The Only Remedy For Sin
Psalm 103:12 — “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”
Two facts in the text do not require any effort to prove: Man is a sinner, and salvation has been provided. But our text teaches that sin sticks, stays by you. You can move from the North to the South; you can move from the East to the West. You may go to distant lands, but your sin goes along with you. You may change your name; you may surround yourself with other circumstances; you may move away thousands of miles from where you have sinned, and yet your sin remains with you. You may reform; you may turn over a new leaf; you may begin to lead what you call a different life, and still your record is exactly the same. You may be haunted by your conscience, you may be convicted by the Holy Spirit; you may drink that which for awhile may bring you forgetfulness: but when you awake from your drunk, awake from your stupor, you will find that your sin will remain with you. The world provides no way for the removal of sin. Sin stays by a man, sin sticks close to a man, sin stays in his memory.
Just a few years ago, in one of our States, we had a man who was the Quartermaster, and who had charge of the clothing of the militia. He robbed the State of something like twenty thousand dollars. It was discovered, and he left the State and went to New Orleans. He took passage on a boat that was going to South Africa with a load of mules for the British army during the war with the Boers, but that man carried his sin with him. Everywhere he went he could say with the Psalmist, “My sin is ever before me.” There he was, away from friends, away from the American authorities; no one knew, but he was having a perfect hell of it because he carried with him the consciousness of his sins. He took passage on a boat, came back to the State where he had committed sin, gave himself up, and he said, “I only had peace when I determined to return and give myself up, and take the penalty of violated law.”
Twelve years ago, in the State of Michigan, a woman was found murdered. They arrested a man, convicted him on circumstantial evidence, and for twelve years he has been in the State Penitentiary. But listen! he was an innocent man. Within the last three months a man went out to the grave where the murdered woman lies buried, stood over her grave, took out a revolver, pulled the trigger, blew out his brains, and sent himself into eternity. When that man killed himself above the grave of that woman he confessed himself the murderer. Why did he kill himself? Why did he go to the grave of his victim? He wanted to make some kind of reparation. Five years had gone by, ten years had gone by, twelve years had gone by, but sin sticks. Sin stays in the conscience, stays in the memory; sin stays on the record of Almighty God; and the memory of that man’s sin drove him to suicide; and Daniel Webster, one of the greatest legal minds America ever knew, once said, “suicide is confession.”
Some time ago in Michigan, a man had insured his barn for a large amount and he wanted money. In the dead hour of the night he set fire to it and it burned to the ground. He collected the insurance, and no one suspected anything. But God knew, and he knew, and that was enough. In the course of time, there was a revival in that neighborhood, and this man went to the altar; and while he was trying to pray, God said, “How about that barn?” He confessed out, went to the insurance company, paid back what lie had received, and God forgave him. But get the truth: confession did not save him; restitution did not save him; these things do not wash away sin; it takes the blood to do that, the shed blood of the Christ of Calvary.
Here is a woman down at the altar. She is screaming and crying to God for mercy. Oh, how she pleads; how she begs! What is the matter? Years ago, way back there, she had sinned. Her husband was a home man, and she was a wife that wanted the theater, the moving picture show, and she went with another man. It was years ago, but the sin sticks. She pleads, oh, so earnestly, and gets nowhere. At the close of the meeting she came to this preacher and asked what she should do. She had sinned; must she tell her husband? I did not say so; I just said, “Mind God.” The next night she came to the altar and prayed through. She had minded God, and was at peace.
Wait a moment. I want you to see that sin sticks, stays with you. Here is a child, a beautiful child. Her hair is curly, and the mother winds it about her finger while the husband, admiring it, looks on. The father takes the little girl on his knees, hugs her, kisses her, and calls her “his own darling child.” Watch the wife; she grows pale, as she looks at the husband. Five years roll along, then ten go by; and the father and husband delights himself in that daughter, growing more and more lovely every day. Every time the husband goes near that daughter, and caresses her, the wife goes from the room and draws her hand across her heart and cries, “O God! O God! shall I tell him, must I tell him?” The child grows to womanhood, and the woman carries her sin with her. She wants to get right with God, and so one day she takes him aside and says, “Husband, that child is not yours; you are not the father of that girl. O God, have mercy on me!” Sin sticks, curses, and will eventually damn the soul unless the sinner takes God’s way.
An official member of the church was walking along one day, and a member of the church came to him and said, “Here is five dollars on the pastor’s salary.” He put it in his pocket and kept it. He went along year after year, but was not right with God. Oh, how many backslidden church members and church officials there are! I just read that there are four million church members in one denomination, and the official paper of that church had a communication that said that not half of them gave anything to missions or church benevolences. The professed church today is the greatest hindrance to the advance of the cause of Christ. This man wanted to get right with God, but he had stolen money in his pocket. When will the church do as they did in the days of the Apostles — select men who are full of faith and the Holy Ghost — not take men because they are sociable, good mixers, or fine fellows? God said to this man, “Pay back that five dollars.” He made out a check, sent the interest along with it, and then God saved him. I was in a meeting some time ago, and a man, after hearing a sermon along this line, sat down and wrote a letter to a railroad official and said, “I rode on your line thirty years ago (sin sticks) and did not pay my fare. I enclose a check for the amount, and ask you to forgive me.” That man got an answer back from the company and also got a blessing from heaven that sent him shouting through the Church, and to his pastor. God never forgets the sin that is unconfessed.
Some time ago I went to a lawyer’s office, and there on his desk I saw a bottle containing ink eraser, and the directions were, “Take this fluid and apply it to the writing. Do not rub it; do not put a blotter on it — just apply it and leave it alone, and every vestige of ink will disappear.” Man has a chemical by which he can erase anything that he may write, but hell never invented nor discovered anything that will blot out sin from the Book of God’s remembrance; but thank God, in the laboratory of the skies it has been recorded, “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth from all sin.” Hallelujah! .
You cannot get rid of sin. You may destroy the books, but you cannot get rid of sin that way. God said to Jeremiah, “Get a stenographer. I am going to tell you what you shall dictate to him. Baruch comes at once with his note book, and Jeremiah with one ear toward the skies, looked to the stenographer, and began to say to him, “Write, Thus saith the Lord, Israel shall be destroyed. She shall be carried off into captivity. I will give her for a prey to the king of Babylon.” Baruch read it to the princes. They said, “Sit down and read it in our ears.” Then they said, “Tell us, how didst thou write all these words?” Baruch answered them, “He spake all these words unto me with his mouth, and I wrote them with ink in the book.” Then they said, “Do not say anything about it. Go and hide, and we will show them to the king.” Jehudi reads them to the king, and then takes a penknife and cuts the leaves and burns them; but you cannot get rid of the Word that way. The Word of God is an anvil that has worn out many a hammer, and will wear out all the hammers the modernists and the enemies of God’s Word, can use. God said to Jeremiah, “Take another book and write in it all the former words, that were in the first book which the king hath burned.” Jeremiah dictated the very same words from the Lord, and added thereunto many like words. Say, listen! When you reject God’s message, because it comes red-hot from the throne, God will give a hotter one. You cannot get rid of the Word of God by fire, or knife. You cannot destroy the message that God sends you.
Listen to the Psalmist, “Remember not the sins of my youth.” He is the sweet singer of Israel; he is Israel’s king; he is sitting on a throne; but back there are the sins of his boyhood days. Do you remember the sins of your youth? Do you remember the sins of your young manhood and young womanhood? Some of you folks shudder when you think of the sins you used to commit, and you ought to shudder. God Almighty has the record. As you have advanced in age, you have grown harder and harder. You have rejected Jesus Christ, and God Himself has the record. But hear it, — sin may be removed. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our sins — my sins — from me. Who said it? David. He knew what he was talking about, the man after God’s own heart. Hear David as he shouts it, “Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases.”
I see a man who has breathed out threatenings and slaughter; I see him bringing men and women bound to Jerusalem; I see him standing by while the first martyr is being stoned to death; but as this man, persecutor and murderer, is on his way to Damascus, he sees a great light, and falls from his horse and hears a voice saying, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” He asks God to have mercy on him, and afterwards he writes, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” Sin may be removed, but it takes God to do it. There is no church, nor minister, nor priest, who can remove sin. “As far as the East is from the West, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us.” We cannot do it.
The world by wisdom knew not God. Job found out two thousand years before Calvary that a man could not cleanse himself. He said, “If I wash myself with snow water and make my hands ever so clean; yet are they not clean.” The world by wisdom knew not God, but thank God, what the world could never find God made known to us. “God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Here is the man who pillowed his head on the bosom of Jesus; who walked with him in loving fellowship for three years; and I ask him, “John, I want you to tell us how much God loves us?” He dips his pen in ink and brings out his parchment and writes, “God So loved the world.” Hallelujah! Hallelujah! God So loved the world. Say, I want to measure the depth of the love of God? and I exhaust all the twine in all the rope factories of the world, and I begin to let it down, and down, and when I get to the end I call on God to give me more twine; and when I have exhausted all the resources of earth, I can never find the depths of the love of God. God So loved us!
Wait. How did He do it? A soldier was captured by the Sepoys. An officer came with two handcuffs and began to put them on the prisoners, wounded though they were. Here is a man dying, and they are going to put them on him. The soldier said, “Sir, you would not disgrace humanity by putting handcuffs on a dying man, would you?” He replied, “I must put them on some one. If I go back with any I will have to give an account of why I take them back. There are just enough to go around. What am I to do?” And the soldier said, “Put two pair on me,” and they did so. Jesus died in our stead. The law said, “Cut him down.” Jesus said, “Let Me die in his place. Let Me go to Calvary.” God so loved that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. He removes our sins, takes them all away. The Scripture idea is the separation of the sinner from his sins, not the remission of the penalty.
I see the High Priest as he stands before the multitude. The scapegoat is brought out to him. He puts his hands on the scapegoat and confesses the sins of Israel and then a proper man takes that goat and leads it away to a land of forgetfulness, and with it goes the sins of Israel. Today we put our hands by faith on Jesus Christ, and He bears our sins, and carries them all away — “as far as the East is from the West, so far hath He removed.” How far is the East from the West? I want you to follow Halley’s comet, moving at thirty-seven thousand miles an hour. Put a bit in its mouth and a saddle on its back, and start towards the East at thirty-seven thousand miles an hour, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year, ten years in a decade, ten decades in a century, and ten centuries in every millennium, and when you have ridden on your fiery steed millennium after millennium you are still going East. How about the West? If you should go at the speed of a flash of lightning for a million years, toward the West, after you have gone a million years at one hundred and eighty-six thousand miles a second, you would not have yet reached the West, and thank God, “as far as East is from the West, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” I am glad I have a mighty Savior, one who can deliver from sin, one who can remove all sin, and make us white as snow. I am glad that God is so much interested in every sinner. If you will meet the conditions, He will remove every sin. The devil has never once had the cheek to tell me that God did not save me many years ago; and I can point him to the very spot where I knew and felt my sins forgiven. He will wipe out every stain that sin has made. I believe in the power of Divine Grace to reach anybody who wants Bible salvation — that wants to find Bible salvation. God bless you, beloved, I want you to know that if you want to go with God there are some folks that are headed that way and who know that they know.
There is a woman I want to see when I get to heaven, and that is Mary Magdalene. I want to see the woman who was the last at the Cross and the first at the sepulchre, the woman to whom was given a commission to preach the risen Christ. I want to see the woman who loved Him so because she was much forgiven. A woman phoned me one day, asking, “Mr. Kulp, would you go and pray with a bad woman?” “Sure I would.” “Would you go and pray with a very bad woman?” “Yes, why not?” “Will you come and pray with the Madame of a sporting house who is dying?” ‘Certainly.” “How soon can you come?” I said, “Wait a moment.” I turned to my wife and I said, “Wife, there is a woman dying, the keeper of a bad house down on Jackson street. How soon can we go?” She said, “As soon as we eat dinner,” and the dinner was ready then. I said to the woman who called me, “I will be there right after dinner and it is all ready now.” After the meal we started off, wife and I, and when we got to the place, I tied my horse to the hitching post, helped my wife out of the buggy, and started towards the door of the place. Going, I passed a Doctor who knew me well and spoke to me. He saw where I was going, and my wife said that he turned his head to watch me. But when you have your wife along you can go everywhere, or anywhere that you ought to go. We went right up to the second floor. I knocked at the door, and a woman came. We went in, and I took a seat. They went to the dying Madame and said, “The preacher is here. Will you see him?” “Yes.” I went in, and prayed with her, and the heavens seemed as brass. I pointed her to Jesus. My wife said to her, “Sister, did you ever hear of Jesus?” “Oh, yes.” Yes, she had, and we left her with Him.
Hear it! I want you to get the thought born out of the great loving heart of God, that whosoever will, may. This Gospel will save the poor and will save the miserable rich, as well, for they need God and are less likely to find Him. The world today has a hold on the rich, as on no others. But I want you to know it, — He saves to the uttermost all them that will come.
“There is a fountain filled with blood,
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins,
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains.”
“Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”
I want to tell you that every one that is out of Christ needs this salvation. The rich and the poor, the moral and the immoral, the old and the young, all need Jesus, and they may have God by complying with conditions, and meeting God on His terms. How is it with you? Are your sins under the Blood? There is no such thing as a dead past. That is the figment of a disordered brain, whether it was the poet’s who sent it out or of the folks who preach it. Sin unrepented of will accompany you to the deathbed, and to the judgment, and will meet you there unless you are saved through the blood of Jesus. Do you want to know the truth of this text? Are you desirous of getting rid of the past? You may know that you are a child of God, that your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of life, and you may know that you know. How may you? Just let God have His way. Unconditional surrender and faith in God will bring victory. A soldier was dying in a hospital, and he was afraid to die. “Repent,” said the chaplain. “Oh, I do not know what to do.” “Surrender,” said the chaplain a gain, and the poor fellow, just a few hours from eternity, threw up both his hands and said, “Lord, I surrender unconditionally,” and God took him. I was talking, one time, or rather, I was letting Bishop Taylor do the talking, and he was telling of a man in Africa who was dying and they sent for him to come and pray with the dying black. But when he got there the man was dead. Bishop Taylor asked, “Men, what was he saying when he died?” And they told him that he was saying right along, “Oh, Mishwa, I am your man; take me, Mishwa, take me, I am your man.” And I’ll never forget the words of the Bishop, “If Jesus did not take him, He is not the man I think He is.” “As far as the East is from the West, so far will He remove our transgressions from us.” Thank God for the Book that tells us that He will save all them that call upon Him.