Despising and Perishing: Acts 13:41

 •  7 min. read  •  grade level: 6
CT 13:41{READER, have you received Christ? Have you been born again? If not, you have not life; you can never see the kingdom of God. This is a terribly solemn truth, and it behooves you to consider it. There are thousands around us who have been brought up religiously, and learned in their earliest years to lisp the name of Jesus; daily they pray to God, and read His word, but they have no life, they are dead. And what is to be the end of them? I must speak plainly here:-the end of all this is death, and judgment, and hell forever. If you have not life in the risen Christ, it matters little what else you have, you are going down to an eternal hell as surely as God lives. These things are written not harshly, but in solemn earnest, in the hope that the Lord will use the word in warning to some who are thus deceived. God's sentence of death against sin, and the curse of the broken law rest upon you, and in Christ alone is there deliverance. The most perfect life of religiousness is of no avail here. “They that are in the flesh cannot please God " (Rom. 8:88So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:8)); and you are "in the flesh," if you have not been born of the Spirit and are now in Christ. All your knowledge and your blessings tend but to increase your responsibility, and if, like Capernaum, you are raised to heaven by privilege, you shall be thrust down to hell. Oh! that man would consider these things! Why is it that you, who are shrewd enough in other things, are such fools here? You go on year after year with a carnal Christless religiousness, and refuse to look before you and see the end. God is warning you and beseeching you; but all to no avail. He has given up His only begotten Son to die a cruel shameful death, and bear His wrath against sin in order that you might have life; and what is it all to you? Have you ever wept one unselfish tear because of it? Oh! has your heart ever glowed with love to Him? Did you ever spend a single hour over His word with the longing desire of knowing what He has said as to how you may be saved? No, truly; but you pray to Him; you read His word; you are earnest, sincere, and live a moral religious life, and hope for salvation because of it as well as through the merits of Christ, forsooth! And when one tells you that the end of all such is eternal hell, you are ready to turn round upon God and say hard things of Him, as though you deserved better. He has no pleasure in your death: He has life for you, and peace, and joy, and heaven, and glory,-all in Christ: and He presses His blessings upon you, and entreats you to have them. But what comes of it? You will still cling to your own religiousness, as if such filthy rags could be a fit covering for you in the presence of God. Oh! one cannot be satisfied to say soft and smooth things in such a case as this. All these things in which you trust will serve only to increase your condemnation if you die as you are, or if the Lord should come and find you as you are. For every time you have named the name of Jesus, God will bring you into judgment; for every time that you have ever opened the word that tells of life and love; for every appeal He has ever made to your conscience, or your heart; for every prayer you have ever prayed; for every ray of light that has ever entered your dark soul-stroke after stroke of the eternal wrath will fall upon you forever when you are cast into the lake of fire, the long long home of the Christless soul.
Oh! be persuaded to pause and consider these things while there is yet time. What have you for eternity? “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maran-atha,"-accursed in the day of the Lord. (1 Cor. 16:2222If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha. (1 Corinthians 16:22).) And your heart tells you it is a stranger to love, a personal affection to Him, risen and glorified.
This is no part of your religion. What, then, is to be the end? A few more years, at most, of a heartless, Christless, religion; and then! then the thundercloud of wrath, that now hangs on the horizon, shall close in forever on the blackness of darkness upon your soul. Satan, like a wily seducer, comes to you now with fair promises and false smiles; but when the willing dupe has become his victim, he will throw off the mask, and show himself to be the enemy of your soul, a liar and a murderer. God calls, but you refuse; He stretches out His hand, but you regard it not; but you set at naught all His counsel, and will none of His reproof. He beseeches you to be reconciled, but you turn your back upon Him. And when the end comes, and you are lost, damned, you will have yourself to blame; and if this be the end of a life of Christless morality and religion, what will be the end of a life of sin? Thus saith the Lord:-
"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-this is the second death." (Rev. 21:88But 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. (Revelation 21:8).) But why should one write such terrible things as these, if there were no glad tidings of salvation? Blessed be God, He has sent us good news about His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. God is love; and His love reached even to this sin-ruined world.
Though man despised and hated Him, He loved the world. But, while sin was unatoned for, God could deal with us only to condemn; and, therefore, when the fullness of the time was come, He sent His only begotten Son into the world; and it is a saying worthy of all acceptation, that He came to save sinners; not to condemn, but to save. He took sin upon Himself, and bore the sentence of death pronounced against us. He was made a curse for us, to redeem us from the curse of the law. And now, through the cross of Christ, there is life for the dead; salvation for the lost one; there is peace with God and glory through the Lord Jesus Christ. We have redemption through His blood; not our religion, but through His blood, the precious blood of Christ. Nothing can avail in this matter but DEATH, for it is death alone that can satisfy the righteous sentence of God against sin. If, as the eye rests upon these words, the heart yearns for a place to which it has been hitherto a stranger, and longs for something to satisfy the cravings, that may indeed be quenched, but never can be satisfied by the husks of the world's religion, or its pleasures, or its sins:-turn to the tenth chapter of Romans, and, for the first time, read the words as a message to your own soul from a living loving God, " 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." Yes, it is for you, read it again.
"We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him, who knew no sin, to be sin for us; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (2 Cor. 5:20, 2120Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2 Corinthians 5:20‑21).)
W. T. T.