Real Salvation and Whole-hearted Service

By R. A. Torrey

Chapter 14



"The Holy Ghost saith, To-day."— Her iii. 7.

" Boast not thyself of To-morrow." — Prov. xxvii. 1.

To-day is the wise man's day; to-morrow is the fool's day. The wise man is the man who, when he sees what ought to be done, does it to-day. The foolish man is the man who, when he sees what ought to be done, says, " I will do it to-morrow." The men who always do to-day the thing they see ought to be done to-day are the men who make a success for time and for eternity. The men and women who put off until to-morrow what ought to be done to-day are the men and women who make a shipwreck of time and of eternity. "The Holy Ghost saith, To-day." Man, in the folly of his heart, says, " To-morrow."

I am going to give you five reasons why every truly wise man in this building who has not already accepted Christ as his Saviour, surrendered to Him as his Lord and Master, and openly confessed Him as such before the world, will do it now. I have no doubt that in this great audience there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of men and women who intend to be Christians some time, but who keep saying, " Not yet," " Not to-day," and I am going to tell you not merely why you ought to become Christians, but why you ought to become Christians to-night.

First, because: The sooner you come to Christ the sooner you will find the wonderful joy which is to be found in Him. It admits of no controversy that there is in Jesus Christ an immeasurably better joy than there is in the world, a purer joy, a higher joy, a holier joy, a more satisfying joy, a more abiding joy, a more wonderful joy in every way. This fact does not admit of dispute. Every one here to-night who keeps his eyes open knows that it is true. Go to any person who has ever tried the world and tried Christ, and put to him the question, " Which joy is better — the joy which you found in the world or the joy which you have found in Christ?" and you will get the same answer every time. The joy found in the world is not for a moment to be compared with the joy that is found in Christ. I have tried both. I have had abundant opportunity to try both. If ever a person had an opportunity to try what this world can give, I had it, and I tried it. I tried all that could be found in the world, then I turned to Christ and tried Him, and my testimony is just like the testimony of millions of others who have found that the joy of the world is nothing and the joy in Christ is everything. I don't care how fully a person may have gone into the joys of this world, or how great his opportunity may have been to test them; go to anybody that has tried both and you cannot find in all the world a man that has really found Christ but will tell you there is a joy in Christ higher, deeper, broader, wider, longer, more wonderful in every way, than the joy that the world gives. Well, friends, the sooner you come to Christ the sooner you will have that joy.

Second: The sooner you come to Christ the sooner you will escape the wretchedness and misery that there is away from Christ. First of all there is the misery of an accusing conscience. No one in this building out of Christ has peace of conscience. One night I was preaching to an audience of men and women to whom a twenty dollar gold piece would have been a great help. I put my hand in my pocket as I was preaching, and I felt the twenty dollar gold piece. I took it out and held it up and said, " Now, if there is a man in this audience out of Christ who has peace in his heart, deep, abiding satisfaction and rest, who will come up here and say so, I will give him this twenty dollar gold piece." Nobody came up. When the meeting was over I went down and stood at the door with the twenty dollar gold piece, for I thought they might be timid about coming up for it. I said, " If anybody can claim this twenty dollars on the conditions I have named, who can say, ' I have peace of conscience and heart. My heart is satisfied without Christ,' he can have this twenty dollar gold piece." They commenced to file out, and nobody claimed the gold piece. Finally a man came along, and I said, " Don't you want this twenty dollars? " " But," he said, " I cannot claim it on those conditions." Neither can you.

Another night I was preaching in Chicago and I asked everybody in the building who had found rest and perfect satisfaction through the acceptance of Christ to stand up, and hundreds of men and women, more than a thousand, rose to their feet, and then I asked them to sit down, and then I said, " If there is an infidel in this house that can say he has found rest, and peace, and perfect satisfaction of heart in infidelity, will he please stand?" There were a lot of infidels there. One man got up in the gallery, and I said, " I see there is a gentleman up there. I am glad that he has the courage of his convictions. I would like to speak with him in the after-meeting." He came to the after-meeting. I said, " Mr. S______, you stood up in the meeting to-night to say that you had perfect rest and peace of heart without Christ, and that your soul was satisfied in infidelity. Was that true?" "Oh," he said, " Mr. Torrey, that will have to be qualified." I guess it will. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.

Then there is the slavery of sin away from Christ. " Whoso committeth sin is the bond-servant of sin " (John viii. 34). Away from Christ is apprehension of what may happen, apprehension of disaster, apprehension of what man may do, apprehension of what may lie beyond the grave. Men and women, when you really come to Christ you get rid of fear of man; you have no fear of misfortune, for you are able to say, " All things work together for good to those who love God "; you have no fear of death, for what men call death is simply to depart and be with Christ. By coming to Christ you get rid of all this wretchedness, you get rid of the accusations of conscience, you get rid of the slavery of sin, you get rid of all apprehensions of disaster, you get rid of the dread of death, the moment you really accept Christ. Why not get rid of it all to-night? Suppose you were on the shore, and saw in the distance a wreck and a man clinging to the wreck, and every once in a while the cold waters sweeping over him, and it was a cold wintry night, and you and others should go out in a lifeboat and should say to him, " We have come to take you off. Drop into the lifeboat "; and the man should say, " No, I think I can hold on until morning; come out again in the morning, and I will get into the boat and come ashore "; you would say, " Man, are you mad? Stay out here to-night when you can come ashore now? " Oh, men and women, out on the wreck, every little while the cold waves breaking over you, all the wretchedness of an accusing conscience, all the wretchedness of the bondage of sin, all the wretchedness of the fear of possible death, all the multiplied wretchednesses of the soul away from God — why cling to the wreck another night, when you can come ashore to safety and joy now, if you will drop right into the lifeboat?

Third: The sooner you come to Christ the more you can do for Christ. The moment a person is saved he wants to do something for the Master. If you are saved a year from to-night you will go to work for Christ, but there will be one year gone that will never come back, between to-night and a year from to-night (if you come a year from to-night). You can never go back over this year. You are associated with friends that you can lead to Christ between now and a year from now who may be past your reach then. Before I was converted I had a friend, and we were often together. We lived in the same building. We went pleasuring together. If I had been a Christian I could have led him to Christ. Three years later, after I had accepted Christ, that young man passed beyond my reach. The day I went back to the University to study for my second degree my father picked up The New York Herald and began to read about a young man who was out playing ball. The man out in the centrefield threw the ball in. This young man's back was towards the centrefield, and he was struck at the base of the brain, and never regained his consciousness. As my father read this and came to the name, he said, " Archie, is not that your old friend? " I took up the paper and read it, and said, " Yes; it is my old friend." Called into eternity without a moment's warning, and my opportunity of bringing him to Christ gone for ever! Oh, how often in the years that have come since, and God has used me to lead others to Christ, how often I have thought back of Frank. In spite of all those who are now coming to Christ, Frank has gone, and my opportunity of saving him lost for ever. Men and women, you postpone taking Christ for thirty days, and people that you might have reached during these thirty days will have passed beyond your reach for ever.

In my first pastorate a woman a little over fifty years of age who had been a backslider was saved through and through, and became the best worker in all the community, but her own two sons had grown up during these years that she was afar from God. They had both married and passed beyond her reach, and though she has been used to bring I don't know how many to Christ, she has never been able to bring these two sons to Christ. Her day of opportunity for them was while she was living in the world. Fathers and mothers, afar from God, if you are not saved to-night, you may be some other day; but these sons and daughters that you might bring with you if you come to-night will very likely have passed beyond our reach for ever. The sooner you come to Christ the more you can bring with you, so come to-night.

Fourth: The sooner you come to Christ the richer will be your eternity. We are saved by grace, we are rewarded according to our works. Every day of a man's life after he is saved he is laying up treasures in heaven, and every day you live for Christ you will be that much richer for all eternity. Now, some people have an idea that a man can be saved on his deathbed and have just as abundant an entrance into the Kingdom of God as he could have if he had been saved forty years. Oh, what nonsense! You have neither common sense nor Bible for it. A man may be saved on his deathbed. I don't say that no man ever is; I believe some are, though not very many. A man may be saved on his deathbed, but he is saved " so as by fire." His works are all burned up, and he enters heaven penniless. The man that is saved forty years before he dies, and serves Christ for forty years, every day of these forty years he is making his deposits in eternity, for which he will be richer throughout all eternity. " Lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven."

Oh, men and women! the sooner you come to Christ with so much fuller hands can you enter the Kingdom of God. I do thank God I was converted when I was, but what would I give for those six wasted years through which I deliberately resisted the Spirit of God! But I can't call them back.

Fifth: The sooner you come to Christ the surer you are to come to Christ. If you are not saved to-night you may be to-morrow night, but you may not. I believe there are scores of people here who will be saved to-night or never. When a person stands on a platform like this, and looks over such a vast audience, and feels in his very soul that the eternal salvation of hundreds of souls is trembling in the balances as the result of that sermon, it is an awful feeling; but that is the feeling I have now. I believe there are hundreds of people that hear every word I am just now saying who will either be saved to-night or never. The Spirit of God may leave you. People think they can turn to Christ when they will, but, men and women, when the Spirit of God is in the room, as He is in this building now, passing from seat to seat, and heart to heart, it is an awful moment. To say Yes, means life; to say No, means death. To say Yes, means heaven; to say No, means hell. Oftentimes a man will be so near the Kingdom, and he will say, " I am so interested I will certainly be just as much interested to-morrow "; but the critical hour has come, and if you do not yield to-night you will have no interest to-morrow.

I once received a message from a wealthy young fellow in New Haven, Conn., saying that he wished to see me that night at Mr. Moody's meeting. I went and met him at the close of the meeting. He was on the verge of a decision. As we stood talking in Chapel Street, opposite the College, the College bell rang out a late hour. I said to myself, he is so near a decision I can leave him safely until to-morrow morning. So I said, " Good-night, Will. I will be around to your room to-morrow morning at ten." It was one of the most fatal mistakes I ever made. I was there at ten and he was there, but his convictions had all left him. He was hard as flint. His opportunity had come and gone. Oh, men and women, you may be very near a decision to-night, on the very borders of the Kingdom, but if you say " No " to-night, to-morrow will be for ever too late.

Then, again, who of us can tell who will be called out of the world into eternity in a moment? At our "first Men's Meeting in the Empire Theatre in Edinburgh a Roman Catholic young man accepted Christ. Little did he or we realise that is was his last chance. The next day he was hurried to the Infirmary for an operation, and the operation proved fatal. By accepting Christ at that meeting he was just in time. If he had waited a day he would have been lost for ever.

Men and women, you have a chance to-night. Don't throw it away. The sooner you take Christ the surer you will be to take Him. Take Him now. You can have the joy of salvation to-night; why wait a week? You can be saved from a life of wretchedness away from Christ to-night. Why stand it another week? The sooner you come to Christ the more you can do for Christ. Why not come to Him to-night? The sooner you come to Christ the richer you will be throughout all eternity. Why not come to Him tonight and begin to lay up treasures in the bank of heaven? The sooner you come to Christ the surer it is that you will come. Come now. " The Holy Ghost saith, To-day." " Boast not thyself of to-morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth."