Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies…
It is certain that, from the time of Adam down to the present day, thousands have taken refuge from the threatenings of God's wrath beneath the lies of the Evil One.
I. You say, "If I am elect I shall be saved, do what I may; but if I am not elect I must be damned, do what I will; and, therefore, there is no use in my trying to do anything." Election is not iron fate, but unutterable love. Do you act in this manner about carnal things? A friend invites you to dinner; the table is spread before you. You are asked to sit down. "Stop," you say, "does not God know everything?" "Yes," says your friend. "Well," you say, "God knows whether I shall eat this food or not: so it's all fixed, and I can't alter it; and if I am not to eat that dinner, I cannot eat it, even though I were to try to eat it: whereas, if I am to eat it, I must eat it, even though I were to rise and leave the room and try to go without it; and, therefore, I will sit still and do nothing." Would you reason thus? If not, why say, when God lays the "Bread of Life" before you, "If I am to eat of the Bread of Life, I must, do what I may; if I am not to partake of it, I cannot, do what I will; and, therefore, I will sit still and do nothing"? If Christ does not really offer to save you I have nothing further to say, but you admit He does.
II. "I trust in the mercy of God." If that is all your trust it is "a refuge of lies" You answer, Is not God merciful? More merciful than you can conceive, but it will not do to trust in the mere mercy of God. God's mercy will not save you till you are inside the tower of refuge, Christ Jesus.
III. "We do the best we can." What! You do the best you can? Then you are safe. If you really have done the best you could to this present hour, you are this moment as safe as the angel Gabriel. But will you solemnly declare that you have never sinned? Ah no! The best thing you can do is to look to what another has done for you, even Jesus!
IV. Some are flattering themselves that they believe in Jesus Christ, and are in the road to Heaven, while they are without that faith which alone can save the soul. Let me ask you who say, "I do believe," what it is you believe that can justify you? You say, "I believe that Jesus Christ came into the world to teach us the way to Heaven." So did that young man who came to Christ of old. You answer, "I believe in the great judgment to come." So did Felix, when Paul stood before him "and reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come." You answer, "I believe that Jesus was the innocent sufferer for the guilty, and that He is truly the Son of God." So did Judas. You answer, "I believe that Jesus died that He might save sinners, and rose to glory everlasting." So did Ananias and Sapphira. Do you ask, at last, what am I to believe, that I may be saved? What did that dying thief believe who went to Heaven? More than either Judas or Satan. Did he not believe that Jesus was his own Saviour, and did he not confidently trust in Him that He would bear him in everlasting remembrance, and did he not call Him "Lord"?
V. "I must wait God's time." The solemn truth is, Christ is waiting for you. Did you ever read His own words? "Behold, I stand at the door and knock." Is not that waiting?
VI. "We know all this is true, and we mean to turn, but there is time enough yet." Oh, the unreasonableness of your course! Why would you turn by and by?
1. Because Christ beseeches you? And does not He as much beseech you now? And will you not grieve and insult Him by delaying?
2. Because God commands you? And does He not as much command you now? And are you not disobeying and defying Him by delaying?
3. Because danger threatens you? And is not death behind your back even now?
(H. Grattan Guinness.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.