James Smith, 1855
"Now repent of your sins and be converted — so that your sins may be wiped away!" Acts 3:19
Every man by nature needs conversion.
He has turned away from God.
His heart is set upon sin.
His eye is attracted by folly.
He lives for himself.
His nature is depraved.
His life is rebellion against God.
His end will be according to his deeds.
"Except you are converted, and become as little children — you shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven." Every unconverted man, therefore, is shut out of Heaven, and will be shut up in Hell. His sentence is just. His doom is fixed. His destiny is dreadful.
Reader, are you unconverted?
Are you still in your sins?
Do you love the world?
Do you neglect the Savior?
Do you despise the Bible?
If so, you are unconverted; and to you God says, "Repent of your sins, and be converted!"
WHAT is conversion?
It is the turning of the soul . . .
from error to truth;
from sin to holiness;
from the world to the church;
from Satan to God.
It begins in conviction of sin. Yet many have been convinced of sin, who have never been converted to God.
Conviction must be followed by contrition. The converted man is sorry for his sins. He grieves over the depravity of his heart, he groans on account of the inconsistency of his life, and he loathes himself before God for all his iniquities.
Sin becomes his burden.
Guilt fills him with alarm.
Eternity makes him serious.
He looks back, and his past life distresses him.
He looks forward, and he fears that Hell will be his portion.
His spirit sinks within him.
Fears harass and distress him.
Satan tempts and torments him.
He knows not what to do.
The Lord Jesus is then set before him.
He perceives that he is just the Savior he needs.
He approaches him with fear.
He confesses his sin before him.
He lays hold on his gracious Word.
He casts his guilty soul upon him.
He places his entire confidence on his blood and obedience.
He finds peace with God.
His guilt is gone.
His fears are dispersed.
Everything appears in a new light.
He loves the Savior.
He worships God.
He joins himself to the saints with delight.
He hates sin.
He gives up the company of the ungodly.
He has lost his relish for the carnal pleasures of the world.
He is a new creature — old things are passed away, and, behold, all things are become new!
Reader, do you know anything of this experimentally? You must, or perish. Unless you see your true state as a sinner before God; unless you flee to Jesus to save you from the wrath to come; unless you venture your soul on his perfect work — you are undone forever!
In life you will be a stranger to peace, and in death you will have no good hope. In health you will enjoy no solid comfort, and in sickness you will be miserable.
True religion is the balm that heals the soul. It is the antidote of all our woes. It is just what you need, and what God invites you to receive. Oh, think, and think seriously! Pray for the Holy Spirit to enlighten, soften, and sanctify your heart. Repent of your sins, confessing them before God's mercy-seat. "Now repent of your sins and be converted — so that your sins may be wiped away!"