Sermon 942. The Way
DELIVERED ON LORD'S-DAY MORNING, JULY 24, 1870,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"Jesus said unto him, I am the way." John 14:6.
THE most precious things lie in the smallest compass. Diamonds have much value in little space. Those Scriptural sayings whichare fullest of meaning are many of them couched in the fewest words. Who shall measure the depth of that sentence, "God islove"? Or that other, "God is light"? Who shall know the lengths and breadths of this declaration, "Christ is all"? How clearlyis the whole Gospel condensed into that line, "By Grace are you saved"! There are many more Divine Words of a like character,all short, and as sweet as they are short, precious beyond comparison, and as brief as precious. Our text, with its four words,and those all monosyllables, and none of more than three letters, is among the chief of these Bibles in miniature. "I am theway."
It were difficult, and it were as wicked as difficult, to be otherwise than simple in preaching such a text as this. May Godgrant that some of you may be reached by my simple testimony, and led in the way to Heaven. May those who are already in theway be strengthened, comforted, and quickened in it. And may God be glorified and sinners converted- then our hearts shallbe exceedingly glad.
I. We shall go at once to the text, and consider, in the first place, HOW JESUS CHRIST IS THE WAY, AND HOW HE COMES TO BESO. How is He the way? A way supposes two points-from which and to which. Christ is the way from man's ruin to the Father.Our Lord was speaking of man's coming to the Father, so we know where the way leads, and we know very well that the way wereof no service unless it came to where we are by nature, and that is in the place of ruin and of wrath. Christ is the way thatleads from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City-from the ruin of our father Adam right up to the glory of our Fatherwho is in Heaven.
Christ is the way, then, first, from the guilt of sin to the Father. The great difficulty was-How is sin to be put away? Manyattempts have been made to remove it, but there is no way of our escaping from the guilt of sin except by Jesus Christ. Somehave hoped for pardon by future good conduct, but as we all know, the payment of a future debt can by no means discharge apast debt. So even the perfect future obedience of man, could he achieve it, could not touch his past sins. Self-righteousness,therefore, even if it could reach perfection, would not be "the way."
Some hope much from the mercy of God, but the Law knows nothing of clearing the sinner of guilt by a Sovereign act of mercy-thatcannot be done. For then God's Justice would be impugned, His Law would be virtually annulled. He will by no means clear theguilty. Every transgression must have its just recompense of reward so that the absolute mercy of God as such is not the wayout of the guilt of sin. That mercy is blocked up by avenging Justice, and over the face of that star of hope called absolutemercy there passes an eclipsing shadow because God is righteous as well as gracious.
There is no way by which a sinner can escape from the guilt of sin but that which is revealed in Jesus Christ. God has sentforth His Son, His only Son. The Word was made flesh and came under the Law-upon that mysterious Being who combined both Godheadand manhood in one Person, the Lord has laid the iniquity of us all. By imputation the transgressions of His elect have beenlaid upon their Covenant Head, so that He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many. He voluntarilyundertook to be the Substitute and Covenant Surety of His chosen.
And in this way, by the transferring of sin from the sinner to Christ, the sinner ceases to be regarded as a sinner, and hisguilt is removed. Here is the way for that sinner to approach the Father. His sin is laid upon Christ, who became the Substitutefor all sinners that ever have believed or ever shall believe on Him. The whole mountain mass of the sins of Believers liesnot on them any longer, but on Christ. He has taken their transgressions, He has borne their iniquities, their sins are movedfrom them and laid on Him.
Now listen! The only way in which sin can be taken from any one of us is by this method. It is not imputed unto us, it isimputed unto HIM. But think not that the sin which was laid upon Christ of old lies upon Christ now. It does not, for theday came when the punishment for all that sin was demanded. The sword of vengeance awoke against human sin, and it would havedestroyed all the flock, but the Shepherd came into the place of the flock, and He bore the strokes of the sword. And thereupon yonder once accursed, but now forever blessed, tree, the Savior endured the fullness of Divine wrath on account of sin.
Now, where is the sin of His people? He has cast it into the depths of the sea. By bearing its punishment He has caused itno more to exist. It is as though it had never been. It is annihilated, it is gone! If it is searched for, it cannot be found.Jesus Christ, by His taking the sin and then discharging all the liability that was due to God from that sin, has foreverfinished transgression-mark the word-made an end of sin, and brought in everlasting righteousness for His people.
Now, Sinner, if you would get away from your sin, Christ is the way. This is the way by which you can escape from it. I havealready told you that your future reformation cannot remove your past sins. Neither can the mercy of God, considered as anattribute by itself, clear you from your sin. But this wonderful deed of love and wisdom, this marvelous transaction thatmakes Heaven and earth ring with grateful songs when glorified spirits see further into it, and when angelic intellects areable to grasp it-this wondrous transaction can clear you from sin as it has cleared many of us. For we are this day beforeGod justified, so that none can lay anything to our charge.
Sinners we are in ourselves, but not sinners before God's Judgment Seat, for Jesus has made us clean. We are whiter than snow,our sins being removed from us far as the east is from the west by our great atoning Substitute. Here is a way consistentwith Divine Justice, a way exactly meeting what you need. Oh, I pray God that while the words are used, "I am the way," yourspirit may say, "Blessed be His name, Jesus shall be my way. I will this day believe on Him and thus escape from my guilt."
The text refers to the guilt of sin, but then, "I am the way" is as true concerning the wrath of God on account of sin. Youwill see at once, and, therefore, I need not use many words about it, that the way to escape from wrath is to escape fromthe sin which causes the wrath. Remove the cause, you remove the effect. Now, when the sin of God's people was moved fromthem to Christ, the wrath of God went where the sin went, and it fell upon Christ, until He said, "My God, My God, why haveYou forsaken Me?"
When that bitter cup of wrath had been drained to its dregs, it was emptied forever, and not one drop was left for a believingsoul to taste. The wrath of God towards the Believer has ceased to be, and at this moment there is no angry thought in God'sheart towards a justified person. Whosoever has believed in Christ, his sins were laid on Christ, and punished in Christ,and God is not, and cannot be angry with the man for whom Jesus was a Substitute-for he has no sins for God to be angry with.
"Oh," you say, "but does he not sin?" He does, but it is not imputed to him, according to the saying of the Psalmist in thethirty-second Psalm-"Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom theLord imputes not iniquity." He commits sin, but it is not imputed to him, and so the wrath never comes on him. He is freefrom guilt and wrath. God has love to him, unbounded love, and though He may chasten him, yet this is not in anger, but withpurposes of love to him for his spiritual and everlasting good. So you see, Christ is the way out of Divine wrath as wellas out of our sin.
And listen. There comes upon us in consequence of sin, when the Lord deals with us and makes us see sin, a deep and terribledepression of spirit. It is in some more and in some less, but in every case, "when the commandment came, sin revived, andI died." Sin, as soon as it is really felt in the soul to be sin, kills us, blasts our former hopes, crushes our pride, laysus like bruised and mangled things before the burning Throne of Justice. Oftentimes souls have been heard to cry, "There isno soundness in my flesh because of Your anger! Neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin. For my iniquitiesare gone over my head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me. My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness."
Many such expressions, it may be, you, my awakened Hearer, have been made to utter, but, oh, if you come to see that all thissin of yours is not yours, that in Christ Jesus God has put away your sins by your Savior's bearing them and enduring theirpunishment, I say, if you see this, you will speedily rejoice! In a moment those waves of wrath will pass
away from you, and your spirit will sing, "Hope in God: for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance, andmy God." I know a truly awakened conscience never will believe in the pardon of sin without Atonement first made.
But when you hear that Atonement has been made, that Christ suffered instead of you, that His death has glorified the Justiceof God more than your lying in Hell could have glorified Him-that His Atonement is to God's injured Law a better vindicationthan even your eternal destruction-do you not see it, do you not lay hold on it, and does not your heart leap at the soundof this glorious Gospel of the blessed God? Christ is the way, then, out of the guilt of your sin, out of the wrath of Godfor your sin, and out of your sense of that wrath.
But more, Christ is the way to escape from the power of sin. The great object of a penitent soul is to get away from the tyrannyand slavery of evil habits and of corrupt desires. A man may break off some of his sins by his own unaided efforts. For instance,no man need be a drunkard, common determination may have done with those intoxicating cups. No man need be a swearer. Lethim understand what a wantonness of iniquity there is in that sin, and he may surely give it up. Still, sin dwells in fallencreatures, and the imagination of the thoughts of their hearts is evil, and that continually. Who can bring a clean thingout of an unclean?
Man, your sinfulness is such that you can not cease from sin. But Man, there is a power above and beyond you which can deliveryou from the power of sin and make you holy. It is found in Christ Jesus, in Christ Jesus as I have preached Him to you thisday. Let me tell you my own experience. Whenever I feel that I have sinned and desire to overcome that sin for the future,the devil at the same time comes to me and whispers, "How can you be a pardoned person and accepted with God while you sinin this way?" If I listen to this I drop into despondency, and if I continued in that state I should fall into despair, andshould commit sin more frequently than before.
But God's Grace comes in and says to my soul, "You have sinned-but did not Jesus come to save sinners? You are not saved becauseyou are righteous. For Christ died for the ungodly." And my faith says, "Though I have sinned, I have an Advocate with theFather, Jesus Christ the righteous, and though I am guilty, yet by Grace I am saved, and I am a child of God, still." Andwhat then? Why, then the tears begin to flow, and I say, "How could I ever sin against my God who is so good to me? Now Iwill overcome that sin," and, by His Grace, I get strong to fight with sin through the conviction that I am God's child.
Doubts and fears, and the thought that God is angry only drive you further into sin. But the faith, which in the teeth ofsin still believes in God's love, and still believes in the perfect pardon Christ has given, which God Himself can never takeback again-that holy faith which still clings to the Cross with, "If I perish I perish, but to this atoning Sacrifice I cling."That faith, I say, makes you strong against sin. The saints in Glory overcame through the blood of the Lamb, and there isno other way of overcoming.
The precious blood of Atonement, wherever sprinkled, kills sin, and he that lives in the full belief of it will be purifiedfrom sinful habits, as says that precious text-"If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one withanother, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin." It is walking under a sense of Divine love as manifestin Christ. It is walking with the full conviction of pardon through the blood that brings to us freedom from the reigningpower of sin. So, Soul, Jesus Christ is "the way" to escape from sin, its guilt, its wrath, its fear, its power.
Now we must have a word or two upon the other end of the way. I said it was from sin, to what? To the Father. Now the wayto the Father is alone by Jesus Christ. We have for this the express saying of Christ-"No man comes unto the Father, but byMe." We hear talk of getting to God the Father by Nature, but it is a ladder too short to reach the Infinite. God is somewhatseen in His works, but I believe those who have seen the grandest works of God, and have also seen God in Christ, will tellyou that God is no more mirrored in His works than is the whole universe in a dewdrop.
Earth is not broad enough to reflect the image of God. He does not mirror Himself in the sea-it is a glass too small to showthe Deity. He cannot reveal His whole Glory in the materialism of this poor world of ours-its axles would groan and crackbeneath the weight of Deity. It is in Christ that Jehovah reveals Himself more fully than in all Nature, though you summonsun, moon, and stars, and read all their hieroglyphs. God is revealed in Christ in a way in which He cannot be in anythingof time or of space.
Learn, then, that we get our best apprehensions of the Father through the Son. "He that has seen Me has seen the Father."It is only by Christ that we realize the Fatherhood of God. I do not believe any man has any idea of what the Fatherhood ofGod is till he knows Jesus Christ as the First-Born among many Brethren, and knows the power of His
Atonement to bring us near to God. The common Fatherhood doctrine that God is the Father of us all because He made us all,is not true in the most real and tender sense of Fatherhood. A potter makes ten thousand vessels, but he is not the fatherof one of them.
It is not everything that a man makes that he is the father of, or if he is so called, it is only in a modified sense. Weare God's children when we are created anew in Christ Jesus-when regeneration has made us partakers of the Divine Nature.Sonship is no ordinary privilege common to all mankind-it is the high prerogative of the chosen. For what says the Scripture-"Behold,what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knows usnot, because it knew Him not." When we are adopted into the Divine family, then, and not till then, do we know God as theFather.
As for unbelievers, they have not known the Father, for our Lord says, "O righteous Father, the world has not known You."He that has seen Christ has seen the Father, and only he. But the very Essence of Christ is seen in His expiatory death, andtherefore we can never grasp the Fatherhood of God till we have believed in the Atonement of His Son. "Whosoever denies theSon, the same has not the Father, but He that acknowledges the Son has the Father, also." May we, then, realize the Fatherthrough knowing in very deed the Lord, for to a knowledge of the Father He is the only way.
Again, Jesus is the way to conscious acceptance with the Father. I know, my dear troubled Friend, you feel this morning thatyou would give anything and everything if you could know that God had accepted you, and loved you, and that you were His dearchild. Now, you can never know this until first you come to the Cross and see Jesus Christ dying there as a Substitute foryou and for all who trust Him. You trust Him-your sins are on Him-you are clear.
The very next feeling of your soul will be, "I am not only pardoned in Christ, but I am accepted before God in Christ Jesus.For Christ's sake, and as one with Christ I am now dear to God. And what is very marvelous, I am as dear to God as Jesus ChristHimself is! I am brought as near as Christ is! I am what Christ is, for He who was once my Representative in my sin, and borethe wrath for me, is now my Representative in His Glory, and has obtained favor and innumerable blessings for me."
This is a blessed thing. "The Father Himself loves you." "Made near by the blood of Christ." "Beloved, now are we the sonsof God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like He. For we shallsee Him as He is." The gift of Christ to us is a full proof of Divine love, and wherever it is received it is the proof ofGod's love to the receiver.
So, too, the way to have communion with the Father is the same. "Oh how I long to talk with God," says one. "He seems to bea long way off, and the thick darkness shuts Him out from me. O that I could speak with Him, even though the only word I saidwere that of the returning prodigal: "Father, I have sinned against Heaven and before You." Beloved, when you see Jesus Christwho bore your sins in His own body on the tree. When you see Him ascending up to Heaven you have access with boldness untoGod, because Christ has entered within the veil and stands in the Presence of God for you.
You talk with God when you draw near in Jesus Christ. Your conviction that all your sin is put away through Him, that youare accepted through Him, that you live in Him as the member lives in the body, that He is your Covenant Head, and that Hishonors and glories are all reflected upon you-this assured belief brings you so near to God that as a man speaks with hisfriend, even so do you commune with Him. "Truly, our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ."
Again, we, by Jesus, come to resemble the Father. There is no way to get the likeness of the Father except by learning God'slove in the Person of His dear Son. Here, too, Christ is the way. You imitate Christ, and so become like the Father. You communewith Jesus Christ, and as you talk with Him, His Character sacredly operates upon yourself, and you are changed from gloryto glory, as by the image of the Lord. I do believe, dear Brethren, that the moment we forget Christ, and then seek afterpersonal sanctification, we are trying to get to our journey's end by declining to tread the road to it.
It is, at least I find it so, impossible to grow in Grace except by abiding evermore at the foot of the Cross. When I knowby faith-not by any other evidence than by faith-that Jesus loved me, and gave Himself for me. When I see Grace, magnifiedin sin, laid on Him rather than on me. And when I see Justice magnified, in that sin being put away by Him-and when I seeGrace and Justice together-clasping hands in solemn covenant to secure my soul against all fear of risk, then I feel thatI am master over sin! Then I feel my soul loves God, yearns after God, mounts up to God-and
then it is she becomes more like God than she was before. So Christ is the way from sin, with all we can say of it, to theFather, with all the blessed things that flow from His Throne.
II. WHAT SORT OF WAY IS CHRIST, AND FOR WHAT SORT OF PEOPLE? First, let me say He is the King's highway, which means thatHe is the Divinely-appointed way from sin to the Father. If we came to you, dear Friends, who are seeking salvation, and toldyou of a way of mercy, you would naturally enquire, "Who said it was the way? Who appointed it?" And if we replied that itwas appointed by the last council at Rome, I should not wonder if you felt serious doubts about the matter, and questionedwhether a council of men could infallibly determine the way of Grace.
But I have to tell you this day that Jesus Christ is "the way" of God's appointment. Thus says the word-"Being justified freelyby His Grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God has set forth to be a Propitiation through faith inHis blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare,I say, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just, and the Justifier of him which believes in Jesus." God the Fatherdevised this plan of salvation by the transference of sin to Christ, and by the punishment of Christ the Substitute, insteadof us.
It is clear to me that if God is satisfied with the way, I ought to be. If He, the aggrieved party, feels that Christ hasfinished the work and that He can now justly forgive us, why need we raise questions? O God, if You can look at Jesus andbe well-pleased in Him, surely I can. If You are perfectly content with the sufferings and death of Your dear Son, surelyI may be. Now, then, because it is the King's highway, (I recommend you, my Hearers, to be very clear here), if you are trustingin Christ who is the way of Divine appointment, if He were to fail you, which He cannot do, the blame would not lie with you,but with Him who appointed Him. I speak reverently. But He has appointed a way which cannot fail, for He is Infinite Wisdomand Infinite Power.
Then, as the King's highway it is an open way, I can come to it and need ask no man's leave. If I am treading the King's highwayI cannot be a trespasser there. Poor Sinner, Christ is the way from your sin to God, and you need ask nobody's leave to cometo God through Jesus Christ. "He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him." "Him that comes to Me,"He said, "I will in no wise cast out." Come and welcome! God appoints the way, and when He appoints the way, He puts it thusin 1 John 2:21, "And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world"-in order thatany sinner in the whole world who wills to come to the Father by Christ may pluck up courage and perceive that his sins havebeen laid on Jesus.
Again, it is a perfect way. "I am the way." The way from sin to the Father by Christ is complete. It would not be completeunless it came down where you are, but it does. Where are you? Up to your throat in drunkenness? Where are you? Defiled byevil living? Soul, there is a road from where you are right up to the immaculate perfection of the Blessed Savior at God'sright hand, and that road is CHRIST.
You have not to make a road to get to Christ-Christ comes to you where you are. The good Samaritan did not ask the woundedman to come to him and promise that then he would pour in the oil and wine. No, he came where he was and poured it in. Christwill come where you are. Saul of Tarsus did not go far to meet Christ. He was riding to the devil as fast as he could, buthe was suddenly struck down, then and there where he was-and as he was-and Jesus spoke life to him.
He can do just the same with you. You think you have some preparations to make, some feelings to pass through, something orother to perform before you may believe that Christ has taken your sins. But all you can do to make yourself fit for Christis to make yourself unfit. All your preparations are but foul lumber-put them all away. You must come as you are, as a sinner,for Jesus came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance-"the whole have no need of a physician, but they thatare sick."
And if, as you are, you will come and take God's way, and trust Jesus with all your heart to save you, you will find He willprove to be the very Savior you need, for He is so perfect a road that there is nothing needed at the beginning. And nothingwill be needed at the end. Some have supposed that faith in the atoning sacrifice may carry us a certain way, and after thatwe must stand on another footing. God forbid I should say a single word against good works. Did I not the other Sunday morningaddress you from these words, "Without holiness no man shall see the Lord"?
But good works are not the way to Heaven, in whole or in part. They are fruits of salvation. They are the sure products ofthose who are saved, but they do not save a man. A faith that produces no works will never save anybody. But that
which saves men is not the work which comes from the faith, but the faith itself, the faith in Jesus Christ. The top and bottom,the beginning and end of salvation, lies in the Redeemer, and not in us. "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending,"says the Lord.
If you think that you are to patch up Christ's robe of righteousness, or that Jesus is to begin and you are to complete, youknow nothing of Christ, and need to be taught something of yourself. It must be all Christ or no Christ, all mercy or no mercy.Grace must lay the foundation, and Grace must put on the topstone, or else there can be no salvation. "I am the way," then,means that Christ is the way from where the sinner now is right up to where God is, and he that gets Christ shall come tothe Father.
Christ is a free way. There is not a toll-bar at the entrance, nor anywhere along the road. Many are afraid to come into thisroad to Heaven because they cannot pay the charges-but there are no charges whatever! Whoever wills to have Christ may haveHim for the taking. He that will pay for Christ cannot have Him at all. You may have Him for the asking. He is freely given.The way in which to have Christ is the way in which you have water, that is, by drinking. Receive Christ, for "unto as manyhas received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to as many as believed on His name."
There are no legal conditions of salvation laid down anywhere. I know it is sometimes said that repentance and faith are conditions-fromone point of view, and in one aspect, I might tolerate the term-but truly and really there is no bargain made between Godand a sinner. It is never you do this and I will do that. It is always, "I will do this for you, and then you shall believeand repent as the result." If faith, is, in one respect a condition, it is in another respect a gift of God, and though weare commanded to repent, yet Jesus is exalted on High to give repentance.
So you poor sinners who have no repentance, or anything of your own, I bid you come to Jesus Christ for everything. He isthe way, and the whole way. This is a free way-nothing to pay, nothing to do, nothing to be, nothing to bring, no merits-nodeserving, no preparations. It is all of Grace. All the gift of God to the very vilest of the vile. Oh, it does sometimesseem too good to be true, that all for nothing I, a great sinner, shall be saved! But when I think of what the Savior is-thatHe is God-that He came from Heaven. That He became a Man for my sake. That He, the God-Man, Immanuel, was born and died, andbore the wrath of God-by His Grace I can believe it.
And, O my Lord, I dare no more add any of my driveling merits to the worth of Your dear Son than of stitching some foul, infectedrags from a dunghill to a garment made of worked gold! How could I put any nothingness of mine, that only my folly calls anything,side by side with the ever-precious merits of Your dear Son?
Again, let me add, it is a permanent way. Jesus says, "I am the way-not a way for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, only, but foryou. Not for the Apostles, and martyrs, and early saints, only, but for YOU-
"His precious blood shall never lose its power, Till all the ransomed Church of God Are sa ved to sin no more."
It is a way that never has been broken up, and never will be. All the floods of all His people's sins have never made a swampor bog-hole in this blessed way.
All the earthquakes and upheavals of our rebellious natures have never made a gap or chasm in this glorious way. Straightfrom the very gates of Hell, where the sinner is by nature, right up to the hilltops of Heaven, this glorious causeway runsin one unbroken line, and will, forever and forever, till every elect one shall be gathered safe into the eternal Home!
Let me add it is a joyful way. You noted in the chapter we read that the redeemed are to return with songs, and everlastingjoy is to be upon their heads. All Believers in Christ as such are a happy and rejoicing people. "But," says one, "I haveseen Believers mourn!" That is because they wander from the way. If they continued simply trusting in the Substitution ofChrist, if they kept their eye on Him, and on Him only, they would know no sorrow. Where there is no sin there is no sorrow.And when the Believer knows that he has no sin-that it is put away in Christ-then he also has no sorrow. Then his peace islike a river, because his righteousness is as the waves of the sea. Dear Heart, if you would be happy, come unto Christ, andabide with Him!
Lastly, on this point, He is the only way. So is He the only way that you cannot be saved if you trust anywhere else. Thisway which God has planned of laying sin upon the Substitute, is such that it is the only possible way, and therefore
God will not have you insult His wisdom and His Grace by trying to patch up another. Do not try to find a way by your ownfeelings or your own works. There is no such way. All these supposed ways will end in disappointment and in ruin. Jesus Christis the one foundation, build on Him. God help you to say, "I will now cast myself flat upon Christ, having no confidence inmyself. I will make Him my confidence, He shall be my All in All." If you have done that, you are a saved soul! Go your wayand rejoice with joy unspeakable.
Thus we see what kind of way it is, but for what sort of people is it made? Hurriedly in these two or three words, I reply,for all sorts of people. Christ is the way to Heaven for anybody and everybody who is led to walk there. Christ is the wayto Heaven for you, poor Wanderer, though you have sought the theater and music hall, and worse places, to drive away yourmelancholy. Come to Jesus, for He is the way to peace, the very way for a wanderer like you. Christ is the way for exiles,for banished ones, for those who have not seen the face of God for many a day, though once they rejoiced in Him. Backslider,if you would get back to your God, Christ is the way.
Christ is the way for captives. You, who bear your chains clanking about you today, who feel as if you never would be free-takeheart, take heart-there is a way of escape yet, and Christ is that way! Make a desperate push for it, and say, "I will throwmyself into His arms. If He reject me I shall be the first one. But I will go and rest on the bloody sacrifice of that dearSon of God who sweat great drops of blood because of my heavy sins, my heavy, heavy sins.
Christ is the way, let me add, for the poorest of the poor. Our Master, when He makes a feast, sends us out to bring in menfrom the highways and hedges, highwaymen and hedge birds-those who have not a house or a friend of their own. You who arelowest of the low and vilest of the vile! You who are all but in Hell, and are condemned already, you who lie at Hell's darkdoor bound in affliction and iron, shut out from mercy, as you think-Christ is the way for you!
For all who long to escape from sin. For all who would come to God. For all who have a desire after mercy or eternal life.The great trumpet is blown, and may they come that are ready to perish, may the most needy and abject, and lost, and self-condemned,say, "I will come now and trust in Jesus who died the Just for the unjust to bring us to God."
III. The last point is, HOW WE MAKE CHRIST OUR WAY, AND WHETHER HE IS OUR WAY NOW. How do
we make Christ our way? Why, as we make any other way our way. We hear a man say, "This is my way." How does he make thathis way? Has he got the title-deeds of it? Has he a charter from his Majesty? No, nothing of the sort. The way in which Ishall make the Clapham Road my way after I have done preaching is by getting into it.
And the way in which Christ becomes a sinner's way is simply by going to Christ. That is all. You have no legal rights, noforms or ceremonies to go through-you have but to come to the King's highway by trusting Christ, and Christ is yours. "Butmay I," says one, "without any warrant, come and trust Christ?" What warrant do you want? The only warrant is God's permission,and you have a great deal more than that-you have God's command-which is more than permission. He has said, "Go you into allthe world and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believes notshall be damned."
In believing you do what that Gospel warrants by its command. "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved," isGod's Word! You certainly have a right to do what God commands you to do, so that your right to trust Christ lies in God'scommand. He says He will save you through what Christ has done. Will you believe Him? Will you believe Him so as to trusttoday in what Christ has done? If you do not, you make God a liar. If you do, you glorify God by believing His testimony,and you glorify His Son by trusting in His work-and you are saved.
Now, in order to keep the way your own, all you do is to continue in it. How do you keep any other way as your own? By anycharter, by any fresh right that you had not at first? No, not at all. "This is my way," say I, as long as I still keep tothat way. If I turn the other way I cannot say that it is my way, at least nobody would believe a way to be my way if I wentin a contrary direction. If I leap over the hedge and go off in another direction and say, "This is my way," I lie. Man alive-thatis your way which you go-your possession of the way lies in your keeping the way.
So now, Christian, Christ continues yours by the same way in which He became yours. That is by your still trusting Him, notby anything you do, or are by yourself, or in yourself. Because Jesus lives, you live also, not because of anything you do."The just shall live by faith," not by any other means. You are not to begin in the Spirit and then be made perfect in theflesh. You are not to begin to walk by confidence in Christ and afterwards go on to walk by confidence in your own evidencesand graces. Your evidences and graces will always shine best when you think the least of them, and always will be brightestwith God when you look most at His dear Son, and not at them.
If you ever take your best virtues and sanctifications and make them a ground of hope, you are building on that which willcrumble beneath you in the time of trial. But as long as you keep to this, "Still a sinner, but still washed in the blood.Still in myself guilty, but no guilt of mine imputed to me, all laid on my Substitute. Still my best prayers, my best hymns,my almsgivings, my preaching, my all-all defiled-but yet I am clean through Him that washes my feet and makes me clean inHis most precious blood."
This is the way to live, the way to live evermore, not only as a beginner, but when you are advanced in Divine Grace-the wayto live when you are becoming a mature matron or veteran soldier, and the way when you come to die. It is especially, then,in those last moments, that we fling everything away but just what Christ has done. We might have been troubling ourselvesa great deal before about marks, evidences, and so on, But when it comes to the last, we are like the good man who, on hisdying bed, tried to pick out what was good and what was bad of his own doings. He said he was a long while judging them, butthey were so much of a burden that he at last tied them all up in one bundle and flung them over, and rested on Christ alone.That is the very best thing for us all to do even now-
"None but Jesus, none but Jesus, Can do helpless sinners good." This will not make you unholy but holy. If you believe this,you will seek to honor and glorify God with all your might, and when you have done all, you will feel that you are unprofitableservants. And into His dear arms you will cast yourselves, and pray that the hands that were pierced may still embrace youand keep you safe in death and in eternity.
Now, the question to finish with is this, "Is Christ my way today?" Oh, I know many of you could rise up and say, "Yes, Heis, He is all my salvation and all my desire-
"Nothing in my hands I bring, Simply to the Cross I cling."
"My God, You know all things. You know my soul's only reliance is on Your dying, Your risen, Your ever-living Son, who ismy hope, my All."
But, perhaps there are some here who are not in this way, because they do not even know it. I believe there is no doctrineso little known in England as the Gospel. While a great many doctrines are preached, and very properly so, and the preceptsare preached, yet there are hearers who have heard for years, and yet do not know this fundamental, essential doctrine ofthe Gospel-that God laid sin on Christ that He might take sin off from us, and punished Him that He might be Just and yetthe justifier of the ungodly. If you have never heard it before you have heard it now. You will not perish, therefore, withthat excuse. If you put aside that way of salvation, it will not be because you have never heard it. If you perish, therewill be no excuse for you.
But there are some who do not believe this plan to be Divine. When they hear it and understand it, they scrap it. Some willsay it is inconsistent with the pursuit of morality. Others will say it is fantastic or unjust. One will say this and anotherthat. But though the Cross of Christ is to them that perish foolishness, to us who are saved it is the wisdom of God and thepower of God-and God forbid we should preach any other Gospel to you. Some there are who even hate it. They will gnash theirteeth at the idea of being pardoned through the merit of Another, their righteous self feels indignant at being insulted bybeing put right out of the market.
Ah, cast not your soul away out of mere hate to God, but kiss Him whom God has made King this day, and trust in Him who isPriest forever after the order of Melchisedek, to put away the sin of man by His own great sacrifice. Come now to Him andtake the Atonement and the peace which He brings. Some are not saved because they are too fearful to come this way, but tosuch I would speak very gently. The bruised reed He will not break, the smoking flax He will not quench. Let not your senseof sin make you think little of my Master.
You are a great sinner, but He is a greater Savior. Do not say that you have matched Christ, or overmatched Him. Come, GoliathSinner, the Son of David can conquer you or save you yet-"Though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.Though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool." Think of David, how foully he had transgressed, yet with all thelust stains, and the murder spots upon him, he had faith enough to say, "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: washme, and I shall be whiter than snow."
And so shall you be whiter than snow, when once the bloody sacrifice of Christ in all its merit has become yours, as it maythis very morning if you simply trust in Him. May my God the Eternal Spirit, may my God the blessed Father, may my God, evenJesus the Son, draw many reluctant hearts now, and His shall be the praise. Amen.