No One Can Know That
“I shall get in here.” The speaker was a bright, pleasant-faced, young Scots lassie, who approached the open door of the railway carriage at which I was standing, at Craigellachie Junction (in the North of Scotland) ten years ago. With a few friends I had been having some evangelistic meetings in a town near by, and we were now returning south.
Our party of seven very well filled the compartment in which our belongings had been placed. Every other compartment in the carriage was empty, but the young traveller had evidently made up her mind that she would travel with us. She saw the number of articles lying on the seats, and I said, “We are a large party; there is plenty of room elsewhere, where you might be more comfortable, perhaps.”
She paused a moment, and then emphatically saying, “I shall get in here,” stepped in, and took her seat by the window at the farthest side of the carriage.
The next minute my party got in, and feeling sure that God had His eye on this girl, I took my seat by her side, and, just as we started, gave her a little gospel book, entitled (if I remember aright), “Saved.” The train moved off, and she at once began to read the book. Its contents evidently impressed her, and when she had finished it she looked steadfastly out of the window. After a minute or two I said to her, “Well, is it all settled?”
“What do you mean?” she replied.
“I mean, is the salvation of your soul a settled matter yet? Are you saved?”
She flushed intensely, while a tear sprang from her eye, as she almost passionately replied, “No one can know that.”
“Oh, I beg your pardon,” I said, “that is a great mistake. It is quite possible you may not know it, but a great many people do know it. I know through infinite grace that I am saved—why should you not know it likewise?”
“But no person can be sure of that in this world,” she argued, “we are all such sinners.”
“Quite true,” I rejoined, “but the blessedness of the gospel is this, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners (1 Tim. 1:15). You and I cannot save ourselves, but He can save us, He has saved me, and if you are willing to believe and receive Him, He will save you likewise.”
“But surely we have a great deal to do to get salvation?” was her eager reply.
“No,” was my answer, “that is another mistake. When the Lord Jesus died on the cross, He cried, ‘It is finished.’ He bore the sins of sinners, and sustained God’s judgment thereof. He alone could make atonement for sins, and that atonement He effected when He died on the cross. It says, ‘He bare the sins of many’ (Isa. 53:12). It is written, ‘Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many’ (Heb. 9:28), hence all those who believe on Him are entitled to know that their sins were borne by Him, and blotted out by Him. All believers who simply trust God’s word know that their sins are blotted out, for ‘the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin’ (1 John 1:7). The work that puts sins away is finished.
“If there be any work on our side it is very simply described thus, in the Lord’s own words, ‘This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent’ (John 6:29). Further, we read, ‘But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered’ (Rom. 4:5-7). The gospel is this. First, that we could not do anything to save ourselves. Secondly, that God does not want us to do anything to save ourselves. Thirdly, when we could not do, and God did not want us to do anything to save ourselves, His blessed Son died to save us. He has done all the work, and now the one who believes in Him is brought into the enjoyment of the salvation which He has secured, and which becomes the portion of all those who trust in Him.”
My listener was very deeply interested, and tears began to roll down her cheeks, as she heard of the love of God, and the present salvation which faith in Jesus brings to the soul.
At length she said, “I should like to be saved. I will try and do my best to get salvation.”
“That will not do,” was my answer. “You will never get it that way. You must take it as a gift from the Lord. ‘The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord’ (Rom. 6:23). And more than that, you must understand that ‘now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation’” (2 Cor. 6).
“But it must take some time surely. I could not get it now?”
“Oh, yes, you may, before you leave this railway carriage. Where are you going?”
“To Grantown,” she replied, “I have come from F—this morning, and I am going to a situation in Grantown.”
I looked at my watch, and said, “We shall be in Grantown in twenty minutes. It will not take twenty minutes for you to get your soul saved. If I were you I would believe on the Lord Jesus Christ just now, and reach Grantown a pardoned, delivered, saved, soul, and not a sinner in your sins, as you were when you left your home this morning.” This exhortation evidently greatly moved her. She turned her head, and again gazed out of the window. After a few minutes’ silence she turned and said, “I will believe Him now; I will trust Him now,” and peace and joy filled her heart as she uttered the words. By this time we had reached Grantown. She gave me her name and address, thanked me very warmly for speaking to her, and out she stepped.
Six weeks after I received a letter from her, saying that she could not forbear writing to thank me for having spoken to her that morning, adding, “You were God’s messenger to my soul that day in the train, and I shall always be thankful.”
Two years later I was attracted by a very bright face, among my listeners, in a large gospel meeting in Edinburgh, and thought I had seen its features somewhere, but could not recall where, till, at the close of the meeting my young friend L—came up to me to renew acquaintance, and remind me of the railway incident. Her heart was full of gratitude to God for His grace to her soul. Frequently I have seen and heard from her since, and what she learned in a railway carriage is always fresh in her memory.
Reader, are you saved? If not, why not? Let the above incident of God’s grace lead you to receive the Lord Jesus as your own Saviour just where you read this little paper.
The Gospel Messenger 1904, p. 272