms and most delicious fruits. The Son of God took hold on this body that was prepared for Him, as His own property, therefore it is said that He offered His own body and soul, that He shed His own blood, and that He had power to lay down His life, and power to take it up again.

      Such a body the Son of God assumed as became Him, in which He answered the demands of the two stones, or tables of the law, on behalf of His people. The image of God, and all the fruits of righteousness, were found in His human nature. He loved righteousness and hated iniquity. Here the great commandment in the law namely, perfect love to God, appeared as flaming fire through the whole course of His life. The second commandment was also completely fulfilled in His human nature. In the form of a servant He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. In this nature He paid all the demands of the law; a debt which he never contracted Himself; and fulfilled all righteousness. Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law, to do them, is the language of Sinai.

      Behold the human nature united to the person of Emmanuel, hung on the accursed tree, and drinking the full cup of the wrath of God! In Hell every one drinks his own cup, and can never drink it up. On Calvary there was but one drinking the cups of countless millions, and He said, “It is finished”: not a grain of the bitter ingredients was left behind for His people to taste. God is just in the justification of the ungodly, because sin was condemned and punished in the human nature of Christ. Christ was a prophet among His brethren, and taught them the wisdom of God, which was an attribute essential to Him as the God-man. He is an High Priest of the kindred of his brethren, their kinsman, and a partaker of their natures, and yet without sin. Here is a King, the off-spring of David, sitting on the throne of the kingdom of Heaven. The human nature, united to the Divine nature of Christ, is the head of the church. The church is represented as having four faces: the face of a man, of an ox, of a lion, and of an eagle, and the likeness of a man’s hand is under the wings of the four living things.

      The wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption of men, are in the Son of Man. From His fullness they receive every necessary grace. The fullness of God is in Christ, and He has the hand of a man to bestow blessings on us through the Holy Spirit. By virtue of the union of the two natures, in the person of Christ, the human nature received from the divine nature sufficient strength for that work which was far beyond the power of the human nature alone to perform. The glory of Deity often shone forth with splendour through His humanity; and when the divine nature in the person of Christ would manifest itself like flaming fire, the winds and the waves must submit, the dead must hear His voice, and the buyers and sellers, and even the devils must obey. Behold, the men with torches, swords and spears, falling before Him as the flower of the grass; and the boasted strength and courage of corrupted flesh vanishing away before the God of all flesh.

      Christ suffered more of the wrath and displeasure of God, from the sixth to the ninth hour, while on the cross, than all the vessels of wrath can ever suffer. Had it not been for the union of the two natures subsisting in His person, He could not have endured the heavy load. It was the human nature that suffered tortures of body and agony of soul, while the divine nature supported it under those sufferings. It was the human nature that died, and the divine nature gave such infinite virtue and efficacy to the sacrifice, that it was of sweet smelling savour to God. His sweat and tears, his blood and death, are of infinite value. Here God manifests the greatest mercy to poor sinners, the greatest hatred to sin, and the greatest equity to the divine law. The human nature received from the divine nature unspeakable honour and dignity, notwithstanding that Emmanuel died on the ignominious cross, yet the human nature died in union with the divine nature. I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, that was dead and am alive, says the adorable Saviour. The cross of Christ is the subject matter of the adoration and praise of men and angels. “Worthy is the Lamb,” is the chorus in Heaven above, and on the earth beneath. In the death of Christ, the true God answered by fire, and manifested Himself the God of love. The human nature of Christ is the sacrifice that He offered for us, His divine nature is the altar upon which it was offered, which sanctified the gift, and by which offering the justice of God was satisfied and His law honoured and magnified.

      “And being made perfect.” Aaron, in his consecration, was a type of Christ. In the 29th chapter of Exodus, we read of the ram of consecration. The ram of perfection in the original, or full ram, as the word full signified complete, mature, perfect. The two rams that we read of in that chapter, denoted the atonement and the intercession of Christ. Aaron was not to appear before the Lord on behalf of his people, empty handed. Christ, the High Priest of our profession, when He laid down His life for us on Calvary, was bathed in His own blood, and sweat and tears; and by virtue of the same blood and sufferings He entered, with His hands full, into the heavenly sanctuary, to sprinkle the blood on the golden altar of His intercession; and obtained an eternal salvation for all that obey Him.

      III. We would notice the characters interested in this salvation, -- “all that obey him.” As we promised, we shall offer a few remarks on the nature of this salvation. It is a deliverance, not from the hands of Pharaoh through the Red Sea, -- but from the guilt, the power, and pollution of sin. It is spiritual in its nature, wise in its contrivance, beneficent and lasting in its effects: in a word, it is a salvation worthy the majesty, holiness, justice, mercy, and grace of the eternal God. It originated in eternity, and will terminate in eternity: it effectually saves to eternal life. It is a full and free salvation. It saves to the uttermost of those that come to God through Christ. And all that obey Him are interested in it.

      To obey is to submit to a higher authority, -- to do what you are commanded. What is the commandment of God? It is, that you should believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ. What is the commandment of Christ, the Captain of our salvation? Ye believe in God, believe also in me. It is said that Christ is precious to those that believe, and those that do not believe in Him are disobedient. They are all a disaffected, rebellious army, that will not obey the commands of their rightful Captain. He that cometh unto God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of all those who diligently seek Him; and without faith it is impossible to please God. He that receiveth the testimony that the Father hath testified of his Son Jesus Christ, hath set to His seal that God is true; and he that believeth not God, hath made Him a liar.

      You are commanded to behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. How many of you have rendered obedience to this command? The command of your Captain is, to kiss the Son lest He be angry, -- but the disaffected army cry out, away with His commands! We will not have this man to reign over us. Your Captain says, To-day, if you will hear my voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. Incline your ear, and come unto me; hear and your soul shall live. What are you doing, sinners? Are you determined to rebel? Are you fully resolved to go to Hell?

      You may be ready to say that you are reading the book of election, that there you are looking for your names, and your titles to mansions in the sky; and to your great mortification, you behold your names written in the book of damnation, under the article, “He that believeth not is condemned already!!” What is to be done in such a case as that? Obey Him -- be obedient unto Him, lest He will have the sentence of condemnation executed upon you, and send you to Hell. Hear, O sinners! Hear the merciful declarations and gracious invitations of Heaven! Look unto me, all ye ends of the earth, and be saved; for I am God and there is none else; a God ready to pardon. There is forgiveness with Him that he may be feared. Call upon me in the day of trial, and I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me, is the tender and affectionate language of the Captain of your salvation. Send your petitions for pardon on the wings of faith to Heaven, that the sentence of condemnation may be removed; and when you receive the answer, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved. There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus. Thankfully receive the report, and cordially obey the commands. Fly to the city of refuge, under the Divine testimony, on Mount Tabor,

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this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him. Behold a wide door of hope opening for you in the blood of the atonement, that was shed on the cross, and is sufficiently efficacious to purge your consciences from dead works to serve the living God: for the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth from all sin. Are you grieved by reason of your miserable condition as sinners? And do you tremble at the multiplicity of your iniquities, and the enormity of your crimes? Cry aloud with all your hearts, and spare not. God be merciful to me a sinner! And listen, with a believing ear, to the gracious, inviting voice of the Captain of your salvation: Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Say then, O my soul! Who would not obey the blessed Jesus? And

Had I ten thousand hearts, dear Lord,
I’d give them all to thee;
Had I ten thousand tongues, they all
Should join the harmony.

      We have a very extraordinary example of faith and obedience in Abraham. According to the course of nature, there was not the least probability of the fulfillment of the promise. He had nothing but the word of God for it. Though you can find nothing in your feelings and actions that might induce you to hope for salvation, yet you should, like Abraham, obey him. By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac. Did Abraham firmly believe in the promise, that in his only begotten son Isaac his seed should be called? Yes, verily, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Did Abraham rely on the strength of that promise, that God would not permit him to offer up Isaac as a sacrifice? No verily. He was determined to obey God, and leave the result with Him; firmly believing that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; that His seed should be numerous, and that the Messiah should proceed from Isaac.

      Your faith should soar above nature, and lay hold on a supernatural righteousness, that justifies the ungodly, and God will smile upon your souls, calm your troubled minds, and hush to silence the raging storm of a guilty conscience, for the sake of the satisfaction He received in the obedience of Christ as the Surety of His people. This is the true. Urim and Thummin, (light and perfection)—the truth revealed through the twelve stars—the doctrine of the twelve Apostles, that reaches the consciences of men in the sight of God; and answers the important question, “What shall I do to be saved?” Notwithstanding the sea of corruption that I feel within me, this is all my plea, —the blood of Christ is sufficient to cleanse me thoroughly, when it is applied to the heart, by the influence of the Holy Spirit.

      Faith and obedience are inseparably connected together. Abel, by faith, and in obedience to the command of God, offered a more excellent sacrifice than Cain. Notwithstanding the faith of Noah, yet it was in obedience to the command of God that he builded the Ark. Abraham not only believed that God would give to him, and his seed, the land of Canaan, but he went forth at His command, not knowing whither he went. Moses not only believed that God would deliver Israel out of Egypt, but in obedience to His command he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. Many more instances of this kind might be brought forward to corroborate the testimony of John. “And hereby we do know that we love him,” says he, “if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I love him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

      Although we are not justified in the sight of God by our obedience, faith, and love; yet they are so closely connected together with justification, that they cannot be separated. Free pardon through the blood of Christ, felt and experienced by the sinner, and a realizing sense of the love of God shed abroad in the heart, are the man-springs of obedience to all the divine commands. In the Word of God we are taught to live soberly, righteously, and godly, and to abound in good works of benevolence and mercy. To let our light so shine before men, that they may behold our good works, and glorify our Father who is in Heaven.

      The Captain of our salvation commands us, to deny ourselves, take up the cross, and follow Him, through good, and evil report, and He is the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey Him. We must deny ourselves, so as to renounce, willingly, all supposed self-righteousness, and depend entirely on the righteousness of Christ for life and salvation. This is the chief obedience of man to God, and more difficult to perform than any other.

      Sin is a second nature to man, which has vitiated his taste, else he could not relish such a deadly poison; but self-righteousness is natural to man; it was implanted in his constitution in Eden. It was interwoven in his nature, and twisted round about him, like bark to a tree. Therefore to submit to the righteousness of Christ alone must be supernatural. The faith that lays hold on the righteousness and atonement of Christ is supernatural. The work of the Holy Spirit in the sinner’s heart, is a supernatural operation. The light that shines into these dark hearts of ours, is a supernatural light. That is the reason, that any of us have been enabled to pray, that we may be found in Him; clothed in His immaculate righteousness, and washed in His precious blood. This is the greatest honor that ever was conferred on the law; the greatest glory that God ever received from man, and the greatest blessing and favor that man ever received from God.

      This obedience proceeds from the principle of life. And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works. Now therefore yea are no more strangers and foreigners; but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God. There is a living principle implanted in your hearts. It is not a dead, but a living active principle, working the works of God, and rendering obedience to all His commands.

      Again, we may observe that this obedience proceeds from the principle of love. Love is the first moving cause of the machinery of human redemption; and love is the mainspring of all our obedience to the commands of God. We love Him because He first loved us. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but because He first loved us, and sent His Son to be a propitiation for our sins. The love of God being shed abroad in our hearts, constrains us to love God and keep His commandments, and to be obedient unto Him in all things.

      Your obedience should be genuine, not hypocritical: it is the end or design that crowns every action. In all your religious duties, the glory of God, the advancement of His cause and interest in the world, and fellowship and communion with Him, should be your chief aim. Many sons were brought to glory, before the Captain of our salvation was made perfect through sufferings. They were saved through faith in that Saviour which was to come. Christ undertook the cause, became the Surety, and fully completed the glorious work of the redemption of all who obeyed under the law; and all that obey under the gospel. Sinners of all descriptions, nations, and languages are saved by Him.

O Captain of Salvation! Make
Thy power and mercy known;
Till clouds of willing converts come,
And worship at thy throne.


[Via Milburn Cockrell, editor, The Berea Baptist Banner on-line, March 5, 2003, pp. 41, 45-47; from Memoir and Sermons of Christmas Evans of Wales, pp. 299-315, 1840 edition. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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