Escape For Your Life!
James Smith, 1860
These were the words of the angel to Lot, when he brought him out of Sodom, prior to its destruction, and directed him to the mountains for safety. In just such words may we address the sinner, for Sodom was not more really doomed than the world is; nor was the destruction of Sodom more certain, than is the destruction of the world, which is reserved unto fire! There is no safety in this world, which is under God's curse, and is reserved unto judgment. Every man therefore should be warned to flee from the wrath to come, and be exhorted to escape for his life!
The sinner is in DANGER. Every man by nature is a sinner — and therefore every man is in danger. In danger of what? Of losing his life. Not his existence — but his happiness, or all that would render life desirable. Yes, we are in danger of losing everlasting life, which Jesus has brought to light, and God has promised to all who believe on his Son. Everlasting life, is by the gospel presented to every sinner that hears it; and each one either receives it by faith — or rejects it by unbelief. If this eternal life is lost — it is the sinner's own act and deed; no one can lose it for another — but once lost, it is irrecoverable! Being lost — it is lost forever.
Every sinner therefore is in danger — but from what? Under the law, the danger is from sin in general; but under the gospel it is from unbelief in particular. It is from neglecting the message, from rejecting the invitation, or tarrying in the plain. The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness, and unrighteousness of men. But of unbelief, with an emphasis, it is said, "He who believes not — shall be damned!" The justice of God demands that every law-breaker, if found outside of Christ, shall be punished; and Satan as a roaring lion goes about seeking whom he may devour. Considering then, man's proneness to disbelieve God, the revelation of divine wrath against sin, the demands of divine justice, and the craft, vigilance, and power of Satan — the sinner must be in grave danger! Yes, and the danger is imminent, and it increases every moment — therefore it is most alarming.
Yet it is possible to escape. There is a place of safety to be reached. There is a way of escape to be taken. Jesus is the place of safety, and believing on him is the way of escape. This, like the road across the plains of Sodom, is at hand; it is open to all, it is free for everyone, and it is prepared on purpose for sinners. Whoever will — may come to Jesus and be safe. Everyone that is informed of his danger, should fly to this hope set before him. Therefore we cry to every sinner, "Escape for your life!" Escape at once. Flee with vigor and determination, nor stop until you reach the cross — for there is no safety elsewhere.
Escape then, for time warns you — it is flying fast. Escape, for God calls you — and calls you in great mercy. Escape, for the gospel invites you — and invites you most sincerely. Escape, for danger urges you — and it is just behind you! Escape, for death approaches you — and may at any moment cut you down! Escape, for eternity, eternity with all its dread realities — is just before you! Escape, for if you perish, you will have no one but yourself to blame; and if you perish — you will never forget your folly, or forgive yourself!
Reader, are you in the world? Are you in your natural state? If so, your situation is perilous, even more so than Lot's was in Sodom! The storm of wrath may fall any day, any hour, and when once it begins to fall — all is over! The door of mercy is then shut, and shut forever. The way of escape will be barred up, and will be opened no more! Your duty therefore is clear. The law of self-preservation calls upon you to escape, and God commands you to do so too. For this is his commandment, that you should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and believing have life through his name. Not only in his love does he invite you — but in the exercise of his authority he commands you.
The responsibility therefore is great, You are responsible, not only for your conduct toward the law — but for your conduct toward the gospel. If God warns you — you must account for the use you make of that warning. If God invites you — you must account for the use you make of that invitation. If God commands you to believe and be saved — you must account for refusing that command. Your regrets, if you perish, will be unavailing. God will laugh at your calamity. Nor will you find anyone to sympathize with you, in heaven, earth, or hell. All will scorn you, and treat you with everlasting contempt!
Your joys may be endless — if you believe and flee to Jesus now; but your sorrows will be eternal — if you refuse. Hasten then and escape, press forward toward the refuge. Run for your life, and as you run call to others to run with you, as you would if you saw their houses on fire, or a flood coming, or their habitations falling, or themselves on the edge of a precipice! Escape for your life, sinner, for your eternal all is at stake! Flee, flee, flee to Jesus — he will receive you, he will shelter you, he will save you from the wrath to come! But flee at once, flee today, for tomorrow may bo too late! Escape for your life!