A Spiritual Death and a Hidden Life
Preached on July 20th, 1856, at Gower Street Chapel, London, by J. C. Philpot (see here)
What a remarkable mercy! What a blessing, as beyond all price, so beyond all conception, and all expression, is it to be a believer in the Son of God! Hundreds, thousands, millions, live and die without any knowledge of Him, any faith in Him, any love towards Him. And what must be their eternal destiny? What but the lake that burns with fire and brimstone? Our reasoning mind, when not subdued by divine teaching, our naturally compassionate feelings, when not softened into acquiescence with the divine will, pause and ponder; and when in imagination we seem to look down into the flames of eternal woe, and think of the thousands and millions that will forever welter there, we instinctively shrink back. If such feelings be indulged, we may soon be drawn aside to pity lost souls; when once we begin to pity lost souls, Satan may draw us on to pity lost devils; and when we begin to pity lost devils we rebel against God, until the mind becomes filled with every base imagination too vile for me even to allude to. We must, therefore, at any cost, hold fast by the Word of God's testimony; for when once we depart from that, we wander into mazes of error and confusion. Now, if we adhere to God's testimony, we seem, to my mind, to come to these three points—
1. That the soul which lives and dies without knowing the Lord Jesus Christ cannot be a partaker of eternal life; for He Himself says, "This is life eternal, that they might know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent." If, then, eternal life consists in the knowledge of Christ, eternal death must be the consequence of not knowing Him.
2. Again—the Lord says, "If you believe not that I am He, you shall die in your sins." "He who believes and is baptized shall be saved; he who believes not shall be damned." We come, therefore, to this solemn conclusion, that if one lives and dies without a spiritual faith in the Son of God, he is and must be eternally lost.
3. We come to a third conclusion, from the same inspired Word of testimony, that if a man loves not the Lord Jesus Christ, and lives and dies without His love being shed abroad in his heart, he falls under the curse of God; for the Apostle Paul, speaking in His name, says, "If any man loves not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema," that is, let the solemn curse of God rest upon him.
So that if we adhere to the Word of God's testimony we come to this solemn conclusion, though in coming to it we seem to cut off and indeed do cut off millions, that without a saving knowledge of, without a spiritual faith in, and without a divine love to, the Son of God, there is no salvation; and therefore that those who die without that knowledge, without that faith, and without that love, must perish in their sins.
But the point that concerns you and me is, whether we have this saving knowledge of, this living faith in, and this heavenly love toward the Son of God; for we have to stand before His bar, we have souls to be saved or lost, and the grand question with every one whom God has quickened into spiritual life is, "Lord, is it I? How does my soul stand before God? On what ground does it rest for eternity?"
Philpot expressed what is the historic Baptist faith in these words, and it shows that today's "Primitive Baptists" are not in fact what they claim to be.