Psalm 119:158

Salvation is far from the wicked. Why cannot God save the wicked man against his will? Because

(1) such a salvation would do the wicked man no good; and

(2) because when God saves a man, what he saves is his bad will. Therefore the absolute first condition of salvation must necessarily be "repentance." And this truth has its further application in the life of the saved man, who is ever needing God's further salvations. He cannot have them if he is self-willed and rebellious. They can only come as he keeps the spirit of sonship, and is "obediently disposed."

I. SALVATION IS FAR FROM THE WILFUL. It is, and it must necessarily be. Illustrate by the paper which is to receive the photographic picture - it must be in a prepared state. The willful man does not want the salvation. He has no intention of responding to it. God's salvation is always a work in the man himself, not in his circumstances. The father, in the parable of the prodigal son, could do nothing for his boy so long as he kept in his willful mind. Hope for him dawned when "he came to himself." So penitence is the door of salvation. No man can ever have God's soul-salvation until he feels that he both needs it and wants it. There can be no waste in God's spiritual dealings; and it would be waste to give salvation to a man who did not care for the gift, and would make no return for it.

II. SALVATION IS NEAR TO THE WILLING AND OBEDIENT. These represent the attitude and mood of mind with which God can work. Let a man want to obey, God will help him to obey. Let a man want to get free from sin, and God will deliver and save him from sin. Let a man be in any kind of disability and distress, if he be a son of God, and cherishing the spirit of sonship, he may be sure of the Father's deliverance. So the preservation of right attitudes and moods of soul bears direct relation to the workings of the Divine Deliverer in our lives. - R.T.

I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; because they kept not Thy Word.
One of the influences and results of true piety on the heart is to move its sensibilities on behalf of the interests and welfare of others. One example out of many is presented to us in the text, the author of which was most probably Ezra, to whom, as the priest of Jehovah, pertained the duty of purifying the people from their abominations on their return from captivity, and of settling the institutions by which, when restored to the land of their forefathers, they were to be recovered. He had taken a survey of the state of society, both in his own country and in other nations, and his spirit was stirred within him.


1. God has actually established a law for the government of mankind.

2. There is amongst mankind a prevalent and a fearfully extended rebellion against this law.

3. The case of those who are in the attitude of rebellion against the Divine law should, by pious minds, be made the matter of frequent and serious contemplation.


1. For what reasons this emotion must be excited.

(1)Because transgression is so insulting to God.

(2)Because transgression is so fatal to the happiness of mankind.

2. To what conduct this emotion should prompt.

(1)To personal nonconformity and separation from the transgressions which we witness, and over which we mourn.

(2)To personal exertion in the diffusion of that truth which God has appointed as the instrument to reconcile and to save.

(J. Parsons.)

The evangel is not in the first place a denunciation of sin, nor a pronouncement of punishment. It is an announcement of good news. "Dr. Dale once said to me in his study that he knew of only one man who had the right to speak of the possibility of a soul being lost. 'Who is that?' I inquired; and he answered, 'Dwight Lyman Moody. The reason is that he never did it without tears in his voice, and never without passing on to proclaim how that man could be saved.'"

(Campbell Morgan.)

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