A Form of Godliness!

 •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 6
Some years ago a lady was suddenly taken ill, and when the doctor saw her, she was told she had not many weeks to live. You may guess how frightened she must have been when I tell you that she did not know Jesus. She had been, as she said, a good churchwoman, and had passed for a good Christian, because she was regular in her attendance at church, took the sacrament often, gave much money for religious and charitable purposes, and was well acquainted with what people call “the plan of salvation.”
“But,” she said, “I have never cared to know a living Savior, nor to know from Himself that my sins are forgiven.”
This was what she told a Christian lady who went to see her on her deathbed; and then she added, in hopeless anguish:
“It is too late to seek Him now, I have had the form of godliness without the power of it. I am lost; lost forever.”
Think, dear young reader, how dreadful this must have been to her—a foretaste of the judgment to come! Would you wish to escape such fearful distress? Come to Jesus now, at once, and you shall never feel what she felt when she cried, “I am lost, lost forever!”
It was in vain that the dear Christian who had come to see her told her “God is love,” and tried to set before her the all-sufficiency of Christ to save her as she was. She kept on saying:
“The gospel is not for me; it is for others. For me it is too late.”
In the meantime her disease was running on rapidly to the end, and the death she so dreaded grew nearer and nearer. Still her friend went to see her, and day and night ceased not to pray for her, that the Lord would give her power to believe. At last one day, when she was very near her end, she said:
“Sometimes I think I could almost believe the message, ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.’ But then for me it has sounded in vain through a long lifetime. And now I can justify Him in saying, ‘You have never cared for Me. You have been satisfied with Christianity without Christ; and now, because you are dying, you come at the last moment in cowardice to My feet. Depart from Me, I never knew you.’”
Her friend, in great distress, called silently on God to open her eyes to see Jesus as He is, and then pointed out to her how sinful it was to speak against the character of the Lord Jesus Christ.
“I have not said anything against His character,” she replied, earnestly; “I have told you I could wholly justify Him in condemning me.”
“You did not intend it, I am sure,” replied her friend, “yet you have described Him as a miserable trifler. He has said, ‘Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest;’ and, ‘Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out;’ and because you are weary and heavy laden, and are a dying creature, He is to say to you, as you stand trembling on the brink of eternity, ‘I cast you away from your last hope... My promise fails towards you.’ I entreat you never to say it of Him again, for I cannot bear it.”
“Neither can I,” said she as the light flashed into her soul, and she saw the wickedness of her unbelief. “I never understood before what an injustice I am doing Him! What shall I do? My last sin is my greatest!” Then, clasping her hands, she cried, “O Lord Jesus Christ, I am so grieved; I am so ashamed I have distrusted Thy goodness, Thy marvelous enduring love, Thy truth, Thy faithfulness. My unbelief in Thee is my greatest sin of all. Lord, I now believe; help Thou mine unbelief.” Faint with conflicting feelings, and the exertion she had made, she turned to her friend and said:
“Perhaps now I had better thank Him for having kept His promise; for having forgiven me all. I would rather not distrust Him anymore. You speak the words, and I will join as much as my strength will allow.”
I need not tell you how gladly and thankfully her friend did as she requested, and thus together their praises ascended to Him who “turneth the shadow of death into the morning.”
On parting from her, her friend repeated to her this old verse:
“The soul that to Jesus has fled for repose,
He will not, He cannot, give up to his foes;
That soul, tho’ all hell should endeavor to shake,
He’ll never, no never, NO NEVER forsake.”
Dear young reader, will you imitate her long neglect and unbelief; or the faith that took Him at His word, and found forgiveness of sins by His blood, and eternal rest at last in His unchanging love?
Some think that, if they know all about the Lord Jesus Christ having died for sinners on the cross, they are all right; but to know this without ever having really come to Him, and believed in Him as one’s own dear Savior, is worse than not to know anything about Him. God’s Word says of some such persons, “It had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than after they have known it to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them,” (2 Peter 2:2121For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. (2 Peter 2:21)). And then there is another thing you have often been told about, and that is the danger of putting off from day to day “repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ.” What a terrible risk to run!