WHAT IT IS TO BE CONVERTED.
MR. MOODY: Christ says, |Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.| What is it to be converted?
Mr. Radstock: To be |converted| is to turn to God, who is the only one that can save. We cannot save ourselves even by our religion. Therefore, in order to salvation we must turn to God, who alone has the grace, the wisdom, and the power to save.
Mr. M. -- What is it to be born of the Spirit?
Mr. R. -- Man, by nature, cannot enter into the thoughts of God. He cannot hold communion with God until he has a new nature. The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: he has no capacity until he has the new life which God will give him by the power of the Holy Ghost.
Mr. M. -- Can he get that to-day if he repents?
Mr. R. -- Yes. Repentance means a change of mind -- a turning away from his own thoughts to hear the voice and the message of God. If we listen to the voice of God and confess our sins, God is |faithful and just to forgive us our sins.|
Mr. M. -- To whom are we to confess our sins?
Mr. R. -- When the light of God comes in, we see that we are guilty before him; then we are constrained to go and lay our case before Him. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us.
Mr. M. -- There is a passage that says the Lord Jesus Christ bear our sins. In what sense did He bear our sins.
Mr. R. -- The Lord Jesus Christ had really laid to His charge sins which He had never committed. He was punished as if He had been the sinner. Therefore on the cross He cried out, |My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?| God was dealing with Jesus as if He had really been the guilty one.
Mr. M. -- Do we get any help by believing that?
Mr. R. -- When I believe God's testimony, God's witness about Jesus, I then can trust myself to God, Giving myself to God, God becomes my Saviour.
Mr. M. -- Have these friends the power to believe?
Mr. R. -- They are commanded to believe. They can believe it just as well as they can believe any other fact, if they only listen to God's voice. But they must get rid of their own thoughts, and listen to God: Hearing His voice they will believe. |Faith cometh by hearing: and hearing by the Word of God.|
Mr. M. -- All the sinner has to do is to repose in the promises of God?
Mr. R. -- Simply to trust Himself to God.
Mr. M. -- What would you say to a man who says he has tried a good many times and failed; and who has become discouraged?
Mr. R. -- That man has probably made a good many resolutions, hoping that he would gradually make himself a Christian by going through this or that process, or by doing this or that thing. Of course he failed, because he tried to make himself a Christian. Instead of trying to save himself, let him trust in God, who has pledged His word that every one who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ has at that moment everlasting life.
Mr. M. -- Should a man not break off from some of his sins before he comes to God? Suppose he swears or has a bad temper, should he not get a little control over his temper, or stop swearing, before he comes to Christ?
Mr. R. -- God knows that a man's nature is wrong: therefore He has promised to give a man a new nature. We must therefore go to God, just as a man goes to a physician, because he needs to be cured of some disease.
Mr. M. -- Can a drunkard or a blasphemer be saved all at once?
Mr. R. -- Paul says: |To him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly| bad people, lost people, ruined people -- |his faith is counted for righteousness.| When he believes God, God becomes his Saviour. God is the friend of sinners.
Mr. M. -- What is it to believe God?
Mr. R. -- To take Him at His word.
Mr. M. -- Do you not think there are a good many here who believe that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the world; and yet they are not saved?
Mr. R. -- No doubt; because they have not believed for themselves. A man at the time of the Deluge, for instance, might have said, |Yes, I believe it is a very good ark indeed; and that it will save those who get into it.| But it does not follow that he got into it himself. The ark only saved those who went into it. So, when a man trusts in Jesus Christ for himself, Jesus becomes his personal and eternal Saviour.
Mr. M. -- What if he should fall into sin after he has believed in Christ?
Mr. R. -- |These things write I unto you that ye sin not,| says John; |and if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father.| The Good Physician will not give up His case because of the disease; He will deal with it. The Good Shepherd will not turn His poor wandering sheep away; He will go after it, and bring it back. He has promised that He will save His people from their sins.
Mr. M. -- Is salvation within the reach of every man here tonight?
Mr. R. -- Jesus said, |God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.|
Mr. M. -- But some say they do not feel that; they do not realize it.
Mr. R. -- When they take God at His word, and cast themselves upon Him, whether they feel it or not -- when they confess Jesus Christ as their Lord -- the Holy Ghost will come as a power to make them realize it. For instance, a man at the time of the Deluge might have stood outside the ark, and said, |I cannot realize how this ark will lift me up above the waters.| But if he were inside when the flood came he would realize it. The sinner must believe first, and have his experience afterwards. A man is told that a certain train will take him to Edinburgh. He has never been there: he does not understand about this particular train; and he cannot realize that it will take him there. But he knows that he may trust the friend who told him; so he gets into the train. Then he realizes that he is in the train; by and by he will be able to realize that he is in Edinburgh.
Mr. M. -- Would you advise people to come to God as they are, with their unfeeling, treacherous, hard hearts -- with any kind of heart?
Mr. R. -- God has provided this salvation for lost sinners -- those who are thoroughly bad and corrupt. It is for such that God has shown His salvation, His love, His grace.
Mr. M. -- What would you say to any one who thinks he has no power to believe?
Mr. R. -- He has the power to believe. Probably he is trying to believe something about himself; to feel something about himself instead of giving credit to God -- He is not asked to realize this or that about himself, but to believe the faithful God.
Mr. M. -- Some say they have no power to overcome a besetting sin?
Mr. R. -- Jesus came proclaiming liberty to the captives. As we read in the beautiful words of the Church of England Prayer-book: |Though we be tied and bound by the chains of our sin, let the pitifulness of Thy mercy save us.| Jesus Christ takes the prisoners of sin and breaks off their chains.
Mr. M. -- There is something said about confessing Christ. Would you advise any one who wants to become a Christian to start right here by confessing Christ with the mouth?
Mr. R. -- God is already on your side, whoever you are. Christ is Immanuel -- God with us and for us. He is already on your side, whether you believe it or not. Now it is for you to decide whether He shall be your Saviour. He says that if you own Him as Lord -- who is now the one rejected by the world -- He is responsible to be your Saviour from that moment.