“Well, is it all settled?”
“No, indeed; I wish with all my heart that it were,” was the sad reply I got to my query. The speaker was a tall well-dressed young man, of some five and twenty years, who was coming out of the door of a large and crowded hall in the south of London, where I had been, one Monday evening some years ago, preaching the Gospel, and speaking of the Lord’s second coming. His grave intelligent face was marked by deep emotion, and denoted the soul-exercise he had passed through as he had been listening to the tale of grace which the Spirit of God had unfolded that night, followed by solemn appeals to the unconverted, in view of the possibility of the Lord’s immediate return, and the certain eternal woe that must be the fate of the unprepared, and hence unsaved, soul.
Arrested by my question, he stood still, as if inviting further converse; so I went on, “But if you wish the matter settled, why is it not settled?”
“I really don’t know; but I fancy I don’t understand it.”
“Tell me, now, do you take your place as a really lost sinner before God, and are you anxious to be saved?”
“Indeed I do. I am most anxious to be saved.”
“Are you willing to receive Jesus as your Saviour, just where you stand?”
“I am most willing. I wish heartily I could say He were my Saviour. I am quite prepared to receive Him.”
“Do you think He is willing to receive you?”
“Ah! that is just the question. If I were only sure of that, I should be at rest.”
“Oh, my dear fellow, rest assured on that score; I can answer for Him as to that. Have you never read, ‘This man receiveth sinners,’” was my rejoinder. More followed, but still he saw not the truth; so, fancying that he might be in business, and that an illustration might help him, I said, Are you in business?”
“Woollen goods—wholesale,” he replied, rather astonished at this sudden turn from things eternal to earthly matters.
“Suppose I turned up at your warehouse tomorrow, would you be prepared to do business with me?”
“Well, suppose that I come wanting so many bales of cloth of a certain quality and price, you would be prepared to sell them?”
“And when I have agreed to take and pay for, and you to sell and deliver these goods, what would you say about the matter?”
“I should call it settled.”
“And settled, what by?”
“Mutual agreement,” was his reply.
“Exactly so! I agree to take, and you to deliver. Now, see: here you stand and tell me you are willing to receive the Lord Jesus as your Saviour, and God’s Word says He is willing to receive you, a ‘sinner.’ What do you call that?”
“I should call that mutual agreement also,” was his slow but firm reply.
“Yes; Christ is agreed to receive you, and you are agreed to receive Him. Are you not at one in this matter? Are you not both of the same mind?”
“Dear me, how simple it is! I see it all clearly now, thank God. I just receive Christ simply by faith, and He receives me
“That is just it, and exactly as it is put in John 1:11-12—‘He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the children of God, even to them that believe on his name, which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.’ You believe on His name, don’t you?”
“Yes, I most sincerely believe in the name of the Lord Jesus?”’
“Then God says that is how you receive Him and receiving Jesus you become a child of God; for, again, it is written, ‘Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus’ (Gal. 3:26). The moment you believe in Him really, you receive Him, and become a child of God.”
The cloud disappeared from his face, the anxiety departed, his eye was lit up with a new-born joy; and, seizing and wringing my hand most warmly, he went on his way, saying, “Thank God. Thank you too. I see it all. It’s so simple. It’s mutual agreement. He receives me, I receive Him, and now I’m a child of God. Good-bye, and God bless you!”
Reader, can you say it is settled? If not, why not? It must be that you are not willing, because Jesus is. He said to some who listened to Him once, “Ye search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me, and ye will not come to me that ye might have life” (John 5:39-40).
The Gospel Messenger 1886, p. 236