Heaven Without a Saviour
SEVERAL years ago, as I was leaving a meeting one evening, a woman sought me and asked me to go with her to see her husband who was very ill. On the way, she told me that he was anxious about his soul, knowing that he was soon to die. When I entered the room, I found him sitting in an easy chair, for he could not lie down without coughing. After a few words about his bodily suffering, I asked him about his soul if he thought that his suffering would end when death came.
“Well,” he said, “I think my chances for heaven are pretty good.”
I felt that he was not telling his real thoughts, so I said, “Do you believe heaven is a reality?”
“Is it true that there is a hell?”
“Yes, I believe there is.”
“And you have an immortal soul that will soon be in one or the other of these places forever?”
“Yes,” he said earnestly.
“You said just now that you thought your chances for heaven were pretty good; you believe that heaven is a reality, and hell a reality, and that your precious immortal soul will soon be happy in heaven forever. You must have some reason for your confidence. What is it?”
His voice was weak and I waited for his answer as it came slowly. “Well, I’ve always been kind to my wife and children, and I have not intentionally wronged my fellow men.”
“That’s all very good,” I said, “and it is nice to be able to say that; but tell me, what kind of a place do you think heaven is, and what do they do there?”
“Well,” he said, “I think there is no sin or sorrow there. It must be a happy place, and I think they sing there a good deal.”
Turning to Revelation 1:5, I said: “Yes, they do sing there, and I’ll just read you a song they sing. It is this: ‘Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.’ You see, they are praising their Saviour, the one who loved them and died for them. I’ll read it again. ‘Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood.’ I want you to take notice; they have not a word to say about what they have done. He loved them and died for them. Now, suppose you were up there because you had been good to your family, and so on. There would be one sinner in heaven who had never been washed from his sins in the blood of Jesus; you could not join in the song they sing, could you?”
I waited for an answer. His head had dropped and his eyes were turned to the floor. I shall never forget his look as he raised his head and turned to answer me. He was as one waking out of a life dream. He was now coming face to face with eternal realities and his only reply was: “Well, I never thought of that before.”
But I said: “God has, and He has written a verse for persons just like you who are willing to take their chances, as you said, on their good works, and are deceiving themselves by the false hopes of getting to heaven in that way. I’ll read the verse. It is the fourth verse of the fourth chapter of Romans: ‘Now unto him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace but of debt.’ Let me explain: When you were well and could work, you received your wages because you had earned them. You were under no special obligation to the man that paid you. You would come home to your wife and say, ‘Here is what I made today.’ You could talk about what you had done, and what you had, and you would not have a word to say about the man who paid you. That is just what God means by that verse. ‘Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.’ If you could get to heaven by what you have done, there would be no grace about it. You would know nothing of God’s love as shown in Jesus. You could not sing, ‘Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood’: for you would be there without a Saviour and you would have no song. Do you think you could be happy?”
He was now ready to give up his ground and for the first time frankly owned that he was anxious about his soul and wanted to have the question settled. He fully confessed that in spite of all the good he claimed, he was a sinner and needed a Saviour. I t was with joy I read to him this Scripture ; I Timothy 1:15: “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” He repeated, “To-save-sinners! To-save-sinners!”
“Yes,” I said, “to save sinners - not to HELP sinners to be saved, but to SAVE sinners. He is not a helper, but a Saviour. God’s Word is, ‘to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly; his faith is counted for righteousness’ Romans 4:5 And again, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.’ Acts 16:31.”
He did believe. I left him that night, after reading other Scriptures to him, with a new hope not based on what he had done, but on faith in what God says about Christ’s work.
I called the next morning to see him. As I entered, he looked up with joy in his face and said, “Oh, I’ll have a song now! It will be ‘Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.’"
He lived only a week, and then fell asleep, happy in the Lord.
Reader, will you be able to sing that song? Or will you have to say, “I am tormented in this flame?” It will be one or the other. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” Mark 16:16.
Again: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” John 3:36
And again: “Verily, verily I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life and shall not come into condemnation judgment, but is passed from death unto life” John 5:24