A Solemn Charge!
by James Smith, 1860
"Yet there are some of you who do not believe!" John 6:64
What is it to believe in Christ? Look at a few of his own illustrations, and you will soon perceive.
He is the bread of life, and believing answers to eating that bread.
He has the living water, and believing is receiving and drinking that water.
He is set forth for the healing of the soul, as Moses placed the brazen serpent on the pole, and believing is looking to him, and expecting to be saved.
He is compared to clothing, and believing is putting on the Lord Jesus, for covering, comfort, and defense.
He is the deliverer from guilt, condemnation, and death, and believing is applying to him, and trusting in him for salvation.
Reader, do you believe? Is Jesus the food of your soul, without which you faint and die? Is he your clothing, in which you array yourself to appear before God? Do you look to him, as Israel did to the brazen serpent, expecting to receive everlasting life thereby? Do you trust in Christ, and in Christ alone for salvation, from guilt, condemnation, and eternal death? Some do not, and it is brought as a charge against them. Let us consider then,
Who May Be Charged with this Sin? Some of you! Some of his hearers, some of his admirers, for admiration is not faith. Some of you who have the Bible in your hands, and read it — who have the gospel sounding in your ears, and listen to it — who have the epistles of Christ before your eyes, and see the power and love of Jesus as displayed in them — who have the Lord's day set apart for your good, that you may hear the word of God and live — yet you believe not. Some of you who are the children of godly parents — young people who have been often addressed both from the pulpit and privately — who have so many privileges! And some aged people who have sat under the word, and heard the gospel from their childhood — and yet they do not believe.
My friends, unless you believe — you shall perish; for he who believes not, shall be damned. And will you perish, willfully perish? Perish, with the Bible in your hand! Perish, with the invitations of the gospel sounding in your ears! Perish, with the Savior's living epistles placed as examples before your eyes! Young man, will you refuse to believe in your father's Savior, and force your way to hell, despite his efforts and prayers? Will you, young woman, despise your mother's Redeemer, and determine to destroy your soul, notwithstanding her entreaties, and tears. Yours must be a difficult way to hell. You must be determined, if you perish under such circumstances.
Aged friend, what can you say, after hearing the gospel so many years, being convinced of sin so often, and having promised to come to Christ so often, if you perish in "your sins? And you will, you must — if you believe not! But,
Who brings This Charge?Not one who is prejudiced against you, or one who is partial, or severe, or suspicious — but Jesus. Jesus who lived and labored, suffered and died — to save sinners. Jesus who wept over unbelieving souls, and whose heart was wrung with agony when he gave them up. Yes, it is Jesus brings this solemn, this affecting charge. Jesus who is generous and kind. Jesus who only desires your welfare, and who aims at your salvation. Has he spoken to you in his word? he says, "These things I say, that you might be saved." John 5:34.
Do you ask, What does God require of me? He replies, "This is the work which God requires of you — that you believe on him whom he has sent." John 6:29. Does he leave you at all in doubt, or in the dark? He does not — but tells you plainly, "If you believe not that I am he — you shall die in your sins!" John 8:24. And again, "He who believes is not condemned; but he who believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." John 3:18, 19.
We wonder not at the heathen, that they do not
believe, for they have not the gospel. We wonder not at some of our
villagers nursed in ignorance and superstition, if they do not believe. But
for you, with so much light, with so many privileges, with such helps
— that you should not believe! And yet it is plain that many of you
do not, for if you did . .
you would hate sin,
you would follow after holiness,
you would confess Christ, and
you would spend your time and talents to promote his cause.
But tell me now, be honest — do you love private prayer? Do you hate sin, heart sin, hidden sin, all sin? Do you admire, desire, and earnestly seek holiness of heart and life? Do you confess Christ openly, fearlessly, in all companies, as your only beloved Savior? Is it the aim and happiness of your life to extend, strengthen, and help on the cause of Christ? If not, you do not believe. You have not faith, for faith works, and works thus. And to you, and all such as you the Savior points when he says, "Yet there are some of you who do not believe!"