William Krause

A Complete And Certain Salvation

A Sermon Preached By William Krause At Bethesda Chapel, Dublin

[Arminians and Moderate-Calvinists emphasize the need for preachers to be persuasive and earnest in their sermons, that sinners may be convinced to come savingly to Christ. Likewise, faith and repentance are set forth as duties the sinner must perform if he/she is to become a recipient of grace, and therefore the gospel is held forth to him/her as an offer within his/her power to accept. In this sermon, Mr. Krause points to the folly of such teachings, holding forth a complete salvation for the Lord’s people dependent only upon the gracious covenant of the TriUne Jehovah.—Jared Smith] 

“The Lord God will help Me, therefore shall I not be confounded; therefore have I set My face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.”—Isaiah 50:7

These surely, brethren, are not the words of the pro­phet Isaiah concerning himself; for, if we look at the context, we find the work of the Lord Jesus set before us in such words as these: “The Lord God hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.”

I need scarcely tell you of whom the prophet spake in these words. We have in this part of this most wonderful prophecy, a continuous prediction of the work and suffering of the Lord Jesus Christ. And I have purposely selected this passage for our consideration at this time, because I think it throws wonderful light upon all those transactions which we, at this season, meet together to commemorate; and also because it brings us into a subject which I am very desirous to press upon your minds—the covenant purpose and design of Jehovah in all those wonderful transactions, of which we have been reading and hearing in the services of our Church this day.

There is a remarkable passage in the 2nd chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. You remember that when the Apostle Peter was charging home upon the Jews their sin in having crucified the Lord Jesus, he told them that neither they nor the devil had thwarted the purpose of the Lord Jehovah in all that had been enacted at Jerusalem. For, he says, “Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God ye have taken.” He told them that what they did was the result of purpose and design. And, brethren, I know none other Gospel to preach to men, but one which proclaims salvation according to purpose and design. I have nothing to do with the persuasive manners and the winning arts which men tell us we ought to use, in order to bring souls to believe in Jesus. All that I feel I can do is to set before men what God has revealed to me in His Word of His great and stupendous work, and I believe that God makes His truth effectual, as He pleases, to His own glory.

If, then, brethren, we are warranted, as I told you, the whole context in which this passage stands warrants us—if, I say, we are warranted to take these words as spoken, in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, the first thing that strikes us is the greatness of the work which the Son of man was engaged in—for, he says, “The Lord God will help me.”

We have, secondly, the help that He needed, that He craved, that He expected, and that He received.

Thirdly, the bold and determined spirit in which He set Himself to this work. He says He “set His face like a flint.”

And, lastly, the triumphant issue of the whole. He says that He shall not be “confounded,” nor “ashamed.” 

I. The Greatness Of The Work Which The Son Of Man Was Engaged In—For, He Says, “The Lord God Will Help Me.”

The greatness of the work is none other than the salvation of His Church. And when I speak of the salva­tion of His Church, I do not speak of a work which the Lord Jesus began, but which He left His Church to consummate. I do not speak of uncertainties and contingencies, of helps and offers of assistance to men to save themselves, but I speak of a work begun, and a work consummated by the Son of God.

We are too much accustomed, brethren, to stand up and repeat a creed as a mere matter of form. If every man in this congregation who professedly said, this day, “I believe” all those great truths which are enumerated in our creeds—if every such man really believed these truths, why you would, one and all, go to your homes this day rejoicing in the Lord; you would return to your houses as men of God, bearing upon your front a testimony for the Lord Jesus. Who, we ask, who are they who have believed these truths? The repeating of our creeds is, as we have already said, too much a matter of form with many. And, therefore, we are anxious, again and again, to bring before your minds the plain and fundamental doctrines of Christianity.

A good bishop of our Church, who has written ably upon the truths of Christianity—Bishop Hopkins—says, “There are too many old babes in our day.” He speaks of the heads of men as being too often the “inferior part.” He means that there are men who, notwithstanding the profession that they make, and the teaching that they receive, have grown gray-headed without having learned the very rudiments of Christianity. They seem to make no progress in comprehending the height, the breadth, the length, and depth of the great truths of the Gospel.

Now, when I read such wonderful descriptions of suffering as prophets wrote in the 22nd and the 69th Psalms, and the 53rd of Isaiah, I cannot believe that all this was mere poetry—I cannot believe that when prophets took up this subject their prophetic pencil was engaged in giving, here and there, a darker colouring to the picture—I believe they wrote as they were “moved by the Holy Ghost;” and when I put alongside these passages the chapters which we have this day heard and read—the 26th and 27th of Matthew—I say that the prophetic language, which was so remarkably expressed in the Old Testament, has its counterpart in all its variety and intensity in the facts recorded in the New.

When I look at the whole of the Gospel narrative of our Lord’s ministry here on earth, I see that it was a great undertaking. I read not only of His sufferings on the cross, when all was dark around Him, and when in the agony of His soul He cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” but I see Him as “the Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief,” from the very moment that intelligence dawned within His breast. From the moment that the babe grew to be a lad, the lad to be a youth, and that youth a man, all was against Him. He had undertaken a great work—He had come to plant His foot on this world’s territory; to rescue a people given to Him before the foundation of the world, to snatch them from the jaws of the devil, that “roaring lion,” that thus He might be able to say, “I have ransomed them.

When I look at the history of the Lord Jesus, I find that His whole life was a life of sorrow, of conflict, of difficulty, of temptation, and of suffering, until, at last, that life closed in death. I look at the opposition which He had to encounter—the devil was against Him. Ay, no sooner had the Spirit descended upon Him, and brought Him forth to enter upon His public ministry as the servant of Jehovah, than instantly the devil assaulted Him with temptation. The people were against Him— His “own” were against Him—ay, the very people whom God had made the depositories of His truth for some two thousand years, when He came unto them they “received Him not.”

The work which the Lord Jesus Christ had under­ taken was a great work. If it were not so the devil never would have been so busy with Him, and with the people who are brought to believe in Him. We can tell you this, You may go on the broad road as long as you like, and the devil will never trouble you—you may go to your theatres, and your balls, and your parties, and your places of wickedness and sin, and the devil will never disturb you by even whispering in your ear. But if the Lord has touched your hearts, if He this day brings His truth home with power to your souls, let me tell you your conflict begins today; and tomorrow, if you live, you will enter a field which you never traversed before. It is when the Lord’s truth comes home to a sinner’s heart, that the devil draws out his spear to stop the way, and to assault the man whom the Lord has called to be His own, and whom He has made to witness for Him.

II. The Help That He Needed, That He Craved, That He Expected, And That He Received—“The Lord God,” He Says, “Will Help Me.”

The next subject for our consideration is, the help that the Lord Jesus Christ needed, that He craved, that He expected, and that He received. The words of our text show that such help was needed and expected by Him— “The Lord God,” He says, “will help me.” And here, brethren, comes before us that great mystery of the humanity of the Lord Jesus. If I could I would use the most powerful language—language that I am not master of, in order to describe the actual identity of the Lord Jesus Christ with the weakest amongst us. I am not afraid to go into the very darkest chambers of the sufferings and weaknesses of the Lord Jesus Christ—I am not afraid to handle Him, and to say, He was flesh, and He was bone. He was as really man as I am. I want to apprehend to the very uttermost, for my soul’s com­ fort, the sorrows, and the weaknesses, and the sicknesses of the Lord Jesus Christ.

But, having gone into this department of things—for, brethren, the humanity of Christ is the very element in which a poor, conflicting Christian loves to live—we now take up another point, and we say to the infidel, who wants to make the Lord Jesus nothing but a mere man, stop! Account, if you can, for those alternations in the history of the Lord Jesus Christ, between majesty and weakness, power and suffering. You see Him at one time quelling the elements, giving life where life was extinct, putting forth His hand to stop the whole course of nature, and again you behold Him weeping, hungering, thirsting, suffering. How can you account for such alternations, while you remain ignorant of that great fundamental truth of Christianity, which teaches us that the Son of God became the Son of Man; or, as Scripture says, The Word who was “with God,” and the Word who “was God,” was “made flesh, and dwelt amongst us”?

All those wonderful narratives, which come home with such interest to our hearts, as we at this season commemorate the wonderful transactions upon the cross, all force upon the mind the precious truth of the humanity of Jesus; they remind us that He needed Divine help to sustain Him all through. Now, let your infidel men, who are satisfied with such husks of a counterfeit Christianity as to believe that a mere creature could be the Saviour, let them tell why it was that He who had a humanity like ours, in all things, sin only excepted, needed something more than humanity to sustain him? Wherefore did He need “the everlasting arms” under­ neath Him to bear Him up? Was it not because He emptied Himself, because “He being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant?”

But, we have to bring before you another truth—He received all this help. We are not afraid, as I said, of handling the humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ, and telling you that He was really man. But, whilst we say this, we will maintain that He was God’s co-equal, co-eternal Son—“God over all, blessed for ever.”

“The Lord God will help me.” The precious truth here comes out, that Jehovah was engaged in this great work of upholding Him who, in the 42nd of Isaiah, He describes as “My servant, whom I uphold.” It teaches us that the salvation of the Church is a covenant salvation, that the love of the Father is as great as the love of the Son, and that the love of the Spirit is as great as the love of the Father or the love of the Son. We learn from the Scriptures, that there is a plurality of persons in the Godhead. The man who tells us he cannot see this, must be perverse and obstinate indeed. It is set before us in the Word of God, that the Father sent the Son. I cannot tell you how He sent the Son—I cannot tell you more than God has told us Himself. We read, again, that the Son loved the Church, and gave Himself for it. And, again, we are told that the Spirit, the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, was sent from the Father and the Son, to teach, and to sanctify, and to comfort the souls of God’s people.

This is the precious truth which we desire continually to impress upon you, that the covenant engagement and oath of Jehovah were concerned in this great work of upholding Jesus. So that the salvation of the poorest, the weakest in this congregation, who is brought to believe the Gospel, hangs upon the faithfulness, the love, and the power of a covenant Jehovah—Father, Son, and Spirit.

III. The Bold And Determined Spirit In Which He Set Himself To This Work—He Says He, “Set His Face Like A Flint.”

We come, in the third place, to speak of the determined, resolute spirit with which Jesus set Himself to this work. He says, “Therefore have I set my face as a flint.” Read the whole of His history, and you will find that He had but one object before His view continually—the glorifying of His Father. He Himself said that His “meat was to do the will of Him that sent Him.” Prophecy had before written of Him in the 40th Psalm that word which is applied to Him in the 10th of Hebrews, “I delight to do Thy will, O my God.” And, therefore, “He set His face as a flint.” The very words of our text seem almost to be quoted, where we are told that when the time was come that He should be received up, “He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem.” And you know how jealous he was upon this point. He would not allow a single obstacle to be put in the way of His doing the great work which was given Him to do.

Nay, you read of Him that He could endure to be spitted on, buffeted, crowned with thorns; He could endure to have all the disciples, even the one He most loved, forsaking Him in the hour of difficulty and danger. When the Apostle Peter denied Him, He could turn round and look upon him with an eye of tenderness which melted his inmost soul, and made him go out and “weep bitterly but when that same Apostle came at one time upon the devil’s errand, when the Lord told him what He was about to suffer, Peter; fearing, as it were, to put himself on the rough waves on which his Master was walking, lest he should begin to sink, cried out, “That be far from thee, Lord, this shall be unto Thee”—when His servant thus seemed to place some barrier between Him and His Father’s glory, in the accomplishment of His great work, He says to him, “Get thee behind me, Satan.”

Now, what was all this that He “set His face as a flint” to do? He Himself tells us that He came “to seek and to save that which was lost.” He was to go upon the mountains of wickedness, those barren and waste places where His poor sheep are scattered; He was to save them one and all; He was to “lay them on His shoulders” and carry them home rejoicing. Therefore, “He set His face like a flint.”Nothing could divert Him from His purpose. His heart was in it. It was this which, before the foundation of the world, He covenanted to do. His people were put into His hand; He has saved them. Therefore did one say who himself had drunk deeply of the love of Christ, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” The Lord Jesus could not be hindered from carrying out this great work. He was determined to do it. He has carried it out, and His people are a saved people—saved because “He set His face like a flint.” He drained the cup to the very dregs, that He might not leave one drop of curse or wrath for His poor people to taste.

IV. The Triumphant Issue Of The Whole—He Says That He Shall Not Be “Confounded,” Nor “Ashamed.”

But now a word as to the glorious issue of all this. He says, “I shall not be ashamed“; “I shall not be con­founded.” He seems to look upon it as a matter in which His own honour was concerned, as if it would have brought shame upon Himself if he had not done it. This is just what is said in the 53rd of Isaiah, where we read that “He shall see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied.”

Mark this in reference to Himself, and in reference to His people. We cannot too frequently remind you of that passage in the 2nd of Philippians, where we are told that, “therefore”—because of the suffering and humiliation of the Lord Jesus Christ—“therefore God hath highly exalted Him.” He is, where He now is, at the right hand of God, as the reward for what He came to do. You remember His own words in that remarkable prayer of His in the 17th of John, “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” He looked upon this glory as His reward for having saved His people. O what a precious deposit they must be in His hands when He claims glory to Himself as His reward for saving you and me, if we are believers. He never would have been where He is, at the right hand of God, if His people were not a saved people. So long as His people lay in the grave buried with Him there was no hope for them, but they have risen again with Him. He has done the work, and they are saved, they are free, they are His reward.

But, as to them, He would be ashamed, and He would be confounded, if one of His people were left behind. O, brethren, I know not what those men make Of the Father’s purpose, the Son’s love, and the Spirit’s power, who imagine that there is anything of contingency or uncertainty in this great work. See how the salvation of the believing man is interwoven with the glory of the Lord Jesus. He must be “ashamed,” and He must be “confounded” if one of His people were wanting. Therefore He puts it in this way which is so very interesting—He tells us that He is “the Good Shepherd,” and that His people are the sheep—that He lays down His life for the sheep. He says that His Father gave them to Him, and that “none is able to pluck them out of His Father’s hand,” so that they are safe.

These are very precious and very glorious truths, brethren. But perhaps there may be in this congregation some who may say, “Well, but what of all this? We want to hear of something that we are to do.

Do you remember the narrative recorded in the 8th of Acts? A man was returning from Jerusalem, utterly ignorant of the Gospel of Christ. He was sitting in his chariot reading part of the 53rd of Isaiah. He did not know what he was about, but the Lord knew what he was going to do for that man, and so he sent a special messenger after him. He was reading, but he did not understand what he was reading. The servant of the Lord takes that 53rd of Isaiah which was all about Jesus; he tells him who Jesus was, and what Jesus had done; that word let a flood of light into his soul, and he who before had been wandering in darkness, and ignorance, and sin, now goes on his way “rejoicing.” What was it which told upon that man’s heart? It was not the telling him of his own doings or deservings—it was not the bringing before him a system of offers, and invitations, and conditions, but it was the telling him the Gospel of Christ—that Gospel which is the power of God unto salvation.

And, brethren, my poor tongue would fail, I should be dumb before you, if I thought that any tender entreaties of mine could bring one sinner in this congregation to the Lord. It would make me tremble if I thought that such a matter depended upon the energy or the earnestness of the preacher. But when I believe that the truths which I have this day uttered are, whether men will hear, or whether they will forbear, God’s great power unto salvation, then I can preach with comfort. It is not as if man had some tender point within his breast, and that if we could reach that tender point we would make him feel. Your hearts and mine are by nature steeled against the truth of God; but when God brings the truth home, in the power of His Spirit, there is light, there is liberty, there is peace, there is joy in the soul.

And, then, if there be any here who say, These are the very things which my soul yearns after—O, if you could bring these truths home to my heart! Appropriation is everything, and appropriation is what I want. I know God’s people are a saved people, but how am I to be sure that I am one of His? Dear brethren, the sinner who proclaims these truths in your ears appropriates them, through God’s mercy, to himself. Why? because he, as a sinner, having read in this Book of this great salvation, and having learned that he needs it, receives it upon the truth of Him who never lied, and who never can lie.

And this salvation you all want. You may not know that you want it, but you do. There is no other salvation. If the Lord Jesus set his face, as a flint, to accomplish it, you may depend upon it there is no other way in which it can be done. We would desire to drive you away from your own doings, and wishings, and strivings, and all the other things which are in yourselves, and to present to you Jesus, and Jesus only. It is looking to Him which sheds light on the soul. And where that light has been shed upon the soul, it will be reflected in the character. We do not want men to stand up and to repeat a creed as a mere matter of form, but we want them intelligently to enter into these things. We want those who believe in Jesus to witness for Him.

Tell the people with whom you come in contact that you believe in Jesus. You may be persecuted, you may stand as a solitary lamp in the midst of a dark family, but God will be honoured. Tell those with whom you come in contact who Jesus is; tell them that “He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him.” You do not know but this very word may be God’s message to some poor soul. Say, “that the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s own Son, cleanseth us from all sin,” or as our Liturgy so beautifully expresses it, “from all our sins, negligences, and ignorances.”

William Krause (1797-1852) was a High-Calvinist Anglican preacher. In 1840, he was appointed to the chaplaincy of Bethesda Chapel, Dublin, a position he held until his death twelve years later.

Born on the island of St. Croix, West Indies, Mr. Krause was brought to England at an early age, receiving education at schools in Fulham and Richmond. After joining the army at the age of eighteen, he was enlisted with the Fifty-First Infantry, and fought against the Napoleonic forces at Waterloo in 1815. At the age of twenty-six, he visited Annefield, Ireland, to attend the wedding of his friend, Captain Joseph Dyas. It was through the eldest sister (Angelina Ridgeway) of Mr. Dyas’ fiancé that Mr. Krause was led to a saving knowledge of Christ. One year later they were married, she giving birth to Eliza in 1823. Ten months later, in September 1824, Angelina died of consumption, leaving a widowed husband and motherless child. Mr. Krause never remarried, but went on to earn a master’s degree in 1838 from Trinity College, Dublin. He ministered for two years as chaplain of Cavan, then eleven years as pastor of Bethesda Chapel, Dublin. On February 27, 1852, Mr. Krause died at the age of fifty-five. His only daughter, Eliza, thereafter married an Anglican preacher named William James Pollock. Together they had a son named William Henry Krause Pollock, who would become a world-famous chess master (1884-1896).