In these days when death so continually stalks abroad upon the thoroughfares of our land the above slogan pretty frequently meets the eye. Yonder is a spot to be negotiated with great care, for two important main roads intersect at that point. We approach it in a fast-moving car, and some hundred and fifty yards or so from it a large board warns us to slow down and proceed with great care.
Not content with this however, the authorities have erected between it and the danger spot a second board, on which are simply these words in large letters: “YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.” A timely and, we should hope, an effective reminder!
We felt no paroxysm of anger as our eye fell on that board. No motorist, that we have ever heard of, has ever shown a trace of resentment against such warnings. The very opposite. They are thankful to receive them. When years ago, a railway bridge collapsed owing to a convulsion of nature, and a pointsman raced up the line in the direction of an oncoming train, shouting and waving a red lamp, and so succeeded in stopping it within a short distance of the yawning chasm, nobody abused him for his pains. Oh! no, the passengers, to express their gratitude, took up a collection on his behalf!
The great world-system may be aptly likened to a gigantic piece of machinery, moving at a great rate. It has some 2,000,000,000 passengers aboard. If any kind of smash occurs it must undeniably be, with such a population, a very serious business. Now, make no mistake about it, a warning has been issued; and that by One who knows.
The warning has been issued many times and couched in different terms. One sample will suffice: “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God” (Ps. 9:17). Now this clearly indicates two things:—“First, that wickedness is going to get its appropriate punishment. Second, that God is not going to allow anybody to push Him out of mind and remembrance.
Sin always entails suffering. The sorrow and the suffering that follow as a consequence are sometimes seen in this life. They always follow with dread certainty in the life that is to come. Then just because this is so, and because in our heart of hearts we know it is so, we do not like to think of God. We dismiss Him from our thoughts as far as we can. And succeeding in forgetting Him, we seal our doom.
But we are warned in order that we may escape. For there is a way of escape. “He that hears My word, ” said the Son of God, “and believes on Him that sent Me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death to life” (John 5:24).
If, instead of forgetting God, you turned to God; if, instead of living for yourself and rejecting the Lord Jesus, you owned your guilt and need and believed in Him as just the Saviour you need, as the One whose precious blood shed on Calvary can wash your sins away, you would be saved and become the possessor of everlasting life—a life that you would begin to enjoy here and now. Moreover there would be no condemnation for you. The dark judgment-cloud of hell would disappear out of your sky.
This is the way of escape. Do not resent the warning. Rather accept it with thankfulness, and make salvation your own.
At any rate, by this little article “YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!”
The Gospel Messenger, Vol. 55, No. 652