He that believeth - He that credits this Gospel as a revelation from God: and is baptized - takes upon him the profession of it, obliging himself to walk according to its precepts: he shall be saved - redeemed from sin here, and brought at last to the enjoyment of my eternal glory. But he that believeth not, shall be damned - because he rejects the only provision that could be effectual to his soul's salvation.
He that believeth - That is, believeth the gospel. “He who credits it to be true, and acts as if it were true.” This is the whole of faith. Man is a sinner. He should act on the belief of this truth and repent. There is a God. Man should believe it, and fear and love him, and seek his favor. The Lord Jesus died to save him. To have faith in him is to believe that this is true, and to act accordingly; that is, to trust him, to rely on him, to love him, to feel that we have no merit, and to cast our all upon him. There is a heaven and a hell. To believe this is to credit the account and act as if it were true - to seek the one and avoid the other. We are to die. To believe this is to act as if this were so; to be in readiness for it, and to expect it daily and hourly. In one word, faith is feeling and acting as if there were a God, a Saviour, a heaven, a hell; as if we were sinners and must die; as if we deserved eternal death and were in danger of it; and, in view of all, casting our eternal interests on the mercy of God in Christ Jesus. To do this is to be a Christian: not to do it is to be an infidel.
Is baptized - Is initiated into the church by the application of water, as significant that he is a sinner, and needs the purifying influences of the Holy Spirit. It is worthy of remark that Jesus has made “baptism” of so much importance. He did not say, indeed, that a man could not be saved without baptism, but he has strongly implied that where this is neglected “knowing it to be a command of the Saviour,” it endangers the salvation of the soul. Faith and baptism are the beginnings of a Christian life: the one the beginning of piety in the soul, the other of its manifestation before men or of a profession, of religion. Every man endangers his eternal interest by being ashamed of Christ before men. See Mark 8:38.
Shall be damned - That is, condemned by God and cast off from his presence, 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9. It implies that they will be adjudged to be guilty by God in the day of judgment Romans 2:12, Romans 2:16; Matthew 25:41; that they will deserve to die forever Romans 2:6, Romans 2:8, and that they will be cast out into a place of woe to all eternity, Matthew 25:46. It may be asked how it can be just in God to condemn men forever for not believing the gospel? I answer:
1.God has a right to appoint his own terms of mercy.
2.Man has no claim on him for heaven.
3.The sinner rejects the terms of salvation, knowingly, deliberately, and perseveringly.
4.He has a special disregard and contempt for the gospel.
5.His unbelief is produced by the love of sin.
6.He shows by this that he has no love for God, and his law, and for eternity.
7.He slights the objects dearest to God and most like him; and,
8.He must be miserable.
A creature who has no confidence in God; who does not believe that he is true or worthy of his regard, and who never seeks his favor, must be wretched. He rejects God, and he must go into eternity without a Father and without a God. He has no source of comfort in himself, and must die for ever. There is no being in eternity but God that can make man happy, and without his favor the sinner must be wretched.
The Saviour devoted more time and labor to healing the afflicted of their maladies than to preaching. His last injunction to His apostles, His representatives on earth, was to lay hands on the sick that they might recover. When the Master shall come, He will commend those who have visited the sick and relieved the necessities of the afflicted. CH 34.1
The tender sympathies of our Saviour were aroused for fallen and suffering humanity. If you would be His followers, you must cultivate compassion and sympathy. Indifference to human woes must give place to lively interest in the sufferings of others. The widow, the orphan, the sick and the dying, will always need help. Here is an opportunity to proclaim the gospel—to hold up Jesus, the hope and consolation of all men. When the suffering body has been relieved, and you have shown a lively interest in the afflicted, the heart is opened, and you can pour in the heavenly balm. If you are looking to Jesus and drawing from Him knowledge and strength and grace, you can impart His consolation to others, because the Comforter is with you. CH 34.2Read in context »