A man came to my home recently seeking for peace. He was a deacon who had held several church offices, and was well regarded as a fine Christian man in his community. But on this day he had driven over two hundred miles because he heard me give a message which convinced him that he was not saved at all. He told me his story—the story of many misguided and darkened hearts in religious communities everywhere. As a boy, he attended a revival meeting in his church, and through the urging of the Sunday School teacher he and others in his class went forward and united with the church.
He said, “I did this with others, but there was no change in my heart. Nothing happened to me, except that I became more religious and took part in various activities in the church. I have continued in this path until now, when I am fifty-one years old, but there is still no peace in my heart. I often wondered whether anybody could really know if he were saved, and I comforted my heart with the thought that I had as much religion as others, and was living a better life than many other professing Christians.”
He had brought his Bible, and so we opened to John 3:16. I asked him, “Would you like to be saved right now, and know definitely that you are saved? “Certainly,” he said, “that is just why I came to see you. If salvation is obtainable, I want it.” We read the verse together.
I asked him, “Do you think that eternal life is a present possession, or something that you obtain at the end of life?”
“I suppose it comes at the end, if we deserve it.”
“Read this verse again, and tell me what it says about eternal life.”
He read the verse and said, “It seems to come through believing, and it seems to be given right now. I do believe, but I certainly do not have eternal life. What is the matter?”
I asked, “What do you believe?”
“I believe every word of the Bible. I believe that Jesus is God’s Son and that He is the Saviour.”
“This does not satisfy your heart, does it?”
“No, and it never has.”
I pointed out the difference between believing facts and applying them to one’s own heart. “If Christ is the Saviour, then you may safely trust your soul to Him. He accepts all who come to Him, and applies the saving work of Calvary to those who believe that He did it for them.”
We knelt together, and he prayed: “Lord Jesus, I accept You for myself. I have always believed about You, but now see that it was my sins that You were bearing, and I believe that You blotted them out for me. I thank You for saving me and forgiving me.”
As he said this, a new joy and peace came into his heart, and he left me with the assurance that he had passed from death unto life.
—From The Doctor’s Best Love Story by Walter L. Wilson, M.D.
For God, the Lord of earth and Heaven,
So loved, and longed to see forgiven,
The world, in sin and pleasure mad,
That He gave the greatest gift He had,
His only begotten Son, to take our place,
That whosoever, oh, what grace,
Believeth, placing simple trust,
In Him, the Righteous and the Just,
Should not perish, lost in sin,
But have everlasting life in Him.