Peace at Last

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 5
A noble-looking soldier lay in the ward of a military hospital.
"I want to speak to you about religion," he said, as I stood by his bedside. "I have made up my mind," he continued, "with an earnest resolution, to serve God and do my duty—not with the feeble resolution of a boy, but with man's determined purpose, that henceforth I will do right.”
At some length he told me what he was going to do; he spoke about his vows, his purposes, his plans. All was about himself, not one word about Christ the Savior.
Having listened to him quietly, I said at last, "Then you are at peace, my friend.”
"O no," he said, "my agony of mind only increases.”
"Why so? Have you not kept your vows?" "No, I cannot," he answered despairingly.
"Had you not better then try again? or can you think of no way of making up the account?" He shook his head hopelessly and said, "I know not what to do.”
"My friend," I replied, "stop your vowing. Satan has enticed you on to one of his quicksands, where you are fast sinking down to hell. Your house is on the sand. You cannot be your own Savior. Listen to God's way of saving sinners. Jesus Christ—God manifest in the flesh—came into the world to save sinners, not to help them to save themselves. His work was finished on the cross over nineteen hundred years ago, and He has left you nothing to do but to receive by faith the benefit of what He has done.
"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.”
"But must I not do something?" he asked. "Can I believe on Christ, and become a child of God, and tomorrow go back to the world, and live like the other soldiers?”
"God forbid," I cried. "How shall we that are dead to sin live any longer therein?”
"When you become a child of God by faith in Christ Jesus, God gives you the nature, the heart of a Child, and the Holy Spirit to dwell in you, so that you no longer love the sins you once delighted in; and you have the power of the Spirit to resist the flesh, your old nature.”
After some other questions and answers, the Lord gave him to see, not only that he was a lost sinner, but that Christ had borne the judgment of sin on the cross, and that all who believed on Him were saved. Still his mind was not clear, for, though he lost confidence in vows and resolutions, the enemy had thrown him on his feelings.
"Must I not have happy feelings," he said—as thousands say—"before I know that I am happy?”
"No," said I, "on the contrary, you must believe, before you can possibly feel happy. Peace comes from believing, and not believing from peace. You are to believe simply because God says so, and not because you feel happy. Were happy frames and feelings the foundation of your faith, you would drift about at their mercy. But. God's Word is a rock that cannot be moved. It is when we are dwelling, neither on our feelings, nor our faith, but on the object of faith, Christ Jesus, that we are brought into peace and joy.”
It was now evident that the Holy Spirit had led him to the Savior, though he still inclined to look into his own heart for happy feelings. This led to the close of our conversation.
"Do you believe the testimony of God concerning Christ? This is the question, and not the evidence of happy feelings. These are changeable as the wind. Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and that God gave Him to be the Savior of the world—the great propitiation for sin? Take your thoughts completely off yourself, and look to Jesus. Do you believe in Him?”
"With all my heart I do," he answered earnestly.
The Lord's name be praised—to Him alone be all the glory. And now, "Can you believe what God says concerning them that have this faith?”
"What is it?" he asked eagerly.
"He that believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.”
"He that believeth hath everlasting life.”
And observe, my friend, it is not can have, may have, or shall have, but hath everlasting life. When we believe in Jesus, and surrender the heart to Him, we have perfect peace, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit. What a salvation! Full pardon, everlasting life, peace with God, and only waiting for glory. In parting, I said to him, "May I not leave you now with the happy assurance that you know, on God's testimony, that you have eternal life as a present possession?" After a pause, he raised his eyes and said, with deep feeling, "Yes, you may. I have eternal life through faith in Jesus.”