Letter to a Bible Class
by Inglis Fleming
My Dear Young Friends,
I am requested to write to you a letter, to be read at your little gathering on Lord’s Day next. With this desire I gladly comply.
There are, most likely, two classes among those who will read my letter. The one class know their sins forgiven, and that they are children of God, and made meet, through the work of Christ, for the glory to which that blessed Saviour has gone. The other class are still in their sins, still passing on without the Lord Jesus as their Saviour, or Counsellor, or Guide—passing on to the judgment.
Ask yourselves now, as in the presence of God, the solemn question, “To which class do I belong?”
Turning now, in your Bibles, to John 3:36, you will find these two classes spoken of:
1. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.”
2. “He that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
In Acts 13:38-40, the message to all—to both classes—is, “Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through THIS MAN [the Lord Jesus Christ, who suffered for sins upon the cross, and is now risen again] is PREACHED UNTO YOU THE FORGIVENESS of sins.” And now again the distinction is made, the two classes appear—those who receive the glad tidings, and those who reject or despise them.
“And BY HIM ALL THAT BELIEVE ARE JUSTIFIED FROM ALL THINGS, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.”
“Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets; Behold, YE DESPISERS, AND WONDER, AND PERISH.”
What a blessed, but what a solemn message.
Are you a believer on the Lord Jesus Christ? Have you seen yourself as He sees you—a SINNER, guilty and lost, helpless and hopeless, as to saving yourself? Have you seen the Lord Jesus as the very One you need—the One who came into the world to save SINNERS, and who died upon Calvary’s cross that the way of salvation might be formed, by which you and I might cross in perfect safety into the very presence of our God? If so, you, as a believer, “are justified from all things.” It is not what you feel, but that which God says in His Word, upon which you must rely. “He says it, and I believe it because He says it,” is the language of faith.
Are you on the other side? In the other class? Among those who, as yet, are neglecting, or despising, or rejecting God’s so great salvation? Beware! Beware!! Time is so short—there is not a moment to lose. The Lord’s gracious message still is “COME UNTO ME” (Matt. 11:28); but ere long, to those who have despised that invitation, His solemn word will be “DEPART FROM ME” (Matt. 25:41).
Listen, then, now, to His loving message, and come to Him just as you are—He never casts out one who comes. To illustrate my meaning let me tell you a story of a soldier.
Sewell, who belonged to one of the Artillery regiments, was in the smithy in his rough, dirty, working clothes. Looking up, he saw one of his comrades approaching, who, as he neared the forge, told him that his officer wanted him.
The soldier looked at his comrade, then at his soiled hands and clothes, but, seeing that his mate had really brought a message from the officer, threw down his tools, and started to obey the command, expecting to receive a severe reprimand for his untidy appearance. Reaching his superior, who was a Christian, he was, however, soon set at rest on that point, for the officer said, “Sewell, I am very glad to see that you know how to obey orders.”
And that is just how you must come to Christ—just as you are, and now. You are not to wait until you are better before coming. He, who knows all about you, who has set your secret sins in the light of His countenance, Himself says,
and also says,
and let us reason together, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; and though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isa. 1:18).
Yes, through the precious blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, your sins may be cleansed, and you able to sing, with all the blood-washed host: “Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (Rev. 1:5-6).
Now I would say a few words to those who are truly converted.
What are you doing for the Lord Jesus, young believer? He has done much, yes, everything for you. His death on the cross shows the depth of His matchless, marvellous love. He bore your sins there; He was there made sin for you. There He was forsaken of God, on account of what you were, and of what you had done; and now He is risen again, and you are cleared from every charge, and are become a new creature in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:17). God sees us in a new place altogether, “in Christ Jesus,” and in Him there is, for us, no condemnation (Rom. 8:1). In Him we are accepted. (Eph. 1:6). In Him we are complete (Col. 2:10). In Him are we preserved (Jude 1). He is not only a Saviour for the past, but for the present—He ever lives to make intercession for us (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 4:14; 7:24-26; 1 John 2:1-2). As Great High Priest and Advocate He, who was on the cross for us, is now on the throne for us; and He has undertaken our whole case, and will provide suited strength and succour for every step of our pathway home, loving His own (how blessed to be one of that privileged company) which are in the world, He loves them unto the END, and whispers to each trembling believer, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end” (Matt. 28:20); “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Heb. 13:5). But more even than providing for past and present, He has provided for the future too.
His Own blessed promise is,
“I WILL COME AGAIN,”
and this is the believer’s hope. For this he longs, for this he looks—the personal return of the Saviour from heaven. It was for this the young converts at Thessalonica waited. Hearing the glad tidings proclaimed they turned to God, from idols, to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven. (See 1 Thess. 1:10; 4:14-18.) Is not this a blessed hope? (Tit. 2:13). Almost the last words of our Bible contain the Saviour’s farewell message:
“Surely I come quickly,”
and He looks for the answer of our hearts—“Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20).
And what a moment it will be for His loved ones, to see Him whom, not having seen, they love; and to be like Him, too, conformed to His image, for, at His coming, He will change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body (Phil. 3:20-21; see also Romans 8:29; 1 John 3:2). Then we shall be for ever with Himself.
Thus past, present, and future, are fully provided for by our blessed, adorable Saviour. He does all for us.
Now let me return to my question, “What are you doing for Him?”
Have you confessed with your mouth that He is your Saviour and Lord? (Rom. 10:9). Have you sought out some loved relative or friend, and brought that one to Jesus? (John 1:41-42). Has your life at home, and at school, shown whose you are, and whom you serve? (Acts 27:23). Do you seek “the glory of God” in all you do—in lessons and in play, and not only on the Lord’s day, but all the week through? (1 Cor. 10:31). Are you doing everything, whether word or deed, in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him? (Col. 3:17).
How blessed to be allowed of God to witness, and walk, and work for Him, and to seek His praise and honour every step of our way.
Lay aside every weight, dear young Christian, every hindrance, and seek to be loyal-hearted, whole-hearted, and true for Christ, while you wait for Him from heaven. You know your hindrances, I doubt not. Novel reading is a hindrance to very many; giddy companions, flippant conversation, pride, vanity, dress, worldliness of all kinds, are all hindrances to your joy, and to Christ being glorified in you.
May all of you be clear out for Christ. We shall lose nothing worth a thought if we are thus openly on His side. The world may twit, and tease, and persecute; and worldly Christians may say, “You are too extreme, too bigoted, too narrow”—but, “if God be for us, who can be against us?” And, if we have Christ’s smile of approval, we can well bear the world’s frown.
Let me, in conclusion, urge you to be much in prayer—alone, if possible—and never to let a day pass without reading the Word of God.
I commend you to God, and the word of His grace. May He bless you all, awakening any careless one, giving peace to any anxious one, and leading on all who know Him.
Your Friend in Christ.
Scattered Seed 1889, p. 110