“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” 2 Timothy 1:12
Suggested Further Reading: Hebrews 6:13-20
Joab, when he fled from the sword of Solomon, laid hold on the horns of the altar, thinking that surely when he had laid hold on the altar he was safe. His was vain confidence, for he was dragged from the horns of the altar and slain. But if you can lay hold on the horns of the altar of God, even Christ, you are most surely safe, and no sword of vengeance can ever reach you. I saw the other day a remarkable picture, which I shall use as an illustration of the way of salvation by faith in Jesus. An offender had committed a crime for which he must die, but it was in the olden time when churches were considered to be sanctuaries in which criminals might hide themselves and so escape. See the transgressor—he rushes towards the church, the guards pursue him with their drawn swords, all athirst for his blood, they pursue him even to the church door. He rushes up the steps, and just as they are about to overtake him and hew him in pieces on the threshhold of the church, out comes the Bishop, and holding up the crucifix he cries, “Back, back! Stain not the precincts of God’s house with blood! Stand back!” and the guards at once respect the emblem and stand back, while the poor fugitive hides himself behind the robes of the priest. It is even so with Christ. The guilty sinner flies to the cross—flies straight away to Jesus, and though Justice pursues him, Christ lifts up his wounded hands and cries to Justice, “Stand back! Stand back! I shelter this sinner; in the secret place of my tabernacle do I hide him; I will not suffer him to perish, for he puts his trust in me.”
For meditation: We should never be ashamed to be seen hiding behind Jesus (Mark 8:38).
Sermon no. 271
21 August (1859)