Charles Simeon Commentary - Hosea 13:9 - 13:9

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Charles Simeon Commentary - Hosea 13:9 - 13:9


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DISCOURSE: 1174

HELP IN CHRIST FOR SELF-DESTROYED SINNERS

Hos_13:9. O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help.

THE great mass of nominal Christians need to be informed respecting their state by nature, and the means by which they are to be delivered from it; and they who have a theoretical acquaintance with these things, yet need to be put frequently in remembrance of them, in order that they may be more abidingly influenced by the consideration of them. In the words of our text, all mistakes on these points are clearly rectified; and we are told on the authority of God himself, that,

I.       Man’s destruction is of himself—

Whatever we may imagine to the contrary, there are multitudes of the human race eternally destroyed [Note: Mat_7:13-14.]. Their destruction too is altogether of themselves: for,

1.       They will walk in the way that leads to it—

[God has told them plainly that eternal misery must be the fruit of sin and impenitence [Note: 1Co_6:9-10. Luk_13:3.]. Yet men will continue to disregard the warnings of God, and to practise the things which are displeasing to him! What then must become of them, if there be any truth in the word of God? Or whom must they blame, when they feel the judgments which they would not fear? The man, who by a poisonous draught, or by any other means, puts a period to his life, is not more the author of his own death, than these are of their own destruction.]

2.       They will not use the means which God has prescribed for their escape—

[God has graciously opened a way for the salvation of a ruined world: he has sent his only dear Son to die for sinners, and his good Spirit to instruct and sanctify them. But men will not seek to be washed in the Redeemer’s blood: they will not pray for the influences of the Holy Spirit: they will not cordially accept the salvation offered them. They are so intent on their worldly business or pleasure, that they will not afford time for spiritual employments. Is it not then utterly their own fault if they perish? A man, who having taken a poisonous draught, whether intentionally or not, would be justly considered as the author of his own death, if he obstinately refused an antidote that was tendered to him: and so must they be considered as destroying themselves who neglect the means which God has provided for their escape.]

3.       They make use of every thing ultimately to ensure their own destruction—

[Whether they look upwards to God, or around them to the world, or within them to their own experience, they turn every thing into an occasion of fostering their own delusions, and of lulling themselves asleep in a fatal security [Note: This truth will be seen in the most striking point of view, by the following concise statement. Men take this occasion,

1.       From God himself—

From his perfections—

From his sovereignty; “If he will not give me his grace, how can I help myself?”

From his mercy: “God is too merciful to condemn any man.”

From his providence—

If it be indulgent; “These blessings are proofs of his love.”

If it he afflictive; “I have my sufferings in this life.”

From his grace—

“He gave his Son to die for me; therefore I have nothing to fear.”

2.       From the world around them—

From the godly—

If they are consistent; “They are unreasonably precise.”

If they are inconsistent; “They are hypocrites; they are all alike; I am as good as they; only I make less talk about religion.”

From the ungodly—

“I can never think that so many are wrong, and so few right.”

3.       From their own experience—

If they have been corrupt; “Why did God give me these passions?”

If they have been moral; “I thank thee that I am not as other men are.”

If they are learned; “Cannot I understand my Bible without Divine illumination?”

If they are unlearned; “My ignorance is excusable; I am no scholar.”

If they have been neglectful of religious duties; “I have done no one any harm.”

If they have been observant of religious duties; they put their formal services in the place of Christ, and consider them as decisive evidences of their conversion.

Thus instead of arguing from these topics so as to stimulate their exertions, they derive encouragement from them all to continue in their sins.] — — —]

But though man’s destruction is of himself, we must not suppose that his salvation also is of himself: no;

II.      His salvation is of God alone—

If we inquire who it is, that thus arrogates to himself the exclusive power of saving sinners, we shall find that it is the Lord Jesus Christ, who alone is “King” in Sion [Note: ver. 10. with Mat_21:5 and Act_5:31.], “besides whom there is no Saviour [Note: ver. 4.],” and who invariably claims this as his unalienable prerogative [Note: Isa_45:22. with Mat_11:28 and Joh_7:37.].

1.       There is help for us in no other—

[Who besides him could possibly make atonement for our sins? Man himself could never satisfy Divine Justice — — — Nor could all the angels in heaven offer unto God a sufficient sacrifice for the sins of men? — — — None but He who was “Jehovah’s Fellow” was equal to the task of expiating transgression, and effecting a reconciliation between God and man [Note: Psa_89:19. with Heb_10:4-10.] — — —

Who besides him could rescue us out of the hands of our spiritual enemies? He is that stronger man, who alone can vanquish our mighty adversary, and deliver us from our sore bondage [Note: Luk_11:21; Luk_11:23.] — — —

Who besides him can teach us the way of salvation [Note: Mat_11:27.]? or incline us to seek after it [Note: Php_2:13.]? or render our endeavours effectual [Note: Joh_15:5.]?

We may truly say then, that as there is no other foundation on which to build our hopes [Note: 1Co_3:11.], so neither is there any other name or power whereby we can be saved [Note: Act_4:12.]? “Christ is all, and in all [Note: Col_3:11.].”]

2.       In him there is help sufficient—

[There is nothing wanting in sinful man, which is not abundantly supplied in Jesus Christ. In him there is wisdom to direct the most ignorant [Note: Mat_11:29.],—merit to justify the most guilty [Note: Act_13:39.],—grace to sanctify the most polluted [Note: 1Co_6:11.],—and strength to render even the weakest of the human race a conqueror, yea, “more than conqueror,” over all his enemies [Note: 2Co_12:9. Php_4:13.]. He is furnished of God for this very end [Note: Isa_61:1.], and appointed of him to this very office [Note: 1Co_1:30.], and is in every respect “able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him [Note: Heb_7:25.].”]

Address—

1.       Those who are ignorant of their real state—

[Too many, alas! are altogether ignorant of their undone state, and still more so of the guilt attaching to them as the authors of their own misery. But whether we know these things or not, it is an indisputable fact that we have destroyed ourselves, and that there is no possibility of recovery for us but in and through Christ. Let us then seek instruction on these infinitely important subjects, lest we “perish for ever for lack of knowledge [Note: Hos_4:6.].” And let us not for one moment look for acceptance in any other way than through the Lord Jesus Christ, as though we were not self-destroved, or there remained in us any sufficiency to help ourselves. For so destitute are we of all help in ourselves, that, if a good thought would cancel all our past iniquities, and open the kingdom of heaven to us, we could not supply it [Note: 2Co_3:5.]. If ever we would partake of the felicity of heaven, we must renounce all self-dependence, and look for our help in Christ alone [Note: Rom_9:30-33.].]

2.       Those who are desponding on account of it—

[When men begin to see their perishing condition, and to fuel a consciousness that they have been the authors of their own ruin, they often distress themselves with apprehensions that their state is irremediable. Now the text affords a complete antidote to all desponding fears: in it God addresses himself immediately to the self-ruined sinner, and says to him, “I am thy help.” Whatever guilt therefore any one may have contracted, and whatever cause he may have to reproach himself, let him only consider who it is that says to him, “In me is thy help,” and he may instantly dismiss his fears. Let him “be strong in faith, giving glory to God;” and he shall find that, “before Zerubbabel the mountains will become a plain [Note: Isa_40:27-31. Zec_4:7.].”]