Sermon 905. Footsteps Of Mercy
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
"If there is a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to show unto men His uprightness: Then He is graciousunto him and says, Deliver him from going down to the Pit: I have found a ransom."- Job 33:23,24.
WHEN God has distinct and definite purposes of mercy towards an individual, He often begins with stern discipline and bringshim low by affliction and sorrow. As the good farmer cuts down the trees and makes a clearance of the soil before he sowsthe grain and prepares for a harvest, so does our God cut down all our goodly cedars, our pleasures, and our pride in orderthat the heart may be afterwards plowed, broken, harrowed and made ready to receive the good seed of the Word. Elihu describesthis preparatory breaking-up process as being brought about by sickness. It is often so-I doubt not that a sickbed is oneof God's best orators to the sons of men.
But God is by no means restricted to any uniform method, nor is the experience of the redeemed precisely similar in its detailsthough, notwithstanding all its diversities, it leads to one and the same result. Sometimes a storm at sea has brought mento their senses and aroused their conscience and so they have cried to the Lord in their trouble. At other times serious lossesin business have brought men into such distress of mind that they have been driven to seek riches more enduring than silverand gold-a competence more to be relied on than the profits of trade or the stability of banks- and comfort more genuine andlasting than wealth.
Yes, and without either of these the Holy Spirit has not infrequently been pleased to convince men of their sin and reducethem to utter self-despondency and abject self-abhorrence. This He has effected in such a way as neither sickness nor povertycould have done of themselves. He has brought the man very low, even to the gates of Hell. In his own apprehension the manhas been lost and then it is that Mercy has commenced her work, her blessed work that shall open to him the gates of righteousnessand bring the soul up to Heaven itself!
I hope there are some here present whom God has been preparing for His Divine Grace-to such there will be good tidings inthe sermon! I shall not delay you, but proceed at once to deal with the text in the natural order it suggests, as the welcomefacts are marshaled before us. Does it not tell of a messenger-a message-a gracious disposition-a great deliverance-and anamazing ransom?
I. When God has thus, in the way of Providence, prepared any human heart for a work of Divine Grace, one of the first meansof blessing the chosen man is TO SEND HIM A MESSENGER. I suppose the passage before us may be primarily referred to Christianministers, who become, through God the Holy Spirit, interpreters to men's souls. They should be men of a thousand, well taught.They should have high moral and spiritual qualifications. In fact, they should be the pick of mankind. When God sends a faithfulGospel messenger to a man, it is a sign of great love to that man's soul.
I ask no honor for ministers as men, but this I do ask, that when they preach to you the Gospel of Jesus Christ they shallbe accepted as God's messengers and that their message, at least, shall be treated with the respect which God's Word demands.But I prefer to believe, with many expositors, that the full meaning of these words will never be found in ministers of mortalrace. We must rather refer it to the Great Messenger of the Covenant, the Great Interpreter between God and man whose Presenceto the sin-sick soul is a sure prophecy of mercy. Where God the Father sends His beloved Son to a man-where Christ comes tothe man's conscience and talks with him, showing the credentials of a Savior and constraining the faith of the sinner-thereit is that salvation is obviously intended by the Lord and will be effectually perfected in that man unto everlasting life.
With this view I proceed, regarding our Lord Jesus Christ as the herald of mercy. Mark well the titles, a Messenger, an Interpreter,One Among a Thousand. Is there any other than Jesus to whom they so fitly belong? Let us contemplate Him as a Messenger. Thatis just what Jesus Christ is. Now, a messenger comes not in his own name. He must be sent and
it is a great comfort to know that Jesus Christ did not come to save men merely on His own account, but He came commissionedby the Father. He was sent of God. God has appointed Christ to be the Savior. Those who accept Christ and trust in Him acceptthe very Person God, Himself, has ordained. Christ is no amateur Savior, who comes without a commission. In His hands He bearsthe royal stamp of the Divine authority. O trembling Sinner! Trust Him whom God has trusted! Lay hold of Him whom God hasappointed!
Another description that belongs to Him, as I believe, is an Interpreter. Jesus Christ is, indeed, a blessed Interpreter.An interpreter must understand two languages. Our Lord Jesus understands the language of God. Whatever are the great Truthsof Divine intelligence and infinite wisdom-too high and mysterious for us to comprehend or even to discern, Christ fully understandsthem all! He knows how to speak with God as the fellow of God, co-equal and co-eternal with Him. His prayers are in God'slanguage. He speaks to God's heart. He can make out the sighs and cries and tears of a poor sinner and He can take up themeaning and interpret them all to God. He understands the Divine language and thus He can communicate with God.
Moreover, Jesus understands our language, for He is a Man like ourselves, touched with a feeling of our infirmities and smartingunder our sicknesses. He can read whatever is in the heart of man, and so He can tell God the language of man and speak toman in the language of man what God would say to him. How happy we ought to be that there is so blessed a Daysman to put Hishand upon us both-that He can be equal with God and yet can be Brother with poor simple men! The best of it is that our Lordis such an Interpreter that He can not only interpret to the ear but also to the heart and this is a great point.
I, perhaps, might be enabled to interpret a Scripture to your ears, but, O Beloved, when you have heard the letter you maymiss the correct, heavenly and spiritual meaning. But our Lord can bring the Word home to your soul! He can tell you of God'smercy, not in words only, but with a sweet sense of mercy shed abroad in your heart. He can make the sinner feel the way ofsalvation as well as know it. He can make him rejoice in it as well as listen to it. He can lead him to accept it as wellas to understand it. Oh, blessed Interpreter! You are mighty with God, so that the heart of God is affected with the woesand griefs of men! You are mighty with men so that the great love of God, which is an ocean without a bottom or a shore, ismade intelligible to us! Our poor stony hearts are softened and the adamant is made to run like wax while the Divine Interpretertalks to our inmost souls!
This Messenger, then, this Interpreter, is He not "One Among a Thousand"? O peerless Jesus! Who among the sons of the mightycan be compared with You? Elihu may well be supposed to use a definite number when an indefinite is intended! What is oneof a thousand, or one of ten thousand, when surely there is never the like of Christ between Heaven and Hell? All the rangeof the universe cannot find His equal-His equal as a Savior, as a Messenger-as an Interpreter! Oh, but those who know Himwill tell you that no words can ever set forth His worth! Disciples of Jesus who have followed Him and held communion withHim for the space of 20 years and more will tell you that His preciousness grows upon them by acquaintance.
Whereas they thought Him sweet at first, they think Him sweetest and best of all now, the loveliest of all the lovely, thefairest of all the fair, the chief among 10,000, yes, and the altogether lovely! I tell you that if there were a thousandSaviors, I would have none but Christ! If the gods of the heathen and the saints of the papists could help them. If the ceremoniesof our modern papists could save their souls instead of enslaving them, yet would we repudiate them! We would have nothingto do with them in whole or in part! We would still cling to Him who is the one Mediator between God and men, for He is thechief among 10,000 to our souls.
He is such a Savior that there is no other who can vie with Him. All rivalry must prove abortive, seeing that other foundationcan no man lay. He is the door of Heaven, all the rest is hard wall and there is no passing through-a light from God and allother lights are darkness-very God come down to us in our flesh to save us and where shall you find the match of this? O cherubimand seraphim, what Savior could you devise that should emulate the only-begotten Son of God? O you angels, fairest among thegoodly throng that salute Jehovah day and night with your ceaseless music, whom will you laud and magnify but Jesus in yourjubilant worshipful songs?
As you survey the glorious company of the Apostles, the noble army of the martyrs and the radiant fellowship of the Churchredeemed, will you chant any other name? Is He not in your esteem the chief among a thousand, the sole heritor of all blessingand praise? Accept Him, Sinner! Receive Him joyfully into your spirit for no one will ever woo you as this
precious One, the chosen of God! Who, save Jesus, then, should be chosen and precious to your soul? It is a great sign ofmercy whenever Christ comes to any sinner.
But how, you ask, can He come to a sinner? I will tell you. He has come to you now, to every one of you. Jesus comes in thepreaching of the Gospel. There is never a Gospel sermon preached but it is, in fact, Jesus coming with open arms of love toreceive the sinner. He comes to you in these Bibles and New Testaments of yours. Every one of those volumes that lie in yourhouse is a standing token of Christ's mission, whispering to him that has ears to hear that He is still ready to receive thesinner. And I trust He comes to some of you now, in the motions of the Holy Spirit upon your heart, saying to you, "Closein with Him. Reject Him no longer. Bow down your ear and listen to Him."
Lift up your eyes and look to Him, concerning whom we sang so truly just now-
"There is life for a look at the Crucified One, There is life at this moment for you."
This is the first stage.
II. Now, secondly, wherever this Divine messenger comes, according to the text, HE REVEALS GOD'S UPRIGHTNESS. A lesson, letme assure you, of deep interest and paramount importance. The occasion on which it is taught is peculiarly impressive. Youremember Elihu has been describing a man greatly afflicted, chastened with pain, wasted with disease, reduced to a skeletonand brought near to death. We have shown you that before the Lord Jesus Christ comes in mercy to deal with a soul, such tribulationis dealt out by God to break up the fallow ground of the heart. No marvel that the sufferer is appalled with tokens of judgment.
What message, then, can the Divine messenger bring more suitable or more refreshing than that which reveals to man the uprightnessof God in having afflicted him? You think, perhaps, that God has been very hard with you. In your distraction you say, "Howlong I have been ill! How long I have been out of work and how long my wife has been afflicted! How many of my dear childrenhave died? What strokes God has laid upon me without intermission!" Now shall new views spring up and comfortable thoughtsarise. But who shall bridge the interval? When Christ comes to you as an Interpreter He will make you discern the wisdom andthe love, and cause you to feel the pity and the tenderness of Him, who, as a Father rebukes you not in anger but in His dearCovenant love.
Instead of kicking against the pricks, you will say, "Ah, Lord, it is of Your mercy I am not consumed! I can see there isa hand of love in this. God would not let me go on in sin and wander into endless woe-You are blocking up my road-You areputting massive chains across the broad way to stop me. You are digging pits in my path that I may come to a pause and soI will turn back from this." Depend upon it, there is nothing more dreadful than a life that is happy in the commission ofsin! If you have prosperity and all that your heart can wish while pursuing an evil course, tremble, for it is likely enoughthat God will give you up-you are having your portion in this life! O you Unconverted! Are any of you tried and troubled,vexed and disquieted? While I am sorry for your troubles, I hope God has designs of love towards you. If you look to ChristHe will explain to you the heavenly moral of these earthly trials and show you the uprightness of God in dealing thus severelywith His rebellious child.
Further than this, the Gospel of Christ explains to the sinner the uprightness of God in the doom of the impenitent, evenif He sends him down to Hell. Oh, a man may find fault with Hell and say, "Will God consign men to the devouring fire? WillHe destroy their souls? Will He damn men for their offenses?" But if once the Great Interpreter comes to you, you will wondernot that God should destroy men for sin, but that He has not destroyed you long ago! Oh, I could have argued with a bold frontagainst eternal punishment till I knew what sin meant! And then I gave in at once and I wish that some of my Brothers andSisters who seem to speak dubiously about the wrath of God, could feel, as some of us have felt, the horror of great darknessthat sin brings across a soul when it is made to feel the righteous ire that encompasses it!
There is no quibbling, then! The only cry is, "O my God, deliver me, for I deserve all Your wrath can bring upon me, and ifYou should strike me to destruction You will be justified when You judge and clear when you condemn." Mark you, it is a blessedthing when Christ brings a sinner to plead guilty-when he is quite willing to plead guilty and when, instead of railing atthe justice of the sentence, he stands dumb with silence-feeling that God is upright and would not be upright if He did notthus condemn. There is hope, there is more than hope! There is confidence in our heart towards any sinner who is convincedof the uprightness of God in his present affliction, or in any other that God may please to send upon him-either in this lifeor in the life to come!
Ah, but this is learning to some profit for a man to see the uprightness of God in everything and then by contrast to bewailhis own ignorance and foolishness! Mercy is surely come to you when you can think of God's holiness with reverence and upbraidyourself with bitter reproach for what an unholy creature you halve been. It is a rough wind, that north wind, but, O my Brothersand Sisters, what a healthy wind it is! It sweeps away the fevers of our pride and drives away the mists of our self-righteousness.Self-righteous, indeed! Such wretches as we are, such offenders against God and Truth as we have been-for us to talk of goodnesswhen we are altogether vile, for us to boast of something hopeful in us when the whole head is sick and the whole heart faint-thisis sheer insanity!
When the Blessed Interpreter comes and deals graciously with the spirit, we confess that God is upright, but as for ourselveswe have gone astray like lost sheep. We have done the things which we ought not to have done. We have left undone the thingswhich we ought to have done and there is no health in us. Oh, those visions of God, how humiliating they are! Job, himself,made confession, "I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear. But now my eyes see You. Wherefore I abhor myself and repentin dust and ashes." This supplies us with the second stage in the experience of Divine mercy-Christ is recognized, the uprightnessof God is revealed and understood.
III. The third stage is this-"THEN HE IS GRACIOUS UNTO HIM." God deals with convinced sinners in a way of Grace. Every wordhere is weighty. "Then He is gracious unto him." Mark the time-then! God is gracious to a man when Christ, having come tohim as a Messenger and an Interpreter. He is led to discern his own sin and God's uprightness. When he is humble, then Godshows Himself to be gracious. No debts are pronounced forgiven by the Great Master of All till they are acknowledged and norelease from the pains of bankruptcy are granted until we feel that we have nothing with which to pay.
When a soul pleads total insolvency and is truly penniless, then there is free forgiveness. When men admit the justice ofGod if He should punish them, then, not till then, mercy comes in and the punishment is put away. It is not consistent withthe holiness of God to pardon a sinner while he denies his guilt, or invents excuses to justify his crimes. Nor is it reasonablefor a sinner to expect remission while he vaunts his self-righteousness. How shall the hardness of a man's heart move thecompassion of his judge? Come, poor Soul, fall on your knees! Confess that God is upright and then He will be gracious toyou. The way as well as the time demands your notice. It is through the Messenger that God is gracious!
Then-that is when the Messenger comes. When Jesus interposes, then God is gracious. You shall never taste of Divine Graceexcept out of the golden cup of Christ's Atonement. It is into that golden cup that God has poured the infinity of His Grace.Drink of it, Sinner, by simply trusting in Christ. You cannot drink it in any other way. Narrowly observe what the text says,"Then He is gracious unto him." All salvation comes by way of Grace. The word "Grace" as used by us in its Latin form explainsits own meaning. We speak of "Gratis"-a thing free from cost-like the prescription of a physician if given without fee, orthe medicine supplied at the dispensary without charge.
All God's mercy to a sinner is Gratis. He never sells, He always gives. He asks no payment. He acts from no motives raisedor suggested by anything in us-but because He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy and He will have compassion on whomHe will have compassion. Dear Heart, it is a blessing for you when you can see that nothing but Christ can serve your turn!When you have done with appealing to justice and all your knocks are at Mercy's door. O Sinner, you cannot be saved exceptby Divine Grace in the beginning, Divine Grace in the middle and Divine Grace in the end! What but Grace can pardon sins suchas yours and mine? What but Grace could take such as we are and make us God's children? What but Grace could snatch us fromHell and lift us up to Heaven?
When the man is humbled and Christ is revealed to him, then it is that God deals graciously with the man and then it is thatthe man knows he has found Divine Grace in the eyes of the Lord. And I like the thought that it does not say God ever leavesoff being gracious to that man. Where we do not read that God ceases, we may believe that He continues! Does He once dealgraciously with a sinner? He will always be gracious to that sinner! Never will He change. That sinner once blessed, shallbe blessed through life and blessed in death and blessed in eternity through the sovereign, overflowing, immutable Grace whichis in Jesus Christ our Lord!
Well, we have come a long way. We have found the sinner sick and near to death. The Interpreter has come. He has shown himthe uprightness of God, and given him an assurance of God's gracious disposition-now the sinner knows that Christ, alone,can save him.
IV. Let us proceed to the next stage-GOD DELIVERS THE SINNER. He says, "Deliver him from going down into the Pit." What shallwe understand by this? Does it refer to "the grave," which is dug like a pit? Well, such an interpretation may harmonize withElihu's discourse as he describes the man whose soul draws near to the grave and his life to the Destroyer. But when deliveredfrom going down into the pit, his flesh shall be fresher than a child's, he shall return to the days of his youth. So thePsalmist celebrates the loving kindness of the Lord-"O Lord, You have brought up my soul from the grave. You have kept methat I should not go down into the pit."
What more shall we understand by the pit from which the soul is delivered? The pit is often used in Scripture as the emblemof great distress and misery. Captives in the East were frequently shut up in pits all night. So Isaiah says, "They shallbe gathered together as prisoners are gathered in the pit and shall be shut up in the prison" (Isa. 24:22). And again, in another place, "The captive exile hastens that he may be loosed, and that he should not die in the pit, northat his bread should fail" (Isa. 51:14). There is a bondage of soul which involves depression of spirits and failing of heart that may well be likened to confinementin a pit from which there appears no way of escape.
But may we not understand still more by the pit? Alas, then, dear Friends, we sometimes read of the pit, when the word ispregnant with deeper meaning, even of the Pit that is bottomless, that place of torment prepared for devils and lost souls!Oh, if there were time, what a picture we have before us! The Pit, the bottomless Pit-an awful representation, a horriblevision of the future wrath of God! The Pit-black, dark, descending down which the soul slips and slides and falls headlong!Going down into the Pit-what a dreadful expression! Not going down as miners do to seek for ore, but being hurled by the stronghand of the avenging angel downwards into the abyss!
There, on the verge of the precipice you are! Though not falling down that abyss yet, your feet have almost gone! Your stepshave well-near slipped. At such a crisis the Mercy of God comes to the sinner's aid and cries in thrilling tones, "Deliverhim!" It is not a mere shout of warning, it is a voice that has power in it. It is the clear silvery note of rescue and theman is delivered just as he is about to sink to rise no more! Kings and emperors, when they have condemned men to die, canexercise the prerogative of mercy. Let the royal mandate issue concerning a prisoner, "Deliver him," then the prison doorsare opened, for the king's pardon has been given.
Just such a thing does God with condemned sinners when they bow down before Him and confess the righteousness of the sentence.Through Jesus Christ, the heavenly Messenger, He says, "Deliver him! Deliver him!" There is a legal pardon. The man is setfree from the bonds of the jailer, instead of being given over to the hands of the executioner. Therefore he shall live inpeace and joy. "Deliver him!" Perhaps the three significations of the pit I have alluded to may be combined in one dark picture.Sickness brings the sinner to the immediate prospect, not of death only, but of his endless doom. The sorrows and remorseof his soul produce, as it were, a foretaste of that anguish which knows no abatement. And soon Hell does yawn at his feet"a universe of death"-"worse than fables yet have reigned, or fear conceived."
How many witnesses we might call to speak to the truth of all this! Why, Elihu said, "Lo, all these things works God oftentimeswith man." The anguish is real and the joy of rescue is real, likewise. Did not Hezekiah feel them both? The message cameto him, "Thus says the Lord, set your house in order, for you shall die and not live." Then he prayed vehemently and he weptsorely. Afterwards the Word of the Lord came to him that his prayer was heard, that his tears were seen and that his lifeshould be spared. And this is what he said-"Behold, for peace I had great bitterness. But You have in love to my soul deliveredit from the Pit of corruption, for You have cast all my sins behind Your back."
What a shout ofjoy is that of David when he says, "He brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay and set myfeet upon a rock and established my goings"! In like manner Jonah speaks, "You have brought up my life from the pit, O Lordmy God." Very memorable, too, is the sweet promise of God to the daughter of Zion, by the mouth of the Prophet Zechariah,"As for You, also, by the blood of Your Covenant I have sent forth Your prisoners out of the pit wherein is at water." Yes,my dear Friends, and I feel bound to say for myself, to the praise of my God-
"Your love was great, Your mercy free, Which from the Pit delivered me."
Well do I remember when the sentence went forth to my soul, "Deliver him!" The time did, indeed, seem long at first. I wasyears and years upon the brink of Hell-I mean in my own feeling. I was unhappy, I was desponding, I was despairing. I dreamedof Hell. My life was full of sorrow and wretchedness, believing that I was lost. But oh, the blessed
Gospel of the God of Grace came to me at length with that soft voice, "Look unto Me and be you saved, all you ends of theearth!" With it came a Sovereign Word, "Deliver him!" and I who was but a minute before as wretched as a soul could be, couldhave danced for very merriment of heart! And as the snow fell on my road home from the little house of prayer I thought everysnowflake talked with me and told of the pardon I had found! I was white as the driven snow through the Grace of God.
Oh, that word, "Deliver him!" It so restrains the temptations of Satan and quells the strivings of conscience, that the poorsoul has instantaneous liberty and rejoices with joy unspeakable! Mark you, my dear Friend, if ever you should look to Christby simple faith and God should say, "Deliver him," that, "Deliver him" will last forever! God does not play fast and loosewith sinners! If He pardons today He will not condemn tomorrow. He does not loose and then bind again. He opens and no manshuts. Once He says, "Deliver him," you may walk through all the earth and who shall lay anything to your charge? For whois he that can arrest you and cast you into prison against this, "Deliver him"?
There may have come into this place some great offender. It is impossible for me to discriminate among you, or single outany one of these thousands, but there may be here one of the very blackest class of sinners. To you Christ's Gospel has come!I hope you have been led to feel that you are guilty, to confess your sin, and to admit that you can only be saved throughGod's Grace and mercy. Well now, if you will but trust my Savior, the Lord Jesus, who once died on Calvary's Cross and nowlives enthroned in Glory. If you will but trust Him now, the sentence shall come from the Truth of God, "Deliver him," or,"Deliver her from going down into the Pit."
Oh, there have been many outcasts in these very aisles who have found Grace and obtained remission of their sins! The harlothas heard the word, "Deliver her from going down to the Pit." The thief and the drunkard, too, though in their own conscienceon the very brink of Hell, and all but sliding in, have heard it and they are here among the happy worshippers that praiseGod! Some of us who never fell into those fouler vices, though as depraved in our hearts as they, have heard that blessedsound and we are here to express our soul's desire that you all knew it! O that you all trusted Christ! O that you were allsaved by that blessed mandate, "Deliver him from going down into the Pit"!
V. The last thing is that GOD EXPLAINS TO THE SINNER WHOM HE DELIVERS THE REASON OF HIS DELIVERANCE. "Deliver him from goingdown into the Pit: I have found a ransom." "I have found a ransom"-a covering. Catch the thought. There are your sins likea putrid slough, reeking with corruption. They are black. Like a huge pool of blood they are scarlet. It is abhorrent to thepure eyes of God to look upon the heart that is a very reservoir of pollution. He must strike you if He looks at it. Listen-"Ihave found a covering." Christ comes in and covers it all. "Blessed is that man whose transgression is forgiven, whose sinis covered."
As the Mercy Seat covered the Law and was called a covering, so does the Atonement of Christ cover the perfect Law of God-andit puts out of God's sight every sin of all those who trust in Christ. But take the word as we get it in the English version-aransom-that means a price. When a man was in debt, he used to be, according to the old law, put into prison. Well, how didhe get his discharge? He came out if the debt was paid, of course, at once. So God says, "Deliver him: I have found a price,I have found a recompense, I have found a Substitute, I have found a ransom." The Lord Jesus Christ has suffered for us whatGod's wrath demanded of us-
"He bore, that we might never bear, His Father's righteous ire."
Christ stood in our place that we might go free! I have told you this grand old tale so many times in this house that sometimesas I am coming here I think to myself-"I can find no new metaphor to illustrate it and no new words to rouse the languid attention.They will tell me that I am always harping on the same string." Still, still, I must continue to expound and enforce thissubstitutionary suffering of Christ! I cannot help it. It is as much as my soul is worth to keep it back, for I am persuadedthat it is the very essence of the Gospel-the vicarious suffering of Christ. At any rate, I have no Gospel to preach to youbut this-that God has punished Christ instead of you that will believe on Christ and therefore He cannot punish you-you areclear. Christ has paid your debts! The receipt is given! You are liberated!
God has no claims upon you from His justice now-they are all discharged. Christ has discharged all your liabilities! "By Himall that believe are justified from all things, from which you could not be justified by the Law of Moses." Never listen,I entreat you, my dear Hearers, to the derisive sneer of the scorner as he attempts to cast discredit upon the righteousnessof God in the imputation of your sins to the great Redeemer. I know that it is not in the power of skeptic,
rationalist, Socinian, or infidel to bring forth one argument that can refute the plain testimony which abounds in the Scriptures.But they can and they do ask if our moral sense of rectitude is not shocked at inflicting punishment on the Innocent and bestowingrewards as well as pardon on the guilty.
Do they object to you that it were unjust on the part of God to make one Man suffer personally for another man's sin? Tellthem if they better understood the doctrine, they would see that instead of outraging the morality of men, it manifests therighteousness of God! Tell them, as one of our most famous Puritans did, that the Redeemer and redeemed have such an intimaterelation that what one does or suffers, the other may be accounted to do or suffer. It is no unrighteousness if the handsoffend, for the head to be struck. Christ is our Head and we are His members. Tell them that He who suffered, the Just forthe unjust, had power to lay down His life and power to take it again. His submission, therefore, was voluntary.
Tell them that He who bore our sins in His own body on the tree agreed and stipulated to bear our iniquities-the whole matterwas settled in Covenant between the Father and the Son. Tell them once more that our Lord Jesus Christ counted the cost andestimated the recompense when He, for the joy that was set before Him, endured the Cross. He shall see of the travail of Hissoul and shall be satisfied-with honor and glory shall He be crowned. Because He humbled Himself, God also has highly exaltedHim. And because He made Himself of no reputation, to Him is given a name which is above every name. Tell them His mediatorialGlory surpasses thought! Bid them cease their pitiless clamor and leave us to our joys. It is the sweetest music out of Heavenand it is the source of the music of Heaven. "I have found a ransom."
Christ's ransom for enslaved sinners is the world's good news. Tell it, then, and as you hear it let your hearts rejoice!You notice these words, "I have found a ransom." You did not find it for yourselves. You could not ever have discovered it,much less have brought it into the world. But God found it. The infinite wisdom of God was needed to find the way of salvationby a Substitute. "I have found a ransom." Now, since God has found it and God is satisfied with it, let me, chief of sinnersthough I am, find rest in this Divine satisfaction! Conscience says to me, "Well, but how can your sins be forgiven?" AgainConscience thunders, "Recollect such a day, such a night, such an act, such a blasphemy. Do you think Christ can wash sucha devil as you?" I answer, "Well, if God is satisfied, I am sure I will be."
If you owe a debt, and your creditor takes the money of another and he is quite easy about it, why, Man, do not be uneasyabout it! If he is satisfied you may be, and if God is content with Christ, so, poor Sinner, let you and I be satisfied, andlet us begin to sing-
"I will praise You every day! Now Your anger's turned away, Comfortable thoughts arise From the bleeding Sacrifice. Jesusis become at length My salvation and my strength And His praises shall prolong,
While I live, my pleasant song."
O bless the dear name of Him who suffered in your place! O take His ransom price! Look at it! Turn over every sacred dropof it in your memory and your gratitude! Be satisfied and more than satisfied! Rejoice and be exceedingly glad to be deliveredfrom going down into the Pit! God has found an all-sufficient and a most blessed Ransom for your souls and therefore you aredelivered!
What more can I say to you, my dear Hearers! I have told you the way of mercy and I have described to you the footsteps ofmercy in the experience of those who have proved its saving efficacy. But I cannot bring Christ to your souls, or when Christcomes near unto you, as He does now in the ministry of His Gospel, I cannot make you open the doors of your hearts to receiveHim. O you who do not believe and are yet in your sins, what more can I do for you than thus to cry aloud in your ears andproclaim to you the path of life?
This one thing I can do-I can stand here and break my heart to think that you refuse Him. But no, I cannot take leave of youthus. I must again beseech and entreat and implore you as you love your souls, turn not away from the Divine Messenger, fromJesus Christ the Friend of sinners! He asks no great thing of you! He bids you not pass through ceremonies that will takeyou days and months, but NOW, one believing glance at yonder Cross! One glance at Him who died there for sinners and it isdone! Christ is honored! God is satisfied! You are saved!
Go your way and tell your friends what great things He has done for you, and God bless you. Amen.