The ASSURANCE of Conversion
"I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day."--2 Tim. 1:12
If there is one question involving our personal well-being upon which, above all others, there should not linger the shade of a shadow of uncertainty and doubt, it is the momentous question of our conversion to God--our preparedness for death and eternity. Other questions relating to the present life may reasonably admit of distrust and postponement, even of indifference and neglect; but, the question of our New Birth--the issues of which are solemn as eternity--admits of no uncertainty or delay.
In the preceding pages we have represented the new nature of the believer as a thing visible in its transforming effects. The spiritual change of the heart is evidenced by the moral revolution of the life. The world beholding it, exclaims, "Old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new!" Now, if this great moral change is thus so evident to those who only trace its external evidence, how much more so should it be to the regenerate themselves! Surely, if others recognize and acknowledge it, we ourselves ought to be quite sure that we have passed from death unto life--are born again of the Spirit. Such is the holy state which we purpose in the present chapter to present--such the truth we shall endeavor to unfold--the believer's spiritual certainty, or, Divine authenticity, of his conversion to God. "I know whom I have believed." The points we shall briefly illustrate are--real conversion a self-evidencing fact--the way this assurance may be attained, and then the blessedness of its attainment.
I. Real conversion is a self-evidencing fact.
By a self-evidencing thing we, of course, mean that which is of itself so convincing and demonstrative, as to require no process of reasoning to establish. We say of the Bible that its divinity is self evidencing; that, apart from collateral proof of its Divine inspiration, to an honest and intelligent mind it possesses in itself the proof and evidence of its divinity, cumulative and conclusive; so that, no ingenuous and devout inquirer can rise from its study without the overwhelming conviction that it demonstrates and authenticates its Divine authorship--as the book of God. Now, the new birth admits of a similar line of proof. The moral change it produces is so great and radical, so spiritual and divine, its happy subject knows that he is a new creature--that he is regenerated, adopted, pardoned, justified beyond the shadow of a doubt, and can say, "I KNOW whom I have believed."
That we are not placing too lofty a Christian attainment before the reader, the following few declarations of God's Word, which seem to inculcate the state of assurance as attainable by the believer, we think will show. "We KNOW that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren." "We KNOW that we are of God, and the whole world lies in wickedness." "KNOWING, brethren beloved, your election of God." In Col. 2:2, the apostle speaks of "the full assurance of understanding." In another place he employs this language--"Let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith." Thus it will be seen that the doctrine of assurance is a truth of Divine revelation, that it rests upon the Bible as its basis. Corresponding with these divinely-inspired declarations is the experience of God's saints in all ages of the world. Job could say with assurance, "I KNOW that my Redeemer lives." David could exclaim with assurance, "When I pass through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for you are with me." How full of sweet and holy assurance was the exclamation of Thomas, "My Lord, and my God!" We need not multiply these quotations; they are sufficient to convince the mind that the feeblest believer in the Lord Jesus may arrive at a moral certainty that he is born again of the Spirit.
But the point of light in which we desire to place this subject is that of a present salvation--a truth as replete with comfort as it is with sanctification. Our object will be to confirm the believer in the assurance of the fact that he is saved--saved now--saved as certainly as he will be when the redemption of the body shall be as complete as the redemption of the soul. We predicate this fact upon the declaration of the Lord, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that hears my word, and believes on Him that sent me, HAS everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but HAS PASSED from death unto life." The language of the apostle speaks as assuringly of the same fact--"By grace you ARE SAVED." Such is the truth we present. We earnestly desire to confirm you in the scriptural assurance of your present standing before God, knowing how much your comfort and holiness are involved in its experience.
Take, for example, the state of PARDON in which Divine grace places the believer. Is it a present or a future pardon of sin which he receives? Most assuredly a present one. If pardoned, it is a pardon now, a pardon full, and a pardon forever. It is not a blessing we have to hope for or expect. If we are truly converted, really born again, Divine and sovereign grace has put us in a present forgiveness, in the personal and holy enjoyment of which it is our privilege to walk. How consonant with this truth is the Word of God, which alone could reveal it. "You, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, has He quickened together with Him, HAVING FORGIVEN you all trespasses," (Col. 2:13.) And what the language of Jesus to the penitent woman bathing His feet with tears? Did He dismiss her still laden with guilt, still polluted with sin? No! Listen to His words--oh, words none more precious!--"And He said unto her, Your sins ARE FORGIVEN." Need we multiply, which we could to a great extent, these proofs?
Beloved, knowing your election of God, we write these things unto you. If your souls are really regenerate, the blotting out of your sins is not a thing to be realized and experienced at some future period of your life, but is a present blessing, and should be a present enjoyment. If washed in the atoning blood of Jesus, you are clean every whit. Not more fully pardoned are the glorified spirits in heaven than you are at this moment. For this you have the Divine asseveration--"I HAVE blotted out as a thick cloud your transgressions, and as a cloud your sins." He has done it, and having done it, He will never undo it. Once pardoned, fully pardoned; pardoned freely, and pardoned forever. Oh, realize your present standing as a pardoned sinner! Do not keep going over the great debt as still existing against you.
Suppose that the original amount has been fearfully augmented by superadded debts--debts infinite in number and aggravated in character? Be it so. Still it is written--"Having forgiven you ALL trespasses." "Your sins ARE FORGIVEN you for His name's sake," (1 John 2:12.)
Do not think that God, whose work is perfect, works this His master-work partially and imperfectly. Is it like Him to exercise this the highest prerogative of His moral government and the greatest act of His grace in a way that would lower its dignity, impair its power, and neutralize its effects? No! His pardons are worthy of His infinite greatness and love. He pardons like a God. "Who is a God like unto You, that pardons iniquity, and passes by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage?"
Again, we press upon you the realization of your present state as standing in God's sight, washed in the blood of Christ from all past, present, and future sin. Never was there a more entire annihilation, a more perfect canceling of anything, than the forgiveness of sin which has passed upon all God's people. "In those days, and in that time, says the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be NONE; and the sins of Judah, and they shall NOT BE FOUND--for I will pardon them whom I reserve," (Jer. 50:20.) "You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea," (Micah 7:19.) Timid child of God! loving disciple of Christ! see your sins all cast into these unfathomable depths. Sought for by justice, by the law, by Satan, by yourself, you shall never find them--all, all entirely and eternally forgiven--annihilated by God Himself. Walking in the happy sense of a present forgiveness, you will walk carefully, circumspectly, holily, hating your sins, and the sin still dwelling within you, all the more that God, your sin-pardoning God, has entirely and forever forgiven you.
Take the state of ACCEPTANCE. Is it a present or a future blessing? Is it a state the believer first enters into when he enters into glory? or, does he enter into it now, as the condition and the earnest of that glory? Most assuredly, if we are not brought into a state of justification by grace here, we have no pledge of a state of justification in glory hereafter. The act of justification passes upon the believing soul in this life, and is his title-deed to the inheritance of the life which is to come. The language of the Holy Spirit is confirmatory of this truth--"To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He HAS MADE US ACCEPTED in the Beloved." "BEING JUSTIFIED by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." And then we have the statement respecting the righteousness of Christ, which justifies. It is declared to be, "unto all and UPON all those who believe." Believe this to be your present state before God. Not more fully, though more openly and declaratively, justified will you be when the Lord shall extend the welcome, "Come, you blessed of my Father," than you are now if you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ to the salvation of your soul. "ACCEPTED"--present time--not may be, or shall be, but, "ACCEPTED in the Beloved."
Oh, what peace will follow from the Spirit's witness to this your present condition as in the sight of God! Realizing that you are clothed in white garments--that God looks upon you only in Christ, lovely through His loveliness put upon you--you will daily clasp the belt of prayer and faith round the robe of righteousness, and so walk with Jesus in all the growing holiness of a full, a free, a present justification of your soul by Jesus Christ our Lord.
A present salvation, also, involves a present act of ADOPTION. This cannot possibly be a future, remote exercise of God's love. If we are in a state of regeneracy, born again by the Spirit of adoption, then, beloved, "Now are we the sons of God." "And because you ARE Sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father." It is on the basis of this our present adoption that we draw near unto God as our Father who are in heaven. We call Him "our Father"--we feel Him to be our Father--He responds to us as a Father, and when we depart out of this life, in the words of Jesus, our Elder Brother, we "go to the Father."
Walk, then, with God, beloved, in the sweet, holy consciousness of your present adoption. Not more fully adopted, not more really will you be a child of God when you arrive in heaven and see your Father there, than at this present moment, if, born again, you have received in faith the Lord Jesus Christ. "As many as received Him, to them gave He power [or privilege] to BECOME THE SONS OF GOD, even to those who believe on His name." Such is your present filial standing before God. Oh, what a motive to walk worthy of so high a relationship!--what an encouragement to draw near to God as to a Father, acknowledging sin, unveiling sorrow, revealing need, and in all circumstances and places--in mental sadness, in heart-grief, in temporal need--pouring all into that Father's ear, embosoming all in that Father's heart!
Equally, also, is our SANCTIFICATION by the Spirit a present attainment of grace. It is of great importance to keep this prominently before us, since our holiness here is our fitness for our glory hereafter. "Sanctification, indeed, unlike the parts of the new creation we have referred to, is a gradual work, yet, seminally, it is a complete thing. In its growth progressive, yet in its nature perfect. Still, gradual and incomplete, as our personal holiness is, it is an actual and a present grace, and may be advanced to a high standard of culture. "This is the will of God, even your SANCTIFICATION." Again we read, "God has from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through SANCTIFICATION of the Spirit."
For this high attainment let us press onward. Possessing in the renewed nature the germ of perfect holiness--its perfection arrived at only in glory--let us seek its development and growth, that we may be more holy, more separate from the ungodly world, more decidedly on the Lord's side, fairer copies of the mind, the loveliness, and example of Christ, maturing in grace here, amid all its opposition and difficulty, for the glory that is to be revealed in us at the coming of the Lord Jesus.
II. The way this assurance may be attained
The question now arises, how may the believer arrive to this assurance of his personal and present salvation? That it is attainable, we have shown from the precepts and examples cited from the Word of God. The question is, how may I attain unto this grace?
1. We answer, first, by a direct and simple dealing with the Lord Jesus. An assurance of salvation must necessarily spring from the great Object of salvation. We only know that we are in the light by coming to the light. No one immured in a dungeon can speak of the warmth and radiance of the sun experimentally. He must emerge from his darkness and stand in the light. A sick man could hardly expect to derive healing but from the process of healing. He could not reasonably expect to be cured but by the remedy prescribed for the cure. Now, how may we arrive at a comfortable assurance that we are saved? By dealing with the Lord Jesus, by whom and in whom we are saved. We derive light only from the sun, vitality only from the air, sustenance only from the bread. It is by a personal, believing, simple apprehension of Christ, looking only to Him, resting only in Him, receiving only from Him, that we can possibly know that we are saved.
Assurance will never arise from looking at ourselves, or from mixing up anything with Christ. How can we possibly know that our guilt is cleansed, but as we wash in the blood? how that our people are justified, but as we put on the righteousness? how that God has accepted, and delights in us, but as we know that we stand in the Beloved? This is assurance of salvation--the full, unqualified acceptance of Christ. Approaching as a poor, empty, miserable sinner, and standing in this Divine Sun, all bathed in His light, all invested with His beams, all covered with His glory, we shall no more question the fact of our being saved, saved now, and saved forever, than we should, in our right minds, doubt the fact that the sun shines at noon while gazing upon its meridian splendor. This is assurance of salvation, looking believingly at the Savior.
What ground have we for knowing that we are saved, but as we see our great debt paid by the offering and sacrifice of Jesus? our sins forgiven through His atoning merit? our persons justified, and we counted as righteous through the imputation of His obedience? We must in faith behold the Lord Jesus answering for all as our Surety, undertaking all as our Mediator, accomplishing all as our Divine Redeemer, before we can possess a firm persuasion that we are saved. The blood and righteousness of the Lord constitute the basis of assurance. Taking our stand upon this, we can exclaim with humble assurance, "'I KNOW whom I have believed.' I believe in Jesus, that He has merited all, suffered all, perfected all for me--paying all my debt, enduring all my punishment, endowing me with all His wealth, and investing me with all His glory."
You have, perhaps, dear reader, long been in want of the assurance that you are saved. But you have sought it in yourself, and not in Christ. You have been searching for evidences amid the shadows and the taint of your own heart, the imperfect traces of your own doings, the varied exercises of your mind, and have sought them in vain. But now try the experiment--an experiment that has never failed one poor soul--of finding the evidence of your present salvation in a believing looking to a present Savior. Rest in Jesus from the burden and the guilt of sin; rest in Jesus from the conflict with doubt and fear; rest in Jesus from the fear of death and the dread of condemnation; rest in Jesus from your entire self; rest in His finished work, in His accepted sacrifice, in His boundless grace, in His unchanging love, and present intercession, and your assurance will be built upon a rock, against which no force of Satan or unbelief shall ever prevail.
The chief instrument by which assurance is obtained is, FAITH. It flows through the channel of believing. Indeed, the best definition of assurance of present salvation is, a lively and continuously-acting faith on the Lord Jesus. Assurance is believing, and nothing more. Believing that Jesus died for sinners--believing the record God has given concerning His Son--believing that His death was a sufficient atonement, and that His resurrection was its acceptance of the Father--simply, unquestioningly believing this--faith laying hold of the great salvation with a believing and assured grasp--hope sweetly and firmly resting upon it, yes, as sweetly and as firmly as upon the everlasting hills--assurance of salvation will follow, as any effect follows its cause. Now, according to the degree and strength of your faith will be the degree and strength of your assurance of salvation. In proportion as you believe in the Lord Jesus, faith will bring into your soul the peace, joy, comfort, and hope which ever follow in its channel; and the deeper and the wider the channel, the deeper and the wider will be the blessings which it conveys to your soul. It shall be unto you according to your faith.
Oh, then, cease to do, and labor, and desire--all which exercise profits nothing. Cast overboard the oars with which you have impelled your bark against the tide, and spread your canvas to the heavenly gale. Trust to the irresistible power of believing prayer. Let your faith, dropping every other confidence, take hold of Christ--His person, His love, His word of promise. And the sun which shines, and, in its shining, warms into life, loveliness, and fertility the landscape of nature, will not diffuse more vitality, gladness, and song, than will that simple faith which clasps its arms around the Savior, and so brings the ocean-fullness of a present salvation into your soul.
In proportion, then, to the simplicity of your faith in the Lord Jesus will be the personal conviction of your safety. Brood not over your sins, but confess them with a humble, lowly, and believing heart to Jesus, and the assurance of pardon will follow. Be not dismayed at your demerit, but take it to the infinite merits of Christ, and the assurance of acceptance will follow. Rescued by a lifeboat from drowning, I am saved; if, however, I have any doubt of the fact that I am actually within the rescuing vessel, my conviction and joy of safety must be seriously diminished by that doubt. But, firmly believing that I am in the vessel, floating securely and calmly upon the foaming billows, at which now I smile, the assurance that I am actually saved, and the transport springing from that assurance, will be unimpaired and unclouded by a doubt. In proportion to the hold which your believing heart has upon the Lord Jesus--the Divine Lifeboat of the soul--for He came into the world to save sinners--will be the strength and the joy of your personal salvation. Believe that you are actually in Christ--realize your union with Him--deal only with the infinite sufficiency of His person and the complete fullness of His work--receive Him as a sinner all guilty, as a bankrupt having nothing to pay, as sin-diseased, having resorted to every physician, having tried every remedy, and as being nothing bettered but rather grown worse--dealing simply, and fully, and only with Jesus the Savior--and, with the holy apostle, you, also, shall triumphantly exclaim, "I KNOW whom I have believed."
In addition to the assurance of salvation which a believing apprehension of the Lord Jesus imparts, we have the witness of the Holy Spirit testifying to our possession of the new nature. Having formed this new and divine nature within us, it is His office, as His delight, always to authenticate its existence and unveil its glories. In the new creation of the soul, the noblest achievement of His creative power, He has made His personal and permanent abode. "He [the Spirit] shall ABIDE with you forever." "The Spirit himself bears WITNESS with our spirit that we are the children of God." Thus we have the highest source of assurance--the testimony of God the Holy Spirit Himself. Earnestly seek it. His seal, His attestation, His endorsement will quell every fear, annihilate even doubt, and not the shadow of a shade shall veil the existence or becloud the luster of God's new creation in your soul.
Eternal and blessed Spirit! though I have slighted, grieved, and wounded You times without number, stifling the still small voice of Your love, and checking the gentle constraints of Your grace, yet shine upon Your new creation in my soul, awaken the joys of God's salvation in my heart, dispel my sadness, dissolve my darkness, and turn my night of weeping into a morning of joy!
Such are some of the channels through which the assurance of a present state of salvation flows to us.
The means of its attaining assurance.
Let us, in conclusion, glance at some of the means of its attainment. PRAYER shall be the first we quote. For this great, comforting, and sanctifying attainment in grace the Lord will be inquired of to give it. It comes not forth but by prayer. As communion with God is the chief characteristic of the new creature, the life of God in the soul, so it is by this means that that life is kept vigorous, health, and progressive. The willful neglect of prayer--the soul withdrawing even from what is holy, that it might enter into the "Holy of Holies" for secret communion with the Invisible One--will seriously affect the assurance of our salvation. But closeness of walk with God, frequent communion with Jesus, will keep the heart in bloom, will nourish the germ of holiness, and so encompass the soul as with a shield as shall prevent the accumulation of these corroding doubts and fears around the heart which render its spiritual action sluggish and feeble. Then, give yourself to prayer! Draw near unto God, and He will draw near unto you. He inspires prayer, loves prayer, listens to prayer, answers prayer; and by prayer you shall live in the happy, holy experience of a present salvation, walking in the full assurance of your saving interest in Christ, of your adoption into the family of God.
Meditation on God's Word essentially aids our comfortable assurance. The truth as it is in Jesus is the manna of the renewed soul, the spiritual nourishment of the life of God within us. "Your words were found, and I did EAT them; and your word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart." "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by EVERY WORD that proceeds out of the MOUTH OF GOD." There is nothing so nourishing to the new nature--nourishment so appropriate to the new man--as the pure wheat of God's Word. Its glorious doctrines of grace strengthen it, its divine precepts mold it, its precious promises comfort it, its blessed hopes animate it. It is from this Divine granary that the true nutriment is drawn by which the new man lives. Hold fast God's Word in its integrity, contend earnestly for the faith, live upon every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God, let your soul stand in awe of His Word, read it meditatively, study it prayerfully, treat it reverentially, believe it fully--so shall it feed and nourish and render fruitful the new nature of God within your soul. Thus shall you be a man of God, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
Nor would we fail to remark that full assurance is only found in the way of holy obedience. Speaking of the relation of Christian evidence with evangelical holiness, our Lord says, "If any man will DO His will, he shall KNOW of the doctrine whether it be of God." By the same test--doing the Divine will--a man of God may know his heavenly calling. Ever remembering that, "to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams," reverence for the lowliest command of Christ will be a deep and prevailing sentiment of the true believer. Obedience to one divine command will be, in his estimation, of more importance than the costliest sacrifice. Now, in this path of holy, unreserved obedience the Lord meets His disciples with tokens of His favor.
In seeking to carry out the Lord's will in the small as the great precepts of His Word, in the minor as the more important concerns of life, in all things and under all circumstances doing the will of God, the believer shall lack no evidence of his new birth. "You meet him that rejoices and works in righteousness, those that remember you in your ways." Oh, rich the comfort, deep the peace, unclouded the assurance which will flow into his heart who seeks to stand complete in all the will of God.
Christian assurance and unreserved obedience are inseparably linked in the experience of God's saints. This, perhaps, may suggest a defect in your walk, my reader. You have been seeking the assurance of your salvation, but not in the path that has been most honoring to the Divine commands as a child of God. Examine well your obedience! Is there any command of Christ wilfully dishonored, any divine precept knowingly slighted, any required cross daily neglected in your Christian walk? Then marvel not that the trembling fear, the anxious doubt, the darkling cloud intercepts the comfortable possession of your interest in the Savior. Take up the cross, however self-denying, and follow the Lord fully, and you shall know from most happy experience that in keeping His commands there is great reward.
To sum up the whole matter--prayerfully and watchfully avoid whatever tends to impair and becloud your assurance. A distant following of Jesus, much contact with the world, too close communion with cold-hearted, half-hearted Christians and inconsistent religious professors, trifling with conscience, neglect of confession of sin, dealing slightly with atoning blood, looking into self instead of looking unto Jesus, needless exposure to temptation, reserves in obedience, a shrinking from the cross, undervaluing the means of grace--because of these things many of the Lord's people are weak and sickly, and many sleep, and walk not in the peaceful, joyous, holy experience of a present salvation.
But, beware of making a savior of assurance. This were to rob you of the blessing altogether. Whatever in the experience of the believer displaces Christ, casts a deep shadow upon his soul. Whatever is exalted above its proper place, or is exaggerated beyond its legitimate position in the plan of salvation, must materially affect the happiness of the Christian. Christ is all in our salvation. The alpha and the omega, the first and the last. Place assurance of salvation upon a level with salvation itself, and you have introduced a disturbing element. Exalt any part of Christian experience to a level with Christ, make it essential to salvation, and you dishonor the Lord Jesus, and veil the sun from your soul.
Assurance that you are saved is not an essential principle of your salvation. It may be necessary to your holy and happy walk to be fully persuaded that you are a believer in Christ, but it is not necessary to your standing with acceptance before God. Christ, and Christ alone. Christ, and nothing more. Christ, and nothing less. Therefore, in the absence of that full and comfortable persuasion of your eternal safety which you desire, still keep your eye intent upon Christ, who can save you, and is prepared to save you and bring you to His eternal glory, though in weeping and mourning, you follow Him to the grave. Mary weeping at the tomb had no assurance that her Lord was alive; and yet how she loved, and how He loved, and how near Jesus was to her! Look not, then, to your assurance, but--look simply, directly, and only to Christ.
But, make sure work of conversion! Let not
this essential, all-important, all-momentous change be a dubious, uncertain,
unauthenticated matter with you. So long as you remain unconverted,
your condition is one of imminent peril. What, if leaving your home in the
morning radiant with life, before nightfall you are borne back to it--a
corpse? For what is life but a vapor? And among all uncertainties what
more uncertain than it? "In the morning it flourishes and grows up, in
the evening it is cut down and withers." What, if amid the still hours
of midnight, the summons should be heard, "Your soul is required of you?"
and, before morning light, your body lies a 'ruined tent' upon the ground?
Are you in readiness to meet the solemn change? We beseech you, then, make
sure work of the NEW BIRTH. Take nothing for granted in a matter
involving interests so momentous and precious. Be satisfied only with LIFE
in your soul. All things new, the divine image restored, Christ precious,
the new nature blooming and fruitful, maturing beneath the Sun of
Righteousness for its native paradise on high. But scorn it, trifle with it,
postpone it if you will–
"This fearful truth will still remain,
The sinner must be BORN AGAIN,
Or sink to endless woe!"
Thus living upon a present Savior--present ever at your side, in all places and at all times--you will live upon a present salvation. It is with the present, fleeting though it be, rather than with the future, we have more immediately to do. The present is more solemn and momentous than the future, since the future is all that the present makes it. A present of grace involves a future of glory. The Lord has graciously provided for the present of the believer in the life of faith He has appointed him to live. The life he now lives in the flesh, with all its needs, sorrows, and trials, is by the faith of the Son of God. So live! Go and tell the Lord Jesus every present need, perplexity, and trial. "To whom COMING." Coming now--coming incessantly--ever coming--coming with the same trials and needs, the same backslidings and infirmities, the same sins and sorrows--never ceasing to come so long as the heart has a corruption to be subdued, earth a sorrow to be comforted, or life a service to be done.
What an evidence is afforded of the DIVINITY of the Savior in the assurance which the apostle expresses, and into which we desire to mold every Christian reader of this volume! What was the treasure which Paul committed to Jesus Christ? It is something personal, something valuable, something precious. What was it? What but his immortal soul--his redeemed body--his whole interests for eternity? Would he entrust this deposit--a deposit compared with which the wealth of the universe were as the dust in the balance--to a creature--a man--a mere man--an arm of flesh--a human savior? Oh, extreme of folly! Oh, dream of madness! He knew whom he believed. He knew Him to be GOD--absolute God--the "Almighty God"--the only-begotten Son of God--the "brightness of His Father's glory, and the express image of His person"--"God manifest in the flesh." To no other hands but those of a DIVINE REDEEMER can we safely confide our undying soul.
Who that possesses a sense of the value of his soul--that has an enlightened view of its relation to eternity, its sinfulness, its accountability, its immortality, its exposure to an ever-living death--would confide its deathless interests to any than to Deity? My reader, Paul never dreamed of entrusting the keeping and salvation of his soul to a created Redeemer. Man, though Christ was, Paul knew that the light of Divinity gleamed from His eye, that the thunder of Divinity slumbered in His arm, and that the words and power of Divinity were upon His tongue. Well, also, did he know that, possessing all the essential attributes of God, Christ had attested His Divinity by the miracles which He wrought. He transformed water into wine, fed thousands with a few loaves, raised the dead, restored the paralyzed, healed the sick, ejected demons, controlled the elements, and trod the earth, as a province of His empire, with the keys of the invisible world pendent from His belt. And then dying, all nature testifying her sympathy with her expiring Creator, He burst from the imprisonment of the grave, and was declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead. We marvel not at the bold, triumphant language of Paul, "I know whom l have believed."
To that same Divine Redeemer, as unto a faithful Creator, you too, O believer, have entrusted the salvation of your soul; and with like precious faith, and with like full assurance, you may confide your interests for time and for eternity--your present of grace and your future of glory--confidently and safely in the hands of Jesus. Oh, do you think that He will not securely keep what you have committed to His care against the great day of judgment? Do you think that he will not guard, as with unslumbering eye, the soul for which he sorrowed and sobbed in Gethsemane--suffered, bled, and died on the cross? Stagger not, then, at this Divine and precious truth through unbelief. Command your doubts to be gone. Give your fears to the winds. Jesus will keep to the end, and will conduct in safety and in triumph from grace to glory, the lowest, weakest of His saints. Not one shall perish. The hand that touched with trembling faith the border of His robe, shall sweep the golden harp of heaven to His praise. The eye that caught the dimmest view of His cross of humiliation, shall gaze with unclouded vision upon the throne of His ineffable glory. Christ shall see of the travail of His soul and shall be satisfied, and both the Savior and the saved shall rejoice together through eternity. "I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."