THE SALVATION PREPARED BY CHRIST FOR US
As we have seen, Christ is God, He became a man, as our Redeemer He was crucified on the cross to take away all our sins, and He resurrected to be our Savior, our Lord as the Spirit. Now because Christ is such a person and because He died in such a way, salvation is ready for you. Within this salvation there are several things which are very important for you. First, in this salvation you have forgiveness of sins. Acts 10:43 says, “To this One all the prophets testify that through His name everyone who believes into Him will receive forgiveness of sins.” When you believe in this Christ and receive Him as your Savior, forgiveness of sins becomes your portion. You share in and partake of this portion. Forgiveness of sins is in the salvation prepared by Christ for you.
Within this salvation you also have the eternal life, the divine life. First John 5:12 says, “He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.” If you believe in Christ, you have Christ, and when you have Christ, you have the life. Many verses tell us the same things, but the above two verses are adequate. They tell us that the remission and forgiveness of sins is in the salvation prepared for you by Christ, and within this salvation you have the divine, eternal life of God. These are the two main items of the salvation of God, the salvation prepared for you by Christ.
THE WAY TO RECEIVE AND ENJOY SALVATION
Recognizing Christ’s Person and Work
We have seen the person of Christ, the work of Christ, and the salvation prepared for us by Christ. Now, what is the proper way to receive and enjoy this salvation? You have to do three things. First, you have to recognize that this Christ is the very God, the Creator, and that He became a man, died on the cross for your sins, and resurrected from the dead. Now He is the living Savior, the Lord as the Spirit. He is living, real, and available to you. Tell Christ that you recognize Him as such. Tell Him, “Lord, I recognize that You are the very God. One day You became a man, and You died for me on the cross. You have taken away all my sins. Then You resurrected from the dead. Today I recognize that You are the living Savior. You are my Savior, and You are my Lord. Now You are the Spirit, who is so available to me. You are now with me and even within me.”
When I was saved forty years ago, I did not receive the help that we are fellowshipping about here. It took me more than ten years to realize all these things. However, today there is no need for you to take ten years. Just one night is good enough, perhaps even one hour. This is a very brief statement of the whole gospel from the Scriptures. You need to recognize these truths. This kind of recognition is very necessary.
Contacting Christ with Our Human Spirit
by Speaking to Him
Second, you have to contact Him. To recognize Him is something in your mentality, your understanding, but to contact Him is something different. As we have pointed out, to contact anything you have to exercise the right organ. To contact my voice, for example, you must exercise your ears. Now Christ is the Spirit, so you have to exercise your human spirit to contact Him. The spirit is the deepest, inmost part of your whole being. To contact Christ, realizing that He is the living Savior and the Spirit, you simply must exercise the inmost part of your being to talk with Him. Many times I have told people not to compose a prayer but simply to be like a little child who comes to his mother. When a little child comes to his mother, there is no need for him to compose anything. He simply expresses what he feels within. Simply come to Christ; realize that He is so living and that He is the Spirit so available and close to you. Then express yourself from the very inmost part of your being. Whatever you feel within, just tell Him, even with broken sentences. If you feel that you are wrong with God or wrong with man—whether with your parents, with your schoolmate, or with others—simply tell Him, “Lord Jesus, I am wrong. I am wrong with God. I am wrong with certain persons. I am wrong with so many things.” Just tell Him. Do not consider how to compose your utterance. There is no need for that. Simply express yourself from within. If you feel that you are sorrowful and have much trouble, just tell Him, “Lord, I am so sorrowful. I have so many problems.” Tell Him what your problems are in a living, practical way.
In the previous chapter I recounted how I preached the gospel to a judge. He asked me how he could believe, and I told him that he had to exercise the right organ. If you exercise your nose to smell a voice, you cannot substantiate it. If you exercise your eyes to look at the voice, you cannot receive it. However, if you exercise your ears, the hearing organ will substantiate the substance of the voice. The right organ to substantiate Christ is your human spirit, your inmost part. That day I also told the judge, “Sir, I suggest you go home tonight, close your door, and talk with Christ.” He asked me in what way he should talk. I said, “In whatever way you can. Simply talk.” He did this. He went back that night and told his wife and his only child, “Please go to the other room. I have some business to do.” He closed the door and knelt down. His wife looked into the room through the window. What a surprise that was! She said, “What is he doing there? This is something completely new.” He prayed there, and then he went to sleep. Nothing seemed to happen at that time. Later, however, he told me that the next morning, while he was going to court to take care of a case, the whole universe changed. The heavens, the earth, and everything was new. Everything was lovely. He looked at a dog, and the dog was lovely. He looked at a cat, and the cat was lovely. He looked at everything, and everything was lovely. He began to laugh. While he was taking care of his case, he was laughing in the court. The secretary and the other people could not understand what had happened to this judge.
At noontime he went back home, rejoicing and laughing all the way. When he got home, his wife asked him, “What? Did you find a million dollars? What makes you so happy?” He said, “I do not know; I am just happy.” Then he referred himself to one of the young brothers who was a student in college. That young brother told him, “Sir, you have to realize that this is salvation. You have already shared in salvation.” Not long after that, the judge gave up his position. As an elderly brother in Taiwan, he recently went to the Lord.
Try this, dear friends. I would suggest that tonight you find a place to be in private with Christ. Open yourself from your inmost part to say something to Him. You do not need to compose anything. Simply tell Him what you have on your heart. Tell him in broken language. Tell him in such a way as to contact Him. Do not do this only once for all. This is just a start. From this time on, time after time you have to contact Christ. If you would ask me how many times I contact Christ daily, I could not tell you. All the time I simply contact this living Christ. I do not even have a definite time for this kind of prayer. I pray all the time. He is just as the air to me; I simply live in this way. Can you tell me how many times you breathe every day? If you can, I am afraid that you are seriously sick, struggling to breathe once, twice, and a third time. If you are a healthy person, though, you do not know how many times you breathe. All the time you just breathe. You need to contact Christ your Savior in such a living way. Forget about Christianity; forget about religion. We are not helping you to receive a religion. We are helping you to realize such a living One, the living Christ. Learn to recognize Him and contact Him.
We all need to learn how to receive Christ. This means that you have to open yourself from within. You have to open your whole being to Christ and tell Him, “Lord Jesus, not only do I recognize You as my Savior, but now I open myself to You and receive You into me as my life and my everything.” Not many Christians know how to do this, and not many practice to do this. To pray is one thing, but to receive Christ is another. Many persons pray to Christ, but they do not have the realization of how much they have to receive Christ. We have to learn that we must receive Christ. He is living and real, so we must open ourselves to receive Him again and again. We all have to learn to receive the living Christ, not merely a religion.
Regrettably, today millions of people are Christians in name. They have taken the religion, but they have not received Christ Himself. I have been to Europe a few times. In France or Belgium, if you ask people, “Are you a Christian?” they may say, “Why not?” I learned not to ask people in this way. If you ask this, you will offend them. One day in the Philippines when I took a taxi, I had the thought to ask the driver if he was a Christian. He also was offended. He said, “Why not? If I am not a Christian, then what am I?” However, this is a Christian only in name, a Christian in religion. I realized that he did not have Christ within him. To have Christianity is one thing, but to have Christ is another. In actuality, there is not such a word as Christianity in the Scriptures. Rather, there is Christ. What we are doing is not to help you to accept Christianity as a religion. We are helping you to realize the proper way to receive the living Christ into you. What you need is not Christianity but Christ Himself.
Some may ask how they can receive Christ. The way to receive Christ is to open yourself to Him. Simply open to Him all the time. He is the Spirit, and He is now within you. Learn to open yourself to Him all the time, saying, “Lord Jesus, I am closed to everything else but open to You.” I can assure you that whether tonight or tomorrow, or this week or next week, something will happen to you within. You will receive the reality. You will sense the loveliness of Christ, and you will sense the light, the power, the life, and the love of Christ within you.
You must recognize Christ as the One we have spoken of here, and you have to contact Him. Always say something to Him, not from your mentality but from your heart and spirit, from your inmost part. You should not hate anyone, but even if you do hate someone, you should tell Him, “Lord Jesus, now I am going to hate someone. Lord, be with me while I hate him.” Simply say a word to Him. Then He will help you to know how to hate. He will help you to know whether or not to hate that person, and eventually He will help you to drop your hating. Simply speak to Him. Make Him a Friend in whatever you do. If you are going to a movie, just tell Him, “Lord Jesus, I am interested in the movie, and I am going to see it.” Talk with Him. This is the best way for you to contact Christ.
Learn to say something to Christ. Do not keep anything hidden from Him. Be exposed and open before Christ. Tell Him everything that is on your heart, open to Him, and learn always to receive Him. This is the best prayer.
TAKING THE WORD OF THE SCRIPTURES
FOR THE ASSURANCE OF SALVATION
You also need to be confirmed by the word of the Scriptures. In other words, you have to take the word of the Scriptures for the assurance of salvation. If you recognize the person of Christ and that Christ died to bear your sins, and if you receive His salvation and pray and open yourself to receive Him, then you need to know according to the word of the Bible that you are saved. The Bible has many verses that say you are saved. Your sins are forgiven, Christ today is within you, and you have the eternal life; therefore, you are saved. In the Scriptures there are many verses of such an assurance and confirmation of salvation. Now, by this assurance and confirmation, you have to be at peace that you are saved. You are a person saved by Christ, and you are a son of God, a child of God. This is wonderful! Do not look to anything else. Gradually, day by day from now on, this living Lord will work out many things with you and within you.
I would ask you to realize the above five points: who Christ is, what Christ did for you, the salvation prepared for you, the proper way to partake of this salvation, and the full assurance of this salvation in the Bible. Recognize that the Christ in whom you believe is the very God, that He became a man and died on the cross for your sins, and that He resurrected. Today He is the Spirit as the living Savior and the almighty Lord. Recognize this, open yourself to Him, and contact Him in a living way. I assure you then that you are saved. This is not confirmed by me but by this covenant, this testament, this will. It is confirmed, so you have the assurance of salvation. So you have to say, “Hallelujah, praise the Lord! I am saved. Regardless of how evil and how pitiful I am, I am saved!” Then whenever you sense you are wrong, simply confess. It is very easy, and it is so pleasant. To confess to Him whatever you sense within is a pleasant way to contact Christ.
WORKING WITH PEOPLE IN LOVE AND IN PATIENCE
All the new ones can be helped by this message, but this speaking is also for all the brothers and sisters. You will have more time to contact people and work with the promising ones in this way. Help them to realize these five points, and work these five points into them. Maybe you cannot work out all these points in one night. I have done it in a brief way, but please do not be as brief with them. You need some time to deal just with the first item. Help them to open the Bible, read it, and understand it word by word. Then after three or four contacts like this, they will be helped to be very clear. The Holy Spirit always follows this kind of work. We simply pave the way. The more we work in this way, the more the Holy Spirit will follow, and He will work it out. People will be impressed, painted, and anointed by the Holy Spirit. Then you will see the difference. We have to learn to work with people in love and in patience. I believe that in these days people will be helped not only to be saved but also to be very clear about the way of salvation.
(Preaching the Gospel in the Way of Life, Chapter 6, by Witness Lee)