There comes a never-to-be-forgotten day when the young man stands at the front of the church facing the minister, first on one foot, then on the other. Never in his life has he stood so long before. It seems an age. At last to the strains of the wedding march the young woman on the arm of her father comes slowly, oh so slowly, down the aisle. Every eye is fastened on her. There is plenty of time for everyone to admire her wedding gown. At last she reaches the front and stands beside the man of her choice. The minister asks one or two very important questions: “Wilt thou?” and she “wilts”. Then something happens that has never happened before, and I want you to mark, if you will, very carefully, my phraseology. For the first time in her life she gives herself over, she hands herself to, she commits herself to, she trust the young man. Taking his arm, she now leaves the church in his protection. Never again will she have to work. He is now responsible for her and it is up to him to look after her. Her worries are over. He must provide for her.
A little later her girl-friends approach her again. “Well,” they ask, “has he given you a home?” “Oh yes,” she exclaims, “we are now living together in our own home.” “What about the food?” “Yes, he pays the grocery bills and the butcher bills. He provides the food. – Not as many as I want, but all that I need. Indeed he is looking after everything.” But just when did she get everything? Was it when she took the second step, when she believed, or was it when she took the third step and trusted? It was not until she trusted. She had believed but she got nothing. When she trusted she got everything. So it is with salvation. You can believe as much as you want to believe and get nothing. But the very moment you give yourself up to Jesus Christ, the moment you hand yourself over to Him, the moment you commit yourself to Him, the moment you put your trust in Him, you are saved, but not until then.
Have you ever done it? You see, it implies committal. It is something you must do. Just as that young woman had to walk down the aisle and definitely give herself up to the young man of her choice for the rest of her life, so you must give yourself up to the Lord Jesus Christ for time and eternity, if you are to be saved. The second step will not save. The third is absolutely necessary. You must trust Jesus Christ. Will you then do what the young woman did? Will you too come down the aisle? Will you hand yourself over to the Heavenly Bridegroom as she did to the earthly? Will you own allegiance to Him? If you will, you will be His for evermore, and He will be responsible for you.
Here is a struggling swimmer who is drowning. He goes down for the first time struggling furiously, while a man stands on the bank with folded arms, who never makes a motion to dive in and rescue the drowning man. Now he is going down for the second time. Still he struggles, but still the man makes no effort to save him. Now he is going down for the third time and last time. But he does not struggle. He arms fall limp at his sides, and in a feeble voice he cries out “Help?” And in a moment the man on the bank unfolds his arms, dives in and easily rescues the drowning man. Why didn’t he do it before? Because the man thought he could save himself. He had to wait until the man was ready to give up. But the moment the man was willing to trust his rescuer he was saved. As the rescuer to the one who had come to save him, and the moment he gave himself up to his rescuer and trusted him, that to give himself up to your rescuer, the resurrected, living Christ, you too will be saved. What you believe about Him will not save you; you must put your trust in Him.
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved”. Is that what I say when I am dealing with a lost soul? Of course not. If I were to say that I would have an argument on my hands at once. I would be asked the meaning of the word “believe”. No, I do not use the over the other “not guilty”, and “there is no difference”. It matters not whether you have been very good or very bad, whether you consider yourself a great sinner or a small sinner; you are guilty or not guilty. You may have your name on the rolls of a thousand churches, you may be the most active worker in the church, or you may have spent the years of your life in the penitentiary for some great crime, but it makes no difference; if you are unsaved you are guilty-and you belong to the company that is traveling on the Broad way to destruction. You may be cultured and refined, and have many things to commend you, but God places you in same class with the most debauched sinners of the world, and brands you “guilty”. All in that company are not equally degraded, but all are equally guilty, “for there is no difference: for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:22-23).
The Great Deluge – What an awful picture presents itself as we think of the great deluge, when the flood destroyed the entire race with the exception of Noah and those who were with him in the ark! Sinners who had lived good moral lives, along with the most degraded and depraved, were drowned beneath the mighty waters that swept them into Eternity. Only two classes, only two companies: those in the ark and those outside. It mattered not whether their sin had been small or great, whether their lives had been, as people say, good or bad; they had disobeyed God; they had refused to be warned and to enter the ark of safety, and there was no alternative. It was the ark or death. Oh! The weeping and wailing as they clambered to the highest mountain peak, only to find that their prayers and tears came all too late, and availed them nothing; there was no escape. All alike must perish. They had neglected to enter the ark.
Not because you have committed murder, not because your hands are red with blood, will your doom be sealed, but because you have neglected the only Hope of escape offered you. Have you not ignored the unanswerable question: “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?” (Heb. 2:3). Listen! “The wicked shall be turned into hell and all the nations that forget God” (Ps. 9:17). You may have lived a very good life outwardly, and may never once have committed any of the glaring, outstanding sins of the age, but you have neglected God’s salvation, you have failed to enter the Ark of Safety, Jesus Christ, and therefore you are guilty, and must perish.