The Design of Christ's Coming

James Smith, 1865

"This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance: 'Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners'—and I am the worst of them all!" 1 Timothy 1:15

No theme is like the love of Jesus. No manifestation of that love, is like His coming into our world to save sinners. O that we could think, speak, and write worthy of that glorious subject! But it would require more than human abilities, and a longer space than time. This makes the thought of eternity sweet — in which we shall have space, opportunity, inclination, and all kinds of help — to prosecute this delightful subject! Yes, eternity will be spent in thinking, speaking, enjoying, and celebrating the love of Jesus. O that my heart was filled and fired with it now! O that I could so write as to influence, inflame, and fill every reader's heart with the love of Christ! Precious theme! Holy Spirit help our meditations upon it! But our principal object now is, to dwell on the design of the Savior, He came into the world to save sinners.

First, here is a great and GLORIOUS OBJECT: The salvation of sinners.

From WHAT does He save them? From an eternal Hell, and from sin — the cause of Hell.

Hell! What a fearful place is Hell!

The prison where God's enemies are confined!

The torture room, where guilty rebels are eternally tormented!

Every terrible figure is employed to represent it. It is . . .
a lake of fire;
blackness, darkness, and tempest;
outer darkness;
weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth;
an abyss of tormenting flame!

There will be no jail delivery there. There will be no mitigation of torment there. All will be dreadful — eternally dreadful. Jesus came to save sinners from going to Hell.

Sin is the cause of Hell. Hell is but the natural effect of sin. There could be no saving from Hell — but by saving from sin. Jesus came therefore to save sinners from sin. To save them from its guilt — by shedding His blood for them; and to save them from its love and power — by procuring the Holy Spirit, and giving that Spirit to them.

But WHOM did He come to save? Sinners! Those who were only sinners — altogether sinners. Those who could show no reason why they should be saved. Those who would never seek to be saved by Him — unless He induced and inclined them. Those from whom He could expect nothing in return, and from whom He will get nothing but thanks, and even this will be the fruit of His own grace.

HOW did He propose to save them? Consistently with God's government on the one hand, and their own nature on the other. So that God's government should not be wronged, nor man's nature forced. How wonderful is this! God's law and government gets all that it requires — and poor sinners are induced to accept a free, full, and everlasting salvation. He came to save sinners, and depend upon it — He will save all His people from their sins!

Secondly, The influence which this subject exerted in HEAVEN. It influenced the whole Godhead. Father, Son, and Spirit were affected by it. Nothing lay nearer the heart of God, than this. Nothing reveals so much of God, as this. It so influenced God, that a council was held in Heaven — a covenant of grace was entered into:
the plan of salvation was drawn;
for salvation was made;
the promise of salvation was given; and
at length the period of the salvation arrived, when Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, came into the world to save sinners.

He came freely. He took our nature willingly. He appeared in our place cheerfully. He undertook to answer for us legally. He wrought, He taught, He suffered — in order that sinners may be saved — freely, cheerfully, certainly, eternally. He undertook to be a Savior. He bore the name of a Savior — Jesus. He did the work of a Savior. He shall enjoy the glory and honor of a Savior. The Father ordained Him to save. He cheerfully came to save. The Spirit reveals His person, sprinkles His blood, applies His Word, and puts His people into possession of salvation. Thus salvation had, and has, an influence upon the whole Godhead.

Thirdly, the influence this subject has in HELL. Every fallen spirit is affected by it. The prince of darkness and all his demons are roused up, determined to oppose, hinder, and if possible, prevent it. Hence they act upon the saints and lull many of them to sleep. He produces disagreements, that they may not go forth united and energetic to the field; and fills others with self-satisfaction, so that they are satisfied, if not pleased, with themselves, when they are doing little or nothing for God's glory, or to pluck sinners as brands from the burning.

They act particularly upon preachers, so that some fall into errors, others into sin, and many become wearisome, sleepy, and indifferent. Nor do they overlook writers, especially those who write for the press — hence the multitude of erroneous, profane, and pestiferous publications!

Especially do they act upon sinners — hence the carelessness, blindness, and forgetfulness they manifest. Therefore the Apostle said, "And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God."

Fourthly, the influence this subject should have on EARTH.

Their influence on ministers — inflaming them with zeal, self-denial, and soul consuming earnestness, in endeavoring to bring souls to Jesus.

Their influence on deacons — stimulating them to remove all obstacles out of the preachers way, providing all possible accommodation for hearers, and rendering pastors all the assistance they possibly can.

Their influence on all Christians — stirring them up to seek the present, the immediate salvation of all around. Travailing in birth for sinners, until Christ is formed in them. Especially guarding against everything unlovely in temper, disposition, and conduct — lest they should hinder the gospel of Christ. Employing all likely means to bring sinners under the Word, or lead them directly to the Savior. Engaging each, and all, personally to aim at, and strive to save some. When our own salvation is secured — the salvation of all around us to the glory of God, should be the all-absorbing object and subject, which engrosses our attention.

Did Jesus come to save sinners? So should we go directly to sinners, and be ever willing to give, to do, and even to suffer, for the conversion and salvation of sinners.

Is the great doctrine, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, worthy of all acceptance? Then let us accept it for ourselves, let us convey it to others, and endeavor to urge it upon their attention in the manner most likely to succeed. Let us use the tongue, the pen, and the press for this purpose. Let us work publicly and privately with this end in view.

Does this great subject influence God Himself? Then let us seek to be like-minded with God — with the Father who sent His Son — with the Son who came to suffer, bleed and die — with the Holy Spirit, who wrought in Christ, and still even works for Christ.

Let us be like-minded with Paul, who could say of Jesus, "We proclaim Him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me." The word "labor," signifies to labor even to weariness. May we so labor, not for a day, a month, or a year; but every day, every month, every year, until our Lord calls us home; and may this be our subject and our theme, wherever we go, and with whoever we converse, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance: 'Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners' — and I am the worst of them all!"