HOW TO BECOME A CHRISTIAN.
MR. MOODY. -- Mr. Rainsford, how can one make room in their heart for Christ?
Rev. M. Rainsford. -- First, do we really want Christ to be in our hearts? If we do, the best thing will be to ask Him to come and make room for Himself. He will surely come and do so. |I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.| |Without Me ye can do nothing.|
Mr. M. -- Will Christ crowd out the world if He comes in?
Mr. R. -- He spake a parable to that effect. |When a strong man armed keepeth his palace [the poor sinner's heart], his goods are in peace. But when a stronger than he shall come upon him and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted [unbelief, false views of God, worldliness, and love of sin], and divideth his spoils.| The devil keeps the heart, because Christ desires it for His throne -- until Christ drives Him out.
Mr. M. -- What is the meaning of the promise? -- |Him that cometh unto Me I will in no wise cast out.|
Mr. R. -- I think we often put the emphasis upon the wrong word. People are troubled about how they are going to come, when they should put the emphasis on Him to whom they are coming. |Him that cometh unto Me I will in no wise cast out:| no matter how he may come. I remember hearing this incident at an after-meeting. A gentleman was speaking to an anxious inquirer, telling him to come to Christ, to trust in Christ; but the man seemed to get no comfort. He said that was just where he found his difficulty. By and by, another friend came and spoke to the anxious one. All he said was: |Come to CHRIST; trust in CHRIST.| The man saw it in a minute. He went and told the other gentleman, |I see the way of salvation now.| |Tell me,| said he, |what did that man say to you?| |Well, he told me to trust in Christ.| |That is what I told you.| |Nay, you bade me trust in Christ, and come to Christ; he bade me trust in Christ, and come to Christ.| That made all the difference.
Mr. M. -- What does Christ mean by the words |in no wise?|
Mr. R. -- It means that if the sins of all sinners on earth and all the devils in hell were upon your soul, He will not refuse you. Not even in the range of God's omniscience is there a reason why Christ will refuse any poor sinner who comes to Him for pardon.
Mr. M. -- What is the salvation He comes to proclaim and to bestow?
Mr. R. -- To deliver us from the power of darkness and the bottomless pit, and set us upon the throne of glory. It is salvation from death and hell, and curse and ruin. But that is only the half of it. It is salvation to God, and light, and glory, and honor, and immortality; and from earth to heaven.
Mr. M. -- If the friends here do not come and get this salvation, what will be the true reason?
Mr. R. -- Either they are fond of some sin which they do not intend to give up, or they do not believe they are in a lost condition, and under the curse of God, and therefore do not feel their need of Him who |came to seek and to save that which was lost.| Or they do not believe God's promises. I have sometimes asked a man, |Good friend, are you saved!| |Well, no, I am not saved.| |Are you lost?| |Oh, God forbid! I am not lost.| |Where are you, then, if you are neither saved nor lost?| May God wake us up to the fact that we are all in one state or the other!
Mr. M. -- What if any of them should fall into sin after they have come to Christ?
Mr. R. -- God has provided for the sins of His people, committed after they come to Christ, as surely as for their sins committed before they came to Him. Christ |ever liveth to make intercession for all that come unto God by Him.| |If we say that we have no sin we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.| . . . . For, |if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He is the propitiation for our sins.| He will take care of our sinful, tried and tempted selves, if we trust ourselves to Him.
Mr. M. -- Is it not said that if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, |there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins?|
Mr. R. -- Yes. Paul wrote it in his Epistle to the Hebrews. Some of them were trifling with the blood of Christ, reverting to the types and shadows of the Levitical Law, and trusting to a fulfilled ritual for salvation. He is not referring to ordinary acts of sin. By sinning willfully he means, as he explains it, a |treading under foot the Son of God,| and a total and final apostatizing from Christ. Those who reject or neglect Him will find no other sacrifice for sin remaining. Before Christ came the Jewish ceremonies were shadows of the good things to come; but Christ was the substance of them. But now that he has come to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself, there is no other sacrifice for sin remaining for those who reject Him. God will send no other Saviour, and no further atonement; no second |fountain shall be opened for sin and uncleanness.| There remains, therefore, nothing for the rejector of salvation by Christ, but |a fearful looking-for of judgment.|
Mr. M. -- There are some who say they do not know that they have the right kind of faith.
Mr. R. -- God does not ask us if we have the right kind of faith. He tells us the right thing to believe, and the right faith is to believe the right thing, even what God has told us and promised us. If I told you, Mr. Moody, that I had found a hymn-book last night you would believe me, would you not? (Mr. Moody: Yes.) Suppose I said it was the valuable one you lost the other night, you would believe me also just the same. There is no difference in the kind of faith; the difference is in the thing believed. When the Son of God tells me that He died for sinners, that is a fact for my faith to lay hold of: the faith itself is not some thing to be considered. I do not look at my hand, when I take a gift, and wonder what sort of a hand it is. I look at the gift.
Mr. M. -- What about those people who say their hearts are so hard, and they have no love to Christ?
Mr. R. -- Of course they are hard and cold. No man loves Christ till he believes that Christ loves him. |We love Him, because He first loved us.| It is the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost that makes the change.
Mr. M. -- Paul said he was |crucified with Christ.| what did he mean?
Mr. R. -- Oh, that is a grand text! Thank God I have been |crucified with Christ.| The Cross of Christ represents the death due to the sinner who had broken God's laws. When Christ was crucified every member of His body was crucified: but every believer that was, or is, or shall be, is a member of Christ's body, of His flesh, and of His bones. Again, we read: |Whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it: now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.| So when Christ was crucified for sin, I was also crucified in Him; and now I am dead and gone as far as my old self is concerned. I have already suffered for sin in Him. Yes; I am dead and buried with Christ. That is the grand truth that Paul laid hold upon. I am stone dead as a sinner in the sight of God. As it is written, I am |become dead to the law by the body of Christ, that I might be married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead, that I should bring forth fruit unto God.| |I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me;| and God Himself commands me so to regard my standing before Him as His believing child. |In that Christ died, He died, unto sin once: but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.|
Mr. M. -- Should not a man repent a good deal before he comes to Christ?
Mr. R. -- |Repent a good deal!| I do not think any man repents in the true sense of the word till he loves Christ and hates sin. There are many false repentances in the Bible. We are told that Pharaoh repented when the judgment of God came upon him, and he said, |I have sinned;| but as soon as the judgment passed away, he went back to his sin. We read that Balaam said: |I have sinned.| Yet |he loved the wages of unrighteousness.| When Saul lost his kingdom he repented; |I have sinned,| he said. When Judas Iscariot found that he had made a great mistake, he said: |I have sinned, in that I have betrayed innocent blood;| yet he went |to his own place.| I would not give much for these repentances; I would rather have Peter's repentance: when Christ looked upon His fallen saint it broke His heart, and he went out and wept bitterly. Or the repentance of the Prodigal, when his father's arms were around his neck, and his kisses on his cheek, and he said, |Father, I have sinned against heaven and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.|
Mr. M. -- What is your title to heaven?
Mr. R. -- The Person, the Life, Death, and Righteousness, of the God-man, the Son of God, my Substitute, and my Saviour.
Mr. M. -- How do you obtain that?
Mr. R. -- By receiving Him. |As many as received Him, to them gave He authority to become the sons of God, even to them that believed on His name.|
Mr. M. -- What is your meetness for heaven?
Mr. R. -- The Holy Ghost dwelling in my heart is my fitness for heaven. I have only to get there; and I have, by this great gift, all tastes, desires, and faculties, for it: I have the eyes to contemplate it: I have the ears for heaven's music: and I can speak the language of the country. The Holy Ghost in me is my fitness and qualification for the splendid inheritance for which the Son of God has redeemed me.
Mr. M. -- Would you make a distinction between Christ's work for us and the Spirit's work in us?
Mr. R. -- Christ's work for me is the payment of my debt; the giving me a place in my Father's home, the place of sonship in my Father's family. The Holy Spirit's work in me is to make me fit for His company.
Mr. M. -- You distinguish, then, between the work of the Father, the work of the Son, and the work of the Holy Ghost.
Mr. R. -- Thanks be to God, I have them all, and I want them all -- Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. I read that my Heavenly Father took my sins and laid them on Christ; |The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.| No one else had a right to touch them. Then I want the Son, who |His own self bare my sins in His own body on a tree.| And I want the Holy Ghost. I should know nothing about this great salvation, and care nothing for it, if the Holy Ghost had not come and told me the story, and given me grace to believe it.
Mr. M. -- What is meant when we are told that Christ saves |to the uttermost?|
Mr. R. -- That is another grand truth. Some people are troubled by the thought that they will not be able to hold out if they come to Christ. There are so many crooked ways, and pitfalls, and snares in the world; there is the power of the flesh, and the snare of the devil. So they fear they will never get home. The idea of the passage is this. Suppose you are on the top of some splendid mountain, very high up. You look away to where the sun sets, and you see many a river, and many a country, and many a barren waste between. Christ is able to save you through and over them all, out and out, and beyond to the uttermost.
Mr. M. -- Suppose a man came in here just out of prison: all his life he has been falling, falling, till he has become discouraged. Can Christ save him all at once?
Mr. R. -- It is just as easy for Christ to save a man with the weight of ten thousand sins upon him and all his chains around him, as to save a man with one sin. If a man has offended in one point, the Scripture says he is guilty of all.
Mr. M. -- If a man is forgiven, will he go out and do the same thing to-morrow?
Mr. R. -- Well, I hope not. All I can say is that if we do, we shall smart for it. I have done many a thing since the Lord revealed Himself to my soul that I should not have done -- I have gone backward and downward; but I have always found that it does not pay when I do anything that grieves my Heavenly Father. I think He sometimes allows us to taste the bitterness of what it is to depart from Him. And this is one of the many ways by which He keeps us from falling.
Mr. M. -- What do you consider to be the great sin of sins?
Mr. R. -- The Word of God tells us that there is only one sin of which God alone can convince us. If I cut a man's throat or if I steal, it does not need God to convince me that that is a sin. But it takes the power of the Holy Ghost to convince me that not to receive Christ, not to love Christ, not to believe in Christ, is the sin of sins, the root of sins. Christ says, |When the Spirit is come, He will convince the world of sin, because they believe not on Me.|
Mr. M. -- What do you mean by the Word of God?
Mr. R. -- The Son of God is the Word of God incarnate: the Bible is the Word of God written. The one is the Word of God in my nature: the other is the Word of God in my language.
Mr. M. -- If a man receives the word of God into his heart, what benefit is it to him, right here to-night?
Mr. R. -- The Father and the Son will make their abode with him; and he will be the temple of the Holy Ghost. Where He goes the whole Trinity goes; and all the promises are his. |Man doth not live by bread alone; but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.|
Mr. M. -- Who is it that judges a man to be unworthy of eternal life?
Mr. R. -- Himself!! There is a verse in Acts xiii that is worth remembering: |Seeing ye put it [the Word of God] from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.| God does not judge us unworthy. He has given His Son for our salvation. When a man puts away the Word of God from him and refuses to receive Christ into his heart, he judges himself unworthy of salvation.
Mr. M. -- I understand, then, that if a man rejects Christ to-night, he passes judgment on himself as unworthy of eternal life?
Mr. R. -- He is judging himself unworthy, while God does not so consider him. God says you are welcome to eternal life.
Mr. M. -- If any one here wants to please God to-night, how can he do it?
Mr. R. -- God delights in mercy. Come to God and claim His mercy in Christ; and you will delight His heart.
Mr. M. -- Suppose a man say he is not |elected?|
Mr. R. -- Do you remember the story of the woman of Canaan? Poor soul; she had come a long journey. She asked the Lord to have mercy on her afflicted child. He wanted to try her faith, and He said: |I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.| That looked as if He Himself told her that she was not one of the elect. But she came and worshipped Him, saying, |Lord, help me!| and He helped her there and then. No; there is no election separating between the sinner and Christ.
Mr. M. -- Say that again.
Mr. R. -- There is no election separating between the sinner and christ.
Mr. M. -- What is there between the sinner and Christ?
Mr. R. -- Mercy!! Mercy!!
Mr. M. -- That brings me near to Christ.
Mr. R. -- So near that we cannot be nearer. But we must claim it. In John we get God's teaching about election. |This is the Father's will which hath sent Me, that of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing; but should raise it up again at the last day.| He will do his work, you may depend upon it. Then in the next verse we read: |And this is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.| That is the part I am to take: and when I have done so I shall know the Father's will concerning me.
Mr. M. -- What do you mean by the New Birth?
Mr. R. -- I judge it by what I know of the Old Birth. I was born of human parents into the human family; so I belong to Adam's race by nature and by generation, and I inherit Adam's sin and curse accordingly. The new birth is from my union by faith with the second Adam; but this is by grace, not nature: and when I receive the Lord Jesus Christ I am born of God -- not by generation, but by regeneration. As I am united to the first Adam by nature and generation, so I am united by faith through grace and regeneration to the second Adam, and inherit all His fullness accordingly.
Mr. M. -- What is the meaning of being |saved by the Blood?|
Mr. R. -- A gentleman asked me that in the inquiry-room; |What do you mean by the shed Blood?| It is the poured-out life of the Son of God forfeited as the atonement for sinners' sins.
Mr. M. -- Is it available now?
Mr. R. -- Yes; as much as ever it was.
Mr. M. -- You mean it is just as powerful to-day as it was eighteen hundred years ago when He shed it?
Mr. R. -- If the blood of Abel cried out for vengeance against his slayer, how much more does the blood of Christ cry out for pardon for all who plead it! |It cleanseth (present tense) from all sin.|
Mr. M. -- How do you get faith?
Mr. R. -- By hearing God's Word. |Faith cometh by hearing; and hearing by the Word of God.|
Mr. M. -- How do you get the Holy Ghost?
Mr. R. -- In the same way as you get faith. The Holy Ghost uses the Word as the chariot by which He enters the believer's soul. The Gospel is called |the ministration of the Spirit.|
Mr. M. -- Is the Word of God addressed to all here?
Mr. R. -- |He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the Churches| (Rev. iii 22).
Mr. M. -- What is the Gospel?
Mr. R. -- |Good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.| If our Gospel, proclaiming life, pardon, and peace, is not as applicable for salvation to the vilest harlot here as to the greatest saint in London, it is not Christ's Gospel we preach.
Mr. M. -- What reason does the Scripture give tor the Gospel being hid to some?
Mr. R. -- It is |hid to them that are lost; in whom the God of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine into them.| May God open all our eyes, and take away the veil of unbelief with which the devil may be blinding any of us!
Mr. M. -- Are there not many who give an intellectual assent to all these things; and who yet have no power, and no divine life?
Mr. R. -- An intellectual assent is not faith. I have never found anyone who really believed God's Word who did not get power in believing it. People may assent to it; but I do not admit that that is believing it. I do not think there is any man or woman here who really believes the Gospel of the grace of God, who has not been taught it by the Holy Ghost. I could easily cross-examine any one of those |intellectual believers| who imagines he believes God, but really does not; and he would break down in a few minutes.
Mr. M. -- For whom, then, did Christ die?
Mr. R. -- For |the ungodly.|
Mr. M. -- Why is salvation obtained by faith?
Mr. R. -- That it might be by grace. |For this cause it is of faith, that it may be according to grace?|
Mr. M. -- How may a man know if he has eternal life?
Mr. R. -- By not treating God as if He were a liar, when He tells us He has given us eternal life in His Son.
Mr. M. -- What is the means by which the New Birth we were speaking of is effected?
Mr. R. -- |Of His own will begat He us with the word of truth.| |Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God . . . . and this is the Word, which by the Gospel is preached unto you.|
|Oh, the wondrous love of Jesus
To redeem us with His blood!
Through His all-atoning merit,
He has brought us near to God:
For the boundless grace that saves us
We His name will magnify;
He is coming in His glory,
We shall see Him by and by!
Oh, the wondrous love of Jesus
To redeem our souls from death!
We will thank Him, we will praise Him,
While His mercy lends us breath:
We are waiting -- only waiting --
Till He comes our souls to bear
To the Home beyond the shadows,
In His Kingdom over there!|
F. J. Crosby