The Way of the Cross by B.H. Carroll

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Description

The Way of the Cross

Comprising a Luminous Discussion of Both the Law and the Gospel

by

B.H. Carroll

For Almost Thirty Years Pastor First Baptist Church, Waco, Texas,
Founder and First President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas

compiled and edited by

J.B. Cranfill

www.solidchristianbooks.com

2015

Contents

DEDICATION

Foreword

  1. The Way of the Cross
  2. Salvation Through the Blood of Christ
  3. Wherefore Then the Law?
  4. The Bewitching Power of Satan
  5. The Way of Cain
  6. Paul’s Gospel of Jesus
  7. What Shall I Do To Inherit Eternal Life? Part 1
  8. What Shall I Do To Inherit Eternal Life? Part 2
  9. Christ the End of the Law
  10. If Thine Eye Offend Thee
  11. Sowing Wild Oats not Conducive to Salvation
  12. The Case of Simon Magus
  13. The War Between the Flesh and the Spirit
  14. The Evils of Religious Compromise

 

DEDICATION

To

Rev. L. R. Scarborough, D.D.

Former President of the Southern Baptist Convention, Who for More Than Twenty-six Years Has, as President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Worn the Mantle of B. H. Carroll, its Founder, and Who, as Preacher, Teacher, Author, Financier and Leader in This Great Task, Has Successfully Piloted the Institution Through Inexpressible Hardships and Difficulties, This Book is Lovingly Dedicated

Foreword

Ever since through sin Adam and Eve departed from Eden, sinful men and women have sought a way back to God. It is a quest perennially upspringing in the human heart. In every land, no matter what the kind or quality of worship, there is in human hearts an aching void that hungers for God. In pagan lands this quest for God is expressed in idol worship, and through varying methods, in varying degrees, wandering, sinning men and women sense a constant need for something outside of themselves, and that ultimate Something is God.

In this book, “The Way of the Cross,” B. H. Carroll, who, in my opinion, was the greatest preacher who has walked the world since Paul, points the way for us. A glance at the Table of Contents will disclose the topics he discusses. It was ever true of him that when he had finished a discussion of any question, there was naught left for any other man to say.

There has been only one plan of salvation. There is only one plan now. All of the ceremonials of ancient Israel pointed to Christ. From the prophecy voiced by our Father above to the first sinning pair, “The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent’s head,” on through the entire canon of Scripture, there coursed the crimson thread denoting the blood of our Redeemer. Old Testament saints looked forward to the coming Messiah, who was to be a suffering Savior. Christians contemporaneous with Jesus himself, while only vaguely realizing the lofty meaning of His life and death, yet understood quite enough of the plan of salvation to find Jesus precious to their souls in the forgiveness of their sins.

In this, the thirty-first volume of Carroll’s works I have been privileged to publish or cause to be published, the great preacher points the way for sinful men. The way to salvation is the way of the cross. It has ever been so. It still is so. “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”

I take pleasure in making due acknowledgment for help in my work on these Carroll books of Professor J. W. Crowder, A.B., D.D., of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. His kind hand compiled the present volume, and his devotion to B. H. Carroll, and his intimate understanding of his messages are both comforting and heartening.

And now this volume is sent forth into our dark world to aid in saving men and women from their sins. As this foreword is concluded, my heart is uplifted to God in prayer that through the long after years this book may still be performing the mission whereunto it is sent — the mission of revealing to eyes blinded by sin the way of the cross — the only way through which lost souls may find rest and peace.

J. B. Cranfill

Dallas, Texas

1. The Way of the Cross

 

TEXT: Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they, being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. — Romans 10:1-3.

My mind has been wonderfully impressed with the appropriateness of this scripture for this night’s service, from a very touching conversation that I have had this evening with one who for years has been trying to be a Christian, and in that trial has been baptized, and has been confirmed, and has partaken of the Lord’s Supper, and has studied the Word of God, and taught in the Sunday School, and yet, all the time, has been afflicted with a sense of deep dissatisfaction with the attainment reached. And every now and then the darkest doubts have come into her mind: “Is there anything in this? Why is it that I do not get any personal enjoyment out of it? Why is it that I have no sense of sins forgiven, no peace, no rest? I try very hard, and I pray and I double my duties, but I do not make any progress, and the thought has come to me that I might just as well quit the whole thing.”

Now, that is the substance of the conversation held today. I felt an intense longing to offer a prayer for that one, just as Paul felt it here: “My heart’s desire.” O, how keenly I felt the desire that she should be saved, for I saw that she was unsaved.

And how earnestly my spirit spontaneously prayed, “Lord God, may not this one be saved? See what a zeal. See what a disposition to do. See what a long-continued effort and how zealously she has busied herself to establish a righteousness that would be acceptable to God. And every time she builds her house up, it falls down; and she tries it again, and rebuilds it, and it falls again; and her religion is full of holes, and there is nothing personal in it.”

Unfortunately this is not the only case. But a week ago an inquirer came to me in great trouble. Our conversation was about as follows:

Pastor: “What troubles you?”

Inquisitor: “I have been attending this meeting. I cannot fail to see that there is some great power here at work. But what troubles me most, I see plainly these people have something I never had. What is it? Why cannot I feel it, too?”

Pastor: “Tell me your Christian experience.”

Inquisitor: “Well, about sixteen years ago I joined the church and — “

Pastor: “Excuse me, you misunderstand; I knew you were a prominent member of one of the city churches. Tell me what exercises of your mind led you to join the church?”

Inquisitor: “Oh, as to that! When I began to be a young man I had some thought about religion. It seemed to me people ought to live right. So I made up my mind to live right, and thinking I could best live right in the church, and by taking hold of church work, I joined the church and commenced earnestly to try to save my soul. I soon became a very active church member and was naturally put forward when any one was needed to lead. That was sixteen years ago. In all that time I have been honest, earnest and persistent in my efforts. But while people praise my zeal, I have no comfort inside. What so many of your people show in their very faces is a stranger to me.”

Pastor: “My dear friend, you are all wrong. You started wrong and have been going wrong ever since. Let me show you the way.”

Let me say to you tonight, and in all solemnity, that there are a great many people here in Waco in that condition. They have a zeal toward God. They are willing to do a great many things, and they do a great many things; and if, in order to attain the peace of mind that they desire, it should be necessary to get up before sunrise, go down to the church, kneel on the floor, and pray one hundred prayers in succession, they would do that. They are very much like the poor Hindu, described by one of the missionaries, who set out from a far distant point to reach the sacred Ganges river, believing that if ever that river could be reached, and the devotee could bathe once in its waters, that peace could be found for the troubled conscience; and in order to invest the journey with all possible merit, the shoes were filled with little spikes, so that every step that was taken was full of pain, and the blood flowed from the pierced feet; and when he could no longer walk he got down on his knees, and when his knees were bruised by the stones in the way, he crawled — ”I will do anything in the world just to get to that river, and bathe in it and find peace to my conscience.”

It is a distressing thing to see people in that condition; with that will-worship; with that busying of themselves to establish some sort of a meritorious ground upon which they can receive from God forgiveness of sins and the salvation of their souls. Sometimes under this desire, if any one in whom they have confidence, will prescribe it, they will fast for ten days, eating just a bare crust, and drinking only a little water; and then if it be necessary, they will scourge their bodies every night. And not only that, but they are willing to devote any part of their property, if by that means they can obtain a ransom for their souls. How full of zeal! How full of sacrifice!

We will look at the, case mentioned in this particular context. Here were people that had before them a law, which says, “Do and live.” Here are the commandments written on tables of stone: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me; thou shalt not make unto thyself any graven image; thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; thou shalt remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy; thou shalt not covet; thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not lie.” They look at them; they memorize them; and they say, “Here is the standard of life. Whosoever doeth these things shall live by it.” And not satisfied with that they cover these commandments with traditions of men, rites and ceremonies and ten thousand little things. They tithe, not the great part of the property only, but with the greatest niceness and scrupulousness, go into the garden and take a tenth part of the mint and of the anise and of the cummin. They will even tithe to the ninth part of a hair, lest by leaving out some little thing the chain of obedience shall be broken and the soul shall be lost.

Now that was the condition of the people for whom the apostle felt this great desire that they should be saved. “O, that they might be saved.” And his prayer, “Lord God, let them be saved.”

I want to speak to you tonight very earnestly and very clearly about God’s method of saving souls, and show you that the method that has been described in no sense, in no case, attains unto salvation. It is imperfect in its motives; it is imperfect in its deeds; it is imperfect in every part of it. It can never justify any soul in the sight of God. And let us see why. In the first place these people, though they live in our towns, though they hear the gospel preached (or at least what is called the gospel), every Sunday, are very ignorant. I do not mean it offensively — I speak it plainly, as dealing with questions of salvation. They are profoundly ignorant, and it requires one a long time to realize just how ignorant they .are. They have knowledge about a great many things, but as to God’s method of saving souls, they are as ignorant as a babe. They are ignorant of God’s righteousness, of the kind of righteousness that shall justify a man at the judgement bar. They know nothing about it and hence, religion, after a while, becomes wearisome to them.

What a weariness it is! How tiresome! How long is this to last? How many more pilgrimages must I make? How many more sacrifices must I lay upon the alter? How many more beads must I count? How many more things, piled up already as high as a mountain are necessary to put me in a condition to stand before God justified, and not condemned, in the day when God shall judge the world by the one whom He has ordained? It is like trying to climb to the skies. It is like trying to fathom the depths of the ocean. There is no end to it.

And then, it is bondage. It is the work of a slave. It is serving God with an eye to the Master’s scourge; if you leave out one little thing the lash will descend upon you and the thunders of the Law will reach you and your soul will be lost. And the conscience is continually distressed, and crying out for “Peace, peace, when there is no peace.”

I want you to pray for such people. They need your prayers. Every good man and woman in this house ought to offer up an earnest prayer to God that any one that has chosen that laborious way, that awfully burdensome route, may be saved. They are going in the wrong direction. They are failing, not only to attain to that which they seek, but are adding thorns and pains of anguish to themselves every foot of the weary pilgrimage that they make. O, that they might be saved!

They, being ignorant of God’s righteousness, notwithstanding all that they do, there is one thing that they have not done. They have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. They have not come to God and said, “Lord, what is thy plan of justifying men and women? How may my soul be saved? How can I find in my conscience a sense of sins forgiven so that there shall be a witness in me, and that I may be a personal witness to the fact of redemption, and that I may say, God has forgiven my sins and I am saved? How can this be obtained?”

Paul then presents the true plan. He takes the law of God, and without diminishing one jot or tittle of its claim, but magnifying those claims, making them more exacting than this troubled soul has ever seen, making the commandments broader than they have ever been to the mind and conscience of the one who has trembled before them. There is no diminution of the commandments of God, but he presents as a method of justification, Christ Jesus. He says that Christ is the end of the Law, no matter how long it is. He is the end of it for righteousness to every one that believeth. Whether rich or poor, great or small, if you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and accept Him, you are saved. And you may meet any form of the Divine Law, and hold between you and the claims of that Law what Christ has done, and the Law cannot touch you. Its exactions are met in Christ. Its claims are satisfied in Him and it cannot harm you.

Now I want to see if I cannot get that thought before you, for it is the supreme thought of the plan of salvation. You are not asked to go up to heaven — climb up there. You are not asked to go to the bottom of the ocean. Not that. But you are asked to look at the plan which God has provided, and the person by whom your soul is to be saved. Now listen to this scripture: “I deliver unto you that which I also received; how that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried and that He was raised again.”

There are three great facts which help to constitute the gospel. It is the gospel, that Christ, according to the Scriptures, died for our sins and was buried, and rose again from the dead. These are the principal facts upon which the gospel rests.

And now let us see if we cannot get hold of these facts and make a personal application of them to ourselves.

First, we are sinners. Do you subscribe to that? I press that question on you. Have you been just? Have you kept the requirements of God’s law? Have you fully kept them? In the searching vision of God himself are there not, even with you, some sins against the Lord, your God? When you look down into your heart can you say, “I have kept this commandment, ‘thou shalt not kill’?” You say, “Yes, I never killed anybody.” Let us see. “Whoever hateth Isis brother is a murderer:’ God’s law looks at the thought which precedes the act of the killing. It judges the intent of the mind. It goes to the bottom of things, so that it deals with the springs of things, the germs out of which they grow into action; and if you have in your mind, not in deed, but if you have in your mind longed to do anything that is forbidden in that law, you have violated it. You stand, then, before that law a sinner, and your conscience tells you that you are a sinner. You come with that plea on your lips, “I am a sinner against the Divine Law.”

Now I ask you: What is your plan of making atonement and satisfaction to that violated law? Is it by anything that you can do? Think! What can you do that will put back again the broken law? I want to use a very familiar illustration, and one that has been used oftentimes before, but it aptly expresses the precise thought here that I wish to impress on your minds. A child was sent to the city, trusted with money, to buy a very costly and fragile vase, and carefully charged to have it packed safely in a basket, and to bring it back very carefully; without stopping by the way. But on his way home be meets another boy, who has a new ball, which he commences to bounce in sight, the eager sight, of the boy with the basket, and saying, “Don’t you want to bounce my new ball?” And he says, “I would like to, but I am charged here with a trust and I have promised not to stop; but I will bounce it once.” So he puts down his basket and bounces the ball, and becomes absorbed and forgets, and directly the ball strikes the basket, knocks it over, and breaks the vase all to pieces. It is broken.

He looks at the disaster. He is filled with regret. He begins to weep. He realizes the damage has been done, and the first thing he tries to do, is to take those broken, pieces and put them together again. And there he is, taking it, piece by piece, in his fingers, and trying to adjust them, and he gets the bottom of it right, and then he puts one piece up and holds it with his left hand, and adjusts another piece, but when he turns that loose to get another, the first falls; and he tries again, but cannot make the shattered edges fit. It is so badly broken it cannot be put together again; and as the fruitlessness of the undertaking strikes his mind he weeps in despair, “What shall I do?”

His father comes along and finds him in that condition, and says, “Son, what is the matter?” So he tells his father the whole story. The father asks, “Why don’t you put it together again?” “I have tried but I cannot.” “Well, what are you going to do about it?” “I don’t know.” And he begins to cry again. And the father says, “If you stay here and cry all night will it put that vase back again? Can any amount of tears that you can shed ever put that back again?” And at once he sees that no drops of grief that he can shed can replace what is broken. The father takes out his check book and draws a check for the amount of that vase and hands it to his son. “Now will you take this and go down to the bank and present it? You need not say a word. Just put it in at the teller’s window and he will pay you the money on it; then go and buy another vase.” “What, this piece of paper?” “Yes, that piece of paper.”

The boy looks at it earnestly and directly begins to believe what his father has said. His mind begins to take in that there is something written on that paper that will replace the damage which he has done. And as he trusts to that he dries his eyes; his burden is gone; he weeps no more. He rushes with rapid feet down to the bank, presents the, paper and draws the money and buys another vase and comes home rejoicing.

Now, that substituted work of another is the end of the damage. It replaces everything. He paid nothing for it; he could do nothing toward it; and he might have wept and cried for a year and it could not have touched the question of putting back the broken vase.

Well, now, that is the way people come to the law of God, broken in a thousand pieces, broken a thousand times, and they say, “I am sorry; God will forgive me because I am sorry.” How can He? How can sorrow make atonement? How can any amount of contrition of any kind meet the claims of a law that has been violated? There must be satisfaction rendered, and that satisfaction must be complete; it must meet the case.

And so, when Paul saw these people busying themselves, going about to establish their own righteousness, and their houses toppling down as fast as they built them up, crying and striving, weeping and groaning, adding burden to burden and labor to labor, and never reaching unto the end desired, his soul was filled with deep concern that they were wasting their lives in a profitless undertaking. And hence he presented to them the Lord Jesus Christ after this manner: God saw you were lost. He saw that the vase of your happiness was shivered in fragments. He saw that you were under the condemnation of His violated law, and He loved you, not because you were good, for you were bad. He did not love you because you were righteous; He loved you as sinners. He did not love you because you were going to be Godly, and while you were ungodly and utterly powerless to justify yourself in the sight of God, Jesus came.

And He says, “Put that to my account. I will pay that.” How will He pay it? “I will come into the world just as that man came into the world; I will come as a little babe. I will grow up as a boy. I will become a grown man. I will keep every iota of the supreme law of God without failing in one single particular, and my righteousness will be spotless; there will be no infraction, and when it is finished, my life is ended and the microscope of justice is put upon the most minute thought of my life, upon the most insignificant action of my life, there shall be found no flaw in it.”

Holy — holy as God is holy — was the life of the Lord Jesus Christ here upon the earth. There it was, completed, finished — not an additional stitch needed. No man living could add anything to its perfection; in every part of it, it was perfect; and the law of God, looking at it, could find no lack of absolute conformity to the most scrutinizing requirement of the law.

That is one part of it. And now there is a righteousness that is perfect, that comes up to the standard. “Be ye perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” There it is. Look at it. Can you find anything wrong in it? As He himself said to His enemies, “Who of you convicteth me of any sin? Did I sin against my Father? Did I sin against my mother? And even back of that, when I came into the world, did I come into the world with a depraved nature? No. I was not of the seed of man. I was born holy, as no man is born. ‘That Holy One, born of thee, shall be called the Son of God.”

The Holy Ghost overshadowed His mother and He started holy, and lived holy, and died holy. It was an absolutely spotless righteousness. There it was.

Now comes this question: You want to have that put to the credit of a sinner, who stands guilty before the Law; that will make him righteous; but how is that going to pay the penalty of the Law? The Law has said: “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.”

Now, if Jesus Christ had sinned in thought even; any one time in His life, then His death, in our stead, could not have atoned for us, because the law of God required that the victim offered should be without spot or blemish. If He had ever violated one jot or tittle of the law of God in thought, or word or deed, He would have been rejected as an offering to be presented in the place of a sinner. But His life having been perfect, the Lamb having been examined and having been found without spot or blemish, then, that One having no sin of His own to atone for, having been perfectly righteous himself, He can come in and take the place of another if He chooses to do it, and as a vicarious victim, die for him. According to the Scriptures, Christ died for our sins; the iniquity of us all was put on Him. God made Him to be a sin-offering, who, himself, knew no sin, in order that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

Then how am I to be saved? Am I to be saved by saying ten prayers a day, by counting a thousand beads, by paying a thousand dollars, by endowing a school, by building a church, by inflicting chastisement upon my body? How am I to be saved? If I am to be justified in the sight of God, I must be justified in this righteousness imputed to me and in no other way. Therefore it is said that “by the works of the Law shall no man be justified.” No man, no woman. Coming to us He says, “Take what I have done for you and what I have done shall be to you the end of the claims of the Law against you, all of them.”

There are some people who think they can take Christ, but that He doesn’t meet all the requirements. They must add a little; they must pay somewhat toward the price; they want to help God in some way, in order to preserve something of the pride and conceit of having wrought out a salvation for themselves. But He will have none of it, none of it. He says your sin can be covered in Christ and in no other way. “Blessed is the man unto whom God imputeth not iniquity. Blessed is the man whose sin is covered.”

Man started unholy. He was shapen in iniquity. He inherited depravity. Christ did not. He was born holy and His holy birth covers your unholy birth. As a little child you did wrong; as a little child He did right and that covers you. As a man you sinned; as a man He did not sin, and that righteousness covers your unrighteousness. And thus you take it and spread it all over the whole length of your guilty life, and it covers all of your life; it does not leave any of it exposed to wrath. It is broad enough to cover it all. The sin is covered completely and forever — covered by the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

“Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”

If that is true, then to be saved requires no great element of time. If that is true salvation, its attainment does not come from afar. There is no descent to the bottom of the ocean for it. Now, some people do that very thing. They say, “I want to be baptized to be saved.” Shall you descend into the deep to bring up Christ? Are you going to find Him by that method? You believe unto righteousness; you trust unto Him, and that is why the Scripture says, “The Word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart; the word of faith, which we preach; that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

Now, whenever you do trust Him, whenever your soul takes hold of what Christ has done, whenever you come to Him and believe in Him and rely upon Him, there should come to your conscience a sense of freedom from responsibility to that law which you have violated. And when your realization takes hold of the facts; when the subjective equals the objective, you will say, it is met; it is paid; it is all paid; it is paid forever. It needs no repayment; I take it; I accept it; I envelop myself in it; I clothe myself in it from head to foot, and I can do that in a minute just as well as I can in ten years better.

Zaccheus climbed up a tree a lost man; he came down saved. The jailer at midnight was lost; at daylight he was saved. Three thousand men stood up lost men when Peter began to preach, and at the close of that sermon three thousand men were saved. “They gladly received the word that he preached unto them.”

Now I want to invite you to that righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ as your only hope of justification before God. Do you take it? Will you do it? Think carefully. What better can you do? How can you expect to stand in your own miserable attempt at justification? Well, you say, “If I do that then am I to go on sinning?” I tell you that if you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior you will hate sin and you will begin to do right, not to be saved, but because you are saved; not from a principle of fear, but from a principle of love. And you will be willing to lay down your life for Jesus; and you will be willing to keep His commandments; and you will be willing to honor Him in your thought; you will be willing to glorify Him in your eating and drinking and whatever you do. But it will be from the constraining principle of love to One who has saved you, and not that by doing it you may save yourself. Will you come to it? Will you take it?

I now invite every one here dissatisfied with his own method of justification, realizing that you do not attain to anything; that you never find any ease in your own mind, no peace; you have tried that and you see that you do not find it; now I ask you to come, and without any sort of effort at self-justification, absolutely relying upon what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for you.

But you say, “My heart is hard.” I tell you that your heart is melted by looking at Jesus. When you look at Him and His wounds and His death throes, then you begin to groan and weep and cry out, and feel your sinfulness as you never did before. Take Him. My voice is so broken I cannot plead with you, but that is God’s method of justification. I beg you to come tonight. Just come and fix your mind on this one scripture. Jesus says, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” I will give it to you. You are charged nothing for it. You pay nothing for it. Come to me and I will give you rest. The gift of God is eternal life, through our Lord Jesus Christ. It is a gift. O, take it as a gift, and not as something purchased by your tears, or your resolution, or anything upon the. earth that you can do. Take it as a free gift and be saved. And when saved and because saved, and from a principle of love, then do good works as much as you please — and you will do them.

The awful sin of this day is that men make a savior out of an ordinance; they make a savior out of the church; they put the church between a sin-sick soul and the Lord Jesus Christ. Never join the church, never be baptized, never partake of the Lord’s Supper, never in any way come to anything of this kind as a means of salvation. Come to the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus first, then the water. Jesus first, then the church. Jesus and salvation first; then as saved, come and join the church, and in the church glorify the Savior by your life.

It is a stupendous sin for any man, preacher or what not, to put before a lost soul a church as a savior, saying to him, “Here, you come and join the church and be saved in the church. You come and be baptized and be saved in baptism. Cone and partake of the Lord’s Supper and be converted right in the act of partaking of it.” Never! Never! Never! I would not bow down to a wafer and call that God. I would not bow down to any church on the earth and say, “My savior!” Men cannot save you; ordinances cannot save you; Christ first, the Lord Jesus Christ first, and when saved, and because saved, and never until you are saved, join His church.

I invite you to Jesus Christ. He is the Savior. The Lord God drive away from between the sinner and that Savior any office, any ordinance, any institution on the face of the earth, that offers itself as a savior. The church itself is accursed when it assumes to be a savior. An ordinance is a sin when it assumes to be a savior. It is an awful sin; blasphemous sin. Come to the blood of the atonement and let that blood be sprinkled on your soul. Trust in what the Lord Jesus Christ has done, and then when your heart is glad because of this salvation, it will say, “Lord, what wilt thou have me do? If thou sayest, ‘Be baptized,’ I will. If thou sayest, ‘Join the church,’ I will. If thou sayest, ‘Partake of the Lord’s Supper,’ I will. If thou sayest to preach my gospel to sinners, talk to them, pray for them, I will.” But never, never attempt to put on the form of Godliness without the power.

I give it as my deliberate conviction before God, that souls are being lost in this town, and in every other town in this state, by having presented to them something else as savior rather than the Son of God Himself. The church is not the end of the Law to you. Christ is. Baptism is not the end of the Law to you. Christ is. The Lord’s Supper is not the end of the Law to you. Christ is.

“On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;

All other ground is sinking sand.”

Even if it is church ground, it doesn’t make any difference to me. If you do tonight, thoughtfully, lovingly, trustfully, receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, neither height, nor depth, nor present nor future things, nor principalities, nor powers, nor any other creature can separate you from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus.

O, the completeness of that salvation; the thoroughness of it! It meets the demands of God’s law when nothing else ever does.

I ask you to come to Him. My heart’s desire and my prayer to God is that you may be saved, but you cannot be saved, except as you come to the Lord Jesus Christ and trust in Him. And if you will take a step towards it; if you will honestly try this night to lay everything else down; everything in the world; just drop it and accept the

Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior; if that is what you will try to do, come and give me your hand tonight, and let us kneel down here together and offer up a prayer, such as Paul felt burning in his heart, for salvation through Christ and no other. “For there is no other name known among men under heaven, but that name, by which you can be saved.”

Comprising a Luminous Discussion of Both the Law and the Gospel

by

B.H. Carroll

For Almost Thirty Years Pastor First Baptist Church, Waco, Texas,
Founder and First President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas

compiled and edited by

J.B. Cranfill

www.solidchristianbooks.com

2015

Contents

DEDICATION

Foreword

  1. The Way of the Cross
  2. Salvation Through the Blood of Christ
  3. Wherefore Then the Law?
  4. The Bewitching Power of Satan
  5. The Way of Cain
  6. Paul’s Gospel of Jesus
  7. What Shall I Do To Inherit Eternal Life? Part 1
  8. What Shall I Do To Inherit Eternal Life? Part 2
  9. Christ the End of the Law
  10. If Thine Eye Offend Thee
  11. Sowing Wild Oats not Conducive to Salvation
  12. The Case of Simon Magus
  13. The War Between the Flesh and the Spirit
  14. The Evils of Religious Compromise

 

 

DEDICATION

To

Rev. L. R. Scarborough, D.D.

Former President of the Southern Baptist Convention, Who for More Than Twenty-six Years Has, as President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Worn the Mantle of B. H. Carroll, its Founder, and Who, as Preacher, Teacher, Author, Financier and Leader in This Great Task, Has Successfully Piloted the Institution Through Inexpressible Hardships and Difficulties, This Book is Lovingly Dedicated

Foreword

Ever since through sin Adam and Eve departed from Eden, sinful men and women have sought a way back to God. It is a quest perennially upspringing in the human heart. In every land, no matter what the kind or quality of worship, there is in human hearts an aching void that hungers for God. In pagan lands this quest for God is expressed in idol worship, and through varying methods, in varying degrees, wandering, sinning men and women sense a constant need for something outside of themselves, and that ultimate Something is God.

In this book, “The Way of the Cross,” B. H. Carroll, who, in my opinion, was the greatest preacher who has walked the world since Paul, points the way for us. A glance at the Table of Contents will disclose the topics he discusses. It was ever true of him that when he had finished a discussion of any question, there was naught left for any other man to say.

There has been only one plan of salvation. There is only one plan now. All of the ceremonials of ancient Israel pointed to Christ. From the prophecy voiced by our Father above to the first sinning pair, “The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent’s head,” on through the entire canon of Scripture, there coursed the crimson thread denoting the blood of our Redeemer. Old Testament saints looked forward to the coming Messiah, who was to be a suffering Savior. Christians contemporaneous with Jesus himself, while only vaguely realizing the lofty meaning of His life and death, yet understood quite enough of the plan of salvation to find Jesus precious to their souls in the forgiveness of their sins.

In this, the thirty-first volume of Carroll’s works I have been privileged to publish or cause to be published, the great preacher points the way for sinful men. The way to salvation is the way of the cross. It has ever been so. It still is so. “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”

I take pleasure in making due acknowledgment for help in my work on these Carroll books of Professor J. W. Crowder, A.B., D.D., of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. His kind hand compiled the present volume, and his devotion to B. H. Carroll, and his intimate understanding of his messages are both comforting and heartening.

And now this volume is sent forth into our dark world to aid in saving men and women from their sins. As this foreword is concluded, my heart is uplifted to God in prayer that through the long after years this book may still be performing the mission whereunto it is sent — the mission of revealing to eyes blinded by sin the way of the cross — the only way through which lost souls may find rest and peace.

J. B. Cranfill

Dallas, Texas

1. The Way of the Cross

 

TEXT: Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they, being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. — Romans 10:1-3.

My mind has been wonderfully impressed with the appropriateness of this scripture for this night’s service, from a very touching conversation that I have had this evening with one who for years has been trying to be a Christian, and in that trial has been baptized, and has been confirmed, and has partaken of the Lord’s Supper, and has studied the Word of God, and taught in the Sunday School, and yet, all the time, has been afflicted with a sense of deep dissatisfaction with the attainment reached. And every now and then the darkest doubts have come into her mind: “Is there anything in this? Why is it that I do not get any personal enjoyment out of it? Why is it that I have no sense of sins forgiven, no peace, no rest? I try very hard, and I pray and I double my duties, but I do not make any progress, and the thought has come to me that I might just as well quit the whole thing.”

Now, that is the substance of the conversation held today. I felt an intense longing to offer a prayer for that one, just as Paul felt it here: “My heart’s desire.” O, how keenly I felt the desire that she should be saved, for I saw that she was unsaved.

And how earnestly my spirit spontaneously prayed, “Lord God, may not this one be saved? See what a zeal. See what a disposition to do. See what a long-continued effort and how zealously she has busied herself to establish a righteousness that would be acceptable to God. And every time she builds her house up, it falls down; and she tries it again, and rebuilds it, and it falls again; and her religion is full of holes, and there is nothing personal in it.”

Unfortunately this is not the only case. But a week ago an inquirer came to me in great trouble. Our conversation was about as follows:

Pastor: “What troubles you?”

Inquisitor: “I have been attending this meeting. I cannot fail to see that there is some great power here at work. But what troubles me most, I see plainly these people have something I never had. What is it? Why cannot I feel it, too?”

Pastor: “Tell me your Christian experience.”

Inquisitor: “Well, about sixteen years ago I joined the church and — “

Pastor: “Excuse me, you misunderstand; I knew you were a prominent member of one of the city churches. Tell me what exercises of your mind led you to join the church?”

Inquisitor: “Oh, as to that! When I began to be a young man I had some thought about religion. It seemed to me people ought to live right. So I made up my mind to live right, and thinking I could best live right in the church, and by taking hold of church work, I joined the church and commenced earnestly to try to save my soul. I soon became a very active church member and was naturally put forward when any one was needed to lead. That was sixteen years ago. In all that time I have been honest, earnest and persistent in my efforts. But while people praise my zeal, I have no comfort inside. What so many of your people show in their very faces is a stranger to me.”

Pastor: “My dear friend, you are all wrong. You started wrong and have been going wrong ever since. Let me show you the way.”

Let me say to you tonight, and in all solemnity, that there are a great many people here in Waco in that condition. They have a zeal toward God. They are willing to do a great many things, and they do a great many things; and if, in order to attain the peace of mind that they desire, it should be necessary to get up before sunrise, go down to the church, kneel on the floor, and pray one hundred prayers in succession, they would do that. They are very much like the poor Hindu, described by one of the missionaries, who set out from a far distant point to reach the sacred Ganges river, believing that if ever that river could be reached, and the devotee could bathe once in its waters, that peace could be found for the troubled conscience; and in order to invest the journey with all possible merit, the shoes were filled with little spikes, so that every step that was taken was full of pain, and the blood flowed from the pierced feet; and when he could no longer walk he got down on his knees, and when his knees were bruised by the stones in the way, he crawled — ”I will do anything in the world just to get to that river, and bathe in it and find peace to my conscience.”

It is a distressing thing to see people in that condition; with that will-worship; with that busying of themselves to establish some sort of a meritorious ground upon which they can receive from God forgiveness of sins and the salvation of their souls. Sometimes under this desire, if any one in whom they have confidence, will prescribe it, they will fast for ten days, eating just a bare crust, and drinking only a little water; and then if it be necessary, they will scourge their bodies every night. And not only that, but they are willing to devote any part of their property, if by that means they can obtain a ransom for their souls. How full of zeal! How full of sacrifice!

We will look at the, case mentioned in this particular context. Here were people that had before them a law, which says, “Do and live.” Here are the commandments written on tables of stone: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me; thou shalt not make unto thyself any graven image; thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; thou shalt remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy; thou shalt not covet; thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not lie.” They look at them; they memorize them; and they say, “Here is the standard of life. Whosoever doeth these things shall live by it.” And not satisfied with that they cover these commandments with traditions of men, rites and ceremonies and ten thousand little things. They tithe, not the great part of the property only, but with the greatest niceness and scrupulousness, go into the garden and take a tenth part of the mint and of the anise and of the cummin. They will even tithe to the ninth part of a hair, lest by leaving out some little thing the chain of obedience shall be broken and the soul shall be lost.

Now that was the condition of the people for whom the apostle felt this great desire that they should be saved. “O, that they might be saved.” And his prayer, “Lord God, let them be saved.”

I want to speak to you tonight very earnestly and very clearly about God’s method of saving souls, and show you that the method that has been described in no sense, in no case, attains unto salvation. It is imperfect in its motives; it is imperfect in its deeds; it is imperfect in every part of it. It can never justify any soul in the sight of God. And let us see why. In the first place these people, though they live in our towns, though they hear the gospel preached (or at least what is called the gospel), every Sunday, are very ignorant. I do not mean it offensively — I speak it plainly, as dealing with questions of salvation. They are profoundly ignorant, and it requires one a long time to realize just how ignorant they .are. They have knowledge about a great many things, but as to God’s method of saving souls, they are as ignorant as a babe. They are ignorant of God’s righteousness, of the kind of righteousness that shall justify a man at the judgement bar. They know nothing about it and hence, religion, after a while, becomes wearisome to them.

What a weariness it is! How tiresome! How long is this to last? How many more pilgrimages must I make? How many more sacrifices must I lay upon the alter? How many more beads must I count? How many more things, piled up already as high as a mountain are necessary to put me in a condition to stand before God justified, and not condemned, in the day when God shall judge the world by the one whom He has ordained? It is like trying to climb to the skies. It is like trying to fathom the depths of the ocean. There is no end to it.

And then, it is bondage. It is the work of a slave. It is serving God with an eye to the Master’s scourge; if you leave out one little thing the lash will descend upon you and the thunders of the Law will reach you and your soul will be lost. And the conscience is continually distressed, and crying out for “Peace, peace, when there is no peace.”

I want you to pray for such people. They need your prayers. Every good man and woman in this house ought to offer up an earnest prayer to God that any one that has chosen that laborious way, that awfully burdensome route, may be saved. They are going in the wrong direction. They are failing, not only to attain to that which they seek, but are adding thorns and pains of anguish to themselves every foot of the weary pilgrimage that they make. O, that they might be saved!

They, being ignorant of God’s righteousness, notwithstanding all that they do, there is one thing that they have not done. They have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. They have not come to God and said, “Lord, what is thy plan of justifying men and women? How may my soul be saved? How can I find in my conscience a sense of sins forgiven so that there shall be a witness in me, and that I may be a personal witness to the fact of redemption, and that I may say, God has forgiven my sins and I am saved? How can this be obtained?”

Paul then presents the true plan. He takes the law of God, and without diminishing one jot or tittle of its claim, but magnifying those claims, making them more exacting than this troubled soul has ever seen, making the commandments broader than they have ever been to the mind and conscience of the one who has trembled before them. There is no diminution of the commandments of God, but he presents as a method of justification, Christ Jesus. He says that Christ is the end of the Law, no matter how long it is. He is the end of it for righteousness to every one that believeth. Whether rich or poor, great or small, if you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and accept Him, you are saved. And you may meet any form of the Divine Law, and hold between you and the claims of that Law what Christ has done, and the Law cannot touch you. Its exactions are met in Christ. Its claims are satisfied in Him and it cannot harm you.

Now I want to see if I cannot get that thought before you, for it is the supreme thought of the plan of salvation. You are not asked to go up to heaven — climb up there. You are not asked to go to the bottom of the ocean. Not that. But you are asked to look at the plan which God has provided, and the person by whom your soul is to be saved. Now listen to this scripture: “I deliver unto you that which I also received; how that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried and that He was raised again.”

There are three great facts which help to constitute the gospel. It is the gospel, that Christ, according to the Scriptures, died for our sins and was buried, and rose again from the dead. These are the principal facts upon which the gospel rests.

And now let us see if we cannot get hold of these facts and make a personal application of them to ourselves.

First, we are sinners. Do you subscribe to that? I press that question on you. Have you been just? Have you kept the requirements of God’s law? Have you fully kept them? In the searching vision of God himself are there not, even with you, some sins against the Lord, your God? When you look down into your heart can you say, “I have kept this commandment, ‘thou shalt not kill’?” You say, “Yes, I never killed anybody.” Let us see. “Whoever hateth Isis brother is a murderer:’ God’s law looks at the thought which precedes the act of the killing. It judges the intent of the mind. It goes to the bottom of things, so that it deals with the springs of things, the germs out of which they grow into action; and if you have in your mind, not in deed, but if you have in your mind longed to do anything that is forbidden in that law, you have violated it. You stand, then, before that law a sinner, and your conscience tells you that you are a sinner. You come with that plea on your lips, “I am a sinner against the Divine Law.”

Now I ask you: What is your plan of making atonement and satisfaction to that violated law? Is it by anything that you can do? Think! What can you do that will put back again the broken law? I want to use a very familiar illustration, and one that has been used oftentimes before, but it aptly expresses the precise thought here that I wish to impress on your minds. A child was sent to the city, trusted with money, to buy a very costly and fragile vase, and carefully charged to have it packed safely in a basket, and to bring it back very carefully; without stopping by the way. But on his way home be meets another boy, who has a new ball, which he commences to bounce in sight, the eager sight, of the boy with the basket, and saying, “Don’t you want to bounce my new ball?” And he says, “I would like to, but I am charged here with a trust and I have promised not to stop; but I will bounce it once.” So he puts down his basket and bounces the ball, and becomes absorbed and forgets, and directly the ball strikes the basket, knocks it over, and breaks the vase all to pieces. It is broken.

He looks at the disaster. He is filled with regret. He begins to weep. He realizes the damage has been done, and the first thing he tries to do, is to take those broken, pieces and put them together again. And there he is, taking it, piece by piece, in his fingers, and trying to adjust them, and he gets the bottom of it right, and then he puts one piece up and holds it with his left hand, and adjusts another piece, but when he turns that loose to get another, the first falls; and he tries again, but cannot make the shattered edges fit. It is so badly broken it cannot be put together again; and as the fruitlessness of the undertaking strikes his mind he weeps in despair, “What shall I do?”

His father comes along and finds him in that condition, and says, “Son, what is the matter?” So he tells his father the whole story. The father asks, “Why don’t you put it together again?” “I have tried but I cannot.” “Well, what are you going to do about it?” “I don’t know.” And he begins to cry again. And the father says, “If you stay here and cry all night will it put that vase back again? Can any amount of tears that you can shed ever put that back again?” And at once he sees that no drops of grief that he can shed can replace what is broken. The father takes out his check book and draws a check for the amount of that vase and hands it to his son. “Now will you take this and go down to the bank and present it? You need not say a word. Just put it in at the teller’s window and he will pay you the money on it; then go and buy another vase.” “What, this piece of paper?” “Yes, that piece of paper.”

The boy looks at it earnestly and directly begins to believe what his father has said. His mind begins to take in that there is something written on that paper that will replace the damage which he has done. And as he trusts to that he dries his eyes; his burden is gone; he weeps no more. He rushes with rapid feet down to the bank, presents the, paper and draws the money and buys another vase and comes home rejoicing.

Now, that substituted work of another is the end of the damage. It replaces everything. He paid nothing for it; he could do nothing toward it; and he might have wept and cried for a year and it could not have touched the question of putting back the broken vase.

Well, now, that is the way people come to the law of God, broken in a thousand pieces, broken a thousand times, and they say, “I am sorry; God will forgive me because I am sorry.” How can He? How can sorrow make atonement? How can any amount of contrition of any kind meet the claims of a law that has been violated? There must be satisfaction rendered, and that satisfaction must be complete; it must meet the case.

And so, when Paul saw these people busying themselves, going about to establish their own righteousness, and their houses toppling down as fast as they built them up, crying and striving, weeping and groaning, adding burden to burden and labor to labor, and never reaching unto the end desired, his soul was filled with deep concern that they were wasting their lives in a profitless undertaking. And hence he presented to them the Lord Jesus Christ after this manner: God saw you were lost. He saw that the vase of your happiness was shivered in fragments. He saw that you were under the condemnation of His violated law, and He loved you, not because you were good, for you were bad. He did not love you because you were righteous; He loved you as sinners. He did not love you because you were going to be Godly, and while you were ungodly and utterly powerless to justify yourself in the sight of God, Jesus came.

And He says, “Put that to my account. I will pay that.” How will He pay it? “I will come into the world just as that man came into the world; I will come as a little babe. I will grow up as a boy. I will become a grown man. I will keep every iota of the supreme law of God without failing in one single particular, and my righteousness will be spotless; there will be no infraction, and when it is finished, my life is ended and the microscope of justice is put upon the most minute thought of my life, upon the most insignificant action of my life, there shall be found no flaw in it.”

Holy — holy as God is holy — was the life of the Lord Jesus Christ here upon the earth. There it was, completed, finished — not an additional stitch needed. No man living could add anything to its perfection; in every part of it, it was perfect; and the law of God, looking at it, could find no lack of absolute conformity to the most scrutinizing requirement of the law.

That is one part of it. And now there is a righteousness that is perfect, that comes up to the standard. “Be ye perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” There it is. Look at it. Can you find anything wrong in it? As He himself said to His enemies, “Who of you convicteth me of any sin? Did I sin against my Father? Did I sin against my mother? And even back of that, when I came into the world, did I come into the world with a depraved nature? No. I was not of the seed of man. I was born holy, as no man is born. ‘That Holy One, born of thee, shall be called the Son of God.”

The Holy Ghost overshadowed His mother and He started holy, and lived holy, and died holy. It was an absolutely spotless righteousness. There it was.

Now comes this question: You want to have that put to the credit of a sinner, who stands guilty before the Law; that will make him righteous; but how is that going to pay the penalty of the Law? The Law has said: “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.”

Now, if Jesus Christ had sinned in thought even; any one time in His life, then His death, in our stead, could not have atoned for us, because the law of God required that the victim offered should be without spot or blemish. If He had ever violated one jot or tittle of the law of God in thought, or word or deed, He would have been rejected as an offering to be presented in the place of a sinner. But His life having been perfect, the Lamb having been examined and having been found without spot or blemish, then, that One having no sin of His own to atone for, having been perfectly righteous himself, He can come in and take the place of another if He chooses to do it, and as a vicarious victim, die for him. According to the Scriptures, Christ died for our sins; the iniquity of us all was put on Him. God made Him to be a sin-offering, who, himself, knew no sin, in order that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

Then how am I to be saved? Am I to be saved by saying ten prayers a day, by counting a thousand beads, by paying a thousand dollars, by endowing a school, by building a church, by inflicting chastisement upon my body? How am I to be saved? If I am to be justified in the sight of God, I must be justified in this righteousness imputed to me and in no other way. Therefore it is said that “by the works of the Law shall no man be justified.” No man, no woman. Coming to us He says, “Take what I have done for you and what I have done shall be to you the end of the claims of the Law against you, all of them.”

There are some people who think they can take Christ, but that He doesn’t meet all the requirements. They must add a little; they must pay somewhat toward the price; they want to help God in some way, in order to preserve something of the pride and conceit of having wrought out a salvation for themselves. But He will have none of it, none of it. He says your sin can be covered in Christ and in no other way. “Blessed is the man unto whom God imputeth not iniquity. Blessed is the man whose sin is covered.”

Man started unholy. He was shapen in iniquity. He inherited depravity. Christ did not. He was born holy and His holy birth covers your unholy birth. As a little child you did wrong; as a little child He did right and that covers you. As a man you sinned; as a man He did not sin, and that righteousness covers your unrighteousness. And thus you take it and spread it all over the whole length of your guilty life, and it covers all of your life; it does not leave any of it exposed to wrath. It is broad enough to cover it all. The sin is covered completely and forever — covered by the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

“Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”

If that is true, then to be saved requires no great element of time. If that is true salvation, its attainment does not come from afar. There is no descent to the bottom of the ocean for it. Now, some people do that very thing. They say, “I want to be baptized to be saved.” Shall you descend into the deep to bring up Christ? Are you going to find Him by that method? You believe unto righteousness; you trust unto Him, and that is why the Scripture says, “The Word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart; the word of faith, which we preach; that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

Now, whenever you do trust Him, whenever your soul takes hold of what Christ has done, whenever you come to Him and believe in Him and rely upon Him, there should come to your conscience a sense of freedom from responsibility to that law which you have violated. And when your realization takes hold of the facts; when the subjective equals the objective, you will say, it is met; it is paid; it is all paid; it is paid forever. It needs no repayment; I take it; I accept it; I envelop myself in it; I clothe myself in it from head to foot, and I can do that in a minute just as well as I can in ten years better.

Zaccheus climbed up a tree a lost man; he came down saved. The jailer at midnight was lost; at daylight he was saved. Three thousand men stood up lost men when Peter began to preach, and at the close of that sermon three thousand men were saved. “They gladly received the word that he preached unto them.”

Now I want to invite you to that righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ as your only hope of justification before God. Do you take it? Will you do it? Think carefully. What better can you do? How can you expect to stand in your own miserable attempt at justification? Well, you say, “If I do that then am I to go on sinning?” I tell you that if you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior you will hate sin and you will begin to do right, not to be saved, but because you are saved; not from a principle of fear, but from a principle of love. And you will be willing to lay down your life for Jesus; and you will be willing to keep His commandments; and you will be willing to honor Him in your thought; you will be willing to glorify Him in your eating and drinking and whatever you do. But it will be from the constraining principle of love to One who has saved you, and not that by doing it you may save yourself. Will you come to it? Will you take it?

I now invite every one here dissatisfied with his own method of justification, realizing that you do not attain to anything; that you never find any ease in your own mind, no peace; you have tried that and you see that you do not find it; now I ask you to come, and without any sort of effort at self-justification, absolutely relying upon what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for you.

But you say, “My heart is hard.” I tell you that your heart is melted by looking at Jesus. When you look at Him and His wounds and His death throes, then you begin to groan and weep and cry out, and feel your sinfulness as you never did before. Take Him. My voice is so broken I cannot plead with you, but that is God’s method of justification. I beg you to come tonight. Just come and fix your mind on this one scripture. Jesus says, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” I will give it to you. You are charged nothing for it. You pay nothing for it. Come to me and I will give you rest. The gift of God is eternal life, through our Lord Jesus Christ. It is a gift. O, take it as a gift, and not as something purchased by your tears, or your resolution, or anything upon the. earth that you can do. Take it as a free gift and be saved. And when saved and because saved, and from a principle of love, then do good works as much as you please — and you will do them.

The awful sin of this day is that men make a savior out of an ordinance; they make a savior out of the church; they put the church between a sin-sick soul and the Lord Jesus Christ. Never join the church, never be baptized, never partake of the Lord’s Supper, never in any way come to anything of this kind as a means of salvation. Come to the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus first, then the water. Jesus first, then the church. Jesus and salvation first; then as saved, come and join the church, and in the church glorify the Savior by your life.

It is a stupendous sin for any man, preacher or what not, to put before a lost soul a church as a savior, saying to him, “Here, you come and join the church and be saved in the church. You come and be baptized and be saved in baptism. Cone and partake of the Lord’s Supper and be converted right in the act of partaking of it.” Never! Never! Never! I would not bow down to a wafer and call that God. I would not bow down to any church on the earth and say, “My savior!” Men cannot save you; ordinances cannot save you; Christ first, the Lord Jesus Christ first, and when saved, and because saved, and never until you are saved, join His church.

I invite you to Jesus Christ. He is the Savior. The Lord God drive away from between the sinner and that Savior any office, any ordinance, any institution on the face of the earth, that offers itself as a savior. The church itself is accursed when it assumes to be a savior. An ordinance is a sin when it assumes to be a savior. It is an awful sin; blasphemous sin. Come to the blood of the atonement and let that blood be sprinkled on your soul. Trust in what the Lord Jesus Christ has done, and then when your heart is glad because of this salvation, it will say, “Lord, what wilt thou have me do? If thou sayest, ‘Be baptized,’ I will. If thou sayest, ‘Join the church,’ I will. If thou sayest, ‘Partake of the Lord’s Supper,’ I will. If thou sayest to preach my gospel to sinners, talk to them, pray for them, I will.” But never, never attempt to put on the form of Godliness without the power.

I give it as my deliberate conviction before God, that souls are being lost in this town, and in every other town in this state, by having presented to them something else as savior rather than the Son of God Himself. The church is not the end of the Law to you. Christ is. Baptism is not the end of the Law to you. Christ is. The Lord’s Supper is not the end of the Law to you. Christ is.

“On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;

All other ground is sinking sand.”

Even if it is church ground, it doesn’t make any difference to me. If you do tonight, thoughtfully, lovingly, trustfully, receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, neither height, nor depth, nor present nor future things, nor principalities, nor powers, nor any other creature can separate you from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus.

O, the completeness of that salvation; the thoroughness of it! It meets the demands of God’s law when nothing else ever does.

I ask you to come to Him. My heart’s desire and my prayer to God is that you may be saved, but you cannot be saved, except as you come to the Lord Jesus Christ and trust in Him. And if you will take a step towards it; if you will honestly try this night to lay everything else down; everything in the world; just drop it and accept the

Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior; if that is what you will try to do, come and give me your hand tonight, and let us kneel down here together and offer up a prayer, such as Paul felt burning in his heart, for salvation through Christ and no other. “For there is no other name known among men under heaven, but that name, by which you can be saved.”

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