Sermon 1592. The Common Salvation
DELIVERED ON LORD'S-DAY MORNING, APRIL 10, 1881,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"The common salvation." Jude 1:3.
JUDE says, "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was necessary for me to writeunto you." The Apostle did not write for writing's sake and in this he sets us an example-we are not to speak for speaking'ssake, nor even to preach for preaching's sake. When we take upon ourselves to write concerning Divine things, it ought tobe because it is necessary for us to write. And when we speak in the name of God, it should be because we have something tosay which is necessary to be said. Unless a man feels an imperative necessity to speak, he will not speak as an ambassadorof God.
I think that Jude would not have given all diligence to write if he had not, first, felt that necessity was laid upon himto do so. Before you instruct others, endeavor to feel the obligation which rests upon you to impart the Light of God whichyou have received, for if you have been called of God unto this ministry, woe is unto you if you preach not the Gospel! Thesouls of others require the Truth of God which you have been commissioned to teach-but you, also, require to teach it to them,for, if you do not warn them, their blood may stain your skirts. "That the soul is without knowledge is not good." Neitheris it good to any that he should withhold what he knows. That men should live and die in ignorance of Christ is terrible toconceive of, therefore when you speak or write, do it because it is necessary to be done and necessary that you should doit.
You know how it behooved Christ to suffer and, even so, it behooves us to hold forth the Word of Life. The necessity in thepresent case was that he should write of the common salvation. If it was common-commonly understood and commonly received-whyshould he need to write about it? Surely a common subject has enough written upon it, already, and it affords no room forfreshness and novelty which are so much desired by readers. Yet experience and observation prove that it is more necessaryto preach the common Doctrines of the Gospel than any other Truths of God and that just those things which appear to be themost elementary and the most generally received are those upon which it is most important to lay stress again and again.
If there are certain high doctrines, speculative theories and dogmas which are rather outgrowths of the Gospel than the Gospel,itself, let them be preached in due proportion. But if they are not preached, the risk and danger will not be extreme. Asfor the root facts, the fundamental Doctrines, the primary Truths of Scripture, we must, from day to day, insist upon them.We must never say of them, "Everybody knows them," for, alas, everybody forgets them! We must not cease from proclaiming themfrom fear of being charged with uttering mere platitudes-that which is revealed of the Holy Spirit must not be spoken of soreproachfully. Let men call the Doctrines of the Gospel platitudes if they will-we will only answer that on such platitudesour salvation rests!
After all, on certain grand, wide, well-known Truths of universal acceptance, the Church of God is built-her basis is nota difficult philosophy, but a plain Revelation of God. Let us not strain after matters of ultra refinement, theories of culturedintellects, but let as obey the necessity which calls upon as to write and to speak of the common salvation. The Gospel messageis full of world-wide truisms and well-known facts. What did Paul say?-"This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation,that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." If worthy of all acceptation, it is surely worthy of all proclamation!It is worthwhile for the whole Church to continually rehearse that Jesus came to save sinners, for common Truth as it is,there is a necessity that we should perpetually and diligently make it known.
The common salvation should be commonly spoken of, but I fear it is uncommonly neglected in these days. The immediate necessityto write of the common salvation arose out of certain men who had crept into the Church unawares. Some of these attacked theGospel on its practical side with Antinomian subtlety. They cried up the Grace of God, but
said little of the holy living which it produces. They made light of sin under pretense of magnifying the Grace of God! Theycalled careful watchfulness a legal spirit They derided humble self-examination and claimed, as children of God, they were,in no sense, bound by the precepts of the Moral Law. The Apostle calls it, "turning the Grace of our God into lasciviousness."
Side by side with these, there crept in another gang of evil ones, "who denied the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ."They robbed Christ of His Divine Glory and so denied His Atonement and Sovereignty as to dethrone Him from being either theSavior or the King of His Church. This was the essence of Arianism. They said that Jesus Christ was an admirable example,that He was one of a number of persons who have discovered important truths and that He is, therefore, to be greatly admired,but they asserted that still higher truth would yet be discovered as the race proceeded in its progress and so forth. These"men of thought" crept into the Church and stabbed at the heart of the common salvation.
We used to have in our Churches a sad amount of the Antinomian leaven-we had among us men who preached the Doctrines of Gracewithout the Grace of the Doctrines and professors who forevermore spoke about "the truth," but seemed little careful aboutfollowing "the Way" or exhibiting "the Life." I hope that this evil principle has pretty well departed from us, though I fearthat in its removal it has dragged away precious Truths of God with it and now we are assailed by quite another school ofthought.
I see no choice in the two kinds of foes, they are equally bad-these last are denying this Truth and paring down the other,moving landmarks and overthrowing monuments, shaking every wall and kicking at every foundation. Having crept in among usunawares, defiant of common honesty, they preach against the Gospel from our own pulpits and wage war against our Zion fromwithin her own gates! It is essential at this day that such as fear God and are His servants should again and again both writeand preach concerning "the common salvation"-and over and over again rehearse the first lessons of Christ-the very alphabetof Grace.
We must make the joyful sound of the common salvation to be more common than ever! I wish to ring it out this morning withall the power that I have and with all that God will grant me by His Holy Spirit! If these men assailed certain speculationsof theology it would little matter. What is the chaff to the wheat, says the Lord? Let the chaff be removed, by all means.If they assailed certain peculiarities of method, either in work, or life, or teaching, it might be well for us to be taughtsomething by their censures. If they attacked the specialties of a single person or sect and the particular view of the Truthof God held by a mere party it would not matter, for what are the fashions of men's minds? Who is Paul and who is Apollos?
But it is at the very root of the tree that they lay their axe and, therefore, we must end all hesitation! We must take upour weapons and, for the sake of the common salvation earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints!Our subject, then, is "the common salvation." Oh to speak in the power of the Spirit!
I. Our first observation at this time shall be that PRESENT SALVATION IS ENJOYED BY THE FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST, otherwise therecould be among them no "common salvation." Those who are sanctified by God the Father and preserved in Jesus Christ and called,are saved. In the Church of God, salvation is the privilege of all Believers. It is not a matter of the future, alone, a blessingto be sought for on a dying bed and reached in Heaven. But it is a blessing for this world and this present time. Those greatlymistake the meaning of salvation who suppose it signifies nothing more than escaping from Hell when you die and entering intoHeaven when the time has come.
Salvation means being at once delivered from the power of sin and being, once and for all, washed from the guilt of sin. Thevery word used here-"the common salvation"-shows that Jude did not regard it as a hidden treasure put away from human reachthroughout this mortal life. How could it have been common in such a case? He did not regard it as a distant attainment tobe reached after 20, 30, or 40 years of holy living, but as a thing to be tasted, handled and received as soon as faith entersthe soul-for how else could it be common? "Unto us who are saved," says the Apostle, "who has saved us, and called us withan holy calling," says the Scripture in another place. Salvation has come to our house-we have it-it is a common blessingin the household of faith. As salvation is not a future benefit only, so it is not a benefit reserved for a few of the moresaintly people among Believers.
It is supposed by some that you cannot know whether you are saved till you are in the grip of death, or that, if any do knowit, it is only a few eminent teachers or especially holy persons who have lived a very religious life and, consequently, knowthat they are saved. It is to be confessed that the more holy and godly our life, the brighter our evidence of salva-
tion becomes. But still, the blessing, itself, is common to all the children of God-and those whose faith is feeble and whosespiritual life is weak are still saved in the Lord. Beloved Hearer, you ought not to rest without knowing that you are saved!You may know it and if it is true, you ought to know it! I do not think that you have any right to sit quietly on that seatfor 10 minutes without knowing that you are saved, for it is an awful thing to be in doubt as to whether you are under thebondage of sin-in doubt as to your being at peace with God.
This is not a subject upon which uncertainty can be endured. You say, "'Tis a point I long to know." It is well that you longto know it-I beg you to long to know it so intensely that you must either know it or become unutterably wretched! Let everydoubt on that point be like a sword in your bones. May God cause your heart either to rejoice with full assurance or elseto be in agony as with death pangs till you are confident that you are built on the sure Foundation. The salvation which isin Christ Jesus is the common salvation of all who know the Gospel and live upon it. Among simple-minded Believers, salvationis the inheritance of every one of them and the knowledge that they are saved is an everyday possession. We who have joinedin Church fellowship in this place can truly say, "We rejoice in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh." "Beingjustified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." We count it no presumption to say that we are saved,for the Word of God has told us so in those places where salvation is promised by faith in Christ Jesus!
The presumption would lie in doubting the Word of God-but in simply believing what He says, there is far greater humilitythan in questioning it! Being, then, partakers of like precious faith, we share in salvation bought with precious blood, which,though it is costly beyond all price is, nevertheless, to all Believers the common salvation. This common salvation consistsin many works of Grace for us and in us. In part it consists of deliverance from spiritual death. We were dead in trespassesand sins, but the Spirit of God has quickened us into a new and heavenly life and thus we have salvation from spiritual death.This belongs, today, to all Believers, for how can a man be a Believer and not have the inner life? Having that life, he isconscious that it is there. True, he may fall into a fainting fit and lie swooning, scarcely conscious of being alive-butsuch is not his usual condition. Healthy life is conscious life and rejoices in being, acting and growing. You who are strangersto the people of God may think I am fanatical, but, indeed, I am only speaking words of truth and soberness when I say thatthe conscious possession of a heavenly life is common among Believers and is, in fact, a large part of the common salvation.
This common salvation consists in deliverance from that awful distance at which we once stood from God. We were far off fromHim by wicked works and when the quickening began in us, we felt that distance and we mourned it, fearing, also, that it couldnever be removed. But now in Christ Jesus we are brought near and have become dwellers in the House of the Lord. Abba, Father,is the cry which the blessed God hears and accepts as it rises from our hearts. Once God was not in all our thoughts, butnow our thoughts are sanctified and sweetened by a sense of His Presence-and we find our greatest joy in feeling that He isall around us and within us-that in Him we live and move and have our being! Blessed is the common salvation which has broughtus near to God by the blood of Jesus and made us children and heirs of the Most High!
We have also been saved from the gloom of heart which once hung over us because we were conscious of being under God's displeasure.We thought that we could never be forgiven, but we are forgiven. We concluded that our heavenly Father would never acceptus, but we are accepted in the Beloved. We wrote ourselves down among the condemned, but now we are justified by faith whichis in Christ Jesus our Lord. The darkness has passed and the true light shines into the spirits of the faithful. Peace withGod is a sweet part of the common salvation. Now we are delivered, also, from the love of sin. We cannot find pleasure init as once we did. We sin, but it costs us dearly. When we do so, we lament it with our whole soul. It was our natural wayto run the downward road, but now, when our feet tread that path, it is as wanderers who are out of their way.
Once sin was our element, as the water is the living element of fish, but it is far otherwise, now, for sin is death to us.Transgression now breeds sorrow in our conscience and creates misery in the heart, for it is alien to the life of God whichis in us. If we could have our desire, we would never offend again-we would have our souls clear as the firmament above usand never would an evil thought or a loose desire flit over the pure heavens of our sanctified minds. We would do God's willon earth as it is done in Heaven. I say, "we," for I speak for all Believers in the Lord Jesus. We are all rescued from theiron yoke of the love of evil and this is a most precious part of the common salvation!
The Lord has also delivered us from that cowardly fear of man which brings a snare and holds men as slaves to evil customs.He has also brought us out of the dark dungeon of spiritual ignorance and renewed us in knowledge-thus has He broken the dominionof the former lusts of our ignorance and given us liberty to serve Him with godly fear. Pride, too, is laid in the dust andwe are saved from that dreadful tyrant. The dominant power of selfishness is destroyed and we have learned to love. The woesof others afflict us; the joys of others rejoice us; our soul flows out beyond the narrow confines of our own ribs. Our heartis enlarged with love towards God and to all His creatures. Blessed salvation this! And it is common to all Believers.
We have again and again heard it said that evangelical ministers preach salvation to sinful men and talk to them of a futurelife, whereas if we were practical, we should denounce the sinner and speak only of present reformation in this life. Thecharge is, I fear, more often made in malice than in ignorance. But if in ignorance I would reply-O fools and slow of heart,neither to listen nor to understand! Our constant theme is immediate salvation from sin and we are perpetually insisting uponit that this salvation is a present business, to be attended to at once for the purposes of today. It is false, utterly false,that we have so preached about the world to come as to have pushed out of sight the duties and temptations of this presentlife! No, we have regarded the life to come as commenced here below and have viewed Heaven, itself, as to a great extent,the fruit of a heavenly disposition which must be implanted in us while yet on earth.
Ah, if men did not hate the Gospel, they would not so often repeat stale objections and groundless accusations. It is surelytime that infidelity should invent something fresh in the way of objection, for this has long passed the stage of tolerationand has become a worn-out impertinence. Salvation from sin, leading upward to perfection and Heaven, is called in the text,"the common salvation." It is, then, the salvation of all God's people-the salvation about which all true Christians are agreed,for, notwithstanding all you hear about our divisions into sects, the Church is really one! The denominations of the ChristianChurch are very much like the divisions of a plowed field by means of furrows which mark the surface, but the land remains,to all intents and purposes, one field.
I speak not of mere professors, but truly spiritual people. Such are all one in Christ Jesus and their salvation is in allrespects the same. If they have not all things common, at least they have one and the same salvation! All converted men andwomen believe in the same essential Truths of God, feel the working of the same Spirit within them and press forward to thesame end, namely, perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord. You shall take a high churchman who is a truly spiritual man-andthere are such people-and you shall set him down side by side with the most rigid member of the Society of Friends and whenthey begin to talk of Jesus, of the work of the Holy Spirit in the soul and the desire of their hearts after God, you willhardly know which is which! The nearer we come to Him, who is the Salvation of God, the more plainly we see that among thechildren of God the basis of agreement is far wider than the ground of division.
Andrew Fuller well and pithily said, "There are, I conceive, four things which essentially belong to the common salvation-itsnecessity, its vicarious medium, its freeness to the chief of sinners and its holy efficacy." We may differ on the "five points,"but we are agreed upon these four points! Ask any true Christian if it is not so. You shall get together, if you like, a collectionof the odds and ends of Christianity and certainly there are some odd Christian people about whose light comes from above,so they say-I think through a crack in the roof-but if they are really genuine and their hearts are right, you shall findthat even in these wrong-headed folk there is an agreement upon their need of a Savior, their faith in His death, the freenessof His Grace and the change of heart which it produces. All Believers in Christ have a common delight in a common salvation.
II. We go a step further and note, secondly, that THIS SALVATION IS, IN SOME RESPECTS, COMMON IN THE WIDEST POSSIBLE SENSE.It is common because it is to be preached to all nations, to all classes, to all characters, to all ages and to all conditionsof men-in fact, it is to be preached to every creature under Heaven. It is the common salvation so far as this-that a proclamationof mercy through Jesus Christ is to be made to all mankind-for it is declared that if they believe in Christ Jesus they shallbe saved. You need not be afraid of being too free and unreserved in your delivering of the Gospel.
Let the great trumpet be blown and let every mortal ear attend! I am as firm an adherent to the Doctrines of Sovereign Graceas any man living, but never shall this tongue hesitate to declare the common salvation! Whenever I am called upon to addressa congregation, I will always cry, "Ho, everyone that thirsts, come you to the waters!" "Whoever will, let him take of theWater of Life freely." The invitation of the Gospel is so far-reaching that it may well be called "the
common salvation." It is common in the widest sense because every man that believes in Christ Jesus will be saved-not theJew only, but the Gentile, also-not the only poor man, but the rich man, also! Not only the black man, or the white man, butmen of every color-not the ignorant or the learned, the rude or the refined, exclusively-but every soul of Adam born thatbelieves in Christ Jesus shall be saved.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlastinglife." And so to you, dear Hearer, whoever you may be, comes this common salvation. It is a command addressed to you and apromise made sure to you, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved." It is common in this wide sense, thatif any man is saved he will be saved by this common salvation! Men talk as if there were half-a-dozen different roads to Heavenand yet there is but one-they prattle as if there were seven or eight saviors at the least, or as if every man must be hisown savior as we heard the other day of every man being his own lawyer!
And yet there is but one name given among men whereby we must be saved! He who tries to be his own savior has a fool for hisclient. He will utterly fail to his eternal confusion-why did Jesus die to save us if we can save ourselves? All born of Adamwho enter Eternal Life come in by the one door! Infants are saved through Christ and if any attain to Heaven from among theheathen, it must be by virtue of the salvation of Christ. He is the common Life for all that live, the common Bread for allwho are fed by God, the common joy of all who have been blessed of the Lord. Thus in its publication, in its promise and inits efficacy, the salvation of Christ is the one and only Gospel of Life to men. As there is but one common air, one commonsea, one common earth, so there is but one common salvation! O that we may be among those who prove its power in their ownperson by being saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation!
III. But I am persuaded that this is not what Jude meant, so I come, in the third place, to say that IT IS COMMON TO ALL BELIEVERS.Do you remember what this same Jude once said to the Savior? He asked Him, "Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourselfunto us and not unto the world?" He understands that matter, now, but he is not looking so much at the "not unto the world"as at the first fact in his question, "You will manifest Yourself unto us." He is evidently full of joy that the manifestationof the salvation of Jesus is common to all Believers. Upon that blessed fact let us dwell.
Certain offices, gifts, attainments and enjoyments are given to some and not to others. "Are all Apostles? Are all Prophets?Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?"It is not every Believer that possesses full assurance, or enjoys ecstasy, or is made largely useful to others. But all Believershave the common salvation! There they share and share alike and every one of them is saved in Christ Jesus and called. AnApostle may say to the newest of his converts, "I long to see you, that I may impart unto you spiritual gifts, to the endyou may be established. That is, that I may be comforted together, with you, by the mutual faith of both you and me."
For, first, it is a common salvation which all Believers possess, since it springs from the same Divine Grace. There are notsome saved by Grace and others by works, many by pure Grace and more partly by works-but salvation is altogether of Gracein every case and that Grace is the same in all who possess it. All Believers are chosen by the same electing love, for thesame reason, namely, to the Glory of the Father's Grace and, being so chosen, they are all ordained unto the same life, securedby the same Covenant and given into the hands of the same Surety. Eternal Love encompasses, enriches, comforts and preserveseach individual Believer and guarantees to each the same inheritance in Christ Jesus.
Brother, are you saved by Grace? So am I. Am I saved by Grace? Then my Sister, if you believe in Christ, you are saved asI am! It is a common salvation-common because we are all saved by the same Savior. We are not, some of us, looking to Jesusand others to Moses, or to ourselves! Neither are we, some of us, looking to the atoning death and others to the perfect lifeof Christ-but we are all saved by the same one work, life, death, Resurrection and intercession of Christ Jesus! When He madeAtonement by blood,, it was for all His redeemed. When He rose, it was to justify all who are in Him! When He stands at theright hand of God to plead, He intercedes for all the saints! And when He comes, it will be that all His saints may be withHim where He is and may behold His Glory.
Do not fall into the modern notion which divides up Christ and allots something to one class of Believers and another portionto others of the chosen. They tell us there are such-and-such promises for Israel and other promises for the Church. I havenot so read the Word of God, for I am persuaded that all Believers are the Israel of God! God loves all His saints and thesame blessedness shall be to them all! You may rejoice and be glad that God will not give special raptures
and soaring up into the skies to a portion of His family and leave the rest in the cold! In all that is "salvation" we havea common heritage, for Christ belongs to us all and we are all members of His body, partakers of His life and sharers of His
It is a common salvation because we are all saved through the same faith. We believe the same precious Truths of God and receiveChrist in the same way. All the saved possess faith, though not all to the same degree. Would God we were all strong in faith!Still, faith is a childlike confidence in God in the greatest as much as in the least of God's people-and this is the essentialrequisite to salvation in every case. He that believes in Christ is not condemned, but He that believes not is condemned already!To all participation in Christian privilege we have only one right-"If you believe with all your heart you may." Faith makesa man a fellow commoner with the saints of God. It is a common salvation because faith and spiritual life are worked in usby the same Spirit. Faith does not come to one by the operation of free will and to another by Free Grace, but to every oneby the same Spirit.
You, then, my Brothers and Sisters, are plucked like a brand from the burning by the power of the Spirit of God and so, also,is your friend who rejoices with you. All are quickened by the same Spirit and kept alive by the same Quickener. The loveof the Spirit should be joyfully acknowledged by us all without exception, for the Spirit has worked all our works in us.It is a common salvation as to its results, for all Believers are equally born again and they are all renewed by Him who says,"Behold I make all things new." Brought into the one family of God, they are all made children of God and joint heirs withChrist Jesus. They are all justified, accepted, preserved, guided, upheld and comforted. Their feet are set upon the sameRock, they are led in the same King's highway and a new song is prepared for every one of their mouths.
The common salvation, like the common table of a household, satisfies all their mouths with good things and renews their youthlike the eagle's. By-and-by they shall meet in the same Heaven. There will be no division before the Throne of God betweenthe different tribes and denominations of Believers. One family, we dwell in Him even now, with all our petty strifes-butthe great family relationship shall be more fully developed, by-and-by, when imperfections and errors shall be cast aside.The saints before the Throne will sing a common hymn to the common Savior as they gather in the common home, saved with acommon salvation!
Brethren, I am right glad of all this. I feel inclined to stop the sermon and ask you to join in singing Charles Wesley'sverse-
"Partners of a glorious hope, Lift your hearts and voices up Jointly let us rise and sing Christ our Prophet, Priest, andKing." To me it is a joyous thing that God's best gifts should be the most common. It is so in nature-the sunshine, the dew,the air, the heavens-these cannot become the particular estate of a few. They are common blessings. When Richard the Secondbanished Bolingbroke, that nobleman is represented as saying-
"This must my comfort be, That sun that warms you here, shall shine on me! And those His golden beams, to you here lent, Shallpoint on me and gild my banishment." There is no monopolizing the best gifts, for Heaven ordains them to be the right of allmankind and so the chief things of the Covenant of Grace are common to all Believers!
One may have greater powers of speech than another, but God has spoken to the silent Brother the same promises. Gifts areto this man and to that-but the gift of salvation is to all who believe! The choicest saint may have far less of this world'sriches than his brother, but the riches of God's Grace are all his own by equal title. We live on common ground, here, fedby our Father with the same Bread from Heaven. Thank God that in so many points the saints have fellowship, for all theseshould make them of one mind and of one heart towards each other. Some of God's children are not learned, but they shall allbe taught of the Lord! All are not experienced in the deep things of God, but they are all entitled to the best things ofGod!
There are some few points in which we are unlike, even as children of the same family differ in age and height, or in thecolor of their eyes or hair. But we are one in so many vital and conspicuous features that we should, with one voice
and heart, praise our common Father. We may not all wear the same form of garment, but we all breathe the same Life. We maynot eat from the same plate, but we all eat the same Bread. We may not all drink from a silver chalice, but the wine is fromthe one cluster. "Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, butthe same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which works all in all."
It is a great comfort to my heart that, among you who are bound to me by such loving ties, I can speak without hesitationof the common salvation, for you know it, feel it, love it, rejoice in it, even as I do this day!
IV. That brings me to close by noticing that this fact of the common salvation was mentioned by Jude that he might use itas an argument. So then THIS FACT HAS MANY LESSONS IN IT. First, this common salvation forbids a monopolizing spirit. Theold divines used to say that enclosures were contrary to Law. I am afraid that I may not say so, now, for almost everywherethe commons have been taken from the poor man and his goose. May there yet be an end to such enclosing. But enclosures inspiritual things are contrary to the Law of Christ. Who are we that we should cut off from fellowship with us those whosefellowship is with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ?
Yet we have those around us who make it a point of Christianity to be exclusive. Their exclusions are perpetual. Shut thatdoor! Shut that door! Shut that door! That seems to be the one great command of their house and the second is like it-makemore doors, one within the other and take care to bolt them all! Their sheep must keep within their fold without fail, forif they once get a bite of pasture outside the enclosure, their doom is sealed! In many forms this spirit has been among ourdenominations, but I do not believe in it. If the spirit of Christianity begets in us love to all mankind, much more, my Brothersand Sisters, are we to love those in whom there is the Life of God!
Is it really so, that this man is to be un-Christianized because of a mistake and the other because of a misapprehension?Does God make your Brother a Christian and do you try to unmake him? Does God think so much of him as to forgive him, to givehim power in prayer and enjoyment of His Presence and do you think so little of him that you will hardly acknowledge him tobe a partaker in Christ at all? Does the Father smile on all His children and do we frown on half of them? If I could do it,the last thing I should attempt would be to wall in my own special company and say, "The temple of the Lord are we."
I would not wish to set a fence round about the baptized and say, "These are the Church of Christ, even as many as have beenimmersed in water that they may be buried into His death." Beloved Brothers and Sisters, our Lord has a people that are onother points as right as right can be who on the point of Baptism are as wrong as wrong can be! But, for all that, they areHis people and in other respects are sound in the faith and valiant for the Lord our God. Unto such our love goes forth andmust go forth, in spite of their grievous error. Upon other matters there are distinctions among Believers, but yet thereis a common salvation enjoyed by the Arminian as well as by the Calvinist, possessed by the Presbyterian as well as by theEpiscopalian, prized by the Quaker as well as by the Baptist. Those who are in Christ are more near of kin than they knowand their intense unity in deep essential Truths of God is a greater force than most of them imagine-only give it scope andit will work wonders. As for us, let us not be among the men of whom Jude says, "These are they that separate themselves,sensual, having not the Spirit."
Next, this doctrine fosters the spirit of benediction. Jude begins his Epistle with, "Mercy unto you, and peace, and lovebe multiplied." Brothers and Sisters, fill your lungs with this healthy air! You are saved with a common salvation! Desirethe profit, the growth, the happiness of all who partake of this one salvation! You are in one ship-seek the good of all whosail with you. You are enlisted in one army-pray the Captain of salvation to make every soldier strong in the Lord and inthe power of His might. The common salvation should excite us to seek the prosperity of every part of Zion-we would seek thegood, not of our Tabernacle, alone, but of every tabernacle or temple where Christians meet to worship the Most High.
Next, this fact awakens in us a common spirit of contention for the one faith. For what says the Apostle? "It is necessarythat I write unto you of the common salvation, and exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith once deliveredto the saints." When the Gospel is assailed, we must all rise in its defense, for it is the common salvation which is involvedin it. When they frightened this nation years ago with the rumor of an invasion by the French, the Russians, or somebody orother, what was the result? Everybody became warlike! Our young men joined rifle clubs and our elderly men polished up theirold blunderbusses. Everybody hastened to arm himself to protect the common country from the coming foe-and had the enemy reallyarrived-even the women would have shouldered their brooms to sweep the in-
truder over our white cliffs! Every man, woman, and child would have found some fork, or scythe, or spade, or axe to protectthe common fatherland!
Community of interest begets community of feeling. We are all Englishmen and we all sing, "Britons never will be slaves,"so, in this case, when the Gospel of Jesus Christ is assailed, it does not matter by whom, I feel I may call upon all Christiansto take action for the common salvation. Brothers, awaken to the fight, for more than our hearths and homes are now attacked.Do they deny the Deity of Christ? It is not only my religion that is assailed, it is yours as well! Do they turn the Graceof God into lasciviousness? It is not this branch of the Church that is now endangered. The entire Church is placed in jeopardy!This Gospel is not my heritage or yours, it is the common domain of all the faithful and I beseech you feel it to be so. Inyour own spheres and in your own ways hold the Truth of God, and hold it firmly.
You who can neither preach nor write in defense of sound doctrine can at least give negative help by refusing to countenanceerror. Do not go to hear those who preach false doctrine. Do not encourage them in any way. Do not bid them God speed. Loveall them that love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, but if a word is spoken against the Lord or against the Gospel whichHe has revealed, turn your back upon the speaker! Be like the loving John, who, when he went to take a bath, found Cerinthus,the heretic, there, and departed at once with all speed. I want to see more backbone in all professors, more determinationnever to compromise their faith by pretending to believe that black is white and that white is a shade of black.
Love-do I not preach it with all my heart and do I not bid you manifest it in your deeds? But with that love mingle a firmadherence to the Truth of God as it is in Jesus and a zealous resolve that it shall not lose its honor while you are capableof upholding it! Let the common salvation be protected by the earnest zeal of the entire body of the Church and by us, also.This fact, I think, puts everyone of us to the question-It is a common salvation, but have I a part in it? It belongs to allthe people of God, but am I one of them? I should like you, this morning, when you get home, to write on a piece of paper,if you will, whether you are saved or not. It would be a timely searching. Here you are, on this 10th day of April-write down,"Saved, bless the Lord for it!" And if you are obliged to feel you could not write that down, go up into your chamber andcry mightily unto God till you can!
Well, if you are able to write, "saved," then inasmuch as it is a common salvation, go and try to spread that salvation amongothers. "Others save," says Jude. I know, he says, "others save with fear," but still he says "others save." Try, as far asyou can, to bring others to the Savior! A man's salvation that he never wishes to spread among others is a salvation thatis not worth having. You are not saved from selfishness if you do not wish to see your children, relatives and neighbors,yes, and all the world brought to Jesus' feet. If it is a common salvation, go and make it common. And, lastly, this textcalls for a common song of praise from all those who have the common salvation and I cannot suggest to you a better doxologythan that with which Jude closes his Epistle-"Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultlessbefore the presence of His glory with exceeding joy to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power,both now and forever. Amen."