Life On the Highest Plane
Vol. 2: The Relation Between Christ and the Christian
Christ Our Saviour The Bridge Crossed
In this book we are writing, as it were, the spiritual biography of Our story encompasses his life in creation, in the Fall, in grace, a glory. We have seen what God meant him to be in creation, what came in the Fall, and what God has done for him through grace. we now come to the most crucial point in his whole history. A choice made that will give direction to all that lies beyond both for time eternity. It is a decision that determines destiny. Will the natural man remain on the plane of the natural or will he choose to live on the on the spiritual? Will he receive or refuse God's gift through grace? cling to his sin or lay hold upon God's Son?
THE INEVITABLE CHOICE YOUR SIN OR GOD'S SON
God's first gift to man is that of a Saviour because this is man's need. It was God's love for sinners that led Him to give His Son to us (Romans 5:8). Christ was born into this world a Saviour.
Luke 2:11, "For unto you is born this day in the city of David and which is Christ the Lord."
It was Christ's love for sinners that brought Him from heaven to By His own testimony He came to seek and to save the lost.
1 Timothy 1:15, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief."
Luke 19:10, "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that was lost. "
|" 'Man of Sorrows,' what a name,
For the Son of God, who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim,
Hallelujah! What a Saviour!"
Christ crucified is the sinner's only way back to God. He is the sinner's only door of access into the presence of God and God's only door of access into the heart of the sinner.
John 14:6, "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. "
John 10:9, "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture."
The initial relationship of the natural man to God must be that of a sinner penitently acknowledging his sin and accepting God's gracious gift of a Saviour. The sinner must come to God through the crucified Christ, or he cannot come to God at all.
This is an exceedingly humiliating position for the natural man to take, it knocks the underpinning from beneath his entire life for it strikes at the very root of his self-will, self-love, self-trust and self-exaltation. By it he is compelled to acknowledge that he has made an utter failure, that he is wholly incapable of living his own life in his own strength, but more than that, that he is absolutely unfit to live in the presence of One who is righteous and holy. It brings him altogether to the end of himself, to the foot of the cross to acknowledge his sinful, helpless, hopeless condition, and to look up in simple faith to the crucified Saviour, who alone can lift him to a higher plane of life.
Many sinners in the world today will not go thus far. They will acknowledge their lack of light and their need of a teacher; they will confess they do not know the right way of life and need a leader; they will admit the low level of their standards and their need of an example; but they will not acknowledge that they are out-and-out sinners needing a Saviour. They simply place themselves outside the class for which Christ died. But the Lord of glory did not leave the bosom of His Father and the joy of heaven for the suffering and sorrow of earth and the shame and scourging of Calvary's cross merely to receive the patronizing admiration of men and to help them to live a somewhat more intelligent, respectable, useful life as sinners on the plane of the natural man. He came only because men were lost and must be found: because they were sinners and must be saved. He came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.
Through Christ, as Saviour, God has provided the only way back to Himself that He deems effectual: He has opened the only door from earth into heaven. Through His Son, as Saviour, God had made salvation from Sin a potential gift to all sinners so that since Christ died and rose again all men everywhere are shut in to an inevitable choice-the choice between their sin and His Son. "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
Since the shedding of the precious blood of His only begotten Son on the cross of Calvary, God the Father sees every person on earth either with or without a Saviour.
THE GRACIOUS INVITATION
God not only provided a Saviour for every sinner but He has through the Gospel sent forth an invitation to those 'of every tongue, and people, and nation' to accept His gift, to partake of His feast, to inherit His riches, to share the blessings of His heavenly home.
His infinite grace, His tender love, His compassionate mercy, have made room for all. He declares that none is too good to come, for if he is, the salvation provided for him in Christ is useless, and that none is too bad for salvation would thereby be proved ineffectual. Not one who has put his trust in the shed blood of the Saviour, however long he has lived in sin or however deep into it he has sunk or however crimson is its stain upon his life, will be turned away from the Father's heart or home. To the weary and heavy laden; to the hungry, thirsty and poor; to the wandering and the wayward; the loving Father says, Come unto me.
Matthew 11:28, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
Isaiah 55:1, "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price."
John 7:37, "In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink."
John 6:37, "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
Dear reader, are you still among the number who have not accepted God's gracious invitation to come unto Him? Are you troubled, perplexed anxious, restless? Christ says, "Come unto me, for in me ye may have peace."
Are you unhappy, discontented, and dissatisfied, and is your heart de void of joy? Christ says, "Come unto me, my joy shall remain in you that your joy may be full."
Does life seem intolerable to you because of its burdens, its sufferings, its tribulations? Christ says, "Come unto me, in the world ye shall have tribulation but I have overcome the world."
Are you discouraged by the repeated temptation at the same vulnerable spot which you are utterly powerless to resist? Christ says, "Come unto me, and in me ye shall be more than conquerors."
Is your heart filled with an insatiable hunger which no one and no thing has ever been able to satisfy? Christ says, "I am the bread of life, he that cometh to me shall never hunger."
Is your soul parched with a thirst that you have tried to quench in a thousand ways and have failed? Christ says, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink."
Is your path strewn with disappointments, afflictions, trials, and does the road ahead seem to be dense darkness? Christ says, "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."
Are you terrified at the sin stains on your soul and doubt if ever they can be removed? Then the Saviour says, "Only come unto me, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."
Do you really wish to be free from sin, to end the despotic rule of self, and to sever your partnership with Satan? You may come out of this threefold bondage into the glorious liberty and the bounteous inheritance of a son and heir of God if you will avail yourself of God's gracious invitation. Christ Jesus is able to save you to the uttermost of your sin and to satisfy you to the uttermost of your need. The first step out of the natural into the spiritual is such a very simple one that even a little child may take it for it is just the choice of God's Son instead of your sin; it is the personal acceptance of God's wondrous gift of a Saviour.
"Out of my bondage, sorrow and night,
THE RESPONSE OF FAITH THE BRIDGE CROSSED
Man has had nothing whatever to do with the building of the bridge of salvation. That was God's work and His alone. God furnished both the material and the workmanship by which this wondrous bridge was builded. "By grace are ye saved."
Titus 2:11, "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men."
2 Timothy 1:9, "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ before the world began."
But God leaves it to the sinner to decide whether he will cross this bridge or not. What God's grace has provided man's faith must possess. The salvation made potential by grace God expects to be made experiential by faith. Salvation is not something to be purchased or earned or gained through merit of any kind, for salvation is a gift and a gift is received. Salvation is for all men but only those who believe and receive are saved. "By grace are ye saved through faith."
1 Timothy 4:10, "For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe."
Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast."
While man has had nothing to do with the building of the bridge yet he has everything to do with regard to the use of it for he decides whether or not he will cross it. Have you crossed this bridge? Has God's gracious invitation met with a glad response on your part? I must press the question home for it is one that will have to be answered either here and now, or yonder at the great white throne. No decision you will ever be called upon to make can begin to compare with this one in importance because upon it hangs your happiness and usefulness in this life and your destiny in the life to come.
Perhaps among the readers of this book are some earnest inquirers who are saying in their hearts, But what does crossing the bridge involve? and What must I do to be saved? Let us together now consider these questions in turn.
|Crossing the bridge means a decisive break with all that pertains to the old creation in the old sphere. If, then, one decides to become a Christian, his first step will be to turn his back on sin, and turn his face toward Christ his Saviour. In that first step he will renounce his sin and receive God's Son. The first step out of the life on the plane of the natural into life on the plane of the spiritual involves a twofold reversal in the sinner's relationship to God which the Bible calls repentance and faith.|
Acts 20:21, "Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Creeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ."
Acts 26:18, "To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me."
1 Thessalonians 1:9, "For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God."
The cross of the Lord Jesus Christ is the place at which this decisive break with the old life is made. It is the birthplace of real repentance and true faith.
In the parables of the Kingdom (Matthew 13:1-52), Christ likened the Kingdom of heaven to a field in which there were both wheat and tares, and to a net in which were both good and bad fish. He states that no attempt will be made to separate them until the harvest time at the end of the age. False professors and true possessors are in the visible church today and will continue to be until Christ comes again.
The false professor has never genuinely repented, for let us remind ourselves that repentance means a change of mind, a complete reversal of attitude toward God and consequently a change of mind toward all that is opposed to God. There is much in Christian experience today that is called repentance which is sheer camouflage. It is not genuine abhorrence and loathing of sin as something hateful and heinous in the sight of God, but is selfish and sinful regret in having sin exposed or in having to suffer its punishment. It is not a real turn about-face but it is a pretense at looking Godward while walking sinward. A repentance that makes one a possessor of God's gift through grace is born of a consciousness of sin that deepens into conviction and compels one to cry out in honesty of heart, "What must I do to be saved?"
Such a repentance has its birth at the cross of Christ. Gazing upon the spotless, sinless, Son of God crucified upon a criminal's cross, bearing the sin of the world with all its stain; drinking the cup of suffering even to its bitter dregs; enduring the penalty and punishment of sin even unto death; the sinner comes to a realization of the sinfulness of sin. With the light of God's holiness and the warmth of God's love streaming into his own soul the sinner has his first real revulsion toward sin. Repentance which is "not only a heart broken for sin but from sin" follows. To see sin as God sees it in the light of the cross is to have the taste for it and the delight in it taken away.
Neither has the false professor ever truly believed for let us remember that to believe is to receive a Person into the life to possess and to control it as His own. There is much in Christian experience today that is called faith which is not faith at all. Sometimes one is deceived into thinking emotional feeling is faith. The emotions are played upon by sentimental appeals and a superficial response is made. But the seed sown has not taken root so a change of feeling results in a casting away of faith. That is sometimes called faith which is merely the assent of the mind to the great historical facts regarding Jesus Christ but is wholly divorced from any intention of accepting Him as Saviour, yielding to Him as Lord, and appropriating Him as Life. But, a faith that makes one a possessor of God's gift through grace is born of a consciousness of helplessness and hopelessness that compels the sinner to cry out in sincere Longing of heart, "God, be merciful to me a sinner."
Such a faith has its birth at the cross of Christ. The Holy Spirit having brought the sinner to acknowledge his own helpless and hopeless condition then fixes his gaze upon the all-sufficient Saviour. He points him to the One who bore his sins in His own body on the tree; to the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world which included his sin. He reveals Christ Jesus as the One who tasted death for him and enables him to say, "He loved me and gave Himself for me." He assures the sinner now burdened by the guilt and pollution of his sins that there is forgiveness and cleansing for him in the blood of the slain Lamb. Then He leads him to put his trust in Jesus Christ as his own personal Saviour and by an act of his will to receive Him into his life as such.
Having considered what is involved in a genuine crossing of God's bridge of salvation let us now turn to the other question, "What must I do to be saved?" God's Word gives an abundant answer to this question.
John 20:31, "But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."
Acts 16:30-31, "And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house."
John 1:12, "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name."
God wishes the poor, the unfortunate, the illiterate, the young and the untalented to come to Him and to have the blessings of salvation, as well as the rich, the favored, the learned, the aged, and the gifted. He has made the way of salvation so simple that all may walk in it and nobody need be excluded because of any lack in himself. Salvation is all wrapped up in a Saviour who is a gift of God to be received upon the one condition of faith. "Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed."
Faith is very simple yet it is a very comprehensive thing and involves in its operation the mind, the heart, and the will. Faith includes belief which is the assent of the mind to the things written in God's Word concerning the Saviour. We believe that He is the Christ, the Son of God, who died for our sins. Faith includes trust, which is the consent of the heart to the gracious work of Christ. We not only believe the things which the Word teaches about Christ, the Saviour, but we believe on Him. We put our trust and our dependence upon Him alone for our salvation. But faith also includes appropriation which is the decision of the will to receive Christ Jesus. Faith enables me first to perceive Christ as the Saviour of all men and then to receive Him as my own personal Saviour. Faith leads me to believe that "God so loved the world that whosoever believeth in him should not perish" and then leads me to receive Him who loved me and gave himself for me.
We see, then, that salvation is far more than mere assent to the doctrinal truth of the Bible, for one could believe every word in the Book and still not be saved. It is also far more than mere church membership for one could perform every ordinance and ceremony the church requires and still not be saved. Salvation centers not in a doctrine nor in an ordinance but in a Person and he only is saved who has put his trust in Christ as Saviour to the point of receiving Him into his whole being as the Saviour from his sins.
Such salvation is typified for us in the redemption of the children of Israel from their awful bondage to Pharaoh and their deliverance from the terrible judgment of death in Egypt. Because of Pharaoh's rebellion toward God, the firstborn in all the land were to be smitten with death. God gave definite instructions to the children of Israel through Moses as to what they were to do to avert this terrible sentence of death upon their households. They were told to take a lamb without blemish, slay it, and put the blood upon the two side posts and on the upper doorpost of the house. As God passed through the land of Egypt at midnight He would pass over every house upon which He saw the blood and into that home the plague of death would not come. "When I see the blood I will pass over you." The only thing that saved the firstborn in any household on that memorable night was the blood of the lamb on the doorpost.
Since God's dear Son laid down His life in death on Calvary's cross the sinner's only shelter from the wrath of God is under the cover of His precious blood. God has told us that we are "redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" and asks us to take by faith the blood of Christ to cover all our sins. As He looks upon each of us today He sees us either with or without that covering.
Matthew 26:28, "For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."
1 Peter 1:18-19, "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot."
The cross of Christ is the only place where God and the sinner can meet and the Lamb of God is the bond of union. The sinner looks up and trusts in the shed blood of the Saviour. God looks down and says "I see the blood and will pass over you." Faith has responded to grace and the Saviour and the sinner are made one at the cross.
My friend, whoever and wherever you are, have you crossed God's bridge of salvation? Have you responded to the unsearchable riches of God's grace as manifested in Christ, through faith? Have you believed on Him and received Him into your life as your own personal Saviour? Are you resting safe and secure today under the sheltering cover of the blood of the Lamb of God? If not, will you not lay this book down and right now look up in faith to him?
"I take, 0 Cross, thy shadow,
For my abiding place;
I ask no other sunshine
Than the sunshine of His face,
Content to let the world go by,
To know no gain or loss,
My sinful self my only shame,
My glory all the Cross." (See Diagram 08.)
THE FIRSTFRUITS OF FAITH
The inheritance into which the believer enters as a son and heir of God is a very rich and beautiful one and includes every spiritual blessing in Christ. But the blessing primarily coveted is relief from the burden of sins, the sense of forgiveness, the assurance of pardon. The circumstances of conversion vary greatly and people come to God in vastly diverse ways. Some are born of Christian parents and are nurtured in an atmosphere surcharged with the love and worship of God. The name of Jesus is on the lips almost as soon as the name of "Father" or "Mother." Sometimes one cannot tell when that personal choice of Jesus Christ as Saviour was made, for love to Him seems always to have been in the heart. With others the new birth has meant a decided and definite break in the life. Not all have the keen realization of the awful sinfulness of sin nor does the guilt and condemnation of it rest on them as a terrible burden as it did upon Pilgrim in Bunyan's classic story, but to almost everyone there is the bondage to some besetting sin from which he seeks release. So the first blessing of which the sinner is conscious and the one in which he primarily rejoices is the forgiveness of sins.
Ephesians 1:7, "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace."
The moment the sinner acknowledges his sin and turns in real faith to Christ as Saviour, that very moment God grants perfect and permanent pament God grants perfect and permanent pardon for all his sins: his past is blotted out and he will not be judged for sin that his Saviour has borne to the cross. But lack of assurance regarding forgiveness is a very common thing even in the lives of some who have been Christians for years. Because of ignorance of God's Word when perchance one falls again into some besetting sin, doubt comes into the heart and robs it of the joy of salvation. In order that the believer may rest in the conscious assurance of full acquittal, God unfolds in His Word the completeness of forgiveness. Are you resting today in the assurance of sins forgiven? If not, may God speak to you in these precious statements of His Word and enable you to claim each for yourself.
Isaiah 38:17, "Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back."
All my sins behind God's back! Out of God's sight! Never to be seen again! 0! the comfort of knowing that the sins God has forgiven He will never see again!
Psalm 103:12, "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us."
All of my sins put the distance of the world's circumference from me! Out of my sight as well as out of the sight of God! While in China I received a cable telling of the death of a dearly loved sister in America. During the weeks that followed in which I waited for a letter giving further particulars of her death, I realized how far the east is from the west and there came a new, sweet experience of the assurance of my salvation in these precious words, "As farso far. " O! the comfort of knowing that the sins which God has forgiven I shall never see again!
Micah 7:19, "He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea."
All my sins cast into the depths of the sea! Not only out of sight but out of reach! A few years ago the steamship Titanic built at a cost of millions of dollars and carrying a cargo valued at many millions more went to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. So far as I know no attempt has ever been made to bring either the Titanic or her cargo from the depths of the sea. 0! the comfort of knowing that the sins forgiven by God are out of reach, pardoned for time and for eternity!
Isaiah 44:22, "I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins. "
Hebrews 8:12, "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. "
All my sins blotted out and forgotten! Not only out of God's sight and out of God's reach, but out of God's memory! But in the unsearchable riches of His grace God has blotted out my sins so completely that there is not a trace of them left to remind Him that once they were. 0! the comfort of knowing that the sins which God has forgiven He has also forgotten!
But the forgiveness of sins is but half, and that the negative half, of the first fruits of faith. Merely removing the penalty for and the punishment of sins does not undo all the work of sin. For the natural man is not only a sinner: he is a rebel and an outlaw as well. He needs not only to be redeemed but to be reinstated to favor with God. A criminal may be pardoned and released from prison but he returns to the community in which he lives as a pardoned criminal. No human judge has the power to reinstate him into society as one who never sinned. What man cannot do God can. Justification is the positive half of the first fruits of faith.
Acts 13:38-39, "Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins. And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses."
Corinthians 5:21, R.V., "Him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in him."
Christ, our Saviour, not only pardoned our sin but He gave us the standing before the Father of one who had never sinned. The only way in which He could do this was to exchange places with us. He took our place upon the cross becoming sin for us that we might take His place before the Father becoming righteousness in Him. His death was one act with a double blessing. The negative side was forgiveness which took something from us, the penalty of our sins; the positive side was justification which gave something to us, the righteousness of God. The death of Jesus Christ accomplished a twofold work in the believer: it unclothed him by removing the filthy rags of sin and it clothed him by bestowing the pure garments of His perfect righteousness. "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin" here Christ Jesus is saying to His Father, Put their sins to my account. That we might be made righteousness of God in him" here Christ Jesus is saying to His Father, Put my righteousness to their account Through His death upon the cross Jesus Christ not only took us out of the old standing in Adam, but He brought us into a new standing in Christ. The grace of God provides for justification, the blood of Jesus Christ procures it, and the faith of the believer possesses it.
Romans 3:24, "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."
Romans 5:9, "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him."
Romans 5:1, "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Through justification certain definite and glorious blessings are secured to the believer. Chief among these is peace with God. Resistance and rebellion through self-will have ceased and the heart rests in the assurance of God's favor.
Romans 5:1, "Therefore being justifIed by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
All distance between God and the sinner is obliterated. All barriers are torn down. The believer is made near to God's heart through the blood of Christ.
Ephesians 2:13, "But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ."
"O the love that sought me,
O the blood that bought me,
O the grace that brought me to the fold!"
THE GREAT REFUSAL
Jesus Christ spoke some very sad and solemn words during His earthly ministry but among the saddest and the most solemn are these:
John 5:40, "And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life."
These words were spoken to men who professed to believe and to love the Scriptures and who even searched them in the hope of securing eternal life. The very Scriptures that they searched pointed everywhere to Jesus Christ as the Author and Giver of life, yet Him they stubbornly and persistently refused and rejected. To Him they would not come acknowledging themselves sinners needing Him as their Saviour. These men were guilty of the great refusal. They rejected God's Son as their Saviour. The cause of their refusal was self-will. Please note Christ said "ye will not come to me" Their rejection of Jesus Christ was not due to inability but to unwillingness. They could come but they would not. Note too that all Christ asked them to do was to come to Him that He might give them that which they needed more than they needed anything else.
Their decision determined their destiny. God left it with them to make the choice between their sin and His Son but having made it He determined what the result of that choice should be.
John 8:24, "I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins."
John 8:21, "Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come."
To refuse grace is to invite judgment. To retain a sinner's guilt is to receive a sinner's doom. If the natural man chooses to live and to die on the natural man's plane then he must expect the natural man's destiny.
The Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ has been preached all over the world yet millions upon millions of those who have heard it are living as though Christ had not died, as though God had not taken up the sin question and settled it in such a way as to provide salvation for all men. Throughout the world today are multitudes who are guilty of the great refusal, who are choosing to remain in their sins rather than accept God's Son as their Saviour.
Out of this number are some who apparently have no concern whatever over their souls. Their minds and hearts are set upon the pursuits and pleasures of this life as though there were no God to reckon with and no life beyond this to prepare for. There are others who through self-righteousness and self-exaltation refuse God's way of the cross. It is an offense unto them. They indulge in very shallow and superficial sentiments about the love of God which they think too great to ever condemn anyone to separation from Him forgetting altogether that the love of God spent itself on that very cross. Up to the cross God has infinite love for the sinner but if in self-exaltation he passes it by and rejects the Saviour, then on the other side that very love is wrath. There are others who say they want to believe but cannot. Unbelief is never due to inability. It may be due to unwillingness. Thomas was an honest doubter and said, "I will not believe except I shall see." God gave him to see and he believed. It may be due to ignorance of what faith is and requires. The all-important thing in faith is not its measure but its object. Christ Himself stated this when He said "Come unto me." Anyone can come.
There are countless sins of which every sinner is guilty but there is one above all others for which God is today condemning him and holding him accountable and that is the sin of refusing Jesus Christ as his Saviour. Wrapped up in that sin are all the others. That is the sin of sins. It is upon that sin the Holy Spirit puts all the pressure of conviction to bring a soul to God. This is His initial work in the sinner.
John 3:18, "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
John 16:8-9, "And when he [the Comforter] is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment; of sin, because they believe not on me."
God gives clear and unmistakable warnings to those who are facing the inevitable choice between their sin and His Son. The great refusal means death.
Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
The great refusal means the wrath of God abiding upon the unbeliever.
John 3:36, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."
The great refusal means the judgment of the great white throne.
Revelation 20:12, "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works."
The great refusal leads to eternal separation from the presence of God.
2 Thessalonians 1:8-9, "In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power."
God invites you to receive Christ into your life as Saviour today. To drift is to refuse; to ignore is to refuse; to postpone is to refuse; to face the claim of Christ and to turn silently away is to refuse. The rich young ruler refused and is never mentioned again. A young official in China faced the claim and call of Christ one night but he said, "Tomorrow, wait until tomorrow." He refused; that night he was assassinated.
2 Corinthians 6:2, "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation."
Hebrews 3:15, "While it is said, To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation."
Proverbs 27:1, "Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth."
Isaiah 55:6, "Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near."
"Choose ye this day whom ye will serve."
The cross of the Lord Jesus Christ is the great divide. On which side of it are you today? The choice is inevitable your sin or God's Son.(See Diagram 09.)