When I passed by you . . . I said to you . . . ‘Live!’
Believer, consider gratefully this mandate of mercy. Note that this decree of God is majestic. In our text we find a sinner with nothing in him but sin, expecting nothing but wrath; but the eternal Lord passes by in His glory. He looks, He pauses, and He pronounces the solitary but royal word, “Live.” Only God can speak in this way, dispensing life with a single syllable! Again, this decree is manifold. When He says “Live,” it includes many things. Here is judicial life. The sinner is ready to be condemned, but the Mighty One says, “Live,” and he rises pardoned and absolved.
It is spiritual life. We did not know Jesus—our eyes could not see Christ, our ears could not hear His voice—but Jehovah said “Live,” and we who were dead in trespasses and sins were quickened. Moreover, it includes glory-life, which is the perfection of spiritual life. “I said to you . . . ‘Live,'” and that word rolls on through all the years of time till death comes; and even in the shadows of death, the Lord’s voice is still heard: “Live!” In the morning of the resurrection it is that selfsame voice that is echoed by the archangel, “Live,” and as holy spirits rise to heaven to be blessed forever in the glory of their God, it is in the power of this same word, “Live.” Note again, that it is an irresistible decree.
Saul of Tarsus is on the road to Damascus to arrest the saints of the living God. A voice is heard from heaven, and a light is seen above the brightness of the sun, and Saul is crying out, “Who are you, Lord?”1 This decree is of free grace. When sinners are saved, it is only and solely because God will do it to magnify His free, unpurchased, unsought grace. Christians, see your position—debtors to grace; show your gratitude by earnest, Christlike lives; and as God has called you to live, see to it that you do so in sincerity.
1) Acts 9:5