God has three axes! One He uses in pruning His trees, that the fruitful branches may bring forth more fruit. The work of this axe is not judgment or destruction–but mercy and blessing. It is the good, the fruitful tree–which feels its keen edge. “Every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:2
Then God has another axe, which He uses only in judgment in cutting down those trees which after all His culture of them, bring forth no fruit. “The axe already lies at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit, will be cut down and thrown into the fire!” Matthew 3:10. The picture is very suggestive. The axe at the tree’s root, or raised in the woodman’s hand to strike–shows that judgment impends, hangs ready to fall. At any moment, the tree may be cut down! “Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil!” Luke 13:7
The axe of death really lies all the while, at the root of every life. There is not a moment when it is not true–that there is but a step between us and death! Life is all very critical. There is not a moment in any day, on which may not turn all the destinies of eternity. It certainly is an infinitely perilous thing, for an immortal soul to rest an hour with the axe of judgment waiting to strike the blow which will end the day of mercy forever! Only supremest folly can be blind men to such vital interests!