In the old farmhouse where I was born, brought up and still live, I often kneel down in the very spot where once I knelt at my father’s and mother’s bedside and trusted in Christ for salvation. No one recorded the date and, as far as I know, it was never written down on earth, but I do know my name is written in heaven. It is wonderful to be able to say like Paul recorded in 2 Timothy 1:12, “I know whom I have believed.”
My grandparents were Christians and gathered with other Christians to the Name of our Lord Jesus in a little meeting room in our village. My grandfathers were very different in many ways, yet both were trusting in Christ for salvation, both of them were farmers, both testified to the saving grace of Christ and the truth of the Word of God. One was quiet, thoughtful, and a very kind man; the other was a little austere and I was half afraid of him. He had been put out of the formal religions of man after he had been saved through reading God’s Word. Having been saved, he preached salvation through faith in Christ alone, eternal security, and the imminent return of the Lord Jesus. Like the man in John 9, he was cast out by the religious leaders. One of the things that spoke to me as a child was the experience of standing by his bedside with my sister, just before he died, and hearing him quote, from beginning to end, the hymn, “Forever with the Lord, Amen so let it be.” He had no fear of dying; he wanted to be with Christ and he only had about one day left before he was with Him.
Many years after, on a Sunday evening in 1986, my father was called Home to glory, and again the reality of God’s salvation was so evident as, just minutes before he went, he was sharing with us at the supper table thoughts concerning Christ from Psalm 45. Truly he could say with the psalmist “My heart is inditing a good matter, I speak of the things which I have made touching the King.” It is a wonderful thing to be saved!
From a child I knew the scriptures. I heard them read every day and was surrounded with the prayers and care of parents and grandparents. But I was not saved. For weeks and months and years, I heard the gospel and read the text above the platform in the gospel hall, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim 1:15). I knew all about God’s way of salvation. But I was not saved. I could have told you how to get saved and the awful consequence of being lost. I loved to hear my father preach, admired him, and, in a strange way, almost enjoyed his preaching. But I was not saved. I knew when a preacher was good, faithful, and when he was preaching from his heart, and I detested the professional, cold, intellectual sermons which did not touch me. But I was not saved. We always looked forward to what seemed to be an annual visit of Charles Knox McEwen, the evangelist, and it was really his preaching and my father’s, and the awareness of my need and sin, that brought me to weeks of conviction. Many nights I remember creeping along the landing to the top of the back stairs and listening for the voices of my parents and family that were saved. I dreaded the consequences of being left behind if Christ should have come. What an awful thing to know that Christ had died, that He had suffered for my sin so that I might be saved, that He was forsaken that I might be forgiven, and yet still be lost! My sins had never been forgiven. Thank God for that night when in simple faith, realizing my need and confessing my sin, I trusted in Christ for salvation and had peace with God! Remember that it is only while you have life and before Christ comes that you too can get right with God. “Behold now is the accepted time, behold now is the day of salvation.”