"As Good as Many Christians"

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 7
"Have you heard the new preachers, John?" asked a woman of her husband in one of the farming districts of Canada.
"No," was the emphatic reply, "and what's more, I don't intend to bother going. I have my own opinion of religion and religious people, and my conclusion is: I am as good as many Christians, and better than the most of them."
"Well, these men are different from most preachers that come around here. They claim they were sinners worthy of hell, but God has saved them by grace and now they are going to heaven, knowing their sins are all forgiven."
"Worse and worse," said John. "I think that is the greatest presumption I've heard. Now, I do think there is some sense and humility in a man saying that he'll do the best he can, and that's as far as most of them go; but to say you are saved now, and know your sins are forgiven now, and that you are sure of heaven now—that's too much presumption. I'd better go and hear them for myself."
And so it came to pass that John Steel came to attend the gospel meetings which were being held by two evangelists in the district school house. They were young men in deep earnest, speaking plain words about sin, and loving, gracious words about salvation.
Mr. Steel was struck with the fact that they based their remarks on the Bible, always quoting from the Word of God. He was convicted. His fancied righteousness, he saw, was but "filthy rags" (to use the language of Isa. 64:66But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (Isaiah 64:6)) and thus, though he could measure himself favorably with his neighbors, yet he was vile in the presence of a holy God.
Weeks passed by, and John Steel missed none of the meetings, yet he was not saved. Satan frequently suggested the thought that he might better stay at home, but the anxiety of soul forced him on, and he felt he must have the certainty of his sins forgiven. One night he drove several miles to a new district where the meetings had been transferred, and almost hopelessly settled himself to listen as he had done so often.
Suddenly he aroused himself. What was that? "God loves you just as you are," said the preacher; "for 'God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved).' " Eph. 2:4, 54But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) (Ephesians 2:4‑5).
He had heard the same truth many times before, but this night it was as a new revelation-God loved Him now, and was willing and able to save him now. Christ had died for him, and without an effort he found himself looking away unto Jesus who had borne his sins on the cross. His soul was filled with joy in God, and his mouth was filled with singing at the grace that had saved him from hell.