Repentance is not a feeling which you may have, or may not have, and yet be equally saved. You must repent of your sins or there can be no forgiveness for you.

Faith in Jesus Christ is not an optional thing, so that a man may perhaps fare well at last, whether he believes or not. “He that believes not shall be damned” is the emphatic declaration of Christ Himself, not an invention of His disciples, but our Lord’s own declaration. You must have faith or you cannot be saved.

And you must be men of prayer, for without prayer no man shall be saved. The sinner’s first evidence of salvation is—“Behold he prays!” If there is no prayer, there is no Grace. These things are indispensably essential. Note well, also, that it is essential that they be done with all our might. The text says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). Nobody ever truly repented who repented in a half-hearted way. We cannot repent in our sleep and so go to Heaven dreaming. Eve was taken out of Adam when he was asleep, but our sins will not be removed in a like manner.

Neither does any man believe in Jesus without thought upon the matter—faith does not grow spontaneously and without our own consent, like nettles in the sluggard’s garden. Faith is not the fruit of a swoon—it requires the exercise of the faculties. It is a simple thing, but it is an earnest thing, a hearty thing. “If you believe with all your heart,” said Philip to the eunuch, “you may be baptized.” It is with the heart that man believes, and that sort of believing which does not exercise the heart will never save the soul.

A prayer, too—a prayer accepted in Heaven, is not a dull, cold thing. It is not a saying of prayers, a using of certainholy words, just as wizards of old were accustomed to mutter their enchantments. Oh, no! It is the yearning of the spirit after God, the passionate longing of the creature to get to the Creator and to be reconciled to Him. “The kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” And without a holy violence we shall not gain entrance at the gates of mercy. Prayer is no child’s play, but requires all our might. In order to eternal life there must be faith, there must be repentance, there must be prayer—and these must all be real, deep, fervent—or else they are not such as God gives and they are not true evidences of salvation.

Moreover, the text urges us to immediate actionbecause death is coming. Now I feel quite sure that the bulk of the unconverted part of my congregation is made up of persons who have fully resolved one day to repent. If I were now sent as a commissioner from Satan and were wickedly to ask you to make a contract with the powers of darkness that you never would repent, that you never would believe in Jesus and that you never would pray, you would start back from so dreadful a compact! You would feel as if a most profane bargain were proposed to you. You would suspect the presence of Mephistopheles or some other form of the arch-deceiver. And yet your actions practically come to the same thing. For how many years have you lived without attending to your souls?

“Oh, but we mean to!” Yes, and you meant to 20 years ago. “Oh, but we really do mean it, now!” Yes, and you were quite as earnest when you were but children in Sunday school. Since then you have had different times of awakening and you have resolved and re-resolved—but you remain the same. Will it always be so? If so, why do you start back from promising to let it be so? If you think it right to continue as unbelievers, what is right today will be right tomorrow and what has been convenient today will be as convenient tomorrow! And though you say, “Go your way for this time: when I have a more convenient season I will send for you,” it will come to pass with you as with Felix—the convenient season will never come and you will remain unsaved. And yet you are dying men and women!

As I look you in the face, I read, “Mortality!” written across your brows. There is not a body here but what, unless the Lord shall come, will lie in the cold grave and turn to dust! And there is not a soul here but what shall pass into the disembodied state and by-and-by, after the Resurrection, shall stand before the Judgment Seat of God! Yet all this while you are trifling about your best interests—not about your purses, nor about your property—but about your souls!

About yourselves, your truest selves! Sirs, is this wise? You are not short of wit in other things—how are you, then, so short of it in this? If you must play at hazard, let it be with something cheaper than your souls! If there must be risks, go risk your houses and risk your health—but risk not your souls and their everlasting interests! The voice of Wisdom says today—you must repent! You must believe! You must seek God in prayer! Therefore, since death is near you, do it, do it with all your might and do it now, for before long you will be where these things never can be done! In a very short time every unconverted person here will be in the land where there are no Sabbaths. You can waste them now—they hang heavy on some men’s hands—but you will not be galled with Sabbaths there, or worried with calls to go up to the House of God and think about your souls. We who are preachers of the Gospel are very troublesome to you and often make your consciences uneasy— soon you will no longer be troubled with us.

There will be none to cry to you to have mercy on yourselves. There will none whose loving importunity shall be a weariness to you. None will annoy you with their expostulations, or burden you with invitations. You will be in the land where there are no Sabbaths and no preachers. And there will be no Bibles there. You will not say there, as you did this afternoon, “It is dry reading—that Bible.” You will not be tired of hearing promises there. No promise and no Gospel will ever salute your ears in that dark realm of despair! And there will be no Mercy Seat there. You do not pray now, though God will hear you—but in a future state prayer will be altogether out of season. God hears not the ungodly when once they are cast away from His Presence.

They may call, but He has said, “I will not answer. They refused Me, and therefore I will mock at their calamity, I will laugh when their fear comes.” I pray you remember that there will be no Jesus there, no Fountain filled with bloodin which to wash away crimson stains. There will be no Redeemer to cover a naked soul with His righteousness, no Savior to say, “Be of good cheer, your sins are forgiven you.” There will be no Spirit of God there to plead with your conscience and to be resisted. There will be no Grace of God there to show you your sins and to show you the atoning Sacrifice. I pray you, have a little patience with us who preach to you, for our time is short and you will soon be rid of us. Have a little patience with your Bible—it will soon enough be out of your way! Have a little patience with your poor Christian mother who tries to bring you to the Savior—she will be far from you soon!

We, who now trouble you by desiring to do you good, will soon be out of your way. Ah, poor Souls! Poor Souls! Soon you will be out of God’s way, and out of Christ’s way, and out of Mercy’s way—banished from the Savior’s Presence—and that because thekingdomofGodcame near to you, but you put it away from you, for you would have none of the Lord’s reproofs. You turned, every one to his own way, and rejected the counsels of God against yourselves.

Beloved Hearers, may none of you stand in that plight! While I breathe the prayer that it may not be so, may I ask you to pray for yourselves that it will not be so? Will you let me whisper in your ear, as though I stood close by each one of you now, and I will softly and lovingly say—Repent, and believe in Jesus, now, with all your might. God help you, “for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave where you go.” (Online source)

Charles Spurgeon

HT: Sola Sisters

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