How to be Sure

One day I was driving with an elderly gentleman, and I asked him a very personal question.

 "Do you have peace with God?" I asked.

The gentleman was rather startled, and he said to me, "I have tried for years to answer that question, but I just cannot find anyone to tell me how to be sure. I need to know if I am saved, or else know that it is hopeless to seek to be sure of it."

"What kind of answer are you looking for?" I inquired.

"Well, that's what puzzles me. I want a definite witness, something I cannot be mistaken about. Some folks tell me they felt some powerful change when they got religion. I have been seeking that for years, but it has always eluded me."

"Getting religion is one thing, but trusting Christ is quite another. Suppose you were seeking salvation, and suddenly there came to you a very happy feeling; would you be sure then that you were saved?"

"Well, I think I would."

"Then, suppose you went through life resting on your happy experience. Then comes the hour of death. Imagine Satan telling you that you were lost and beyond hope. Would you tell him that you knew all was well because you had a happy emotional experience years before?"

"I see it now," he answered thoughtfully. "A happy feeling is not enough."

I followed quickly with the question, "What would be enough?"

"If I could get some definite word in a vision, or a message from an angel, then I could be sure."

"Suppose you had a vision of a glorious angel, and he told you that your sins were forgiven.

Would that really be enough to rest on?"

"Yes, I think it would. An angel should be right."

"But suppose you were dying and Satan came and said, 'I was that angel. I transformed myself to deceive you. Now you are where I want you.' What then could you say?"

He pondered a moment or two, and then with wrinkled brow replied, "I see, you are right.

The word of an angel won't do."

"But now," I said, "God has given something better than happy feelings, something more dependable than the voice of an angel. He has given you His Son, who died for your sins and rose again. He has testified in His own unalterable Word that if you trust in Him all your sins are gone. Listen to this: 'To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His Name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins' (Acts 10:43)."

Opening my Bible, I said, "Listen to this verse, 'These things have I written unto you that believe on the Name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life' (1 John 5:13).

"Are these words addressed to you? Do you believe on the Name of the Son of God?" I asked.

"Yes I do. I do indeed. I know He is the Son of God. I know He died for me."

"Then see what He tells us, 'Ye may know that ye have eternal life.' Is this not enough to rest upon? It is a letter from heaven directed expressly to you. How can you refuse to accept what God has told you? Can you not believe Him? Is He not more to be depended upon than an angel or happy feelings?

"Will you not bow your head now and tell God you will be saved on His terms by coming to Him as a repentant sinner and trusting His Word concerning His blessed Son?"

The gentleman closed his eyes, and I saw he was deeply stirred. His lips were moving in prayer. Suddenly he looked up and exclaimed, "It's all clear now. This is what I have wanted for years."

That evening in front of the audience that had come to hear me preach, he told this story. What he had sought in vain for half a lifetime he found when he believed the message of God's Word about what Jesus had done to save sinners. His was the full assurance of faith.

 Harold Smith

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