Sunday, April 15, 2012
"My Religion Might Do to Live By, but It Would Not Do to Die By!"
At Roosevelt, Oklahoma, in a big tent revival some years ago a young woman came to me deeply distressed and in tears wanting to know what she must do to be saved. I showed her that Christ had died for sinners, that her debt was all paid, that now she must confess herself a guilty sinner and look to the blood of Jesus Christ to cover all of her sins. I told her that now she had simply to receive Jesus and trust Him to have forgiveness of her sins and peace in her heart. But she began to say, "But Father told me ---." At first I thought she referred to her father, then learned that she meant the Catholic priest. He may have been ever so kind and sincere a man, as Catholic priests often are, and I mean no reflection on him when I tell the truth in this typical case. This girl had started out to be a good Catholic. She learned her prayers, and prepared for confirmation. She told me that the day she was to have been confirmed all confirmations were postponed by an order from the Bishop or some higher authority, for some reason. By the next Sunday she was desperately ill. A physician came, later others were called in consultation, and finally she was given up to die. They told her her time was limited. She told me that she was desperately afraid and said, "I saw then that my religion might be good enough to live by, but it certainly would not do to die by. I prayed and asked God to give me another chance, and that I would learn what He wanted me to do and how to be saved." She said she told the Lord, "I am afraid, I am a sinner, and I am not fit to die, and I don't know how to be saved. But if You will get me well, I will learn how and get ready to meet God!"
God heard her prayer. She got well and immediately came to the tent revival seeking the Lord. I saw her speak with tears to her younger sister and heard her say, "Don't go at this thing lightly. This is serious. Your soul's eternal welfare hangs upon it. Get the thing settled right!"
How earnestly she listened, and how her eyes burned as her mind sought the truth! When she finally saw that the way was all opened, that her sins had been paid for on the cross, and that God was ready to receive her if she would receive Christ as her Substitute, her Saviour, her Redeemer, her Lord, how gladly she accepted Him! She followed Him in beautiful baptism to show the world openly that she claimed Him as Saviour.
Dear friend, your religion may suit you all right now, but I will tell you frankly, unless you are in the narrow way, unless you entered by the strait gate which is Christ Himself alone, then yours is a false religion. If you are depending on your good deeds, on baptism, on church membership or morality, then I earnestly plead with you to hear me, for you are doomed and lost!
Your life suits you, you say? You are very well satisfied with your self-righteousness? So was the man who had not on the wedding garment! He was well pleased with his own clothes, his own coverings, and he did not accept the wedding garment offered by the King. But I'll tell you now that when you face Jesus Christ you will be speechless as he was before the King. And all such will be cast out into the outer darkness where there is weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.
In Jesus' name, then make sure. Cast away every hope that you have leaned upon unless it be Jesus Christ alone. He died for sinners. He loves you. He said, "Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37). You need not be deceived.
You can be sure if you can find a verse of Scripture that gives the plain promise of God. Try God out on John 3:16, on John 3:18, or John 5:24. If you trust in Jesus Christ for mercy, then you already have everlasting life according to the plain Word of God.
From the Sermon "Religious but Lost" by John R. Rice