God's Mercy to the Gentiles
by James Smith, 1860
For ages the Gentile world appeared to be passed over by Divine mercy, and to be given up to the power of the prince of darkness. The people sat in darkness, and in the region of the shadow of death. To them no warnings were given, to them no messages of mercy were sent — but they were allowed to walk in their own ways.
At length, a brighter day dawned upon them. The Son of God appeared, and he came to be "a light to enlighten the Gentiles, and the glory of his people Israel." He confirmed the promises made to the Jews, and opened a channel of mercy to the Gentiles; so that the language of Moses became strictly applicable, "Rejoice, you Gentiles, with his people." So also the language of the Psalmist, "Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles; and laud him all you people." For the prediction of Isaiah was fulfilled, "There shall be a root of Jesse, and and he who shall rise to reign over the Gentiles — in him shall the Gentiles trust." Romans 15:12.
Jesus is to be the object of our trust. No longer dumb idols, in which our fathers trusted. No more in vain pilgrimages, or penances, or works, or sacrifices, as our fathers did. But Jesus the incarnate God, Jesus the root of Jesse, Jesus the offspring of David — Jesus the Son of God. As he is divine, he is the root of Jesse; and as he is human, he is David's offspring. He is the Savior, the only, the all-sufficient, the ever-willing Savior — and he alone is to be the object of our trust.
He is qualified to be so, for he has the righteousness we need to make us perfectly and eternally righteous before God. He has the grace we require . . .
to fit us for duty,
to prepare us for conflict,
to qualify us for the enjoyment of our privileges,
and to make us fit for Heaven.
He has the glory we thirst for, and will confer it upon all who confide in his name. He is made known to us in his word . . .
as inviting our trust,
as promising the richest blessings to all who trust,
and as pledged to save every trusting soul.
Trusting in Jesus is a soul-saving exercise. Not that or faith merits anything — but according to the divine arrangements, faith entitles us to all that Jesus is, and all that he has done as a Savior.
"In his name shall the Gentiles trust." They shall renounce self, and idolatry, and every false way. They shall receive God's truth . . .
in reference to the law — in its spirituality, extent, and righteous demands;
in reference to man's state as totally lost, ruined, and undone;
and in reference to the glorious gospel — which proclaims . . .
a free pardon,
a glorious righteousness,
and a perfect Savior.
They shall confide in Jesus, trusting alone . . .
in his sacrifice for sin,
in his obedience to the law,
in his promise to save, and
in his intercession at God's right hand.
Trusting in Jesus, they will . . .
realize sweet liberty,
walk in holy fellowship with God, and
anticipate Heaven — as they endure the trials of earth.
O for grace to glorify God for his mercy to us poor Gentiles! O to be enabled . . .
to trust in Jesus at all times,
to trust him for all we need, and
to trust him with all we value!
Reader, we ourselves are Gentiles, our fathers were led away after dumb idols, and worshiped wood and stone. But we live in happier times, for the darkness is past, and the true light now shines. Jesus is revealed, proclaimed, and presented to us, to be the object of our trust. We must trust in him — or be lost forever. He alone can save. He saves all who trust in him. But he saves none beside.
We need such a Savior — and as we need him, as God in mercy has provided him, as he is graciously presented to us — let us not slight him.
We must trust in him — or miserably perish;
we may trust in him — for God invites and warrants us.
We must trust in him — or be suicides or self-destroyers.
Which shall it be? Shall we make up our minds to perish miserably, to perish eternally, to perish by our own fault. O think what is comprehended in that word "perish!" — in the idea of a soul perishing forever — perishing forever by its own fault. As the case stands thus, the knowledge of Christ ought to be sent to all the Gentiles, and we ought to labor to the uttermost of our power in assisting to send it.