by Alexander Marshall (1846-1928)
This article has been a blessing to thousands of people over many years. In booklet form it has been published in more than 20 languages with over four million copies in print. It highlights around 30 questions, excuses and enquiries about the vital topic of God’s salvation and the way to heaven. In answering all of these common issues, Alexander Marshall gives wise scriptural counsel which has led many to a saving understanding of the gospel of Christ. May you find help from it too!
1. “I’ve never done anyone any harm”
Such an excuse has often been given. Is this your excuse? Do you really mean that you have never done any harm? Have you never cherished an impure, unkind or wicked thought? Have you never spoken a hasty word, told a lie or attempted to mislead anyone? Have you loved God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind? Have you loved your neighbour as yourself? “Oh no,” you reply. “No one has done so.”
Never mind others just now. You admit that you have sinned. If one were found guilty of breaking the laws of this country, who would believe that he had done no harm? There is no use concealing the fact that you have not been what you ought to have been; you have not done what you should have done—in other words, you are a sinner, and the Word of God declares, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezek 18:4). “The wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23). Take your place as lost and ruined in God’s sight, and give up all attempts to excuse or cover up your sins. They cannot be hid from God.
2. “I’ll turn over a new leaf”
It is all very well to say that you will “turn over a new leaf”. But let me ask, What about the past black leaves of guilt? Turning over a new leaf does not remove the blotted ones.
It may be at one time you were addicted to drinking or swearing or other bad habits, but of late you have “turned over a new leaf” and are become what the world calls a “reformed” person. This is right and proper, but don’t forget that future good conduct can never blot out past disobedience.
A merchant finds that he is in difficulties. He takes his cash book and begins a “new leaf”, forgetting that there is a “carried over” and a “brought forward” column. New figures on the “new leaf” won’t pay the old debts. Every page of our life’s account is headed with a “brought forward”. “Turning over a new leaf” won’t do for you. The Saviour’s declaration is, “Ye must be born again” (John 3:3-7).
3. “God is merciful”
To one Satan says, “God is too merciful to punish sinners”, and if this is not believed he says, “If God does punish the sinner in hell, the punishment won’t be eternal.”
It is a blessed truth that “God is merciful”, but He is also holy and just, and He never can be merciful at the expense of His justice. All His attributes are equally balanced and cannot conflict with each other. He who is long-suffering and slow to anger “will by no means clear the guilty”.
God’s pardoning mercy flows only through one channel, and that is the atonement of Christ. All who refuse to accept life through His death must forever “dwell with the devouring fire”. “The wicked shall be turned into hell” (Psa 9:17). “He that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36).
4. “If I do the best I can, surely I will be saved”
Have you always done your best? Have you not again and again done what you ought not to have done and omitted doing what you should have done? “I don’t pretend to be perfect.” Assuredly not, but remember that this admission removes every possible hope of your being saved by your doings. One sin is sufficient to condemn you, and you know that you have committed thousands. What is the use of thinking, “If a man does the best he can”, when God has declared that none have ever done so? “All we like sheep have gone astray” (Isa 53:6). “They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Psa 14:3). The “best” that you can do is to admit that you are ruined, helpless and undone. If from this day until the day of your death you did not commit a single sin, you would not be saved on that ground, for sinners are not saved by what they do, but by what Christ has done for them. “To him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Rom 4:5). Stop working for salvation and receive God’s gift.
5. “What about all my good works?”
When sinners are shown that salvation is all of grace and “not of works”, it is not an uncommon thing to hear such say, “You don’t believe in good works?” This is a great mistake. What the Word of God shows us is that an unconverted man cannot do a good work. A “good work” must spring from the good motive of love to the Lord Jesus Christ.
The moment a person is saved, that very moment everything he does ought to be done to the glory of God. No sooner do we read of the jailor’s conversion than we see him proving his faith by his works. “He took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes.” (Read the account in Acts 16.)
The Bible teaches, “Without faith it is impossible to please [God]”, and so long as you are unsaved, you are utterly unable to do a single “good work”. Believe in God’s wondrous love to you, and you won’t be able to keep from working for Him in return for what He has done for you.
6. “It is difficult to be a Christian”
Do you mean that it is difficult to become a Christian? If so, you are completely mistaken. “But I have again and again tried to become one and have failed.” Stop trying to be saved by your efforts. Christ has finished the mighty work, and justice is satisfied. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).
“I meant that it was difficult to live the life of a Christian.” Agreed. Let me, however, ask: Is it easier to serve Satan or Christ? Which is the better master? Who gives the best wages?
In serving Satan, you have to turn your back on your best Friend, despise or neglect His great salvation, resist His Holy Spirit, trample under your feet the Son of God’s love, and rush headlong to eternal ruin. Why perish forever, seeing you can be saved, now?
7. “I cannot give up the pleasures of this world”
You are not asked to “give up” anything until you are saved. Salvation includes deliverance from the power of sin, as well as from its penalty, and you can’t have one without the other. It must be all or none.
God does not, however, say to the sinner, “Give up the pleasures and amusements of the world and I will give you pardon and peace.” His way is, “Receive Christ now into your heart, and you will be saved from the power as well as the doom of sin.”
A lady, in conversation with a Christian, said, “God won’t save me now.” “Why?” “I have made up my mind to go to a ball on Tuesday evening, and He won’t save me until I am willing to give up going to it.” She was shown that “now” was God’s time and that He was beseeching her to accept a free and present pardon — as she was and where she was. The word was blessed to her soul, and she was not at the ball as she had got something better.
8. “Christians are miserable and morbid”
Numbers think that a Christian is one who goes through life hanging his head, heaving sighs, drawing a long face, and looking very sanctimonious. This is one of the biggest and, we fear, one of the most widely believed lies Satan ever coined. Real, lasting happiness is the portion of every believer. “Gloomy!” What is there in the gospel to make one gloomy? Does it make a man “gloomy” to know that all his sins are forgiven? Will it “make one gloomy” to be assured that he will spend eternity with the Lord Jesus in glory? Will the condemned criminal who has been pardoned feel sad?
Well might the psalmist say, “Happy is that people, whose God is the Lord” (Psa 144:15). “In Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore.” The only one who has a right to be happy is the Christian — he and he alone being delivered from the bondage of sin, death and judgment.
9. “The church is full of hypocrites”
And is that your excuse for not accepting the invitation to the gospel feast? If so, it is a very poor one. You know some who say they are Christians, but their conduct proves that they are hypocrites. Though members of churches, they do things which you and others, who make no such profession, would not stoop to, and you are inclined to say of all who claim to be Christians, “Nice lot! They are a pack of hypocrites.”
But surely this would be very unfair reasoning. Hypocrites are persons who profess to be what they know they are not. Those you refer to profess to be but are not Christians. Are we to conclude because of this that all who profess are hypocrites? This would be as foolish as to say that all clerks are thieves, because two were convicted of stealing.
The fact that some people pretend to be Christians proves that the reality must be good, as men don’t counterfeit something worthless. Suppose, however, that real Christians are inconsistent, will that justify you in not being one? Peter surely could not have been justified in deserting the Lord because Judas was a hypocrite.
10. “It does not matter what I believe as long as I am sincere”
This is what many say, but let us see if it is true. A man, feeling sick, went to the cupboard, took, by mistake, a bottle of poison, drank some of the contents, and died in great agony a few hours afterward. Did his sincerity of belief save his life?
The engineer of a passenger train sincerely believed that the line was clear, but he was mistaken. He ran past the signal at full speed and the result was a dreadful collision, lives were lost and many were seriously injured.
A man’s salvation or damnation depends on his belief. If he believes the lie of Satan, he will eternally perish; if he believes the truth of God, he will be eternally saved.
“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Prov 14:12). Sincerity of belief in that way ends in everlasting destruction.
11. “So many different opinions”
“I really don’t know what to do. There are so many opinions that I am quite perplexed to know what to believe.” If this is your thought, let me strongly impress upon you the importance of being guided entirely by the sure Word of God. There is only one way of salvation, and it is very clearly stated in the Bible.
A lady, who had not long to live, was anxious about her soul. A Christian visited her, and she earnestly asked, “What are your views of salvation?” “I have no views” was the reply. The lady was amazed. “You seem astonished,” said the visitor, “but supposing I had, what good would they do you, seeing they would be but the views of a fellow mortal? I can, however, give you something better. I can give you God’s views.” The result of the conversation was that the lady soon afterwards found peace by learning that the question, “What must I do to be saved?” was answered: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:30-31).
Do you know that you are lost? The Philippian jailor knew that he was lost, or he would not have asked what he had to do to be saved (Acts 16:30-31). Have you ever really seen yourself to be a lost sinner?
The great question is, Are you saved or lost? Face it fairly. If you were called to meet God at this moment, are you prepared? “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity” (Heb 1:13). “Righteousness and judgment are the habitation of His throne” (Psa 97:2). If unsaved, unconverted, unforgiven, listen to the Word of the living God: “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezek 18:4). “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God” (Psa 9:17).
If you know that you are lost, there is One both able and willing to save you. His mission to this world was to “seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). Take the lost sinner’s place, and claim the lost sinner’s Saviour.
God is holy and just and, though merciful and gracious, “will by no means clear the guilty” (Ex 34:7). He says, “The wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23). How then can anyone be saved, for “all have sinned” and all deserve to die the second death?
The Scripture has declared, “Without shedding of blood is no remission” (Heb 9.22). Sin must be atoned for! Jesus “gave Himself a ransom for all” (1 Tim 2:6). The ransom price has been paid and accepted. Justice is satisfied, not with what you have done, but with what Christ has done for you. On the ground of His finished work, God invites and beseeches you to accept a free, full and present salvation.
It is a wonder that any remain unsaved when God has shown so clearly and fully, in His Word, how salvation is to be obtained. If you wish to be saved, hear what God says to you in the following verses:
“God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). “All that believe are justified from all things” (Acts 13:39). “Whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43). “He that believeth on Him is not condemned” (John 3:18). The firstborn in the blood-sprinkled house in Egypt was preserved from the destroying Angel because the Lord had said, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you” (Ex 12:13). Salvation can only be had by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
12. “The salvation you preach about is far too easy a way to get to heaven”
Many are stumbled at the simplicity of the gospel. When it is presented to them in all its fullness and freeness, they declare that believing on the Lord Jesus Christ is “far too easy” a way, and they refuse to accept it.
Thank God, it is an “easy” way of being saved. Though an “easy” way, it is not “too easy”, since it is obtained through believing in One by whom the difficult work has all been done — the Lord Jesus.
It was not “easy” for Him to be mocked and insulted by men. It was not “easy” for Him to be scourged, spat upon and crucified. It was not “easy” in the moment of His humiliation and agony to be forsaken of God. It was not “easy” for Him to be “wounded for our transgressions” and “bruised for our iniquities” (Isa 53:5).
Though an easy way, it is God’s only way of saving sinners, and if you are not saved in that way, you will never be saved at all. “To him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Rom 4:5).
13. “I have always believed on Jesus and yet I cannot say that I am saved”
Depend on it, if this is what you say or think, you are completely mistaken. No one has “always believed on Jesus”. You may have believed a great deal about the Lord Jesus, but you have never really believed on Him. You have never received His glorious gospel, or you would be saved. What about the Lord Jesus do you believe? “I believe that He died on Calvary for sinners.” Believing that won’t do you any good. Do you believe that He bled and suffered and died on account of your sins? If you did, you would know from the Word that you had eternal life and would not come into judgment on account of your sins. No one can believe on the Lord Jesus Christ without being saved, for He has declared, “Whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43). “All that believe are justified from all things” (Acts 13:38-39).
14. “I am afraid that I am not believing in the right way, in the proper manner”
If you are not already saved, you don’t believe on Christ in any way. Scripture does not recognize a “right” and a “wrong” way of believing. Men may speak about a “living faith”, a “dead faith”, a “saving faith” and an “intellectual faith”, but Scripture speaks of believing what God says. Faith in man and faith in God are the same exercises of mind; the difference is not in the faith, but in the person on whom the faith rests. Those who are lost perish through believing the devil’s lie, and those who are saved are delivered through believing God’s truth.
Paul did not say to the jailor, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ with the right kind of believing, and thou shalt be saved.” If he had, the jailor would not have understood him. He simply said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Do the same “and thou shalt be saved.”
15. “But don’t we have to ‘work out our own salvation’?”
Such a question is often asked by anxious, as well as careless, sinners. Sometimes it is put in this form: “Does it not say in the Bible that we are to work out our salvation? How, then, can you reconcile that with the statement that we have to believe in order to be saved?”
You have only to look at the epistle and see to whom it is addressed. Philippians 1:1: “To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons.” They were already saved. They did not hope to be; they knew they were saved. “My beloved,” says Paul, “work out your own salvation” (Phil 2:12-13). They were already in possession of it. “Your own” implies possession. They were to “work out” what God had wrought in. This passage certainly has no reference to the unsaved. The unsaved are “dead in trespasses and sins” and therefore cannot work out their salvation.
16. “Don’t I have to pray to be saved?”
Scripture nowhere states that salvation is to be had by prayer; it speaks of sinners being saved in only one way — faith in the finished work of the Lord. Did the Lord Jesus tell Nicodemus to “pray and be saved”? No. “Whosoever believeth in Him should not perish” (John 3:14-15). Did Paul, in answer to the question, “What must I do to be saved?” reply, “Pray earnestly for forgiveness, and you will get it”? No; he said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). You do not need to pray to God for salvation; He is, at this moment, beseeching you to take it (2 Cor. 5:20). How can you dare to ask God for salvation so long as you are guilty of the awful sin of making Him a liar (1 John 5:10-11)? Instead of continuing to pray for salvation, right now stretch out the empty hand of faith and take it as a gift from the pierced hand of the Lord Jesus. “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev 22:17).
17. “Surely, if I do my part, God will do His”
A Christian used to say it took him forty-two years to learn three things:
(1) That he could do nothing to save himself;
(2) That God did not require him to do anything;
(3) That the Lord Jesus Christ did it all.
If you learn these three lessons, you will never talk about your doings. “Your part” is to admit that you are a helpless, hell-deserving sinner, unable to do anything to save yourself. “Your part” is to cease thinking of being saved by anything you can do or feel. “Your part” is to believe that Jesus did everything that was necessary — that He finished the work of atonement and paid the ransom price with His precious blood. Whenever you stop trying to be saved by your doings and believe on the Lord Jesus, who did it all and paid it all, you become a child of God, an heir of glory, and a joint-heir with Jesus Christ. “To him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.”
18. “I feel that I have sinned to much to be saved”
There can be no doubt that you are a great sinner and far worse than you imagine. God knows all about you. Since you were a helpless baby in your mother’s arms, He has watched over you and loved you with more than a parent’s love. In spite of your sin and folly, He stands with outstretched arms ready to welcome you. The prodigal son was received by his father in rags and wretchedness, misery and poverty, and God is willing to save you now. Take the lost sinner’s place and claim the lost sinner’s Saviour. “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). Though a “great sinner”, you are not beyond the reach of His pardoning mercy, and now you may receive the full and free forgiveness of all your sins by believing on Him who died for you (John 6:47).
19. “How can anyone say that are absolutely certain they are saved?”
Paul’s reply to the most important of all questions was very explicit. He did not say, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will have a good chance of being saved,” but, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.”
Numbers declare it is “great presumption” in anyone to “go to the length” of saying he knows that he is saved. They affirm that “no one can be certain” and that all we can do is to have a “humble hope”. How different this is from the teaching of the Lord Jesus and His apostles! Paul says, “We are always confident” (2 Cor 5:6).
The Apostle John says, “I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake” (1 John 2:12). “We know that we have passed from death unto life” (1 John 3:14). Every sinner who believes on the Lord Jesus is bound to believe that he is saved. It would indeed be “great presumption” in anyone to doubt the Word of the living God.
20. “Can a person be saved at once?”
The same hour of the night that the jailor asked, “What must I do to be saved?” witnessed his conversion and baptism, and it is added that he “rejoiced, believing in God, with all his house.” In one hour, the whole household believed, was saved and was baptized. It is of no use people saying that “no one can be saved at once”, for Scripture clearly shows that those mentioned in the New Testament, whenever they believed, were saved. How long does it take one “to believe” what his father says? A moment. Another figure is employed — ”looking”. “Look unto Me, and be ye saved” (Isa 45:22). How long did it take a bitten Israelite to be cured? One moment he was dying; the next, by looking at the brazen serpent, he was healed (Num 21:9; John 3:14-15).
The very moment you “believe” in or “look” to Jesus as the One who bled and suffered for you, you are saved.
21. “I don’t feel I am able to fully love God”
A lady became anxious about her soul. She prayed and laboured earnestly to “love God”, in order to obtain the forgiveness of her sins. Instead, however, of doing so, her heart seemed to get harder.
Meetings were being held in the district, and one evening the preacher said, “Some imagine that God requires them to love Him in order to be saved. They begin to examine their hearts, and they cannot find there one particle of love to Him. “If,” he said, “We were not to be saved till we loved Him, we would never be saved at all, but the blessed truth is, He loved us.” “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). The moment she saw that God had so loved her as to give Jesus as a propitiation for her sins, peace and joy filled her heart, and she could not help loving Him who had done so much for her. “He that loveth not, knoweth not God, for God is love” (1 John 4:8).
It is true you ought to love Him, but so long as you are unsaved, you will not do so. Meditate on His love to you, and you will be able to say, “We love Him, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
22. “I don’t feel anxious enough”
Many, when seeing their danger, get occupied with their feelings toward God, instead of with His feelings toward them. They never seem to consider this question: “Does my salvation depend on how I feel towards God, or on how He feels toward me?” Again and again, we hear the remark, “I don’t feel anxious enough”, or “I don’t feel sorry enough”. Such have read or heard of some who were in great darkness of soul, and they imagined that they must go through a similar experience.
Don’t think of your anxiety or lack of anxiety, but ask yourself, “Is God willing to save me now?” Again and again, in His Word, He declares that His desire is that you should not perish, but be eternally saved (see Ezek 33:11; 1 Tim 2:4-6). Stop occupying your mind with your feelings. Think of His wondrous love to you, as shown in the gift of His only-begotten and well-beloved Son. On the ground of what He did and suffered, you can be saved even now. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.”
23. “If I became a Christian, I don’t think I could hold on to my faith”
“I have often tried to be a Christian, but have failed. Sometimes I thought I was one, but soon the happy feelings were gone, and I was just as bad as ever; so there is no use in me professing.” You need not be troubled about “holding on”. What you are now required to do is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and the moment you do so, you obtain eternal life (John 3:36) and the assurance that you will never perish (John 10:28). Then, as to how you will “get on” after you are saved, the same Christ who “saves from wrath to begin with, saves from sin to go on with and will keep you safe to glory to end with.” “Thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins” (Matt 1:21); He is “able to keep you from falling” (Jude 24), and He has promised never to leave nor forsake those who put their trust in Him. The moment you believe on Jesus, you are His, and He has pledged His word to guide, guard and keep you and to give you strength and grace to live and work for Him. “I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not” (Isa 41:13).
24. “Would it not be very presumptuous to say ‘I know I am saved’?”
But if God declares that you may be sure and tells you how you may be sure, would you call it “presumption” to believe Him? “Assuredly not.” Then listen to Him: “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).
Instead of it being “presumption” to believe what God says, to doubt Him is to be guilty of the greatest sin a man can commit. “But I cannot say that I am saved.” Then you do not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ? “Oh, yes, I do!” You must surely be mistaken, for the Scripture states that “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life” (John 3:36), and if you are not saved, it is because you do not believe on Him.
25. “I believe on Jesus, but I cannot say I am saved.”
Then you are making God a liar, for again and again He tells us that everyone who believes on Jesus has eternal life (John 6:47). But “He that believeth not God hath made Him a liar; because He believeth not the record God gave of His Son” (1 John 5:10-11). Believe and be saved.
26. “I don’t feel any change”
Of course not. How could you, so long as your mind is occupied with your feelings toward God, instead of His feelings toward you? If you continue to look into your wretched heart, you will become more and more miserable. By dwelling on its coldness or hardness, your lack of love or lack of sorrow, faith or feelings, you will be unhappy.
Peace is not to be discovered within; it is only to be found by looking unto Jesus, by thinking of what He has done and suffered for us, and not by anything that we have done or suffered for Him.
So long as you do not believe on Jesus, you cannot have that love to Him that you ought. You must first believe in His love and death for you, and the moment you know that the mighty work has been finished and that justice has been satisfied, peace will fill your heart, and you will love Him who loved you and gave Himself for you (Isa 45:21; Rom 5:1).
27. “But how do I actually come to Christ?”
A Scottish shepherd, in great anxiety of soul, asked a preacher to tell him what was meant by “coming to Christ.” “I have been hearing,” said he, “a most earnest discourse; we have been urged and entreated to ‘come to Christ’, and I felt as if I had been sitting on nettles all the time, for he never told us how to come to Him.”
“Can you fly to Him?” “No, I cannot do that.” “Can you walk on your feet to Christ?” “No.” The preacher then told him that Christ, though in heaven, was beside him on earth, eagerly anxious to save him. He was shown that with his mind and heart, and not with his body, he was to go to Jesus — in other words, he was to believe on Him who died that he might live. “Is that it? Is it so simple? I see it now,” he said, and, believing on the Lord Jesus as His Saviour, he went home rejoicing.
28. “I cannot realize it”
What do you mean? “I see that Christ has taken my punishment and that God is perfectly satisfied with what He has done, but, somehow or other, I cannot realize that I have everlasting life.”
Your mistake is that you are taken up with the realizing of your mind instead of with the realities of God’s salvation. Suppose for a crime you were sentenced to prison with the option of paying a large penalty. A friend pays the amount in full and brings you a receipt. Would you then be afraid of going to jail? “No.” Why not? Because of your realizing or grasping? “No.” Why would you not be afraid? Because the ransom had been paid. Would you not require to “realize” or “grasp” or “lay hold” of the money in your mind? “Certainly not.”
God in His Word tells you that Christ has given Himself a ransom for you (1 Tim 2:6), and on the ground of what He has done for you, you many be saved. Do not think of your “realisings” but believe in the reality of His death for you, and you will then know that you are saved, and all your sins forgiven.
29. “I cannot feel saved”
Paul did not say to the jailor, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt feel saved,” but, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” No one can feel that his sins are forgiven. Ask that man whose debt was paid by his brother, “Do you feel that your debt is paid?” “No” is the reply. “I don’t feel that it is paid; I know from this receipt that it is paid, and I feel happy because I know it is paid.” So with you. You must first believe in God’s love to you as revealed at the cross of Calvary, and then you will feel happy, because you will know that you are saved.
““God says I am saved, and it must be true.” So said a young convert on the night he found peace. Can you truthfully adopt his language? “I wish I could.” Then there is nothing to hinder you from doing so now. Jesus has died on Calvary. He has suffered for sins, “the Just for the unjust”, and the Lord has declared that those who believe on Him have eternal life (John 5:24; John 6:47). If, therefore, you really believe on Him who bore the wrath and curse for you, you now have God’s Word for it that you are saved. “I don’t feel I am saved.” Neither do I, but, thank God, I know it, simply because He says so in His Word, and I am confident He always speaks the truth. Salvation is not through our feelings, but through faith in what Jesus did for us (Rom 1:16). Jesus felt the weight of sin when He exclaimed, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Matt 27:46). Now, as you read these lines, believe on Him who bore sin’s penalty, and with the young man you will be able to say, “God says I am saved, and it must be true.”
30. “Time enough yet”
Allow me to ask you in closing: Are you saved? “I intend to be, but there is no great hurry.” What! “No great hurry”, and the messenger of death at your door!
When asked why you despised His pardon and neglected His great salvation, what answer will you give? Don’t allow Satan to lull you to sleep in the cradle of a false security. Time is short and eternity is at hand. Will you, can you, dare you one moment longer remain unsaved? “Now” is God’s time. Tomorrow may be too late.
The dark thundercloud of God’s wrath is hanging over your head, and if you remain in your present position the voice from heaven may sound forth “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee.” Delay not another moment. Don’t be perplexed about the future. He who saved poor sinners has promised to “keep” them; and the moment you receive Christ by faith, He will grant you power to overcome sin, self, and Satan, and will give you strength to live for Him who died for you.
All are sinners by nature and practice. “There is none righteous, no not one; there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way…there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Rom 3:10-12).
Reformation is not regeneration.
Turning over new leaves won’t destroy the old ones. Future good conduct does not blot out past disobedience. Jesus said, “except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).
God is willing to save you now.
“Behold now is the accepted time, behold now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor 6:2). “Come now, and let us reason together saith the Lord” (Isa 1:18).
Salvation is a free gift.
It cannot, therefore, be earned or bought by good works, prayers or religious observances. “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life” (Rom 6:23). “Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph 2:9).
Justification is by faith alone.
This is clearly taught in Scripture. “Being justified by faith” (Rom 5:1). “If by grace, then it is no more of works” (Rom 11:6). “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).
“He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18). “He that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on Him” (John 3:36). “Whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev 20:15). “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isa 1:18).