A Mother's Last Words

 •  7 min. read  •  grade level: 8
"Remember, my boy, `the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.' " Rom. 6:2323For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23).
Such were the words uttered by a mother, as she bade farewell to her son, who was leaving home to pursue his studies at a university in another city.
Few young men had been so highly favored as S-. Born and nurtured under Christian influences, his father a preacher of the gospel, and his mother a devoted follower of the Lord Jesus, S- ought not to have been ignorant of the blessed truth that saves the soul. Though many prayers were presented on his behalf that he might be early led to make Christ his Friend and Counselor, hitherto he had given no proofs that he was a Christian. On the contrary, as he had grown older he had become more and more careless and unconcerned about his salvation.
While attending the university, instead of taking heed to his parents' counsel, and choosing Christians as his associates, he made young men his companions who cared nothing for the things of God, and whose only aim was to live for self and the pleasures of the world.
Night after night, in company with such, at the theater, billiard room, and other places of amusement, was S- to be found. In the course of time, he became a leader among them, seemingly, outstripping his fellows in drinking, gambling, and other evil practices. Ultimately his behavior became known to the university authorities, and he got notice to leave the college.
With blighted prospects and withered hopes, he crossed the Atlantic; and through the influence of friends, obtained employment in a bank. Here he resolved to begin life afresh, and inwardly determined that he would forever renounce his old habits and be an entirely different person. For a short time, he really seemed to have become "a new creature," but his vows and resolutions were not strong enough to hold him, and soon the old desires and habits gained the ascendency, and he was completely overpowered. Again he pursued his old course, "sowing wild oats" as quickly and as thickly as he could, doing his best to banish all thoughts of the reaping time.
His course of conduct reaching the ears of the bank manager, he was dismissed from his situation.
"The way of transgressors is hard," and poor S- found by bitter experience the truth of the Scripture. Lower and lower he fell; farther and farther he wandered from God; deeper and deeper he plunged into folly and sin. Hungry and weary, he sometimes walked the streets all night, without a cent in his pocket or a roof to shelter him, not knowing how he was to obtain his breakfast.
Hope sank within him, and despair took possession of his soul. His misery became so intolerable, and his agonies so intense, that he resolved on committing suicide. With this object in view, he started one evening for G., a retired place in the west end of the city, taking with him a pistol, powder, and shot. While loading the pistol, the ball fell out and rolled on the ground; and when groping in the darkness for it, the words spoken by his mother on leaving home years previously, rang in his ears and thrilled his soul,
"Remember, my boy, 'the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.' " He was completely overwhelmed.
Home associations were recalled, and hallowed scenes of happy boyhood days came up before him. The words "the wages of sin is death" took hold of his inmost being, and sank deep into his heart.
"If I take my life, I shall receive the wages I have so richly earned, and then to me it will be an eternity of misery and despair." Such thoughts filled his mind, penetrating and permeating him with anguish and agony.
At the remembrance of his mother's words, and stung with remorse of conscience, S- hurriedly left G., and entered the city.
Special gospel services at this time were being held by an earnest and gifted evangelist. S- resolved that he would go and hear for himself the one who had been causing so much stir, and through whose preaching so many had professed conversion. On the evening he attended, God gave the preacher a message, which was carried home in living power to S-‘s heart and conscience. Deeply moved and impressed by what he had heard, yet unwilling that others should know it, he rose to leave the building, refusing to remain to the meeting for conversation. As he was making his way out he felt an arm lay hold of him, and on looking round discovered the preacher, who prevailed on him to remain behind.
"Young man," said he, "you wish to be saved, and there is no use in denying it."
"You don't know who you are talking to," was the reply. "I am the worst man in the city."
"Whether you are or not, God loves you and wishes to save you."
"I cannot believe that, for I am a very great sinner."
"The Lord Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost; and if you are guilty of all the sins a man can commit, you cannot be worse than lost."
After conversing with him for a short time, the servant of Christ read that exquisitely precious portion of God's Word containing the essence of the gospel, John 3:1616For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16):
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
On learning S-'s name the preacher read it thus: "For God so loved S- that He gave His only begotten Son for S-, that, if S- believes on Him, S- shall not perish but have everlasting life."
"Is that all that God expects me to do?" eagerly asked S-.
He was shown that God's "great salvation" was a "gift"—that on account of what the Lord Jesus had suffered for sinners God could now, consistently with His justice and holiness, forgive all who believe on His Son.
S- was amazed at the simplicity of the way of salvation. It seemed to him "too good news to be true." Still, God said so in His Word, and it was impossible for Him to lie. That night he believed that God loved him, a guilty, ruined, and condemned sinner; so loved him as to give up His only-begotten and well-beloved Son to die for him; and, through believing the good news, he rejoiced in the knowledge of the fact that all his sins were forgiven.
I need not say that as there was joy in heaven at the repentance of such a sinner, there was aboundings of joy and thanksgiving when his mother first heard the glad news that her long lost son was found again.
Reader, the "old, old story" which gave peace to S- is able to do the same for you. However vile, degraded, or wicked you may be, as you read these lines, you can be saved. You may have again and again "resolved" to give up your sins, but you soon found out you were as bad, if not worse, than ever. You have "tried" to be a Christian. Don't try any more. It is not by trying but by believing that sinners are saved. It is not by what you do or feel, that you can obtain salvation; it is through believing on what Jesus did and felt for you. Are you willing to be saved now? If so, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as the one who died for you, and bore sin's judgment, and you will know, from the Word of God, that you are saved, and have eternal life.
May the language of your heart be that of the following well-known lines:
"Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee -
O, Lamb of God, I come!
Just as I am, and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee, whose blood can cleanse each spot -
O, Lamb of God, I come!"