Profit and Loss

John 1:29-42

As a rule men do not care to make any change unless for the better. "Will it pay?" is the great question. And who can blame them? Now, if the reader is unconverted, I call upon him, to make one of the greatest changes that can be made, even to turn from the world to Christ, from the service of Satan to God. I shall not be surprised if he asks me, "What's the profit?" My business is to answer that question; and I pray that earnest heed may be given to what I have to say, for the issues are tremendous.

We will draw up the Christian's profit and loss account, at least name some items in it. I begin by saying, When I came to the Saviour I lost a great deal. Now I ask no pity, and certain I am that I need no sympathy. Do you inquire what I lost? I will tell you. When I came to Jesus I LOST MY SINS, and lost them for ever. Many they were, but, I thank God, they are gone. Then let us put this down as the first item on the loss account, the one who trusts in Jesus loses (1) his sins.

Can you say that you have lost yours? You never will be able to say it until you know the One of whom the twenty-ninth verse of our chapter speaks. If you take Him as your Saviour, then you will be able to say, "He has taken away my sins." If you cannot say that your sins are gone, is it because you do not desire that it should be so? Many hug their sins and desire not to part company with them. But to hold to your sins now means to be held by the judgment they deserve in eternity. The wages of sin is death, and death is followed by the judgment throne of God and the fire of hell. I beseech you look ahead; think of the risk you are running — ever-lasting loss and no profit! Turn from it, and "behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world."

But to those who desire to be rid of their sins, and to know that that dreadful question is settled before God for every I repeat there is one who can take away your sins. His name is Jesus. He is the Lamb of God. God is holy in His character and righteous in all His ways. He could not have you in His presence for ever; nor could you be happy there if your sins were not put away. You could not do this, nor could the wisest of all the earth-born devise a way by which it could be done. No sacrifice of sufficient worth could be brought by men. Then it was that God provided a Lamb for Himself. Such was His love, such His desire for your blessing, that He sent His well-beloved Son — even Jesus; and He came as the Lamb of God to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself, and He has done it. Upon the cross of Calvary He suffered and died. His precious blood was shed, and here the work was finished that can set you for ever free — free from the load of your sins, free from the judgment they deserve, free to love and praise and serve the One who has made this possible. Behold the Lamb of God, then. Turn the eye of faith to Him. See Him as the God-provided substitute for sinners, the One who has made propitiation in His own blood and through whom you may have every blessing that God delights in giving.

But many souls who have trusted Jesus are beset with doubts and fears. The complete character and blessed results of His work have not been realised. Such was our case for some time, but the moment came when I lost my doubts. This, then, is the second item in the believer's loss account — (1) sins, (2) doubts.

How is this brought about? Notice verse 33 of our chapter. We learn from it that He who died upon the cross baptises also with the Holy Ghost. In this lies the light which for ever dispels the darkest fears. John 7:39 tells us that the Holy Ghost could not be given until Jesus was glorified, and we know that He could not be glorified in the sense of that verse until the work of redemption was completed. If He has given the Holy Ghost — and we know from Acts 2 that He has — then He must be glorified; and if He is glorified, then His work is for ever completed. And how will the knowledge of this affect you? In this way: it proves, first of all, how sufficient is the work of Christ for all those who trust in Him. And not only so, but by His death and resurrection they are put on a completely new footing before God.

There are three grand reasons why believers should be perfectly at peace as to the question of their souls' salvation. (1) Because of the greatness and perfection of their Saviour. The Son of God could not fail in what He came to accomplish. (2) The perfect satisfaction which God has found in the work which He did on their behalf — proved by the fact that He has glorified Him. (3) All who have turned to Him as their only hope are placed now in association with Him in resurrection, completely beyond not only the penalty of sins, but the condemnation which rested upon them as belonging to Adam's guilty race. Yes, they are as clear of judgment as the Saviour Himself upon the throne, and clear because He has borne it all Himself. He took your place, believer, under the judgment and the curse that you might share His in the unclouded smile of His God and Father and yours.

You have looked to the cross and seen Him there bowing His head in death that He might save you. You have beheld Him by faith going through the storm and the judgment because He loved you. Look up now to the throne and see Him there in the glory of God, and know that you are as clear as He is, and by Him you are justified from all things (Acts 13:39). When you believe this testimony the Holy Ghost seals you as Christ's, and you have bidden goodbye to your doubts and fears.

There is still another item. In verse 37 we find two disciples following Jesus. They were not following Him for some blessing they hoped to get; they wanted His company — Himself. No place but His dwelling would satisfy them; they had, in fact, lost their hearts. I put one question. Have we lost ours? The devoted Christian has His affections have, been taken possession of by the Saviour, so that it becomes perfectly natural for the feet to follow Him; and every place becomes a wilderness where He is not. Apart from this none of us can really be here for Him. Our time, our service, our money are of little account if He holds not our affections. But every look and word and deed which finds its spring in love to Him is of priceless value. And it is for this He came to save us. He has saved us from hell and Satan's power, from judgment and the power of death, but it was that He might have us for Himself and with Himself; nothing less will satisfy His love. Can we say that nothing but His company satisfies our hearts?

There are three things, then, which the Christian loses — (1) his sins, (2) his doubts, and (3) his heart. We must now briefly glance at what he gains, for there is a very positive side to the Christian's blessings as well as a negative. First, he gains the Saviour. What a wonderful exchange! We are free from the sins that would have dragged us down to eternal perdition, and have in exchange the Saviour whose grace and power can lift us into the everlasting glory! And what does He say? "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" (Heb. 13:5). And again it is said of Him, "Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them to the end" (John 13:1). This, then, is the character of the Saviour whom we have found. He is unchanging in His faithfulness and perfect in His love. No change in us can change Him, "the same yesterday, today, and for ever." has He not made Himself indispensable to you? Have you not already found that you cannot do without Him? You could not do without Him as a sinner, now you cannot do without Him as a saint. The pilgrim path is not a smooth one. The world and Satan are strong, and you are weak. Your burdens are often heavy; your heart has its own sorrow. Listen! It is Jesus you want. There is none like Him, not a heart in the universe so tender as His, and He is yours and you are His. Oh, turn not to any other source for comfort! If He is indispensable, He is also all-sufficient. You have no need to turn to another for solace and support; His grace is sufficient for you. O wondrous, blessed fact, "Jesus is thine"!

Secondly, you have received the Holy Ghost. Let your thoughts dwell upon this. You are not left to meet the wiles of the flesh and the world and Satan in your own strength and wisdom. You have the Holy Spirit, and relying on His power and His wisdom, your feet will be kept unwearied in the path and your hand strong in the light. Nor are you left to your own thoughts as to the truth of God. The Holy Ghost is here as Teacher, and He can open your eyes to behold the wonderful and blessed things of Christ as we have them presented in the Word of God. He is within you as the living link with Christ in glory, turning your thoughts and affections to that scene of eternal joy and satisfaction. How this blessed fact proves to us the great love of God! He loves us so much that He will not keep us waiting until we get to heaven in order to enjoy heaven, but He has given to us His Spirit that we might enjoy the things of heaven now. Oh, where is your treasure, your home, your Saviour, your God and Father? To that place, even to heaven, the Holy Ghost would direct you and make all more real to you than the things of time and sight.

Thee is still another point. The two disciples who followed the Lord Jesus were brought to His dwelling-place, and in a spiritual sense His dwelling-place is in the bosom of the Father. And this is the home to which you are invited. Jesus said to His disciples, "Come and see." To us He says the same. It is ours to know the warmth and greatness of the Father's love, and if the Lord Jesus takes possession of our affections, this love we shall surely know. The Lord Himself said to these very disciples, "The Father Himself loves you, because ye have loved Me" (John 16:27).

And who can tell the sweetness of this love, the height and depth and length and breadth of it? Only One; and He came to earth to make it known — your Saviour and mine. Let us keep near to Him, beloved Christian, that our ears and hearts may become daily more familiar with His voice as He makes known to us His Father's love. And now as we close let me put these things together; and tell me, unsaved one, do not you desire now to be a Christian, so that you might say, "I have

Lost and Gained
My sins, The Saviour,
My doubts, The Holy Ghost,
My heart, The Father's heart"?

May it be so, for Christ's name's sake.