Jesus and the Sinner
(James Smith, "Rills from the Rock of Ages", 1860)
All that Jesus does for lost sinners — He does freely, out of pure pity, kindness, and love.
Yet we are always looking for something in ourselves — to encourage us! On the other hand, we tend to look at some sin committed by us — which discourages us. Whereas we should look only to Jesus. I want now, for a few minutes, to fix the eye of your mind on what Jesus does for sinners — how He acts toward them at the present day.
Jesus calls the sinner. He says, "Come unto Me. Come, just as you are. Come, this moment. Come, for all that you need. Come, for all that you desire. Come, and be saved. Come, and I will satisfy you. Come, and commit all your concerns to Me, and I will make all things that occur, work together for your good."
Jesus receives the sinner when he comes. He receives every sinner, however base, vile, or unworthy he may be! He receives the sinner graciously — pardoning every sin, forgiving and forgetting all that he has done amiss, and treating him with the utmost kindness.
Jesus cleanses the sinner. In the fountain of His precious blood, and in the laver of His holy Word — He cleanses him from guilt and pollution — fitting him for holy service on earth, and for holier service in heaven. Nor is there any getting rid of guilt — but by His blood; nor of impurity — but by His Spirit working with His Word!
Jesus clothes the sinner. Cleansed from guilt and filth — we are clothed in His garments of salvation, and are covered with His robe of righteousness. All that is necessary for our honorable appearance in heaven among the glorified — He undertakes to provide.
Those who trust in Him, are completely nourished by Him. Jesus feeds the sinner. His flesh and blood becomes our daily food. We can no more live and be healthy, without nourishing food for the body — than we can live and be happy, without sweet and frequent nourishment from Christ. There is in the renewed soul — a craving for Christ, and it is never satisfied — but as it realizes His presence, meditates on His Word, or is solaced with His love!
Jesus employs the sinner. Having called, received, cleansed, clothed, and nourished him — He sets him to WORK. He gives him a cross to carry, and a plot in his vineyard to cultivate. He sends him to speak to others of His grace, and to manifest to others His temper and disposition. He sends him to the poor widow's cottage, to the sick man's chamber, and to the ignorant soul's home — and says, "Feed them for Me; comfort them for Me; and teach them for Me!"
Jesus comforts the sinner. Yes, when he is depressed and discouraged, when he is low and cast down. He consoles by some special providence, by some seasonable portion of His Word, by the counsel of some friend, or by the sweet whispers of His Spirit.
Jesus assures the sinner. Assures him of His love to him, of a saving interest in His finished work, and of a title to heavenly mansions! When Jesus assures us — our doubts and fears depart, our unbelief is destroyed, and our souls are filled with peace and joy.
Jesus visits the sinner. He says, "I will come unto him." And He does come, and brings with Him — pleasant light, precious fruits, and joy and peace. He says, "I will come and sup with him — and he with Me." And He draws him out into such sweet, near and dear communion with Himself — that no costly meal, no delightful company — can be compared to it.
Jesus restores the sinner. For as astonishing as it may appear, it is nevertheless true — that we are prone to wander!
We leave light — for darkness!
We leave plenty — for poverty!
We leave joy — for sorrow!
We leave a paradise — for a desert!
And having wandered, we would never find our way back — if He did not come after us! But, blessed be His holy name — He does! And then He restores our souls, and again feeds us in green pastures, causing us to lie down beside the still waters!
Jesus reproves the sinner. However He may spare our persons — He never spares our sins! He visits our transgressions with the rod, and our iniquities with stripes! His reproofs are often sharp. Cutting convictions, heavy losses, severe trials, perplexing troubles, bodily sickness, and painful bereavements — are some of the RODS which He employs. But however numerous and heavy His strokes — they are lighter than our guilt, and fewer than our sins! He deals with us as with sons. He chastens us for our profit — and to make us partakers of His holiness!
Jesus glorifies the sinner. Glorifies him with Himself — and confers on him an eternal weight of glory! What it is to be glorified — we do not fully know. At the least, it is to be freed from all that is sinful, painful, and degrading — and to be invested with all that is bright, beautiful, and blessed. It is to be made as like Jesus as possible, and to be with Him where he is forever!
O wondrous grace, of a wondrous Savior!
Believer, this precious Savior is yours!
Will you not love Him then?
Will you not bear witness to the power and sweetness of His love, to the joy and happiness that are found in His ways?
Will you not observe His statutes and keep His laws?
Will you not come out of the world, which is peopled by His enemies — and be separated to Him? Can you mingle with the carnal, and frequent places of worldly amusement? Must you go to the world to be gratified and amused?
Beware how you wound your precious Savior's loving heart!