BOUGHT by the B L O O D
ROBERT G. LEE, D. D.
- Bought by the Blood. 4About the Author – ROBERT G. LEE. 5
- BLIGHT, BELIEF and BLESSEDNESS. 68
- BAFFLED.. 69
- BURST. 71
- BLESSEDNESS. 77
- THINGS UNTHINKABLE FROM THE STANDPOINT OF THE CROSS. 82
- WHAT IS CHRIST’S CROSS?. 82
- PREACH THE CROSS. 84
- MEN SHOULD REMAIN UNSAVED IN THIS LIFE AND MISS HEAVEN. 104
- THE WORD OF GOD NOT BROKEN AND NOT BOUND.. 108
- APOSTLE. 113
- AN ASSERTION. 114
By ROBERT G. LEE, D.D., LL.D., LITT.D.
All the fire and zeal of Dr. Lee’s famous oratory is evident in these inspired and impassioned messages dealing with the cardinal teachings of the Bible concerning such great Christian doctrines as salvation by grace, justification by faith, the Atonement, the infallibility of God’s Word, the vital importance of a personal relationship to the Son of God, and other searching truths.
Quoting extensively from Scripture, and building up each message to a clashing climax, Dr. Lee deals with such significant themes as:
What Is Life?
Bought and Brought from Bondage by the Blessed Blood
Blight, Belief and Blessedness
Things Unthinkable from the Standpoint of the Cross
The Word of God Not Broken and Not Bought
God’s Cure for the World’s Worst Disease
The Failure of the Almost
The Word of God takes on living, breathing vitality in these soul-stirring messages, each one dedicated to the praise and glory of God!
Is a native of South Carolina…
Is a graduate of Furman University…
Was ordained to the ministry in 1910…
Has held notable pastorates in the cities of Charleston, New Orleans and Memphis…
Was president of the Baptist State Convention of Tennessee for four consecutive years…
Has addressed many large Bible conferences and conventions…
Has conducted revivals throughout America…
Is the author of Gloy Today for Conquest Tomorrow, Be Ye Also Ready, Pickings, This Critical Hour and others…
Was president of the Southern Baptist Convention for three consecutive years.
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the Blood of Christ.
I. WHAT IS YOUR LIFE?
Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away (Jas. 4:14).
In the Bible many significant questions have been asked. Let us think of some questions –
The question God asked in Eden’s garden when and where, because of the sins of our first parents, Despair had pitched his black pavilions on man’s sterile and blasted estate: “Adam, where art thou?” (Gen. 3:9).
The questions asked by God and Cain when, in the presence of the crimson spots of the blood shed in the first murder of earth: “Where is Abel thy brother? and he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen. 4:9).
The question asked by Abraham – when “there was a strife between the herdmen of Abraham’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle” (Gen. 13:7-9): “Is not the whole land before thee?”
The question God Himself asked when, in His purpose to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah because of their wickedness, He said: “Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?” (Gen. 18:17,18).
The question – “What is thy name?” (Gen. 32:27) – asked by the man who wrestled with Jacob in the night time “until the breaking of the day,” at which time Jacob, the supplanter, became Israel, “a prince with God.”
The question – “What is that in thine hand?” (Ex. 4:2) – asked Moses by the Lord when Moses was raising objections as to the commission God gave him, in the words: “Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt” (Ex. 3:10).
The question – “Have not I commanded thee?” (Josh. 1:9) – asked Joshua by the Lord after the death of Moses, a question followed by words of encouragement: “Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest” (Josh. 1:9).
The question – “Why abodest thou among the sheepfolds, to hear the bleatings of the flocks?” (Judg. 5:16) asked by Deborah of the Reubenites who remained in the quiet and protection of the sheepfolds, who did nothing while on battlefields others risked their lives even unto death.
The question – “Wherewith shall I save Israel?” (Judg. 6:15) – asked of the Lord by Gideon to whom the Lord made answer: “Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man” (Judg. 6:16).
The questions – “Whom have I defrauded? whom have I oppressed? or of whose hand have I received any bribe to blind mine eyes therewith?” (I Sam. 12:3) – asked by Samuel of Israel when, disparaged and discarded by the people whom he had led so devotedly and served so faithfully, he began to rehearse to the people the deliverance of Jehovah.
The question – “Died Abner as the fool dieth?” (II Sam. 3:33) – when King David, after following the bier of Abner, after standing by the grave of Abner, lifted up his voice and wept.
The question – “How long halt ye between two opinions?” (I Kings 18:21) – asked by Elijah, God’s prophet of fire, on Mount Carmel in the great challenge to and conquest of the prophets of Baal.
The question – “What manner of man was he which came up to meet you and told you these words?” (II Kings 1:7) – asked by King Ahaziah of the messengers who returned after being sent to “enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron” whether the king would recover of his disease (II Kings 1:2).
The question – “Why is thy countenance sad seeing thou art not sick?” (Neh. 2:2) – asked Nehemiah by King Artaxerxes, when Nehemiah was grieving because the city, the place of Nehemiahs father’’ sepulchres, was in waste and the gates consumed with fire.
The question – “Doth Job fear God for nought?” (Job 1:9) – asked sneeringly by Satan of God at a time when God said to Satan: “Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?” (Job 1:8).
The question – “Where is he that is born King of the Jews?” (Matt. 2:2) – asked by the wise men who came from the east to Jerusalem.
The question – “What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?” (Matt. 27:22) – asked by Pilate who had a yellow cotton string where he should have had a backbone.
The question – “Lord, is it I?” (Matt. 26:22) – asked by the bewildered and grieving disciples the night when, as they did eat, Jesus said: “Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me” (Matt 26:21).
The question – “Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?” (Mark 16:3) – asked by some women when they had brought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint the bruised and battered dead body of Jesus (Mark 16:1).
The question – “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30) – asked by the trembling, fear-filled Philippian jailor the night when the earthquake shook the foundations of the prison and the jailor fell down before Paul and Silas.
There are many other questions which are found in the blessed Bible upon which we could wisely and soberly and profitably pitch our mental tents. And there are eighteen questions in the Epistle of James which we could profitably attempt to answer. But the question which I asked you to consider and around which I ask you to search your hearts is the question of our text – giving particular attention to the answer the Holy Spirit gives to the question.
Let us, in thinking upon this question and the answer thereunto, consider the –
We know that two can not walk together except they be agreed (Amos 3:3). We know that when the chief priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus to put Him to death, many bare false witness against Jesus, but their witness agreed not together.
And there arose certain, and bare false Witness against him, saying, We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands. But neither so did their witness together (Mark 14:57-59).
We know that Jesus, speaking of how the new does not agree with the old, said:
…No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old (Luke 5:36).
We know that when Paul, bound with chains, met with the chief of the Jews, “to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses and out of the prophets, from morning till evening,” there was disagreement among the Jews. “And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not. And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed” (Acts 28:24,25).
We know that the temple of God has no agreement with idols and that light has no agreement with darkness – even as has Christ no concord with Belial, even as he that believeth hath no part with an infidel (II Cor. 6:14-16).
We know that Isaiah said: “And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand” (Isa. 28:18).
But not of disagreements but of man’s absolute agreements do we speak – the agreement human beings have, if they believe God’s Word. Just as people are to heed the word of Jesus to “agree with thine adversary quickly” (Matt. 5:25), just as people are to be wise by remembering that “If two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt 18:19), just as Peter’s speech agreed that he was a Galilean (Mark 14:70), just as truly as in the days when Jesus had healed the man born blind, the Jews had agreed already that if any man did confess that Jesus was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue (John 9:22), just as surely as Ananias and Sapphira, his wife, “agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord” (Acts 5:9), just as certainly as the people listened to and agreed to the counsel of Dr. Gamaliel (Acts 5:34 and 40), just as wisely as the words of the prophets agree to Simeon’s words that “God at the first did visit the Gentiles to take out of them a people for his name” (Acts 15:14), so there are some realities about which all of us agree.
The apostle John wrote:
For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one (I John 5:7,8).
So, though in a less wondrous way, do many have agreement as to some realities we need to think upon soberly and sensibly.
Just as surely as fire is always hot, and the sun always bright, and ice is always cold – and just as the laws of gravitation function for the welfare of the universe, and just as centripetal and centrifugal forces are active for the welfare of humanity, so also are there unquestioned agreements in the human family.
We do not agree as to the books that are greatest, the flowers that are the loveliest, the medicines that are most valuable, the business methods to be followed, the political policies that are wisest, the methods of travel that are safest, the philosophies that are profoundest, the music that is most entrancing, the remedies that are most needed, the teaching that is most effective, the fames that are most to be desired, the food that is always best, the doctrines that are most universally accepted, the homes most to be desired, the weapons of war most effective against the enemies of a nation, the vehicles which are the strongest for transportation.
The likes of one are the dislikes of another. The things one loves another hates. There are persons whom some hold in strong contempt while others hold them in high esteem. There are virtues which some discard which others cling to and richly possess. Certain foods which some relish are never eaten by others. Some things which many label good others describe as of little value. Disagreements among people as to many things are a matter of common knowledge. A large book of the likes of some could be printed, but a book just as big showing the dislikes of many others could be published – to prove the fact of disagreement, to corroborate the statement that many are the realities about which we have no agreement.
All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: hut the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory (I Cor. 15:39-41).
So also do we have to say that one person differeth from another person in agreements and disagreements. Many did not agree with what Jenner believed as to his smallpox vaccine. Many did not agree with what Morse said about his telegraph. Many did not agree with Cyrus Field’s declarations about his proposed Atlantic Cable – and the cable was denounced as “a mad freak of stubborn ignorance.”
Many did not agree with what Mr. Harvey made known about the circulation of blood.
Many ridiculed Alexander Graham Bell’s proposed plan to send the human voice great distances over a wire – and he was called a mad man for his proposals. Many did not agree with Cyrus McCormicks statements about the self-binding reaper – and his first reaper was called “a cross between a chariot, a wheelbarrow, and a flying machine.”
Once Jesus prayed: “Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again” (John 12:28).
And we read of how those who heard did not agree. “The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him” (John 12:29).
So today, some speak of thunder and some, in disagreement, speak of angels.
Paul and Silas came to Thessalonica – “where was a synagogue of the Jews.”
And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ. And some of them believed and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few. But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people (Acts 17:2-5).
Here we find those who gladly and gratefully agreed with what Paul taught.
Here we find, too, those who evilly and maliciously disagreed with his teachings.
So has it ever been.
So it is today.
But there are many things about which we human beings do agree – no matter what, no matter who, no matter when, no matter where – if we believe the Word of God.
We all agree that –
- We live on this earth
No matter how our dislikes and likes differ, no matter what our disagreements as to doctrines are, no matter how we disagree at the ballot box, no matter how young or how old we are, we all know that the life we now live in the flesh we live upon this earth. We all agree to that – whether we be black or white, red or yellow, rich or poor, good or bad, intelligent or foolish, educated or illiterate, male or female, Christian or infidel. The folks who live in little houses and big houses, the folks who drive to work in limousines or bounce along in street cars, the folks who eat little and the folks who eat much, the folks who are sick and the folks who are well, the folks who are idle and loll lazily around and the folks who work and do with all their might what their hands find to do – all these agree that the life every human lives is lived on this earth. Our agreement as to this truth is so strong and absolute that no argument and no persuasion is necessary to get us to see alike and to agree as to this fact.
We all agree that we live on this earth – not in the sun, not in the moon, not in some distant planet, not in some other world. If we ever comfort a heart, if we ever bless a life, if we ever lessen the sum of human anguish, if we ever carry through plans, if we ever complete a reform, if we ever reach a high goal, if we ever see ideas pass from desires to deeds, if we ever win people to faith in Jesus, if we ever lighten the load for a burdened one, if we ever brighten a road that has grown dark for somebody, it will be here on this earth. Just as birds build their nests in trees, just as fishes swim in seas, just as rivers flow to seas, just as wild animals live in the jungles of Africa, just as grains ripen under the warm kisses of the sun – so we must live our lives on earth – not in Jupiter, not in Mars, not in Uranus. Nowhere hut here on earth must we live our lives.
Then, too, all men agree that
- All men are on this earth a short time
All men of all stations and places in life agree with what Job said:
Now my days are swifter than a post: they flee away, they see no good. They are passed away as the swift ships: as the eagle that hasteth to the prey (Job 9:25,26).
All men everywhere agree with what Moses, in his prayer to God, said:
For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told. The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by any reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away (Ps. 90:9,10).
All men agree with what David said as to the measure of our days:
Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah. Surely every man walketh in a vain shew: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them (Ps. 39:5,6).
And nobody lifts up any voice of disagreement as to what Solomon wrote: “For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it” (Eccl. 7:12).
And nobody disputes what Hezekiah said – after he had been sick, and was recovered of his sickness:
Mine age is departed, and is removed from me as a shepherd’s tent: I have cut off like a weaver my life: he will cut me off with pining sickness: from day even to night wilt thou make an end of me (Isa. 38:12).
And no men in any realm of life disagree with Job who said:
Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not (Job 14:1,2).
My days are swifter than a weavers shuttle, and are spent without hope. O remember that my life is wind: mine eyes shall no more see good (Job 7:6,7).
Not one man on earth can truthfully disagree with these words of the Psalmist:
My days are like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass (Ps. 102:11).
As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children; to such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them (Ps. 103:15-18).
Lord, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him! Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away (Ps. 144:3,4).
Nobody can sensibly disagree with the prophet Isaiah, who wrote:
The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: the grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass (Isa. 40:6,7).
James showed agreement with Isaiah when he wrote:
Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: but the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways (Jas. 1:9-11).
And with Solomon who wrote:
Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly as an eagle toward heaven (Prov. 23:5).
And the apostle Peter showed agreement with all who wrote about the brevity of man’s life on earth in these words:
Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away; but the word of the Lord endureth for ever (I Pet. 1:23-25).
Yes, without argument or disputation, we agree to the answer given to the question “What is your life?”, the answer being “It is even a vapour that appeareth for a little time and then vanisheth away” – just a wisp of fog driven swiftly away by a cyclonic wind.
Life at its longest on this earth is, as to duration, just a passing shadow. At its longest and happiest, life on this earth is just a burst of music down a busy street. At its longest and saddest, life on this earth is just a quick sob in the night.
Yes, on this earth, life, as to duration, is just as one lightning-swift swing of the pendulum of the clock of time – just the glimpse of a passing ship, just as the stop of the postman at your door, just as a snowflake on a river, “a moment seen then gone forever.”
Not only so. All men agree that
- All men leave this earth
In the Bible we read:
And it came to pass a long time after that the Lord had given rest unto Israel from all their enemies round about, that Joshua waxed old and stricken in age. And Joshua called for all Israel, and for their elders, and for their heads, and for their, judges, and for their officers, and said unto them, I am old and stricken in age (Josh. 23:1,2).
Joshua urged the people to take good heed unto themselves and to love the Lord their God (Josh. 23:11). Then he said:
And behold, this day I am going the way of all earth (Josh. 23:14).
And Joshua went the way of all the earth – even as Sarah, at 127 years of age, died in Hebron in the land of Canaan and was buried out of Abraham’s sight “in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre” (Gen. 23).
As it was with Joshua, so it was with Abraham concerning whom it is written: “And these are the days of the years of Abraham’s life which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years. Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people” (Gen. 25:7,8).
As it was with Abraham who left this earth – leaving all his gold and silver and cattle behind – so it was with Isaac who went the way of all the earth:
And the days of Isaac were an hundred and fourscore years. And Isaac gave up the ghost, and died, and was gathered unto his people, being old and full of days (Gen. 35:28,29).
As it was with Isaac, so it was with Jacob, who lived in Egypt seventeen years, and whose death encounter is described, in part, in these words from the book of Genesis:
And the time drew nigh that Israel must die: and he called his son Joseph and said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me; bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt: but I will lie with my fathers, and thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their buryingplace. And he said, I will do as thou hast said. And he said, Swear unto me. And he sware unto him. And Israel bowed himself upon the bed’s head (47:29-31).
And Israel beheld Joseph’s sons, and said, Who are these? And Joseph said unto his father, They are my sons, whom God hath given me in this place. And he said, Bring them, I pray thee, unto me, and I will bless them. Now the eyes of Israel were dim for age, so that he could not see. And he brought them near unto him; and he kissed them, and embraced them. And Israel said unto Joseph, I had not thought to see thy face: and, lo, God hath shewed me also thy seed (48:8-11).
And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people (49:33).
As it was with Jacob so it was with Joseph who left this earth – taking nothing of his property and place and power in Egypt with him.
And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence. So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt (Gen. 50:24-26).
As Josephs body was embalmed and put in a coffin, as have the bodies of millions since then, so was King Saul’s body, lifeless by a suicidal sword, headless by the sword of the Philistines, fastened to the wall of Bethshan by the enemies of God and the bones thereof buried by valiant men under a tree at Jabesh (I Sam. 31).
We read, too, how this truth was illustrated in the life of David.
Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying, I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man;
So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David. And the days that David reigned over Israel were forty years: seven years reigned he in Hebron, and thirty and three years reigned he in Jerusalem (I Kings 2:1,2,10,11).
And as David left this earth – taking no throne, no crown, no scepter, no rich apparel, no money with him – so did Solomon, “And the time that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years. And Solomon slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David his father: and Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead” (I Kings 11:42,43).
As with Solomon so with Jeroboam. “And the days which Jeroboam reigned were two and twenty years: and he slept with his fathers, and Nadab his son reigned in his stead” (I Kings 14:20).
As with these we mention, who left the earth, as with millions who have lived on earth, and have left the earth taking nothing with them, so shall we who are alive today leave this earth (if Jesus tarry in His coming) and take nothing with us – because the end shall be at the appointed time, because the Bible says:
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment (Heb. 9:27).
All go from this earth.
Every cemetery speaks that truth.
Every tombstone authenticates that statement.
Every unmarked grave the world over says so.
This sober truth hospital cot declares, even as does every hearse, and every funeral march and obituary and epitaph.
The rich go – leaving all their wealth.
The poor go – leaving all their poverty.
The learned go – leaving all their books and learning.
The ignorant go – leaving all their poverty of knowledge.
The high-ups go – leaving all their exalted positions.
The low-downs go – leaving all their degradation.
The famous go – leaving all their honors.
The obscure go – leaving all their obscurity.
The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
All that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave,
Await alike that inevitable hour,
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
All men spend their years as a tale that is told.
All men can say of themselves what Job, in his eighth answer, said: “For I know that thou wilt bring me to death, and to the house appointed for all living” (Job 30:23).
We must remember also that when we leave this earth, we are going
- To spend Eternity in one of two places
The two places we have in mind are hell and heaven. Both are places and both are eternal. Both are certainties and both are eternal. Both permit entrance but no departure. When once in hell, forever in hell. When once in heaven, forever in heaven. Nobody can believe the Bible and not believe in hell as an actuality too terrible for words to describe. And if the supposition that all the terrible language descriptive of hell is figurative, how awful must be the actuality to which all the fingers of all figures point:
And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt. 25:30).
As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire: so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth (Matt. 13:40-42).
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels (Matt. 25:41).
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Matt. 10:28).
And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:15).
Dwight L. Moody, who took one continent in one hand and another continent in the other hand and rocked them both toward God, said: “The same Christ that tells us of heaven with all its glories, tells us of hell with all its horrors; and no one will accuse Christ of drawing this picture to terrify people, or to alarm them, if it were not true.”
It was Jesus who said:
And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched (Mark 9:43-48).
And we should never be so base and ignorant as to accuse Jesus of speaking such solemn words to frighten people about such a place of torment and an eternity of such horror that did not exist and will never exist. Knowing that retribution is a reasonable and moral necessity, knowing that the nature of sin offers no hope of its own punishing consequences ever ending, knowing that the teaching of Jesus makes it clear that hell is a place as well as a condition, we agree with what Dr. Henry Van Dyke preached on several occasions: “Forebodings of wrath to come are as instructive and universal among men as a belief in God and in the immortality of the soul. It is as impossible to eliminate it from Christian belief as it is to vote pain out of the world or to abolish sickness by an act of Congress.”
Once – years ago, when we were speaking from the same platform at a Bible Conference – I heard Dr. John Roach Straton speak these strong words: “Either God is a fool or God is immoral or God is weak if He has provided no hell for violators of righteous law.”
Knowing that the argument which gives merit and virtue its reward beyond the grave must give demerit and violation of God’s law punishment beyond the grave – where many, environed by ghastly horrors, are shut up in hell’s dungeons to weep unnoticed by mercy forever, we speak to warn. Knowing that hell is no nightmare of a disordered brain, no nightmare of medieval darkness, no erroneous accusation to the truth of God’s Word, Sam Jones declared that hell is the legitimate end of a sinful and Christ-rejecting life – and that every sinner carries his own brimstone with him.
Remembering that the doctrine of hell was taught by our Lord Himself – and though taught with a great reservation and also with most solemn emphasis, we say that hell is a philosophical necessity – because hell is a matter of revelation from God Himself. When we remember that the Saviour spoke more solemnly of hell than anyone else ever spoke, we have, for all who accept the teaching of Jesus, an incontrovertible argument for the existence of such a place of doom. And as one wise man said, though I take from or add to the words somewhat, those who rail at Christ’s ministers as cruel, malignant, ignorant; as dolts delighting in human suffering because they repeat the words of Jesus – the accusations of these critical railers are not against the ministers themselves but are well-suited to dishonor and vilify the character of Jesus.
Knowing that Jesus did not lie when He spake of unquenchable fire, knowing that the Son of God did not picture a lie when He related how the rich man lifted up his eyes in torments and begged a drop of water to cool his parched tongue, knowing that Jesus was too tender and wise to harrow up the souls of men with lying pictures of that which never did and does not now exist, we think of how terrible the companionship of hell as expressed in these words:
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death (Rev. 21:8).
These words just sum up the list of wicked persons Paul mentions in Romans 1:29-31
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 (Rom. 1:29-31).
And let us not forget that hell is a place eternal – a place from which there is no departure, no exit ever! Once in hell, always in hell. Once there, always there. Once in, never out.
I read last year of how a felon escaped from prison – after digging off and on for two years. Hear the account as given by the Associated Press:
A slender, 39-year-old convict escaped from the state penitentiary during predawn darkness through a narrow, 70-foot tunnel that took him two years to dig. Warden Edwin T. Swenson said the escapee was Joseph Holmes, a Baltimore Negro serving 20 years for burglary.
“It’s the most fantastic escape I’ve ever heard of,” the warden said. He said it must have taken Holmes two years to burrow to freedom.
He gave this explanation of the break: Holmes loosened a piece of square slate, about two feet square and cracked through 10 inches of concrete before he reached dirt. There he burrowed at a downward angle for 10 feet, then leveled off under the massive stone wall and a dry moat and then dug 30 feet up. The tunnel emerged in a grassy plot with only a seven-foot fence between the opening and freedom. It was only a short stroll from there to his mother’s home on Preston St.
Near the middle of the tunnel was a small “room” about three feet wide and six feet high, formed by fresh water seeping into the small area. The sides were matted with odd pieces of clothing apparently to prevent a cave-in. Swenson estimated that Holmes clawed out the tons of dirt with hits of scrap iron found in the tunnel, carried it in his clothing back to his cell, then flushed it down the toilet.
From Doylestown, Pennsylvania, comes this report of a remarkably amazing escape from jail. Here is the newspaper report:
Bucks County prison officials reported “the most amazing escape” they ever encountered. Warden Earl D. Handy said Robert Henderson, 22-year-old Philadelphian held on a car theft charge, apparently used a small piece of steel from an old lock and several short lengths of lumber to:
- Break out of a solitary confinement cell.
- Smash through a steel mesh grating.
- Break the panes from a closely leaded window.
- Squeeze his 170 pounds through a space of five-and-one-half by 13 inches he had sprung between two one-inch steel bars.
- Scale a 10-foot steel and barbed wire fence.
- Climb over a 31-foot wall.
But nobody has ever escaped from hell concerning which Dr. Harry Ironsides, in his lifetime, said: “Hell is Gods well-ordered prison house; the lake of fire is His penitentiary.”
“Exit” is a word not in the vocabulary of hell – and a departure from hell is an experience nobody has ever had. On earth, in many places, you see the words: “This way out,” but no man in hell has ever found his way out of hell. Jesus taught this concerning the rich man who died and was buried:
And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you can not: neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence (Luke 16:23-26).
Once in hell, forever in hell – where there is an immortality of pain and tears, and infinity of wretchedness and despair—where men learn that the depth of Gods mercy despised is the measure of the punishment of him who despiseth.
I beg you never to give ear to those who would “smother down the stubborn truth to ears polite and smugly keep damnation out of sight.”
Knowing that if we had more preaching of hell in the pulpit and wherever men have chance to preach, we might have less hell in the community, General Booth said to his workers: “If I had my way, I would not give any of my workers a three years training in college, but I would put each of you twenty-four hours in hell – the best training for earnest preaching you could have.”
But now, and quickly, let us think of heaven, the other place where people spend eternity, the place too glorious for description, too ineffably sacred to admit of comparison, the beauty of which exhausts all earthly and angelic vocabularies to describe, the wealth of which defies all language to convey – a place which honors and glorifies Christs person and presence.
Gods heaven, the one of two places in which all people spend eternity, is a real place – not a subliminated and ethereal state, ever purely spiritual, ever abstracted and removed from all the sympathies of the present life.
Gods heaven is a real land where there are no tears or heartaches, no sickness, no pain, no death, no weariness, no separations, no disappointments, no pestilence of any kind, no germs of diseases, no sin manifesting itself in drunkenness and immorality. Listen to what Dr. Oswald J. Smith writes: “Yes, and let me tell you something else. There are no cripples to be seen anywhere. None are deformed or lame. Nor is anyone blind, deaf or dumb. Hence, homes for incurables have never been built, for all are healthy, all are well and strong. No beggars clutter the streets, for none are destitute and all have enough. Leprosy and cancer, palsy and tuberculosis are words that this country has never heard. No asylums are there, for none are feeble-minded.”
God’s heaven, one of the two places where people go when they leave this earth, is a place – not a realm of fancy, not a vain apostrophe, not a state of mind, not an airy abstraction, not an allegorical assumption, not a vain hope, not a fanatic’s sickly sentimentality, not an ethereal assertion, not a ghostly unreality, not an impalpable chaos. Yes a place is heaven – not a dim, misty, shadowy existence where bodiless ghosts that once were real men and women float around in everlasting nothingness.
Jesus said: “I go to prepare a place” Therefore, we know that heaven is a place as literal and real as is a house, a farm, a city, a continent – a place in which Jesus lives in a glorified body of flesh and bones, a body in which are seen the crucifixion scars.
Let us, knowing that life for us on this earth is, as to duration, “a vapour that appeareth for a little while and vanisheth away,” make sure of entrance into the one place which is the antithesis of hell.
Heaven – where no toil shall fatigue God’s redeemed ones.
Heaven – where no hostility can overcome them.
Heaven – where no temptations can assail them.
Heaven – where no pain can pierce them.
Heaven – where no night can shadow them.
Heaven – the most beautiful place the wisdom of God could conceive and the power of God could prepare, the place where beauty has reached perfection.
Heaven – the land where there are never any heartaches, where no graves are ever dug.
Heaven – where there is no hand-to-hand fight for bread.
Heaven – where no hearse rolls its dark way to the tomb.
Heaven – where David is triumphant, though once he bemoaned Absalom.
Heaven – where Abraham is enthroned who once wept for Sarah.
Heaven – where Paul is exultant, though once he sat with his feet in the stocks.
Heaven – where John the Baptist is radiant with joy though his head was chopped off in the dungeon.
Heaven – where Savonarola wears a crown, though once he burned at the stake.
Heaven – where Latimer sings praises though once he simmered in the fire.
Heaven – where many martyrs sit in the presence of Jesus, though their blood once reddened the mouths of lions.
Heaven – where many saints rest in peace who once were tom on torture racks.
Let heaven come into your mind – where there are no tears, no partings, no strife, no agonizing, no misunderstanding, no wounds of heart, no storm to ruffle the crystal sea, no alarm to strike from the cathedral towers, no dirge throbbing from seraphic harps, no tremor in the everlasting song.
Now, in view of the asking of this question, in consideration of the agreements as to the matters brought before us by this question, in weighing well the answer to this question – “What is your life?” – what should be our
With all the earnestness of the Philippian jailor who asked: “What shall I do to be saved?”, we should ask, “What then shall I do in view of this serious question, the sober answer, and the sensible agreements we have considered?”
We should act with the reasonable faith which Abraham had – a faith which was prompt, obedient, heroic, as “he went out not knowing whither he went…” as “he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Heb. 11). As Abraham’s faith was prompt, so should ours be.
Since preparation for heaven must be begun and finished in this world, we should act as did Moses who chose to suffer affliction with the people of God, rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season (Heb. 11:25, 26).
Acknowledging solemnly that we cannot escape the condemnation and pollution of sin, the wrath of God, and the damnation of hell – being persuaded to believe that we cannot escape the fearful retributions of the future if we neglect the salvation of Christ, we should give no heed to the doubts of the skeptic, the scoffs of the infidel, and the false assumptions of human speculations. What we do, we must do quickly.
Since the salvation and justification of every sinner depends on his personal faith in Jesus Christ, no sinner can gain anything by delay.
As in the days of old, a man who had killed another unwittingly, hastened to one of the cities of refuge, so we should hasten to accept the Son of God. The conditions of salvation are not to be compared with the great salvation itself.
As one hastens from a sinking ship to the rescue of a life boat – as one who hesitates not to seek a near-by shelter when the tornado approaches, as one who hurries down the fire escape when the fire rages, let all the overtures of God’s mercy and love and the terror of a Christless deathbed and a Christless coffin and a Christless grave and a Christless eternity, urge you to hasten now to do the right thing with Jesus.
The God of all grace poured out wrath upon the sinless Christ. Forsaken was He that our sins might be forgiven and forgotten. He received the wages of sin which He never earned that we might have eternal life which we never deserved. To the bottom of the pit went He that we might be in the bosom of the Father. Christ, the Mercy Seat of the whole world, found no mercy for Himself. He went into awful gloom that we might enter into glory. Sold was He that we might ransomed be. Denied was He that He might confess us to the Father. Bound was He that He might bestow on us true freedom – the freedom of sons. Unjustly judged was He that we might escape the severity of Gods judgments. Scourged was He that by His stripes we might be healed. Crucified was He that through His grace we might crucify the flesh with its affections and lusts. For us, on the Cross, He became all that God must judge that we, through faith in Him and with repentance toward God, might become all that God cannot judge. For a time He was separated from God that we might be with God through all eternity.
You can do only one of two things with Jesus – not one of several. You can accept or reject; you cannot do both.
You can crown or crucify; you cannot do both. You can let Him in or shut Him out; you cannot do both. You can say Yes or No; you cannot say both. You can be for or against; you cannot be both. You can be friend or foe; you cannot be both. You can confess or deny; you cannot do both.
Come to Christ! Trust Him! Then, rejoicing in your salvation, go forth to live as Christ would have you live. Abhor that which is evil. Cleave to that which is good. “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men. Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11-13).
The time for you to say “Yes” to Jesus is Now – not Tomorrow. On the dock of Time, there is but one word – Now!
Tomorrow is the day when the idle man works, the fool reforms, the thief becomes honest, the drunkard sober, the libertine pure.
Tomorrow is a period nowhere to be found except, perhaps, in the fool’s calendar. God’s call is not a call for tomorrow, but for Today.
“Today… if ye will!” saith the Lord.
Tomorrow, a word never written in the almanac of Time, may be too late to win that friend or loved one or neighbor to faith in Christ.
Tomorrow, always written in Satan’s almanac, may be too late to brighten the dark road which some with fear and trembling travel.
Tomorrow, a rock whitened by the bones of mariners wrecked thereon, may be too late to lighten the load beneath which someone staggers.
Tomorrow, the floating island of Loch Lomond which none have ever seen, may be too late to extend the helping hand and to supply the weapons someone needs in life’s battle.
Tomorrow, the idiot’s cup in which is the sorcery of death, may be too late to lift one who today is in the miry clay of the horrible pit.
Tomorrow, the pot of gold at the foot of the rainbow, may be too late to keep someone from hell where some lift up their eyes being in torment.
Since “ye know not what shall be on the morrow,” say not what the Roman Governor Felix said. Sitting in the great marble judgment hall, the arbiter of life and death and the embodiment of the awful power of Caesar, he listened to a preacher in chains. As Paul spoke boldly and reasoned with unusual wisdom, the Roman listened closely. Perhaps he was convinced. Certainly his conscience was troubled and he was deeply moved. But he tricked his troubled conscience by saying: “Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee” (Acts 24:25).
How universally and timelessly human that statement! How many millions of people have so foolishly and procrastinatingly said the same thing. Always they intend to be virtuous or more honest with God and wise as to Eternity, but they always intend to do it at a more convenient time – tomorrow, or next week, or when the present strain is ended, or after they get married or get promoted or recover from sickness. Such a resolve is not a resolve to act but a resolve to postpone action – and delay is really decision for the wrong way. The only time anyone can make a vital decision is right now – at the present moment. No man can commit himself to feel a certain passion next week. Now is the only time any man has. You may not be here tomorrow. And if a man will not do a thing now, while the wooing Spirit of God lays siege at his heart’s door – and while the impulse is strong, he certainly will not do it when the impulse is gone. The one sure thing about the unsure future is that a more convenient season will never come. Therefore, repent now!
Believe now on the Christ, and make known that faith now. Then, rejoicing in your salvation, grateful for God’s gift of eternal life through Christ, His unspeakable gift, go forth to live as Christ would have you live.
“And be not conformed to this world… prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God… Abhor that which is evil: cleave to that which is good” (Rom. 12: 2,9).