Letters To Awakened Sinners
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Letter #1: Effectual Grace
Letter #2: What must I do?
Letter #3: Surrendering to Christ
Letter #4: Are You God's Elect?
Letter #5: How May I Be Pardoned?
Letter #6: Did Christ Die For All Men?


Letter #1: Effectual Grace

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My dear sinner-friend:

My heart is greatly burdened for you, knowing the time is short, and I want to think with you along this line: The Lord Jesus working in your heart by His effectual grace.

Beloved sinner-friend, there must be a Divine turning of your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ. If there is only a mere change of notions, that is, just a turning that is of the head, which may be mistaken for conversion, this is not salvation. You may say, "I used to be an Arminian, now I am a Calvinist." That is not salvation. You may say, "Well, I was once a Catholic, but now I am a Protestant." That is not salvation. You may say that you believed in certain doctrines, but now you see your error and you have changed your mind, but that is not salvation.

You must have a new nature. A thief is a thief, no matter what name he goes under. You may leave one denomination and join another, but that is not salvation. You may put a buzzard in a brass cage, or a silver cage, or a golden cage, and he is still an old buzzard. You may join the church and be baptized, but you are still just an unsaved sinner. "YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN."

All the changes that you may work in yourself will not make you fit to enter Heaven. Grace must have its effectual work in your heart. There must be the planting of a new nature, or you have no spiritual life in you. Even a corpse may be clean, but all the washing and cleansing will not make you a child of God. No turning is good for anything eternal except the renewing of the inward nature by the work of grace in your soul.

Suppose you were walking down the road, and all at once the whole earth should open up to you and you would see its lowest depths, wouldnít you turn back all frightened and trembling? Let me tell you, friend, when God opens up Hell to your heart and mind and lets you gaze down into the depths of it, first seeing your own wickedness, and that you ought to go to Hell, youíll turn to God, and youíll turn crying for mercy. As you are, you go on in your sins; you think them pleasant; you continue in them. But if you once feel Godís grace effectively working in your heart, you will see that Hell is a real thing; youíll see that your own heart is a bottomless pit of Hell, and youíll clearly see that only the brittle thread of life is keeping you out of an endless, Christless Hell, which is your portion.

No sinner ever knows the love of God until he comes to see the wrath of God. May God so open your heart and mind that you may catch a sight of the wrath of God that abides upon you, and, sinner-friend, youíll stop and turn. Youíll be like Ephraim, "Turn me, Lord, and I shall be turned" (Jer.31:18). May you come to know in your soul that the wages of sin is death. May the sight of the everlasting burning make you halt and cry for deliverance.

I know, when I was awakened by the Holy Spirit to feel that Hell was my just desert, I turned to Christ from the love of sin; I turned with a perfect horror of it, crying for mercy. This is one way the Lord Jesus turns us when we are turned indeed to Him for salvation. May there be such a turning in your own heart unto Him.

Then the awakened conscience is led to see the real nature of sin. No doubt you have seen a bear in his pen all hemmed in; no doubt you have seen a lion carved in stone, and they did not alarm you. But if a lion or a bear should suddenly leap from the roadside upon you, you would view it in a different manner; you would be frightened out of your wits, and the hair on the top of your head would stand up.

So it is when you hear the preacher talk about sin--you pay no attention to it; you go on in your usual way. But you let the Holy Spirit open that heart of yours, and you come to see the real nature of sin, the viper in your bosom, the poisonous nature of your old being--youíll be frightened. You will begin to cry for mercy and for deliverance from it.. Youíll say, "Away with it! I abhor it and hate it. I once loved it, but now I hate it." May the God of all grace so open your heart and mind that you will see the venom of your old nature until it will make you cry out, ĎĎIím lost; Iím guilty; Iím ungodly; I deserve to go to Hell. I deserve the wrath of God." Thatís the turning that leads a sinner to Christ.

One of the greatest turning points in a sinnerís life is a sight of Christ on the cross. If you could ever by the eye of faith see Jesus Christ dying for you, then sin no longer would be sweet to you. When you once discover that it was your iniquity, your wickedness, that put to death your best Friend, the Lord Jesus Christ, you vow a vengeance on your sins, and you come to hate sin with a perfect hatred. You say, "Oh, hateful thing!" You canít play with it any longer. You see that it killed the Lord Jesus Christ who died out of love for you, and you say, "Oh, hateful thing, I cannot endure you! I want Him who died for me. Oh, that I knew Him who loved me with an everlasting love!"

Every sinner, before he gets saved, comes to the place that he wants Christ above everything else. May there come such a hunger for Him, for Christ who died for you, that you canít live without him; you must have Him. Then there will be such a turning to Him with your whole heart that you could never turn back, no matter what the cost may be. My prayer is that there will come such a turning in your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ until you can see by faith that He died for you, that your sins were nailed with Him on the cross. Then there will be rejoicing in your heart, singing praises unto Him who died for you.

Your Gospel Preacher,
L. R. Shelton, Sr.


Letter #2: What Must I Do?
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My dear sinner-friend:

I note from your letter what you say about being awakened to the fact that you have missed Christ and that you are a lost sinner. That is Godís first step in the salvation of your soul. You must be awakened to the fact that you are lost. If an individual is never awakened to the fact that he is lost, he can never be saved (Luke 19:10). The individual who cannot go back to the time that he was awakened, and to the time that he took his place as a lost sinner before God and asked for mercy, is not saved, as God saves only lost sinners (Ezek.34:16).

As an awakened sinner, you should be deeply concerned about your soulís salvation: your one cry should be, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"(Acts 16:30). Let me warn you, my friend, that you let nothing interfere with your coming to Christ. You must condemn all indifference and everything that stands in your way of getting to Christ (Heb. 10:38,39). You are an immortal creature; you are born to live forever, and every day brings you nearer death, judgment, Hell and eternal torment (Luke 16:19-31). Remember, you are a sinner--a lost sinner: you have broken Godís Law (Gal.3:10). You have rebelled against Godís authority (Eph.2:1-3), and you are under the wrath of a sin-avenging God (Rev.6:12-17).

Letís consider what the loss of your soul includes. I remember, when I was definitely awakened to the fact that I was lost and admitted it in my heart, I went to the preacher in charge, who was my associate pastor, and said to him, "Pastor, be true to my soul; Iím going to Hell. If God does not save me, I am bound for Hell." My friend, the loss of the soul includes the loss of Heaven. The loss of your soul includes the loss of Godís favor. The loss of your soul includes the loss of all happiness, the loss of all hope, the endurance of Godís wrath, the curse of Almighty God upon you for eternity, and your future abode in Hell. It is Christ or Hell!

Mark 8:35-37 says, "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospelís, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" Yes, the cry of your very soul should be, in the face of the awfulness of eternity, "What must I do to be saved?" And that cry, according to Luke 18:13, is, "God be merciful to me a sinner." May He break you down as a completely lost sinner, crying for mercy. Every awakened sinner should give the more earnest heed lest he fall away from the truth (Heb.2:1-3; Heb.6:4-6; John 8:32), because the eternal loss of the soul is not a rare thing, but a common occurrence: I meet it every day--sinners turning away from the Gospel. Are you going to listen to the comfort of your friends? or, are you going to face the reality of things and come to Christ for salvation? Remember, it is Christ or Hell!

Matt.7:13,14 says, "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." My friend, not many are being saved. The way is narrow; it is Christ. The door is Christ (John 10:9), and I praise God that it is narrow. Luke 14:33 says, "Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple." Remember, do not stop short of Christ!

Yes, salvation is possible to you; salvation has come to many others, why may it not come to you? Christ died for others, then He died for you. Others came to Christ, and He didnít turn them away; why should He turn you away (John 6:37)? Remember, Christ came to save sinners (Luke 19:10).

Let me call your attention to some of the blessings of salvation. First, it includes all the riches of Godís eternal grace and the riches of His glory (Eph.1:7; 2:4). Salvation is a deliverance from sin (Col.1:13,14). Salvation is a deliverance from death (Heb. 2:14). Salvation is deliverance from judgment (John 5:24). Salvation is also a deliverance from Hell (Luke 16:19-31). Letís notice again that salvation is a possession: it is Christ, and when we have Christ we have all the blessings that go with salvation. There is pardon from the guilt and penalty of sin (Isa.55:7). There is peace: Christ is our peace (Col.1:20; Eph.2:14). There is holiness, purity, and power, and--when we come to die--there is Heaven. Ponder these, and be ready to let go everything for Christ.

Now let me call your attention to some things which are favorable to your salvation. First, God loves you (John 3:16; Rom.5:8). Second, Christ paid the price for all your sins (Isa.53:5,6), and He finished your salvation on the cross (John 19:30). Remember, Christ became what you are, and God made Him your Substitute (II Cor.5:21). Third, the Holy Spirit loves you and has power to deliver you (Rom.15:30; Rom.1:16,17). He is the One who opens your heart and lets you see that you are lost (John 16:7-11). Donít rebel against Him, no matter what He shows you. Ask Him to break the rebellion in your heart (Jer.17:9). There are two prayers you can pray: first, "Lord, show me myself, and I will acknowledge it; show me my lost, ruined condition according to Your Word" (Jer. 17:9; Isa.64:6; Rom.3:10-12). And the second prayer is, "Lord, show me Christ as my Lord and Saviour, and I will believe Him."

Remember again, no matter how sinful, how wicked you may be, God is willing to save you, according to II Pet.3:9, and Christ invites you to come to Him, according to John 6:37.

Let me call your attention to some things unfavorable toward your salvation, some things which will fight you every step of the way in coming to Christ. The first is your old corrupt heart (Jer.17:9): you possess a heart of unbelief. Second, everything around you will draw your attention away from Christ. Be careful and watch, lest you lose the first impressions that the Holy Spirit has made upon your heart. Third, Satan blinds your mind (II Cor.4:3-6), and fills your imagination and heart with other objects. He will try to convince you, first, that you are saved and that you have made a mistake. If he cannot do that, he will try to convince you that Christ did not die for you, or that you are too big a sinner, or that God will not hear your prayers. But, my friend, pay no attention to him--cry out against him. And remember one thing--you must get to Christ or you will go to Hell.

Letís never get away from this one fact--you must not lose your anxiousness and desire to be saved. Your soul must want Christ and His righteousness above everything else, or why should God stoop to give you salvation through Christ! Make much of Godís Word. Learn to live alone in prayer and meditation, asking God to open your heart. God wants to save you: Christ died for you: the Holy Spirit loves you.

My heart is burdened for you. If you can hear me in person or over the radio, be sure to listen. Iíll be true to your soul: I am your friend. Take comfort from no one. Remember, it is Christ or Hell! Let me hear from you. I am

Your Gospel Preacher,
L. R. Shelton, Sr.


Letter #3: Surrendering to Christ
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 My dear sinner-friend:

In my contact with you during this past month (by letter, by phone, by personal visit) you have impressed me very deeply with some things that I want to point out to you in this brief letter, that I might help you by the revelation of the Holy Spirit so that you might see why you, awakened sinner, are not saved.

One of the things I have noticed is, you have never been weaned from the arm of flesh. "Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm." No sinner ever gets saved until the Holy Spirit breaks that sinner completely off the arm of all flesh. As long as a sinner leans upon anything or anybody apart from the Lord Jesus Christ, he can never be saved. He must be brought to the place where he is broken completely off every creature, or from relying upon his own righteousness, his own ability, or his own possessions.

The sinner has to come to see and to know and to acknowledge that he himself belongs to the Lord and that everything that he possesses belongs to the Lord. He must forever and eternally take his hands off and acknowledge in his heart that it all belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ and he is to trust Him and Him only. The word "believe," or "trust" means to commit oneself to and to lean wholly and to rely completely upon the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, Christ is then his Lord. He has no will of his own. The Lord tests the sinnerís will by crossing it at given points to let the sinner know whether he has surrendered unto Christ as Lord. Christ is your Lord, whether you ever acknowledge it or not. For the sinner to be saved he must confess with his mouth Jesus as Lord (Rom.10:9). Then, when you confess Him as Lord, you release unto Him, first, yourself, and then everything you touch or have or possess, and you donít argue with Him. You do everything He tells you to do.

When the sinner will not surrender unto Christ as Lord, he is always seeking Christ and never comes to know Him, because the Holy Spirit does not now, nor will He ever reveal Christ to the heart that is not surrendered to Him. To seek Christ with your whole heart, or to turn to Christ with your whole heart, means you have turned loose everything else; there is no divided attention. You have forsaken your thoughts, your opinions, your ideas, your wicked ways (Isa. 55:7,8), and you have turned unto Him as your absolute sovereign Lord. The sinner canít save himself. "Salvation is of the Lord" (Jonah 2:9), but as the Holy Spirit opens your heart and mind, by His grace you can acknowledge what He shows you. Christ does not stand before you to be accepted or rejected; you stand before Him to be accepted or rejected by Him, and He will not accept you or reveal Himself to you until you have forsaken all. Christ said, "Whosoever... that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:33).

Now, my dear awakened sinner-friend, what do you want? Do you want Christ, or do you want to have your own way? Do you want Christ, or do you want your own money? Do you want Christ, or your own will? Make your choice. I had to give up everything that I ever thought I knew, everything that I had, everything that I possess, or everything that I ever hope to have or hope to be, and with my whole heart turn to Him by His grace with no will of my own. Then the vail was lifted from my heart (II Cor. 3:16) and Christ was made known to me as my own personal Lord and Saviour, my own Substitute and Sin-Offering.

I have noticed from reading letters and in conversation with many that the reason many of you are not saved, and never will be, is because you are hanging on to some experience you have had somewhere back in your past life that you call salvation. You are doing your best to hang on to it and convince yourself that you know Christ, when you donít know Him. The result that this experience, whatever it may be, has produced is a hard heart.

Your testimony is cruel and empty. There is not being produced in your heart the fruit of the Spirit, which is "love, joy, peace," etc., found in Gal.5:22,23. You are under the Law and know nothing about grace, because Christ has never become your personal Lord and Saviour. Most of the time this produces a critical attitude, a prejudiced mind, a self-righteous life, a root of bitterness, a spirit of strife, an earthly attitude, and a devilish nature. But the individual to whom Christ has been revealed as Lord and Saviour is first pure, then peaceable, then gentle and easily intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy (James 3:17).

Another fruit of such a life is, there is no compassion for lost souls. You may have a zeal of labor, but you know nothing about interceding for the lost, because you never have become a lost sinner yourself. May God break you off that hellish, devilish experience that you have had and let you see yourself in the light of Godís holy Word.

Your Gospel Preacher,
L. R. Shelton, Sr.


Letter #4: Are You God's Elect?
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July 14, 1854

Dear Mr. Medhurst,

I am glad that you have been able to write to me and state your feelings. Though my hands are always full, it will ever give me joy to receive such notes as yours.

You ask me a very important question, "Are you one of God's elect?" Now, this is a question neither you nor I can answer at present, and therefore let it drop. I will ask you an easier one, "Are you a sinner?" Can you say "yes"? All say "yes"; but then they do not know what the word "sinner" means.

A sinner is a creature who has broken all his Maker's commands, despised His Name, and run into rebellion against the Most High. A sinner deserves hell, yea, the hottest place in hell; and if he be saved, it must be entirely by unmerited mercy. Now, if you are such a sinner, I am glad to be able to tell you the only way of salvation, "Believe on the Lord Jesus."

I think you have not yet really understood what believing means. You are, I trust, really awakened, but you do not see the door yet. I advise you seriously to be much alone, I mean as much as you can; let your groans go up if you cannot pray, attend as many services as possible; and if you go with an earnest desire for a blessing, it will come very soon. But why not believe now? You have only to believe that the Lord Jesus is able and willing to save, and then trust yourself to Him.

Harbour not that dark suggestion to forsake the house of God; remember you turn your back on heaven, and your face to hell, the moment you do that. I pray God that He will keep you. If the Lord had meant to destroy you, He would not have showed you such things as these. If you are but as smoking flax, there is hope. Touch the hem of His garment; look to the brazen serpent.

My dear fellow-sinner, slight not this season of awakening. Up, and be in earnest. It is your soul, your own soul, your eternal welfare, your Heaven or your hell, that is at stake.

There is the cross, and the bleeding God-man upon it; look to Him, and be saved! There is the Holy Spirit able to give you every grace. Look, in prayer, to the Sacred Three-one-God, and then you will be delivered.

I am, your anxious friend,
C. H. Spurgeon


Letter #5: How May I Be Pardoned?
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My dear friend:

Many thanks for your telephone call this morning in which you related briefly how the Lord is dealing with your heart to bring you to Christ for salvation.

I noticed especially in your conversation that you said you were condemned over so many seemingly little things in your life, both of commission and omission. This is a clear indication that you see yourself under condemnation, because every way you turn you see nothing but judgment.
You see your whole being-body, soul, and spirit-under condemnation. Therefore, every deed that you do, every word that you utter, and every thought or imagination of your heart is nothing but sin. You feel yourself damned if you do and damned if you don't, because all your works, or religious duties, are works of darkness, works of Satan, dead works, and, as you yourself are under judgment, every expression of your being is under judgment, and you stand guilty before a holy God.

The Holy Spirit is definitely showing you day by day your sins, your sin-nature, your wickedness, your corruptness, your vileness, your uncleanness, and your guilty distance from a holy God. It may sound strange to you for me to say it, but I praise God for it. No individual ever comes to know Christ as his own personal Lord and Saviour until he first comes to know himself under the illuminating, revealing power of the Holy Spirit (II Cor.4:3-6; John 16:7-11).
Now you face this one question-How may I be pardoned, or forgiven, and delivered from sin and its power, and how may I be delivered from the power of Satan who holds me as his prisoner? (II Tim.2:25,26; Col.l:13,14).

One of the first things the average sinner tries to do is to clean up or reform his life, which does not reach the taproot of his old sin-nature. You stand guilty before God. God forgives your sins, not on the basis of what you do or try to do. You may confess all your sins one by one unto God and yet go to Hell. You may make all the restitution that's within your power to make and yet go to Hell.
As Jehovah said, "Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD" (Ex.14:13; II Chron 20:17). My dear one, stop! Recognize yourself as a guilty, Hell-deserving sinner, one whom God ought to damn in Hell forever. Acknowledge that God is just., and that He has a right to consign you to Hell forever and ever. Acknowledge your condemnation. Acknowledge that the wrath of God abides upon you (John 3:36). Acknowledge that the Judge of all the earth doeth right (Gen.18:25). Acknowledge that God is right, and you are wrong.

Now you are in a position to recognize for the first time your need of a Substitute-your need of a Sin-Offering-your need of Someone to undertake for you. You have no righteousness that God will accept. Therefore, you have nothing to offer God; you have no merit of any kind. You deserve to go to Hell; acknowledge it.

Now, for such a sinner as you, God has provided that Substitute, "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29,36). Yes, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Triune God, came into the world, born of a virgin, took upon Himself the human form, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Phil.2:5-8), and there on the cross He paid to justice all that you owed. Therefore, He paid your sin-debt. He was made sin for you (II Cor.5:21). He bore your sins in His own body on the tree (Isa.53:5,6). He took your place, and the judgment of God that was due to fall on you fell on Him. He paid your sin-debt to the last farthing. That's grace! No wonder Jonah said, "Salvation is of the LORD" (Jonah 2:9). Every sinner who ever looks to Christ and by faith sees his sins on Christ cries in his heart, "Salvation is of the LORD."

But you told me over the phone, "I realize I'm a sinner; I'm guilty; I ought to go to Hell. I realize that Christ died for such a sinner as I, but I can't believe Him. I have no faith." You are right. The Holy Spirit is showing you your old heart of unbelief. Any individual who has never come to see his heart of unbelief, and that he could not trust the Lord Jesus Christ in his own strength, knows nothing of a saving interest in Christ.

As I told you over the phone, just look to Him. As He showed you yourself, He will show you Christ. As you asked Him to show you who you were, now ask Him to show you who Christ is. "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Rom. 10:17). Ask God to give you faith to trust Him, to lean upon Him, to rest your whole being upon Christ. Remember, God never teases a sinner.

Remember, too, it was grace that opened your heart; it was grace that taught you to fear, and grace will relieve your fears by showing you that Christ died for you. Look to Him (Isa. 45:22). Ask Him for grace to look to Him, and you will never cease looking by faith until you enter in at the Pearly Gates to behold Him face to face. Amen.
 
 

Your Gospel Preacher,
L. R. Shelton, Sr.


Letter #6: Did Christ Die For All Men?
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My dear friend:

I received your letter and I note that you are in search of the Savior.

You asked three questions, which I will answer as one, for they are essentially one and the same subject. Yes, I can assure you that Christ died for all men:

"For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, WHO IS THE SAVIOR OF ALL MEN, (notice) specially of those that believe" (I Tim. 4:10).

Again, He said He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. In I Cor. 15, we find that "In Adam all die, in Christ all shall be made alive." You are confused on the question of where the sovereignty, election, and predestination of God meets with the free will (really, the responsibility) of man, and "Whosoever will, let him come."

Adam is the federal head of the race, which means that God deals with man as in Adam, because all human beings are sons of Adam, by generation, and not a separate creation. Therefore, when Christ died as the Second Adam, He died as Representative of the human race, and because of His death all men will be resurrected from the dead, some to life (the saved) and some to everlasting shame and damnation (Dan.12:2,3). So God counted all men in Adam as sinners; and Christ died for the race of mankind, of which all are partakers in the common blessings and resurrection of the body. You and I are recipients of His mercy and grace even though we are not yet saved.

So as a result of the death of Christ for ALL MEN, then ALL MEN may come to Christ and partake of the benefits of His death, burial, and resurrection for their redemption. On this basis, God says, "Whosoever WILL, let him come." If you will, you may come to Christ and plead His blood for your sins.

Now here is where election comes in, and the reason men hate it. The awful fact of human nature is that NO ONE WILL COME TO CHRIST OF HIS OWN FREE WILL (which is not free, except to do evil and choose self), according to Rom. 8:7, "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." Therefore, the conclusion in Rom.11:32, "For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all." He is talking primarily about the Jews, but it applies to everyone who hears the truth of the oracles of God and embraces religion or God's revelation. No, you WILL NOT believe, you HAVE NOT believed. Neither would I; neither did I. Because of our enmity against God, we refuse to let Him reign over us, and this is sin against light, and rejection of the death of Christ for our sins. Rev. 18:6, talking about religious Babylon, says, 'Reward her even as she rewarded you, and DOUBLE unto her DOUBLE according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double." Our wilful Christ-rejection demands a double portion of God's wrath, and if God did not intervene to make us willing, all of us would go to Hell, because we all wilfully reject Christ.

But now let's read Isa. 40:1, where God is speaking to sinning Israel, who sinned against revealed truth, "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: FOR SHE HATH RECEIVED OF THE LORD'S HAND DOUBLE FOR ALL HER SINS." Christ paid double for the sins of His elect. If God should leave us with the Sacrifice to accept or reject it, you and I, and every son of Adam, would reject the gracious provision for our sin and go to Hell, which we justly deserve. But now God, "concluding all in unbelief," has mercy upon all (whom he chooses). He can have mercy on all, if He chooses, and He does have mercy upon all that He does choose. God's choice is now free by our rejection of His remedy, and He can freely choose whom He will. And He exercises His sovereign right to do so.

Remember, once and for all, salvation is to WHOSOEVER WILL. I remember when I came to the place of "now or never" to choose Christ as Lord and Saviour, and God crossed my will on the dearest lust of my soul, my own way, I could not will to choose Christ: I could only choose MY way. If it had not been that God MADE ME WILLING (and how He does this I do not know, except He says, "My people shall be willing in the day of my power"), I would have rejected Christ after I was once enlightened, and sinned against light, therefore, guilty of double sin of rejecting Christ. That is what it means to trample underfoot the blood of Christ and spit in the face of the Holy Spirit (Heb.10:29). Notice, "Of how much sorer punishment (second death), suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the BLOOD of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified (or set apart) an unholy (common) thing, and hath done despite unto (spit in the face of) the Spirit of grace?" When the Holy Spirit comes to a sinner to deal definitely with him for salvation, he is set apart by the blood (I Pet. 1:2), and the Holy Spirit deals with him to REVEAL THE SINNER TO HIMSELF as a totally-depraved sinner, who is at the mercy of a sovereign God. To reject Christ is to trample underfoot that blood and insult the Holy Spirit who is revealing his sins, his sin-nature, and his judgment (John 16:7-11); therefore, the sinner is worthy of the second death, or double wrath. Christ paid this double wrath, or the second death for His elect, whom He makes WILLING to come to Christ.

Now, let me face you with one question: it is not whether you are God's elect or not or whether you are predestinated or not. This is in the secret of His counsel. The question you face is only one: ARE YOU WILLING? Do you want Christ above everything else in the world, including your loved ones, your friends, your sins, your own will? If so, then it is God who works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Phil. 2:13), because according to Rom. 3:11, "There is none that understandeth, there is NONE THAT SEEKETH AFTER GOD." If you are a seeker, if you desire Christ, it was not nature that put that desire in your heart: it was grace by the Holy Spirit. No sinner who is not moved by the Holy Spirit wants salvation, or wants Christ. Therefore, why should he be interested in God's election? He isn't; he hates it, because he is not willing to be at God's sovereign disposal.

If you have a desire in your heart, you come on to Christ, for "him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37). Let the Holy Spirit reveal yourself to yourself (John 16:7-11), and then He will reveal Christ in you (Gal. 1:16), which is salvation (John 17:3). Look to Christ; trust Him, and the Holy Spirit will bring you to His feet in the dust of repentance, crying, "MY LORD AND MY GOD."

May the blessings of the Lord Jesus Christ and His death, burial, and resurrection rest upon you and make you willing to come to Christ. May He put such a longing in your heart for Him, that you will not stop along the way to wonder who is elected. God draws His elect unto Him by cords of love (Jer. 31:3), and you trust Him as a little child (Matt. 18:3).

Your Gospel Preacher,
L. R. Shelton, Sr.
permission by http://www.radiomissions.org
 

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