By James Smith
'Mary' was an amiable, moral, and engaging girl, who won the affections of all around her. For a long time she was satisfied to attend her church, and keep up the form of religion. But at length, the Holy Spirit convinced her of sin, and directing her eye inward, revealed to her--the total depravity of her heart. She felt she was under the curse of God, and righteously condemned to suffer his wrath forever. In vain she strove by her prayers, tears, and good works to obtain peace, for the more she felt her sinfulness, and the deeper she sunk into despondency and gloom!
In this state for a long time she continued, until life became almost a burden, and she wished she was anything but a sinner accountable to God. She heard the gospel--but did not perceive its adaptation to herself, nor could she believe or appropriate it promises. But at length, as she was reading the Bible one day, she came to Paul's words, "Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst!" 1 Timothy 1:15
All at once, light shone into her mind, she looked at the words with astonishment, and exclaimed, "Great God, can this be true? What glorious news! Sinners! Come to save sinners! Then why not me?"
She received the word into her heart, she placed the fullest confidence in it, and she found peace with God. In one moment--guilt was gone, fear fled away, joy and gladness filled the soul, and she rejoiced in Christ Jesus! As a sinner--she looked to Jesus. As a sinner--she exercised confidence in Jesus. As a sinner--she committed her soul to Jesus, and she was saved.
She thought no more of her works, she was terrified no longer at her sins--for she saw that Jesus had done all that was necessary to save her soul, and had suffered all that her iniquities deserved. Jesus was now her all. If she prayed--she pleaded his name. If she sung--she sung of him. If she talked--she talked of him. Jesus Only, was the object of her faith, the subject of her thoughts, and the joy of her heart. Yes, he was her All in All.
Reader, are you convinced of sin? Do you desire peace with God? Are you seeking it by faith in Jesus, or by the works of the law? If the latter, you will never find it. Works must be renounced, for salvation is alone of grace. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done--but according to his mercy he saved us." This is the apostle's testimony, and if ever you are saved--it will be yours.
Do you doubt whether you can be saved? For what did Jesus come into the world--but to save sinners? Are not you a sinner, then why not to save you? Do you fear? On what ground? What are your sins--compared to the merits of Jesus? What are your sins--compared to the grace of God? Think of those precious words, "Where sin abounded--grace did much more abound." Why should you be excluded from Jesus? Why should you be refused salvation by his blood? But you cannot be, if willing to be saved by Jesus. That is the evidence that he came to save you, for you never would have been willing, if his Spirit had not made you so. Jesus is willing to save, all who are willing to be saved by him, therefore troubled spirit, he is willing to save you!