Hearts Revealed

 •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 7
In the early spring of last year I saw a very striking proof of the truth of Simeon's words, that by the introduction of Christ "the thoughts of many hearts should be revealed." I was on the way by train to lecture at a suburban town.
Scarcely had I taken my seat when a lady offered me a gospel tract. She also gave one to each of the five or six others who were in the same compartment. The leaflet was very simple, containing only words of Scripture, such as "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 3:1616For 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).
While he was reading it, one man exclaimed: "I hate such bigotry!" And then in unprintable language he began to denounce the one who had given him the tract. Since it was now a question of Christ and His truth, I felt justified in replying. Remembering the Lord's words: "He that is not with me is against me," I interrupted his abuse and said, "It is not bigotry to distribute the Word of God."
This remark called forth another torrent of blasphemy that revealed only too plainly that the speaker was a rank atheist. Knowing how useless it is to reason with one in such a state of mind, I merely warned him of his danger and of the awful position he was taking in refusing the Word of God. I added, "When God speaks, it is for man to hear."
The train now drew up at our first stopping place, and the atheist leaped out of the coach. As soon as he was gone, another gentleman remarked: "I'm glad you defended the Bible! I have no sympathy with such remarks as he made. Still," he added, "I have my difficulties."
"Indeed! And what are they?"
"Well, I cannot understand the justice of dooming any to everlasting destruction."
"Who has done this?"
"Why," he said, "it does say somewhere that God has chosen some to salvation and doomed others to destruction."
"Where have you read this?"
"Somewhere in Romans."
"No," I replied, "you have not read it there, nor indeed anywhere in Scripture. This is just a sample of the way in which the Bible is often dissected."
I then pointed out what God had said, and explained that while the salvation of any is of pure and sovereign grace, God in His mercy has offered grace to all. I mentioned that the last message to sinners in the word of God is: "Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." Rev. 22: 17.
All therefore are without excuse, for the precious blood of Christ avails for every one that believes in Him. Earnestly, I sought to press upon him a present and eternal salvation through faith in Christ.
Almost before I had ended still another man commented: "I am a Christian, but I cannot go along with all you have said."
"To what do you object?"
"Well," he replied, "I believe in Christ; but I think it is presumption to say that you know that you are saved. I hope I shall be saved, but I cannot know this now."
"But," I answered, "is not the word of God the ground of our faith and the warranty of our assurance? This is what we read: 'These things have I written unto you... that ye may know that ye have eternal life.' 1 John 5:1313These 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, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. (1 John 5:13). Doesn't that make it plain that God wants us to know that we are saved? It cannot be presumption to rest with implicit confidence in His own word."
Once again, I pointed out the value of the precious blood of Christ in cleansing us from all sin (1 John 1: 7) and that this work is forever.
As soon as these words had escaped my lips, the lady who had given us the tracts interposed and said, to our great surprise: "I cannot agree with you in that. I feel that I need the cleansing of the blood every day of my life."
In answer to this, I expounded the truth of Hebrews 10, the threefold testimony to the eternal putting away of the sins of believers by the sacrifice of Christ. "By one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified."
What a gracious provision God has made through the washing of water by the Word in connection with the advocacy of Christ, for the cleansing of the sins of believer (1 John 2:11My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: (1 John 2:1))! When the Lord Jesus died upon the cross He bore all our sins—past, present, and future. Therefore all His people can rejoice in the knowledge that they are gone forever. In proof of this, the place which the Lord Jesus now occupies is at the right hand of God. For if He had our sins upon Him on the cross, it is clear that they must now be forever gone since He is in the glory of God.
As I made this final statement the train was arriving at my destination. The last occupant of the coach made a parting remark: "I am so thankful you have spoken in this way. Now I can see it clearly."
So far as I know no other effect followed our conversation; but the remarkable thing was, as noted at the outset, that the thoughts of every heart in that carriage were brought into the light by the simple action of the word of God. Surely this was no mean foreshadowing of that time when all must be manifested before the judgment-seat of Christ. Then, my readers, I ask with all solemnity, and yet with all tenderness: Are you prepared for this? Meet Him you must, sooner or later. And remember that "Now is the accepted time, and now is the day of salvation."