A condemned captive was once brought before an Asiatic prince for execution. The executioner already had the sword of execution raised over his head, when, impressed by intolerable thirst, the prisoner asked for water. A cup was handed him. He held it, apprehensively, lest the executioner would strike while he was in the act of drinking. ‘Take courage!’ said the prince. ‘Your life will be spared till you drink this water.’ Immediately the condemned man dashed the cup of water to the ground!
In the shadow of death, and with a grave already dug, a flash of light in a word from a prince passed his way; he seized upon it for all he was worth! The faith of that condemned captive saved him that day. The word of a prince was enough! Liberty was immediately granted; he rode off a free man.
In like manner, the sword of God’s justice hangs over the head of every sinner, with the broken law calling out, ‘Execute him!’ ‘The wages of sin is death!’ ‘The soul that sinneth, it shall die!’ (Romans 6:23; Ezekiel 18:4). We are born under the sentence of death. But there is a Prince, a Prince of Peace, who ‘hath made peace through the blood of his cross’ (Isaiah 9:6; Colossians 1:20), a Prince of Life ‘who hath abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel’ (Acts 3:15; 2 Timothy 1:10); and the word from heaven has gone forth, ‘Deliver him from going down into the pit: I’ve found a ransom!’ (Job 33:24). A word of life now is sent to every condemned sinner: ‘He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die’ (John 11:25-26). No surer word of promise has ever been published! The word of the Prince has gone forth! ‘And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you’ (1 Peter 1:25). ‘To you, O men, do I call; and my voice is to the sons of men’ (Proverbs 8:4). ‘To you is the word of this salvation sent’ (Acts 13:26). Life and liberty reside in that word, and our receiving, and laying hold of it! That is good, solid ground on which our faith can rest. It is the word of God, who cannot lie, ratified by his own oath, sealed with his own blood, and attested to by the Three that bear record in heaven. Someone may object by saying, ‘But God has no purpose or design of mercy toward all; how can I apply this word of salvation to myself?’ The answer is that God has not made his secret purpose the rule of your faith, but his word; and you may and shall know his merciful purpose, if once you take his word, and believe his promise in Christ.
While Capt. Hedley Vicars was waiting in Canada in November 1851 for the arrival of a brother officer, as he idly turned over the leaves of the Bible in his room, his eye caught the well-known words, ‘The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin’ (1 John 1:7). Closing the book, he said, ‘If this be true, henceforth I will live by the grace of God, as a man should live who has been washed in the blood of Jesus Christ.’ Even so, every soul should take God at his word, and in simple childlike faith, receive the promises. There’s no surer ground to stand on!
Standing on the promises
I now can see
Perfect, present cleansing
In the blood for me.