A Message from God!
James Smith, 1864
Reader! The eye of God is upon you! He observes the state of your heart, he notices every thought, and is either pleased or displeased with every action. He has never had his eye off you for one moment at any period of your life — nor has one thought, word, or action, escaped his notice! All that you have purposed, planned, or done — is now before him; and his eye rests upon it, as though it was the only thing that claimed his attention!
He has often been grieved with your conduct. Your thoughtlessness, your worldly-mindedness, and your many sins of thought, word, and deed — have offended his glorious majesty. He might justly cut you off, and doom you to suffer his wrath forever. But he spares you. He bears with you.
You have, perhaps, lived without prayer. You have not been in the habit of retiring to pour out your heart before God. You have sinned — but have never confessed your sins with sorrow. You have received many mercies — but have never acknowledged those mercies with gratitude. You have lived as if you were not an accountable creature, as if God took little or no interest in you, or your conduct. Your time has been squandered. Your soul has been neglected. Eternity has not occupied your mind as it should. You have lived in God's world — without seeking to please him. You have lived under God's law — without regarding its precepts or threatenings. You have possessed God's book — but it has not been carefully read, or cordially believed. You are within a step of death, and yet you have made no preparation for eternity! Is this wise? Can such conduct be justified? Can you be safe? Ought you to be happy or cheerful?
My dear friend, think of these things. Think seriously. Do not put them away from you, for they are of everlasting consequence. Perhaps this may be the last opportunity you may have of reviewing your life, calling upon God, and fleeing for refuge to the Lord Jesus Christ. Trifle not, I pray you — but attentively consider what you read.
Why will you in the crooked ways,
Of sin and folly go?
In pain you travel all your days,
To reap immortal woe!
God has pitied you. He has borne with you. There is at this moment, pity in his heart toward you. He sends this little book to you. He is reluctant to punish sin. He has no pleasure in executing the sentence of his law upon you. He would rather that you should think, repent, be lieve in Jesus, and live. He is waiting to show you mercy. He is at this moment noticing how you treat his truth. He is observing the effect which this little messenger will have upon your mind.
Think of the great and glorious Jehovah pitying you. You, who have so deeply grieved him. You, who have so often forgotten him. You, who have committed so many sins against him. But the Lord is good, ready to forgive, and plenteous in mercy unto all those who call upon him. "The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion, slow to anger, and of great mercy." He is always backward to punish — but he is ready to forgive, because he delights in mercy. He is ready to pardon you. He is willing to forgive his greatest enemy, and show mercy to the foulest transgressor. Therefore he says in his word, "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon."
His love exceeds your highest thoughts;
He pardons like a God;
He will forgive your numerous faults,
Through a Redeemer's blood!
That he might show his mercy, display his pity, and honorably save sinners — he sent his only begotten Son into the world. He who was God — became man. As man, he fulfilled the law which we had broken; he suffered the penalty which we had incurred. He did all, and he suffered all that was necessary — in order to the salvation of the chief of sinners. And through his substitution, obedience, and sacrifice — God now fully pardons, and perfectly justifies every one who believes on his name. Christ is the Lamb, which God provided; the sacrifice, which God accepted; the way, which God opened; and through his name, whoever believes in him, shall obtain remission of sins. There is now nothing whatever in the way of the sinner's access to God, and restoration to the favor of God. Any sinner can now obtain pardon, enjoy peace, and acquire a title to everlasting life. The perfect work of Christ, is all that is necessarv to the sinner's acceptance before a holy God, and "by him all who believe are justified from all things." His sins may be more numerous than the stars, or the sands on the seashore; they may be red like scarlet, or even glow like crimson — but the moment he credits God's word, and exercises confidence in the Lord Jesus — that moment every sin is forgiven, and he stands before God as really justified, as if he had never been guilty of one transgression! Is not this good news? Is not this a message worthy of God?
What could the Redeemer do,
More than he has done for you?
To procure your peace with God,
Could he more than shed his blood?
In the gospel, the Lord Jesus Christ, with all the blessings and benefits flowing from his sacrifice and death — is presented to sinners. Whoever needs Christ — may receive Christ; and whoever receives him — to them he gives liberty and power to become the sons of God, even to those who believe on his name. He is the sacrifice, through which God pardons sin. He is the mercy-seat, where God accepts sinners. He is the means by which God is reconciled to sinners. If therefore, we would have our sins pardoned, if we would have God pleased with us, if we would be acquitted of all charges before his throne — then we must plead Jesus as the sacrifice for our sins, and we must place our entire confidence in Jesus as an able and sufficient Savior.
Reader, God presents his beloved Son to you, he says, "Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world." "He is able to save to the uttermost." You must either receive him — or reject him. If you receive him — then God is at peace with you; he will blot out your sins as a cloud, and your iniquities as a thick cloud; he will make an everlasting covenant with you, and give you the sure mercies of David. But if you reject him — then you judge yourself unworthy of everlasting life, and seal your own condemnation. How can you escape, if you neglect this great salvation? But will you reject it? Can you reject it? Shall God pity you, shall he present his beloved Son to you, shall he swear that he has no pleasure in your death — and will you, by your cold neglect, careless indifference, or insane rejection of Christ, render it necessary to doom you to everlasting woe?
Have you no pity for your own soul?
Have you no fear of endless torments?
Have you no desire for eternal happiness?
Will you really rush blindfolded into blackness, darkness, and despair?
God invites you to his throne. He invites you at this moment. He says, "Come and let us reason together." He is willing to hear what you can say. He is ready to listen to your confessions and receive your petitions. He is prepared to pardon you, if you frankly confess your sins, and rely on the finished work of his beloved Son. You have nothing to do but confess, plead the blood of Jesus, believe God's precious word, and be happy. Your path is plain. Only believe — for "he who believes shall be saved." Only trust in Jesus — for "he who believes shall be safe." Only confess and forsake your sins — for "he who confesses and forsakes his sins shall find mercy." God will receive every coming sinner. He will adopt every one whom he receives into his family.
Come then, to God, by Jesus Christ, cast yourself at his feet, prove his faithfulness to his word, obtain the pardon of all your sins, enjoy the peace of God, which passes all understanding, and be acknowledged a child of God, and a joint heir with Jesus Christ. There is nothing between you and all those blessing — but unbelief; nothing can prevent you from enjoying them — but rejecting the counsel of God against yourself. The way of life is open. The path that leads to God is plain. "Every one that asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him that knocks, it shall be opened." Ask then, and you shall receive; seek, and you shall find; knock at the door of mercy, and you shall be admitted.
No longer now delay,
Nor vain excuses frame;
He bids you come today,
Though poor, and blind, and lame;
All things are ready, sinner, come,
For every trembling soul there's room.
This then is the message, "that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son, has life; and he who has not the Son of God, has not life." We could not obtain eternal life ourselves, by anything we could do or suffer, therefore God sent his Son into the world, that we might obtain life through him. There is life in Christ. We may obtain life from Christ. If we receive Christ, we have eternal life. That is, if we see that Jesus has made an atonement for sin; if we accept his invitation, and rely on that atonement; if thus relying on Jesus, we approach God as seated upon a throne of grace — then all our sins are forgiven us for his sake; his obedience is placed to our account, and we have a title to eternal blessedness. Justice is satisfied on our behalf. The law is fulfilled and honored by Jesus in our stead. God is at peace with us, and well pleased with us. We are identified with Christ, and to us there is no condemnation. God looks upon us as his children, and treats us as such — only requiring that we should love him, obey him, walk in fellowship with him, endeavor to briag others to him, and then go, to be forever with him.
We are now reconciled to God by the death of his Son, and God will not impute our trespasses unto us. We are at peace with God. We are no longer under the law which condemns us — but under grace, which justifies us.
God is our father,
Jesus is our constant Intercessor,
the Holy Spirit is our Comforter,
and Heaven will be our final home.
All things on earth shall work together for our good, and all things in Heaven shall be conferred on us by and bye!
But have you received the message? Have you believed it? Have you acted upon it? Do you enjoy peace with God as the result? Will you receive it? God now puts this question to you. He asks "Will you receive the message which I have in mercy sent to you?" Do not lay it aside and forget it. Do not say, "Go your way for this time, until I have a more convenient season." Do not let the cares of the world, or the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word. Do not let Satan persuade you to trifle with truth, stifle conviction, and harden your heart against God. It may be the last time he will speak to you. It may be the last message he will send to you. If you treat this with contempt, he may say "Let him alone!" or "Cut him down, why does he use up the ground!"
This message will not leave you as it found you. Your responsibility will be increased. Your heart will either be softened — or hardened. Your condemnation will either be removed — or increased. God's eye is now watching you as you draw towards the close of it, he is observing what you will do with it. I want to fix this thought on your mind, therefore I repeat it: It is God's message, not man's, it is intended for your good, and it will do you good, if you mix faith with it. That is, if you believe it, and act upon it.
However you treat God's word, you must account for it. "We must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ." Everything that we have felt, thought, said, or done — will be present before the eye of the Omniscient Judge. He will judge us righteously, "according to the deeds done in the body." If we are then found impenitent, if we stand charged with rejecting the gospel of the grace of God — then we shall be condemned to eternal punishment! But if we appear as believers in the Son of God, if we possess his perfect righteousness — we shall be invited to inherit the kingdom prepared before the foundation of the world. These are solemn things. They are realities. They ought not to be trifled with for one moment.
Reader, will you be saved? Or, will you perish? If you were sent into eternity today, by some sudden, unexpected stroke — where would be for eternity? Are you prepared to die? if not, when will you be? There is a Savior provided. You need that Savior. You have heard of him. He is now presented to you. You must be saved by him — or be lost ever. There is no other way to escape the wrath to come, or secure the joys of Heaven — but by faith in Christ. There is no faith in Christ, if the soul can live without prayer, if we can indulge in any known sin, if we do not feel Jesus to be precious to us. Seriously consider this, and look at once to Jesus for life and peace!
O, my friend, what is your state before God at this moment? Are you in Christ? Have you ever wept over sin? Have you ever sought the Savior, as one searches for hidden treasure? Have you obtained peace with God, by receiving the atonement? Are you living in fellowship with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ? Have you received the Holy Spirit? Has he convinced you of sin, righteousness, and judgment to come? Has he led you to Jesus as a lost sinner, to trust in his blood, and seek salvation in his name?
These are solemn questions. They ought not to be lightly passed over, for the time is short, eternity with all its solemn realities will soon dawn upon us — and then who will be able to stand? No one — but the man who has renounced self, embraced the Savior, forsaken sin, walked with God, and been sanctified by the Holy Spirit. O, if you should be weighed in the balance, and be found wanting! If, when you expected to be admitted to Heaven — you should be sentenced to Hell! This may be the case. If you live without self-examination, it will. Thousands are deceiving themselves, and the Savior informs us that many who expected to be received into Heaven, will be rejected by him at last. This should make us thoughtful. It should stir us up to make sure work for eternity.
Now, the way of salvation is plain before us; the Holy Spirit is promised to every one that asks for him; and whoever will, may come to God by Jesus Christ, and obtain deliverance from the wrath to come. But the door of mercy will soon be shut. The way of life will soon be closed. The invitations of the gospel will soon be withdrawn. Then there will be no hope. Then, all will be black despair. Then, all who trifle with God's word, reject God's message, or neglect to embrace God's great salvation — will lie down in eternal sorrow.
Reader, what if this should be your case! It may! But if it is, the fault will be entirely your own. Your destruction will be altogether of yourself. You will not be able justly to blame anyone but yourself. You had the Bible, you ought to have searched it. You heard the gospel, you ought to have embraced it. You were directed to Jesus, you ought to have exercised confidence in him. You were warned, you ought to have forsaken sin. You were invited, you ought to have drawn near to God. You were exhorted, you ought to have fled for refuge to the hope set before you in the gospel.
But this is not the case yet. It need not be. "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation." You may be saved today — but you may be lost tomorrow. Jesus invites you now — but he may soon shut the door of mercy — and the door once shut, is shut forever. Flee then, flee from the wrath to come! Hasten, hasten to the Savior's arms — and eternal live is yours!