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 Baptist Pulpit, 1850
It is not to be questioned that all men are bound to humble themselves, and accept the gospel:
"Repent and believe," (Mark 1:15) is a plain command.
"He that believeth not shall be damned," (Mark 16:16) is a plain warning of the penalty of neglect.
No soul will be lost, but by its own impenitence and perversity.
"Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." (John 5:40)
While alarming denunciations of wrath are uttered for our warning, the most cheering and positive invitations and promises are offered for our encouragement.
"Look unto me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth." (Isa. 45:22)
"Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters." (Isa. 55:1)
"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." (Mark 16:16)
The proclamation of mercy is without the least restriction to classes of men. It is "good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people." (Luke 2:10) There is which makes it in vain for any son of Adam to seek eternal life. Your sole concern is to submit yourself at once to God, and apply earnestly for mercy. Why should we disbelieve God when he says:
"Whosoever will, let him come and take the water of life freely." (Rev. 22:17)
"It is impossible for God to lie." (Heb. 6:18)
His word is, Christ "is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him." (Heb. 7:25)
"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." (Isa. 1:18)
How amazing that such a Redeemer, and such declarations should meet a cold and stupid reception! How strange is the unbelief, and contempt, and opposition, and hatred, and ridicule, with which the gospel of God is received! What ingenuity is displayed in the invention of excuses, the discovery of flaws, the explaining away of precepts, and the perversion of truth! Fearful must be the guilt of thus treating a message of infinite mercy! The case of heathens is sad enough. But what shall we say of men, who thus spend their entire lives, while from the cradle to the tomb they are surrounded by the meridian splendor of revelation, and are fully, freely, daily, urged to lay hold on the hope set before them.
O sinners, receive not the grace of God in vain. Spend not your hasty moments in questions and doubts suggested by Satan, and nourished by pride. The kingdom of God must be received by you "as a little child," or not at all. He, who instead of praying, is considering the compatibleness of prayer with Divine immutability, loses the blessing which God ordains to them that ask. Though no toil can make the seed to grow, yet he who neglects to plant shall have hunger instead of harvest. He, who neglects to accept "so great salvation," while he pries into its extent, dies unredeemed.
How can we understand what "angels desire to look into?" First obey intelligible calls, and then commend yourselves to the teachings of that Spirit who is to "guide you into all truth." Lazarus, though dead, was commanded to come forth. The withered arm was commanded to be stretched forth. You are required, O sinner, to forsake your way, and "turn unto the Lord, who will have mercy."
If you still say there may be no atonement for you, then see that this alone keeps you from the skies. So perform all that is in your power, that if turned into hell it shall not be your fault. Slight no warning, refuse no instruction, omit no endeavor. Repent and turn from all your sins. Believe on the Lord Jesus. Watch unto prayer. Live in love, and die casting yourself on the mercy and merit of a Divine Saviour. Then, if lost, the rigors even of hell would be mitigated. Yea, you might triumph in your overthrow, and all the rebels thenceforth have some joy. For your condemnation would prove the gospel a deception, its invitation mockery, and its promises untrue. It would shake the throne of the universe, and tarnish the character of the Almighty!
Why complain, dear fellow-sinners, of limited powers, when what you know you can do, is omitted—omitted from choice, not necessity, as yourselves even insist. Why cavil, when judgment and conscience approve? Believe on the Son of God. You are deciding your eternal doom by rejecting this Saviour. Your path is the road to hell. You are halting away from the presence of God, and all felicity. There is but a step between you and death. Look aloft at the promises; look round at the brevity of your probation; look back at your sins, and "flee from the wrath to come." (Matt. 3:7) Sport not away these precious moments, while toppling on the verge of opportunity.
How can you behold hell and destruction at your feet, and feel no anxiety? Arise and call upon God. Today you may die. O look to Jesus, and be saved! Frail, irresolute, exposed, dying mortal, come taste and know that the Lord is gracious. How often would he have gathered you "as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not." (Matt. 23:37) Proceed not, until, smitten of God, you sink on a death-bed of damnation, and in the agonies of dissolving nature, realize the fearful sentence, "Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh." (Prov. 1:24, 26)
Now, now "is the day of salvation." (II Cor. 6:2) "To-day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts." (Heb. 3:7-8) Begin this moment, and never cease to make salvation and the service of God the business of your life. Wait for no better opportunity. Seek no present carnal indulgence—contrive no sophistry—listen to no seduction—allow no discouragement—desire no relaxation of terms—make no reserve—wait no further impulse. Begin, not by laboring of yourself to grow better; but by pressing to your heart and conscience the consideration of your great guilt, and the blessed message of the text—that "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." (I Tim. 1:15)
Begin at Christ, or you miss "the way." "Strive [agonize] to enter in at the strait gate." (Luke 13:24) If even the reading of religious books, or an attendance at inquiry meetings, leads you to a dependence on these things, they lead you astray. If even your solemn resolutions of self-dedication, induce you to postpone the act, they are not of the Lord.
Kneel down at the foot of the cross. There the Christian race begins. There go for cleansing, and for spiritual life. "The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." (I John 1:7) "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life”… “but the wrath of God abideth on him." (I John 5:12; John 3:36)