The Certainty and Freeness of Divine Grace
“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”—John vi. 37.
LET it be evermore remembered that the words of Jesus Christ are full of truth and grace; and that in each of these two sentences, whether we perceive the fact or not, there is the surest truth and the freest grace. There will be some, who from the peculiarity of their minds, will prize most the first sentence. They will say, as they read these words, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me;” “Why! here is high doctrine; here is the security of the covenant, the purpose of God effectually carried out; herein is the truth which we love and the grace in which we glory.” Other brethren, overlooking the first sentence, lest it should raise questions too hard to be answered, will rather grasp at the second sentence, “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” “Why!” say they, “here is universality of description; here is a freeness of invitation; here is a gracious overflow of liberality: this is good free gospel indeed;” and they will therefore fall to proclaiming the second sentence to the neglect of the first. But, brethren, let us not sin by setting one Scripture over against another, or attempting to divide the living child of revelation. It is one, and it is alike glorious in all its parts. You who love to hear the gospel preached to sinners, do not be afraid of the doctrines of sovereign grace; and you who love sovereign grace, and cannot well hear doctrine too high for your taste, do not be afraid of the free invitations of the gospel, and the wide door which Jesus opens for needy sinners in many passages of Scripture. Let us receive all truth, and let us be willing to learn every lesson which the Lord has written, remembering that if we cannot as yet reconcile truths, yet there is the promise: “What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.” If we could know everything, we should be gods; being mortals, some things must be unknown to us; let us know our ignorance, and despair of becoming infallible, thus shall we be in the path to true wisdom; whereas, if we boast of our wisdom, we shall be on the high road to great folly.
Let us consider the text carefully; and as it divides into two branches, let us view them one by one. Here we have grace and truth triumphant in speciality; and, secondly, we have grace and truth triumphant in liberality. May God help us so to handle these, that much instruction may flow therefrom.
I. In the first sentence, we have GRACE TRIUMPHANT IN SPECIALITY. “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me.”
I would bring out the meaning of this passage by a few observations.
1. You perceive here, that the Lord Jesus leads us up to the original position of all things; for since a people were given to him by the Father, it is clear that they must first have been in the Father's hand. All men, then, are naturally, from the beginning, in the hand of the Father; and so it should be, for he hath fashioned them all, and made them for his pleasure. God, absolutely considered, created all things, and his kingdom ruleth over all. Having a right to make laws, to issue rewards, or to threaten with punishments at his own pleasure, Jehovah sits upon the throne, judging rightly. The elect were specially in the hand of the Father; for he had chosen them. The choice is ever described as being with the Father: “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.” They belong to the Father, then, as Creator, as Governor, and as the source and fountain of election.
How often do believers forget the part which the Father hath in their salvation; and yet he is the basis and prompter of it all. Remember, beloved, that he who first of all chose you, was no other than our Father who is in heaven; and though our Lord Jesus Christ undertook your cause, yet it was because the Father first of all, out of his great love, gave you to the Son. Forget not the Father's grace, and cease not to sing of his love.
“’Twas with an everlasting love Long ere the sun's refulgent ray
That God his own elect embraced; Primeval shades of darkness drove,
Before he made the worlds above, They on his sacred bosom lay,
Or earth on her huge columns placed. Loved with an everlasting love.”
2. The Saviour then proceeds to inform us of a great transaction. He says that the Father gave his people to the Son, and put them into the hands of Christ—the God-man Mediator. As Jesus is God, these people always were his own; but as Mediator, he received them from the hand of the Father. Here was the Father’s condescension in noticing us at all, and in bestowing us upon the Son: here was the Son's infinite mercy and compassion, in accepting such poor souls as we are at the Father's hand, and counting us to be his precious jewels, his peculiar portion. The persons referred to as being given by the Father, are not all men; although, it is true, that the Father has delivered all things into Jesus' hands, and he has power over all flesh. We must always interpret passage of Scripture by another; and the thirty-ninth verse of this chapter very clearly interprets the thirty-seventh:—“And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” The given ones, it is clear, are by appointment delivered from being lost, and appointed to a glorious resurrection; which is not true of any but the chosen. In the tenth chapter we find the same explained thus—twenty-seven seventh verse:—“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which pave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.” And if this should not explain the matter sufficiently, we have it again in our Lord’s prayer in the seventeenth chapter, sixth verse: “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.” So you see that the persons given were sheep; they are brought to know the voice of the Good Shepherd, and to follow him; they are in his hand, and there they are safely kept beyond all fear of harm; Jesus manifests the Father’s name unto them, and they learn to keep the Father’s word. So that this does not respect any gift of all men which the Father hath made to the Son; though in a certain sense all men have been given to Christ in order that they may be the unconscious instruments of his glory, though not saved by his redemption; in order that they may, even as his enemies, be compelled to do his pleasure, though they shall never be lifted up to the adoption of children, nor to the dignity of being brethren of the Lord. We see, then, that there was a certain period when the eternal God gave into the hands of the Mediator a multitude which no man can number, whom he had chosen from among men to be his choice and peculiar treasure. The text speaks in the present tense; but then the thirty-eighth verse speaks in the past tense; and the passages we have been reading to you, all have it in the past: therefore understand that the gift of the elect to Christ was performed in the past; before the skies were stretched abroad, or the mountains lifted their heads to the clouds, God had given a people unto Christ; but the deed may well be said to be performed in the present, since with God there is no time, and what he did yesterday, he does to-day, and will do for ever. Moreover in a certain sense Christ does receive from his Father's hand his people in time as well as in eternity: the Father giving by effectual calling in time, the very people whom once he gave in secret covenant in eternity. We are by the words of our text, admitted into one of the secrets of the divine council-chamber, and rejoice as we perceive that the chosen ones belonging to the Father were transferred by him into the hands of the Mediator.
3. Further proceeding, Jesus assures us that this transaction in eternity involves a certain change in time. “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me.” They may be living in sin, and they may continue so to do twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, seventy years, but ere their time shall come to die, they shall be brought to Christ. To come to Christ signifies to turn from sin, and to trust Christ. Coming to Christ is a leaving of all false confidences, a renouncing of all love to sin, and a looking to Jesus as the solitary pillar of our confidence and hope. Now every soul whom God the Father gave to Jesus must do this, and this is the token by which the secretly chosen are known: they openly choose Christ because the Father hath secretly chosen them. You can never know your election by any other means. That you are not one of his sheep will be proved by your continuance in unbelief; but if humbly and hopefully you come to Jesus and make him all your salvation and your desire, let no doctrine of election alarm or keep you back: you are one of his, for this is the seal which he sets upon his sheep—and in due time they hear his voice, are led by him into the green pastures of grace, follow him through life, and are brought by him at last to the hill-tops of glory.
“There is a period known to God, But see how heaven's indulgent care
When all his sheep, redeem'd by blood, Attends their wanderings here and there
Shall leave the hateful ways of sin, Still hard at heel where'er they stray,
Turn to the fold, and enter in. With pricking thorns to hedge their way.
At peace with hell, with God at war, Glory to God, they ne’er shall rove
In sin's dark maze they wander far, Beyond the limits of his love;
Indulge their lust, and still go on Fenced with Jehovah’s shalls and wills,
As far from God as sheep can run. Firm as the everlasting hills.
The appointed time rolls on apace,
Not to propose, but call by grace;
To change the heart, renew the will,
And turn the feet to Zion's hill.”
4. Observe, yet further, that in the words of our text, Jesus hints at a power possessed by him to constrain the wanderers to return. He says, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me.” Oh! the power and majesty which rest in the words “shall come.” He does not say they have power to come, he doth not say they may come if they will, but they “shall come” There is no “if,” no “but,” no “peradventure,” no condition; it is put down as an unconditional and absolute purpose of God and will of Christ that all whom the Father gave to him shall come. “Well,” saith one, “but doth Christ force any man to be saved?” I answer “No,” in the sense in which the question is asked, no man was ever taken to heaven by the ears or dragged there by the hair of his head; but, at the same time, the Lord Jesus doth by his messengers, his Word, and his Spirit, sweetly and graciously compel men to come in that they may eat of his marriage-supper. And this he does, mark you, not by any violation of the free will or free agency of man. God never treats man as though he were a brute; he does not drag him with cart ropes; he treats men as men; and when he binds them with cords, they are the cords of love and the bands of a man. I may exercise power over another's will, and yet that other man's will may be perfectly free; because the constraint is exercised in a manner accordant with the laws of the human mind. If I show a man that a certain line of action is much for his advantage, he feels bound to follow it, but he is perfectly free in so doing. If man’s will were subdued or chained by some physical process, if man's heart should, for instance, be taken from him and be turned round by a manual operation, that would be altogether inconsistent with human freedom, or indeed with human nature; and yet I think some few people imagine that we mean this when we talk of constraining influence and divine grace. We mean nothing of the kind ; we mean that Jehovah Jesus knows how, by irresistible arguments addressed to the understanding, by mighty reasons appealing to the affections, and by the mysterious influence of his Holy Spirit operating upon all the powers and passions of the soul, so to subdue the whole man, that whereas it was once rebellious, it becomes obedient; whereas it stood stoutly against the Most High, it throws down the weapons of its rebellion, and cries, “I yield! I yield! subdued by sovereign love, and by the enlightenment which thou hast bestowed upon me, I yield myself to thy will!” The weapons are not carnal, but mighty, through God, to the pulling down of strongholds; for they are the invincible artillery of the love of Christ, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Of this teaching, no Arminian should complain, when he remembers the strong expressions used in Wesley's hymns; let me quote an instance:—
“O my God, what must I do?
Thou alone the way canst show;
Thou canst save me in this hour,
I have neither will nor power:
God, if over all thou art,
Greater than my sinful heart,
All thy power on me be shown,
Take away the heart of stone.
Take away my darling sin,
Make me willing to be clean;
Make me willing to receive
All thy goodness waits to give:
Force me, Lord, with all to part,
Tear these idols from my heart;
Now thy love almighty show,
Make e'en me a creature new.
Jesus, mighty to renew,
Work in me to will and do;
Turn my natures's rapid tide,
Stem the torrent of my pride;
Stop the whirlwind of my will;
Speak, and bid the sun stand still;
Now thy love almighty show,
Make e’en me a creature new.
Arm of God, thy strength put on,
Bow the heavens, and come down;
All my unbelief o’erthrow,
Lay th’ aspiring mountain low:
Conquer thy worst foe in me,
Get thyself the victory;
Save the vilest of the race,
Force me to be saved by grace.”
There is an influence put forth by the Holy Spirit which makes men willing in the day of God's power; and every soul that is numbered in the covenant of grace shall, let the devil do his worst, and let the human will do its utmost, and let temptations strain themselves to the last degree of intensity, they shall, I say, in obedience to divine decree, be brought to the foot of the cross, to cry, “What must I do to be saved?”
5. And to conclude our remarks upon this first sentence, the Saviour declares that there is no exception to this rule of grace. He says, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me.” Not some of them, but all; not all but one or two, but every one; each one in particular, and the whole collectively. It will be found when the archangel’s trumpet shall ring through earth and heaven, that every soul whom God ordained to eternal life has attained that eternal life to his praise and honour; and when the census shall be read of all the children of the living God, not one of the blood-bought and blood-washed shall be absent: they shall all come to Christ in heaven as they all come to Christ on earth. Now, albeit that some stumble at this doctrine, herein is the greatest possible comfort to the preacher of the Word. Day after day we proclaim our Master's truth, and yet to a great extent we have to cry: “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?” So many are stony-hearted; so many resist the invitations of the gospel; so many turn a deaf ear to the warnings of almighty mercy—what then? Have we sown in vain? Have we laboured for nought? Nay, verily, in no wise. The purpose of God is certainly fulfilled in every jot and tittle, and the Master's will is definitely and in every point accomplished. Therefore we labour with no broken heart, and we preach with no coward spirit in this matter. Ye, O proud and haughty sinners, may resist him; but if ye will not come, others shall: ye are bidden to come to the wedding; but if ye will not come, the highways and the hedges shall find him guests; his table shall not be empty. Think not that the blood of Christ shall be shed in vain; you may count it an unholy thing, but there are myriads who shall be washed in it, and who shall rejoice in its power to cleanse. Ye may put from you the kingdom of heaven, and count yourselves unworthy of it; but if it be a “savour of death unto death” to you, yet it shall be a “savour of life unto life” to others. The great plans of sovereign mercy shall not be thwarted by the enmity of man; Jehovah shall yet in the end get the victory; and all ages shall crown his head with fresh honours when they see, how, despite all the enmity of the human heart, its treachery and its hardness, that His purpose did stand, and He did all his pleasure, and displayed the bounty of His grace as He would, according to the good pleasure of His own will.
You will see, then, that this first sentence, if we understand it at all, involves, first, the doctrine of election—there are some whom the Father gave to Christ. It involves, next, the doctrine of effectual calling—these who are given must and shall come; however stoutly they may set themselves against it, yet they shall be brought out of darkness into God's marvellous light. And it also teaches us, and here I leave the first sentence, the indispensable necessity of faith; for even those who are given to Christ are not saved except they come to Jesus. Even they must come, for there is no other way to heaven but by the door, Christ Jesus. I must not expect, whoever I may be, that I shall be saved by my morality; I must not reckon to enter heaven by my integrity or my generosity. All that the Father gives to our Redeemer must come to him; therefore none can come to heaven except they come to Christ, and it becomes indispensably requisite for princes and for peasants, for sages and for savages, for the polite and for the uneducated, for the most virtuous and the most vile to come, just as they are, and accept the mercy of God, which is freely presented to them in the person of Christ Jesus. And, mark, by this shall those be known whom God hath chosen, that they do willingly and joyfully accept Christ Jesus, and come to him with simple and unfeigned faith, resting upon him as all their salvation and all their desire.
Some of you do not like this doctrine. Well, I cannot help that, I find it in the Scripture, and I preach it. There is the text; to me it means nothing if it does not mean what I have now stated. It is as plain and expressive as the Saxon language employed in it could possibly make it. Do not kick at the doctrine because you do not like it; but if it be taught in Scripture, liked or not liked, receive it. Perhaps however, it does some people good to grow angry over a doctrine, for they would never think of it at all if they did not; and while this doctrine, like an arrow in a wound, rankles and frets them, it nevertheless is the means of making them consider spiritual things, and so they are brought to Jesus. I believe this is one of the virtues of this doctrine, that it excites people's prejudices, and they grow vexed; but since they cannot get rid of it, it follows them, they dream of it, they argue about it, and at last there is a joint in the harness through which the good word of the gospel cuts its way, and they come to receive Christ in the fulness and plenitude of his mercy.
II. In the second sentence we have GRACE TRIUMPHANT IN ITS LIBERALITY—“Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”
1. Please to observe the liberality of the character: it is “him that cometh.” There is no description given whatever, except “him that cometh.” It means the rich man, the poor man, the great man, the obscure man, the moral man, the debauchee, those who have sunken into the worst of crimes, and those who have mounted to the best of virtues, those who are next akin to devils, and those who seem by the correctness of their lives, to be somewhat like to angels. Him! him! “him that cometh!” “What him?” says John Bunyan: “Why,” says he, answering his own question, “any him in all the world that cometh to Christ shall be in no wise cast out.” “Him that cometh.” To come, as I have explained before, is to leave something and to go to something thing. There is motion. We leave all other grounds of trust, and we take Christ to be our solitary hope. We come to his blood to be washed, to his righteousness to be cleansed, to his wounds to be healed, to his life for life eternal, and to his death for the death of our sins. We come to Jesus for everything; and the promise is, that any man who comes, whoever he may be, shall find that he is not cast out. “But suppose,” says one, “that the poor condemned wretch should come who has committed a foul and cruel murder"—well, if he comes, he shall not be cast out. If in addition to murder, or without murder, he should have been guilty of uncleanness impossible to describe; suppose him to have wallowed in it year after year, and to have brought himself to such a state, that he is scarcely fit to be touched with a pair of tongs; suppose him to be such an outcast, that he is only fit to be swept into some back comer in hell. Well, what then? If he comes to Christ, he shall not be cast out. I like to put it in such a light, that he who deems himself to have gone furthest into sin, may yet see that this text setteth a door wide open, whereby he may come for mercy; it says, “Him that cometh,” and this shuts out no comer. John Newton was a blasphemer of so gross a kind, that even the sailors in the vessel in a storm said that they should never get to port with such a sinner as John Newton on board; but he came to Christ and was not cast out, but lived to preach the Word. John Bunyan was so foul a blasphemer, that even a woman of the street, who passed him by and heard him swear, said that he was enough to corrupt the whole parish; and he was astonished that a woman of so bad a character should so rebuke him. John Bunyan came to Jesus, and he was not cast out; he lived to have the honour of suffering for his Master, and to be the winner of multitudes of souls. Saul of Tarsus had stained himself with the blood of saints; he was a very wolf after Christ's sheep. He was not satisfied with worrying them in his own land, so he obtained power to persecute them in Damascus; but when he fell upon his face and cried for mercy, he was not cast out. Manasseh was blood-red with the murder of God's prophets. It is said that he cut the prophet Isaiah in two with a saw; and yet, when out of the low dungeon he cried for mercy, he was not cast out. So that any kind of him, though he may have been a persecutor even unto blood, though he may have been exceeding mad against God till he could not speak without blasphemies against the name of Christ, though he hated everything which is good, and despised everything held precious by believing men and women, yet if he comes to Christ, he shall not be cast out. Every man, woman, and child in this Tabernacle this morning, is included in such a word as this, if he comes to Christ. That is the point: if ye come to Christ, no matter what your past character may have been, nor yet what your present feelings may be “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” I thank God for so generous a liberality as that.
2. Then, the next point of liberality is in the coming. Please to notice it. “Him that cometh to me.” Here is no adjective to qualify it: here is no adverb to set out the manner. It is “Him that cometh to me.” There is the point, “to me.” We must come to Jesus as crucified, and bearing our sin; we must come to Christ as pleading before the throne, and see the acceptance of our prayers there. It is not coming to baptism; it is not coming to the Lord’s Supper; it is not coming to the Church; it is not coming to worship—it is coming to Christ. “Him that cometh to me.” Take heed that you do not come elsewhere; for if you rest short of anything but Christ, you rest short of the promise. But, O soul, if thou buildest on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; if thou touchest the hem of his garment; if thou lookest out of self entirely to him, then rest thou assured of this, there is no other qualification to thy coming, but that thou comest to him. Some come to Christ at once; the very first time they hear the gospel, they lay hold of it and are saved. They are not cast out. Some, are months in coming: they go from strength to strength in this matter, and their faith is a thing of long growth. Well! they shall not be cast out. Some come running; some come walking; some come creeping on all-fours ours; some have to get others to carry them, as that man did who was borne of four; but so long as they do but come, he doth not cast them out. Some feel as if all their bones were broken, and they can only writhe into his presence, as it were, wriggle themselves selves to the mercy-seat all full of aches, and pains, and woes, and doubts, and fears, and whispers, and distrusts, and bad habits, and sins; but if they do but come, they shall not be cast out. One man comes with a long prayer, another comes with nothing but two words: one comes with many tears, another could not shed a tear if it would save his soul, but he groans; another can scarce groan, but his heart feels as if it would burst; one has intense conviction, another has very little of it; one is shaken over hell's mouth, another is attracted by the beauties of the Saviour: one has to be thundered at as from the top of Sinai, another is but beckoned, and his willing heart runs to Calvary. But, however thou comest, sinner, he will not cast thee out if thou comest to him—there is the point. Do not split upon the rock of questioning what your experience is, or raising the point of how you came or when you came; for here it stands, “Him that cometh to me”—not him that cometh in such a way, or such a way, but “Him that cometh to me” Oh! the liberality of this precious verse! It shuts me in, it does not shut you out poor sinner: “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”
3. Observe the liberality of the time. “Him that cometh.” It does not say when. He may be seventy, if he cometh he is not cast out; he may be but seven—and, thank God, there have been many boys and girls who have come even at that age—but he will not cast them out. Your candle may be little more than a snuff, but he will not quench it; or it may be but newly lit: he will accept either. The full blown rose or the flower in the bud shall be alike received by his gracious hand. Some came to Jesus when he was on earth, he did not cast them out. A long file of sinners saved by grace has been streaming up from the cross to the crown ever since then, and not one of them has ever been rejected. We have fallen upon one thousand eight hundred and sixty-four, and the year is almost spent, yet, think not that we have come to the dregs of Christ's mercy; do not imagine that, because time grows old, Christ's love grows decrepid. Ah! no; he will not cast us out in one thousand eight hundred and sixty-four any more than he did the thief who looked to him upon the cross and found mercy that day. What a blessed thing it is that there is no limit as to time! I was remarking to myself the other day, that the most of the conversions which occur in our place of worship are among new people, persons who come in once or twice, and perhaps before they have heard a dozen sermons God blesses them; while those who have been hearing us for seven or eight years, are not converted in anything like the same proportion portion. It is a very sad reflection, but still I couple with it this thought—“Well, if they have not come yet, still it is not too late; if they have been invited to come for seven, eight, nine, ten, twenty years—and oh! there are some of you who have heard the gospel ever since you were children—yet it does not say that you shall be shut out because you come so late, but “him that cometh.” You may have turned a deaf ear until you are now growing grey; you may have despised Christ times without number: he waited to be gracious; with outstretched arms he bade his minister woo you to come to him, but you would not come; but still, if now by grace you are led to come, he will not cast you out. At the last moment of life, if you come he will not cast you out. And now this morning—God make it an auspicious hour to you!—come and try him this hour, it is just twenty minutes past twelve o’clock, but you will find if you come that he will not cast you out, for the gates of the city of mercy are never shut.
4. Further, notice that there is no limit as to the duration of the promise. I mean, he doth not merely say, “I will not cast thee out when thou hast come,” but, “I will never cast thee out.” The original reads, “I will not, not cast thee out,” or “I will never, never cast thee out.” The text meaneth that Christ will not at first reject a believer; and that as he will not do it at first, so he will not to the last. If I come to Christ to-day, he will accept me; but he accepts me in that act for ever: he will never cast me out. Suppose the believer sins after coming? “If any man sin we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” Suppose that believers backslide? “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.” But believers may fall under temptation? “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” But the believer may fall into sin as David did? Yes, but he will “Purge them with hyssop, and they shall be clean: he will wash them and they shall be whiter than snow;” “From all their iniquities will he cleanse them.”
“Once in Christ, in Christ for ever,
Nothing from his love can sever;”
and that doctrine this text teaches most expressly—“Him that cometh to me I will never, never cast out.” He will never suffer one who has once been grasped in his hands to be wrested therefrom. No member of Christ's body can ever be cut off, or else Christ would be mutilated. No sheep of his flock shall ever be rent by the lion; he will rend the lion, and, as David did, he will take the lamb out of the jaws of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear. “I give unto my sheep,” saith he, “eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” What sayest thou to this, sinner? Is not this a precious mercy, that if thou comest to Christ thou dost not come to one who will treat thee well a month or two and then send thee packing about thy business, but will receive thee and make thee his child, and thou shalt abide for ever, no longer receiving the spirit of bondage again to fear, but the spirit of adoption whereby thou shalt cry, Abba, Father? Oh! the grace of this passage! Would I had an angel's tongue to set it forth!
5. Still we have not exhausted it. Something of the liberality of this passage is to be found in its certainty. “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” It is not a hope as to whether Christ will accept you—it is a certainty. Oh! if there were only half a shadow of a hope that the Lord Jesus would have mercy upon such a poor worm as I am, would I not go into his presence, hoping against hope? If it were a case of sink or swim, yet, since I could lose nothing by trusting him, I would fain do it, as the hymn puts it—
“I can but perish if I go;
I am resolved to try;
For if I stay away, I know
I must for ever die.”
But, dear friends, we must not put it in that way, or at least, only for the sake of bringing out a thought, for there is no but about it. You cannot perish if you go. O, try at once, and you will find that him that cometh, in no wise can be cast out. We do sometimes sing—
“Venture on him, venture wholly,
Let no other trust intrude;”
but there is no venture in the case, it is an absolute certainty. Merchants will often speculate at a high figure; but there is no speculation here. We drink the medicine which the physician gives us, in the hope that it may cure, but this will cure; here is water that will quench your thirst; here is a balm that will heal your wounds—“Him that cometh” he will receive, “he will in no wise cast out." What a hammer that word “no wise” is with which to smash your fears to pieces.” “Perhaps,” says one, “he will reject me because I do not repent enough”—“in no wise.” “Perhaps ho will reject me because I have been so long coming”—“in no wise.” “But he will reject me because I do not pray aright”—“in no wise.” You cannot mention any shape or form of a fear which this doth not slay upon the spot—“I will in no wise cast out.” I say again, I wish I had an angel's tongue to put the liberality of this before you. The devil, I know, will be suggesting twenty reasons why you should not come; let this one reason why you should come, be enough to answer all of his: that Jesus says, “I will in no wise cast out him that cometh.”
6. I must conclude, by observing, that there is great liberality in the text, if you notice its personality. Reading over this verse carefully fully, I observed that in the first sentence, where everything was special, Jesus used a large word, and he said, “All that the Father giveth me shall come;” but in the second sentence, which is general, he uses a little word, a word which can mean only one, and he says “him.” There is a personality here—“Him that cometh.” It does not say they that come, but “him that cometh.” Why so? Why, because sinners want personal comfort; they need something that will suit their case. Dost thou see, sinner, he does not take men in the lump, but he picks thee out as if thou wert the only sinner in the world; he saith to thee, “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” Had he put it in the plural, thou mightst say, “Ah! but he did not think of me.” But now he has put it so that it just fits thy case. This is no medicine in the bottle, of which many may drink, but here is a glass set for thee. It is not a cordial which may be passed round the table, but it is put at thy place. Drink and be satisfied—“him that cometh.” “Lord, does him mean me?” Yes, it means thee, if thou wilt come. Come now; put thy trust in Jesus. What sayst thou? I hope the Spirit is speaking to thee in these words of mine; and if he speak to thee as I speak to thee, then shall it be well with thee. Sinner, come! There is a dying Saviour; he died in the place and stead of sinners. In the place and stead of what sinners? Why, of all sinners who trust him. Wilt thou trust him? Is it a hard thing to trust God to save thee? to trust. God who became man, and so proved his love to thee? To trust him? “Why,” says one, “that is simple enough;” but that is all the plan of salvation. When I am preaching from such a text as this, I feel as if I have no scope for metaphors, and figures, and illustrations; but I do not want any, because this saving truth must always be proclaimed as plainly as possible; and then if souls are saved by it, it is not the excellency of words, but the truth itself which shall get the honour. Now, dost thou see it, soul? for if thou dost, I am content—if thou dost trust Christ to save thee, thou shalt not be cast out. Thou hast come to him! thy coming to him proves that the Father gave thee to him. Thou art saved! thou art one of his chosen! thou shalt never be cast out! Thy heaven is secure; thou shalt sit at the right hand of God, and sing the new song, as surely as they do now, who, white-robed, are hymning the Redeemer's praise. This is not an affair of months and weeks, is it? It does not want a moment. To look, is the work of an instant. But the moment that faith is exercised, perfect pardon is given; there is no sin in God's book against a soul that trusts Christ, and there never can be.
“There’s pardon for transgressions past,
It matters not how black their cast;
And, O my soul, with wonder view,
For sins to come, here's pardon too.”
What, are there none who will accept this? Are there none here who say, “I will trust my soul in Jesus' hands”? What! will ye build on your own righteousness? Ah, fools! to pile up the sand which the next tide must sweep away. What! do you despise the mercy of my God? Will ye turn away from the bleeding wounds of his own dear Son? What! is forgiveness not worth your having? Is God's free mercy a thing to be scoffed at? O heavens, hear, and be astonished! O earth, hear thou, and be amazed! God sends the gospel unto men, but they refuse it. That gospel saith unto them, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” But though God calls, they refuse and will have none of his words. May his mighty Spirit come and make a difference in some of you, and bring you now to the foot of the Saviour's cross to lookup. Do nothing else but look up; and looking there you shall never perish, but have eternal life. May the Master bless these words, feeble of themselves, and only mighty because of the truth they convey, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.