But the miry places thereof and the marshes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given to salt.
I. THE GOSPEL HAS NOT THE SAME HEALING EFFECT ON ALL WHERE IT COMES. Has the Gospel come unto me, not in word only, but in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance, and effectually wrought to the turning me from vain idols to the living and true God (1 Thessalonians 1:5)? Thus it does in all that are saved. But oh, to how many does it prove an empty sound, and who remain the same persons that they were before they heard it? They were dark and defiled, ignorant and unholy, lifeless and fruitless, and they are so still.
II. THE GREAT SIN OF CONTINUING UNFRUITFUL UNDER THE GOSPEL, OF OUR REMAINING IN THE SAME CORRUPT STATE IN WHICH IT FOUND US, AND SO RECEIVING THE GRACE OF GOD IN VAIN.
1. This is a reproach to the Gospel, as if it were spiritless thing, without power or efficacy to produce what it was sent for.
2. As it is a reproach to the Gospel, so also a grief to those that labour in it.
III. THE GREATNESS OF THE JUDGMENT FOR GOD TO SAY OF ANY, THEY SHALL NOT BE HEALED, BUT BE LEFT TO PERPETUAL BARRENNESS.
1. A soul not healed, or totally barren, is yet out of Christ: and to be doomed to perpetual barrenness, never to be healed, is forever to be excluded from Him.
2. A soul not healed, but given to perpetual barrenness, has no promise of the protection of Providence, but may be exposed to all the evils of the present life. Thus God threatens His barren vineyard with it (Isaiah 5:5, 6).
3. They that are finally forsaken as incurable, and given up to perpetual barrenness, have not a moment's security from eternal wrath.
IV. THE STEPS BY WHICH SUCH A JUDGMENT IS BROUGHT ON AND HOW GOD USUALLY PROCEEDS TO IT.
1. God leaves them to a careless, indifferent spirit about what momentous things the Gospel reveals, and the concern of their souls in them.
2. Such a carelessness and indifferency is usually attended with blindness and insensibility, so as not to apprehend their disease, and mind a cure, and perceive their need of it.
3. Sometimes the waters of the sanctuary are staid, or diverted; or else, they that would not be healed by them are removed to places where they have none of the external means of knowledge and fruitfulness they once enjoyed.
4. The healing grace and influence of the Spirit may be withheld; without the help of which, the disease of the soul cannot be removed, nor its barrenness cured.
5. The Spirit being withdrawn, they may be left of God to entertain errors and to believe lies; whereby they may think themselves whole, when ready to perish, and cry Peace, peace, to themselves when sudden destruction is near (2 Thessalonians 2:11).
6. Upon this, the resolution may be taken up to let them alone, that His Spirit shall not strive with them.APPLICATION. —
1. Avoid those things which lead to this, which are such as these: —
(1) Making light of the waters of the sanctuary by neglecting or careless attending.
(2) Taking up with a mere profession of religion, and attending upon the means of grace without looking to see that their end be answered in a saving change wrought within.
(3) Neglecting or opposing the convictions of conscience, and the motions of the Spirit.
(4) Setting death and judgment at too great a distance, and flattering yourselves into stupidity from a vain presumption of having many years to come.
(5) Delaying to look after a cure till another time.
(6) Being too much taken up with the body and this present world, the cares of which choke the Word, and cause it to become unfruitful.
2. Take the course necessary to prevent it.
(1) Apprehend the dangerous case you are in by nature.
(2) Attend upon the means God hath appointed in order to a cure.
(3) Be diligent in hearing, much in prayer, for the presence and influence of the Spirit, to heal, quicken, and recover you to God, and bring you into vital union to Christ.
Parallel VersesKJV: But the miry places thereof and the marishes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given to salt.