“Deliver him from going down to the pit, for I have a ransom” (Job 33:24).
Look at that drunkard! He is “going down to the pit.”
See that loose liver! He is “going down to the pit.”
Hear that blasphemer! He is “going down to the pit.”
Behold that infidel! He is “going down to the pit.”
View that mere professor—that respectable and respected, that honest and honourable, that most religious and most self-righteous church or chapel member, whether mitred priest or humble layman! He too is “going down to the pit,” for on that road, the word of God declares, all are travelling, whatever their outward, moral, or religious condition may be, who are not delivered there-from by an actual and personal appropriation of the God-found, and God-given ransom?
Yes, that startling expression, of inspiration describes fearfully and fully the path of every unconverted man. The whole family of Adam, by reason of whose universally incriminating transgression—for “by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin,” and not only so, but “by one man’s offence death reigned by one,” by the sin of the federal head, which involved the whole of his race in its effects, and thrust it under the reign of tyranny and death, and also by the sins committed by each member of that family—not one of which can clear himself of the charges of personal guilt, or of sin committed voluntarily, and of his own individual desire—this whole family, viewed in each particular member, is most solemnly declared to be “going down to the pit!” Awful journey! Fearful moral descent! Terrific termination!
Barring the divinely-found deliverance, but for the ever-blessed ransom provided by sovereign grace, as the means of escape, “the pit” is the inevitable doom of every child of Adam’s race.
“To the pit” is printed on the finger post that points the way to eternity, and branded by the hand of death on the sinful souls of men.
“To the pit” is the voice of the broken decalogue and the stern command of inexorable Justice, and down, down, down; marching certainly thither, some laughing and dancing, some drinking and swearing, some pretending to pray, yet hypocritical at heart, some planting and building and seeking to close their eyes to this fact, is this vast company of imperishable souls.
Yes, my dear unconverted reader, faithfully but tenderly I assure you that you are “going down to the pit.” Such is the awful end of your present course. Attempt no excuse—seek no self-justification, close not your eyes to the truth. Your conscience tells you of sins committed and unpardoned, of mercy offered and rejected, of invitations ignored and set aside, of many an earnest gospel message treated disdainfully, of innumerable advantages and privileges abused, all this and much more, it may be, is standing charged against you, and surely it is not too much to say that your path is most unmistakeably leading to the pit. Oh! dear friend, be persuaded of your folly, of the imminence of your danger, and lend your whole attention to the other side of the truth—namely, that although man be lost yet God is gracious—and that He has “no pleasure in the death of the wicked,” nay, but the rather “He will have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth.” Consequently our passage declares—“I have found a ransom.”
Now, observe that it is God Himself who has found the ransom—and the ransom is none other than His Son. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” There was nothing better to give, and nothing less could express the immensity of divine love, or meet the infinite need of man. But the whole question was taken up by God, and, through the cross, settled to His satisfaction.
“From this time it shall be said, What has God wrought?” The work of Christ upon the cross is the alone foundation of blessing—for there it was that peace was made—there divine love was fully revealed; there human guilt culminated; there justice sheathed her sword; and there mercy takes her stand—able and free to scatter her blessings unchallenged by justice, or by law. “Grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”
And as Mercy stands on that blood-stained pedestal we can hear her thrilling accents:“Deliver him from going down to the pit.”
She proclaims deliverance. Oh! traveller hearken! Welcome sound! Heavenly proclamation! Stop and listen! Deliver! deliver! deliver! Oh! what music is in that word—its gladdening melody thrills the soul!
See yonder malefactor—that “dying thief”—true enough he is “going down to the pit” his feet are on the verge of the precipice, the flame is about to encircle him and the worm to gnaw; the terrors of a lost eternity burst upon his soul; his case is hopeless; law, equity, justice, morality, demand his punishment; his tongue is silent; he can plead not one extenuating word; his sins are about to hurl him into the pit—but lo! by his side there is the ransom. Jesus bears the curse, the judgment, the wrath due to the malefactor—so that when from the sinner’s penitent lips there comes the prayer, “Lord remember me,” there and then the shout of deliverance is heard—“Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” Unexpected transition from the pit to paradise! from hell to heaven! Law, justice, and every opposing element not only yield but are satisfied, they can ask no more. Grace reigns through righteousness, and sways her golden sceptre over the head of this ransomed soul.
Now, reader, do you apprehend the meaning of this? Does your soul understand the truth of substitution? Have you acknowledged your sin and danger? Have you looked the end of your journey in the face, and under a sense of your need have you claimed the blessed ransom? He is within your reach and at your hand today. He bids you “Come.” Love could not do more. Take example by “the dying thief,” and like him get a welcome to all the joys of paradise, instead of experiencing, as your case demands, and your present course involves, all the endless horrors of the pit. “Deliver him from going down to the pit, for I have found a ransom,” is God’s message to you.