Do Not Be Deceived
A soldier boy, writing to his mother a description of awful experiences in one of the engagements in France daring the Great War, said, “I have been through hell!”
Had he, think you? Then it must have been the newspaper hell, but certainly not the Bible hell, for the Lord Himself pronounced it impossible ever to return from that place of torment.
Speaking of the hell to which every unforgiven sinner is travelling, He said, “There is a great gulf fixed, so that they which would pass . . . cannot” (Luke 16:26).
There are many today who profess to adjust their theology by what they call “The teachings of Jesus,” and yet they are the loudest in their objection to any mention of it in the preaching, though it is solemnly significant that the Lord Jesus, the One who knew most concerning it, was the One to give the clearest teaching and the most serious warnings about it.
Some years ago, Foote, the then editor of the infidel paper called “The Freethinker,” made one pertinent remark. He said, “If we believe in a heaven we should believe in a hell, for one is the counterpart of the other, but we don’t choose to believe in either.” That is honest, but observe, to believe in neither does not annihilate either.
A flippant young man, who wished to air a little cheap infidelity, and perhaps at the same time smother the outcries of his guilty conscience, cried, “Where is hell?” “It is just at the end of the road you are travelling, young friend,” was the quiet but direct reply. “Wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat” (Matt. 7:13), said the Son of God.
Dr. Mackay, the writer of that God-honoured book, “Grace and Truth,” used to sum up his preaching in this epigramatic sentence, “There is a hell for every sinner out of Christ, and a Christ for every sinner out of hell.” That last statement ought to be good news to you, my dear unsaved reader. “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).
To hear Professor Popular preach, we might judge that God had regretted sending His Son into the world to save sinners; if only He had waited till today, the Rev. Dr. Downgrade could have told Him that it was quite needless, that He was taking far too serious a view of sin. Given a twentieth century war, men could offer “the supreme sacrifice” themselves, and by “dying in battle,” procure their own passport to Heaven.
What a pit-fall of the devil! What a crying shame that this crowning deception of the whole war should be practised on our brave men, facing death and eternity on the battlefield, and foisted upon them too, by men who were supposed to have been the heralds of “A faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15).
“The supreme sacrifice” has been already offered, and better still, accepted by God. “Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour” (Eph. 5:2).
Through the perfect work of Christ at Calvary salvation is now available for every sinner under heaven. “Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Christ alone can save. The work of salvation is His alone, and, “It is finished” (John 19:30), proclaims that it is a completed work.
There is no “re-enactment of that sacrifice”; the suggestion is profane. “For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified” (Heb. 10:14). “There is no more offering for sin” (Heb. 10:18).
In an address given by the Dean of Sydney a short time ago, and publicly reported, he stated that those who died in battle, were “mingling their blood with the blood of Christ for the redemption of the world”! Could profanity go further than this?
By this statement he dishonours Christ in two ways. First, he infers that the death of Christ was in itself insufficient to accomplish the redemption of the world, and second, he makes the precious blood of Christ common with the blood of other men.
What a solemn warning to him and all such are the words, “Of how much sorer punishment . . . shall he be judged worthy . . . who hath counted the blood of the covenant . . . an unholy thing?” (Heb. 10:29). One scripture alone, which this gentleman ought to know, suffices to expose the fatal fallacy of his statement. “None . . . can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him” (Ps. 49:7).
How could we offer in sacrifice to God, either for ourselves or others, a life which had been already forfeited by our sins? Our sins put us under the sentence of death, God’s righteous penalty. “Death [is] passed on all men, for that all have sinned” (Rom. 5:12). But listen to the joyful news, “As it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: so Christ was once offered to hear the sins of many” (Heb. 9:27).
Be not deceived, dear reader, there is no salvation outside the atoning and all-sufficient death of Christ.
Take your place before God as a confessed and repentant sinner, and it is our joy to say to you, on the authority of the Word of God, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).
The Gospel Messenger 1922, p. 61