SALVATION"I have waited for Your Salvation, O Lord." Genesis 49:18
Salvation! Blessed be God, that our fallen earth has heard the joyful sound! It is unheard in hell. Reader! blessed be the grace, which brought it to your ears! Multitudes of man's family are strangers to it. But thrice-blessed be the Spirit's love, if it is the sweetest melody which charms you—the loudest note, by day and by night, of your unwearied praise! To multitudes, it is a tuneless cymbal.
Salvation! It peoples the many mansions of the heavenly kingdom. It is the bliss of the ever-blissful. It is the joy of the ever-joyful. It is the happiness of the ever-happy. It is the song of the ever-singing. It is the peace of the ever-peaceful. It is the rest of the ever-resting. It is the glory of the ever-glorified. O my soul! see to it that you are saved.
Salvation! It is a register written by Jehovah's pen. It is the decree of Divine councils: the fruit of omniscient mind: the first-born of unmeasured love: the perfection of eternal thought: the strength of omnipotence. It is the fabric, which every attribute of God erected, with concurring hand; in which every stone is brought by mercy, and shaped by wisdom, and laid by grace; in which there is no defect—no blemish—no decay! It is the soul-built temple, which will rise and shine in growing splendor through all ages. O my soul! see to it that you are saved.
Salvation! It is the work for which Jesus was born in Bethlehem, and lived on earth, and died at Calvary, and descended into the grave, and burst the bonds of death, and mounted to heaven, and sits on the right hand of God. For this He trod the lowest valley of shame and grief. For this He drank the deepest cup of wrath and torment. For this He grappled with all the powers of darkness. For this He reigns and prays on high.
It is the work, for which the Spirit seeks our earth, and knocks at the barred entrance of the sinner's heart. For this He assails the fortress of self-love, and reveals the perils of sin, and wrestles with ignorance and vain excuses. For this He strives, until the arms of rebellion fall, and the contrite soul flees to the cross, and embraces Jesus, and shelters in the sure refuge of His wounds! O my soul! see to it that you are saved.
Salvation! It is the first message which mercy uttered to a ruined world. It is the end of every prophecy—the significance of every precept—the beauty of every promise—the truth of every sacrifice—the substance of every rite—the song of every inspired lip—the longing desire of every renewed heart—the beacon, which guides through the voyage of life—the haven, to which the tides of grace convey—the end of faith, the full light of hope, the home of love. O my soul! see to it that you are saved.
Salvation! It is the absence of this blessing, which builds the prison-house of hell, which kindles the never-quenched fires—which forges the eternal chains—which wraps the dreary regions in one mantle of blackness—which gives keenness to the undying worm—which bellows up the smoke of torment—which gives the bitterness of despair to the hopeless wail. O my soul! see to it that you are saved. Better not have been born, unless you are saved. Life is a curse, death is the abyss of misery, without this joy of salvation. To what profit would it be, to hold the scepter of kingdoms, to call the whole race of men our vassals, to look around on all the world as our own possession, to see in every creature only an instrument of our indulgence, to revel in every ease and luxury, to drink the fullest cup of pleasures, to sit on the highest throne of honor, to be caressed by all the affection, and to be extolled by all the adulation of man, unless you are saved? All these things, if they could be multiplied beyond our powers to calculate, and piled beyond our faculties to grasp, and stretched to time which we could not count, would be as nothing, and less than nothing, would be only the mockery of splendid woe—without salvation. Gain this, and all, and more than all, is gained. Lose this, and no words can express, no thought conceive, the amount of wretchedness, which is your endless doom. O my soul! see to it that you are saved.
Do you ask, but where is this treasure, so surpassing all treasures, to be found? It is all in Jesus Christ. He is full, and perfect, and eternal Salvation. Hear the voice from heaven: "You shall call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins." Hear the lips which were touched by the living coal: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved." Hear the testimony of the Spirit: "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners."
Here is truth—unerring truth—divine truth—high as the heavens—clear as light—sure as God. Sophistry cannot perplex it. Falsehood cannot deny it. Salvation is Jesus Christ! You may be clothed in purple and fine linen, and fare sumptuously every day, as Dives did—and not be saved. You may rule vast provinces, and command vast armies, as Pharaoh and Nebuchadnezzar did—and not be saved. You may be beautiful and lovely to behold, as Absalom was—and not be saved. You may belong to a Church, pure, and simple, and apostolic, and blessed with holy ordinances, as Ananias and Sapphira did—and not be saved. You may live under the highest blaze of Gospel-teaching, as Judas did: no, you may bear witness to the truths of Jesus, as he did—and not be saved. You may be exalted unto heaven in privileges and opportunities, as Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum were—and not be saved. You may have the shrewdest intellect, as Ahithophel had—and not be saved.
But you cannot believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and fail of Salvation. The word abides for ever, "Whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life." Let the rich man believe, and he is saved. Let the poor man believe, and he is saved. Let the young believe—let the old believe—let the wise believe—let the ignorant believe—and all is safe! Christ is theirs, and Christ is Salvation.
Does any eager soul exclaim, "Tell me further, wherein Salvation's blessedness consist?" Is it a blessed rescue, to change ceaseless wailings into endless praise—the blackness of darkness into the glories of brightness beyond the sun in his strength—the woeful dungeons of the lost into the palace of Jehovah—the chains of misery into palms of triumph—the beds of flame into the throne of glory? Salvation effects this.
Is it a glorious work, to turn hatred into love—cursing into adoration—every fiendish passion into one flow of holy peace—and to exalt the poor sinner from being the comrade of devils into partnership with the saints in light? Salvation speaks, and this is done.
Does any add, "Let me clearly understand, how this is all accomplished?" Come, see the excellent things, which Jesus works. He saves, by rescuing from hell. He saves, by giving title to heaven. He saves, by making fit for heaven. All praise be to the Captain of our Salvation. He saves, by rescuing from hell. Hell is the home of sin—the wages of sin. The steps of sin tend towards it. The toil of sin is to earn this payment. But if sin be removed, hell is escaped. Now Jesus takes away sin. From His wounded side, and pierced hands, from the cross on which He died, from the altar on which He makes atonement, a stream of blood flows forth, of efficacy so mighty—so cleansing—that it washes away every speck and stain of iniquity! Plunge all the sins of all who ever sinned, into this unfathomable ocean of merit, and they disappear forever! The foulest transgressor, bathed in this blood of atonement, becomes so pure, so white, that God can discern no blemish in him. Satan can no more allege a fault, or establish a claim against him. Why should he be made over to the dungeons of that jailor? He owes no debt, for all is discharged! He has no mark of perdition on his brow—for all is obliterated. How can he receive the wages of wrath? They have been already paid to the Surety in his stead. Thus Jesus saves His people from hell, because He breaks the only chain, by which the sinner can be tied down. No sin, no wrath—no sin, no hell. But sin can no more be found when Jesus casts it from view, far as the east is from the west.
He saves, by giving title to heaven. He not only expiates on the cross. But moreover, He weaves, by His most pure and Godlike life on earth, a mantle of divine righteousness. This completely clothes all who are one with Him. His fulfillment of the law is reckoned their very doing. Thus robed in celestial robes, the redeemed have right to pass the gates of life. They are free to the citizenship of heaven. They are privileged to advance to the very throne of God. No seat is too high, no honors too vast for those who shine in this garment of Salvation.
But the believer needs more than a key to unlock the heavenly gates. He must bring more than outward decoration. There must be an inward fitness, or joy would not be joy. There must be a nature congenial to the nature which exists in heaven. The atmosphere above is all holiness. There is but the one pulse of perfect love in that abode. To an unrighteous man, this home would be a dismal solitude. From every sight he would shrink, every sound would be a discordant note. The presence of the godly inmates would be reproach and misery. Their one employ would be hateful irksomeness. Their one song, "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts," would fill him with vexation and distress.
But the Salvation of Jesus prepares for such rapture. He by His Spirit dethrones the love of sin: implants delight in God: takes barren hardness out of the soil: fills it with the flowers of Paradise: transforms it into the garden of the Lord. He of God is made unto us sanctification, as well as redemption. His pure robe decks those only, whom His spirit purifies. It is the hand of a new nature, which receives the new clothing. "The king's daughter is all glorious within," as well as arrayed in "wrought gold." All, who present the plea of Christ's righteousness, exhibit conformity to His likeness, and bring heart-longings for His immediate presence. Such is the great Salvation. O my soul! see to it that you are saved.
It is great, because willed, provided, accepted by a great God, even the Father: because wrought out and finished by a great God, even Jesus: because applied by a great God, even the Spirit. It is great, because it averts great woe: bestows great grace: and blesses a great multitude. O my soul! see to it that you are saved.
Happy is life, when we can say with Paul, "He has saved us, and called us with an holy calling." Happy is prayer, when the Spirit supplies the loud Amen. "Whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Happy is praise, when faith adds the chorus, "The Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song, He also has become my Salvation." Happy is death, when truth can testify, as in Jacob's case, "I have waited for Your Salvation, O Lord." Happy is eternity, when adoration sings, "Salvation to our God, which sits upon the throne, and unto the Lamb!" O my soul! see to it that you are saved. But give ear, the Spirit warns, "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great Salvation?"
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