No M’Cheyne, No Gain…
We are now in part three of this series. In this part of the sermon, M’Cheyne expounds that those who are left to perish do so as a means that God may show His power. Watch how bold M’Cheyne becomes here. He had unction! Remember, this is the last sermon M’Cheyne ever preached and he did so with much authority.
II. I come now to the second reason why any are left to perish–it is, that God may show his power. ”What if God, willing to make his power known?” We are frequently told in the Bible of the power of God. He said to Abraham, “I am the Almighty God.” We are told in the ninety-third Psalm, that “the Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters; yea, than the mighty waves of the sea.” We are frequently told of his almighty power; and not only so, but we have brilliant examples of it.
The first upon record is creation. “God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” “He spake and it was done – he commanded and all things stood fast.”
Another example of the same thing is, the constant providence of God. “In him we live, and move, and have our being.” He rides on the swift wings of the wind.
Another example of the power of God is, his restraining and bridling of the wicked. “Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding, whose mouth must be held in with the bit and bridle.” – Psalms 32:9. This is the way in which God holds the wicked.
Another way in which God makes his power known is, in the conversion of souls. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord.” This is said to be “the wisdom of God and the power of God.” I believe the converting of a soul is something greater than the making of the world.
The Converting of a Soul…
The last sentence above is such a profound statement it made me think for a moment. What is the converting of a soul compared to the creation of a world anyway? The converting of a soul carries with it the idea and beauty of redemption. The creating of a world is an incredible marvel and the exercise of God’s creativity…but the converting of a soul unto repentance is the exercise and labor of the effectual grace of God. The exercise of His grace; we cannot miss this.
Brethren, there is one exhibition of divine power that yet remains – it is, the destruction of the wicked. “What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction?” I believe, dear friends, that the reason why God has raised up Pharaohs is to show his power in them. He said to Pharaoh, “For this cause have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee.” No, I say, in regard of those of you in this congregation who will die unsaved, that God has raised you up, to show his power in you. Thus, it is said in Isaiah 62, “I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.” And then in Revelation 18, “She shall be utterly burned with fire; for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.” And we are told by our Lord in Matthew 10:28, to fear God, “who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” You will notice in this passage that he says, “God is able to destroy”; and therefore, brethren, it is plain that there must be some great power exercised in his destroying the wicked; and I think it is to consist in this – God will destroy their well-being, but not their being. Here, then, is another exhibition of the power of God.
Here I think it is prudent to point out that death and the eternal death cannot be equated with the cessation of being. The people in hell still exist, though they are experiencing an eternal death. M’Cheyne’s point here really clarifies this.
When lately in the north of Scotland, I stood on the sea-shore, and saw the rocks standing out of the sea. It was very remarkable to stand and see the mighty waves dashing upon the rocks. There were two things remarkable in it: first, the greatness of the rocks on which the waves dashed: second, the rocks remaining unmoved – no force of the waves could move them. Brethren, this scene is an emblem of what will be witnessed another day, when God shall pour out his wrath on the wicked. Ah, brethren! will it not be fearful to see God put out his power upon the wicked – to see him upholding them with one hand, and pouring out his wrath upon them with the other? Surely, brethren, the power of God’s wrath is very great. If any of you have seen a great furnace, you will have seen the power that the fire has; but fire is God’s creature. What must his power be who is the Creator?
In the next post, M’Cheyne will be going over his third point, That God may show the riches of His glory. This is the ends for which God has created all that is. God Bless!