The Uttermost Saviour
“He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him.” Heb 7:25
The longer I study the hearts and lives of men, and the more I read of the crimes of the day, the more convinced am I that the world needed an almighty and perfect Saviour; that nothing short of a complete ability to save unto the uttermost would do. Some one must be found who can descend to the lowest, move and change the hardest, purify the foulest and establish them in righteousness as they had before been settled in wickedness. For any one calling himself a Saviour, to be unable to grapple with and triumphantly meet with these conditions would be only to mock a heartbroken and sin-sick world with the word salvation. It would be the saddest of delusions and most crushing of disappointments.
Such a Saviour God promised the world in Old Testament times; one who could heal the leprosy of the soul, and no matter how the line of spiritual necessity should be run, could travel its entire length with recovering grace and power, and have spiritual abundance left above all that one could ask or think. The Old Testament world heard the promise, and fell on sleep, but believed that in the fullness of time this promised Deliverer would come. And He did come. But He was so unlike what they had expected, so humble, meek, poor, and with such lowly companions and associates, that when He stood before them as the man of sorrows, and in such contrast to the priests and Rabbi’s of a glittering ecclesiasticism, He was rejected. They would not believe in Him. And as faith is the condition of knowing Christ, and receiving what is in Christ, many of them died without discovering that God had been in the flesh in their midst, that the long promised Messiah had come and they knew and felt Him not. Some, however, believed, and that belief unlocked the door, and through it Christ poured into them the fullness of the perfect salvation the Bible talks about and men need.
The same condition of things exist today. The Uttermost Saviour is being presented to the world as never before. Many will not believe that He can destroy the works of the Devil. There are many Christians who will not credit the Bible statement that Christ can make the heart holy and keep it so. Meantime the heavenly condition of knowing and receiving is the same. “According to your faith, so shall it be unto you,” is the unchangeable Word. Faith is not only the condition of salvation, but the measure of salvation. According to your faith so shall it be. And yet Christians with unbelief in their hearts as to purity of heart and holiness of life, wonder why the doctrine and experience seem shrouded in gloom to them. They fail to see that their unbelief limits the Holy One of Israel and ties the Almighty hands of Christ in their case. The gospel says: “He could do no mighty works there because of their unbelief.” So is it still. Not to believe that He can, prevents Christ from doing what He wants to do and i s perfectly able to do. Thus we have a melancholy band in our midst who are like the ship’s crew we have all heard about, that were dying with thirst when they were in the midst of the pure waters of the river Amazon that with its swift current rushes for miles out to sea. Fresh water was all around them, and they had only to dip it up to drink and live.
But there are believing hearts who by their faith have touched the Saviour, and believing for the uttermost have received to the uttermost. They know by blissful experience today that Christ can save thoroughly and all the time, that His blood cleanses from all sin, and that He is a complete Saviour.
I want to draw some reflections for our comfort and joy about this blessed, magnificent Christ. If He is an uttermost Saviour then
1. HE IS ABLE TO SAVE THE WORST OF SINNERS.
If He could not, then words mean nothing, and the Scripture itself is not true. If He could not how sorry we would all be for such a man, what sorrowful expressions would fall from our lips over a sinner that was too far gone for Jesus to save. It seems to me that multiplied thousands would visit him and look upon him in deepest commiseration. Here is the man, they would say, that Christ cannot save.
If Christ could not save him, then is He robbed of His wondrous glory as a perfect and Almighty Saviour. It is to His glory that He can and does save the vilest and foulest. This directs attention to Him today and inspires hope in the most abandoned.
Let any one of you who listen to me ask how a physician gets a national reputation and honor? It is not by curing a case of measles or whooping cough. It was his restoration of a man whom all other doctors despaired of, or by some skillful surgical operation, so that the medical magazines took the matter up and the man became famous.
It is not the winning of a few petty cases in some small county court that obtains national fame for the lawyer, but his skillful and successful management of some great case in chancery, or his wonderful speech in behalf of a criminal, that saved the man’s life, when the whole country and bar had considered the case hopeless. So it is that the saving of the worst men brings peculiar honor and glory to the Son of God. Hence He went among the abandoned while on earth, casting out devils from men, converting public defrauders, redeeming fallen women and saving a thief in the very moment of death. The reproach urged against Him that He dined with publicans and sinners, was really to His glory, for as he said, the whole have no need of a physician, and He had come to we that which was lost.
John B. Gough was a great Temperance Lecturer, but he mixed an abundance of gospel with his addresses, and so many sinners were saved under his labors. A lady one day handed him a white handkerchief smoothly ironed, saying with happy smiles: “Mr. Gough, when you came to our town, this handkerchief was wringing wet with tears wept into it over a drunken husband. Under your words he has become a saved man, the handkerchief is dry, and I bring it to you as a souvenir or remembrance of your meeting and the great joy that has come to me.”
I thought when I read the incident that the devil is in the business of making handkerchiefs wet with the sorrows that sin brings. Oh, the tears that are being shed today in secret by those who have sinned or have been sinned against! One could wring water out of these handkerchiefs! But thank God Jesus is in the business of drying handkerchiefs, and He is doing so, and will continue to do so by His saving and comforting power until all tears shall be wiped away and every handkerchief wet with these weeping eyes of ours shall be made dry by the warm beams of the Sun of Righteousness and smooth by the pressure of His tender consoling hand.
2. HE IS ABLE TO SAVE THE MOST HOPELESS OF BACKSLIDERS.
Here is another form of sin and condition of misery. It is a peculiar case, and cannot be dealt with as the sinner. The man is in despair over the fact that he has sinned against light, knowledge and grace. He knew better, had the Saviour with him, enjoyed communion with heaven, and yet threw all away for the beggarly elements of this world. He sees hope for the transgressor, but sees no light for himself. He is fond of quoting what was said about Esau, that he sought the recovery of his forfeited blessings bitterly with tears, but in vain. He refers you in his misery to the words of Paul that if a man sin willfully after receiving the truth that there is no more sacrifice for sins. In a word, backsliders as a rule go on in despair.
The question is can Christ save them. He who went down into the well for the ox that had fallen in, will He not seek the sheep gone astray on the mountains. He who pulled us out of the pit, has He no shepherd’s crook, no lasso of grace that He could throw about one and draw him back should he go astray? If He cannot, then there is one kind of sin that Christ has made no provision for, and He is not the uttermost Saviour that the world wanted and looked for.
But I rejoice that the Saviour can recover the backslider. Strange to say that it is not by threats and abuse. I once thought that the proper method was to excoriate and blister all such individuals. The Bible teaches differently; Christ’s method is the opposite.
One way is by tender messages. Tell the backslider that “I am married to him.” Let the hearer remember that God does not believe in divorces. Married to the soul through grace He wants no separation. Again He says, “Return and I will heal all your backslidings.” This shows that the man left God, and God did not leave the man. Still again this tenderness of spirit is shown in Christ’s announcement through Mary of His resurrection to the disciple who had denied Him, “Tell my disciples and Peter that I have risen from the dead.” I have thought how those two words must have thrilled the heart of Simon; and how he asked Mary are you sure that He said “and Peter?” Yes, she replied these were His very words, “Tell my disciples and Peter.” From that moment the man hoped, and so became ready for the interview and restoration on the banks of Lake Galilee.
Another way of reaching them is by the power of beautiful and sacred memories.
This is the secret of the backsliders unhappiness; he remembers the day when God’s candle shined on his head and the secret of the Lord was in his tabernacle. The hymn that all of us are familiar with expresses the burden of his soul:
“What peaceful hours I once enjoyed, How sweet their mem’ry still.”
Christ calculates on this very misery to draw the man back to Him. He knows that remembering the beautiful past, the hours of grace, he can never feel peace again until he returns. And I thank God many do return.
A third spiritual power in the recovery is seen in the fact that Christ once having occupied the heart no one else can fill His place. Somehow the walls of the life have been pushed out, and the ceiling lifted up by that coming in of the Saviour. Little things of earth once filled the heart, and the man in a measure was contented; but after Jesus came in and broadened and uplifted, nothing else and no one else can ever fill it again. It is vain for them to try. It is folly and disappointment to have them try.
When I was in Scotland some years ago, I saw a number of tourists sitting down one after another in the chair of Walter Scott where he wrote those wonderful brain creations that won for him the title of the Wizard of the North. The spectacle to me was not without its absurdity as I saw ordinary people sitting where that extraordinary man sat. The contrast was tremendous. They could not fill the seat in the true sense. So the heart once filled by Jesus and now vacated is to be pitied. Many are the persons and things a man introduces in order to get the joy and rest of former years. It is a hopeless endeavor; no one, and nothing can fill the place once occupied by the Son of God.
Christ knows this, and as His Spirit steadily though slowly is able to reveal this to the disconsolate man, the end can easily be conjectured. Sooner or later the heart melts, the feet turn, the voice cries Forgive, and lo! the healing comes, and the backslider is home again from his wanderings.
3. HE IS ABLE TO SAVE FROM THE CONSEQUENCES OF SIN.
Here is still another aspect of the redeeming grace of Christ. He can forgive and restore, but what about the effect of these forgiven sins and wanderings on the character and life. Can a soul ever be the same what it might have been, had not these transgressions taken place?
In reply I would say that if Christ cannot meet the felt need at this point with His remedying blood and grace, then He is not the perfect Redeemer the world wanted. Here would be a time where He would come short and fail, and that, too, in a most important place.
Some take a gloomy view here and regard spiritual lapses as fatal wounds from which the individual cannot entirely recover in soul integrity and moral health and power. It is needless to say that these people have not seen the real Christ, or anyhow, all that is in the Saviour.
A preacher of my acquaintance was addressing a congregation that I had left in a revival blaze, and told them that while he doubted not that they had been forgiven and sanctified, yet they were not to forget that the effect of their past iniquities was in them now and would remain. That part he insisted could not be remedied. To strengthen his position he related a time–worn incident of a sinful boy whose father in order to convict him requested him to drive a nail in a six foot plank every time he disobeyed him. The boy did so, and one day after several months’ lapse of time, with his eyes full of tears he brought the board to his father full of nails, each one of which represented a wrong act. The sight really did convict him, and he said: “Father I had no idea that I was such a wicked son; and I want to do better.” The father told him he was glad to hear him speak thus, and suggested that every time he did right, to draw out a nail. Again the boy obeyed, and the day came when with a radiant face he brought the plank with every nail gone. The father expressed himself pleased, but with a grave face said, “My son, you have drawn the nails, but look at the nail-holes.” So applied the preacher: God forgives our sins, but the effect of these sins on our souls and characters remains; the nails are gone, but the nail-holes are left.
In reply I wrote to the brother who informed me of the episode, and told him that the illustration while striking was poor theology and worse Scripture. That as an illustration it failed anyhow, for I knew a number of carpenters who could plane that plank smooth, fill up the nail-holes with cement and paint it so that you would never know a nail had been in it. And above all I knew of a Carpenter who once lived in Nazareth who could plane the soul smooth, fill up the cavities in our spiritual nature made by sin with the cement of His grace, and so paint us with the crimson of Calvary, that one meeting us in heaven would never know that we had sinned; that it is out of just such weather-boarding He is building the mansions of glory in the New Jerusalem.
Not long after this on glancing at a religious paper published in a Home for Fallen Girls I saw a poem on the first page entitled:
“The bird with a broken pinion Never soars as high again.”
Each verse ended with these lines immediately I sat down and wrote to the lady manager of the Home that I marveled at her publishing such a soul paralyzing poem; that having lifted the girls out of the depths, she immediately struck out of them the hope of soaring and reaching spiritual heights by this piece of versified falsehood; that as a Mother Goose jingle it was a success, but as an expression of good theology and true gospel it was a decided failure.
In the first place we are not birds to begin with and have no wings to break. In the second place I believe that if both wings of a bird were shot off, He who made the bird could touch its mangled pinions and make if need be, new wings and even stronger to beat the air and lift the flyer above the world. In the third place the application of this melodious jingle to sinful men and women is utterly contradicted in the Bible and life. Truly Mary Magdalene had her pinions broken and she was bleeding on the ground where the archer of hell had shot her. But some One greater than Satan bent over her touched her, and she flew with the message of the Resurrection to the heartsick disciples. She flew higher than she had ever flown before.
John Newton was a fearful character. All the means of grace had failed to touch him, and so God brewed a special storm at sea to awe his haughty spirit. the clouds and waves knotted themselves together, the thunders crashed in platoons, the lightnings poured down in electric cataracts–the scene was one of horror, and the heart of the bold bad man trembled and sank before the Omnipotent God who was flinging His wrath abroad. Falling on his face on the deck of the ship he called for mercy, and God forgave him then and there. Later on in England, he was sanctified and preached with the courage of Paul and wrote hymns with the sweetness of John. Look into the Methodist Hymn Book and when you read a hymn especially beautiful, tender and pure you will find John Newton’s name at the top. I recall a couple of stanzas of one of them:
“I saw One hanging on a tree In agonies and blood, Who fixed His dying eyes on me As near His cross I stood.
Sure never ’till my latest breath Can I forget that look; It seemed to charge me with His death Tho’ not a word He spoke.”
As you feel the heart melt and eyes fill under these tender and solemn lines do you think that John Newton, whose pinions had been broken by the shots of Satan, was soaring as high again?
Hallelujah! Our Christ is able to save unto the uttermost. He can undo the works of the devil. He found our hearts black, and made them whiter than the snow. He lifted us up from the pit, and will yet place us above the stars. Hallelujah! Glory! Bless the Lord! Amen!
4. HE IS ABLE TO SAVE US FROM SINNING.
This is one of the plainest promises and statements of Divine grace we have in the Bible. Nearly every prophet spoke of it as a great coming blessing or deliverance in the last days. Ezekiel, Isaiah, Malachi and Daniel all wrote about it. The angel said to Mary that His name shall be called Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins. John the Baptist and St. Paul alike preached about it, while Jesus Himself dwelt upon it. The great need of men, and the great promise of God is deliverance from sin. And when we remember that all our trouble comes from sin, what a mockery and disappointment that plan of salvation would be which did not or could not cleanse us and keep us clean from all iniquity.
But I rejoice that Christ is just such an uttermost Saviour. He can undo what Satan has done, and for this purpose was manifested in the world that He might destroy the works of the devil. This accounts for the glad note of promise in the Old Testament, and the hallelujah of fulfillment in the New. Christ can and does save from all sin.
But how does He do it? Men seem to know how we are made sinful, but how is it that we are kept from sinning?
There is a way of explaining it. There is a philosophy in full salvation. A true hearted inquiry will be rewarded by seeing that redemption from sin rests on common sense principles although it is a heavenly revelation.
One explanation is that Christ by a second work of grace takes out of us the proneness to wander or bent to sinning. While regeneration gives us power not to sin, the strange inward inclination is left that asserts itself at different times with more or less power. This tendency arises from the presence of inbred sin, that unpardonable and unrenewable nature or principle left in the soul after conversion. It is this sad inheritance, this carnal mind which is not subject to the law of God neither indeed can be, that accounts for the wandering propensities of the child of God. It is this very bias or principle that Christ removes or destroys with the Baptism of the Holy Ghost and of fire. The soul thus blessed rejoices in the deliverance from a proneness to wander. The man does not sin, because the inclination is gone. He is still a free moral agent and is in the peril that encompasses every creature on moral probation from Adam and the angels down; but still the old leaning in forbidden directions is gone. He does not sin because he does not want to sin. We hear many attribute the dark fault of transgression to this rebellious movement within; but suppose this drift or tendency is gone, then why should one sin?
A second feature in the deliverance is that the Saviour so fills the soul with the Holy Ghost that there is no room for Satan and sin.
Many overlook the weight of this truth. That it is full of force, the slightest thought will show. If a vessel is filled with one substance how can there be room for another? If a cup be filled with melted gold, what room is there even for air. So fill the soul of the believer with the Holy Ghost and there is no place for the adversary and his works. This is why the command in the Scripture is so urgent that we be “filled with the Spirit.” This is why Christ bade the disciples tarry in Jerusalem until they should be filled with the Holy Ghost.
I have noticed that the best way to get a rat out of his hole in the ground is to fill it with water. Immediately he comes forth, and tarries not on the order of going. As long as that rat-hole is kept filled with water, its former occupant does not return. He may visit it and look at it, but does not enter. If the earth is allowed to soak up the water, then he returns, but never while it is kept filled with that element with which according to his constitution he cannot adjust his breathing apparatus and general organism.
So the best way to utterly cast out Satan and sin is to be filled with the Holy Ghost. The devil cannot live in the soul replete with holy fire. Isaiah long ago cried out: “Who can dwell with devouring fire?” and answers in the next breath–“He that walketh righteously and speaketh uprightly.” Heaven overflowing with the splendor and majesty of the holy God would be torture to Lucifer; and a soul fired, glowing and filled with the Holy Ghost cannot be dwelt in by the adversary. It is not only suffering to him, but its own divine preoccupancy and heaven fullness casts him out. As long as that soul remains in this state, Satan cannot enter. He may hang around in the neighborhood and plot its overthrow, but he cannot come in. His only hope is to be found in earth soakage or the leakage of grace that is beheld in some lives. Then it is that the old gray rat of hell returns to his former quarters.
Some profess to be amazed how such a thing can be; how a sanctified soul can ever fall into sin or receive the devil again. All this is answered by the words of Christ who tells of a man who had a field of wheat (not tares), and while he slept his adversary came and sowed tares. He also spoke of a man from whom evil spirits had been cast, but by some lack of faithfulness upon the part of the individual whose soul had been swept and garnished, Satan with other evil spirits came and took possession of him again.
Our privilege and duty is to keep filled with the Spirit. This is our best defense. Satan cannot enter a soul that is always full of the Holy Ghost.
A third feature of the deliverance from sin is seen in the power of a manifestation of Christ to the soul of the believer.
Many have utterly overlooked this promise and privilege, and the wondrous moral effect it exercises upon the life. And yet here it is in John XIV., 18-23, in which Christ tells His disciples that it is a coming and manifestation of Himself to believers. To the man who keeps his commandments and loves him, He says: “I will manifest myself to him.” Pardon is a manifestation of mercy to a sinner, but here is a disclosure of grace to followers. Here is an unveiling of Christ Himself to the believer in such transporting glory that the man ever after feels weaned from earth, joined to heaven, established, satisfied and running over with a bubbling joy. He is settled by a vision, knowledge and possession of Christ never enjoyed before.
Who wonders that so many converts are found straying from the fold into forbidden fields who have not had this entrancing view of the Divine Shepherd? Who marvels at the wandering affections of God’s people who have not yet beheld Christ as the Bridegroom of the soul. It is that vision, that showing Himself to the believer, that manifestation of His personal beauty and ineffable holy charms that the soul fairly intoxicated with love of the personal Christ wants nothing better, and desires no one else. Now for the first time the real depth of certain Bible expressions are understood, and the heart fairly revels in them. Now indeed, “He is the chief among ten thousand–the one altogether lovely.”
The difficulty of securing the attention and inspiring the love of a man or woman whose heart is filled with the image, and whose pulses thrill at the name of another, is readily acceded. So Christ can stamp His picture in our hearts, fill our souls with ecstasy at His touch and voice, and cause us to be contented under the loss of all things, so long as we have Him. This is the type of religious experience that is to save the Church from backsliding, and the life that is to capture the world for God.
The Song of Solomon contains the thought I am advancing now. For a long time I failed to see the meaning and realize the force of this small book of the Old Testament. I used to wonder why it was in the Bible at all, and thought it would be better for it not to be there. I thought it was gross, when today I see there is not a more profoundly spiritual book in the volume of sacred writ. The very manifestation and experience I speak of, glows and burns in the song of the wise man. The bridegroom is seen to be with the bride, but she is not all that she should be, and falls asleep, and awakes to and him whom she loved gone. He placed, however, his hand on the lock of the door, and left enough perfume by his touch to inflame her soul for his presence if she needed that in addition to arouse her. She might well reason that if his fingers drop sweetness, then how much more of that fragrance is in himself. So she starts out to find him, and it proves a difficult search. There are ridiculers and opposers. She asks the daughters of Jerusalem, but they have not seen him. She approaches the watchman of Zion with the query “Saw ye him whom my soul loveth?” In reply they answered with stones, and wounded her. But she was not to be diverted from her purpose, and so still seeking, at last the discovery is made and reunion is seen. All this is told in a delightful chronological confusion, as would be natural in the language of love, and as is also notably seen in the repetitions or going over again of facts in oriental narratives. It would be hard to draw a picture of more perfect delight, contentment and restful love, than in the words of the bride after the has found her love. “He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love. Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples; for I am sick of love. His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me.” The great truth that right here appeals to the reader is, that with such a love and such gladdening presence, how vain it would be to try to w in this happy, contented heart away. She is satisfied.
It was quite a while before I saw in my Bible studies that there is a twofold seeking spoken of; one in which Christ seeks the soul of the lost, and the other a seeking by the believer of Christ Himself. He first finds us, and now after that, we are to find Him in the deep, delightful sense we have been speaking. The Scripture tells in a sentence concerning that latter search, that “In the day ye seek me with all your heart, ye shall find Me.”
In the Song of Solomon is the portrayal how it all happened. When Christ found you, you possessed a delightful experience and great joy for a while. That there would be withdrawings of His presence you did not dream. But the melancholy experience came. Perhaps you slept and let Him slip away. Perhaps He had to leave you to make you ask the question, why does He leave me? This anxious interrogation would bring out the fact of inbred sin. Jesus cannot and will not abide in the soul with carnality or the old man.
Regeneration is made up of delightful visits of the Son of God, but the abiding of his glorious presence and personality is the result of a second work of grace, called sanctification, in which inbred sin is burned out by the baptism of the Holy Ghost. As the believer discovers these momentous facts of the spiritual life, he begins to seek now after Christ himself. It is not a blessing so much he wants as the Blesser. He wants Jesus enthroned, and always abiding in the soul. As soon as the object of his search is discovered, hell opposes him. Ridicule and resistance also meet him in quarters where one would hardly expect such things. The daughters of Jerusalem are asked if they have seen Him, but as they all belong to the Ladies’ Aid Society, with its bustling activity that transforms God’s Church into part kitchen and part theater, they can give the inquirer no help. Then the watchmen of Zion are interrogated, and they answer with stones. One seeking is enough for them. Christ sought them and found them; they want nothing more and nothing better. They got it all in conversion, there is nothing more, is their discouraging statement. Somehow the difference between Christ finding them, and their finding Christ, does not seem to strike them. But great is the difference. Happy is the man or woman who will not be stoned into silence and spiritual inactivity. Blessed the soul that presses on with wounds and bruises of spirit, toward Him who left enough frankincense on the door lock of a single experience to make the heart pant after the whole Christ. If the fingers are so fragrant, what of Him? If for an hour he was so precious, what must it be to have him in the soul all the time? So on you go, nothing daunted by looks, smiles and blows, until at last, hallelujah to God! you find Him. Was it on a mountain of myrrh you discovered Him? Surely nature itself was like a bed of roses that day, and hillocks swelled into lordly mountains covered with cinnamon groves, and heaven was in full view, whether we looked through sunset bars, or watched a curtain of gold roll up in the eastern sky. The soul is taken now to a banqueting house. It is hungry no more. Flagons of wine and rosy apples, standing for sweetness and exhilaration, make heavenly food. The banner of love is over you. It is no concealed blessing; the standard is lifted for all to see; it is the pennon of holy, heavenly love. Nor is this all–He is there whom the soul loveth and hath found for itself. Sweet, delicious, trembling, blessed discovery. “His left hand is under my head–his right hand doth embrace me.” What a picture of content. It is God’s own sketch of the complete satisfaction of the soul, when Christ becomes all, and in all. It is an Old Testament photograph of perfect love.
“I am sick of love,” said the happy finder of the bridegroom. Not disagreeably sick, and not sick of love in a sense made by the drifting meaning of the preposition; but sick with love, as fever runs along the veins and crimsons the face; so this perfect love strikes in, goes through, shines in the eyes, rings in the tremulous voice, and asks no higher privilege than always to be thus in the arms of Christ.
With such a love, such an upwelling joy, such deep inward content and satisfaction in Him, the difficulty of enticing the soul away into sin becomes more apparent. The establishment in righteousness is seen by the power of a glorious heartfilling manifestation of the grace and glory of the Son of God to the soul.
A fourth explanation of deliverance from sin, is seen in the power over Satan by an indwelling Christ.
I have noticed that our highway tramps are very bold in their demands for food, when they see no man about the house, but only a frightened woman answers the knock. How insolently he orders, rather than begs for food. He wants hot coffee and bread. But what if right in the midst of this blustering he hears a heavy step in the hall, and catches sight of a man’s hat? Lo, he is gone. Satan is the old tramp of eternity, and can tell at a glance whether Christ is a visitor or indweller with our souls. His boldest demands are made when he sees unmistakable signs that Christ is not in the house. These are the days when regenerated people say and do so many questionable things. All discouraged they spread the table, in answer to the evil one. Christ is not sensibly with them that day, and the Devil knows it. Oh for the grace that makes the Saviour a constant abider in the soul! He is the strength of the house; and when the adversary sees the thorn-crowned face looking out of the window of the soul at him, he can only stand it a little while, and away he goes.
A fifth explanation of the deliverance is seen in the perpetual intercession for us, on the part of Christ. Hear what the text says: “He is able to save them to the uttermost–seeing that He ever liveth to make intercession for them.”
A man once sent me word that my preaching the doctrine of living without sin, destroyed the advocacy of Christ, for the Bible said, “If any man sin we have an advocate with the Father.” Now then, he argued, if we live without sin, what need of Christ? The message amazed me to see that the man utterly failed to realize that the advocacy of Christ does not exist that we might sin, but to save us from sin; and furthermore, to keep us from sin. Let every one listen to the whole verse again, from which the text is taken: “He is able also to save them to the uttermost, that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Here it is plainly stated that Christ makes constant prayer and advocates our cause continually, in order to save us to the uttermost, or keep us from all sin.
Thank God for this tireless advocate of the skies; thank God for the perpetual intercession of Jesus Christ before the throne of the Father in our behalf. Where would we have been today but for these prayers? What sins we have been diverted from, and what falls prevented in our lives by that loving, unwearied pleader in heaven.
5. HE IS ABLE T0 KEEP US SAVED ALL THE TIME.
If Christ could not do this he would not be an uttermost Saviour, nor the Saviour that men need and desire. We want not an occasional deliverance, not a spasmodic purity and piety, but an everlasting salvation, even in this world.
If you will notice the marginal reading in the King James version, you will see that the word “uttermost” is translated “evermore.” He is able to save evermore. This is a beautiful and blessed salvation. Think of it, always saved.
You and I know of people who are saved Sunday, but not Monday. God send us the evermore salvation We have seen persons who were religious when in pious company and spiritual surroundings, but the instant they were thrown in worldly circles they would fall into the spirit, conversation, and conduct of the new company. They were like spiritual chameleons. There are Christians who keep God’s commandments in America, but break them in England. There they go sightseeing on the Sabbath, and otherwise violate the sanctity of the day, as if the Atlantic ocean had washed away their obligations to God.
I want a salvation that saves us on both sides of the Atlantic, in all kinds of company, in each hour of the day, in every day of the year, through every season that rolls, and in every changing circumstance of life, world without end. This is what Christ came to do, and does do in many lives. This is why He is called the uttermost Saviour; He can save evermore.
I once read of a devout man, but who was a stranger to sanctification, that when he felt a growing excitement in conversation, would withdraw to an opposite corner of the room, and then utter a whispered prayer, “Lord, calm the spirit of thy servant.” I thought then that this was a remarkable indication of piety, but I have since seen that the man, good as he was, did not know Christ as the uttermost Saviour. Why need I walk to another corner of a room to get Christ to cleanse, keep, restore, or calm me? If He is the Saviour the Bible speaks of, He can save and keep in every corner of every room, of every house, in every land, both now and forevermore. Not only at Jerusalem and Mt. Gerizim is Jesus to be found and His presence realized, but here, there, anywhere, everywhere, and at all times the precious blood cleanses, and the mighty Saviour keeps.
Long before I received this blessing, I became acquainted with an elderly lady who enjoyed this grace. Her money was swept from her, her husband was thriftless, her children trifling, her health failed, and trouble after trouble beat upon her; yet through it all I marked a serenity of spirit that none of these things disturbed. She never fretted or murmured, but through all her sorrows, and sicknesses, and reverses, bore a sweet, patient, loving smile upon her face that did far more than argumentative sermons and logical books, to prove there was such an experience as entire sanctification. She possessed the uttermost Saviour, and enjoyed the evermore salvation.
6. HE IS ABLE TO SAVE EVERYBODY.
I love to think of the almightiness of Christ. That He is not only a personal Saviour but a worldwide Redeemer. He must be this to be the uttermost Saviour.
Suppose there were classes and nations He could not reach. That depths of moral turpitude embarrassed, and numbers staggered Him. Then would Heaven have sent a deliverer to earth who did not deserve the name. He would not be as mighty as sin, and could not undo with grace the far reaching works of evil. Some men then would have to be lost on account of the weakness of salvation, and some tribes and nations would have to perish, because the salvation of our God could not compass all.
Who believes this? Every heart before me cries out Christ could save all men, and now, if they would let Him.
He certainly did enough to beget faith in us concerning His power. When He healed ten lepers in a single second of an incurable disease, that was to show you what He could do. When He made ten thousand devils come pouring like a black Niagara out of the man, that was to show us He could cast all devils out of all men, if men would allow Him. When He sanctified one hundred and twenty souls in a moment with a flash of holy fire from heaven, and when in the next hour He saved the souls of three thousand men, and next day five thousand, that was to let us know that He could at this moment regenerate and sanctify every human being on this round world who would look up, call on Him, and believe and receive.
Right now, while I speak, Christ is saving souls in ten thousand different towns and cities over our land. Nor is that all. He is saving in other countries and nations as well. Salvation is descending upon the soldier in the army, the sailor on the sea, the farmer in the furrow, the toiler in the mine, the invalid in the sick chamber, the condemned man in the prison. He is omnipresent with the human race as the atmosphere, and would rush as the breath of life into every dying soul, as air into the respiratory lung, if men would receive Him.
He that is such a being, and is doing such a work, could easily save the entire world the next moment, if this world would call upon Him. So far from such an universal waiting upon Him, staggering and overwhelming Him, it is just what He wants. Nothing would please Him better. Long ago He has given the challenge or invitation, “Look unto me, all ye ends of the earth, and be ye saved.” Happy would it be for the world if it would cast this upward look! A shock of divine glory would make this old earth tremble like that house in Jerusalem shook when the Holy Ghost filled the disciples. Devils would fly like night birds from the blaze of Gospel day, and wear crepe for a thousand years, while dog fennel grew rank over every road and path to hell. The millennium would sweep like a belt of light and fire around the globe, and angels swinging low in the heavens would sing their glad songs over every field and town of the happy, restored planet, not this time about the advent of the Redeemer, but over the perfect , worldwide victory of the Son of God.
Thus far in the history and progress of redemption we have seen the love, grace, wisdom, goodness, and mercy of Christ, but only small measures of his power. “The thunder of His power,” is to be beheld in the coming ages of the world. Just now only individuals, and small groups of repenting and believing souls, will allow him to work in them. But the day is drawing near when, under the proclamation of the Gospel, men will hear what Christ is able and willing to do; faith will spring up, glory will come down, communities and cities will be swept into salvation, as thousand acre fields are engulfed by the rushing Mississippi, and kingdoms and nations will be born unto God in a day. The mouth of the Lord has spoken it.
O the omnipotent forces locked up in Christ today through the unbelief of men! He can do no mighty works, because of unbelief. But faith in Him unties His hands, raises the floodgates, brings down rushing cataracts of salvation, and unlooses from the skies heavenly storms that will blow the foulness of sin away, and leave the atmosphere of heart, home, and the world, pure, sweet, and fresh with the life, love, and glory of heaven.
In Him is all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him. And all that come; thank God for the Bible proclamation that all can come. He is able to save, not simply a few, or a larger number, but all that come.
But the condition is that we must come to Him. He that stays away from Christ is lost both now and forever. He that comes to Jesus, whether for pardon or holiness, will be met, welcomed, embraced, loved, blessed, and saved to the uttermost. Oh that every hungry, weary, lonely, sin-sick soul would come to Jesus now. He says: “Him that cometh unto Me, I will in no wise cast out.”