Wretched Silver

“Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the water; and he who [has] no silver, come buy grain and eat. Yes, come buy grain, wine and milk without silver and with no price” (Isaiah 55:1).

Isaiah 55:1 says “WITHOUT silver and with NO price.”  Stephen Charnock says WITH wretched silver and WITH pernicious price.

“If a king proclaim a pardon to a company of rebels, upon the condition of each of them paying such a sum of money; their estates before were capable of satisfying the condition, but their rebellion hath reduced them to an indigent condition; the proclamation itself is an act of grace, the condition required is not impossible in itself; the prince, out of a tenderness to some, sends them that sum of money he hath by his proclamation obliged them to pay, and thereby enabled them to answer the condition he requires; the first he doth by a sovereign authority, the second he doth by a sovereign bounty. He was obliged to neither of them; punishment was a debt due to all of them; if he would remit it upon condition, he did relax his sovereign right; and if he would by his largess [or “abundance”–CD] make any of them capable to fulfil [sic] the condition, by sending them presently a sufficient sum to pay the fine, he acted as proprietor of his own goods, to dispose of them in such a quantity to those to whom he was not obliged to bestow a mite” (Stephen Charnock, Existence and Attributes of God; underlining mine).

What a stark contrast between these types of currency — Charnock’s is crooked and conditional; Isaiah’s is condition-less and free.  Charnock’s wretched silver finds its (alleged) source in a “sovereign bounty.”  Isaiah’s is bestowed FREELY.

Isaiah 55:1’s “condition-LESS” means that — unlike Charnock’s — it is NOT conditioned on the sinner, but conditioned SOLELY on atoning blood and imputed righteousness of the Messiah.

If a sinner thinks that it is his faith that makes the difference between salvation and damnation, then he is coming with his own wretched silver! He is trying to buy the grain, wine, and milk with his own wretched silver — his own efforts — and God will have none of it!  Charnock further compounds this self-righteousness by saying that God “out of a tenderness to some, sends them that” wretched silver in order to pay the debt to His law and justice. Charnock blasphemes God by saying that He gives certain sinners the wretched money and pernicious price to buy the grain, wine, and milk with!  Repugnant indeed!

This is YET ANOTHER case of Reformed persons (or Calvinists) being deadly ignorant of God’s PENAL and PRECEPTIVE requirements to His holy law and justice.  Faith is NOT the condition, for it is an immediate and inevitable FRUIT.  Christ ALONE met ALL the conditions since He is the end of law for righteousness, as Romans 10:4 says.

“For Christ [is] the end of Law for righteousness to everyone that believes” (Romans 10:4).

This verse means that righteousness does not come through our own efforts — whether or not “God-enabled” per Charnock’s “free” and bountiful bestowing of wretched silver — but through the righteousness of Christ. The function of God’s Law was to show forth His perfect standard of righteousness so His people would rest in a Substitute who would and did meet that perfect standard of righteousness on their behalf (Galatians 3:24). This righteousness of Christ that is imputed to His people demands their salvation in the same way that Adam’s sin imputed to his posterity demanded their condemnation (Romans 5:18). To believe that Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness is to believe that Christ met and answered all the righteous demands of God’s Law. The demands of God’s Law are twofold: First, death as the wages of sin, the transgression of the Law; second, perfect righteousness as the condition for eternal life (Leviticus 18:5; Romans 10:5).

In other words, to believe that Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness is to believe that His blood and righteousness met in full the demands of God’s holy Law (death for sin) and fulfilled the condition of perfect obedience for eternal life. Christ, therefore, secured and demanded the salvation of all whom He represented in His life, death, and resurrection. Thus, all for whom Jesus Christ lived, died, and rose again will go to heaven (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10), and all for whom Jesus Christ did not live, die, and rise again will go to hell (2 Corinthians 2:15-16). Those who believe that Christ is the end of Law for righteousness believe that His righteousness is what makes the difference between eternal life and eternal death; between salvation and damnation.

The short of it is that Charnock is ignorant of righteousness of God and is thus necessarily seeking to establish his own righteousness (Romans 10:1-4) — which “sum of righteousness” he says is provided by God to pay a debt.  Charnock being ignorant of the law’s demands and Christ’s SOLE fulfillment of these demands, he has therefore made himself a debtor to fulfill all the law (Galatians 5:3).