ARE YOU FORGIVEN?
Brownlow North was once a very thoughtless and dissipated young man – a gentleman rake, in fact. One day, he and a friend went shooting on the Scottish moors. After their day’s sport, they spent the evening in a drunken debauch. But before the night was through, his friend dropped dead! This terrible blow was God’s message to him. “If I had died instead of my friend,” he said, “I would have been damned!”
This led him to think seriously about his soul. Soon, through the influence of a friend, he became a changed man, and began trying to win others to Christ. In time he became one of the most noted preachers of his day.
On one occasion, he was to preach in Inverness. Just as he entered the building, a note was pressed into his hand. It read something like this: “Brownlow North, you miserable hypocrite! Remember what you did at. . ., and again at. . ., and again at…” Lurid details were all included. Then the note ended: “Now, you wretched hypocrite! You know every word of this is true! Dare you now go into that pulpit and rant and rave and preach what you call the Gospel?”
Poor Mr. North felt the force of the letter keenly, but when he came to preach, he took it out of his pocket, read the words of the Bible: “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,” paused, and then with the deepest feelings added: “of whom I am chief.” (1 Tim. 1:15).
“My friends,” he said, “when I came here tonight, a letter was put in my hand. I do not know who the writer is, but he evidently knows a great deal about my past. This letter refers to three distinct occasions on which I am charged with riotous and wanton behaviour. Dear friends, there are three things I want to say about this letter. First, it is all true. I wish I could deny the charges and undo the past. But that is impossible. God knows it is true, and I confess it with sorrow and shame. Second, it is all forgiven. God knows it is forgiven. Third, if God, for Jesus Christ’s sake, can forgive the sins of such a sinner as Brownlow North, there is not a sinner in Scotland, there is not a sinner in this wide world, too great for God to forgive him all his sins.”
Reader, your sins can be forgiven by the same sin-pardoning God. Should you die unforgiven, there is nothing for you but hopeless despair forever. Be wise in time. Come to Him now, and cry: “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” Remember, “The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7).