“For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,” —1 Thessalonians 5:9
Salvation is God’s greatest work; in nothing has He so manifested forth His glory as in this. He embarked all His infinite resources, and staked all His Divine honor, in the accomplishment of this work so dear to His heart— the salvation of His church. The universe is full of His beauty, but myriads of worlds, on a scale infinitely more vast and magnificent than this, could give no such idea of God as the salvation of a single sinner. Salvation required the revelation and the harmony of all the Divine perfections. Creation affords only a partial view of God. It displays His natural but not His moral attributes. It portrays His wisdom, His goodness, His power; but it gives no idea of His holiness, His justice, His truth, His love. It is but the alphabet, the shadow of God. These are parts of His ways, and how little of Him is known! But in the person of Immanuel, in the cross of Christ, in the finished work of redemption, God appears in full-orbed majesty. And when the believing soul surveys this wondrous expedient of reconciling all the interests of heaven, of uniting all the perfection of Jehovah in the salvation of sinners by the blood of the cross—“Mercy and truth meeting together, righteousness and peace kissing each other”— it exclaims in full satisfaction with the salvation of God— “Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!”
The anxious question of an awakened soul, as it bears its weight of sin to the cross, is, “Is the salvation of the Lord Jesus a work commensurate with my case? Will it meet my individual condition as a sinner? May I, in a deep conviction of my guiltiness, venture my soul upon Jesus? Am I warranted, without a work of my own, apart from all my merit or my demerit, to believe in Christ and indulge the hope that I shall be saved?” The Bible, in brief but emphatic sentences, answers these inquiries. “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved.” “Him that comes unto me I will in no wise cast out.” “By grace are you saved.” “If by grace, then it is no more of works.” “You are complete in Him.” The Holy Spirit giving the inquirer a possession of these declarations, working the faith that receives the Lord Jesus into the heart, the believing soul is enabled to say, “I see that it is a salvation for sinners— for the vilest, the poorest, the most unworthy. I came to Christ, and was received; I believed in Him, rested in Him, and I am saved. Christ is mine, His salvation is mine, His promises are mine, His advocacy is mine, His heaven is mine.”
Dear reader, is your soul saved? Are you converted by the Spirit of God? Everything else in comparison is but as the bubble that floats down the stream. This busy life will soon cease; its last thought, and care, and anxiety will yield to the great, the solemn realities of eternity. Are you ready for the result? Are you in a state of pardon, of justification, of peace with God through Christ? How is it with your soul? Will it be well with you in death, well with you after death, well with you at the judgment-seat of Christ? Have you come to the Lord Jesus as a Savior— to His blood for cleansing, to His righteousness for acceptance, to His cross for shelter, to Himself for rest? Have you fled as a sinner to Jesus as the Savior? Look these questions, I beseech you, fairly, fully in the face, and answer them in your own conscience, and as in view of that dread tribunal at whose bar you will soon be cited. What if you should prosper in temporals, and be lean in spirituals! What if you should pamper the body, and starve the soul! What if you should gain the world— its riches, its honors, its pleasures—and be yourself through eternity a castaway! To die in your sins, to die without union to Christ, to die unreconciled to God, tremendous will be the consequences; so dire will be your condition, so fearful and interminable your sufferings from the wrath of a holy and righteous God, it would have been good for you never to have been born. The unrighteous will be “punished with everlasting destruction, from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power.”
But there is hope! Does this page meet the eye of a penitent mourner—one whose heart is smitten with godly grief for sin? Be it known you that the sacrifice of a broken heart and of a contrite spirit God will not despise. Despise it! oh, no! It is the precious, holy fruit of His Spirit in your soul, and in His eye it is too holy, too costly, too dear to be despised. Bring to Him that broken heart, and Jesus will bind it up, heal and fill it with joy, and peace, and hope. It was His mission to receive and save sinners— it is His office to receive and save sinners— it is His delight and glory to receive and save sinners; and if you will but approach Him, exactly as you are, He will receive and save you.