Charles Finney, lawyer and evangelist, was speaking in a New York church in the 1830s. At the end of each evening, he gave people the opportunity to come to the front of the room and commit their life to Jesus. A great many lawyers came to hear him. One night, the Chief Justice of New York was sitting way up in the gallery. As he listened to Finney proclaiming the gospel he became convinced it was true.

Then this question came into his mind: ‘Will you go forward like the other ordinary people?’ Something within him made him think that it would be inappropriate to do so, because of his prestigious social position (at the top of the legal hierarchy of New York State). He sat there pondering the choice he had to make. Then he thought, ‘Why not? I am convinced of the truth… why should I not do it like any other person?’

He got up from his seat in the gallery, went down the staircase and came up the stairs at the back to where Finney was preaching. Finney, in the middle of his sermon, felt someone tugging at his jacket. He turned around. The Chief Justice said, ‘Mr Finney, if you will call people forward I will come.’ Finney stopped his talk and said, ‘The Chief Justice says that if I call people forward he will come. I ask you to come forward now.’

The Chief Justice went forward. Almost every lawyer in Rochester, New York, followed him! It is said that 100,000 people were converted in the next twelve months in that area. One person’s choice affected the lives of numerous others.

Life is full of choices. We make choices every day of our lives. You can make bad choices or you can make good choices. Your choices matter. Some choices have life-changing consequences.

Nicky Gumbel

Bible in One Year 2020 with Nicky Gumbel, day 123, YouVersion

If I were to ask you, on a scale of 1 to 10 how certain are you of being saved and going to heaven, how would you score? Think of a number… Now, if you’re a believer and you scored yourself anything less than 10, that most likely means you don’t feel worthy enough to go to heaven! And that’s true because none of us are, or ever will be worthy enough, in our own right. But do you see that scoring anything less than 10 also means that you are not fully trusting in Jesus; it’s like saying that Jesus’ death wasn’t sufficient to pay for my sin! Scoring anything less than 10 means, in effect, that you are still relying on yourself in trying to become good enough to earn God’s approval, his acceptance. No one we will never get to heaven that way!

A Christian, by definition, has to score 10 because a Christian is someone who is trusting in Christ for their salvation. Jesus’ death on the cross paid for our sin for all time. We are saved. Period! This might sound arrogant or presumptuous, but it’s not… it’s faith; it’s taking God at His word; it’s trusting in the finished work of Christ! That’s why the very last words on Jesus’ lips moments before he died were: ‘It is finished’ (John 19:30). The price for our sin is paid in full! Those who repent and believe in Christ are saved, 10 out of 10, not because of anything they have done but because of what Jesus has done.

Remember this, religion is spelt D-O and Christianity is spelt D-O-N-E. It’s so liberating when you understand – Christianity is not about religion it’s about relationship, it’s about trusting in Christ!

R. Ian Seymour

Supposing this (journal/book) represents your life, and every wrong thing you have ever done or thought or said is recorded in it. – There are many dark pages in my own book that I don’t want you to know about. – Now supposing this (left palm) is you and the ceiling represents God. And between us and God is this book, this barrier; the record of our sin! – SIN SEPERATES US FROM GOD. Because God is pure and holy and just, He has to punish sin, otherwise He wouldn’t be true to His nature: He wouldn’t be just. That’s what happened on the cross: Jesus took the punishment we deserve upon himself. Now supposing this (right palm) is Jesus. There was nothing separating Jesus from God. You remember the voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Jesus is God’s perfect sacrifice for sinful man. There was nothing separating Jesus from God. But on the cross a transfer took place. Jesus took our sin (our book) upon himself and God laid the punishment we deserve on his Son. That’s why, just before he died, Jesus cried out, “It is finished” (the debt is paid). And for those of us who trust in Jesus; who accept the cross and what Jesus accomplished for us, well let me ask you, what now stands in the way of us and God? Nothing. That’s right! Jesus has opened the way for us to receive forgiveness, for us to know God personally and to be in relationship with him.

Adapted from Christianity Explained, New Malden, Surrey: The Good Book Company

Lady Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntington, once told John Wesley that she was saved by an “m”. Wesley wanted to know what she meant. She then quoted from 1 Corinthians 1v26: “Brothers and sisters think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.” – “God says not many of noble birth can be saved. He did not say not any,” she replied.

Smart lady!

Rev John Harper, was a Scottish minister under whose ministry many were brought to Christ. He received a call to serve in the famous Moody Memorial Church in Chicago, and embarked on the supposedly unsinkable ship, the Titanic, to take up his appointment. When the Titanic struck the fatal iceberg, Harper was one of those flung into the icy waters of the Atlantic. One sequel to that tragedy was recounted by a young Scotsman at a service in the Philpot Tabernacle in Hamilton, Canada. Here is his testimony:

‘Four years ago, when I left England on board the Titanic, I was a careless, godless sinner. I was in this condition on the night when the terrible catastrophe took place. Very soon, with hundreds more, I found myself struggling in the cold, dark waters of the Atlantic. I caught hold of something and clung to it for dear life. The wail of awful distress from the perishing all around was ringing in my ears, when there floated nearby me a man who, too, seemed to be clinging to something. He called to me:

“Is your soul saved?” I replied: “No, it is not.”

“Then,” said he, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”

We drifted apart for a few minutes, then we seemed to be driven together once more.

“Is your soul saved?” again he cried out.

“I fear it is not,” I replied.

“Then if you will but believe on the Lord Jesus Christ your soul will be saved,” was his further message of intense appeal to me. But again we were separated by the rolling currents. I heard him call out this message to others as they sank beneath the waters.

There and then, with two miles of water beneath me, in my desperation I cried out unto Christ to save me. I believed upon Him and I was saved. In a few minutes I heard this man of God say, “I’m going down, I’m going down,” then: “No, no, I’m going up.” That man was John Harper.

Source: J. Oswald Sanders, Effective Evangelism, 1982, OM Literature, Waynesboro, GA, USA, p.19-20

Can a Christian ever lose their salvation? The answer to that is an emphatic NO, not if they are truly Christian. How do we know? Because God can’t lie! 2 Corinthians 5:17 says: ‘If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!’ – We don’t become a Christian and then suddenly become a paragon of virtue overnight, but the manifest change in our disposition and attitude can’t be denied: the old has gone, the new has come! A Christian is someone who, by faith, has received and is trusting in Jesus for forgiveness and to be made right with God. They have turned from living life their way, and now seek to live life His way. Of course, a true Christian can still mess up, backslide, or wander away from God – for which there are always consequences – but a Christian can never lose their salvation. Once saved always saved – check out these Scriptures:

  • In John 6v39-40, Jesus said: “This is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.”
  • John 10v27-29: “My sheep listen to my voice: I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no-one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.”
  • Romans 11v29: God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.

Supposing we were to go into the local town to do a survey and we asked people this question: If you died tonight and stood at the door of heaven and God said, ‘Why should I let you into my heaven?’ how would you respond? – Really, there are only two answers that question: one is wrong answer and the other the right answer. The wrong answer, basically, adds up to any statement that says ‘because of what I have done’. For example, ‘God, you should let me into heaven because…

  • I’m a kind, considerate person. I’ve tried to help others. I give to charities (my good deeds)
  • I’ve kept the 10 Commandments (not killed anyone, don’t lie or steal or commit adultery.)
  • I’m a good, law-abiding citizen. I might not perfect but if you balance things out I’m a fairly decent person.
  • I’ve read the Bible: maybe not all of it but some of it, and I pray… quite often. (That doesn’t make you a Christian.)
  • Well, I’ve been baptised, confirmed and I regularly go to church and take communion. (That doesn’t make you a Christian.)
  • I believe in Jesus (so does the devil!)
  • And I grew up in a Christian family and my parents are Christian. (Great, but being born into a Christian family doesn’t make you a Christian, any more than being born in a launderette makes you a washing machine!)

Friends, we need to understand that God’s standard is 100% perfection and by this standard everyone fails, so no one can ever be saved by good works, no matter how hard we try. If we could attain salvation through our own efforts then Jesus death would have been absolutely pointless. Jesus’ death on the cross makes us – those who are trusting in what Jesus has done – it makes us right with God. Jesus perfectly paid for our sin – 100%! That’s why He came… to show us the Way to heaven and rescue or save us from hell (which is eternal separation from God). Let me put it another way: if hell is not a reality then why did Jesus bother coming at all? ‘I have not come to call the righteous but sinners,’ said Jesus. If sinners don’t really need rescuing then why the rescue mission?

The correct answer to the question: ‘why should I let you into heaven’ is, ‘God you should let me into heaven because of what Jesus has done!’ We are not saved because of anything we have done but because of what God has done for us in Christ.

Rick Warren writes: ‘If you’ve ever spent time in church, you’ve likely heard the word “salvation” many times. But do you know what that Bible means by salvation? The word is like a diamond; you can look at it from several different angles. Here’s what salvation means:

  • Jesus came to rescue us. We can’t solve all of our problems on our own. Without Jesus we’re trapped in the expectations of others. We’re trapped in living for the approval of our peers. We’re trapped in addictions [or bad habits]. We’ve tried to change over and over again, but we don’t have the necessary power to escape. Jesus came to give us that power.
  • Jesus came to recover us. We all long to recover parts of our lives that have been lost. Without Christ, we long to recover our strength, our confidence, our reputations, our innocence, and our relationship with God. Only Jesus can do that.
  • Jesus came to reconnect us. Many people think that God will scold them if they come back to him… But God isn’t mad at you. He’s mad about you. Jesus came to Earth on the first Christmas to reconcile us to God, to give us harmony with him again.
  • Jesus came to Earth to give us the gift of himself. Too many of us celebrate his birthday without accepting this free gift of salvation. It goes unwrapped year after year after year. That’s not smart. You were made by God and for God. Until you understand that, life will never make sense.’

Rick Warren, Daily Hope, 01/12/2017

Do you remember the story of the rich young ruler in Luke 18? He came to Jesus and said, ‘What must I do to be saved?’ Even the way he asked the question suggests he thought he could acquire eternal life the way he’d gotten everything else – by self-effort. He mistakenly thought that heaven was just a payment away, but it’s not. Only a cold-hearted God would sell salvation to those who can afford it. Eternal life costs more than we can afford. That’s why we don’t need a résumé, we need a redeemer. To receive salvation you must first acknowledge that you are spiritually bankrupt, your cupboard bare and your reputation worthless. You can’t approach God demanding fairness or justice – you can only come pleading for mercy.

Source: The UCB Word For Today, 13/6/2012

Suppose you go to the doctors with red spots all over your body and he diagnoses measles. Imagine he then tried to cure you by covering all the spots with band aids or plasters. You’d say, ‘Hang on a minute, that’s no solution. The spots are only the symptoms – the real disease is within; it’s in the blood stream!’ So it is with our sin – it’s a heart issue and we can’t fix the problem by doing good works to try and impress God or cancel out the bad stuff!

Adapted from Christianity Explained, New Malden, Surrey: The Good Book Company, p.53

I Love the way J. John describes his salvation… ‘The light came on. Even my mother noticed a change in me. Alarmed, she said, ‘You have been brainwashed!’ My response was quite simple: ‘Mum, my brain has been washed. If you only knew what was in my brain before, you’d be pleased it got washed.’

Source: J. John, Soul Purpose, p.16-17

An illustration to show how Christ’s blood covers our sins: Use a flip chart (having previously used a candle to draw an ‘invisible’ cross in white wax in the centre of paper). The things that we do wrong, our bad behaviour – what the Bible calls sin – are like our dirty clothes. (Ask the congregation): What are some of the bad things that people do, that the Bible tells us are wrong; what are some of the sins that people commit? Shout out examples and we will write them up on the flip chart. (Afterwards say) When we are really sorry for our sin and we accept Jesus’ invitation to forgive us; when we repent and turn to Christ, God wipes out our sins, he forgives us and makes us clean; like new people. Instead of being stained with sin, we become clothed in Christ’s righteousness – in the goodness of Jesus. (Take red water-based paint and a brush, and paint over the paper to obliterate the sins and at the same time reveal the wax cross.) And so when God looks at us, He no longer sees our dirty clothes – they have been removed, obliterated, wiped out. Instead He sees our wedding clothes; He sees the cross; He sees that we have been clothed with Christ; we have responded to His invitation to be our Lord and Saviour and so we are accepted.

Salvation is found not by trying but by trusting.

Ernest Gordon was the author of the book “Miracle on the River Kwai”, later turned into a well-known film. The book is based on his own personal experiences as a Japanese POW during WWII and his forced labour on the infamous Burma Railroad over the River Kwai.

In his book there is an account of a particular incident, which had a profound effect on Ernest Gordon and also on many of the other prisoners. One day while working on the railway a shovel went missing. The Japanese officer in charge became enraged. He demanded that the missing shovel be produced! When none of the prisoners budged, the officer got his gun and threatened to kill them all on the spot . . . From their previous experience of this officer it was obvious he meant what he said. Then, finally, one man stepped forward. The officer killed him in front of the other prisoners. Afterwards the survivors carried his body with them to the second tool check and head count. This time there was no shovel missing. It turned out there had been a miscount at the first checkpoint! The word spread like wildfire throughout the whole camp. An innocent man had been willing to die to save the others! – Ernest Gordon was reminded of Jesus who willingly died to save others, to save us from our sins.

Religion devoid of an intimate relationship with Jesus is a dummy religion; it’s like a dummy that a baby works hard to suck on, but from which no sustenance or nutrition flows.

There is nothing we can do to add to the finished work of the cross. Jesus has done everything that is necessary for our sins to be forgiven and for us to become sons and daughters of God. Trying to earn God’s forgiveness or favour, or trying to add something to what Jesus has accomplished… is like trying to improve a Monet painting by adding some brushstrokes of your own. However much care we take, WE WON’T ONLY not be able to add to the masterpiece: we’ll actually deface it and destroy it.

Explore Bible notes, 18/7/2011

God’s love for us is not grounded in our loveliness it’s grounded in His character.

God loves you as much on your bad days as He does on your good ones. How does that work? – Because His acceptance of you is based on your position (in Christ) not your condition (in the flesh). Your acceptance with God is based on performance… but not on yours, on Christ’s!

Bob Gass

Bob Gass Source: The Best of The UCB Word For Today Vol. III, 28th 29th August.

In his book, Knowing God, J. I. Packer writes: ‘There is tremendous relief in knowing that God’s love for me is based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst in me. No discovery can disillusion Him in the way I am so often disillusioned about myself or quench His determination to bless me. There is great cause for humility in the thought that He sees all the twisted things about me that others don’t see. Indeed He sees more corruption in me than I see in myself. Yet he wants me as His friend, and desires to be my friend, and has given His Son to die for me in order for me to realise this purpose.’

The only thing we have ever contributed to our salvation is our sin!

An illustration to show how we are in Christ and Chris is in us: When a person accepts the salvation that Jesus offers, for free, their sins are covered by the blood of Christ and their place in the Kingdom is secure and protected forever. – Let me illustrate using these old CDs/cases: Before we become a Christian we are all wrapped up in self, we’re immersed in our own sinfulness… (Ian Seymour ‘CD’ in Ian Seymour CD case). But when we become a Christian we are covered with the blood of Christ and Jesus comes to live in us by his Spirit. We are protected in Christ. – We are in Christ and Christ is in us… (Ian Seymour ‘CD’ in Jesus Christ CD case and Jesus Christ ‘CD’ in Ian Seymour CD case). And on the last and final day when we face Judgment, God will look upon us and see that we have accepted Jesus; we are covered by Christ’s sacrifice.

Imagine our life is like a DVD recording (show a DVD). Every wrong thing we have ever done or said or even thought has been recorded on this DVD. – God sees everything, even our thoughts. But when we turn and accept Jesus he wipes out all our sin. It’s like the DVD is wiped clean. The past is washed away and we can start to record and live a new life centred on Christ.

“Save an old man and you save a unit; but save a boy and you save a multiplication table.”

Rodney ‘Gipsy’ Smith (1860-1947), English evangelist

I had walked life’s way with an easy tread,
Had followed where comfort and pleasures led,
Until one day in a quiet place
I met the Master face to face.

With station and rank and wealth for my goal,
Much thought for my body, but none for my soul,
I had entered to win in life’s mad race,
When I met the Master face to face.

I met Him, and knew Him and blushed to see
That His eyes full of sorrow, were fixed on me;
And I faltered and fell at His feet that day,
While my castles melted and vanished away.

Melted and vanished and in their place
Naught else did I see but the Masters face.
And I cried aloud, “Oh, make me meet
To follow the steps of Thy wounded feet.”

My thought is now for the souls of men,
I have lost my life to find it again,
E’er since one day in a quite place
I met the Master face to face.


You are a now new creation. The butterfly has been set free. You are no longer to hang out in “Caterpillarville.”

On the one hand, it is impossible to believe in Jesus unless God the Father draws us (John 6:44). On the other hand, Jesus makes it very clear over and over again that we are to believe in him. The nineteenth-century evangelist D. L. Moody gave an old illustration that is still helpful. When you are saved, it’s as if you walk through the gates of heaven with a sign over it saying, “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest.” You walk through the gates and when you look back, you see on the other side of the archway the words, “Before the creation of the world I knew you.”

Explore Bible notes, 1/3/2018

Evangelism Wk 2 Uncover Mark Who