The Wreck and the Island - by JB Stoney
THE WRECK and THE ISLAND
Man in himself is born to die. He comes forth in bloom and freshness, like a flower, to droop and wither away under the very influences which at first he successfully resists. Man in his history is like a ship at sea, at first riding triumphantly over the waters in which he at last (be the voyage long or short) sinks and disappears!
"Death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Rom. 5: 12). "It is appointed unto men once to die" (Heb. 9:27), and however brightly or usefully a man may pursue his course here,warding off the power under which eventually he will succumb, yet the time comes when he must bow to the power of death.
Man in his brightest day is but the ship in trim, with all her sails set; but sooner or later it must become a wreck; and the greater or grander the ship, the greater the wreck. The end of man must be wreck, for he is a sinner, and death is the wages of sin. Death is appointed unto men because of sin.
"But after this the Judgment" (Heb. 9: 27). "This is the Second Death" (Rev. 20: 14).
"God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3: 16). He sent His Son, who was not a Man until He came here. He enters on this earth, born of woman, in order to bear the judgment resting on man. He, who knew no sin, went under the sea of death and judgment—the very sea in which man is sinking—and, rising out of it in the power of His own life, He is now the Island for everyone to land on who believes on Him, the One "whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness ... that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus" (Rom. 3:25,26). And "through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by him all that believe are justified from all things" (Acts 13: 38, 39). Believing on Him, I leave the wreck, or the ship which is doomed to be a wreck, for the Island, and then, in a new region, having received life in the power of the Holy Spirit, I am free; and for me there is "no condemnation" (Rom. 8:1). If you don't believe in the Island, you continue in the wreck; but if you do—if you believe in Christ, who has risen out of death and judgment—you will abandon the man who is under judgment, and, like the thief on the cross (Luke 23:41), you will say, 'I am justly condemned (I, the man—the wreck), I receive the due reward of my deeds, but this man (Jesus Christ) hath done nothing amiss.' You leave the wreck for the Island—yourself for the Saviour.
"Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification" (Rom. 4: 25).
"This Man" is the One for you, your life and your eternal portion.
"The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 6: 23).
Death stares man in the face, and all the science of man cannot get him out of the fatal snare. Have you anything to put in the place of this which God proposes to do for the believer in Jesus—that is, the gospel?
An infidel said to me that he did not believe it. 'Well,' I said, 'Have you anything to put in its place? Have you any other remedy?' 'No,' he said. 'You have no remedy,' I said, 'and yet you do not believe the only remedy that has been provided.' The gospel is the only remedy; that is the great thing to arrive at. God offers the gospel—it has no rival.
Man treats the proposal God has made—the most wonderful thing that ever came into the world—in a way that shows what cavillers are and how true Scripture is when it says, "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God" (Ps. 14: 1).
Do not turn away from such great salvation. When the jailer asked Paul, "What must I do to be saved?" Paul's reply was, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house" (Acts 16: 30, 31). So I say to you, 'Will you go away despising God's offer?' What a terrible thing! The Lord grant, in His infinite mercy, that His word may be effectual in delivering you out of the condition of misery into which you have been brought by sin.
"As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die?" (Ezek. 33: 11).