Are You Ready?
Does it not appear, dear friend, as you read the Scriptures, how marvellously plain God speaks to each one of us by His precious Word: “Be ye also ready” not to anyone other than myself, or whosoever he or she may be whom readeth it. And surely God is in earnest when He speaks thus. To be ready—what does it mean?
Dear reader, let us for a little while consider its deep meaning, for it is well as we read God’s Word, to be able to understand its teachings, either as a lost and Hell-deserving sinner, or as a sinner saved by His sovereign grace.
Do we not all take time, before going to our daily work, to see if we have all we require; it may be tools, or food for the body as without these we would not be able to go on for the day?
Or again, let us examine a soldier being hurriedly called to the battlefield, and he goes without his rifle or ammunition. What a terrible feeling of sorrow enters his breast when he meets the enemy. Why is it so? Did he intend going without the things of which he finds himself deficient? Surely not. Was he not in earnest when he buttoned up his uniform, or fastened his ammunition-belt? But it was empty! What has he to say if called into question on account of what had happened? It could not be said that he did not intend being ready. But such was the case: he was not ready.
Now is there one who does not intend to be saved? No; surely we all hope to be saved at some time or other. But the Scripture says definitely: “Therefore be ye also ready” and it sets aside the thoughts which are often given expression to—”How can we know we are saved?” “It is presumption on our part to say so,” etc. But, dear reader, God has declared in His Word that “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him” John 3:36. We dare not dispute God’s Word. “God forbid, yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written. That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings” Romans 3:4. Let us therefore submit to what God says in His Word.
When God was dealing with His ancient people, the Israelites, when they were come to the promised land, they were to approach Him, through their priest, with the first fruits of the land and say, “A Syrian ready to perish was my father” Deuteronomy 26:5. And again, in the prophecy of Isaiah the same expression, “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were (ready to perish) in the land of Asyria; and the outcast in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the Lord in the holy mount of Jerusalem.” (Our condition by nature is just the same—”ready to perish.”) It is only by God’s mercy we are not consumed, because we are all sinners by nature, and in the same condemnation. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23; and as such we are not ready to meet Him. But, blessed be God, the work of reconciliation has been accomplished by the death and resurrection of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and now we are able to proclaim the glad, and glorious good news that there is a God Who is ready to hear, as it is written, “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear” Isaiah 59:1 the faintest or the feeblest cry for salvation. He is also ready to forgive: “For Thou, Lord, art good and ready to forgive, and plenteous in mercy unto all that call upon Thee” Psalms 86:5. He is able to pardon the sinner that trusts in Him, and the assurance is given: “Thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness” Nehemiah 9:17.
What wondrous love, dear reader, that God, Who made the heavens and earth, should show His love and kindness to us, whose every thought is by nature at enmity with Him, by giving up His well-beloved Son to die for us, and bear the punishment due to us on account of sin. I entreat you to close in with God’s offer of mercy, and then you will, with the writer, be able to say and know that you are saved by His grace, and kept by His power. His Word is, “Kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time” I Peter 1:5.
Just one more “ready” to complete the chain: “The Lord was ready to save me, therefore, we will sing many songs . . . all the days of our life” Isaiah 38:20. We will put them all together. A sinner ready to perish, but a God ready to hear, ready to forgive, ready to pardon, ready to save, all who put their trust in Him—to Who, be all the glory and praise. Amen.