The Way of Salvation
By J. C. Ryle (1816-1900)
Where must a man go for pardon? Where is forgiveness to be found? There is a way both sure and plain, and into that way I desire to guide every inquirers feet. That way is simply to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior. It is to cast your soul with all its sins, unreservedly on Christ—to cease completely from any dependence on your own works or doings, either in whole or in part—and to rest on no other work but Christ's work—no other righteousness but Christ's righteousness, no other merit but Christ's merit as your ground of hope. Take this course—and you are a pardoned soul.
Says Peter "All the prophets testify about Him, that through His name everyone who believes in Him will receive forgiveness of sins." (Acts 10:43). Says Paul at Antioch, "Through this Man forgiveness of sins is being proclaimed to you, and everyone who believes in Him is justified from everything." (Acts 13:38). "In Him," writes Paul to the Colossians, "we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins" (Col. 1:14).
The Lord Jesus Christ, in great love and compassion has made a full and complete satisfaction for sin, by suffering death in our place upon the cross. There He offered Himself as a sacrifice for us, and allowed the wrath of God which we deserved—to fall on His own head! For our sins, as our Substitute, He gave Himself, suffered, and died—the just for the unjust, the innocent for the guilty—that He might deliver us from the curse of a broken law, and provide a complete pardon for all who are willing to receive it. And by so doing, as Isaiah says—He has borne our sins. As John the Baptist says—He has taken away sin. As Paul says—He has purged our sins, and put away sin. As Daniel says—He has made an end of sin and finished transgression.
And now the Lord Jesus Christ is sealed and appointed by God the Father to be a Prince and a Savior, to give forgiveness of sins, to all who will have it. The keys of death and hell are put in His hand. The government of the gate of heaven is laid on His shoulder. He Himself is the door, and by Him all who enter in shall be saved. Christ, in one word, has purchased a full forgiveness, if we are only willing to receive it. He has done all, paid all, suffered all that was needful, to reconcile us to God. He has provided a garment of righteousness to clothe us. He has opened a fountain of living waters to cleanse us. He has removed every barrier between us and God the Father, taken every obstacle out of the way—and made a road by which the vilest may return to God. All things are now ready, and the sinner has only to believe and be saved, to eat and be satisfied, to ask and receive, to wash and be clean.
Faith, or simple trust is the only thing required, in order that you and I may be forgiven. That we will come by faith to Jesus as sinners with our sins—trust in Him—and forsaking all other hope, cleave only to Him—that is all and everything that God asks for. Let a man only do this, and he shall be saved. His iniquities shall be found completely pardoned, and his transgressions completely taken away!
Who, among all the readers of this paper, desires to be saved by Christ, and yet is not saved at present? Come, I beseech you! Come to Christ without delay. Though you have been a great sinner, COME! Though you have long resisted warnings, counsels, sermons, COME! Though you have sinned against light and knowledge, against a father's advice and a mother's tears, COME! Though you have plunged into every excess of wickedness, and lived without prayer, yet COME! The door is not shut, the fountain is not yet closed. Jesus Christ invites you. It is enough that you feel laboring and heavy-laden, and desire to be saved. COME! COME TO CHRIST WITHOUT DELAY! Come to Him by faith, and pour out your heart before Him in prayer. Tell Him the whole story of your life, and ask Him to receive you. Cry to Him as the penitent thief did, when He saw Him on the cross. Say to Him, "Lord save me also! Lord remember me!" COME! COME TO CHRIST!