It was the year 1916 that Charles E. Fuller wrote to his wife the following note: “There has been a complete change in my life. Sunday, I went up to Los Angeles and heard Paul Rader preach. I never heard such a sermon in all my life. Eph.1:18. Now my whole life and aims and ambitions are changed. I feel now that I want to serve God if he can use me instead of making the goal of my life the making of money.”
That testimony captured my attention because maybe 25 years later my father-in-law to be, Marvin Beshears, was painting ships in a Virginia shipyard for the war effort, and as he worked, he listened to the Mutual Broadcasting Network airing of the “Old Fashioned Revival Hour” and heard Charles Fuller in Los Angeles preaching to soldiers shipping out to their overseas assignments, many never to return home again alive, Fuller pleading with them to turn to Christ, to accept Jesus as their Savior. Marvin heard Charles Fuller’s passionate plea for soldiers to accept Christ, and as he painted in the shipyards he responded to the evangelist’s message and gave his heart and life to Christ Jesus. He returned to Wilkes County, NC, after the war where he would become a local church pastor and where, in 1945 his second daughter, Ellen, was born who would in 1965 be united in marriage to Anthony Slutz in the little white chapel in the Blue Ridge foothills that Marvin would pastor for 50 before being called to his eternal rest.
I cannot think of those things without marveling at “so great salvation” that God has made possible for all who will receive Him as Charles Fuller did, and as thousands of both soldiers and civilians would do upon hearing Fuller’s plain preaching of the Good News, wafted over radio waves far and near, drawing men and women to the person of the Savior of the world, Jesus of Nazareth.
Countless multitudes have experienced the same complete change that Charles Fuller and Marvin Beshears experienced. John Slater, missionary to the Republic of Ireland, would write: “All my life I had been playing at Christianity while being filled with a cancerous evil in my heart. I had truly been deceived by Satan and my own pride, never aware of the emptiness in my life. In that moment, I called upon the name of the Lord.”
Charlotte Elliot had a personal salvation experience as a young person. Troubled and anxious about her soul, she was very reticent about seeking help spiritually. But, a French pastor, visiting Charlotte’s father on one occasion, put the question directly to Charlotte: “Have you come to Jesus?” She replied, “I want to come, but I do not know how.” He simply answered the young girl, “Come, just as you are.” The girl fled to her room in tears and later emerged a saved person who would in time put the hymn to music, “Just as I am without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me, O Lamb of God, I come, I come.” Salvation, so simple, so universally possible for any who will come “Just as I am.”
Sadly, though, some still have not come. Some years ago, I visited an Indianapolis southside nursing home where an elderly Christian lady lived who was a member of our church. She had just received news that her only child, a 52-year-old son, had died of cancer. She said, “He was the apple of my eye. I was always there whenever he needed me.” I asked, “Was he a Christian?” She said, “No, I could never get him to accept the Lord. The last time he was here I told him that I had waited so long and had so wanted him and his family to know the Lord; the one thing that I wanted before I died. Now, he is gone and it’s too late…it’s too late.”
The wicked one, a liar, convinces people that salvation would be a good thing, but no need to be in a big hurry about it. Statistics will bear out, though, that after the age of 25 only one in 10,000 will confess Christ as Savior. After the age of 75 only one in 700,000 make that decision having put it off for so long.
Evangelist J. Wilbur Chapman told the story of a revival that swept through Princeton, NJ. Aaron Burr came to the president of the university and said, “Mr. President, I have made up my mind to consider the claims of Christ. Now, Mr. President, what would you do?” And the old president of the university gave Burr this advice, “Burr, if I were you, I would wait until the excitement of the revival has subsided, and then I would think it out carefully.” Aaron Burr, it is said, bowed his head then said, “Mr. President, that is exactly what I would do.” And, as Chapman would conclude the story, “…it is stated as a fact that never again in his life, did he express a desire to be a Christian….”
Ethel Heins wrote that “A God-shaped vacuum was made, within the heart of man, filled only if he humbly yields to His Creator’s plans.”
I am not sure who said this, but I am sure that many who read these lines will be able to say, “Amen” to what this person said:
“In 1943 I was a lad eleven years old. One night in an old-fashioned church I heard an old-fashioned message from an old-fashioned Book by an old-fashioned preacher. And I knelt at an old-fashioned altar, and I received an old-fashioned dose of the old-fashioned salvation. It is this way: God thought it, Jesus bought it, the Spirit wrought it, the Bible taught it, the Devil fought it; but praise God, I caught it! And, hallelujah, I am saved forever!”
How is it with you, my friend? Do not let the old deceiver, Lucifer, whisper in your ear that it is all so very true but you can, as Aaron Burr was encouraged to do, think about it awhile longer. Hear what God says:
“For He saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Cor.6:2)