Not out of Danger Yet!
James Smith, 1859
The darling child was ill, the mother tenderly watched over it, and carefully tended it; fears were at first entertained — but these gave way to hope, and once more the anxious mother was in the house of prayer. The kind-hearted pastor had sympathized with the afflicted mother, and coming forward, inquired for the child's health — the reply given was, "He is somewhat better — but not out of danger yet."
How many in that pastor's congregation were just in the same state. They had derived some benefit from the ministry of the Word — but they were "not out of danger yet."
Danger! Yes, we are all naturally in danger, for we are diseased, not perhaps in body — but in soul. The disease is mortal. No human medicine will touch it. No earthly physician can heal it. It baffles the skill of all. There is but one remedy for it, and that comprises the precious blood of Jesus, and the operations of the Holy Spirit. The leprosy of sin will yield to no remedy but blood; to no blood — but the blood of the Lamb of God; nor to that — but as applied by the power of the Holy Spirit. Every one, therefore, who is not convinced of sin, who has not felt the plague of his own heart, who has not been led to Jesus for healing, and who has not experienced the work of the Holy Spirit applying the blood of Jesus to the soul — is "not out of danger yet."
Sin is the cause of our danger. In sin it originated. From sin it flows. Nor until we get rid of sin — can we be free from danger. Nothing will remove the guilt of sin — but the blood of Jesus; and nothing will destroy the power of sin — but the work and operations of the Holy Spirit. We are all, therefore, naturally in danger.
WHAT are we in danger of? Of suffering the due desert of our sin. Of dying the second death. Of being cast into Hell as loathsome, filthy, and unfit for Heaven. In danger of enduring the curse of God, and of enduring that curse forever. In danger every moment of being cut off in our sins, and of being cast into that lake of fire — from which there is no escape. O, could the sinner see his danger as a criminal before God, he would never rest until he had obtained a pardon! If he realized his danger as diseased, he would instantly apply to the great Physician. If unpardoned, if unsanctified, whatever change may have taken place, he is "not out of danger yet!"
"Not out of danger yet!" No, not if the conduct is reformed, if religious duties are attended to, and if the sinner's course is mended. A man may avoid all gross sins, attend to all religious ordinances, pray publicly and privately, read and converse of Christ, and pass muster among the saints, and thus be much better than he was — but he is "not out of danger yet!" There must be a new birth. The soul must pass from death unto life. The man must be created anew in Christ Jesus, be delivered from the power of darkness, and be translated into the kingdom of God's dear Son. "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision avails anything, nor uncircumcision — but a new creature." We must be born of the Spirit. We must be a new creation.
No convictions, however deep;
no impressions, however powerful;
no change of conduct, however striking;
no feelings, however pleasurable;
no duties, however scriptural
— will place us out of danger! We must receive a new life, or be born again; not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God!
Dear reader, beware of resting satisfied without a new birth; for feel what you may, do what you may, possess what you may, be reformed as you may, the most we can say of you will be, "He is better," but we shall be compelled to add, "He is not out of danger yet!" Out of danger, no; many have gone so far, and returned again to the old state! Out of danger, no; many have experienced all this — and yet have fallen away, and it has been found "impossible to renew them again unto repentance." Reformed sinner, if you are not regenerated, you are "not out of danger yet."
"Out of danger!" This must be a blessed privilege. "Out of danger!" This must be an enviable state. "Out of danger!" This must be a glorious attainment. Brethren, let us set our hearts upon it. Let us make it our one object — until we attain to it. It may be attained. It is attained by many. Many instances may be produced — but they are unnecessary, and would render our article too long.
Suffice it to say, that when conviction of sin leads the soul to the Savior — when looking to Jesus breaks the heart with godly sorrow — when godly sorrow lays us low before the throne of God — when lying low before God we receive the Spirit of adoption — when by the Spirit of adoption we call God Father, and experience filial love to him — and when, as the effect, our chief desire is to please him, and our principal fear is lest we should grieve or dishonor him — only then we are "out of danger."
Or when, by faith, we come as poor sinners to the Savior, venture our souls on his perfect work, seek and enjoy union to his person, copy his life as our great example, make his precepts the constant rule of our life, and his honor and glory the end of our existence — only then we are "out of danger." With a saving interest in Christ, as living and dying for us on earth; with Christ in our hearts, influencing and actuating us; with communion with Christ, as the risen head of his Church in glory, we are "out of danger."
Blessed Spirit, work in my heart, unfold the glories of Christ before me, apply the precious blood of Christ to me, and put forth the virtues of Christ's life and death in me — for then I shall be "out of danger." O to enjoy your witness in my heart, to be sealed to the day of redemption by your grace, and to possess you as the pledge of the inheritance in my soul! Certainty, Lord, for certainty, I pray! "Out of danger," Lord, I long to be placed "out of danger!"
But let no one that reads these lines be discouraged, for we would not discourage the least of the Lord's flock. Yield not to doubt, do not give way to fear; if your evidences are not satisfactory, if something seems to whisper in your soul, "You are not out of danger yet" — then go at once to Jesus, fix your eye on his most precious blood, cry aloud to him for his promised Spirit, nor cease until you learn from his Word, and have the evidence in your own heart, that you are "out of danger.'
To this the apostle Paul exhorts you, speaking of some who were "out of danger," he writes to others, "We desire that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end; that you be not slothful — but followers (imitators) of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (Hebrews 6:11, 12.) So also Peter, "Brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure; for if you do these things, you shall never fall" — but will be "out of danger." (2 Peter 1:10,) Seek therefore for the full assurance of hope; the inward consciousness that you are "out of danger." We cannot make too sure, and therefore ought not to rest short of certainty.
Unrepentant sinner, you are certainly in danger, in the greatest danger, you may be cut down and sent to Hell at any moment! You are never safe, no where safe, nor can you be — until you flee to Jesus, believe in Jesus, and become one with Jesus. Hear his own solemn words, "Preach the Gospel to every creature: he who believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he who believes not shall be damned." The Gospel is this, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners; that he wrought out a righteousness and made an atonement, on the ground of which any sinner may be saved. To believe is to give credit to this fact, and take advantage of it, by trusting to the blood and righteousness of Christ alone, for acceptance with God; and committing the soul to Jesus to be saved by him.
To you, reader, is the word of salvation sent. Good news — there is good news for you, even this, Jesus is able to save you — Jesus is willing to save you; and if you are willing to be saved by him, and commit your soul unreservedly to him — he will save you; save you at once, and save you forever! Do this and we shall be able not only to say, "He is better," but also to add, "He is out of danger!"