What Saith the Scripture?


Phila delphia > The Heart of the Gospel {For God So Loved the World} by A. T. Pierson

One of twelve sermons from the book bearing the same title.

A. T. Pierson

Page 6

Arthur Tappan Pierson

A Voice from the Philadelphian Church Age

  Wisdom is Justified

by A. T. Pierson, DD.

"THE HEART OF THE GOSPEL" in 6 html pages-


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V. There remains another pair of words. Would to God that I might impress the meaning of those terms, perish and everlasting life! What does perish mean, and what does life mean?

When the prodigal son went into the far country, and had wasted his substance in riotous living, he came to himself; and he came back to his father, and he said,
"Father, I have sinned." [Luke 15:21] And the father said, "This my son was dead, and is alive again. He was lost, and is found." [Luke 15:24] A son that is lost to his father is dead to his father, and a son that is found by his father is alive to his father.

God said to Adam,
"Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." [Genesis 2:17] It did not mean that Adam should that day die, physically. It meant something worse than that. He died to God when he ate. One proof that he died to God when he ate that forbidden fruit is that, when the Lord God came down to walk in the garden as the companion of Adam in the cool of the day, our first parents shrank from the presence of the Lord, and hid behind the trees of the garden, when they heard His footsteps and the sound of His voice. They were dead to sympathy towards God, dead to love towards God, dead to pleasure in God: and so they tried to get out of the way of God, as if it were possible to put a veil between them and Him. How do you know you are dead to God? You want to get out of His way. You do not love the things that God loves; you would like to be independent of God's rule. You would like, if possible, to get into some corner of the universe where there is no God.

You are like the men in America who went across to California, when the golden gates of that country were first opened, that they might enrich themselves. They tried to do without God, and there was a horrible state of sensuality and criminality there; and though there were, nominally, Christian families, and even Christian churches, these gold-seekers had left God on the other side of the Rocky Mountains, if not still further off, on the other side of the Alleghenies. They sought to get where there was no sanctuary, Bible, or family altar, and no restraint of Christian government, or recognition of a God above. The Psalmist twice says,
"The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God" [Psalm 14:1; 53:1]; and if you leave out the italicized words, which are not in the original, it reads like this: "The fool hath said in his heart, No God!" That is, "I wish that there were no God." The impious man hates God. It is an uncomfortable thing for him to think that there is a Sovereign of all the earth who will judge all the works done in the body. It is uncomfortable to think that beyond the grave there lie the great assizes of the judgment day, and that one is unprepared to go into that judgment, and meet the Judge. And so people try to make up their minds that there is no hereafter or judgment, and that there is no God. It is a sign that you are "dead" when you would like that there should be no God, and you do not want God to have any rule over you. And what is the sign that you are alive? You come to yourself, and then you come to the Father? You would not have God out of the universe if, by a stroke of the hand, you could annihilate Him. You would not have the judgment-seat out of the universe, for that is the place where all wrongs are righted. You would not have heaven blotted out, for that is where

The quenched lamps of hope are all re-lighted,
And the golden links of love are re-united;

and where there shall be no more sin, nor sorrow, nor sighing, nor tears; and where every shadow shall flee away. Paul says that the "woman who lives in pleasure is dead while she liveth." [1Timothy 5:6] That is to say that, while she exists, she is so wrapped up in fashion, in ornaments, in the plaiting of the hair, and the putting on of gold and of gorgeous apparel, living for this world and her own indulgence, that she is dead to the things that are alone worth living for, and that take hold of the invisible, divine, and eternal.

Now, let us once more hear the word of the living God. God so loved you that He gave the best that He had to give, and all that He had to give; and while He gave to the whole world, He singled you out as the object of His love, and said,
"whosoever," "every creature." And now that that gift is given to you, and there is no more to be given, God can do no more. He does not ask you to pay the one-thousandth part of a farthing for the priceless values represented in the Son of God. All that God can do now is to say to you that the very fact that you reject His dear Son is a proof that you are spiritually dead. Even though you dispute the fact, you are dead; as a deaf man may not understand how deaf he is, and a blind man may not understand the glories of sight, so a dead man cannot understand the energies of the living. And so the very fact that you think that you are not dead is another proof that you are. You have no sensibility even to the fact that you are spiritually without life. God comes and says, "Come back to Me, My prodigal and wandering son. You shall have the robe; you shall have the ring; you shall have the shoes. I will give them all to you with the absoluteness of an infinite love, and you shall take them, and have them because you take them." Just the moment that you turn toward God, and say, "My Father, I take the robe and the ring, and the shoes, and the place of a restored son in the Fathers house," you will live again; for you recognize your Father, and yourself as His son. You recognize His right to command, and your duty to obey. You recognize that the only place for a son is the home and the heart of his father. That is the proof that you are once more alive.

"Tell me how long it would take to change from death unto life?" Just as long, and no longer, as it takes you to turn round. Your back has been on God. You turn, and your face is toward Him. It will take no longer for a sinner to become a living son of God than that. Just put your heart into your acceptance of Jesus. Cast your whole will into the acceptance of the Fatherhood of God, renounce your sin and your rebellion, and take the Salvation that is given to you as freely as the sun gives its light, or the spring gives its stream; and before you turn round to go out of that church door, you may have this Salvation, and perhaps enjoy in yourself the consciousness that you are saved!

The End.



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