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John saw our Savior, the Lord Jesus, the Angel of the Covenant, with “a great chain in his hand,” by which he has bound the prince of darkness, the devil, the old serpent, the dragon of hell. What is that chain? I like to call it, “A Great, Golden Chain of Grace.” It is more precious than buckets of gold! It is a chain composed of twelve unbreakable links. I picture it with twelve links, because twelve is a figurative number often used in the Word of God to speak of the whole of God’s salvation, the whole Church and Kingdom of God, and the consummation of our salvation in Christ (Revelation 12:1; 21:12, 14, 21 and 22:2).
· The Twelve Stars Crowning God’s Church
· The Twelve Tribes of Israel
· The Twelve Apostles of the Lamb
· The Twelve Foundations of the Holy City
· The Twelve Gates of the New Jerusalem
· The Twelve Pearls in the Gates
· The Twelve Angels at the Gates
· Twelve Manner of Fruit in the Tree of Life
1. Everlasting Love — The first link in the chain is the everlasting love of God (Jeremiah 31:1-3; Psalm 103:17; John 17:23-24).
2. Divine Election — The second link in this chain is God’s election, the free, unconditional election of grace. In God’s everlasting love of God, poor sinners were chosen, elected by God, as the objects of his grace before the world began (1 Peter 1:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; John 15:16).
3. Eternal Predestination — The third link is God’s eternal predestination. Every sinner loved and chosen of God in Christ before the world began was, from eternity, predestined to the adoption of sons in Christ — adopted from eternity and predestinated to the “glorious liberty of the sons of God” (Romans 8:18-21, 29; Ephesians 1:3-6, 11; 1 John 3:1-3).
4. Accomplished Redemption — The fourth golden link in this golden chain of grace is the accomplished redemption of our Lord Jesus Christ, effectual atonement, particular redemption, limited atonement. Those who are loved with an everlasting love, elected and predestinated, were redeemed by the Lord Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, when he laid down his life for this sheep. God’s elect, all God’s elect, and only God’s elect were redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. Limited atonement is the clear, undeniable, foundation doctrine of Holy Scripture. Deny it and you deny the whole Gospel (Isaiah 43:1; 44:22; 53:8; Psalm 31:5; Revelation 14:3).
5. Effectual Calling — The fifth link in the chain is irresistible grace, effectual calling. All who are loved, elected, predestinated, and made the subjects of particular redemption are effectually called, or regenerated, and brought from nature’s darkness into God’s marvelous light, and are, by God’s omnipotent mercy, made to rely on the precious blood and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ alone for salvation (Romans 8:28; 2 Timothy 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 2:13).
6. Divine Forgiveness — Here’s the sixth link in the chain — Divine Forgiveness. Every chosen, redeemed sinner, called by grace, trusts Christ. And every sinner who trusts Christ is forgiven of all sin (Isaiah 40:1-2; 43:25; Jeremiah 50:20; Micah 7:18).
7. Free Justification — The seventh golden link in this golden chain of grace is free justification in Christ. Every object of God’s everlasting love, eternal election, sovereign predestination, effectual redemption, effectual calling, and free forgiveness, is also justified by the righteousness of God, the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom we are complete (Romans 3:24, 28; 4:25-5:1, 9; Galatians 3:16; Isaiah 53:11).
8. Perfect Sanctification — The eighth link in this unbreakable chain of grace is perfect sanctification in Christ, by Christ, and with Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30; 6:9-11; Hebrews 10:14; Jude 1).
9. Special Promises — The ninth link in the chain are all the yea and amen promises of God in Christ Jesus, special promises of grace made to and made sure to divinely loved, eternally chosen, predestined, redeemed, called, justified, sanctified sinners (2 Peter 1:4; Jeremiah 32:38; Isaiah 54:10, 17). — All the promises of God are in Christ; and “all the promises of God in Christ Jesus are yea and in him amen!”
10. Grace Sufficient — The tenth golden link in this golden chain of grace that can never be broken is the relentless supply of grace, grace sufficient to meet our every need as we travel through this world as Zion’s pilgrims. Though we are loved, elected, predestinated, redeemed, called, pardoned, justified, supported by special promises, and sanctified in the name of our Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God, we are so weak and our enemies are so many and so powerful, both within and without, that we must have continual supplies of grace, to enable us to persevere in the way believing God (Psalm 17:5; 84:11; Ephesians 4:7; Philippians 4:19; 1 Corinthians 10:13).
11. Sure Preservation — The eleventh link in the chain is the sure and certain preservation of God’s elect in Christ. Were it not for God’s preserving grace we would all perish in a heartbeat. But, blessed be his name, the preservation of our souls is as sure as God himself because he has promised it (Psalm 16:1; 12:5, 7; 40:11; 119:117; Proverbs 2:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).
12. Heavenly Glory — The twelfth link in this glorious golden chain of mercy, love, and grace which the Angel of the covenant, our Lord Jesus Christ, holds in his hand, the chain by which he holds Satan in bondage and by which he shall at last throw him into hell is the heavenly glory awaiting his redeemed (Psalm 17:15; 73:24; 23:6; 84:11; 2 Corinthians 4:17-5:9).