SALVATION TO THE UTTERMOST
"This is the resting place, let the weary rest; and this
is the place of repose"—
"He is able also to save them to the uttermost." Hebrews
What, to many, would all the other "three score and ten
palm-trees" avail, if they had not this one to rush to for shelter?
The pressing, urgent question with thousands of anxious
souls—overwhelmed with the weight of aggravated transgression, is this, "Can
the God-Man-Redeemer be a Savior for us? A shelter for others,
can these Palms afford sure refuge for the guiltiest?" It is the old
controversy that Satan has with not a few, whom he first goads on to
presumption, and then, when entangled in his meshes, he seeks to drive
to despair. Many such has that relentless guard shut up in the
deepest dungeons of "Doubting Castle"—gloomy cells, where the sunlight is
forbidden to enter—and rung over them the knell of extinguished hope.
The crushing thought of personal unworthiness—the memories of guilty bygone
years, rise up before them like avenging angels.
What! this Savior and this salvation for me—it
cannot be! I have plunged madly into sin—not, like others, because I have
never been warned—never counseled—never known the tenderness of a mother's
prayers, nor the sanctity of a father's entreaties, nor the privileges of a
hallowed home. I have been oblivious of all these. Even now, I seem to
listen (though in years long gone by), to voices which I have lived basely
to scorn—to counsels I have trampled on—the retrospect all the sadder by the
reflection that the lips which spoke them are hushed in the grave—and the
arms that of old caressed me, as on Sabbath night I knelt by the beloved
knee, are decaying in the tomb! What! Christ receive me, with all
that diary of a misspent, godless, defiant life unveiled to His
omniscient eye!—deeds of depravity—outbursts of fiery passion—malignant
purposes of revenge; my own bark sunk—and worse it may be than this,
miserable wrecks, for which I am guiltily responsible, strewing the shores.
Mine is not, as it is with many, a mere upper layer of iniquity; but
it is deposit on deposit—strata piled on strata—the mournful consolidation
of a life of sin. Ten thousand echoes ring "lost!" along the dreary
corridors of the past. "Surely my way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is
disregarded by my God!" There may be room and welcome for every weary
traveler at Elim and its grove, except for me!
No, not so! As aggravated as your case is, it is
never hopeless; you cannot hear your spiritual death-knell tolled, so
long as you can read the golden letters which head this meditation—"Able to
save completely." You may have been a sinner to the uttermost. You
may have gone the sickening round of all life's follies—run riot of its
whole enchanted circle—O Israel, you may have destroyed yourself—there may
not be one redeeming feature in your case—not one apparent gleaning left for
the grape-gatherer. You may be a stripped, defenseless, degenerate vine—fit
only for the axe and the cumberer's doom. But hear the words of God—"In Me
is your help." "I know the thoughts which I think towards
you—thoughts of peace and not of evil!"
It is told of Bilney, in the time of the Reformation,
that on obtaining Erasmus' translation of the Greek Testament, he hurried
away with it and shut himself up in his room in Cambridge. On opening its
pages, his eye caught the words—"This is a faithful saying, and worthy of
all acceptance, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, of
whom I am chief." He laid down the book, and meditated on the astonishing
declaration. "What! Paul 'the chief of sinners,' and yet Paul is sure of
being saved!" He read the verse again and again, exclaiming, "Oh assertion
of Paul, how sweet are you to my soul!"
Downcast Pilgrim, in the dreariest of moral deserts! if,
with true and sincere penitence of heart, you plead for pardon, "with the
Lord there is unfailing love, and with Him is full redemption" (Ps. 130:7).
What a wondrous utterance is that—a lustrous jewel sparkling in a dark
setting—found in the 18th verse of the opening chapter of Isaiah's prophecy!
One would have supposed, after the dreadful indictment contained in the
preceding verses, that any hope of forgiveness must be closed against the
rebellious race—"The people laden with iniquity." But, all at once, the
tolling of the funereal bell ceases; and the joyful chime that has borne
hope and comfort in many an hour of spiritual desolation falls upon the
ear—"Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord—Though your sins be
as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson,
they shall be as wool."
Or, take another declaration of similar import: "I, even
I, am He that blots out your transgressions, for My own sake, and will not
remember your sins." "I—even I"—the very Being you have most deeply
injured—whose Spirit you have grieved—I, the Almighty Creditor, am ready to
grant and sign a full discharge—"Whoever comes to Me, I will never drive
away." The Stronger than the strong man armed, sounds the silver trumpet of
jubilee, "He has sent Me to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the
opening of the prison to those who are bound," and blessed have been the
millions who have heard that joyful sound! "How useless it is," says an
earnest thinker lately lost to the world, and who knew from deep-felt
experience the truth of his own words—"How useless it is to tell the
desponding, or those distressed by consciousness of guilt, of any remedy but
a Savior's blood. It is here that the true test and proof of the Gospel
lies. It is light to the blind, strength to the weary, and consolation for
"All in weakness, all in sorrow,
Savior God! I Thee implore;
Lifting up the sad petition
You have often heard before,
In the former days of darkness,
In despairing times of yore.
"For a present help in trouble,
You have never ceased to be;
Since, at first, a weeping sinner
Fell before You trustingly;
And Your voice is ever sounding,
Come, you weary ones, to Me!"
"For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember
their sins no more."