We feel grateful to the kind Ruler of all things that we have been kept by His Providence and Grace, and permitted, as an Association, to present you another Annual Letter.
You have often been addressed by this body upon subjects of great practical importance, and now feeling confident that you are willing to "do all things to the glory of God," we have chosen one of a doctrinal nature "The Perseverance of the Saints."
Does the Bible give us anything definite upon this subject, or is the humble Christian left to doubt and fearful uncertainty concerning his happiness in that "vast unknown hereafter" called Eternity? Can it be that one who has been brought from "darkness" to "light," regenerated, justified by the spirit of God, and by grace enabled in
"Read his title clear
To mansions in the sky,"
may at last be an eternal cast-away from that inheritance incorruptible unto which he was once born?
The security of every child of Gods grace is taught by the nature of the covenant which, in sovereign love, He has made with His people. "And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will turn away from them to do them good, but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me." Jeremiah xxxii.10. Here God graciously promises "not to turn away from His people," and also to "put His fear in their hearts that they shall not depart from Him." And the language of Him who "bore our sins," and "with whose stripes we are healed," confirms the covenant promise. I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father which gave them me, is greater than all, and no man is able to pluck them out of
my Father's hand." John x.28-29. Therefore, "incline your ear, and come unto me, hear, and your soul shall live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David."
"This covenant, O believer, stands
Thy rising fears to quell;
Signed, sealed and ratified,
In all things ordered well."
"The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee." Isaiah lix.10.
In the sufferings and death of the Lord Jesus Christ, we find the same blessed doctrine taught, which is so full of consolation and peace to the soul that longs to be with God, "far from a world of grief and sin." He came to earth and offered Himself upon the altar of God's justice, as an atoning sacrifice, and has paid the penalty of a violated law that the believer might go free.
The prophet Isaiah, who in the "Night of Time," stood upon the Mount of Inspiration, caught, by the spirit of God, the glorious, soul-cheering fact of the substitutional sufferings of Christ. "Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with his stripes, we are healed." Isaiah liii.3, 4, 5. Christ "verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifested in these last times for you, who by Him do believe in God, that raised Him up from the dead, and gave Him glory, that your faith and hope might be in God." 1st Peter, i.20, 21. He "was delivered for our offenses, and raised again for our justification." Now if Christ became bondman for all who believe, and as a surety paid by His sufferings the full price of their redemption, does it not follow that the justice of God, to say nothing of His mercy, demands that the believer go forever free? "And if Christ shall make you free, you shall be free indeed." And our Redeemer, who "spake as never man spake," says: "He that heareth my word and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation
but is passed from death unto life." John v.24. And again, when the dark hour had almost come, and life was about to pass through the silent chamber of the grave, and make it
"No more a charnel house to fence
The relics of lost innocence."
And in view of the immortality of His own nature, He declares "Because I live, ye shall live also." Without a doubt, our "life is hid with Christ in God, and when Christ, who is our life, shall appear then shall we also appear with Him in glory." "It is God that justfieth;" and, in the triumphant strain of the Apostle, we ask, "Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again; who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us."
We draw another argument in favor of the proposition from the inhabitation of the Spirit. Christ said to His followers, "I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever." And Paul to the Christians, at Corinth, says, "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwelleth (or abideth) in you." 1st Corinthians iii.16. No one can be a Christian without the "spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father," for "if any man have not the spirit of Christ he is none of His." It is therefore true, that all believers are blessed with the gracious presence and indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and have the promise that they "shall not thirst, but that it shall be in them a well of water, springing up into everlasting life." John iv.14. God's grace is sufficient for all His children, and the spirit is given unto them as an "earnest" of that future and unending blessedness which only can satisfy the longings of a soul redeemed from guilt.
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages."
[From Campbell County (KY) Baptist Association Minutes, 1867, pp. 8-10. The document is from the Campbell County Historical Society Library. Transcribed by Jim Duvall]
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