Who shall tell you words, whereby you and all your house shall be saved.
I am about to tell you such words; yet I am far from supposing that this announcement of my purpose is calculated to ensure to my message that attention which it demands; for man is interested about anything rather than the salvation of his soul — and yet, "what should it profit" man? The soul once lost is lost forever.
I. EVERY MAN'S FIRST AND CHIEF CONCERN OUGHT TO BE ABOUT THE SALVATION OF HIS SOUL.
1. Every man is a sinner, and without salvation he must perish. You may be too proud to acknowledge this, or too much occupied to give it attention, or too indifferent to ponder it, or ready to deny it in the sense which we contend. Well, "you make God a liar, and His truth is not in you," for "God has included all under sin." Perhaps you will point me to that abandoned woman, or to that bloody blasphemer, or to that iron-hearted jailer, and bid me go preach this doctrine to such as these. Ah, the question is not whether you have sinned like this or that man, but whether you have sinned at all, for so it is written, "Cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them." Oh, you will say, I never did anybody any harm, I have been a kind parent, an upright tradesman, my reputation without a blemish; but that is not the question; the question is, hast thou "loved the Lord thy God with all thy heart"? etc. I see you shudder and shrink back! I hear you cry, "But God is merciful" — so He is, but then, if you appeal to His mercy, you give up the point, you confess yourselves sinners, for if you be not sinners you may appeal with confidence to His justice.
2. Every man's first and chief concern ought to be about the salvation of his soul, because, being a sinner, he is placed by his sin in circumstances of the most imminent peril. The wretch that trembles on the brink of a tremendous precipice, over whose head a sword is suspended by a hair, upon whom the volcano is ready to burst or the earth to yawn, is in safety compared to that sinner who has transgressed the law of God, and is exposed by his transgression to His righteous indignation and wrath. Oh, then, what will you do to be saved? Will you present an atoning sacrifice for your sins? Where will you obtain it? Have you wealth to purchase it? The ransom of ten thousand monarchs would do little, rivers of oil and oceans of blood are not sufficient. Do you propose to work out a righteousness whereby you can be justified in the sight of God? How can you do it? Can an imperfect creature work out a perfect righteousness? and even if you could for the time that is to come, how would it avail for the atonement of the sin that was past? Listen, it is our business to tell you the response to this cry from heaven.
II. THE GOSPEL IS THE ONLY SOURCE FROM WHICH SATISFACTORY INFORMATION IS OBTAINED ON THIS MOST MOMENTOUS OF ALL SUBJECTS. Take this question, "What must I do to be saved," to the system of modern infidelity or of ancient philosophy. What answer do you get? The sneer of derision, or the sullen silence of despair — they cannot tell. Take it to this Book, and the answer is instant, decisive, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." What does the violated law of God demand? Perfect obedience. Behold it in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Does justice demand an infinite atonement? Behold it in "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."
1. In the gospel there are words whereby we may be saved, and the salvation they announce is precisely adapted to the sinner's case. You are guilty, but there is forgiveness for you, and you are condemned, but there is a righteousness that justifies you freely; you are a rebel and an outcast, but there is an Advocate that pleads for you; you are polluted, but there is "a fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness."
2. These are words whereby you may be saved individually. Let us hear your personal history. I hear one say, "I am a child of pious parents, and I have sinned against early instruction and impressions!" Well, but thou mayest be saved! I hear another, "I trampled under foot a father's admonitions, and despised a sainted mother's tears, and brought down their grey hairs with sorrow to the grave!" Well, but you may be saved! I hear another say, "Ah, but I mingled with infidels and apostates, I mocked the Bible, at God, I blasphemed Christ!" Ah, but you may be saved!
3. But while these are words whereby you may be saved, rejecting these, you must perish. "He that believeth not shall be damned." "How shall you escape if you neglect so great salvation?"
(T. Raffles, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.