Sermon 726. Life Eternal
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON, AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand." John 10:28.
SOME will say that this is a mixed congregation and that such a doctrine as this should not be advanced in the presence ofungodly men and women. This shows how little such objectors read their Bible, for this very text was spoken by the Savior,not to His loving disciples but to His enemies! Readthe thirty-first verse of the chapter, and you will see the temper of the congregation to whom Jesus Christ preached uponthis subject-"Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him." So it was an indignant multitude of bigots that had this hurledinto their face by theSavior, that although they might reject Him, and because of their willful obstinacy might miss the blessings of Divine Grace,yet those blessings were rich and rare.
He would have them to know that what they lost was inexpressibly precious, and that His message was not to be despised withoutgreat damage to their souls. Thus, if there is a mixed multitude here-and I fear the allegation is true, that there are manyhere who cannot comprehend thepreciousness of the things of God-yet, for the same reason which prompted the Savior to preach this doctrine to the wickedin His day, we will do the same now, that they may know what it is they lose by losing Christ! We want them to know what thosecomfortable things arewhich they despise, and what are the inestimable treasures which those must miss who seek after the treasures of this world,and let their God, their Savior, go!
We have no time to loiter, and let us, therefore, as the bee sucks honey from the flower, seek after the sweet essence ofthe text, "I give unto them eternal life." The connection tells us that the pronoun "them" refers to Christ's sheep, to certainpersons whom He had chosen to be His sheep, andwhom He had also called to be such. Lest we should be in the dark as to whom they are, our Savior has kindly put us in possessionof the marks by which His sheep may be discovered. We cannot read the secret roll of election, nor can we search the heart,but we can mark the outwardconduct of men. The verse before the text tells us by what signs we are to know God's people-"My sheep hear My voice, andI know them, and they follow Me."
The marks are the hearing of Christ, and then the following of Christ, first, by faith in Him, and then by an active obedienceto His precepts. "Faith, which works by love" is the mark of Christ's sheep, and it is of true Believers that He speaks whenHe says, "I give unto them eternal life, andthey shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of My hand." Would to God that all of us wore the uniform of theelect, namely, active, sanctifying faith! Oh that we all listened to the Great Shepherd's voice! That we all received theTruths of God which He delivers! Andthen, resolved by His Grace, that we all followed Him wherever He goes, as the sheep follow the shepherd!
Having thus explained to whom the text belongs, we will now handle it in a threefold manner. The text implies, first, somewhatconcerning the past of these people. The text plainly states, in the second place, a great deal about the present state ofthese people. And, thirdly, the text notobscurely hints at something about their future.
I. In the first place, the studious reader will observe that the text implies SOMEWHAT CONCERNING THE PAST HISTORY OF THEPEOPLE OF GOD. It is said, "I give unto them eternal life." There is an implication, therefore, that they had lost eternallife. Every one of God's people fell in Adam, and allhave fallen also by actual sin. Consequently we came under condemnation, and Christ Jesus has done for us what Her Majestythe Queen has sometimes done for a condemned criminal-He has bought us a free pardon. He has given us life.
When our own desert was eternal destruction from the Presence of the Lord, Jesus Christ stepped in and He said, "You are forgiven.The sentence shall not take place upon you. Your offense is blotted out. You are clear." No, I think the text implies thatthere was something more thancondemnation-there was execution! We were not only condemned to die, we were already spiritually dead. Jesus did not merelyspare the life which ought to have been taken, and in that sense gave it to us, but He imparted to us a life which we hadnot before enjoyed!
It is implied in the text that we were spiritually dead. We are not left here to our own surmising, nor even to our own experience,for the Apostle Paul has said, "You has He quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins." What? Paul, were we dead? Areyou not mistaken? Perhaps we were only alittle sick. We are ready to admit, O Apostle, that we were sick and near to death, but surely we had a little vital energy,a little power to assist ourselves! "No," says the Apostle, "you were dead. Dead in trespasses and sins."
The work of salvation is tantamount, not only to the healing of the sick, but to the actual resurrection of a dead man fromhis grave. All the saints who are now alive unto God were once as dead as others, quite as corrupt and offensive as others,and as much an ill savor in the nostrils of DivineJustice by reason of their sins as even the most corrupt of their fellows. We had altogether gone out of the way. We hadaltogether become abominable, for "there is none that does good, no not one." When we were all shut up under sin, Jesus Christcame into the region of death andbrought life and immortality to us!
Life was forfeited by all the saints. Spiritual life they had none-Jesus the Quickener has made them alive unto God. Is itnot also very clearly implied that, so far from having any life, these people could not otherwise have obtained life exceptby its being given to them? It is a rule wellknown to all Biblical students that you never meet in God's Word with an unnecessary miracle. A miracle is never workedwhere the ordinary course of nature would suffice. Now, my Brothers and Sisters, the greatest of all miracles is the salvationof a soul! If that soul could saveitself God would not save it, but would let it do what it could do! And if the spiritually dead could quicken themselves,rest assured, from the analogy of all the Divine transactions, that Jesus Christ would not have come to give them life!
I believe that it would be utterly impossible for any one of us to enter Heaven, let us do what we might, unless Jesus Christhad come from Heaven to show us the way-to remove the bolts and bars for us-and to enable us to tread in the path which leadsto Glory and immortality. Lost!Lost! Lost! The race of man was utterly lost-not partly lost, not thrown into a condition in which it might be ruined unlessit worked hard to save itself-but so lost that but for the interposition of a Divine arm, but for the appearance of God inhuman flesh, but forthe stupendous transaction upon Calvary, and the work of God the Holy Spirit in the heart-not one dead soul ever could cometo life!
Eternal life would not be the peculiar work of the Lord Jesus if man had a finger in it, but man's power is excluded and DivineGrace reigns. It is clearly to be seen in the text, by a little thought, that eternal life was not the merit of any one ofGod's people, for it is said that it is given tous. Now a gift is the very opposite of payment. What a man receives as a gift he certainly does not deserve. If it is givento us, then it is no more a debt. But if it is a debt then it can no more be a gift. None of us merits eternal life, or evercan merit it. Mere mortal life isa gift of Divine mercy. We do not deserve it.
And as for the eternal life spoken of in the text, it is a gift too high for the fingers of human merit to hope to reach!If a man should work ever so hard after it, yet upon the footing of the Law it would be impossible for him to obtain it. Manmerits nothing but death, and life must be the freegift of God. "The wages of sin is death." That is to say it is earned and procured as matter of debt. "But the gift of God,"the Free-Grace gift of God, "is eternal life."
Now this is a very humiliating doctrine, I know, but it is true, and I want you all to feel it. Children of God, I know youdo. You see the hole of the pit from where you were drawn? Do you see it? Or have you grown proud of late? Those fine feelingsand prayers of yours-have you stuck themlike feathers in your cap? I pray you remember what you were! You, proud? Do not forget the dunghill where you once grew!Remember the filth out of which God took you, and instead of being scarlet with the garments of pride, your cheeks may wellbe scarlet with a blush! Oh, may Godforbid, once and for all, that we should glory, for what have we to glory in? What have we that we have not received?
It is clear, too, from the text, that those who are now righteous would have perished but for Christ. Christ says, "they shallnever perish." Promises are never given as superfluities. There is a necessity, therefore, for this promise. There was a danger,a solemn danger, that every one of thosemen who are now saved would have perished eternally. Sin made them heirs of wrath even as others, so Scripture tells us.And justice must have overwhelmed them with the rest if distinguishing Grace had not prevented! Even now it is solemnly truethat there is no reason why a trulyrighteous soul should not perish-except that Christ prevents it.
You are alive, but you would not be spiritually alive an hour unless the Holy Spirit continued to pour His vital energy intoyour soul. You shall be preserved, but, mark you, it is stated as a promise, and therefore it is not at all a matter of naturalnecessity. Apart from Divine Grace you are infearful danger of apostasy, and probably you have fears about it even now, like the Apostle who feared lest after havingpreached to others, he himself should be a cast away. A very proper fear-a fear which will often come upon sincere souls whofeel a holy jealousy ofthemselves. But we need have no fear when we come to the promise of God, for if we are really in Christ we have a guaranteeof security, since Christ's own words are, "They shall never perish."
The promise was certainly given because it was needed. There is a danger of perishing. There are ten thousand risks of perishing.Only Omnipotence itself keeps off the fiery darts of Satan. The blessed Physician gives the antidote, or the poison wouldsoon destroy us. He who swears to bring ussafely home protects us from a thousand foes who otherwise would work our ill. "They shall never perish." It is also impliedthat naturally the people of God have ten thousand enemies who would pluck them out of Christ's hand. They were once in thehand of the enemy. They were oncewilling bond-slaves of Satan. All this they know, and all this they are willing to acknowledge.
I would to God that some here would feel the truth of that which I have been saying. You self-righteous ones will say, "Iam all right. I do my best, I go to a place of worship." Now, Soul, that is right enough in itself, but if you boast of it,it is an evidence that you know neither God noryourself! When I have heard of some who have boasted that they felt no inbred sin, I have wished that they would read thestory of the Pharisee and the Publican. At the Fulton Street Prayer Meeting, a Brother asked for the prayers of Believersbecause he felt so much the corruptionof his own heart, the temptations of Satan, and especially the natural vileness of his own nature.
A Brother stood up on the opposite side of the hall and said he thanked God that was not his experience! He did not feel anycorruption and his heart was not depraved. The other one made no reply, but a friend present read these words: "Two men wentup into the temple to pray. The one a Pharisee,and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank You that I am not as other men are,extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.And the publican, standing afar off,would not lift up so much as his eyes unto Heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. Itell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for everyone that exalts himself shall be abased;and he that humbles himself shall beexalted."
A sense of sin is a blessed sign either of pardon received, or of pardon to come. He that says he has no sin makes God a liar,and the truth is not in him! He who will not confess his sin shall never be absolved! But he who, with a broken and a tremblingheart, goes to the foot of the Cross shallfind forgiveness there. This much, then, upon the past estate of the heirs of Heaven.
II. And now, to plunge at once into the subject. THE TEXT SHEDS A FLOOD OF LIGHT UPON THE PRESENT STATE OF EVERY BELIEVER.We shall have to give you hints rather than a long exposition, so kindly take the first sentence, which speaks of a gift received."I give unto them eternal life." This giftis, first of all, life. You will make strange confusion of God's Word if you confound life with existence, for they arevery different things. All men will exist forever, but many will dwell in everlasting death! They will know nothing whateverof life.
Life is a distinct thing altogether from existence, and implies in God's Word something of activity and of happiness! In thetext before us it includes many things. Note the difference between the stone and the plant. The plant has vegetable life.You know the difference between the animal and theplant. While the plant has vegetable life, yet it is altogether dead in the sense in which we speak of living creatures.It has not the sensations which belong to animal life. Then, again, if we turn to another and higher grade, namely, mentallife, an animal is dead so far as thatis concerned. It cannot enter at all into the mysterious calculations of the mathematician, nor revel in the sublime gloriesof poetry. The animal has nothing to do with the life of the intellectual mind-as to mental life it is dead.
Now, there is a grade of life which is higher than the mental life-a higher life quite unknown to the philosopher- not putdown in Plato, nor spoken of by Aristotle-but understood by the very least of the children of God! It is a phase of life called,"spiritual life." It is a newform of life altogether which does not belong to man naturally, but is given to him by Jesus Christ. The first man, Adam,was made a living soul and all his descendants are made like unto him. The second Adam is made a quickening spirit, and untilwe are made like the second Adam weknow nothing of spiritual life.
This body of ours is by nature adapted for a soulish life. The Apostle tells us, in that wonderful chapter in Corinthians,that the body is sown-what? "A natural body." The Greek is, "A soulish body"-"but it is raised"- what? "A spiritual body."There is a soulish body, and thereis a spiritual body. There is a body adapted to the lower life which belongs to all men, a mere mental existence. And thereis to be a body which will belong to all those who have received spiritual life-who shall dwell in that body as the houseof their perfected spirit inHeaven.
The life which Jesus Christ gives His people is spiritual life, therefore it is mysterious. "You hear the sound thereof butyou cannot tell from where it comes, nor where it goes. So is everyone that is born of the Spirit." You who have mental lifecannot explain to the horse or the dog what it is.Neither can we who have spiritual life explain to those who have it not what it is. You can tell them what it does and whatits effects are, but what the "spark of heavenly flame" may be, you, yourselves, do not know though you are conscious thatit is there! It is spiritual lifewhich Jesus Christ gives His people, but it is more-it is Divine life!
This life is like the life of God, and therefore it is elevating. "We are made," says the Apostle, "partakers of the Divinenature." "Begotten again by God the Father, not," says the Apostle, "with corruptible seed, but with incorruptible." We donot become Divine, but we receive a nature whichenables us to sympathize with Deity, to delight in the topics which engage the Eternal Mind, and to live upon the same principlesas the Most Holy God. We love, for God is love. We begin to he holy, for God is thrice holy. We pant after perfection, forHe is perfect. We delight indoing good, for God is good. We get into a new atmosphere. We pass out of the old range of the mere mental faculties. Ourspiritual faculties make us akin to God.
"Let Us," said He, "make man in Our own image, after Our own likeness." That image Adam lost. That image Christ restores andgives to us that life which Adam lost in the day when he sinned, when God said to him, "In the day that you eat thereof youshall surely die." In that sense he diddie-the sentence was not postponed-he died spiritually as soon as he touched the fruit. And this long-lost life Jesus Christrestores to every soul who believes in Him! This life, you will gather from my remarks, is heavenly life. It is the same lifethat expands anddevelops itself in Heaven. The Christian does not die. What does the Savior say? "He that believes in Me shall never die."
Does not the mental life die? Yes. Does not the mere bodily life die? Yes, but not the spiritual life! It is the same lifehere which it will be there-only now it is undeveloped and corruption impedes its action. Brothers and Sisters, nothing ofus shall go to Heaven as flesh and blood, butonly as it is subdued, elevated, changed, and perfected by the influence of the spirit-life! Know you not that "flesh andblood cannot inherit the kingdom of God? Neither does corruption inherit incorruption."
Then what is the "I," the "myself" that shall enter Heaven? Why, if you are in Christ a new creature, then that new creatureand nothing but that new creature! The very life which you have lived here in the Tabernacle. The very life that has buddedand blossomed in the garden of communion with God.That life which has led you to visit the sick, and clothe the naked, and feed the hungry. That life which has made tearsof repentance stream down your cheeks. That life which has caused you to believe in Jesus-this is the life which will go toHeaven! And if you have notthis, then you do not possess the life of Heaven and dead souls cannot enter there! Only living men can enter into the landof the living. "As we have borne the image of the earthy, so also shall we bear the image of the heavenly." Even now the heavenlylife heaves and throbs withinus!
I think it may also be inferred from all this that the life which Christ gives His people is an energetic life. If the spirituallife is poured into a man it raises him above his former state and lifts him out of the range of merely carnal comprehension.He himself is discerned of no man. "For youare dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." You cannot expect the world to understand this new life! It is a hiddenthing. It will be a mystery to yourselves, a wonder to your own hearts. But oh, how active it will be! It will fight withyour sins and will not be satisfieduntil it has slain them! If you tell me you never have a conflict within, I tell you I cannot understand how you can havethe Divine life, for it is sure to come into conflict at once with the old nature, and there will be perpetual strife.
The man becomes a new man at home. His wife and family observe it. He is a different man in business. He is a changed manaltogether-whether you view him in connection with his fellow men or with his God. He is a new creature! He feels that thenew and wondrous life which has been planted inhim has made him of a different race from the common herd, and he walks among the sons of men feeling that he is an alienand a stranger. "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when Heshall appear we shall be like He, forwe shall see Him as He is." I wish there were more time to describe the inward life, but this must suffice to indicate theblessing which Jesus gives to the Believer by the work of the Holy Spirit.
There is a word in the text, which qualifies it: "I give unto them eternal life." "Eternal" means "without end." If Christputs the life of God into a man, that life cannot be taken away. It cannot die, that were impossible! When I have heard onesay that you may be a child of God today but thatnext week may find you a child of the devil, I have supposed that the word "eternal," according to him, could only havemeant five or six days. But according to the dictionary I use, according to the mind of the Spirit, "eternal" means "withoutend." If, then, a man says, "I hadspiritual life once, but I do not possess it now," it is clear that either he is mistaken altogether or he never had itat all!
If Jesus had said, "I give unto them life which shall last for seven years, but which may perhaps be quenched and put outunder temptation," I could understand a man saying that he had fallen from Grace. But if it is "eternal life," then it mustbe "eternal." There is no end to it, it must go on.The mere existence of the soul, we believe, will be never-ending. But it will be no gift to the ungodly that it will beso! It is not for Christ to give us mere immortality of existence, for that will be a fearful curse to some men! Lost soulswould be glad enough if they could berid of their immortal existence, but Christ gives an eternal, a holy life, a happy life, which is infinitely more than existence.Existence may be a curse, but life is a blessing.
This life begins here: "I give unto them." Not, "I shall give," but, "I give." Not, "I will give it to them when they die,"but, "I give it them here, I give unto them eternal life." Now, my Hearer, you have either got eternal life tonight, or youare still in death. If you have not received it youare "dead in trespasses and sins," and your doom will be a terrible one! But if God has given you eternal life, fear notthe surrounding hosts of Hell nor the temptations of the world, for the eternal God is your refuge, and underneath you arethe everlasting arms! This life isgiven as a free gift to every one of the Lord's people, and is bestowed by the Lord and by none else.
2. Let us turn now to the second part of the blessing. Here is preservation secured. "They shall never perish." Certain gentlemenwho cannot endure the doctrine of final perseverance manage to slip away from the next sentence, "Neither shall any pluckthem out of My hand," and suggest, "but theymay get out themselves." No, no, no! Because the text says, "They shall never perish." Our present sentence, which we havenow in hand, puts aside all suppositions of every kind about the destruction of one of Christ's sheep. "They shall never perish."
Take each word. "They shall never perish." Some of their notions may. Some of their comforts may. Some of their experiencesmay. But THEY never shall! That which is the essence of the man, his true soul, his inward renewed nature, shall never bedestroyed. See, then, Christian, you may be deprivedof a thousand things without any violation of the promise. The promise is not that the ship shall not go to the bottom,but that the passengers shall get to the shore. The promise is not that the house shall not be burned-the pledge is that youwho are in the house shallescape. "They shall never perish."
Take another word: "They shall never perish." They shall go very near it, perhaps. They shall lose their joys and their comforts,but "they shall never perish." The life in them shall never be starved out, nor beaten out, nor driven out. If you once getleaven into a piece of bread you cannot getit out. You may boil it, you may fry it, you may bake it, you may do what you like with it, but the leaven is in it andyou cannot get it out. Get the soul saturated with the Grace of God, and you can never eradicate it. The man himself shallnever perish! He may think he shall. Thedevil may tell him he shall. His comforts may be withdrawn. He may go to his deathbed full of doubts and fears about himself,but he shall never perish!
Now this is either true or it is not. You who think it is not true tell the Lord so. But I believe that it is a most sureand infallible fact, for Jehovah says it. I do not know how it is that they do not perish. It is a wondrous thing. But thenit is all a marvel throughout from first to last. Nowtake the word "never." We have shown how long the preservation endures-"They shall never perish." "Well, but if they shouldlive to be very aged, and should then fall into sin?" "They shall never perish." Oh, but perhaps they may be assaulted inquarters where they leastexpect it, or they may be beleaguered by temptation." "They shall never perish."
"Well, but a man may be a child of God and yet go to Hell." How so, if he can never perish? That "never" includes time andeternity! It includes living and dying! It includes the mountain and the valley, the tempest and the calm-
"They shall never perish. In every state secure, Kept by the eternal Hand."
Beneath the wings of the Almighty God, night with its pestilence cannot smite them, and day with its cares cannot destroythem! Youth with its passions shall be safely passed. Middle age with all its whirl of business shall be navigated in safety.Old age with its infirmities shall become the landof Beulah. Death's gloomy vale shall be lit up with the coming splendor. The actual moment of departure, the last and solemnarticle, shall be the passing over of a river dry-shod. "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and throughthe rivers, they shall not overflowyou: when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon you, says the Lord." "Theyshall never perish."
There is a way of explaining away everything, I suppose, but I really do not know how the opponents of the perseverance ofGod's saints will get over this text. They may do with it as they will, but I shall still believe what I find here, that Ishall never perish if I am one of Christ's people. IfI perish, then Christ will not have kept His promise but I know He must abide faithful to His Word. "He is not a man thatHe should lie, nor the son of man that He should repent." Every soul that rests on the atoning sacrifice is safe, and safeforever-"they shall neverperish."
3. Then comes the third sentence, in which we have a position guaranteed-"in Christ's hand." We have not time to expound it.It is to be in a place of honor-we are the ring He wears on His finger. It is a place of love: "I have engraved you upon thepalms of My hands; your walls arecontinually before Me." It is a place of power-His right hand encloses all His people. It is a place of property-Christholds His people. "All the saints are in Your hand." It is a place of discretion-we are yielded up to Christ-and Christ wieldsadiscretionary government over us.
It is a place of guidance, a place of protection-as sheep are said to be in the hand of the shepherd, so are we in the handof Christ. As arrows in the hand of a mighty man, to be used by him. As jewels in the hands of the bride to be her ornament,so are we in the hand of Christ. Now, whatsays the text? It reminds us that there are some who want to pluck us out of His hand! There are those who, with false doctrine,would deceive, if it were possible, the very elect! There are roaring persecutors who would frighten God's saints, and somake them turn back in the dayof battle. There are scheming tempters-the panderers to Hell, the jackals of the lion of the pit-who would gladly drag usto destruction.
Then there are our own hearts that would pluck us out of His hand. You know in the text before us we need not read the word"man," for it is not in the original. The translators have put the word "man" in italics to show that it is not in the Greek,and so we may read it-"Neither shall anypluck them out of My hand." Not only any "man," but any devil either. Nothing that is present shall do it, nothing to come-noprincipality, no power, nothing whatever that is conceivable. "None shall pluck them out of My hand."
It does not merely include men, who are sometimes our worst foes, for the worst that we have are they of our own household,but it also includes fallen spirits. But none shall be able to pluck us out of His hand. By no possibility shall any be able,by any of their schemes, to remove us from beingHis favorites, His property, His dear sons, His protected children. Oh, what a blessed promise!
Now, do you know, while I have been preaching to you about this, I have been thinking a little about my own history beforeI knew the Lord. One of the things that made me want to be a Christian was this. I had seen some young lads that I was atschool with. They were excellent lads, and some ofthem had been held up as patterns of imitation to me and to others. I saw them, though only a very few years older thanmyself, turn out as vain and ungodly as could be, and yet I knew them to have been excellently well disposed as boys, no,to have been very patterns! And this kindof thought used to cross my young brain, "Is there not some means of being preserved from making a shipwreck of my life?"
When I came to read the Bible, it seemed to me to be full of this doctrine: "If you trust Christ, He will save you from allevil. He will keep you in a life of integrity and holiness while here, and He will bring you safe to Heaven at the last."I felt that I could not trust man, for I had seensome of the very best wandering far from the Truth of God. If I trusted Christ, it was not a chance as to whether I shouldget to Heaven, but a certainty. And I learned that if I rested all my weight upon Him He would keep me, for I found it written,"The righteous shall hold on Hisway, and he that has clean hands shall wax stronger and stronger."
I found the Apostle saying, "I am persuaded that He that has begun a good work in you will carry it on," and suchlike expressions."Why," I reasoned, "I have found an insurance office, and a good one, too! I will insure my life in it! I will go to Jesusas I am, for He bids me. I will trust myselfwith Him." If I had listened to the Arminian theory I should never have been converted, for it never had any charms forme. A Savior who casts away His people, a God who leaves His children to perish were not worthy of my worship! And a salvationwhich does not save outright isneither worth preaching nor listening to.
When I stand here and say to this assembled mass, Trust my Master, believe Him, and it is no matter of question as to whetheryou shall be saved, for He has said that, "he that believes and is baptized shall be saved." When I say that, I feel thatI have something to say which is worth listeningto! My dear Hearer, with a new heart and a right spirit you will be a new man! As you now are, if you were to be pardonedtonight you would be condemned tomorrow, for the tendencies of your nature would lead you astray. But if God shall put a newnature into you, your old natureshall not be able to control it.
The new immortal principle shall get the mastery! You shall be kept from sinning! You shall be preserved in holiness, andthough you will have to mourn over your imperfection, yet you will feel that you have God's own life in you! Though you willrealize that you are not perfect, yet you will wishyou were, and this wishing to be so will be a sign of Divine Grace in your soul! And these wishes and desires will go onwaxing stronger and stronger, till, having mastered sin by the power of the Spirit, the day shall come when this body shallbe dropped off, and the new life,disencumbered of the vile rags which it was compelled to wear while it was here, shall leap in its disembodied existenceinto perfection and then shall wait for the trumpet's sound! And the body itself, purified and made fit for the new and higherlife, shall be again inhabited, andso both the body and the soul, delivered from all sin, shall be an everlasting testimony to the promise of Christ-for thosewho rest in Him shall have eternal life-and they shall never perish! Neither shall any pluck them out of His hand!
III. I have anticipated the last point as to THE OUTLOOK OF MY TEXT INTO THE FUTURE. If God has given you eternal life, thatcomprehends all the future. Your spiritual existence will flourish when empires and kingdoms decay. Your life will live onwhen the heart of this great world shall grow cold,when the pulse of the great sea shall cease to beat, when the eye of the bright sun shall grow dim with age! You possesseternal life!
When, like a moment's foam which melts into the wave that bears it, the whole universe shall have gone and left not a wreckbehind, it shall be well with you, for you have eternal life! You have an existence that will run parallel with the existenceof the Deity. Eternal life! Oh, what an avenue ofglory is opened by those words-Eternal Life! "Because I live," said Christ, "you shall live also." As long as there is aChrist there shall be a happy soul, and you shall be that happy soul! As long as there is a God there shall be a beatifiedexistence, and you shall enjoythat existence, for Jesus gives you eternal life.
Spin on, old world, until your axle is worn out. Fly on, Old Father Time, until your hour-glass is broken and you shall ceaseto be! Come, mighty angel! Plant your feet upon the sea and upon the land and swear by Him that lives that time shall be nomore, for even then every Christian shall stilllive, because Christ gives unto them eternal life! Does not the next sentence also look into the future?-"They shall neverperish"? They shall never cease to exist in perpetual blessedness! They shall never cease to be like God in their natures-never!Think about yourhaving been in Heaven a thousand years-can you imagine it? A thousand years' blessed communion with the Lord Jesus!
A thousand years in His bosom! A thousand years with the sight of Him to ravish your spirit! Well, but you will have justas long to be there as if you had never begun, for you shall never, never perish! When the millennium shall come, or whenthe judgment shall sit-and when all the greattransactions of prophecy shall be fulfilled, these need not distress you, for if you trust Christ you shall never-oh, turnthat word over-you shall never, never, never, never, NEVER perish! What an eternity of glory! What unspeakable delight iswrapped up in thispromise-"They shall never perish!"
Then, surely, this is another glance into the future-"And none shall pluck them out of My hand." We shall be in His hand forever!We shall be in His heart forever! We shall be in His very Self forever-one with Him-and none shall pluck us out of His hand!Happy, happy is the manwho can lay claim to such a promise as this! Oh, there are some of you to whom I wish this promise belonged! It is veryrich, and very full of comfort. I wish it belonged to you. Do you say, "I, too, wish it belonged to me"? Oh, Friend, I amglad to hear you say that!
Do you know, Soul, that there is but one key to open this precious treasure, and that key is the Cross of the Lord Jesus?What saves you? Can you trust Him? When one told me the other day she could not trust Christ, I looked her in the face andsaid, "What has He done that you should not trust Him?Can you trust me?" "Yes," she said, "I can trust my fellow creatures, but I cannot trust God." Oh, I thought, what terribleblasphemy! It was honestly spoken, and it was spoken by one who did not perceive the greatness of the offense in it, but Ido not know that there is any worsething that can be said than that-"I cannot trust God!"
Well, Sir, you have made Him a liar, then! That is the practical result of it. For if you believe a man to be honest you canalways trust him. Can I trust my fellow man and not trust God? Oh, the horror of that thought! There is such an amount ofblasphemy in it that I must not quote it again! Nottrust Christ? "Well," says one, "but may we not have a merely natural trust and so be deceived?" I do not know of any trustin Christ except a spiritual one, nor do I believe in any. If you trust Christ you have not done that of yourself. There wasnever a soul that trusted Christunless he was enabled to do it by God the Holy Spirit!
And if you wholly and simply trust Christ you need not ask any questions about natural trusting or spiritual trusting. Ifyou trust the Lord Jesus wholly you are right. Rest on Him, then. Rest on Him only, wholly, and solely-and if you perish thenI do not understand the Gospel, and I cannotcomprehend what the Bible means. I will tell you one thing, and then close. If you trust Christ and you perish, then I mustperish most certainly, and so must all my Brothers and Sisters here who have believed in Jesus.
It is all over with us if it is all over with you! When there is a storm, one passenger cannot very well go to the bottomif he is in the ship unless the whole of the ship's company go, too. We must go together. We have got into the lifeboat, andif the lifeboat goes down with you, it must go downwith all the saints, and all the Apostles, and all the martyrs, too. They went to Heaven resting upon Christ, and if yourest on Christ you will get there also. Oh, Sinner, may you be led today to rest on Jesus and on Jesus only, and then takethe text. Do not be afraid ofit-"I give unto My sheep eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of My hand."