I'll Do it Now!
James Smith, 1856
A short time ago, the master in a family asked one of the servants to do some household work. She wished to defer it until the morning, when the master said, "I have given you the order — you will be responsible for the fulfillment of it; and if forget — it will involve you in trouble!" Immediately the hearty girl replied "I'll do it now!"
How like this young woman are many of us, always wishing to put things off. "Tomorrow, tomorrow!" we cry. And that cry of "Tomorrow," has ruined thousands! Hell contains thousands of those who have cried, "Tomorrow," and it is to be feared that it will receive thousands more.
We are just beginning a new year, and if, like the young woman we have cried, "Tomorrow," through the year 1855, let us hear the Lord speaking to us as the master did, saying, "I have given you the order — you will be responsible for the fulfillment of it; and if forget — it will involve you in trouble!" And now at the commencement of the year 1856, let us say with the servant, "I'll do it now!"
But what does our order contain?
"God has commanded all men everywhere to REPENT." This supposes . . .
that we have sinned,
that God is unwilling to punish us,
that he is prepared to pardon our sins,
that repentance is necessary.
For how can God consistently pardon one . . .
who loves his sin,
perseveres in committing sin, and
is unconcerned about the consequences of sin?
It is impossible! God cannot pardon the sinner — until he repents. That is,
until he looks upon sin as a wicked thing,
until he feels sorry for his sin,
until he desires grace to enable him in break off from sin, and walk in newness of life.
The true penitent has new thoughts . . .
of the Lord Jesus,
He has new feelings too. He is sorry, heartily sorry for his sin. He condemns himself for sinning. He feels guilty, and acknowledges that he deserves punishment, though he dreads it. He sees, he feels, that God would be just in punishing him. He longs for a pardon. He is willing to do anything, suffer anything — if only he can but obtain the pardon of his sins! This is just what God requires.
Reader, God commands you . . .
to think differently of sin, to what you have done,
to feel differently about sin to what you have done,
to act differently in reference to sin to what you have done.
What do you say? "Tomorrow I will." Or, "I'll do it now!"
"This is his commandment, that we should BELIEVE on the name of his Son Jesus Christ." God sent his Son into the world to save sinners. He came and obeyed the law, and suffered the desert of sin; thus satisfying the demands of Divine justice, and making it honorable for God to pardon our sins. And now God says, that if we are willing to receive the Lord Jesus Christ to be our Savior, exercising confidence in his sufferings and death as an atonement for our sins, and pleading his blood for our pardon, and his obedience for our justification — that he will faithfully according to his Word, and justly according to the merit of his Son — forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
To believe on the name of Jesus, is . . .
to believe all that is written of him in the holy bible,
to receive him as our substitute,
to rely on what he has done and suffered, and
to plead his merits before God for pardon, peace, and everlasting salvation.
Every one that really repents of sin exercises faith in Jesus, and every one that exercises faith in Jesus — is immediately, perfectly, and eternally pardoned! What say you then? "Tomorrow." Or, "I'll do it now! I will renounce my sins, forsake my old ways, believe God's Word, plead the blood of Jesus at God's throne, and place my full and entire dependence on Jesus Christ alone for my everlasting salvation — and I will do it now." Happy are you, if such is really and truly the case with you!
"This is my commandment, that you LOVE one another." So said Jesus to his disciples. The sinner's orders are, "Repent and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out." "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of the Lord Jesus, for the remission of sins."
And after having repented, believed, professed Christ, and turned to God — the order is then, "LOVE one another." The old law commands us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves; and if we do so, we shall not defraud, or reproach, or act unjustly, or unkindly toward him. This order is still in force. But the new law goes further; Jesus said, "Love one another — as I have loved you." This is true holiness:
to look upon all around us as Jesus looked,
to feel toward all around us as Jesus felt,
to speak to all around us as Jesus spoke,
and to act to all around us as Jesus acted.
Love is the most delightful virtue we can exercise, and when we love God with all our hearts, and all around us as Jesus loved us — we shall be perfectly happy.
What do you say to this order? Would it be wrong to love your neighbor as yourself? If not, it must be right. Would it be wrong to love others — as Jesus loved us? If not, it must be right. If it is right, ought we not to aim to do it, and aim to do it today?
Reader, it is your order to repent of sin, and to believe on the name of the Lord Jesus, and to love all about you. You are responsible for the fulfillment of it. If you neglect it, it will involve you in trouble, and it may be everlasting trouble. Oh, that God would give you grace to repent of all sin at once, to believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ at once, and to set about obeying the new commandment at once! Then you would enjoy . . .
the sweets of a heartfelt pardon,
the peace that passes all understanding,
the joy that is unspeakable and full of glory.
Then time would fly swiftly, being employed for Jesus — and eternity would be hailed joyfully, as it is to be spent in the full enjoyment of God.
Prostrate, dear Jesus, at your feet
A guilty rebel lies;
And upwards to your mercy-seat
Presumes to lift his eyes!
If tears of sorrow would suffice
To pay the debt I owe,
Tears would from both my weeping eyes
In ceaseless torrents flow!
But no such sacrifice I plead
To expiate my guilt;
No tears but those which you have shed
No blood — but you have spilt!