“Who then can be Saved?”
“JESUS looked round about, and said unto His disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! … And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? But Jesus looking upon them said, WITH MEN IT IS IMPOSSIBLE, but not with God: for with God all things are possible” (Mark 10:23, 26, 27).
Consider this saying, “With men it is impossible,” and yet remember, preacher, that to save men you are sent. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE; it is impossible for a man to stay the tide as it rolls upon the shore; or to create an angel; it is equally impossible for him to save a soul. With men it is impossible. Impossible to make a man prefer faith to sight, choose the wealth of heaven to the gold of earth, abandon self for Christ, and choose God’s way instead of his own. But the saved man, according to God, does these things; and this means that his very nature is changed. But it is impossible for a man to change his own nature, or that of his fellows, just as it is impossible for him with a few magic words to change the spots of the leopard or the skin of the black. Let the word impossible sink into our souls; we have surely not sufficiently considered it, or our grasp of its meaning has been very superficial. It is impossible, impossible, IMPOSSIBLE!
The preacher who realizes this will not vaunt himself, he will not be puffed up. He will be a humble man owning his nothingness and withal dependent, as he goes forth on his mission. He will not go forth lightly; certainly not to make a parade of his powers or display himself, for he is powerless; “with men it is impossible.”
“Who is sufficient for these things?” God, and God alone, “for with God all things are possible.” Ah! the knowledge of this turns a man to God.
The preacher must turn to God, wait upon God, go forth from God with God’s message, knowing that God can lay hold upon the most unpromising of men and transform them into His saints.
But here lies the great hindrance; if the preacher refuses to let self go and rely only upon God, how can he expect his hearers to let self go for Christ? If the preacher shrinks from owning that he has no power, and that every effort he puts forth as of himself is independence of God, and so sinful, how can he expect his hearers to own that they have no power to save themselves, that their best efforts are sinful, and that God is their only hope? One of the chief causes of powerless, fruitless preaching, is the failure to understand the significance of these words of the Lord.