Here, then, are six prisoners laboring under the law, and groaning in bondage with no hopes of deliverance. The law knows of no deliverance —no redemption. It simply serves as a school master to teach them the difference between right and wrong—to teach them the will of the king, and thus prepare them to receive a better covenant, which is to be revealed to them by the king’s Son. But under the covenant they now are, they have no motives to prompt them to obedience, but the fear of punishment and the hope of reward. In our next, this will be fully illustrated.
“For what if some did not believe, shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid; yea let God be true, but every man a liar.” Romans iii:3, 4.
We resume the argument, in this discourse, concerning those prisoners brought forward in our last. We left them in bondage under the sentence of the law with no hopes of deliverance. The first year rolls away. The king says, my son, the time has come—go, and reveal my love to the prisoners by bringing the promise of their redemption to light. The son flies on wings of love, enters the prison and exclaims—I bring you good tidings of great joy. My father, the king, is your friend. He loves you; and that love has induced him to proclaim your liberation as a free gift. He has promised (and he cannot lie) that in two years from this day you shall be free. This covenant, so far as concerns its fulfillment, is unconditional. Believe, and you will be saved, by faith in the promise, from your present fears, and condemnation under the law.
Those stubborn prisoners see a sufficiency of evidence to believe the promise. They exercise unshaken faith in this second covenant between the father and son. This faith works by love in their hearts, and purifies them from disobedience. Their souls melt in view of the love and goodness of the king revealed to them by his son. In fine, they love him because he first loved them. They are now saved by faith in his promise from not only all their miseries and sorrows, but from their disobedience, and look forward with joy to the day of redemption. Here we perceive the “righteousness of faith,” which far exceeds the “righteousness of the law.” They now delight to obey the king because they are under the influence of love.
Here let the question be asked—are these three men to be let out of prison at the appointed time because they believe the promise, or love and obey the king? They are not. Their redemption depended on the truth and faithfulness of the king’s promise which he made to his son, and that promise would have been fulfilled, even if it had not been revealed to them till the day of their deliverance. They are not to be set free as a reward for their faith, love and obedience. They have great peace and joy in believing that promise. They