Save to the Uttermost
. . .There is something to my mind very sweet and expressive in the words, "to the uttermost." It seems to my mind to convey two things. It seems first, to convey the desperate condition of those whom He saves; and it seems also to convey the all-sufficiency and omnipotency of that almighty arm that can pluck a poor sinner out of the very depths of hell.
Now, first, see whom the Lord is able to save to the uttermost.
The Lord Jesus Christ had a mighty work to do. Would God have sent His only begotten Son into the world to do a little work? Would God and man have been united in one glorious Person to do a little work? Would an everlasting covenant have been entered into between the three Persons in the Trinity to do a little work? And would the only-begotten Son of God have came out of His Father's bosom, where He dwelt from everlasting, to do a little work? Does not the very act of the Lord Jesus Christ, in taking our nature into union with His own divine and glorious Person, clearly show what a mighty thing salvation must be, when such an act was needful to accomplish it? And do we not see by it how desperately sunk man must be to require such a sacrifice, – that nothing would do but God's co-equal and co-eternal Son; that He who was from everlasting to everlasting, should stoop so low as to bleed and die to save us from the Fall, and go into the depths into which we were sunk, and into which our first ancestor plunged himself and all his race.
When God the blessed Spirit, then, is pleased to open up in their hearts the depths of the fall, depend upon it they want every word of the text – One who is able to "save to the uttermost." They want that "uttermost" to be revealed to their hearts' experience.
For instance, some of those who are coming to God by Jesus Christ, are full of doubts and fears. Is the work genuine? Do my feelings spring from the work of God on my heart? Is my religion such as will stand in the last day? Is it the mere hypocrisy of my fleshly heart or the teaching of God the Spirit?
Others of the Lord's people are passing through grievous temptations; temptations to infidelity, temptations to blasphemy, temptations to suicide, temptations to curse God, temptations too base, too black even to be hinted at. And when their poor souls are groaning and labouring beneath these temptations, can a little Saviour do for them? No; they want just such a Saviour as Jesus is, one who is able to save to the uttermost; if I may use the expression, one who has an arm long enough, and one who has an arm strong enough, to reach to the ends of the earth; aye, and in some cases to reach to the very gates of hell.
Others are passing through deep convictions; they see the length, and breadth, and spirituality of God's law; that God requires a righteousness perfect in all respects; and they have proved that they sin in all they think, say, and do. They see they must have the righteousness of God, and be clothed in it, that they may stand before God without spot, or blemish, or any such thing.
Others are mourning and sighing under a sense of their helplessness, that they cannot raise up one gracious feeling, that they cannot move nor melt their own souls, nor utter one single breath of prayer; nor can they create in their own hearts any faith, hope, or love. Others are mourning and sighing on account of the deep depravity and desperate corruption of their nature, that all manner of wickedness is lurking and working in their carnal mind, and that do what they can, sin works in them, and that continually. Others can get no answers to their prayers; they have cried, and the Lord has not heard; and they have begged and prayed, but fear they shall never come forth into the light, life, and liberty of the gospel.
Now all these want a Saviour that can save them to the uttermost; not a one-half Saviour, not a nine-tenths Saviour, but a Saviour that can save them to the uttermost, that can look down from the heights of the sanctuary into their soul, that can apply His blood to their conscience, that can sweetly whisper to their heart, "Fear not, for I have redeemed thee;" that can bless their souls with the sweet enjoyment of this love, lift them up into His bosom, and assure them that when they die they shall be with Him in glory.
The very exercises and afflictions, and the sore temptations through which God's family pass, all eventually endear Christ to them. They thus learn salvation is of grace, not of works, that Jesus alone must save, that nothing but His blood can pardon sin, nothing but His righteousness can justify. And depend upon it, if you are a child of God, you will sooner or later, in your travels through this wilderness, find your need of Jesus as "able to save to the uttermost." There will be such things in your heart, and such feelings in your mind, the temptations you will meet with will be such, that nothing short of a Saviour that is able to save to the uttermost can save you out of your desperate case and felt circumstances as utterly lost and helpless.
This a great point to come to. All trials, all temptations, all strippings, all emptyings that do not end here are valueless, because they lead the soul away from God. But the convictions, the trials, the temptations, the strippings, the emptyings, that bring us to this spot – that we have nothing, and can do nothing, but the Lord alone must do it all, these have a blessed effect, because they eventually make Jesus very near and dear unto us. . . .
"THE EVERLIVING INTERCESSOR," Preached by J.C. Philpot, in the Baptist Chapel, Bedworth, on Wednesday Evening, April 1, 1846. To read the beginning and ending of this sermon, click here.