An Answer Required
"Now then, think it over, and decide how I should answer the one who sent me." 2 Samuel 24:13
The Gospel is a message sent from God to man: it is sent to every one of us; it tells us, "God is love;" that in love He sent His only-begotten Son into the world to die, the just for the unjust; that He has found a ransom, accepted an atonement — and is now just in justifying every sinner who believes in Jesus. He assures us that He has no pleasure in the death of the sinner, that He waits to be gracious, and is willing to receive every one that comes to Him for mercy and salvation. He beseeches you to be reconciled. He asks for your hearts. He presents to you a free and full salvation, without money and without price. He exhorts you to seek His face, and gives you His word that He will never cast you out. It is a message of mercy. It is an invitation to a feast. It is a call to surrender, with a promise of peace, happiness, and honor!
Reader, this message is sent to you. Have you considered it? Have you received it? Have you acted upon it? The Lord expects an answer to His message — an answer from you. Surely you will return Him an answer; and it ought to be a prompt answer. Can there be any need for hesitation? Do you need time to decide whether you will be happy — or miserable, forever? Can it be necessary to take time to consider whether you will accept His mercy — or expose yourself to all the vials of His wrath? The answer must be plain. You must receive — or reject. You must give up your heart to God — or say, "I will not have Him to reign over me!" You must decide; and you will say by your conduct, if you do not in so many words, either, "I will be saved by Jesus," or, "I will perish in my sins."
Let it be an honest answer: if you will not yield yourself unto God, say so, say so honestly; but do not say with the Pharisees, "I will go, sir," while you only act the hypocrite. If you will not be reconciled, if you are neither ashamed nor afraid to be the enemy of God — be honest enough to say so. For remember, He knows your heart; it is impossible to deceive Him. Give such an answer to the gospel message now, as you will not wish to reverse on your dying pillow, or be ashamed to hear publishsd at the day of judgment before assembled worlds.
"Now then, think it over, and decide how I should answer the Lord." Consult with conscience, that monitor within; afford it all the assistance you can, by placing yourself in the light of eternity, and considering the character og God, and then ask, "What answer shall I return?"
Consult with the Bible; there you have truth without error, and light without darkness; there the past is brought before you, and the future is placed immediately under your eye.
Go to the death-bed of the sinner whose conscience is awakened, and who is just about to exchange worlds, and ask him, "What answer shall I return?"
Go to the saints of God, who know the bitters and the sweets of true religion, who have long been professing Christ, and advise with them as to what answer you shall return.
Yet consider to WHOM the answer is to be sent — even to the God who made you, who has hitherto befriended you, who will judge you, and either receive you into His glory — or banish you to Hell.
Bear in mind that you send it as an answer to the kindest message a mortal ever received, and a message that involves the most solemn consequences. Do not forget that it will be registered in Heaven, and be noticed, yes published, by the Judge of all as your own decision.
Think, O think, what may be its effects! If you return an improper answer, God may give you up to the hardness of your own hearts, and then your eternal ruin is certain! Yet I fear that some who may read this paper, will dismiss the subject from their thoughts, and say, "Go your way for this time; at present I prefer the world to the church; sin to holiness; Satan to Jesus. I determine to persevere, at present, and risk the consequences." Oh, do not! Do not!