God’s Salvation Being For Everyone Through Faith
In America there was a famous preacher named Dr. Jowett. He had a co-worker named Mr. Barry. Mr. Barry was a pastor in a church, but he had not yet been saved.
One night someone rang the doorbell of his church. After letting the bell ring for a long time, Mr. Barry reluctantly put on his night robe and went to see who it was. At the door was a young, improperly dressed girl.
“Get My Mother In”
When he asked her bluntly what she wanted, the girl asked, “Are you the pastor?” When he admitted that he was, the girl said, “I need help to get my mother in.”
He thought that a girl dressed in such a way must have a terrible home. He thought that perhaps her mother was drunk, and she needed help to get her mother back into the house.
He told the girl to call the police, but the girl insisted that he go. He tried his best to turn her down and told her to go to the pastor of the church nearest her. But the girl said, “Your church is the nearest church.” Then he said, “It is too late now. Come back tomorrow.” But she insisted that he go at once.
Mr. Barry thought for a while. He was a pastor of a church with over twelve hundred members. If one of them saw him walking with this young girl dressed in that kind of way in the middle of the night, what would they think? But the girl insisted and said that if he would not go, she would not leave. Finally, he gave in and went upstairs to change.
Mr. Barry later told Dr. Jowett that while he was walking to the girl’s house, he pulled his hat down very low to cover his face and tucked in his coat for fear that others might see him.
The place where they went was not in a nice area. When he stopped before the house that they were to enter, he saw that it was not a decent place at all. Then he asked the girl, “Why do you want me to come to such a place?” The girl answered, “My mother is very sick. She is in terrible danger. She said that she wants to get into the kingdom of God. Please get her in.”
“Please Help Me To Get In. I Cannot Get In.”
Mr. Barry could not do anything except step into the house. The girl and her mother lived in a very small and dingy room. Their home was very poor. When the sick woman saw him coming, she cried out, “Please help me to get in. I cannot get in.”
He thought for a while and wondered what he should do. He was a pastor and a preacher, and here was a woman who was dying. She wanted to enter the kingdom of God; she wanted to be taught how to get in.
He Spoke To Her In The Way He Spoke To His Congregation
What could he do? He did not know what to do. So he spoke to her in the way he spoke to his congregation. He began to tell her that Jesus was a perfect man, that He was our model, that He sacrificed Himself, that He displayed such benevolence, and that Jesus went about helping people.
If men follow in His footsteps to sacrifice themselves, to love and help others, and to serve society, they would uplift their humanity and others’ humanity. Mr. Barry was talking to her with his eyes closed. When he finished, she became mad. She cried out, “No, no! This is not what I want you to speak about.”
Taking Jesus As The Model Will Not Help
Her tears began to fall. She said, “Sir, tonight is my last night on earth. Now is the time for me to settle the question of eternal perdition or entry into God’s kingdom. This is my last chance. Don’t try to take me for a ride or play games with me. I have sinned my whole life long. And not only have I sinned, but I have also taught my daughter to sin.
Now I am dying. What can I do? Don’t play games with me. All my life I have done nothing but sin. Everything I did was unclean. I never knew what being moral meant. I never knew what it was to be clean. I never knew what it was to have a conscience.
Now you are telling such a sinner as me, in the state that I am in tonight, to take Jesus as my model! How much work would I have to do before I could take Jesus as my model! You told me that I have to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. But how much would I have to do before I could follow in His footsteps!
Don’t play games with me at this hour so crucial to my eternity. Just tell me how I can get into God’s kingdom. What you told me will not work for me. I cannot do any of those things.”
The Pastor Didn’t Know How
Mr. Barry was taken by surprise. He thought to himself, “These are the things that I learned in theological school. I studied them for my doctorate in theology. I have been preaching them for the past seventeen or eighteen years. And these are the things I have read out of the Bible. But here is a woman who wants to get in, and I cannot help her.”
So he said, “To tell you the truth, I don’t know how to get in. I only know that Jesus was a good man, that we have to imitate Him, that He was benevolent, and that He sacrificed Himself to help others. All I know is that if a man takes Jesus as his example and walks as He walked, he will be a Christian.”
No Tomorrow, No Second Chance
In tears the woman said, “Can you do nothing for a woman who has been sinful all her life to help her enter God’s kingdom at the last hour? Is that all you can do to help a dying woman to get into God’s kingdom, who will have no tomorrow and who will have no second chance?”
Mr. Barry was stuck. He had nothing more to say. He thought, “I am a servant of Christ. I am a doctor of theology. I am a pastor of a twelve hundred member church. But here is a woman on her deathbed, and I cannot help her at all. She even thinks that I am playing games with her.”
The Words Of His Mother He Neglected All His Life
But then Mr. Barry remembered something he had heard from his mother while sitting on her lap when he was seven years old. She had told him that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God, that He was crucified, and that He shed His blood to cleanse us from sins. Jesus of Nazareth died for our sins on the cross and has become the propitiatory sacrifice.
He remembered these words then. He had neglected these words all his life, but that day these words came back to him.
You Do Not Have To Do Anything
Then he rose up and said, “Yes, I have something for you. You do not have to do anything, but God has done everything in His Son. He has dealt with our sins in His Son. God’s Son has taken away all our sins. The One who demands the payment became the One who pays. The One who was offended became the One who suffered for the offense. The Judge has become the judged.”
Only Believe And Receive
At that word, the woman’s face showed signs of joy. He went on to tell her all that his mother had told him. Then, suddenly the woman’s face turned from joy to tears, and she cried, “Why didn’t you tell me this earlier? What should I do now?” He then told her that she needed only to believe and to receive. At that word, the woman died.
Later Mr. Barry told Dr. Jowett that on that night the woman entered in and he also entered in.
The Condition For Salvation Is Not Restitution, Baptism, Confession, Or Repentance
I have been touched in my heart many times by this story. If there is salvation, it should be available to anyone. If you say that one must be baptized before he can be saved, then the thief on the cross could not be saved, because he was not baptized.
If you say that one cannot be saved unless he makes restitution, then the thief on the cross could not have been saved, because both his hands and feet were nailed firmly to the cross.
I am not saying that we should not be baptized or make restitution. But the condition for salvation is not restitution, baptism, confession, or repentance. Repentance is nothing but a changed view about one’s past.
If it were a matter of law and work, who could fulfill it? This woman is the best example of God’s salvation being for everyone.
All citations in this post, unless otherwise identified, are taken from: Watchman Nee, The Gospel Of God, chapter 14. Published by Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim, CA, U.S.A. 1990, Source: ministrybooks.org