Alexander Marshall (John 6:47)

Millions of people have read – and tens of thousands have been saved while reading – the booklet God’s Way of Salvation by Alexander Marshall. But how was Alexander Marshall reached?

Born in Scotland, Alex Marshall was blessed with godly parents. At the age of 18 he left home to work in Glasgow. Though not saved, he often thought about his soul and his need for salvation. Two years later he went to a Gospel meeting where Gordon Forlong was speaking. There he learned two great truths: “The blood secures and the Word assures.” He had never realized that it is by the Word of God that a sinner receives the assurance of salvation. The light of the glorious Gospel of Christ broke into his soul and, as he wrote, “Believing the ‘good news’ made known to me in the Word I was saved and had everlasting life.”

Throughout his life he displayed a love for souls and a passion to preach the Gospel that had set him free. Mightily used in Scotland, he came to Ontario in 1879 and preached in numerous places, seeing many souls won for Christ. Reports from those halcyon days include names like Waverly, Orillia, Severn Bridge, and Toronto. Sinners were saved and assemblies were formed. In many places, he was so well known to unbelievers that they called the believers, who gathered only to the Lord’s preeminent name, “Marshallites.” Alexander Marshall also preached in the US and in many parts of Europe. As well as being a hearty Gospel preacher, he was a prolific writer; but his most enduring contribution to the realm of evangelical literature is his God’s Way of Salvation. In it Marshall asked and answered numerous questions that are often in the minds of those who hear the gospel. Without realizing it, Marshall’s booklet gave mute testimony to the wide experience he had in dealing with souls and his wisdom in pointing them to the Word of God for their answers. But what else would we expect from a man who had grasped these two monumentally important truths: the basis of salvation is the precious blood of Christ; the source of assurance is the holy Word of God!

How readily the Apostle Peter would have agreed with Alexander Marshall! Peter wrote: “Redeemed … with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” Those who imagine that only a select few or a circumscribed number can be saved by Christ’s death fail to realize that it is impossible to limit the value of His blood because it is impossible to limit the value of the One Who shed it. To God, Christ is everything, His beloved Son. This is why Christ’s precious blood “cleanses from all sin.” And this is why “the world through Him” could obtain salvation. When this truth is personally received – “The Son of God loved me and gave Himself for me” – the believing soul enters into peace with God through the Lord Jesus.

The same apostle who wrote of precious blood also wrote of “exceeding great and precious promises” (2Peter 1:4) It is through the Word of God that you can have assurance of salvation. When, centuries ago, God wished to assure the Israelites of their safety, He pointed them to the very thing that His eye rested on: “The blood shall be to you for a token … and when I see the blood, I will pass over you.” God’s Word points us today to the very One (Christ) and the very work (Calvary) that has met all the righteous demands of His throne. Here is how Marshall so wisely refuted the notion that it is presumptuous for anyone to speak of being sure of salvation: “If God declares you may be sure, and tells you how you may be sure, would you call it ‘presumption’ to believe Him? Assuredly not! Then listen to Him: ‘These 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’ (1John 5:13). Instead of its being ‘presumption’ to believe what God says, to doubt Him is to be guilty of the greatest sin a man can commit.”

On August 9, 1928, Alexander Marshall went home to heaven. Are you certain of a home there? This certainty can be yours based on the same two truths that Marshall learned as a young man: the value of Christ’s blood and the reliability of God’s Word. “When I see the blood, I will pass over you.”