SAVED AND UNSAVED
by Rodney “Gipsy” Smith (31 March 1860 – 4 August 1947)
“The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved” (Jeremiah 8:20).
The two last words in this verse are those which I wish to speak to you about. I will not ask you to follow me through the textual windings of these words, but simply to think of some of the things they suggest. I want you to listen, you whom these words specially describe, for whatever you or I may think, there are only two classes of people: there are the saved and there are the unsaved.
The people who are really Christ’s by an intelligent decision, surrender, and living, vital faith; those who have passed from death unto life; those who are described by the words of the apostle, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus”; those who are described by that wonderful word, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when He shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” Those who are born again and have the witness within that they are accepted in the Beloved; those who can say, with the poet:
Amazing grace, ’tis heaven below
To feel His blood applied, And Jesus, only Jesus know,
My Jesus crucified.
Those who can say with Wesley:
No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine! Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine, Bold I approach the eternal throne, And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Those who are hidden in Him by faith, and who can say with the apostle, “For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death: for what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit. For the law,” says the apostle, “in Christ Jesus hath made me free.” There are many among those I am addressing who know what that experience is; they have come to Calvary by faith; they have bathed His feet with their tears, they have wiped them with the hair of their head; they have heard Him saying just as really and truly as He said it to the woman who did it, “Thy sins are forgiven thee”; and you came from the Cross singing, “I will love Him because He first loved me.” They are those among you — I say it on the authority of the Word of God —who have passed from death unto life, who know Jesus saves them, who have consigned themselves and handed themselves over to be Christ’s men and women; they have sealed the contract; they are God’s property, and they sing, “Not my own, but saved by Jesus, I am His”; my life is His and must flow along His channels, my words must be spoken as in His presence, and my all must be done as for eternity. There are those who know that they are saved.
“Ye are saved by grace.” It is all of free grace, perfect love working
It is all free grace, perfect love working on behalf of those who are [utterly] worthless. It is not by works of our righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy. No work of our own would accomplish this; we are not saved by works, but we are saved for works. You cannot be saved by your works, but you cannot be saved long without works. You cannot build a house without materials, and you cannot live a new life with an old heart; you must know Christ in your own heart before you can claim those mighty words in capitals – SAVED BY GRACE.
My heart saddens as I think of the multitude who are not really saved. And God knows. He sees the innermost heart. “Behold, thou desireth truth in the inward parts,” says the Psalmist. God can turn the light on the most dingy corner of every heart and life, and though there may be the profession and the cloak of religion and the outward garb, going to church, hymn-singing, Bible-reading, and all these things, yet the heart itself may be like a cage of unclean birds; though the outward platter be clean, there may be rottenness and corruption within.
That was the charge our Lord brought against the people who thought themselves saved and who did not want the Light when it came, but rejected it. Some of you are in the same state; indeed, you have got angry with me for telling you the truth. You would rather be left alone; you don’t thank me nor anybody else for telling you the truth, and the devil within you cries out, as it did to the Son of God, “Let us alone, torment us not.” And that is the sad part of it to me, that here in the dawn of the twentieth century, with light, with education, with respectability, with church-going, and a sort of sentimental concern for all these things, that you should listen to me, while on your poor scared conscience, on your poor, worthless and wasted life, and even church-going respectable life, there is written, as by the finger of God, those two words on you —on you, my brother, and on you, my sister, though you were at church last Sunday —Not Saved; and the ink in which they are written was distilled by your own iniquity, which makes it all the blacker.
Yet you know it need not have been so; you might have been saved. Some of you come from the best homes; you had the best training possible. Love! yes, the tenderness of a mother’s love, and all that that means; a father’s love, and all that that means; the sweetest and most beautiful surroundings were yours; you were born, cradled, and nurtured in a home filled with goodness, and in your veins there flows the moral blood, the moral momentum —the result of a godly ancestry; in your veins there flows —in some of you —the blood of saints and martyrs; and yet you are not saved. Think of your opportunities, of your Sunday-school days, your church days. You have been lifted to the gates of gold with the superior weight of advanced opportunity. You cannot plead ignorance at the bar of God; the very angels would cry out against you, and say, “We flew to that man on errands of mercy”; the sun, the moon, and the stars would cry out; the rocks, the streams, and all nature would join in the chorus, “Away with him, for he knew better.”
If you had been born in a gipsy tent where there was no Bible I could pity you, but you come from homes where a Bible was in every room, where you were just saturated with a mother’s influence. It might have been different; it ought to have been, for you had the light — light enough to save a nation. Think of it; think of it. God help us to think! Think of all that has been lavished on you, of all the hopes that have been centered and focused upon you; think of all that God has done for you, of the trouble He has taken, of the patience with which He has borne with you. Think of the mercy He has showed you, of all the life given to you; and remember He has spared you for one purpose—to save you, and somehow or other you have managed to thwart and frustrate His designs until to-day. Not saved—and salvation cost so much, purchased so dearly.
If you want to know how dearly, go a long way back. Sin is old, but the Blood is older: God had a Lamb slain before the foundations of the world; and if you want to know how much it cost God to save you, go back to the beginning, away back over the mighty sea of time; and if that is too far go to Calvary, to Bethlehem, to Nazareth, to Gethsemane. Did you ever think of it? It was no sudden sorrow that overtook Him; it was a long-looked-for and anticipated agony. When He worked on that carpenter’s bench and took hold of that piece of timber, He must have thought of the piece that would be a cross upon which He would hang. And when He took up that hammer, don’t you suppose He thought of another hammer that would strike Him; and when He handled those nails, don’t you think there were other nails in His mind that would pierce His hands and feet? And when He took the knots out of that timber, don’t you think they would remind Him of the thorns that would pierce His lovely brow? Ah, He must have thought of it; He knew it all; yet He faced it all, and did not turn to the right nor to the left. When His loved ones tried to prevent him going to that bloody tree, He set them back and set His face towards Calvary.
Born in another man’s stable; buried in another man’s grave; His first pillow, straw, and His last, a crown of thorns; His first companions, cattle, and His last, thieves; His first resting-place, somebody else’s manger, and His last, somebody else’s cross; and it was for me, for you.
Born in another man’s stable; buried in another man’s grave; His first pillow, straw, and His last, a crown of thorns; His first companions, cattle, and His last, thieves; His first resting-place, somebody else’s manger, and His last, somebody else’s cross; and it was for me, for you. There is nothing that has cost God so much as this, and yet there is nothing which you have treated with such contempt. Don’t be afraid of the Cross; I know it is your humiliation, but it is also your salvation. I know it shows up your darkness and your sin, but it is the key which unlocks the gates of gold and invites everybody to come in and share the bounties of God’s love. I would rather be Gipsy Smith this side of the Cross than Adam on the other side. If we sin we have an Advocate with the Father. They used to go to the Cross to die, now they go to live; it used to be the place of death, but now it is the place of life. Flashing out from that Cross with its outstretched arms inviting the world, I hear words —words sweeter than any music the world has ever listened to —crying, “Him that cometh unto Me, I will in no wise cast out.” God help you to come!
Think of it in this light: Not saved, and salvation so important. If your sin was base and black enough, cruel enough to tear Jesus from the Throne and nail Him to the accursed tree —and He was obedient even unto death — what will your sin do with you if you do not get rid of it? It will have no mercy. Unless you are saved according to God’s plan, you are lost; there is no other Name, no other Way, no other Salvation, and if you miss this, you miss all; your salvation depends upon that Cross; your emancipation depends on that surrender; your hope for this life and for the life to come hangs on that Cross. Pull that down and you are doomed; the world has absolutely nothing instead to offer you. Turn your back on this, and you are lost forever.
Think of it in this light: Not saved, and your chances of being saved going, passing away. Some of you have less chance now than you ever had in your life, and if you miss this opportunity you may never have another; you can never tell how near Death may not be; and if you let this chance go by, God help you, for it may be your last on earth. My brother, my sister, be saved now; Jesus calls and wants to save you, but even He cannot save you against your will. He has seen your heart moved and made tender, and you have gone away unsaved. He has had to say, “Ye would not come unto Me that ye might have life.” If I could save you, I would; if my arms were strong and long enough I would bear you all to Jesus. If one word of mine could do it, I would speak it; if anything I could do would bring the unsaved gathering to my Lord, how gladly would I work a miracle! But it is beyond me, and there are some things Jesus cannot do; and one of them is that He cannot save a soul against its will; and unless some of you make haste He will have to tell you some day that He would have saved you, but you thwarted Him; He longed to do it, but you would not have it; you resisted to the bitter end.
When my father was a young man, a band of our people, the gipsies, fifty or more of them, had been picking a field of hops on a farm near Tunbridge. Some of you may be old enough to remember it, for it is a matter of history and if you have ever occasion to visit Tunbridge, ask to see the monument they erected to my people. These gipsies had finished one field, and were crossing to another field on the other side of the Medway. They mounted the wagon —men, women, and children—and away the horses started, and with jokes, songs, and laughter made merry music to the other toilers in the fields as they passed.
As they turned a bend in the lane they saw the old rotten wooden bridge over which they hoped to pass safely. The water was in flood and flowing over the roadway, and when the women saw it they were frightened, and some of them screamed —for gipsy women are only like other women—and before the drivers could stop, the horses, startled by the screams, ran away, crashing into the sides of the old structure, and instantly they were all thrown into the flowing river current. A brave young gipsy seized one of the horses drifting down, and watched for one who was dearer to him than anyone in the world —his mother —and the gipsy boy loves his mother. Presently he saw her, and after many struggles he reached her. But she seized him in such a way that he could not manage to save her, and at last she sank.
When the day of the funeral came there were thirty-nine gipsies (sic) buried, and people gathered from all the countryside to show their sympathy with these poor people. Forgetting the crowd and the clergyman, the poor lad crept down into the trench which contained the coffins, and, kneeling beside his mother’s, he cried: “Mother, mother, I tried to save you; I did all a man could do to save you, but you would not let me.” And if some of you don’t mind, Gipsy Smith will have to cry at the Bar of God, “I did all a man could do to save you, but you would not let me”; and if you don’t mind, Jesus Christ will have to say, “I did all a God could do to save you, but you would not let Me.”
O be saved, His grace is free;
O be saved, His grace is free; O be saved, He died for thee.