When Am I to Obtain the Salvation of My Soul?
What a mercy it is for a sinner to be spared until now—when God might have justly cut him down, and consigned him to eternal torments. But why has God spared me? Surely he has some kind and gracious design in it. Is it not to prove that he has no pleasure in the death of a sinner? Does it not show that he is gracious, merciful, and longsuffering? Surely he is not willing that any should perish—or he would have cut me down, and sent me to hell for my sins! But here I am, with a new portion of time put into my hands; and now let me seriously consider one question: "When am I to obtain the salvation of my soul?" What question can be more solemn or reasonable than this?
Salvation is a blessing—a great blessing, the greatest blessing God can give—or man receive. It is the opposite of man's desert—for every man, as a sinner, deserves damnation! Damnation! What is that? It is banishment from God. It is separation from all holy and happy beings. It is to be deprived of hope, and to be delivered over unto black eternal despair. It is to be tormented by one's own conscience, by Satan and his demons, and by the dreadful frown of God forever. Damnation is the essence of misery, the perfection of woe, the most dreadful kind of suffering! It will have its seat in the soul—but will fill every part of the body with anguish, agony, and torment!
Salvation is the enjoyment of the presence, smile and favor of God. It is union to, and fellowship with, all the holy, happy, and noble beings in creation. It is the end of faith, the object of hope, and the eternal satisfaction of love. It is the essence of pleasure, the perfection of happiness, and the fullness of satisfaction. Salvation raises us from the gates of hell—to the throne of heaven; delivers us from the dreadful, and puts us in possession of the desirable: elevates us to the highest pitch of holiness, happiness, and honor.
And can I be saved? Yes, there is no doubt of it.
Who will save me? The Lord Jesus Christ.
How will be save me? Freely, or gratuitously.
How can I obtain salvation? By seeking it at his throne, by submitting to his method, by receiving his glorious work. Jesus says to you, "Seek—and you shall find," "Seek me—and you shall live."
You are a sinner, do you admit that? Do you heartily believe it, and believe it because God tells you so in his holy word? Do you feel it? Do you desire to be delivered from the power, love, guilt and consequences of sin? Are you willing to be saved in God's way? If so—you can be saved, you may be saved.
Go to Jesus! He is on the throne of grace; go just as you are; go, and using your own words, ask him in mercy to save your soul—to save you freely, fully, immediately—to save you for his own glory. Tell him that you are willing to be saved in his own way; that you are prepared to submit to his righteousness. Exercise confidence in his word. Put your trust . . .
in his blood, which cleanses from all sin;
in his righteousness, which justifies from all things;
in his intercession, which always prevails with God;
and you are saved.
You are saved the moment you believe. That is, the moment you withdraw your dependance from your own works, renounce yourself entirely—and venture simply, alone, and altogether on the word, work, and precious blood of the Lord Jesus. This is the way in which God saves sinners. In this way any sinner may be saved. In this way you may be saved, and saved this moment. Jesus Christ provides all—and you receive it. He presents all in his gospel—and you accept it. He does the work—you get the benefit, and he receives the praise!
If, therefore, you ask the question, "When am I to obtain the salvation of my soul?" The answer is, Whenever you are heartily willing to do so. Whenever you are stripped of self, prepared to renounce your own righteousness, and made heartily willing to receive salvation as a free gift—it may be said to you, "This day has salvation come to your house, to your heart." Blessed day! But when shall it be? When will it be? Did you enter upon this day as a lost and ruined sinner—or as a sinner saved by grace? If you have entered upon it as a lost soul, will you continue in such a situation? What! with a Savior close at hand? With an invitation to come and be saved, sounding in your ears? Your life is waning, death is approaching, the grave is opening—and eternity, with all its dreadful solemnities, ready to burst upon you!
Your soul may be saved. You may obtain the salvation of your soul now. But if you trifle, if you wait for a more convenient time, if you will not give up the pleasures and practice of sin—you perish! You perish forever! You perish by your own hand! You die a suicide, and will go to hell eternally to reflect on your madness and folly!
How long have you lived in sin? Just mark down the number of years. Complete this sentence, "I have lived in sin ___ years; all that time I have been the enemy of God, and the enemy of my own soul; but I do now deliberately determine, from this hour, to seek the salvation of my soul, and to seek it until I obtain it, and can say, I am saved in the Lord, with an everlasting salvation."
Or if you will not, just be honest for once, and before the omniscient eye of God complete this sentence, "I have lived in sin ___ years, and I do deliberately determine to go on in sin, to neglect the salvation of my soul, and dare the eternal God, whose mercy I refuse—to do his worst!"
But, stop! before you sign your name to this—reflect, and before salvation is forever hidden from your eyes, let me beseech you to seek the Lord, and obtain the salvation of your soul. But, remember this, and it is a solemn thought, whatever your hand may do, your heart at this moment agrees to, and signs one of these sentences! Which is it? Which? Oh, which?