Two healthy, clean-cut young men, Dr. Westman and Jack Strong, met while flying westward across the nation and became fast friends when they found they were graduates of the same university. After an interesting conversation about their school, a serious discussion arose. It all began when the doctor, after a pause in the conversation, asked, “Where are you headed, Jack?”
“I’m going to the West Coast to join my uncle in business,” Jack answered.
The doctor paused thoughtfully, and then asked, “Would you mind my asking you a few questions concerning yourself, Jack?”
“No, not at all.”
“Fine. I was just wondering what you were looking forward to in the future. What are your plans after you become established in business?”
“I hope then to have a wife and family with whom I can share the best that life has to offer,” Jack replied.
“You have noble ambitions,” the doctor affirmed; “but—then what?”
“Well, at the age of about 60 I would like to retire from business and do some extensive traveling.”
“And then . . . ?”
“Then?” questioned Jack. “Who really knows what then? I will of course die, the same as anyone, and undoubtedly go to meet my Maker.”
“You’re right, Jack. You will go to meet your Maker, but what will be the outcome of that meeting?”
“Who really knows that?” returned Jack. “Some people think they know, but I’ll be honest enough to admit I don’t know—and I don’t believe anyone else knows for sure either. What’s more, I’m really not much concerned. I belong to a church and try to live a respectable life. I’ll make out all right, I guess.”
“You’re in the same place I was, Jack,” Dr. Westman answered. “But a friend of mine showed me some remarkable things concerning life and the hereafter.
“I’d like to show you the things this friend showed me, how we can know what the outcome of our meeting with God will be.”
“Just a minute,” Jack broke in. “Are you really sure you know?”
“Jack, I’m convinced I’ve found the truth,” the doctor answered. “And I’m sure you will agree when you hear how simple and plain the truth is. It just could not be any other way.”
“All right,” said Jack, “let’s hear it.”
“Well, it starts at the very beginning of the human race,” the doctor began. “When God created man, He created him perfect. Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, were perfect, in that they were without sin when God created them and placed them in the Garden of Eden. This is naturally what we would expect from a perfect and holy God.
“Adam and Eve did not long continue perfect, however. God created mankind with a free will and the power of intelligent choice. But it was not long before Adam and Eve abused their freedom and deliberately ate fruit which God had forbidden.
“It was this act of flagrant disobedience that brought sin into the world. When Adam and Eve rebelled against God and declared their independence of His authority, they became sinful. You see, the essence of sin is SELF-WILL, opposing the will of God.
“God had told Adam that if he ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he would surely die. Adam truly did die the moment he sinned, not physically, but spiritually. He was doomed from that time forth to be separated from God because of sin.
“When Adam sinned, he made it impossible for his descendants to enter the presence of God, because no sin can enter heaven, where all is perfection. In Revelation 21:27 we read, ‘There shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie.’ In other words, heaven will not be polluted by sin. If God had allowed Adam to enter heaven in his imperfect state, sin would have entered heaven, and heaven would no longer be a place of perfection.”
“Just a moment, Doctor,” Jack broke in. “You said that when Adam sinned, he made it impossible for his descendants to enter the presence of God. Why should mankind be barred from heaven because of Adam’s sin? Why should the whole human race be doomed?”
“Those are logical questions,” returned the doctor. “In the Book of Romans, the 3rd Chapter and the 23rd verse, are these words: ‘All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.’ Then, in Romans 6:23 we read ‘The wages of sin is death.’ Since all have sinned, all are barred from heaven.
“Mankind was doomed the moment Adam fell into sin. Mankind at that moment received the sinful nature. It’s impossible to expect a perfect people from Adam, who had taken on imperfection. The words of Christ in Matthew 7:16, 17, illustrate this very well. ‘Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.’ I’m sure you can see that would also be true of the human race. We can’t expect sinful Adam to have any but sinful children, and so sin has come down to us. We all inherited a depraved sinful nature. Furthermore, we have all committed sin, and therefore we all deserve the same punishment that was due Adam. We are barred from the presence of God because of sin.”
“Well,” Jack broke in, “if that’s true, what hope is there for us? We can’t do much about it now, since we’re born that way.”
“You’re right,” agreed the doctor. “There is nothing we can do about it, because we’re born sinners. But God can and has done something. God understood fully what a terrible plight the human race was in. His holy justice required the sentence of death on all mankind. But God loved man whom He had created.
“Knowing mankind could do nothing to alter the sentence of death, God promised to send One who would deal with the problem of sin, One who would bring deliverance to sinful mankind, One who would bring us back to perfection. In many places in the Old Testament, reference is made to this One who was to come. In due time this Saviour of the world was brought forth.
“There are many things you should know about this One who has come to be your Saviour. You should know why He was able to do it, and how He did it, and why it had to be done the way it was done. You’ll see, when I finish, that the way it was done was the only way it could have been done.”
“Yes, and how was that?” Jack asked.
“Here it is,” continued the doctor. “This Saviour is none other than Jesus Christ. The Old Testament prophesies in many places concerning Christ’s birth, His life, and His death.
“In Isaiah 7:14 we find this prophecy: ‘Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.’
“That’s exactly what happened in relation to the birth of Christ. He was born of a virgin, the virgin Mary. You can read the account of this in the first chapter of Matthew, beginning with the 18th verse.
“Now, why was Jesus born of a virgin? Was it merely to display a miracle, so that mankind might more readily accept Him as Saviour?
“I’m glad I can show you another reason. You remember I said that man is a sinner and doomed to everlasting punishment. I also showed you that it is impossible for sinful man to be the father of any but sinful men. Therefore, if this Saviour would have had a human father, He would have been merely another man, and He would have been born a sinner, and would have been in the same fix as the rest of us. God could use only a perfect being to do the work of saving lost mankind.
“A miracle was therefore performed in order to bring to this earth, in human form, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the eternal Son of God. Jesus was miraculously conceived in Mary’s womb by the Holy Spirit of God, not by a human father.
“We have seen, now, that Christ was brought into the world a perfect man, without sin; but so was Adam. We know, however, that Adam didn’t continue without sin; and as a consequence, his latter end was death. What about Christ? Did He continue in perfection?”
“I’m sure I don’t know,” answered Jack. “But go on. This is interesting.”
“Well, in regard to Christ’s life on earth, let’s see what those had to say who knew Him best. The Apostle Peter said of Him that He ‘did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.’ The Apostle John said, ‘And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.’
“Could you speak about any person you know in the same manner these men spoke about Christ in regard to sinlessness?”
“No, I don’t believe I could do so honestly,” replied Jack after a moment’s thought.
“Quite so,” continued the doctor. “But these men had lived and traveled with Christ for three years, and at the end of that time they were still able to say that Christ was without sin. Yes, Christ was not only born in perfection, but He lived a perfect life.
“That being the case, was there any reason why He should die, when death is God’s judgment upon sin?”
“No, hardly,” said Jack.
“Of course not,” continued the doctor. “Christ had no sin; therefore He was not doomed to death and separated from God like the rest of mankind. Christ could have ascended directly into the presence of God after His life on earth without tasting death. There was no reason for Him to be kept from the presence of God, because there was no sin in Him to mar His fellowship with God.
“But listen, Jack, we know Christ did die, don’t we?”
“Yes, that’s what I’ve heard.”
“Well, why did He die, Jack? Here’s the answer: As I told you before, God sent Christ here to be our Saviour. Christ did not die because of His sin, but because of our sin. If there had been sin in Christ’s life, He would have had to receive death and hell as punishment for His sin, just the same as you and I. But He had no sin, and did not have to die because of sin in His own life; therefore, He could die for us.
“God the Father accepted the physical death of Jesus Christ, His Son, and the shedding of His blood as a sacrifice for our sins. That is why He can pardon us and release us from the penalty of sin on the conditions that we repent and believe this Good News. This salvation is available to all who will accept it. The death of Christ enables God to be both ‘just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.’ We are told in Ephesians 4:32 that God for Christ’s sake will forgive you. Do you see now what a perfect and wonderful plan of salvation God has for all who will receive it? Our faith in Jesus Christ is counted (or reckoned) to us for righteousness.”
“I never knew it was that way,” Jack admitted. “I never heard it explained before.”
“Jack, we have a wonderful Saviour. ‘While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.’ Christ died for you. He was wounded for Jack Strong’s transgressions; He was bruised for Jack Strong’s iniquities; the chastisement of Jack Strong’s peace was upon Him; and with His stripes Jack Strong is healed. When Christ came close to the hour of crucifixion, He retired to the Garden of Gethsemane and there agonized in prayer. He knew that death on the cross involved a bitter cup of suffering. But for the joy of doing His Father’s will, He endured the cross, despising the shame of it all so that He might be the Source of Life to all who receive and follow Him.
“In order to redeem us from hell and eternal destruction, Christ gave Himself as a sin offering in supreme sacrifice to reconcile us to God. The perfect Christ died for a sinful world, which for the most part has refused to recognize Him as its Saviour. Those who continue to refuse Christ as their Saviour must go into everlasting punishment. This will mean to be abandoned by God and banished from all of God’s blessings. Luke 16:24 shows us that in hell not even a drop of water will be available to satisfy thirst. Anyone who spurns the love Christ has shown deserves hell, and there will be no escaping it.
“The Apostle Peter said, ‘Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out (Acts 3:19). When you receive Christ as your Lord and Saviour, you no longer are judged according to your sins—they are blotted out of God’s records, because Christ was sacrificed for sin; and you are accepted through His beloved Son.
“God’s offer of eternal life is stated in John 3:16: ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ That whosoever means you and everyone. It leaves no one out.
“Do you see, now, why we’ll never escape hell and gain heaven merely by belonging to church, or by living a respectable life, or by doing the best we can? No one is good enough to gain heaven. We’re all sinners, and ‘the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. We gain heaven only through Christ. God’s righteousness demanded death as the penalty for sin, but God’s love provided the remedy in Christ who died for us that we might not perish, but have everlasting life.”
After a moment’s silence, Jack said, “I never saw it that way before. Does the Bible actually teach that we may have everlasting life in that way?”
“It certainly does,” answered the doctor. “Read the Gospel of John in the New Testament the first opportunity you have. In fact, read the entire New Testament, but the Gospel of John brings it out very plainly.”
“So eternal life is a gift we cannot earn,” Jack mused.
“And you say we need to repent of our sin and believe in Jesus. Could you explain that more clearly?”
“I’ll be glad to,” replied the doctor. “To repent means to turn around in sorrow and go the other way. It means renouncing our rebellious SELF-WILL and pleading God’s mercy and pardon. It also means resolutely turning away from all sin.
“A faith which saves acknowledges Jesus as our only means of eternal life. It embraces His declaration, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me’ (John 14:6).
“To receive eternal life, we must receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. Since He is Lord, we must surrender to His authority and submit our lives to His control. We must rely on His precious blood to cleanse us from all sin.
“The Bible says, ‘If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation’ (Romans 10:9, 10).
“God will accept those who sincerely trust Him and put their faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. Faith is not just an idea in the head. It is a conviction in the heart that we act upon. Jesus said, ‘Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.’ ”
“I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to hold out,” Jack interrupted.
“Jack, that’s a very important thing to consider. Here’s how God undertakes for you in this matter when you come to Him in true sincerity. Do you remember how I showed you that we were born with a sinful nature?”
“When you receive Christ and yield your life to Him, you receive a new nature. Something happens to everyone who comes to God in true sincerity and faith in Christ—something that can’t be fully explained; something, however, that many have happily experienced. Christ called it being ‘born again.’ He said to a Jewish leader named Nicodemus, ‘Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ Further on He said, ‘Ye must be born again.’ Notice the emphasis He gives to this—‘Ye must be born again.’ There’s no ‘should be’ about that statement; it’s must be. Evidently it’s something essential.
“Here’s what He meant: When man is born, he receives physical life, but spiritually he is without life. Now the Scriptures tell us in 1 Corinthians 2:14, ‘The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.’ It is just as impossible for the spiritually lifeless man to please God and respond to spiritual things as it is for the physically lifeless man to respond to physical things. Therefore, we must have a second birth, we must be born by the Spirit of God or we cannot please God and receive eternal life. It is when you come to God in true repentance accepting Christ as your Lord and Saviour that the Holy Spirit enters your heart and you are given spiritual birth.
“Jack, you received physical birth from your parents, and with it the sinful nature of fallen man. When you have been given spiritual birth by God, you will receive the nature of God. Peter said, in 2 Peter 1:4, that we become ‘partakers of the divine nature.’ Paul said in one of his letters, ‘Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new’ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
“You wonder if you can hold out. No, you can’t in your natural, sinful nature, but when God has performed the miracle of the new birth in your life, you will have a new nature. You’ll have new desires, new ambitions, new likes. It will then be a joy to do things that please God, things you once thought distasteful.”
“Is that really true?” Jack interrupted. “A change like that sounds impossible.”
“Yes,” agreed the doctor, “it is impossible— without God. Only God can give life. The new birth is new life. It’s God’s work, and He will perform this wonderful work only in the lives of the sincere—those who come in real repentance and faith. I know the new birth is real— because God’s Word teaches it and because I’ve experienced it. My entire life has been changed by God’s work in me.
“It’s just like a law in chemistry. You follow the correct formula and you’re sure to have the desired results. The formula for the new spiritual birth is repentance and faith. If these elements are genuine, the result will be a new birth, a new life. If they’re imitation, nothing will happen. Some persons try to gain salvation by imitation repentance, but they aren’t fooling God. Does that help you understand?”
“Yes, I believe it does,” Jack responded.
“Jack, do you want to experience this new birth?”
After some moments of silence Jack answered, “I really don’t know.”
“What’s hindering you, Jack?”
After more silence Jack answered, “I guess I’m thinking of all I must leave behind if I really repent.”
“Jack, when you sincerely repent, the pleasures of sin you leave behind will be made up for by God’s blessing both in this life and for all eternity. Is there any sinful practice, pleasure, or company worth having in place of God’s pardon and blessing? ‘What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?’ ”
After another moment of careful thought, Jack answered. “I know you’re right, and I really do want to get right with God. I know I am a sinner.”
“Already, Jack, you have taken the first step. You recognize you are a sinner and in need of a Saviour. You can indeed get right with God and have peace. I’ll be glad to help in any way I can. Perhaps you’d like to share with me things that have been bothering you. Then when you are ready, I’ll be happy to pray with you also.”
As Jack poured out his heart to his new friend, his hope of finding peace with God increased. When he was finished sharing his spiritual need, the doctor spoke.
“Why don’t you just bring it to the Lord in prayer. Simply, in your own words, confess your need to Christ. Ask Him to take away your sins and to come into your heart. As you give yourself completely to Him, He will receive you and make you one of His children. After you have prayed, I will pray also.”
As they finished praying, the doctor said, “Jack, Christ arose from the grave three days after He was crucified, and is now seated at the right hand of God the Father interceding for those who come to Him for salvation. When we are sincere, Christ hears our prayers and we can know our sins have been forgiven and we have eternal life. Christ said, ‘Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.’
“You have just made the most important decision of your life. Are you sorry you did it?” the doctor asked with a smile.
Jack looked up from deep thought, with a smile and said, “Indeed I’m not sorry. It’s like a big load has been lifted from me—to realize I have really found peace with God.”
“You should know, Jack, that just making the right decision does not mean everything from here on is going to be easy. Satan will try to discourage you. He may cast doubt on your salvation and make things difficult. But the Bible says, ‘Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.’ This means the Holy Spirit living within us is greater than the forces of Satan. God has also promised that if we endure to the end, we will be saved. James 1:12 says, ‘Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.’ ”
As Dr.Westman finished, Jack said, “I wish I could tell others as you have told me.”
“That’s exactly what the Lord wants you to do,” the doctor answered. “Get the message out any way you can. Christ’s great commission to us is recorded in Mark 16:15, 16, ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be damned.’
“The thing for you to do, Jack, is to search out a real Bible-believing and Christ-loving church in your town. Be baptized there and get busy with them in winning others. Make friends of Christians who really mean business. If you go back into a spiritually cold church, you’ll soon freeze up.
“Christ, who meant every word He ever spoke, said concerning lukewarm churches, ‘I will spew thee out.’ If the Lord isn’t in a lukewarm church, He certainly isn’t in a cold one. Get where there’s some fire, where sinners are being converted, where you can see that God is present; and if God is present, He’ll be doing business. You, a new Christian, need to be where you’ll be helped, not where you’ll be discouraged at every turn. You need to be where you’ll be encouraged to win others.”
“Dr. Westman,” Jack declared as he gripped the doctor’s hand, “I can never repay you for showing me the way to everlasting life and peace with God. But I hope I can be the means of doing for others what you’ve done for me.”
The doctor smiled as he saw the determination in Jack’s face. “My prayer for you is that God will use you as a fearless witness for Jesus.
“Just this further word, Jack: There is much that God wants every Christian to know, both concerning this life and that which is beyond. This important knowledge is obtained through reading the Bible and through fellowship with God in prayer. In Jeremiah 33:3 God says, ‘Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.’
“Also, whenever in the future you feel you have displeased God, don’t let the devil use that as a whip over you, but go immediately to God in prayer and ask forgiveness.
“God bless you, Jack.”
Listen, friend, without Christ you are lost!
Merely to know about and believe these facts about salvation through Christ isn’t enough. You must be born again! This miracle of the new birth and everlasting life is obtained only through sincere repentance, and acceptance of forgiveness and life through Christ.
God loves you and wants to save you. Undoubtedly He has arranged circumstances so that you would read this little booklet, that He might show you your hopeless, lost condition, and then show you how you may receive pardon. God says that to refuse the truth and spurn His love means for that person only “a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation.” Remember, God is not mistaken; it will do no good to argue with Him. He urges you, “Prepare to meet thy God.”
Think what it would mean to be lost. Count the cost! Lost! Without hope! Don’t wait for a more convenient time. Come to God now. “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found” (Isaiah 55:6). Our life here is so uncertain. Tomorrow may be too late. Repent now and receive Christ as your Lord and Saviour.
If you would sincerely like to find peace with God, to be forgiven of your sins, and to escape the punishment of eternal hell, please make the following prayer your own:
Dear Father, please be merciful to me, a sinner. I confess that I have sinned and dishonored you, and that I am hopelessly lost. I plead your forgiveness through the shed blood of Jesus, Your Son. I give up my SELF and ask You to take charge of my life. Please make me one of Your children, and help me live in victory through Your power. Thank you, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
If the above expresses your sincere desire, then sign your name, fill in the correct date, and keep this little booklet as a reminder of the day you passed from death to life. Read your Bible daily, and walk in “newness of life.” Search out a Bible-believing church, and unite with Christians who love and obey the Lord.
If you have not yet decided, you are at the point of decision, Friend. You cannot be neutral in this matter. You will either receive Christ or reject Him, and you may never have an opportunity to change your decision if your decision is against Christ today. Your eternal destiny is at stake! The most important decision of your entire life is before you now. A wrong decision here will influence your family and loved ones and friends, and drag them with you into the same doom toward which you are inevitably headed. Your decision for Christ, however, could bring them to understand and embrace the truth.
Read again the prayer on the previous page, and make it yours. You will never regret such a decision. You will thank God throughout eternity for this moment. Then, to receive real joy in the new life, be diligent in passing the Good News on to others. Countless numbers have never been shown the truth that Christ is the way to peace with God, and the only way to heaven.
Christian Light Publications, Harrisonburg, VA 22802 Phone (540) 434-0768.