There Is No Difference

 •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 6
ON a spring morning, the news sped through the village that a women had been found drowned close at hand; one, too, whom we knew well as a drunkard. Misery and want had reigned at home in her cottage, and now her poor husband, who for years had unavailingly sought to keep her steady, wept over her lifeless body, only having known that she had been out all night.
The half clothed children, and the poverty-stricken place, told tales only too plainly of what her life had been, while through the village went the remarks, "No food in the cupboard"—"No bed for the family to lie on” —"No clothes but the rags the children wear.”
Oh, reader, it was a heart-rending sight! And what verdict did the jury, gathered in that village inn, return? “No cause to show how she got into the water." No causer Sin, was the cause—the sin of drunkenness, and this was a drunkard's end. She had lived without God in the world (Eph. 2:1212That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: (Ephesians 2:12)), in what was pleasure to her, and Scripture says, " She that liveth in pleasure, is dead while she liveth (1. Tim. 5:6). " The end of those things is death "(Rom. 6:2121What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. (Romans 6:21))." Be not deceived... nor drunkards... shall inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Cor. 6:9, 109Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9‑10)).
But perhaps this may reach the eye of some poor soul, who is groaning under the bondage of such a sin, and longing to get rid of the chain by which the devil loves to hold his victim, and who knows not the way of escape.
Listen while I tell you. When the Lord Jesus was on earth, there met Him one day “a certain man which had devils a long time, and wore no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs... and he was kept bound with chains, and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness " (Luke 8:27, 2927And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs. (Luke 8:27)
29(For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.) (Luke 8:29)
Could any state be worse than his? The neighbors sought to keep him decent, and within bounds, but the devil was stronger than they were.
Yet the Lord was stronger than the devil.
He commanded the devils to depart out of him, and they did so. Then those who went to see what was done, "came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind." The power of Jesus had done what the skill of man failed to do.
What a blessing to know He has the same power still! Since then He has been down into the devil's stronghold, and through death He has destroyed him who had the power of death, and has delivered many who were always in fear of death (Heb. 2:14, 1514Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. (Hebrews 2:14‑15)). “The wages or sin is death" (Rom. 6:2323For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)) —the wages that sinners justly deserve, the Lord Jesus bore when He suffered the just for the unjust, and the Holy Ghost can therefore add—" But the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord." Do not seek to make yourself any better, but confess your sins and trust in the One whose blood cleanses from all sin; yes, the sin of drunkenness, for " such were some of you; but ye are washed.... in the name of the Lord. Jesus " (1 Cor. 6:1111And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:11)).
But you may say, "It is all very well to write about the sin of drunkards and their need of repentance, but I am not like that; I have lived respectably and hope to die the death of the righteous, and that my last end may be like His.”
Go with me, I pray you, to another death-bed. A gentleman is dying—a gentleman surrounded by luxury and refinement, and all that wealth can bestow. During a short interval of consciousness, what does he say? “Jones, I want to speak to you. Am I dying?
Can you tell me where I shall go for eternity? Can you pray for me? “Hear the reply. “Oh, I know nothing about such things, I have never said anything but the Lord's Prayer—but you've never done any harm, I dare say it may be all right." The old man looked at him and said, “No, that's not enough, I have an uncomfortable feeling about the future, what can I do? How can I face eternity?”
In a few short moments he had passed into His presence who is " of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on iniquity.”
There was once a rich man who " died, and was buried; and in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments! " Would the luxury of his life, the dignity of his position, the respectability of his death, avail anything then?
They would not purchase even one drop of water to cool his tongue I “And how dieth the wise man? as the fool." (Ecc. 2:16).
The fool dies the death of a drunkard, perhaps; the man high in this world may die an outwardly respectable death—what of both their souls? “What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:3636For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Mark 8:36)).
Reader, if you are one of the rich of the world, remember God before the days come when you will say, “I have no pleasure in them “while your reason remains. If you are poor, let not the cares of this world keep you from Him, nor tempt you to drown your sorrow in sin. Be assured the Lord must be met by all of us as a Judge or a Saviour. God says that every knee shall bow to His Son, and every tongue shrill own Him Lord. How much better in this day of grace to own and believe in Him, than by-and-bye when even the devils will believe and tremble, and when many rich and poor, refined and degraded sinners who have refused His mercy now, will have to call on the mountains and rocks to fall on them and hide them from " the wrath of the Lamb "—yea, of that very One who is " the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.”
Let neither the drunkard nor the moral man persuade himself that God is merciful and will pass over sin. If God turned away His face from His own sinless Son when bearing the weight of our sins, do you think He will look upon you with mercy when you stand before Him with your own sins upon you? Now is the day of His mercy, "according to His mercy”
H. L. H.