“And he said, Nay; but I will die here.”— 1 Kings 2:30
In his sermon on the above text, Charles Spurgeon (1834–1892) points out that participation in outward Church activities and ordinances cannot save, no more than Joab was saved by clinging to the temple altar. But Spurgeon then turns to discuss the spiritual altar of Christ's sacrifice, where we find utter security and life imperishable:
Lean with your hand of faith upon your Lord, and say, “This Christ is mine. This offering for sin is mine. I accept it as the gift of God to me, unworthy though I be.”
When that is done, a fierce demand may be made upon you. The enemy will probably cry, “Come forth! Come forth!” The selfrighteous will say, “What right has such a sinner as you to trust Christ? Come forth!” Mind you say to them, “Nay, but I will die here.” Your sins and your guilty conscience will cry to you, “Come forth! Come forth! You must not lay hold of Christ. See what you have been, and what you are, and what you are likely to be.” Answer to these voices, “Nay, but I will die here. I will never give up my hold of Christ.” Satan will come, and he will howl out, “Come forth! What right have you with the Lord Jesus Christ? You cannot think that he came to save such a lost one as you are.” Do not listen to him. As often as he howls at you, only say to yourself, “Nay, but I will die here.” I pray God that every sinner here may be brought to this desperate resolve, “If I perish, I will perish trusting in the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ. If I must die, I will die here.” For certain, we shall die anywhere else. If we trust in any but Jesus, we must perish. “Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid.” “Without shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.” “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not,”— whatever else he trusts to,— “is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.” Make, then, this desperate—
If I must die, here will I die,
Here at the cross I bide;
To whom or whither should I fly?
Where else can I confide
Say to all those who call you away, “Nay, but I will die here”; for nobody ever did perish trusting in Jesus. There has not been through all these centuries a single instance of a soul being cast away that came all guilty and hell-deserving, and took Christ to be its salvation. If you perish, you will be the first that perished with his hand laid upon Christ. His love and power can never fail a sinner’s confidence. Wherefore, may God the Holy Spirit lead you to resolve, “If I must die, I will die here.” Listen to me, soul, whoever thou mayest be out of this crowd, man or woman, whatever thy life may have been, even though it should have been that of a harlot or a thief, a drunkard or a profligate, if thou wilt now believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, thou shalt be saved; for, if not, then God himself will have missed his greatest design. What did he give Jesus for but to save sinners? What did he lay sin upon Jesus for, but that he might take it off the sinner, and let him go free, and be pardoned? If, then, Christ fails, God’s grandest expedient has broken down. That method by which the Lord resolved to show what his almighty grace can do has proved to be a failure if a believing sinner is not saved. Dost thou think that such a thing can ever be? It is blasphemy to think that Jehovah can be defeated. He that believes in Christ shall be saved; nay, he is saved.
If thou art not saved believing in Christ then Christ himself is dishonoured. Oh, let them once know, down in the dark abode of fallen spirits, that a man has trusted Christ and yet has not been saved, I tell you that they will make such exultation over Christ as Philistia made over Samson when his eyes were put out. They would feel that they had defeated the Prince of Glory. They would trample on his blood, and ridicule his claim to be the Saviour of men. If any soul can truly say hereafter, “I went to Christ, and he refused me,” then Christ does not speak the truth when he says, “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” Then he has changed his nature, foregone his word, and foresworn himself. But that also can never be. Wherefore, dear heart, cling to Jesus, and say still, “If I die, I will die here.”
Moreover, if thou canst perish trusting in Christ thou wilt discourage all the saints of God; for if Christ can break his promise to one, then why not to another? If one promise fails, why not all the promises? If the blood has lost its power, how can any of us ever hope to enter heaven? I say it will breed great discouragement in the hearts of all people if this be true; for what a wet blanket would be thrown over all thy fellow-sinners! If they are coming to Christ, they will start back, and say, “What is the good of it? Here is one that came to Jesus, and he did not save him. He trusted in the precious blood, and yet his sin was laid to his charge.” If one fails, why not the rest? I must give up preaching the gospel when once I hear of a man trusting Jesus and not being saved; for I should be afraid to speak with boldness, as I now do.
Ben Ciavolella is a student at Westminster Theological Seminary. He works as a publishing assistant for the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.