The Uttermost Salvation
“Wherefore also Christ is able to save to the uttermost them that draw near unto God through him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” — Heb. 7:25.This is a desperately wicked world. Every daily paper proves it, every police court, every lockup, jail and prison; every criminal Court record and all Criminal Statistics of every civilized or pagan land prove to a demonstration that this is an awfully wicked world. Men hate God’s law, His Bible, His character, and His service. They hate HIM, and would banish Him from the universe if they could.
Men hate each other. The beasts of the forest and the sharks of the deep do not treat their own kind as men treat their fellow men. With such sin abroad to be dealt with, we need an omnipotent Savior. Any other kind would only mock the needs and sorrows of a sin-sick world.
St. Paul did not know any word in the Greek language that would satisfactorily express his conception of the power of Jesus to save. So, as scholars sometimes do, he coined a phrase, “eis to panteles,” found only here and in Luke, which is Paul’s gospel. It means “able to save to completeness,” “completely, entirely, perfectly,” “clear to the end of every possible need of the soul.” And some scholars put the element of time in it, and add, “save from all the guilt, power and consequences of sin for ever.” Certainly men need, and for ever will need, such a Savior. I. — We need one who can save uttermost sinners.
If Jesus cannot do that, His glory is tarnished. He is not an almighty Savior. The devil can mock His claim to omnipotence and boast to the universe that he can get men into a pit of sin so deep that even the Son of God cannot get them out. What right-thinking, moral being can believe anything so dishonoring to the Lord of glory as that? It is almost blasphemy to even think of it.
(1) He can save infidels, and has saved hundreds of them. We have seen some of them who were rare trophies of grace. We knew one, Elijah P. Brown, who of all the infidels in the United States was chosen to deliver an address in honor of Tom Paine before a convention of infidels. When he was an editor of a paper in Cincinnati he would print all the names of God with a small letter to insult his Maker. He built a mansion, and filled the niches on his walls with the busts of famous infidels. The bust of Robert Ingersoll had the place of honor, and he pointed to it proudly as his “pastor.” He took a dreadful oath that no preacher should ever darken his door. Out of curiosity he went to hear Moody preach, and Was converted after the second sermon. He at once founded and published the Ram’s Horn, one of the most aggressive Christian papers. Jesus had conquered and saved the proud infidel.
(2) We have seen hundreds of drunkards saved, and thousands who have been saved, by this mighty Savior. The Lion of the tribe of Judah broke every chain of habit and brought eternal deliverance to their blighted natures.
(3) We have seen a hopelessly enslaved Cigarette fiend get saved and sanctified and become the president of a holiness college, when the doctors, before his conversion, had given him but ten months to live.
(4) We have seen a harlot come to the altar and confess all the sins in the catalogue of crimes, and then get saved and sanctified and so filled with the glory of heaven that she could hardly contain herself.
(5) We have seen men preaching the gospel who had worn stripes behind prison bars for the crime of murder. We are acquainted with an ex-pugilist who has fought sixty-three battles in the prize ring. Today he is an effective preacher of full salvation. We have concluded that our Jesus can save to the uttermost the uttermost sinners. II. — Jesus is able to save fashionable moral sinners.
Plenty of that class belong to the ranks of culture and fashion. Some of them are college-bred. They are proud and wealthy and worldly and wicked, and very much harder to reach than the roughs and down-and-outs in the city slums. People are loath to believe it, but every experienced Christian worker knows that it is literally true. We preached in Chicago jail to hundreds of prisoners when they were taking their exercise as fast as they could walk. Yet seven knelt on the stone platform and gave themselves to Christ and were saved. But we have offered the same glorious gospel from the same text to fashionable sinners, and they laughed Christ to scorn.
However, the Christ who saved Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathaea and Saul of Tarsus, still lives, and is saving moral sinners. III. — Jesus can save the most hopeless of backsliders.
Oh, the sad condition of those who once knew Jesus, and drank of the cup of His salvation, and then went back to the cup of demons; poor, heart-broken, despairing sinners, “having no hope and without God in the world.” But the Savior of David and Peter and the disciples who “forsook Him and fled,” is still restoring the backslidden and the lost. He sends His loving message to them: “I am married to the backslider.” “How can I give thee up?” “Return unto Jehovah thy God.” “I will heal their backslidings; I will love them freely, for mine anger is turned away.” Who will persistently resist such pleading, forgiving love? IV. — He can save to the uttermost from every kind O! sin. There are two kinds of sin, actual and indwelling sin.
(1) Actuals sins are our own voluntary acts of disobedience, for which we are directly and wholly responsible. We committed them of our. own free choice, deliberately and willfully. These can be, and must be, pardoned and blotted out by the grace of Christ.
(2) There is indwelling sin, depravity, the carnal mind. This was born with us and in us. We were not responsible for being born with it, and so cannot be pardoned for it. It must be cleansed out of us; and God has made provision in Christ for that cleansing. It was to that David referred when he prayed: “Cleanse me from my sin.” “Create in me a clean heart, O God: and renew a right spirit within me” (Psa. 51:2 and 10).
God promised through Isaiah: “I will thoroughly purge away thy dross and will take away all thy tin” (Isaiah 1:25). It was fulfilled to Isaiah himself in the sixth chapter when he was convicted for holiness and sought and obtained the blessing (Isa. 6:7).
What a mockery of salvation that would be which did not save the drunkard from the appetite for drink, nor the liar from lying, nor the thief from the passion for stealing nor the murderer from his hate and his desire to kill!
Jesus sends His Holy Spirit to burn out of our hearts the tendency to sin, and then fills us with Himself, so that there shall be no room for Satan or any of his belongings. “Preoccupied” is written upon every faculty of our being. V. — This uttermost Savior can save continually.
A Sunday salvation is not enough. We must have a salvation that will take us through the week. A revival salvation is not enough. We want a salvation that will hold us when there is no revival. A campmeeting blessing will not suffice. We need a blessing that will last when the tents are down and the sermons and songs and prayers are hushed.
A youth religion will not suffice. We need a Savior who can keep us in the fierce temptations of young manhood and amidst the cares of middle life, and make our gray hairs of old age a shining crown of eternal glory. A sunshine piety will not be enough. We want an experience that will abide when the stars are hidden and the night is on, and the hurricanes of grief and trouble are wrapping their convoluted blackness about us. A health and prosperity blessing is not sufficient. When the Sabeans and Chaldeans carry away your possessions, and a wind, death-laden, strikes the four corners of your dwelling, and those whom you have most loved turn against you, and the friends whom you have long trusted smite you with the tongue of slander, and sickness makes life a continuous agony of pain until you long for death which does not come — then, then you need the keeping grace that enabled Job to say, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. Blessed be the name of the Lord!” Yes, we need a salvation that saves in every place, in all kinds of company, in each hour of the day, in every day of the year, and in every changing circumstance of life, world without end. And Christ can give it; for He is an uttermost Savior. VI. — This Savior can save and sanctify everybody.
He is an almighty Christ, and no respecter of persons. He does not pick out easy cases upon which to exhibit His power to save. He takes people as they come, high or low, rich or poor, educated or ignorant, moral or vicious. He says to thieves, drunkards, murderers and harlots, “Look unto Me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.”
I heard Mrs. C. T. Boyce, an evangelist, say she had seen seventy-five thousand souls kneel at the mercy-seat seeking Christ. She testified: “I was converted, and when but a child had turned many to Christ. I was a preacher and a missionary’s wife, but until I was sanctified, I was one of the most disagreeable wives that ever lived. One day when I was not well my kind husband harnessed his horse to take me out driving to rest my tired nerves. But I resented it because he had not asked me first. Think how mean the devil and carnality can make a wife be! The Holy Spirit convicted me of it, I shut myself in my room, and prayed until God sanctified me.”
“In one of my campmeetings I met Harry J. Elliott. He was a Catholic for thirty-four years; a bar-tender, horse-racer, gambler. He forged notes . twice set his uncle’s hotel on fire. He was converted, and four months afterwards was sanctified. Christ took from him all appetite for liquor, tobacco, gambling and sin. When I met him he was preparing to be a missionary to Japan. Christ proves that He is an uttermost Savior by saving and sanctifying all that come unto God by Him.” WILL YOU COME?