‘The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.’ 1 Samuel 2:6
Suggested Further Reading: John 14:4–11
I heard the other day a trembling woman—I hope she will yet be rejoicing in the Lord—I heard her saying she was afraid she never should be saved, and I told her I was afraid so too, for she would not believe in Christ, but was always raising questions, and doubts, and peradventures. Well, she said, she did not know whether the Lord had begun a good work in her. I told her I did not know that either, and that I did not enquire about it; I knew what the gospel said, and that was, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.’ But she said, perhaps it was not God’s time.
I said, ‘Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.’ Ah! she said, but she could not believe. I asked her why she could not believe. Could she not believe what Christ said? Was he a liar? Could she dare to say that she could not believe her God? Well, she did not exactly mean that, but then there were her sins. But, said I, ‘The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.’ Well, she said, she hoped she should have the strivings of the Spirit, and that one day she should get right. ‘My sister,’ said I, ‘I charge you before God, do not get any hope out of that; your business is to come to Christ and to come to Christ now; but if you stop anywhere short of that, in any sort of feelings or experience, then you will never get to your journey’s end.’ A believing sinner’s business is with Jesus and not with the Spirit’s operations. The Spirit works salvation in him, but he is nowhere bidden to look to the Spirit for salvation. No man can come to the Father but by Christ.
For meditation: The fact that we cannot ‘save ourselves’ but have to ‘be saved’ is no excuse for anyone to sit back and hope for the best. God has revealed to us the way to be saved—by trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ (Mark 16:16; John 3:16–17; Romans 10:9; Ephesians 2:8) —and that step of faith is commanded, not suggested (Acts 16:30–31).
Sermon no. 523
26 July (1863)