The Baptist Pillar © Brandon Bible Baptist Church 1992-Present www.baptistpillar.com
"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15
From The Pulpit Cyclopædia, Jabez Burns Ed., 1851
"None eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out into the open field, to the loathing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born. And when I passed by thee," &c.—(Ezek. 16:5, 6)
Our text contains a description of the original condition of the house of Israel, and the surpassing condescension and compassion of God towards them. This is followed by a recital of the apostasy and sins of the people against the goodness of the Lord their God. The fearful picture concludes with the announcement of God's mercy and grace, notwithstanding their transgression against him. Observe:
I. OUR NATURAL ESTATE. This is most fitly represented:
1. As polluted. "Saw thee polluted." The fact of man's defilement by sin is abundantly established by the declarations of the word of God. All men are transgressors, and every kind of transgression defiles and pollutes the soul. The understanding is polluted by ignorance, the judgment by error and falsehood, the affections by earthliness and self, the conscience by wilful disobedience; so that the prophet's description of Israel is truly applicable to the unrenewed, unconverted children of men.
2. As outcasts. "But thou wast cast out." Sin and holiness cannot have communion with each other. The blessed God cannot be pleased with impure and polluted man. Thus angels were expelled the mansions of glory; thus Adam and Eve the abodes of Eden; and thus sin exiles every one of its victims from the divine presence and favor. The sinner is said to be afar off; alienated, &c. by wicked works; as rebels, outcasts from his kingdom as prodigals, far from our heavenly Father's house; dwelling in darkness and the shadow of death.
3. As unpitied. "None eye pitied thee." Angels are as holy and just as they are kind and benevolent. They could not feel for traitors against their God—could not delight in rebel spirits, or have complacency in iniquity. Deluded and perverted in all his faculties and powers, he saw not his shame, and felt not his misery.
4. As necessarily perishing. Dying of disease, of weakness, of exposure; dying for want of help. So our ruin had been certain, and unavoidable, and eternal. Notice,
II. THE COMPASSIONATE REGARDS OF GOD TOWARDS us. He is represented as passing by and observing the condition of fallen, polluted humanity, and exercising mercy towards them. These regards:
1. Were the result of rich and spontaneous mercy. No reasons to induce Diety—none in the aspect of the sinner —none in the cause of his ruin—self-destroyed —none in his solicitude for deliverance—none in the return he could make. It was mercy originating in mercy, for mercy's sake alone that caused him to bend over our ruined race. These regards:
2. Were expressed towards us in promises of love. "I said unto thee, Live." How analogous, too, the threatening was! Dying thou shalt die. But God, who was rich in mercy, when he saw our ruined state, promised deliverance and restoration. From the entrance of sin to our redemption, God filled the mouths of prophets with assurances of his grace and favor. By faith Abel and the patriarchs, and fathers, and prophets, looked through the promises given for the mercy of God to eternal life. These regards,
3. Were embodied in the person of the Mediator. That we might live he chose a Mediator. He sent him as the fountain of life. He came and proclaimed it. "I am come that ye might have life," &c. " I am the resurrection," &c. Yea, Jesus, as the exhibition of God's love, died in the stead of the ungodly, and bore in his own body our sins upon the tree.
4. A believing reception of God's merciful arrangement brings life into the soul. God now sends his messengers to invite the outcasts to live—to offer them life—to persuade them to have it, but to have it in Jesus, and in Jesus alone; and he that believeth the messenger of grace lives. God justifies him freely—saves him from condemnation—regenerates his heart by his quickening Spirit—raises to a new and holy life of faith in the Son of God, &c.; and this life is perfected and consummated in eternal glory. The gift of God is eternal life. This is the record that God hath given unto us, &c.