In our next, we will conclude this subject, and trust we shall do it to the satisfaction of our readers.
“For what if some did not believe, shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid; yea let God be true, but every man a liar.” Romans iii:3, 4.
We now resume the argument in reference to Christ the Saviour of men, as we proposed in our last. We here inquire of the objector—do you then grant that he is the Saviour of all men—the Saviour of the world as the scriptures declare? If so, we assure you that, he will save the number of whom he is declared to be the Saviour. But, replies the objector, he is not the Saviour of any man till he believes. We ask— till he believes what? Why, replies the objector, till he believes that Christ is his Saviour—if he believes so, it will be so. Let us understand this—you say he is not the Saviour of an unbeliever, still he must believe that he is, and that will make him so. Then he must first believe a lie and that will create a truth. This is (as Paul says) “turning the truth of God into a lie.” But let us notice the record. “This is the record, God hath given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” Do you grant, that God has given eternal life in Christ to every man? No, says the objector. Very well, then they cannot be called upon to believe it. Finally, says the objector, grant that he has. This being granted, we would ask, whether they will not come in possession of it, if God’s promise stands? Certainly. But, replies the objector, it is not theirs, till they believe. Then the record is not true till they believe it; because, on this principle, they must first believe, that they have eternal life in Christ before it exists, and believing this lie will create it.
But, replies the objector, it is impossible that any man has eternal life given him in Christ, till he believes. We then ask, what truth do you wish him to believe, so that he may obtain this eternal life? The fact is, there is none. He must believe this truth, itself because it is the record, but this, you have taken from him. You cannot call upon a man to believe, till you admit the existence of that very truth you wish him to believe. In order fully to expose the inconsistency of this conditional salvation, we will introduce an example. Suppose a father tell his servant, I have a son in London, nineteen years of age, who is in poverty and distress. I have given him in my will five thousand dollars, and I promise that it shall be put into his possession in two years. It is recorded and that record is true. Go my servant, and proclaim to him glad tidings of great joy, and call upon him to believe, so that he may enjoy a salvation by faith during those two years of suspense, and be made happy even amidst his wants by looking forward to when it shall be put into his possession.