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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MARK - Chapter 16 - Verse 16
Verse 16. He that believeth. That is, believeth the gospel. Credits it to be true, and acts as if it were true. This is the whole of faith. Man is a sinner, he should act on the belief of this truth, and repent. There is a God. Man should believe it, and fear and love him, and seek his favour. The Lord Jesus died to save him. To have faith in him, is to believe that this is true, and to act accordingly; i.e., to trust him, to rely on him, to love him, to feel that we have no merit, and to cast our all upon him. There is a heaven and a hell. To believe this, is to credit the account, and act as if it were true; to seek the one, and avoid the other. We are to die. To believe this, is to act as if this were so; to be in readiness for it, and to expect it daily and hourly. In one word, faith is feeling and acting as if there were a God, a Saviour, a heaven, a hell; as if we were sinners, and must die; as if we deserved eternal death, and were in danger of it; and, in view of all, casting our eternal interests on the mercy of God in Christ Jesus. To do this, is to be a Christian; not to do it, is to be an infidel.
Is baptized. Is initiated into the church by the application of water, as significant that he is a sinner, and needs the purifying influences of the Holy Ghost. It is worthy of remark, that Jesus has made baptism of so much importance, he did not say, indeed, that a man could not be saved without baptism, but he has strongly implied that where this is neglected, knowing it to be a command of the Saviour, it endangers the salvation of the soul. Faith and baptism are the beginnings of a Christian life: the one the beginning of piety in the soul, the other of its manifestation before men, or of a profession of religion. And every man endangers his eternal interest by being ashamed of Christ before men. See Mr 8:38.
Shall be damned. That is, condemned by God, and cast off from his presence, 2 Th 1:6-9. It implies that they will be adjudged to be guilty by God in the day of judgment, Ro 2:12,16; Mt 25:41; that they will deserve to die for ever, (Ro 2:6,8) and that they will be cast out into a place of woe to all eternity, Mt 25:46. It may be asked how it can be just in God to condemn men for ever for not believing the gospel. I answer:
(1.) God has a right to appoint his own terms of mercy.
(2.) Man has no claim on him for heaven
(3.) The sinner rejects the terms of salvation knowingly, deliberately, and perseveringly.
(4.) He has a special disregard and contempt for the gospel.
(5.) His unbelief is produced by the love of sin.
(6.) He shows by this that he has no love for God, and his law, and for eternity.
(7.) He slights the objects dearest to God, and most like him; and,
(8.) he must be miserable. A creature who has no confidence in God, who does not believe that he is true or worthy of his regard, and who never seeks his favour, must be wretched. He rejects God, and he must go into eternity without a Father and without a God. And he has no source of comfort in himself, and must die for ever. There is no being in eternity but God that can make man happy; and without his favour the sinner must be wretched.
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