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Who Can Be Saved

Who Can Be Saved

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Published by glennpease

BY THE REV. DANIEL MOORE, M.A. •


"When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved ?"— Matthew six. 25.

BY THE REV. DANIEL MOORE, M.A. •


"When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved ?"— Matthew six. 25.

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Published by: glennpease on Aug 12, 2014
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WHO CA BE SAVED ? BY THE REV. DAIEL MOORE, M.A. • "When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved ?"— Matthew six. 25. There is a peculiar interest attacliing to the language of the ruler, whose interview with our Lord gave rise to this question ; and it comes in part, I think, from our not knowing what became of him afterwards. We are natu- rally struck with the circumstance, especially in early gospel times, of a man of mark, and affluence, and position, wishing to become a Christian — anxioTisly concerned for his soul— condescending to be a learner in the school of the despised azarene. But then just as we are getting interested in him,  just as Christ himself seems to have been getting interested in him, (for we are told he loved him), we read the young man went away. ow, did he ever come back again ? I am afraid not. Remember what we are so often told about the tendency of resisted convictions, about the slowly induced, but certain consequences of an impaired religious sensitiveness. There is no mystery in the matter. It is a plain fact of moral experience, as easy to account for as that an elastic body being continually pressed to the utmost should at length lose its elasticity. Conscience can hardly be taken by surprise twice. Thunder in its ears as loudly as you will, the voice will not sound like thunder after the first time. A Felix has one convenient season ; and to have been " almost persuaded" to be a Christian is, i.i the order of moral probabilities, the very way to prevent your ever becoming quite per- suaded. The case of the young man in the passage before us goes to prove the same point. In revolving to go away from Christ he did damage to the sensibi- lities of the religious conscience, from which we may believe it never after, wards recovered. The strong resolution which a moment before was pre- pared to do anything to obtain eternal life, sickened at the sight of the first difficulty, and so ended his Christianity. It died and made no sign. The siglit moved onr Divine Lord to some sorrowful thoughts. What a heaven u. 2,798 o WHO CA BE SAVED ? obstructing thing are these great possessions ! What an infatuated tendency is there in man to throw diflBculties in the way of his own salvation ! " Verily I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed." And considering the words as implying that even this young man with all his excellencies of character
 
would fall short of the kingdom of heaven, they exclaimed, " Who then can be saved ?" The entire passage, taken in connection with the incident upon which it is founded, may assist us to the elucidation of some important prac- tical truths, as well as perhaps to the correction of some dangerous practical mistakes. Thus we seem to be taught that salvation is not so easy a matter as the many are inclined to think it ; then that a life of outward compliance with the precepts of the moral law may be very far from supposing a state of spiritual acceptance before God ; then that great possessions are not always to him who has them a great blessing ; and, lastly, that tilings which are im- possible with man are quite possible with God. I. Let us consider the text, first, as it seems to imply that men commonly err as to the real difficulties of salvation, that they are prone to under esti- - mate its cost and effort, and self-sacrifice, and demanded pains. "When the disciples heard this, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, who then can be saved ?" ' Who, if every rich man is to be lost who will not for Christ's sake make himself poor ? Who, if every humble man is to be lost who will not for Christ's sake cast the idol of the soul away ? Who, if one who has kept the commandments, who is seeking to enter into life, who, in the face of the world's rude scorn, is willing to become Christ's disciple — if such a one is to be lost, " who then can be saved ?" We see at once why this should be a source of perplexity to the disciples. True, every man may not have great possessions to part with ; but every man has something to part with, some- thing which he loves as much as the rich man loves his riches ; and yet the principle here laid down was, that this cherished thing, whatever it be, would, for Christ's sake, have to be given up. This young man's great possessions were only a type of all those objects of spiritual idolatry which usurp in our affections, the place of God. " Sell what thou hast," it was said to this young man. That is, whatsoever it is essential to the reign of grace in your heart, that you should sell ; whatever a self-pleasing and self-sparing Chris- tian would be least willing to sell ; whatsoever you love so much as to feel you must turn your back on Christ, on the cross, or the hope of heaven, before you could sell. It may be wealth, it may be love of distinction, it may be fondness for society ; it may be the pampered appetite or the low taste, the hankering for pleasures that are sinful, or a delight in those that are frivolous, and empty, and vain ; yet any of these may get a strange power over us. We get to make gods of them after a time ; and though professing to follow Christ, should go away sorrowful, if required by him to give these 122 WHO CA BB SAVED? idols up. But we must give them up, and at the very instant the voice of the Spirit within us says, " The Lord hath need of them." Christ never deceived anybody as to the real cost of discipleship. He told this young
 
man, as he tells us, that Christianity is a religion of self-denial ; a service of surrendered choices, rewarded with the consolation, that we ourselves are the choice of God ; and therefore they are costly things which go to make up the Christian's sacrifice. The eye is a tender organ, but he may have to pluck it out ; the hand is a useful member, but he may have to cut it off ; riches, honours, comforts are pleasant things, but you may have to sell them all. But then the poorer the man the richer the disciple. Heaven rejects neither maimed saints nor impoverished saints ; nay, rather many have found their way thither with one hand or one eye, who would have been wandering iu everlasting darkness if they had kept the two ; and many have laid up in store for themselves a good foundation for the time to come by taking heed of the injunction, " Sell whatsoever thou hast." Here then was an important lesson for these new disciples to learn : salva- tion under the gospel is not an easy thing. The statements in Scripture on which men commonly base the idea of its easiness are in fact statements mercifully designed of God to keep us from being discouraged and driven back by the difficulty. Thus I read of the boundless compassions of the Divine ature yearning over the lost souls, devising an infinite scheme for their recovery — attribute as it were struggling with attribute, rather than see a sinner die, heaven almost in perplexity and at a stand whether Ephraim shall be given up or no. I read of Christ beseeching sinners to accept the reconciliation he has provided for them, condescending to say that his honour will be increased by it, and the societies of heaven be made up by it, and the travail of his own righteous soul be recompensed by it. I read of his allur- ing, winning, drawing sinners to his heart by cords of coercing gentleness ; standing at the door and knocking till his head be filled with dew, and his locks with the drops of the night. I read of the light terms upon which all this promised good is to be had — that a look will save, and a smitten heart will justify, and a " behold he prayeth" attract the pitying regards of heaven ; and that the fervent outgoings of an affectionate heart, even as life ebbs away, will open the gates of the paradise of God. And meditating on these things, and seeing what succours, and inducements, and encouragements, and supports are offered to every one of us, what promises of guidance when we seek, and of strength when we run, and of refreshment when we are weary, and of grace when we stumble, and are ready to fall, I almost reverse the exclamation of the disciples in the text, and instead of saying, " Who then can be saved V ask, " How is it possible that we can be lost ? Who so blind, so stolid, or wilful, or obstinately bent upon destruction as ever to miss of heaven ?" But the truth lies between the two views. There are dark parts as well as light in the picture, and we must set the one over against 123 WHO CA BR SAVkl>?

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