THE WAGES OF SIN, AND HOW TO BE SAVED
Sermon by Dr. J. Frank Norris, Temple Baptist Church, Detroit, Michigan
(Dr. Norris gives from memory without notes the outline of the entire book of Romans.)
May I invite your attention to a verse that was quoted a while ago, Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
There are sixteen chapters in this the longest of the thirteen epistles written by the Apostle Paul, the letter that is written to the church in the eternal city of Rome and written before he ever saw that city or that church. The theme of the entire letter is, “The Gospel.” It is so stated in the 16th verse of the first chapter, “For the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.”
The same divine power that creates the world re-creates the soul that is dead in trespasses and sins.
Throughout the first chapter we find a condemnation of the whole Gentile world, calling every sin, that man is guilty of, concrete sin.
This chapter closes by naming twenty-three indictments. What a picture – “Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” (Romans 1:29-32.)
The second chapter is a condemnation of the Jewish world. They are also without excuse, in fact have a greater responsibility, for to them was given the oracles of the law in special revelation.
“Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.” (Romans 2:1.)
The first twenty verses of the third chapter tell of the condemnation of both the Gentiles and Jews, and close by saying, “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.'” The word “Sin” there means man has missed the mark. The balance of the third chapter, the second half, tells us that as man’s only escape from sin God sent forth Christ to be a propitiation for sin, “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:24.)
The fourth chapter gives us an example of justification of the life of the patriarch Abraham, and quotes Genesis 15:6, “And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.”
The fifth chapter begins with this word, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God.” When God says “Therefore” it means a conclusion, summing up all that precedes. Throughout the entire fifth chapter it tells of the reign of sin and the reign of grace, of the reign of the law and the reign of death, and the reign of righteousness.
And the sixth chapter begins by telling us how free we are, setting forth by two illustrations, our freedom through faith in Christ.
The first illustration is that of our baptism. It says, “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?” Unthinkable! Impossible! – “God forbid.” Then it says as many as are baptized into His death, planted together in the likeness of His death are raised in the likeness of His resurrection – The purpose of baptism is therefore to declare to the world, in symbolic beautiful form, the burial and resurrection. That is why sprinkling cannot be substituted for immersion, for there is no burial in sprinkling or pouring – no symbolic meaning.
The second illustration in the sixth chapter, gives an illustration of two masters, that we are under a master when we serve sin and that when Christ comes we have a new Master and we are free from the bondage of sin and therefore no longer a servant of sin but under Christ.
The third illustration is in the seventh chapter and is that of marriage. If a woman is married to a man and that man dies, that woman is free. She can marry another man, and her allegiance belongs not to the dead husband but to the live husband. So we were married to the law but now we are married to Him.
The second half of the seventh chapter deals with the war in the life of every believer, the greatest conflict is fought in the human heart. Therefore, he says, “That which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.” And he concludes that chapter by saying, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”
The eighth chapter begins with these immortal words: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” In the light of sinful flesh it tells of our freedom, that we no longer are under the law, but under grace. Nineteen times it tells of the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer:
“Who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free.” “Who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” “But they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.” “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit.” “If so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.” “Now if any man have not the spirit of Christ.” “But the spirit is life because of righteousness.” “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus.” “Shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” “But if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body.” “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God.” “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear.'” “Ye have received the Spirit of adoption.” “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit.” “Which have the first fruits of the Spirit.” “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities.” “But the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us.” “And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit.”
Then begins the second half of the eighth chapter showing God’s eternal purpose with that immortal verse that is perhaps quoted more than any verse in the whole Bible, and closes with the most marvelous panoramic view of God’s eternal purpose which begins with predestination and ends with glorification.
The three chapters, nine, ten, and eleven are parenthetic. Paul begins the ninth chapter, with these words: “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” He sums up the whole of the tenth chapter by saying, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.”
The eleventh chapter, coming on through the great climax of the eternal purpose for the Jews – “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.”
Then beginning the twelfth chapter with these words: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
The balance of the entire chapter is concerning practical virtues, Christianity applied.
The thirteenth chapter tells of the attitude toward the government. Never mind whether we agree or disagree with the government. It raises the question as to whether or not a man shall be loyal to his government in peace and in war. The apostle Paul settles that. We should recognize the powers that be and pray for them for they are ordained of God.
The fourteenth chapter tells us of our relation to our weaker brethren and sounds the note of warning. “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”
The fifteenth chapter gives us more practical Christian graces and how beautiful and tender the words, “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.”
We come to the last chapter, the sixteenth chapter. Thirty-one times he calls the names of fellow workers who labored with him in the gospel and closes with great triumph through Jesus Christ: “Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.”
The Wages of Sin
Now in this text I want to emphasize briefly Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death.”
Mark the expression – not “shall be death” but “is death”!
“But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Here is indeed a very sharp contrast. On the one hand we find sin; on the other we find righteousness. On the one hand we find death; on the other hand we find life. On the one hand we find wages; on the other hand we find a gift. May God help us tonight to see the lesson.
The World-Wide Issue of Wages
The biggest question before the world today is wages. The big question of the Jews under Pharaoh was wages. Read the history of Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian empire; the question was wages. The Caesars ruled the world for seven hundred years and the big question was wages. Go throughout the world tonight and there you will find the big question of wages. Even when the daughter of Pharaoh had called the mother of Moses – Miriam, the sister of Moses, called Jochebed – and little did she know that the nurse she called was the mother of this babe that she had pulled out of the bulrushes – she said, “I will give thee wages.”
We believe in fair wages. There is something within us that rebels when we find a few men getting more than their share. We believe there is enough in the country’s resources, natural resources, field, forest, mines and rivers, that God has so given enough in this world that every man can earn an honest living. And when he does not there is something wrong, something wrong in the distribution of wealth, something wrong with legislation – something wrong somewhere. We will never be able to find that wrong in this present evil world. We will never have just distribution of wealth; we will never get over injustice in this world. That is why Christ will establish His reign, for He alone can stop injustice. He will execute judgment and righteousness for all the oppressed.
I want to talk about a wage concerning which there will never be any question. There will be no sit-down strikes. You never heard any man in the world complain that he didn’t receive enough punishment for his own misdeeds. Do you want a strong body? I see some little boys before me tonight. Listen, boys, I would to God I could have an hour in private interview and whisper into the deepest recesses of your soul. You are now going through a delicate, trying period of life from youth to manhood. God help you to have sense enough to live right through this teen age of life. Dismiss any moral thought, any thought of the future, any life beyond this life. Everybody who denies himself a good strong body lessens his chances in the game of life. The game of life is one of competition. I care not where you turn we are in that game and to out-distance our competitors we have to have strong bodies, keen minds and an iron nerve. Now I say this to help you. If you sin against those nerves, if you sin against your brain, if you sin against your body, those physical organs God endowed you with, you will pay for it and in a most terrible way. The unchangeable law, “Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap.”
I sat by the bedside of a young fellow only thirty-seven years of age. He held a secret in his life, didn’t tell anybody but me. At last he died a terrible, horrible death. Why? “The wages of sin”
Oh, I wish I could take every boy into my arms tonight, take him away from the whole world and whisper into the secret depths of his soul these words, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes; but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.” How many wrecked broken lives, broken in health, broken in spirit, broken in purse, broken in reputation, wrecked for time and eternity! All would have been saved if when they were boys, before it was too late, these wrecks had read and heeded these words: “A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple and knoweth nothing. For she sitteth at the door of her house on a seat in the high places of the city. To call passengers who go right on their ways: Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: and as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him; stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.”
The wages of sin is death, death, death – Listen, boys, not my word but the word of almighty God. Here is a red light – “Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids. For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread; and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life. Can a man take fire into his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?” and do you want to go to the slaughter as an ox-I have seen cattle by the thousands driven up the narrow chute to their death. Listen to these words; “With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him. He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks; Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life. Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth. Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. For she hath cast down many wounded; yea, many strong men have been slain by her. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.”
Men, most brilliant geniuses in the field of battle, in the halls of Parliament, high in state-craft – “going down to the chambers of death”!
When I was a boy hauling a bale of unginned cotton into a little town I passed a cotton yard filled with ginned bales wrapped in ties and bagging. I saw a crowd of men rolling a bale of cotton out of the yard and no sooner was it out in the street than it burst into flames. Strange, but it had been burning for days from within. At last it burst forth and nothing but the ties were left. Oh, can a man take fire in his bosom and not be burned? The wages of sin is death!
If there were no argument from the moral standpoint as to why a man should not take alcohol into his brain – I can take a glass of alcohol and break an egg into it and in just a few minutes’ time that egg is absolutely cooked hard. The human brain is very much like the white of an egg. That alcohol does something to your brain and your nerves – it does the same thing to the brain and nerves that it does to the white of that egg.
To show you what I am talking about, we have a lot of diseases, and the doctors are inventing new ones all the time. I remember when I was a small boy typhoid fever struck the community where we lived. And there is one thing I remember, if a man had touched liquor and typhoid fever struck him he went out immediately. That is what alcohol will do to the stomach.
The brain is the most delicate part of man’s anatomy, the seat of his mind, the seat of his reason, the thing he remembers with. Incidentally, let me tell you this, if you want a keen retentive brain, if you want a good memory, keep your brain and your blood stream free from all poison, and the older you grow the better memory you will have.
Why break in the middle of life? Why play out in your prime? Why not grow stronger as you grow older? Why not have nerves of iron? Why not have a brain, keen, scintillating, retentive?
The Secret of Courage
Let me tell you something else, and perhaps the most important thing, do you want to be able to stand up on your hind feet and look the world in the face? Do you want to be able to stand in the day of battle? Do you know the secret of real courage? I mean courage on every inch of the ground – moral courage, physical courage, spiritual courage-and did you know that God never uses cowards? – “Be of good courage.” After all is said and done the highest element of human character is courage. What is the secret of true courage? It is found hidden deep down in the most inner secret recesses of the soul. There are two persons you must agree with, you must get along with. Who are those two persons? First, your God, and second, your own conscience, your inner self, your real soul.
Take the great scourge of rheumatism. They come to Hot Springs, Arkansas, poor old rheumatics. Why? Because their dissipation is showing. They receive their wages.
Take the use of tobacco. God pity the man that smokes – fire at one end and fool at the other.
I tell you what can be done. You can take the nicotine from one cigarette – I have seen this actually demonstrated – you can take the nicotine from one cigarette and with a needle inject it into the body of a cat and that cat will have but one life, not nine lives. I don’t want anything that will kill a cat shot into my blood.
Take it from another standpoint, the standpoint of the home. If God has given you a home, if God has given you children – Go talk to a physician tonight, and any sensible physician will tell you if you expect to be a mother, if you expect to be a father you had better begin before those children are born. The greatest crime in the world is to bring children into the world afflicted, whether it be in body or mind. That is why God says, “I will visit the iniquity of the fathers” – How long? – “unto the third and fourth generation.”
I was with a poor fellow once; he was guilty of an awful crime. I doubt very much whether he should have been hung. I sat in the death cell with him. His father and grandfather drank heavily before him. And I found also that his mother was an habitual drunkard and her father also. That boy was born of drunken parents. Therefore, he inherited the awful thirst for drink.
He told me, “When I came to, in the cell, and they told me I had murdered Zella, I couldn’t believe it.”
You say, “That is an extreme case.” All right, I will tell you something else, talking about the wages of sin. I am speaking of a very delicate matter, but if you expect to be fathers and mothers, listen to me, young people, you should impart the best red strong blood to your own offspring. A child has no choice of its parents, no choice of the time of its birth or circumstances. A child has no choice of the blood that courses in its veins. A while ago as I came in I saw a right young baby in the blanket, and I thought, as I looked into his face – he had no choice of his parents. God grant tonight as you hold your own that you will feel responsible for him as he starts life in this world. What a tremendous responsibility!
I was talking to a judge on the Federal bench many years ago. He said, “Dr. Norris, if we understood – if we understood the things behind, we would find the vast majority of criminals before God are not responsible.” Why? It is something their fathers did. It is something their mothers did – something somebody did before they came into the world.
Oh, if I could talk to all the girls. I wish I could say one word to them – go and ask your trusted family physician and let him tell you what cigarette smoking will do to your nerves, to your delicate body that God has given you. I will not tell you, it is too delicate, but every girl should know the effect of alcohol, not only on her brain and nerves, but on that which is the glory of womanhood, the capacity of motherhood – that is the highest, the most glorious climax of creation – that was the order of creation – Heavens, earth, light, waters, land, beasts, birds, man, mother! How wonderful to be a happy mother, it is beautiful. I say, ask your physician and if he is a true and honest man-ask your mother, ask any sensible friend, all will tell you of the terrible and unspeakable destructive effect of alcohol on woman.
Now then, coming to individual cases, I want to say just a plain simple word if I can help you tonight. If there were no Bible tonight we would know that “The wages of sin is death.” I am not talking about physical death; I am talking about spiritual death.
It has been my duty to sit by the bedside in hospitals and in homes and to look upon death. And, oh, the triumphant home going of a Christian! Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” We celebrated the centennial of Moody the other day. When he lay dying he clasped his hands and said, “Earth is receding; heaven is opening.” When Stephen was dying he looked up while his body lay on the ground covered with his own blood, he saw the gates of glory swing ajar, and prayed a prayer of forgiveness for his enemies and said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
Oh, the triumphant home going of the soul that is trusting in Christ! That soul says, as he looks out across the sea, “I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” Only one crown can be given to the monarch of an empire, but God has a crown incorruptible, undefiled, that fadeth not away, for every one of his children throughout the universe.
What is soul-death?
I wish I knew how to define it. But I can only approach it – “Depart from me ye workers of iniquity.”
What is soul-death? – “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” – “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night.”
“Oh,” you say, “I don’t believe that.”
I have no argument for you. You tell God about it.
But listen to me. If I had never seen a Bible, never heard a Scripture, never heard a sermon, song, or prayer, never heard of the name of Christianity, I would be compelled to tell you according to the rules of providence, there is such a place as hell. I have held the hands of saloon keepers, I have held the hands of officers; I have held the hands of cattlemen; I have held the hands of paupers and millionaires while they died. I have seen those men as they came to the hour-men who while in life said there is no God, no judgment, no hell, no heaven. They scoffed and laughed at religion, had no time for God, no time for the church. But when they came to die I have seen it take half a dozen men to hold them on the bed. I have seen them shriek and scream, I have heard their cries – “Don’t let them take me out of here!”
I can hear old Buck Cooper – Buck owned two saloons. He knew he couldn’t live long. He sent for me. When I walked in he stared with his big eyes; he had a big frame, over two hundred pounds. I walked in, bent over the bed. His breath was short, but he was still conscious and in his right mind. He said, “Preacher, they tell me I have got to cash in – they tell me I have got to cash in.” He was tearing at his clothes, ripping the cover. Friends would put it back and he would throw it off.
He said, “I can’t stand it. I can’t stand it! They tell me I have got to cash in. Let me live! Pray for me! If I live to get up I will go to church and become a Christian. I will quit the saloon business. I can’t stand it!”
Then he dropped back.
Then he said, “Look at them! There they are! There they are! Look at them!”
I said, “What?”
He said, “That long line of boys, drunkards. They have come! I sent them to hell!”
And that went on – two – three – four – five o’clock in the morning. And “Oh!” and he fell back dead!
What did he see? What did he see?
Come on, Mr. Infidel, what did he see? What did he see?-“The wages of sin is death!”
When I was a boy about the size of one of these boys here, Dad and I were walking through the woods one day-down, Mr. Parker, where you came from in North Alabama – We were walking out through the woods; he had an axe and I had an axe. We were going to cut down some wood. After a while we came to a big old black gum tree. – Do you have black gum trees up here?
DR.NORRIS: That old black gum tree had fallen full length and smashed the small trees right and left. There had been no storm, so I walked up to see why it had fallen. That big black gum tree was green all round on the outside, but it had decayed all the way through on the inside, and it was rotten and had broken off at the stump. Here is what happened. It grew while it rotted within, until at last it came crashing down, of its own weight, to the ground.
Oh, I have seen that thing ten thousand times! I have seen men who were classed as Successes, men who held high positions, men who had the greatest banks, men head of factories-I have seen the common every day laborer, strong on the outside, but dead on the inside, rotten through and through.
Oh, my friends, the wages of sin is death! Don’t you tremble with the thought of it? Oh, you say, “I will wait a while.” That is the devil’s shrewdest lie.
I saw a picture of a character in Victor Hugo’s “Les Miserables.” And as he looked out across the white sands, all was well and the sand was firm and white. After a while about half way across suddenly he finds his steps heavy. He is down to his ankles – going down! – to his shoe tops! Then horrified he finds he is in that terrible quicksand. He turns to go back but he is down to his knees. With an awful force it snatches down everything that touches it. Soon he is down to his waistline! He calls for help but his calls are not heard. He looks! But there is no one in sight. The white sands are sweeping around him. The little whirling white clouds only mock him. The birds fly over but none can help and their song only a funeral dirge. Soon he is engulfed to his shoulders, soon to his chin, soon the blood is bursting from his temples, streaming from his nose, his ears, his eyes, and then the quicksands become his tomb.
Oh, my friends, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
So tonight I plead with you-I have no other interest but your soul. – “Death!” – “The wages of sin is death.”
Oh, for the call to repentance! That is your only need; your past is made, the record is fixed, you are in rags and naked. Without the garment of righteousness, without the covenant ring. What can you do? Listen to the call of God to repentance. I wish I knew how to quote it; “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him: and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” God is waiting, he is calling.
Sinner, the voice of God regard;
His mercy speaks today;
He calls you, by his sovereign word,
From sin’s destructive way.
Like the rough sea, that cannot rest,
You live devoid of peace;
A thousand stings within your breast
Deprive your soul of ease.
Why will you in the crooked ways
Of sin and folly go?
In pain you travel all your days,
To reap immortal woe.
But he who turns to God shall live,
Through his abounding grace;
His mercy will the guilt forgive
Of those who seek his face.
Bow to the sceptre of his word,
Renouncing every sin;
Submit to him, your sovereign Lord,
And learn his will divine.
His love exceeds your highest thoughts;
He pardons like a God;
He will forgive your numerous faults
Through our Redeemer’s blood.
How to Be Saved.
I must turn to the other side – I love to think of the other side – “But the gift of God” – It is God’s gift. Thank God we don’t have to earn it! We don’t have to work for it. No! Thank God we don’t have to have a basket full of diplomas to get it! We don’t have to have a million dollars to receive that gift! It is God’s gift, to whom? To every man. The gift of God – what is it? It is eternal life. Now that doesn’t mean if you hold out. Half of this congregation tonight are scared to death, afraid you are going to lose your salvation.
For many years, my friends, I doubted whether I was saved. I am going to be honest with you. I have the courage to admit it. And I thank God for old doubting Thomas. And when I get over there I am going to walk over to him and say, “Thomas, I am glad you doubted.” Whenever you find a preacher who tries to create the idea that he is just a little holier than anybody else he is just plain lying to you. They are just plain every day sinners saved the same way I am. And it took all the grace God had to save me. And He is going to keep me saved by that same grace! Hallelujah!
“The gift of God is eternal life.”
Here is what it means: Suppose back yonder in the early days they put a man in jail for owing ten thousand dollars-they put him in prison and he hasn’t any property or friends, the interest is compounded. That was once the law of the land.
What happens? Days and months and weeks and years roll by and he wastes away on the cold stone floor. One day a man of great wealth walks down the corridor of the prison and sees him on the cold stone floor and death is only a little ways ahead, and he is moved to compassion. And then quickly he goes to the court and finds out how much the prisoner owes . . . Ten thousand dollars, and ten years accumulating compound interest. He pulls out his check book and writes the entire amount, and gets a receipt marked “Paid.” Then he says, “Look here, friend, I have paid your debt and you can go free.” The prisoner looks at him and says, “I don’t know who you are. I have never seen you, and I don’t know why you would pay my debt.” And therefore he falls back on the stone floor and dies. No, he would say, “I don’t know why you paid it, but thank God I am a free man!” Like these prisoners did down here at Jackson, we can say, “There is therefore now no debt, no condemnation, to them which are in Christ Jesus.”
“Therefore,” as Paul says, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new!” The debt is paid.
“Therefore” we can sing like Paul, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us!”
My friends, it is Christ that died and rose again. Therefore you can’t bring anything against one of God’s children!
While Sinai roars, and round the earth
Thunder, and fire, and vengeance fling
Jesus, thy dear, expiring breath,
And Calvary, speak gentler things.
Pardon, and grace, and boundless love,
Streaming along a Saviour’s blood;
And life, and joys, and erowns above,
Purchased by our redeeming God.
Hark! how he prays, (the charming sound
Dwells on his dying lips)-Forgive
And every groan, and gaping wound
Cries, “Father, let the rebels live!”
But I’ll retire beneath the cross;
Saviour, at thy dear feet I’l lie,
And the keen sword that justice draws,
Flaming and red, shall pass me by.
It makes no difference whether it be the penitent thief on the cross or that lawyer at midnight. Thank God when He forgives it is forever and forever! That is what it means. “The Gift of God is eternal life.”
There is just one real message then – the time is up – I wish I could go on.
Can Never Fail.
This word: “Eternal life”-What is eternal life? When God gives eternal life, my friends, He doesn’t give us something we will lose.
It doesn’t mean He gives us life for forty years.
It doesn’t mean He gives us life for a hundred years.
It doesn’t mean He gives us life for a thousand years.
It doesn’t mean He gives us life for a million years.
How long is eternal life?
“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.”
What is everlasting life?
Let old Peter testify.
“He hath begotten us again unto a living hope.”
“To an inheritance.”
“That fadeth not away!”
“Reserved in heaven for you!”
“Kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time!”
That is eternal life!
When the old devil comes around in the darkness, sending doubt in my mind I take the blessed Word of God where Jesus says, “No man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” And I take that Word and hurl it in the devil’s face and say, «”You go back to hell; I’m on my way to glory!” – “Kept by the power of God!’ That is what eternal life is! (Shouting – Hallelujah!)
Oh, then “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?”
How many have taken that salvation tonight? How many can say that tonight? The whole world is turned upside down. Armies are marching to their final doom. It is only a question of time when the angel shall stand, one foot on land and one foot on the sea and will say, “Time shall no longer be.” Soon the whole world will be gathered before the great white throne.
The roll will be called and I want my name written there. And God has already written it there! Not for anything I have done – No, but by His precious blood and by His grace! – “But God who is rich in mercy, with his great love wherewith He loved us.” – “By grace are ye saved.”
So my friends, when we come to feel we are nearing the crossing we will hear the voices from Canaan’s side; we will feel the dews of Jordan; friends will gather around us ready to say farewell – wife, children. And when we hear the call we will see the white winged hosts. But our Lord robbed death of its sting and the grave of its victory!
I was in the Harris Hospital a short time ago. A great and good young woman stood with tears streaming down her face. I said, “Your mother is ready to go.” “Oh,” said the mother, “I am not afraid. I hate to leave my husband and children. But oh, this old body of mine has been in pain and suffering, but I won’t be suffering then. She whispered in soft tones of triumph.
“I am going home; I’m going home.
I’m going home to die no more.”
To die no more, to die no more.
I’m going home to die no more.”
Let us stand. Who will come? How many of you want to be saved? (A large number came.)