Hopeless and Helpless
When does God begin with man? When his case is hopeless. Rejoice, my self-judged penitent reader, that your case is hopeless. You are the very one God loves to meet. I remember travelling to the North of Scotland some years ago, and at Bannockburn a lady entered the carriage I was in. I gave her a little gospel book, and as she read it I saw tears come rolling down her cheeks. Presently I turned round and made some remarks about the joy of possessing Christ and the knowledge of present salvation. Soon I found out that she was a very wretched sinner and very anxious to be saved. Then the truth came out that she had been in this state for twenty long years.
“I have been doing the best I can, and am only a miserable failure,” was her confession, as down came the tears faster than ever.
“You have made plenty of good resolves in these twenty years, and broken them too?” I said inquiringly.
“Yes, I have been trying, and resolving to be better, but all in vain, I always break down. My resolves seem to have been merely made to be broken. My case is so bad, I think I am past all hope and now I am in despair. It is all over with me now,” and she fairly collapsed in agony of soul.
“I have some good news for you,” said I at this juncture.
“What is that?” she eagerly asked.
“You were never nearer salvation all the days of your life than you are now,” I replied, “for you have lost all confidence in yourself and in your own doings.”
“But I never felt so bad, or so weak. I can do nothing but sin,” was her sad response.
“That is the ground of my assertion as to good news. Hopeless as to yourself you are just ready to let another do His part.
“Now tell me, are you willing to let Jesus save you? Are you prepared to give up all your own doings, strivings, and reformations, and as a poor lost sinner let the Saviour save you?”
“Yes, indeed, if Jesus will have me.” I put the simple gospel of Romans 5:6-8 before her, and she received it like a thirsty man does water, or a hungry man bread. She received Jesus simply as her Saviour, then and there, and when she got out on the Perth platform, really a new creature in Christ Jesus, who now was all her hope and all her salvation, I wish you had seen her face. It was shining with the enjoyed knowledge of God’s salvation. That is the way the mercy of the Lord meets really anxious souls.
Reader, if you have been thinking you must do something to obtain salvation, give up the idea on the spot. If you are going to get blessing you will have to go straight to God with an honest confession of what your real state is. When did the prodigal get right? When he said, “Father, I have sinned.” I quite admit there was a work of grace in his soul before, and I think he was full of amazement when he saw the father running towards him, with outstretched arms, but when did he get relief? When he said, “Father, I have sinned.” What is the next word? The father said to the servants, “Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet” (Luke 15:22), and he passed into the house fit for it. Then he enjoyed the feast which love had spread for him. So it is with us. Love provides a full salvation in Christ Jesus and His finished work. Faith appropriates what love provides. The heart then enjoys this blessed revelation of God. As a consequence the walk manifests the effect of grace upon the soul. Devotedness to Christ and all His interests mark the newly-saved one.
Reader, are you one of these highly blessed souls who simply believe in Jesus unto eternal life?
Scattered Seed 1928, p. 61