OTHERS MAY BUT I CANNOT (An Interesting Read)

Others may do as they please, I must not do what my fallen nature suggests lest I be drowned – I must do as He pleases. Why should I call Him Lord, Lord and not do what He wants? Others may deceive to receive a blessing from man; my heart is fixed on receiving from God before whom all liars are cast away into eternal burning. Others may follow multitudes to do evil what is that to me?

If I must go to heaven my company has to be few for few there be that find the way of life. Though it’s not always easy to be in the minority, the same God who helped Noah to stand told me “His grace is sufficient for me”. The temptations are there, to eat like others, dress like others, live like others but these others who have no cross to bear are not a pattern for me. We cannot keep the same pace – I have a goal, which they know nothing about. Others may serve some other gods – some serve their flesh, some careers, some money, some faithfully serve women, some are loyal servants of men, some bow to the god of fashion. I cannot – my God is in Heaven, these gods are in this passing world. I am born to burn for God.

I neither will bend nor bow to any other god no matter how popular with others. Others may call the name of God in vain, call Jesus in such an insulting familiar way, my God is precious to me, and my Jesus is high enough to be worshipped. He is great enough to be Saviour. Others Page may work seven days in the week, to provide adequately for this life. I have to remember my Lord and Home on the Lord’s day. Others have no hope beyond this world and it is no wonder they need to do and have their best here, I have a hope beyond today, a home beyond the stars, a life in the great beyond. Eternal things are real enough for me to give a whole day out of seven. Others may lay up for themselves treasures in banks, they must prepare for rainy days. I cannot lay up here for where my treasure is, there,

Jesus told me my heart will be. If I am not wise, my heart will be locked up in a safe deposit box and would miss the coming glory. You may do as you please; I cannot serve God and mammon. Others may fret and worry over material things and excuse themselves for so doing. Others may kill themselves in their pursuit for a place or position in life. Others may destroy themselves by anxiety over riches and success in life. “Come, my soul, enter thou into my chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.” Yea, why all this madness over dust, dung and dross? Oh, when shall it be when the voice of God shall call me home? I am sick at seeing multitudes of believers remember money and material things more than they remember my glorified Christ. I will soon depart this Chaos to a place of rest. Others may have their hearts and heads on earth; my feet are on earth, my head is up, and my heart is in heaven, Lord, thou knowest. Others may; I must not, I will not, I cannot. Others may seek after all these things before ever thinking of seeking after God earnestly. They never find what they seek, their flesh is never satisfied with pleasure. But even if they found them, I must seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. If I must keep my vision of eternity, maintain God’s holy fire burning in my breast, retain His passion for souls and love for Him, I cannot seek or desire the world or any of the things in the world. Others of my colleagues sought after these things, now their hearts are dulled, their conscience seared, their eyes blinded by the god of this world, theirs, should teach me the lesson, I cannot seek or desire the world though others do.

Others may scoff at the sound doctrines of the Bible and allow little sins, but I cannot. The buildings that are demolished were not pulled down by elephants; they were destroyed by termites. Unless I am cleansed from evil thoughts, ill-temper, anger, envy, lust, jealousy, pride, laziness, and idleness, over-eating and backbiting, I won’t count myself as free from sin. Others may testify to being born-again and converted and still be conscious of all these in their lives. But what is that to me? I am called to follow Christ; looking on Him, I loose sight of all other examples. Jesus – my mirror, my pattern, my example. Others may be loved by their unbelieving relatives. I will not deny the faith to obtain favour of men. My Lord did not make a mistake when He told me: “a man’s foes shall be they of his own household”. Others may compromise and let down or lower the standard a little so as to save their lives from ridicule or persecution, I cannot. His word is ever too fresh in my heart: “Whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” When He said whosoever, He was solemnly warning me. “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you: for so did their fathers to the false prophets.” If I live, as my Lord desires, I will receive enough persecution, ridicule, reviling, false accusation, as to put a weight of glory on me up above. Others can laugh now while I walk along the way of the Cross. He that laughs last laughs best.

MUCH TIME SHOULD BE GIVEN TO PRAYER

“The great masters and teachers in Christian doctrine have always found in prayer their highest source of illumination. Not to go beyond the limits of the English Church, it is recorded of Bishop Andrews that he spent five hours daily on his knees. The greatest practical resolves that have enriched and beautified human life in Christian times have been arrived at in prayer.” – Canon Liddon

WHILE many private prayers, in the nature of things, must be short; while public prayers, as a rule, ought to be short and condensed; while there is ample room for and value put on ejaculatory prayer — yet in our private communions with God time is a feature essential to its value. Much time spent with God is the secret of all successful praying. Prayer which is felt as a mighty force is the mediate or immediate product of much time spent with God. Our short prayers owe their point and efficiency to the long ones that have preceded them. The short prevailing prayer cannot be prayed by one who has not prevailed with God in a mightier struggle of long continuance. Jacob’s victory of faith could not have been gained without that all-night wrestling. God’s acquaintance is not made by pop calls. God does not bestow his gifts on the casual or hasty comers and goers. Much with God alone is the secret of knowing him and of influence with him. He yields to the persistency of a faith that knows him. He bestows his richest gifts upon those who declare their desire for and appreciation of those gifts by the constancy as well as earnestness of their importunity. Christ, who in this as well as other things is our Example, spent many whole nights in prayer. His custom was to pray much. He had his habitual place to pray. Many long seasons of praying make up his history and character. Paul prayed day and night. It took time from very important interests for Daniel to pray three times a day. David’s morning, noon, and night praying were doubtless on many occasions very protracted. While we have no specific account of the time these Bible saints spent in prayer, yet the indications are that they consumed much time in prayer, and on some occasions long seasons of praying was their custom.

We would not have any think that the value of their prayers is to be measured by the clock, but our purpose is to impress on our minds the necessity of being much alone with God; and that if this feature has not been produced by our faith, then our faith is of a feeble and surface type.

The men who have most fully illustrated Christ in their character, and have most powerfully affected the world for him, have been men who spent so much time with God as to make it a notable feature of their lives. Charles Simeon devoted the hours from four till eight in the morning to God. Mr. Wesley spent two hours daily in prayer. He began at four in the morning. Of him, one who knew him well wrote: “He thought prayer to be more his business than anything else, and I have seen him come out of his closet with a serenity of face next to shining.” John Fletcher stained the walls of his room by the breath of his prayers. Sometimes he would pray all night; always, frequently, and with great earnestness. His whole life was a life of prayer. “I would not rise from my seat,” he said, “without lifting my heart to God.” His greeting to a friend was always: “Do I meet you praying?” Luther said: “If I fail to spend two hours in prayer each morning, the devil gets the victory through the day. I have so much business I cannot get on without spending three hours daily in prayer.” He had a motto: “He that has prayed well has studied well.”

Archbishop Leighton was so much alone with God that he seemed to be in a perpetual meditation. “Prayer and praise were his business and his pleasure,” says his biographer. Bishop Ken was so much with God that his soul was said to be God-enamored. He was with God before the clock struck three every morning. Bishop Asbury said: “I propose to rise at four o’clock as often as I can and spend two hours in prayer and meditation.” Samuel Rutherford, the fragrance of whose piety is still rich, rose at three in the morning to meet God in prayer. Joseph Alleine arose at four o’clock for his business of praying till eight. If he heard other tradesmen plying their business before he was up, he would exclaim: “O how this shames me! Doth not my Master deserve more than theirs?” He who has learned this trade well draws at will, on sight, and with acceptance of heaven’s unfailing bank.

One of the holiest and among the most gifted of Scotch preachers says: “I ought to spend the best hours in communion with God. It is my noblest and most fruitful employment, and is not to be thrust into a corner. The morning hours, from six to eight, are the most uninterrupted and should be thus employed. After tea is my best hour, and that should be solemnly dedicated to God. I ought not to give up the good old habit of prayer before going to bed; but guard must be kept against sleep. When I awake in the night, I ought to rise and pray. A little time after breakfast might be given to intercession.” This was the praying plan of Robert McCheyne. The memorable Methodist band in their praying shame us. “From four to five in the morning, private prayer; from five to six in the evening, private prayer.”

John Welch, the holy and wonderful Scotch preacher, thought the day ill spent if he did not spend eight or ten hours in prayer. He kept a plaid that he might wrap himself when he arose to pray at night. His wife would complain when she found him lying on the ground weeping. He would reply: “O woman, I have the souls of three thousand to answer for, and I know not how it is with many of them!”


Directions For Hating Sin – Richard Baxter

Direct. I. Labour to know God, and to be affected with his attributes, and always to live as in his sight.—

No man can know sin perfectly, because no man can know God perfectly. You can no further know what sin is than you know what God is, whom you sin against; for the formal malignity of sin is relative, as it is against the will and attributes of God. The godly have some knowledge of the malignity of sin, because they have some knowledge of God that is wronged by it. The wicked have no practical, prevalent knowledge of the malignity of sin, because they have no such knowledge of God. They that fear God will fear sinning; they that in their hearts are bold irreverently with God, will, in heart and life, be bold with sin: the atheist, who thinks there is no God thinks there is no sin against him. Nothing in world will tell us so plainly and powerfully of the evil of sin, as the knowledge of the greatness, wisdom goodness, holiness, authority, justice, truth, &c. of God. The sense of his presence, therefore, will revive our sense of sin’s malignity.
Direct. II. Consider well of the office, the bloodshed, and the holy life of Christ.—His office is to expiate sin, and to destroy it. His blood was shed for it: his life condemned it. Love Christ, and you will hate that which caused his death. Love him, and you will love to be made like him, and hate that which is so contrary to Christ. These two great lights will show the odiousness of darkness.

Direct. III. Think well both how holy the office and work of the Holy Ghost is, and how great a mercy it is to us.—

Shall God himself, the heavenly light, come down into a sinful heart, to illuminate and purify it? And yet shall I keep my darkness and defilement, in opposition to such wonderful mercy? Though all sin against the Holy Ghost be not the unpardonable blasphemy, yet all is aggravated hereby.

Direct. IV. Know and consider the wonderful love and mercy of God, and think what he has done for you;

and you will hate sin, and be ashamed of it. It is an aggravation which makes sin odious even to common reason and ingenuity, that we should offend a God of infinite goodness, who has filled up our lives with mercy. It will grieve you if you have wronged an extraordinary friend: his love and kindness will come into your thoughts, and make you angry with your own unkindness. Here look over the catalogue of God’s mercies to you, for soul and body. And here observe that Satan, in hiding the love of God from you, and tempting you under the pretence of humility to deny his greatest, special mercy, seeks to destroy your repentance and humiliation, also, by hiding the greatest aggravation of your sin.

Direct. V. Think what the soul of man is made for, and should be used to, even to love, obey, and glorify our Maker; and then you will see what sin is, which disables and perverts it.—

How excellent, and high, and holy a work are we created for and called to! And should we defile the temple of God? And serve the devil in filthiness and folly, when we should receive, and serve, and magnify our Creator?

Direct. VI. Think well what pure and sweet delights a holy soul may enjoy from God, in his holy service; and then you will see what sin is, which robs him of these delights, and prefers fleshly lusts before them.—

O how happily might we perform every duty, and how fruitfully might we serve our Lord, and what delight should we find in his love and acceptation, and the foresight of everlasting blessedness, if it were not for sin; which brings down the soul from the doors of heaven, to wallow with swine in a beloved dunghill!

Direct. VII. Bethink you what a life it is which you must live for ever, if you live in heaven; and what a life the holy ones there now live; and then think whether sin, which is so contrary to it, be not a vile and hateful thing.—

Either you would live in heaven, or not. If not, you are not those I speak to. If you would, you know that there is no sinning; no worldly mind, no pride, no passion, no fleshly lust or pleasures there. Oh, did you but see and hear one hour, how those blessed spirits are taken up in loving and magnifying the glorious God in purity and holiness, and how far they are from sin, it would make you loathe sin ever after, and look on sinners as on men in bedlam wallowing naked in their dung. Especially, to think that you hope yourselves to live for ever like those holy spirits; and therefore sin does ill beseem you.

Direct. VIII. Look but to the state and torment of the damned, and think well of the difference betwixt angels and devils, and you may know what sin is.—

Angels are pure; devils are polluted: holiness and sin do make the difference. Sin dwells in hell, and holiness in heaven. Remember that every temptation is from the devil, to make you like himself; as every holy motion is from Christ, to mike you like himself. Remember when you sin, that you are learning and imitating of the devil, and are so far like him, John 8:44. And the end of all is, that you may feel his pains. If hell-fire be not good, then sin is not good.

Direct. IX. Look always on sin as one that is ready to die, and consider how all men judge of it at the last.—

What do men in heaven say of it? And what do men in hell say of it? And what do men at death say of it? And what do converted souls, or awakened consciences, say of it? Is it then followed with delight and fearlessness as it is now? Is it then applauded? Will any of them speak well of it? Nay, all the world speaks evil of sin in the general now, even when they love and commit the several acts. Will you sin when you are dying?

Direct. X. Look always on sin and judgment together.—

Remember that you must answer for it before God, and angels, and all the world; and you will the better know it.

Direct. XI. Look now but upon sickness, poverty, shame, despair, death, and rottenness in the grave, and it may a little help you to know what sin is.

These are things within your sight or feeling; you need not faith to tell you of them. And by such effects you might have some little knowledge of the cause.

Direct. XII. Look but upon some eminent, holy persons upon earth, and upon the mad, profane, malignant world; and the difference may tell you in part what sin is.—

Is there not an amiableness in a holy, blameless person, that lives in love to God and man, and in the joyful hopes of life eternal? Is not a beastly drunkard or whoremonger, and a raging swearer, and a malicious persecutor, a very deformed, loathsome creature? Is not the mad, confused, ignorant, ungodly state of the world a very pitiful sight? What then is the sin that all this consists in?

Though the principal part of the cure is in turning the will to the hatred of sin, and is done by this discovery of its malignity; yet I shall add a few more directions for the executive part, supposing that what is said already has had its effect.
Direct. I. When you have found out your disease and danger, give up yourselves to Christ as the Saviour and Physician of souls, and to the Holy Ghost as your Sanctifier, remembering that he is sufficient and willing to do the work which he has undertaken.—It is not you that are to be saviours and sanctifiers of yourselves (unless as you work under Christ). But he that has undertaken it, takes it for his glory to perform it.

Direct. II. Yet must you be willing and obedient in applying the remedies prescribed you by Christ, and observing his directions in order to your cure. And you must not be tender, and coy, and fine, and say his is too bitter, and that is too sharp; but trust his love, and skill, and care, and take it as he prescribes it, or gives it you, without any more ado. Say not, It is grievous, and I cannot take it: for he commands you nothing but what is safe, and wholesome, and necessary, and if you cannot take it, must try whether you can bear your sickness, and death, and the fire of hell! Are humiliation, confession, restitution, mortification, and holy diligence worse than hell?

Direct. III. See that you take not part with sin, and wrangle not, or strive not against your Physician, or any that would do you good.—Excusing sin, and heading for and extenuating it, and striving against the Spirit and conscience, and wrangling against ministers and godly friends, and hating reproof, are not the means to be cured and sanctified.

Direct. IV. See that malignity in every one of your particular sins, which you can see and say is in sin in general.—It is a gross deceit of yourselves, if you will speak a great deal of the evil of sin, and see none of this malignity in your pride, and your worldliness, and your passion and peevishness, and our malice and uncharitableness, and your lying, backbiting, slandering, or sinning against conscience for worldly commodity or safety. What self-contradiction is it for a man in prayer to aggravate sin, and when he is reproved for it, to justify or excuse it! This is like him that will speak against treason, and the enemies of the king, but because the traitors are his friends and kindred, will protect or hide them, and take their parts.

Direct. V. Keep as far as you can from those temptations which feed and strengthen the, sins which you would overcome.—Lay siege to your sins, and starve them out, by keeping away the food and fuel which is their maintenance and life.

Direct. VI. Live in the exercise of those graces and duties which are contrary to the sins which you are most in danger of.—For grace and duty are contrary to sin, and kill it, and cure us of it, as the fire cures us of cold, or health of sickness.

Direct. VII. Hearken not to weakening unbelief and distrust, and cast not away the comforts of God, which are your cordials and strength.—It is not a frightful, dejected, despairing frame of mind, that is fittest to resist sin; but it is the encouraging sense of the love of God, and thankful sense of grace received (with a cautious fear).

Direct. VIII. Be always suspicious of carnal self-love, and watch against it.—For that is the burrow or fortress of sin, and the common patron of it; ready to draw you to it, and ready to justify it. We are very prone to be partial in our own cause; as the case of Judah with Tamar, and David when Nathan reproved him in a parable, show. our own passions, our own pride, our own censures, or backbitings, or injurious dealings, our own neglects of duty, seem small, excusable, if not justifiable things to us; whereas we could easily see the faultiness of all these in another, especially in an enemy: when yet we should be best acquainted with ourselves, and we should most love ourselves, and therefore hate our own sins most.

Direct. IX. Bestow your first and chiefest labour to kill sin at the root; to cleanse the heart, which is the fountain; for out of the heart come the evils of the life.—Know which are the master-roots; and bend your greatest care and industry to mortify those: and they are especially these that follow; 1. Ignorance. 2. Unbelief. 3. Inconsiderateness. 4. Selfishness and pride. 5. Fleshliness, in pleasing a brutish appetite, lust, or fantasy. 6. Senseless hard-heartedness and sleepiness in sin.

Direct. X. Account the world and all its pleasures, wealth, and honours, no better than indeed they are, and then Satan will find no bait to catch you. Esteem all as dung with Paul, Philippians 3:8; and no man will sin and sell his soul, for that which he accounts but as dung.

Direct. XI. Keep up above in a heavenly conversation, and then your souls will be always in the light, and as in the sight of God, and taken up with those businesses and delights which put them out of relish with the baits of sin.

Direct. XII. Let christian watchfulness be your daily work; and cherish a preserving, though not a distracting and discouraging fear.

Direct. XIII. Take heed of the first approaches and beginnings of sin. Oh how great a matter does a little of this fire kindle! And if you fall, rise quickly by sound repentance, whatever it may cost you.

Direct. XIV. Make God’s word your only rule and labour diligently to understand it.

Direct. XV. And in doubtful cases, do not easily depart from the unanimous judgment of the generality of the most wise and godly of all ages.

Direct. XVI. In doubtful cases be not passionate or rash, but proceed deliberately, and prove things well, before you fasten on them.

Direct. XVII. Be acquainted with your bodily temperature, and what sin it most inclines you to, and what sin also your calling or living situation leave you most open to, that there your watch may be the stricter.

Direct. XVIII. Keep in a life of holy order, such as God has appointed you to walk in. For there is no preservation for stragglers that keep not rank and file, but forsake the order which God commands them.—And this order lies principally in these points: 1. That you keep in union with the universal church. Separate not from Christ’s body upon any pretence whatever. With the church as regenerate, hold spiritual communion, in faith, love, and holiness with the church as congregate and visible, hold outward communion, in profession and worship. 2. If you are not teachers, live under your particular, faithful pastors, as obedient disciples of Christ. 3. Let the most godly, if possible, be your familiars. 4. Be laborious in an outward calling.

Direct. XIX. Turn all God’s providences, whether of prosperity or adversity, against your sins.—If he gives you health and wealth, remember he thereby obliges you to obedience, and calls for special service from you. If he afflict you, remember that it is sin that he is offended at, and searches after; and therefore take it as his medicine, and see that you hinder not, but help on its work, that it may purge away your sin.

Direct. XX. Wait patiently on Christ till he has finished the cure, which will not be till this trying life be finished.—Persevere in attendance on his Spirit and means; for he will come in season, and will not tarry. “Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning, and he shall come unto us as the rain: as the latter and former rain upon the earth,” Hosea 6:3. Though you have oft said, “There is no healing,” Jeremiah 14:19; “He will heal your backslidings, and love you freely,” Hosea 14:4. “Unto you that fear his name, shall the Sun of righteousness arise, with healing in his wings,” Malachi 4:2: ” and blessed are all they that wait for him,” Isa. 30:18.

Thus I have given such directions as may help for humiliation under sin, or hatred of it, and deliverance from it.

The Wrath Of God

The Wrath of God

By Arthur W. Pink

This article is from the February 1917 “Our Hope” magazine.

“Because there is wrath, beware lest He take thee away with His stroke: then a great ransom cannot deliver thee” (Job. 36:18)

This is one of the danger-signals which God has placed across the sinner’s pathway to Hell. At every turn of the Broad Road there are notice boards giving warning of the Destruction which lies ahead. The Sunday School teacher, the prayers of godly parents, the sermons of faithful preachers, the little Gospel tract, the warnings of conscience, the innate fear of death, the declarations of Holy ‘Writ, are so many obstacles which God places in the way of the sinner-so many barriers to the Lake of Fire.

One chief reason why God wrote the Bible was to warn the sinner of the awful consequences of sin, and to bid him flee from the wrath to come. Our text is one of these warnings. There are many such scattered throughout the Bible. We mention one or two at random. “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Num. 32:23). “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb.9:27). “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:5). “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?” (Heb. 2:3).

Our opening text naturally divides itself under three heads:

I. A Terrible Fact

“Because there is wrath.”

The reference here is to God’s Wrath. In regard to the wrath of God let us now contemplate four things:

1. The Fact of God’s Wrath

Men try to forget that there is such a thing as Divine wrath. The realization of it makes them uneasy, so they endeavor to banish all thought of it. At times they are terrified at the bare mention of God’s wrath, hence their anxiety to dismiss the subject from their minds. Others try to believe there is no such thing. They argue that God is loving and merciful, and therefore God’s Anger is merely a bogey with which to frighten naughty children. But how do we know that God is Loving and Merciful? The heathen do not believe that He is. Nor does Nature clearly and uniformly reveal the fact. The answer is, we know God to be such, because His Word so affirms. Yes, and the same Bible which tells of God’s Mercy speaks of His Wrath, and as a matter of fact, refers more frequently (much more so) to His anger than it does to His love.

The fact of God’s Wrath is clearly revealed in the Scriptures. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; but he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36). “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (Rom. 1:18). “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience” (Eph. 5:6). In these, and in other passages too numerous to mention, the fact of the Divine wrath is affirmed. And now let us consider:

2. The Necessity for God’s Wrath

Wrath is one of the Divine perfections. If God did not punish evildoers He would be a party to evil doing, He would compromise with wickedness, He would condone sin. Of necessity God is a God of Wrath. Consider an argument from the less to the greater. In the human sphere he who loves purity and chastity and has no wrath against impurity and unchastity is a moral leper. He who pities the poor and defenseless and has no wrath against the oppressor who crushes the weak and slays the defenseless, but loves them too, is a fiend. Divine wrath is Divine Holiness in activity. Because God is holy He hates sin, and because He hates sin His anger burns against the sinner. As it is written, “Thou hatest all workers of iniquity” (Psalm 5:5). And again, “God is angry with the. wicked every day” (Psalm 7:11). And now-

3. The Manifestation of God’s Wrath

God’s wrath is not an abstract quality. God’s wrath is not some thing that is inactive and inoperative. During Old Testament times God’s wrath was openly displayed against evil-doers, notably at the Flood; in the destruction of Sodom and Gormorrah with fire and brimstone from heaven; on the Egyptians and their haughty king, when He visited their land with plagues, slew their first born and destroyed their armies at the Red Sea; and in His dealings with the Nation of Israel, in selling them into the hands of their enemies, sending them into captivity and destroying their beloved city. God’s wrath against sin was publicly manifested at the Cross, when all His billows and waves passed over the head of the blessed Sin-Bearer, “I am afflicted and ready to die from My youth up: while I suffer Thy terrors I am distracted. Thy fierce wrath goeth over Me: Thy terrors have cut Me off” (Psalm 138:15, 16) was His solemn cry. And now:

4. The Greatness of God’s Wrath

Human wrath is oftentimes an awful thing. Scripture likens the wrath of a king to the roaring of a lion. When a man’s anger gets the better of him and he allows his fury to burst all restraints; it is a fearful thing to behold. Scripture also speaks of the Devil having “great wrath because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Rev. 12:12). But what shall be said of the Wrath of God? To what shall we liken it? How indescribably awful must be the unrestrained and unmixed wrath of such a Being! With what shall we compare the wrath of Him who made the heavens and the earth by the word of His power, who spake and it was done, who commanded and it stood fast! What must the wrath of Him be like who shaketh the earth out of its place and maketh the pillars thereof to tremble! What must the wrath of Him be like who rebuketh the sea and maketh it dry, who removeth the mountains out of their places and overturneth them in His anger! What must the wrath of Him be like whose majesty is so terrible that no fallen man can live in the sight of it, and in whose presence the very seraphim veil their faces!

Scripture speaks of God’s wrath “waxing hot” (Exod. 23:14). It declares “Great is the wrath of the Lord” (2 Kings 22:13). It makes mention of “The fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (Rev. 19:15). It refers to God’s wrath coming upon sinners “to the uttermost” (I Thess. 2:16). Everything about God is unique. His power is omnipotent. His wisdom is a great deep. His love is unsearchable. His grace is unfathomable. His holiness is unapproachable. And like all His other perfections and attributes God’s wrath is incomparable, incomprehensible, infinite. It will be the Wrath of the Almighty! And what will the wrath of the Almighty be like when it comes upon sinners “to the uttermost”? And what power of resistance will poor, frail creatures of the dust have for enduring the full weight of it? None. None whatever. It will overwhelm them. It will utterly consume them. It will crush them more easily than we can a worm beneath our feet. It will sink them into the lowest depths of hopeless despair. It will be intolerable and unbearable. And yet it will have to be endured – consciously endured – endured day and night for ever and ever! May these unspeakably solemn thoughts prepare the unsaved reader for the next division of our text.

II. A Solemn Warning

In view of this terrific fact, “Because there is wrath, beware lest He take thee away with His stroke.”

Sinners are even now threatened with God’s wrath, yea, they are by nature “children of wrath.” It is true that God’s wrath now slumbereth for a while, because this is the day of salvation. It is true that the time for the full and final and open manifestation of it has not yet arrived. It is true that sinners often defy God now with apparent impugnity, and because of this the wicked spread themselves like green bay trees. “Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of Thy ways. What is the Almighty, that we should serve Him, and what profit should we have if we pray unto Him?” (Job. 21:14, 15). Let all such heed the Divine warning, “Because there is wrath, BEWARE lest He take thee away with His stroke.” Sinner, be not deceived, God is not mocked. “O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end! For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges. For their vine is of the vine of Sodom and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter. Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps. Is not this laid up in store with Me, and sealed up among My treasures? To Me belongeth vengeance and recompense; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste” (Deut. 32:29, 31-35). The sinner is treading a path more slippery than ice, and unless he forsake it, in due time his foot shall slide. The bow of God’s wrath is already bent: the arrow of His vengeance is even now fitted to the string, and nothing but His infinite forebearance stays its release. My reader, the only reason why you have not already been cast into Hell fire is because it has been the good pleasure of the Most High to stay your doom. Flee then from the wrath to come while there is yet time.

“And thinketh thou this, O man that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?” (Rom. 2:3). Did Adam escape the judgment of God? Did Cain, did Pharaoh, did Achan, did Haman? The only reason God has not “taken thee away with His stroke” before this is because He endures with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.

The time of the sinner’s opportunity for fleeing from God’s wrath is exceedingly brief and limited. The sad and tragic thing is that so few realize it. The sinner sees little cause for alarm and fails to apprehend his imperative need of promptly accepting Christ as his Saviour. He imagines himself secure. He goes on in his sin, and because judgment against an evil work is not executed speedily he increases in his boldness against God. But God’s ways are different to ours. There is no need for God to be in a hurry – all eternity is at His disposal. When one man robs another, instantly the cry is raised, “Stop thief!” lest he should soon be out of reach. When a murder is committed the hounds of the law at once seek to track down the guilty One. A reward is offered lest he should succeed in escaping justice. But it is different with God. He is in no haste to execute judgment because He knows the sinner, cannot escape Him. It is impossible to flee out of His dominions! In due time every transgression and disobedience shall receive “a just recompense of reward.”

“Because there is wrath, beware lest He take thee away with His stroke.” The immediate reference is to death – the removal of the sinner from this earth to suffer the vengeance of eternal fire. Scripture furnishes many solemn examples of God’s stroke “suddenly cutting off sinners out of the land of the living.” “And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censor and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which He commanded them not. And there went out fire from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord” (Lev. 10:1, 2). Again, “Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand. In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaster of the wall of the King’s palace. And this is the writing that was written, Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting In that night was Belshazzar the King of the Chaldeans slain” (Dan. 5). Unsaved reader, you may be enjoying the health and strength of youth, yet, thou knowest not how soon the dread summons shall come, “This night shall thy soul be required of thee.” Turning now to the last clause of our text, we have mention of:

III. An Utter Impossibility

“Because there is wrath, beware lest He take thee away with His stroke, then a great ransom cannot deliver thee.”

Every member of Adam’s race richly merits God’s Wrath. Our sins which have mounted up to heaven; our profitless lives, spent in selfish gratification with no regard for God’s glory; our indifference and carelessness respecting our soul’s future welfare; our repeated refusals to respond to the invitations of God’s grace, all cry aloud for judgment to descend upon us. But God’s Mercy has provided a “Ransom” – a “covering” for sin – Christ! Our text speaks of this ransom as “great” – great in its value, great in its scope, great in its effectiveness, great because it delivers from so great a death and secures so great salvation. But great as this “ransom” is, it avails nothing for those who ignore and reject it.

“Beware lest He take thee away with His stroke, then a great ransom cannot deliver thee.” If this ransom be despised then there is no possible escape for the sinner. If Christ be rejected there remains nought but wrath. How this text shatters the “Larger Hope”! How it repudiates any possibility of a “Second Chance” in the next world! How effectually it closes the door of hope against all who die in their sins! Let the stroke of God remove such from this world and “then a great ransom cannot deliver” them. There are other Scriptures equally explicit. “He that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed and that without remedy” (Prov. 29:1). For the sinner there is no remedy, no deliverance, no hope whatever beyond the grave.

“Then a great ransom cannot deliver thee.” Why? Because it is appointed unto man once to die, and after that – not a second chance, not a further probation – but the judgment. Why? Because at death the sinner goes immediately to Hell (Luke 16 :22, 23) and there there is no preaching of the Gospel and no Holy Spirit to quicken into newness of life. Why? Because there awaits all such nothing but “the resurrection of damnation” (John 5:29) and the judgment of the Great White Throne. “Then a great ransom cannot deliver thee.” Why? Because repentance then will be too late. “Therefore will I also deal in fury: Mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in Mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them! (Ezek. 8:18). Then a great ransom cannot deliver thee. Why? Because, Whosoever’s name was not found written in the book of life, was cast into the Lake of Fire – and a “lake” has no outlet!

Here then is a solemn warning against indifference, “Because there is wrath.” Here is a solemn warning against procrastination, “Beware lest He take thee away with His stroke.” Here is a solemn warning against hoping in another chance after death. “Then a great ransom cannot deliver thee.” Here is a powerful plea for accepting Christ NOW. “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?” We shall not! There will be no escape! Then “Seek ye the Lord while He may be found: Call ye upon Him while He is near.”

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.”


How To Have A Meaningful Quiet Time

“Oh how love I Thy law! it is my meditation all the day.” Psalm 119:97

Christianity is not a legal relationship, it is a love relationship. Ten thousand “don’ts” will never make you one iota more like the Lord Jesus Christ. It is Jesus Himself Who makes you like Him. But you need to spend time with Him. I want to give you five factors for spending some quiet time with Him each day.

The Proper Period

You must find the right time. Your quiet time should last at least half an hour. But some time is better than no time, so if you can’t start at thirty minutes, begin with ten. It should be your very best time. Don’t give the Lord your leftovers. And don’t try to find time – make time, and make it a priority. Also find time early in the day. Psalm 5:3 says, “… in the morning will I direct my prayer unto Thee, and will look up.” You don’t take the trip and then read the map, do you? Spend time alone with God to begin your day.

The Proper PreparationA quiet time is fellowship with a holy God. There are a few things you can do to be prepared for this time. First, be physically alert. Find a time when the cobwebs are out of your mind and you can think clearly. Second, be mentally aware. Be focused, and know He’s there. Emotion doesn’t really have all that much to do with it. And third, be morally pure and clean. Some people don’t have a quiet time because they feel uncomfortable looking God in the face with sin in their lives.

The Proper Place

Find a place where you can focus. Jesus said enter into your closet and pray (see Matthew 6:6). That simply means find a place of isolation where you can shut the door on the world and open the windows to heaven. Jesus sought out places where He could be alone, and so should you.

The Proper Provisions

In order to have an effective quiet time, you need the right tools. Here are some tools I use:

  • a readable Bible – Invest in one with plenty of room to jot notes in the margins.
  • a prayer journal – Expect God to give you something and write it down. Also use it to record things you’re praying about.
  • a notepad – Write down your daily assignments.

The Proper Procedure

Finally, may I recommend some procedures to follow in your quiet time?

Get still and quiet. The Bible says in Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Focus your mind on Him. Calm down, relax, and recognize His presence. Take a deep breath and focus your thoughts on the Lord.

Get into the Word of God. It’s better to start by reading the Bible than it is to start in prayer. It is more important for you to hear from God, even than for God to hear from you. God already knows all about you, but you need to know a lot more about Him.

Read the Bible for quality and not quantity. It’s good to have a goal to read the Bible through in a year, or a similar goal; but that’s not the purpose of your quiet time. Also, devotional books are wonderful. But again, this is not the place for them. This is the time when you simply read the Bible with an open mind.

Meditate. As you focus on the Word of God and meditate, let it permeate you. Ask:

  • Is there a command to obey?
  • Is there a promise to claim?
  • Is there a sin to avoid?
  • Is there a lesson to learn?
  • Is there a new truth to carry with me?

Record what God has given you. Write down what God says to you and what He tells you to do. It doesn’t have to be flowery. You’re not writing it for publication or to impress other people.

Now you’re ready to pray. When you pray, pour out your soul. Be natural and honest with God. Tell Him how you feel. Pray out loud. It keeps your mind on track and enables you to stay focused.

Begin to share out of your quiet time. God did not make us to be reservoirs; He made us to be conduits. Tell others what is God is showing you.

Finally, obey what God tells you. Your spiritual train is running on two rails. One is revelation and the other is obedience. And if either rail stops, your train stops. Learn to obey the Word of God.

I pray these simple suggestions will help you have a daily quiet time in the presence of our loving, almighty, powerful God.