Brownlow North lived for many years as an irresponsible and thoughtless aristocrat. Later in life he and a friend were staying at a hunting lodge in Scotland. Their day’s sport was usually followed by an evening of drinking, and on one of these binges his friend dropped dead.
This tragedy was God’s message to Brownlow North. The awful thought gripped him: If it had been me instead of my friend, I should have been damned.
He began to think seriously about his soul. An earnest Christian lady led him to Christ and into the full light of the gospel. No sooner did he feel himself to be a changed man than he began trying to bring others to Christ.
Complete details of what did happen were given, and then the letter concluded: “Now, you wretched hypocrite! You know that every word of this letter is true. Will you, after reading it, dare to go into that pulpit and rant and rave and preach what you call the gospel?”
Mr. North felt the force of the letter deeply, but he put it into his pocket, and when the time came for him to speak, he read the Bible verse: “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” He paused, and then, with deep feeling, he finished reading the verse: “Of whom I am chief” (1 Timothy 1:15).
“My friends,” he said, “when I entered this building tonight, a letter was put into my hands. I do not know who the writer may be, but he is evidently one who knows a great deal about my past. This letter refers to three distinct occasions in which it charges me with participating in depraved behavior. I won’t pollute your ears by quoting the details of this letter. The writer concludes by saying, ‘Now, you wretched hypocrite! You know that every word of this letter is true. Will you, after reading it, dare to go into that pulpit and rant and rave and preach what you call the gospel?’ ”
“The second thing I have to say is that it’s all forgiven! God knows it’s forgiven, and I know that it’s forgiven.”
Your sins may or may not be as glaring as North’s, but they can be forgiven freely by the same pardoning God, if you come to Him in true repentance. If you die unforgiven, you will experience the blackness of darkness forever. God in mercy wants you for Himself.
“Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation [atoning sacrifice] through faith in His blood, to declare … His righteousness: that He might be just, and the Justifier of him which believeth in Jesus”
“The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin”
(1 John 1:7).