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Sermons on Important Subjects
By J. M. Pendleton

The Believer Persuaded of Christ's Ability to Save.

      For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed to him against that day. - 2 Timothy i:12.

      This is the language of triumphant confidence. It was uttered by a veteran in the Christian cause. The Redeemer said of Paul, at his conversion, "I will show him how great things he must suffer for my sake." Never was declaration more accurately verified. The Apostle to the day of his death was a calumniated, persecuted man. He ever "bore about in his body the dying of the Lord Jesus." Yet, amid all his sufferings and afflictions, his faith in the Savior was unwavering. His experimental knowledge of Christ invigorated his faith, so that in proportion to his experience was the strength of his confidence. I know whom I have believed, etc. I deduce from the text the following propositions:

      I. Jesus Is the Object of the believer's Faith.
      It is to him that Paul refers, in saying, "I know whom I have believed." On the Redeemer the Apostle relied for salvation. All other

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dependencies he abandoned - all other hopes he relinquished, and embraced the Lord Jesus as the "only name, under heaven, given among men, whereby he must be saved." The things which, in Jewish estimation, "were gain to him, he counted loss for Christ." His great anxiety was to be "found in Christ, not having his own righteousness, but the righteousness of God by faith."

     Jesus Christ is the object of faith. The following passages fully establish this point: "This is the work of God that ye believe on him whom he hath sent, lie that believeth on the Son is not condemned. To him give all the prophets witness, that, through his name, whosoever believeth on him, shall receive remission of sins. Testifying both to Jews and Greeks repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." Do you ask why Christ is represented, in the Scriptures, as the object of faith? I answer, he is thus represented on account of the part he has acted in the enterprise of salvation. Having assumed our nature, he tasted death for us - he bore our sins in his body on the tree. He made an atonement for sin. Having offered himself as an expiatory sacrifice, he sustained the dignity of the Divine law, and rendered the forgiveness of sins consistent with the law and justice of God. Hence, transgressors are invited to believe in him - to trust in him for salvation. By faith in his blood, they personally avail themselves of the saving benefits of his atoning sacrifice. They

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are exempted from the curse of the iaw, and brought into a state of acceptance with God. We must never forget that Christ is the object of faith. It is not faith to believe that we are Christians - it is not unbelief to doubt it. Some persons seem to entertain this view of the matter. It is faith to receive Christ as he is offered in the Gospel - it is unbelief to reject him.

      II. In the Act of Faith There is an Important Deposit Sacredly Committed to the Guardianship of Christ.

      "He is able to keep that which I have committed to him."The sinner, awakened to a sense of his guilty condition, is, of necessity, the subject of much mental disquietude and agitation. He sees that he is ruined - that death and destruction threaten his complete overthrow; and he cries out,with trembling anxiety, "What must I do to be saved?" He feels that it would be fatal to the interests of his salvation to rely on his own works for justification - that there is nothing meritorious in any thing he has done or can do; and the language of his heart and of his lips is, "Lord, save, or I perish." He hears of Christ; he hears that he came into the world to save sinners - that he died to accomplish this object; and he says, in the anguish of his spirit, "I will venture on him, and if I perish, I perish." With all the interests pertaining to the salvation of his ruined soul, he goes to Christ, and commits those interests into his hands. He throws

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himself into the arms of infinite mercy, and confides in the great sacrifice. He falls in penitential sorrow, and shame, at the foot of the cross, fully resolved, if he must die, to be borne thence to perdition. (Cheer up troubled soul! There is no road which leads from the cross to hell.) There is an unreserved and unconditional surrender to Christ. Here God meets the returning prodigal, and graciously accepts him. Standing on the platform of his Son's mediation, he welcomes the repenting sinner to his arms and to his heart. If there be truth in the Gospel, it is at this point the justification of the soul occurs. Now, I argue that when faith embraces the Savior, the deposit referred to in the text, is committed to him. The interests of the soul - and I may say the body, too - the interests of time and eternity, are intrusted to his care - confided to his guardianship. Faith involves this committal to Christ. It is a full and confidential committal. Nothing is kept back. There are no reservations. The surrender to Christ is entire.

      III. It is the Believer's Privilege to Rejoice in the Persuasion That Christ is Able to Keep That Which is Committed to Him.
      "I am persuaded," says the apostle, "that he is able to keep that which I have committed to him, until that day."

      But what reasons are there authorizing the Christian to confide and rejoice in the Savior's ability?

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      1. His sacrifice is all-sufficient. - Christ is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. He has offered one sacrifice for sin. This sacrifice is possessed of merit so exhaustless that it is needless for a second offering to be made. Sacrifices under the Mosaic economy were repeated and multiplied, year by year, continually. Why? Because of their inefficacy. There was a want of dignity and worth in the victims sacrificed. But when the Lamb of God offered himself in sacrifice, there was a victim of suitable dignity and infinite worth. His offering was the antitype of all patriarchal and Jewish offerings - it abolished the whole sacrificial system; for it superseded, by its meritorious excellency, the necessity of all oblations till the world shall end.

      Now as the Redeemer has, by his death, made ample provision for securing, effectually and eternally, our best interests, we may well rejoice in his ability to keep those interests when committed to him.

      2. As a reward for his humiliation and death, all power in heaven and on earth has been given to him. - He has a name which is above every name. The keys of death and the unseen world are in his hands. Some may think, that as Jesus is divine, he possesses the attribute of omnipotence, and, for this reason, has power to save. But it is to be remembered that he does not save by an abstract exercise of his omnipotence. It is mediatorial power which he exerts in the work

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of salvation. He is mediator between God and men. As mediator, he is able to save, and in saving, he effects an object on which his heart was anxiously fixed, when he died ou the cross. Powerful are the considerations inducing him to exert his mediatorial ability to save in behalf of those who commit their interests into his hands. And he is mediatorially competent to exercise an effectual guardianship over those interests. "What exalted joy may well arise from this fact!

      3. He ever lives to make intercession. - He is able to save them to the uttermost, that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. He pleads the merits of his death in the presence of his Father. John saw him in the midst of the Throne as a Lamb bearing the marks of recent sacrifice. How full of comfort is the thought, that the heart whose pulsations on Calvary were all love, still feels for us and still loves us! Yes, there is as much love in that heart now as when the cross was planted without the walls of Jerusalem. How triumphantly the apostle reasons! "If when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more being reconciled we shall be saved by his life." We shall be saved by his life in heaven; for he lives to intercede. Well, then, may the believer rejoice in the persuasion that Christ is able to keep that which is committed to him.

      4. Millions have been saved by him. - Earth has furnished heaven with no inconsiderable portion

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of its population. Multitudes were, no doubt, saved before the coming of Christ, by virtue of his prospective atonement; and myriads have oeen saved since, because he poured forth his soul unto death. He has exerted his saving power among all classes of sinners. He has saved the old and the young - he has redeemed the rich and the poor he has made the philosopher and the peasant the subjects of his grace, - he has taken the king from his throne and the beggar from the streets to mansions of glory. What an almighty Savior is ours! How numerous, or rather innumerable are the exemplifications of his power to save! Glorious Savior art thou, O Jesus of Nazareth! Well may those who believe in thee rejoice in the persuasion that thou art able to keep that which is committed to thee. Those who trust in thee shall never be confounded - never be put to shame. Every one of them can sing:

"Firm as thy throne thy promise stands,
And thou canst well secure
What I 've committed to thy hands,
Till the decisive hour.
Then wilt thou own my worthless name,
Before thy Father's face,
And in the New Jerusalem,
Appoint my soul a place."


      1. Have you committed the interests of your salvation to Christ? What say you, ye old, ye middle-aged, ye young?

      2. Jesus, who is able to save those who trust in him, is able to destroy those who reject him. He is the stone set at naught by the builders, but, by the Lord's doing, he has become the head of the corner. Whosoever shall fall.on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.


[From J. M. Pendleton, Short Sermons on Important Subjects, 1859. This book is from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary Library, Wake Forest, NC via ILL through Boone County Public Library, Burlington, KY. - Jim Duvall]

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