Man's Condition; and What Is the Remedy? Part 1

If it be asked, "What is man's condition?" the question at once becomes individual and personal, and practically means, "What is my condition?" "What is your condition?" And it is a question affecting not only the temporal, but the eternal well-being of men. It involves the question, "Where shall I spend eternity?" In glory, with God, and Christ, and holy angels, and redeemed men? or in the lake of fire, with Satan, and demons, and wicked men? How important then the question! Let us honestly meet it. What is man's condition? Is he lost, or only in danger of being lost? Is he under the curse, or only in danger of the curse? Is he dead, or only sick? God's Word says:
How solemn the verdict! Lost! cursed! dead! And what a helpless condition! As helpless as a poor silly sheep, lost on the dark mountains, where wild beasts have their lair, and watch for their prey! As helpless as the condemned criminal in his cell, awaiting the day of execution, when he must yield his life under the curse of the law he has broken! As helpless as Lazarus, dead, and four days in the grave! Oh! what an utterly helpless condition! Reader, is it your condition? It is your condition unless you have believed the gospel, which is "the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth."
But who can save from such a condition? Can man recover himself from his ruin? The awakened sinner attempts this, only to find it a hopeless task, every effort only serving to increase his misery. Tears and prayers and efforts at repentance will not do. Moral reform, churchgoing and churchgoining will not do. Can the bleating of the sheep, lost on the mountains, save it from the wolf, or the lion, or the bear? Can the pleadings for mercy, and promises of reform, save the criminal just being led to the gallows? Need we write the answer, No? Ah! reader, it is too plain; you know it is impossible.
Is there, then, no help? Is there no remedy? Yes, thank God, there is. God has laid help upon ONE MIGHTY TO SAVE. He has said: "Deliver him from going down to the pit: I HAVE FOUND A RANSOM." Job 33:2424Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom. (Job 33:24). JESUS is the mighty Savior, and His BLOOD the divine RANSOM.
If the sheep is lost, the Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost.
If the sinner is cursed under a broken law, Christ was made a curse, in order to redeem from the curse of the law.
If the sinner is dead-dead to God as the body in the grave is dead to the world in which it once lived-it is now the hour in which the dead hear the voice of the Son of God, and live.
God is now revealed in Christ as a Seeker, a Savior, a Life-giver; and in Him, thus revealed, there is a perfect and divine answer to all man's need.
Let me ask the unsaved reader, Have you found out your real condition in the sight of God? It is easy to assent to the statement of Scripture, "All we like sheep have gone astray;" but do you realize in your own soul that you are like a stray and lost sheep on the dark mountains, exposed to danger and death every moment? Has God's truth shone into your soul and revealed this to you? You are not happy. You have been treading the slippery paths of sin, and are far from God, far from Christ, far from home. Have you learned this in your own soul? Have you been groaning under the burden of your guilt? Have you been sighing for rest? Have you been crying to God in your misery? Ah! He has heard you. His ear is not dull of hearing, nor His hand shortened that it cannot save. The good Shepherd has heard the bleating of His sheep, and will not leave it to the mercy of the wolves. "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbors, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost."
What a picture of the divine compassion for the lost, and of the divine joy over their recovery! The Shepherd seeks until He finds. He lays it on His shoulders, rejoicing. He brings it home, and calls friends and neighbors to rejoice with Him. This is the divine joy. There is joy in heaven-joy in the presence of the angels of God-over one sinner that repenteth.
You are weary of your wandering; you are weary of your sin; you are weary of serving at the swine trough; you are perishing in the far country; in your misery your thoughts turn to the very God you have sinned against; you think of His grace, and you say, I will arise and go to my Father. Blessed moment! a sinner is turning to God, and this will move all heaven to rejoice! The Shepherd has been seeking you; the light from heaven has been shining on you; the lost sheep is found; the Shepherd lays you on His shoulders, rejoicing, and will never put you down until He has brought you safe home!
But perhaps you may say: "I have not only gone astray like a sheep, but I have sinned and am worthy of death. How can I escape the curse of the broken law?" The answer is simple. The One who sought you has also died to redeem you. "It pleased the LORD to bruise Him." "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed." This is the language of faith-what every believing sinner is entitled to say.
Can you put yourself in the company of those who confess their sins? If so, you will find yourself in the company of those whose sins Jesus bore on the accursed tree, the company whom God pardons and saves. David, guilty of adultery and murder, when his sin was brought home to him by the parable of the prophet, said, "I have sinned against the LORD." Clear and unmistakable was the answer: "The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die." 2 Sam. 12:1313And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said unto David, The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. (2 Samuel 12:13). The prodigal said, "I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son." What was the father's answer? The command to the servants, "Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found." Blessed answer to the prodigal's need!
Can you join company with David, and say, "I have sinned against the LORD"? Then with David also you may hear the words of the prophet, "The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die."
Can you join company with the prodigal, and say, "I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight"? Then robe and ring and royal sandals are yours also.
Can you join company with those who confess, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way"? Then with them also you can add to your confession the peace-giving words, "And the Loan hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all." Isa. 53:66All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:6).
Weary and heavy laden-borne down with a sense of guilt-have you heard and responded to the call of Jesus, "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest"? Then with the Apostle, and with all who believe the gospel, you can say of Jesus, "Who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification," "who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree."
Yes, your sins were borne by Jesus; for your offenses He was delivered; for your justification He was raised again. Oh, what peace this brings! "Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
But now a question. Who laid your sins on Jesus? Who delivered Him for your offenses? Who raised Him again for your justification? It was GOD-the God of ALL GRACE-the God who is LOVE-the Savior-GOD.
But is there not a hymn which says,
"I lay my sins on Jesus"?
and must not I bring my sins to Jesus, and lay them on Him? Ah! but this is not the gospel; it is not according to the truth. How could you lay your sins on Jesus? They are more than the hairs of your head. How could you ever count them? How remember them-the sins of youth-of the past year-of the past week, perhaps? How many have been forgotten? How many things were sin you never thought of?
"The thought of foolishness is sin," "idle words." How many foolish thoughts and idle words have been long forgotten? How then lay them on Jesus?
But where is Jesus now? On the Father's throne. Can you take your sins up to the Father's throne, and lay them on Him there? Could He have sins on Him there? Impossible!
What then? You say you believe in Jesus. You may then be assured by the Word of God, that more than 1800 years ago-before your sins were committed-before you were born-God knew all about your sins, laid them all on Jesus, delivered Him up to death for them, and raised Him again for your justification. Where then are your sins? Gone-gone in the blood that was shed for them on the cross-gone forever. Jesus risen is the proof that they are gone, and that you, as a believing sinner, are justified from them all-justified through faith in Jesus. GOD is your JUSTIFIER; who shall condemn? Blessed be God, there is none to answer the challenge. "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Rom. 8:38,3938For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38‑39).