HOW TO COME TO CHRIST AND REMAIN WITH HIM
Entering upon a New Way of Life ó The Basic Steps to Christ
It is not money, power, or human affection that you
crave. Your greatest need is acceptance by God.
How can you have it? How can you find Him? How can you
be accepted by Him? How can you stay close to Him?
There are answers, and they are not complicated.
Here is what you have always wanted: peace with God! ó
Part One Ė
How Can I Come to God?
Nature and revelation alike testify of Godís love. It
is transgression of Godís lawóthe law of loveóthat has brought woe and
death. Yet even amid the suffering that results from sin, Godís love is
revealed. "God is love" is written upon every opening bud, upon every
spire of springing grass.
Jesus came to live among men to reveal the infinite
love of God. Love, mercy, and compassion were revealed in every act of His
life; His heart went out in tender sympathy to the children of men. He
took manís nature, that He might reach manís wants. The poorest and
humblest were not afraid to approach Him. Such is the character of Christ
as revealed in His life. This is the character of God.
It was to redeem us that Jesus lived and suffered and
died. He became a "Man of Sorrows," that we might be made partakers of
everlasting joy. But this great sacrifice was not made in order to create
in the Fatherís heart a love for man, not make Him willing to save. No,
no! "God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son." John
3:16. The Father loves us, not because of the great propitiation, but
He provided the propitiation because He loves us. None but the Son of God
could accomplish our redemption.
What a value this places upon man! Through
transgression the sons of man become subjects of Satan. Through faith in
the atoning sacrifice of Christ the sons of Adam may become the sons of
God. The matchless love of God for a world that did not love Him! The
thought has a subduing power upon the soul and brings the mind into
captivity to the will of God.
Man was originally endowed with noble powers and a
well-balanced mind. He was perfect in his being, and in harmony with God.
His thoughts were pure, his aims holy. But through disobedience, his
powers were perverted, and selfishness took the place of love. His nature
became so weakened through transgression that it was impossible for him,
in his own strength, to resist the power of evil.
It is impossible for us, of ourselves, to escape from
the pit of sin in which we are sunken. Our hearts are evil, and we cannot
change them. There must be a power working from within, a new life from
above, before men can be changed from sin to holiness. That power is
Christ. His grace alone can quicken the lifeless faculties of the soul,
and attract it to God, to holiness. To all, there is but one answer,
"Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John
1:29). Let us avail ourselves of the means provided for us that we may be
transformed into His likeness, and be restored to fellowship with the
ministering angels, to harmony and communion with the Father and the Son.
How shall a man be just with God? How shall the sinner
be made righteous? It is only through Christ that we can be brought into
harmony with God, with holiness; but how are we to come to Christ?
Repentance includes sorrow for sin and a turning away
from it. We shall not renounce sin unless we see its sinfulness; until we
turn away from it in heart, there will be no real change in the life.
But when the heart yields to the influence of the
Spirit of God, the conscience will be quickened, and the sinner will
discern something of the depth and sacredness of Godís holy law, the
foundation of His government in heaven and on earth. Conviction takes hold
upon the mind and heart.
The prayer of David, after his fall, illustrates the
nature of true sorrow for sin. His repentance was sincere and deep. There
was no effort to palliate his guilt; no desire to escape the judgment
threatened, inspired his prayer. David saw the enormity of his
transgression; he saw the defilement of his soul; he loathed his sin. It
was not for pardon only that he prayed, but for purity of heart. He longed
for the joy of holiness, to be restored to harmony and communion with God.
A repentance such as this, is beyond the reach of our own power to
accomplish; it is obtained only from Christ.
Christ is ready to set us free from sin, but He does
not force the will. If we refuse, what more can He do? Study Godís Word
prayerfully. As you see the enormity of sin, as you see yourself as you
really are, do not give up in despair. It was sinners that Christ came to
save. When Satan comes to tell you that you are a great sinner, look to
your Redeemer and talk of His merits. Acknowledge your sin, but tell the
enemy that "Christ came into the world to save sinners" and that you may
be saved (1 Tim. 1:15).
"He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso
confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy." Proverbs 28:13.
The conditions of obtaining mercy of God are simple and just and
reasonable. Confess your sins to God, who only can forgive them, and your
faults to one another. Those who have not humbled their souls before God
in acknowledging their guilt, have not yet fulfilled the first step of
acceptance. We must be willing to humble our hearts and comply with the
conditions of the Word of truth. The confession that is the outpouring of
the inmost soul finds its way to the God of infinite pity. True confession
is always of a specific character, and acknowledges particular sins. All
confession should be definite and to the point. It is written, "If we
confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to
cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).
Godís promise is, "Ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when
ye shall search for Me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13. The
whole heart must be yielded, or the change can never be wrought in us by
which we are to be restored to His likeness.
The warfare against self is the greatest battle that
was ever fought. The yielding of self, surrendering all to the will of
God, requires a struggle; but the soul must submit to God before it can be
renewed in holiness.
In giving ourselves to God, we must necessarily give up
all that would separate us from Him. There are those who profess to serve
God, while they rely upon their own efforts to obey His law, to form a
right character, and secure salvation. Their hearts are not moved by any
deep sense of the love of Christ, but they seek to perform the duties of
the Christian life as that which God requires of them in order to gain
heaven. Such religion is worthless.
When Christ dwells in the heart, the soul will be so
filled with His love, with the joy of communion with Him, that it will
cleave to Him; and in the contemplation of Him, self will be forgotten.
Love to Christ will be the spring of action. Such do not ask for the
lowest standard, but aim at perfect conformity to the will of their
Do you feel that it is too great a sacrifice to yield
all to Christ? Ask yourself the question, "What has Christ given for me?"
The Son of God gave allólife and love and sufferingófor our redemption.
And can it be that we, the unworthy objects of so great love, will
withhold our hearts from Him? What do we give up, when we give all? A
sin-polluted heart, for Jesus to purify, to cleanse by His own blood, and
to save by His matchless love. And yet men think it hard to give up all!
God does not require us to give up anything that it is for our best
interest to retain. In all that He does, He has the well-being of His
children in view.
Many are inquiring, "How am I to make the
surrender of myself to God?" You desire to give yourself to Him, but you
are weak in moral power, in slavery to doubt, and controlled by the habits
of your life of sin. Your promises and resolutions are like ropes of sand.
You cannot control your thoughts, your impulses, your affections. The
knowledge of your broken promises and forfeited pledges weakens your
confidence in your own sincerity, and causes you to feel that God cannot
accept you; but you need not despair.
What you need to understand is the true force of the
will. This is the governing power in the nature of man, the power of
decision, or of choice. Everything depends on the right action of the
will. The power of choice God has given to men; it is theirs to exercise.
You cannot change your heart, you cannot of yourself give to God its
affections; but you can choose to serve Him. You can give
Him your will; He will then work in you to will and to do according to His
good pleasure. Thus your whole nature will be brought under the control of
the Spirit of Christ; your affections will be centered upon Him, your
thoughts will be in harmony with Him.
Desires for goodness and holiness are right as far as
they go; but if you stop here, they will avail nothing. Many will be lost
while hoping and desiring to be Christians. They do not come to the point
of yielding the will to God. They do not now choose to be
Through the right exercise of the will, an entire
change may be made in your life. You will have strength from above to hold
you steadfast, and thus through constant surrender to God you will be
enabled to live the new life, even the life of faith.
As your conscience has been quickened by the Holy
Spirit, you have seen something of the evil of sin, of its power, its
guilt, its woe; and you look upon it with abhorrence. It is peace that you
need. You have confessed your sins, and in heart put them away. You have
resolved to give yourself to God. Now go to Him, and ask that He will wash
away your sins and give you a new heart.
Then believe that He does this because He has promised. The
gift which God promises us, we must believe we do receive, and it is
ours. You are a sinner. You cannot atone for your past sins; you cannot
change your heart and make yourself holy. But God promises to do all
this for you through Christ. You believe that promise. You
confess your sins and give yourself to God. You will to serve Him. Just
as surely as you do this, God will fulfill His Word to you. If you
believe the promise,óGod supplies the fact. Do not wait to feel
that you are made whole, but say, "I believe it; it is so, not because I
feel it, but because God promised."
óSummary of all the key points in Steps to Christ, pp. 9-51, in the
authorís own words.
Part Two Ė
How Can I Remain True to God?
Jesus says, "What things soever ye desire, when ye
pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them" (Mark 11:24).
There is a condition to this promiseóthat we pray according to the will of
God. But it is the will of God to cleanse us from sin, to make us His
children, and to enable us to live a holy life. So we may ask for these
blessings, and believe that we receive them, and thank God that we have
Henceforth you are not your own; you are bought with a
price. Through this simple act of believing God, the Holy Spirit has
begotten a new life in your heart. You are a child born into the family of
God, and He loves you as He loves His Son.
Now that you have given yourself to Jesus, do not draw
back, do not take yourself away from Him, but day by day say, "I am
Christís; I have given myself to Him"; and ask Him to give you His Spirit
and keep you by His grace. As it is by giving yourself to God, and
believing Him, that you become His child, so you are to live in Him.
Here is where thousands fail; they do not believe that
Jesus pardons them personally, individually. They do not take God at His
Word. It is the privilege of all who comply with the conditions to know
for themselves that pardon is freely extended for every sin. Put away the
suspicion that Godís promises are not meant for you. They are for every
Look up, you that are doubting and trembling; for Jesus
lives to make intercession for us. Thank God for the gift of His dear Son.
"If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old
things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." 2
A person may not be able to tell the exact time or
place, or trace all the chain of circumstances in the process of
conversion; but this does not prove him to be unconverted. A change will
be seen in the character, the habits, the pursuits. The contrast will be
clear and decided between what they have been and what they have become.
Who has the heart? With whom are our thoughts? Of whom do we love to
converse? Who has our warmest affections and our best energies? If we are
Christís, our thoughts are with Him. There is no evidence of genuine
repentance unless it works reformation. The loveliness of the character of
Christ will be seen in His followers. It was His delight to do the will of
There are two errors against which the children of God
especially need to guard: The first is that of looking to their own works,
trusting to anything they can do, to bring themselves into harmony with
God. All that man can do without Christ is polluted with selfishness and
sin. It is the grace of Christ alone, through faith, which can make us
The opposite and no less dangerous error is that belief
in Christ releases men from keeping the law of God; that since by faith
alone we become partakers of the grace of Christ, our works have nothing
to do with our redemption.
Obedience is the fruit of faith. Righteousness is
defined by the standard of Godís holy law, as expressed in the ten
commandments (Exo. 20:3-20). That so-called faith in Christ, which
professes to release men from the obligation of obedience to God, is not
faith, but presumption. The condition of eternal life is now just what it
always has been,ójust what it was in paradise before the fall of our first
parents,óperfect obedience to the law of God, perfect righteousness. If
eternal life were granted on any condition short of this, then the
happiness of the whole universe would be imperiled. The way would be open
for sin, with all its train of woe and misery, to be immortalized.
Christ changes the heart. He abides in your heart by
faith. You are to maintain this connection with Christ by faith and the
continual surrender of your will to Him; and so long as you do this, He
will work in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure.
The closer you come to Jesus, the more faulty you will
appear in your own eyes; for your vision will be clearer. This is evidence
that Satanís delusions are losing their power. No deep-seated love for
Jesus can dwell in the heart that does not realize its own sinfulness. The
soul that is transformed by the grace of Christ will admire His character.
A view of our sinfulness drives us to Him who can pardon; and when the
soul, realizing its helplessness, reaches out after Christ, He will reveal
Himself in power. The more our sense of need drives us to Him and to the
Word of God, the more exalted views we shall have of His character, and
the more fully we shall reflect His image.
The change of heart by which we become children of God
is in the Bible spoken of as birth. Again it is compared to the
germination of the good seed sown by the husbandman. It is God who brings
the bud to bloom and the flower to fruit. It is by His power that the seed
As the flower turns to the sun, that the bright beams
may aid in perfecting its beauty and symmetry, so should we turn to the
Sun of Righteousness, that heavenís light may shine upon us, that our
character may be developed into the likeness of Christ.
Do you ask, "How am I to abide in Christ?" In the same
way as you received Him at first. "As ye have therefore received Christ
Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him." Colossians 2:6. By faith you
became Christís, and by faith you are to grow up in Himóby giving and
taking. You are to give all,óyour heart, your will, your service,ógive
yourself to Him to obey all His requirements; and you must take
allóChrist, the fullness of all blessing, to abide in your heart, to be
your strength, your righteousness, your everlasting helperóto give you
power to obey.
Consecrate yourself to God in the morning; make this
your very first work. Let your prayer be, "Take me, O Lord, as wholly
Thine. I lay all my plans at Thy feet. Use me today in Thy service. Abide
with me, and let all my work be wrought in Thee." This is a daily matter.
Each morning consecrate yourself to God for that day. Surrender all your
plans to Him, to be carried out or given up as His providence shall
indicate. Thus day by day you may be giving your life into the hands of
God, and thus your life will be molded more and more after the life of
A life in Christ is a life of restfulness. There may be
no ecstasy of feeling, but there should be an abiding, peaceful trust.
When the mind dwells upon self, it is turned away from Christ, the source
of strength and life. Hence, it is Satanís constant effort to keep the
attention diverted from the Saviour and thus prevent the union and
communion of the soul with Christ.
When Christ took human nature upon Him, He bound
humanity to Himself by a tie of love that can never be broken by any power
save the choice of man himself. Satan will constantly present allurements
to induce us to break this tieóto choose to separate ourselves from
Christ. But let us keep our eyes fixed upon Christ, and He will preserve
us. Looking unto Jesus, we are safe. Nothing can pluck us out of His hand.
All that Christ was to the disciples, He desires to be to His children
Jesus prayed for us, and He asked that we might be one
with Him, even as He is one with the Father. What a union is this! Thus,
loving Him and abiding in Him, we shall "grow up into Him in all things,
which is the head, even Christ" (Ephesians 4:15).
God is the source of life and light and joy to the
universe. Wherever the life of God is in the hearts of men, it will flow
out to others in love and blessing.
Our Saviourís joy was in the uplifting and redemption
of fallen men. For this He counted not His life dear to Himself, but
endured the cross, despising the shame. When the love of Christ is
enshrined in the heart, like sweet fragrance it cannot be hidden. Love to
Jesus will be manifested in a desire to work as He worked for the blessing
and uplifting of humanity. It will lead to love, tenderness, and sympathy
toward all the creatures of our heavenly Fatherís care. Those who are the
partakers of the grace of Christ will be ready to make any sacrifice, that
others for whom He died may share the heavenly gift. They will do all they
can to make the world better for their stay in it. This spirit is the sure
outgrowth of a soul truly converted. No sooner does one come to Christ
than there is born in his heart a desire to make known to others what a
precious friend he has found in Jesus. If we have tasted and seen that the
Lord is good, we shall have something to tell. We shall seek to present to
others the attractions of Christ and the unseen realities of the world to
come. There will be an intensity of desire to follow in the path that
And the effort to bless others will react in blessings
upon ourselves. Those who thus become participants in labors of love are
brought nearest to their Creator. The spirit of unselfish labor for others
gives depth, stability, and Christlike loveliness to the character, and
brings peace and happiness to its possessor. Strength comes by exercise.
We need not go to heathen lands, or even leave the narrow circle of the
home, if it is there that our duty lies, in order to work for Christ. With
a loving spirit we may perform lifeís humblest duties "unto the Lord"
(Col. 3:23). If the love of God is in the heart, it will be manifested in
the life. You are not to wait for great occasions or to expect
extraordinary abilities before you go to work for God. The humblest and
poorest of the disciples of Jesus can be a blessing to others.
Many are the ways in which God is seeking to make
Himself known to us and bring us into communion with Him. If we will but
listen, Nature speaks to our senses without ceasing. Godís created works
will teach us precious lessons of obedience and trust.
No tears are shed that God does not notice. There is no
smile that He does not mark. If we would but fully believe this, all undue
anxieties would be dismissed. Our lives would not be so filled with
disappointment as now; for everything, whether great or small, would be
left in the hands of God.
God speaks to us through His providential works and
through the influence of His Spirit upon the heart. God speaks to us in
His Word. Here we have in clearer lines the revelation of His character,
of His dealings with men, and the great work of redemption. Fill the whole
heart with the words of God. They are the living water, quenching your
burning thirst. They are the living bread from heaven.
The theme of redemption is one that the angels desire
to look into; it will be the science and the song of the redeemed
throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity. Is it not worthy of careful
thought and study now? As we meditate upon the Saviour, there will be a
hungering and thirsting of soul to become like Him whom we adore.
The Bible was written for the common people. The great
truths necessary for salvation are made as clear as noonday. There is
nothing more calculated to strengthen the intellect than the study of the
Scriptures. But there is little benefit derived from a hasty reading of
the Bible. One passage studied, until its significance is clear to the
mind and its relation to the plan of salvation is evident, is of more
value than the perusal of many chapters with no definite purpose in view
and no positive instruction gained.
Keep your Bible with you. As you have opportunity, read
it; fix the texts in your memory.
We cannot obtain wisdom without earnest attention and
prayerful study. Never should the Bible be studied without prayer. Before
opening its pages, we should ask for the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit,
and it will be given. Angels from the world of light will be with those
who in humility of heart seek for divine guidance. How must God esteem the
human race, since He gave His Son to die for them and appoints His Holy
Spirit to be manís teacher and continual guide!
Through nature and revelation, through His providence,
and by the influence of His Spirit, God speaks to us. But these are not
enough; we need also to pour out our hearts to Him. In order to commune
with God, we must have something to say to Him concerning our actual life.
Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a
friend. Not that it is necessary in order to make known to God what we
are, but in order to enable us to receive Him. Prayer does not bring God
down to us, but brings us up to Him.
Our heavenly Father waits to bestow upon us the
fullness of His blessing. What a wonder it is that we pray so little! God
is ready and willing to hear the sincere prayer of the humblest of His
children. What can the angels of heaven think of poor helpless human
beings, who are subject to temptation, when Godís heart of infinite love
yearns toward them, ready to give them more than they can ask or think,
and yet they pray so little and have so little faith?
The darkness of the evil one encloses those who neglect
to pray. The whispered temptations of the enemy entice them to sin; and it
is all because they do not make use of prayer. Yet prayer is the key in
the hand of faith to unlock heavenís storehouse, where are treasured the
boundless resources of Omnipotence.
There are certain conditions upon which we may expect
that God will hear and answer our prayers:
One is that we feel our need of help from Him. If we
regard iniquity in our hearts, if we cling to any known sin, the Lord will
not hear us; but the prayer of the penitent, contrite soul is always
accepted. When all known wrongs are righted, we may believe that God will
answer our petitions.
Another element of prevailing prayer is faith. When our
prayers seem not to be answered, we are to cling to the promise; for the
time of answering will surely come, and we shall receive the blessing we
need most. But to claim that prayer will always be answered in the very
way and for the particular thing that we desire, is presumption.
When we come to God in prayer, we should have a spirit
of love and forgiveness in our own hearts.
Perseverance in prayer has been made a condition of
receiving. We must pray always if we would grow in faith and experience.
We should pray in the family circle, and above all we
must not neglect secret prayer, for this is the life of the soul. Family
or public prayer alone is not sufficient. Secret prayer is to be heard
only by the prayer-hearing God.
There is no time or place in which it is inappropriate
to offer up a petition to God. In the crowds of the street, in the midst
of a business engagement, we may send up a petition to God and plead for
Let the soul be drawn out and upward, that God may
grant us a breath of the heavenly atmosphere. We may keep so near to God
that in every unexpected trial our thoughts will turn to Him as naturally
as the flower turns to the sun. Keep your wants, your joys, your sorrows,
your cares, and your fears before God. You cannot burden Him; you cannot
weary Him. He is not indifferent to the wants of His children.
We sustain a loss when we neglect the privilege of
associating together to strengthen and encourage one another in the
service of God. If Christians would associate together, speaking to each
other of the love of God and the precious truths of redemption, their own
hearts would be refreshed and they would refresh one another.
We must gather about the cross. Christ and Him
crucified should be the theme of contemplation, of conversation, and of
our most joyful emotion. We should keep in our thoughts every blessing we
receive from God, and when we realize His great love we should be willing
to trust everything to the hand that was nailed to the cross for us.
The soul may ascend nearer heaven on the wings of
praise. As we express our gratitude, we are approximating to the worship
of the heavenly hosts.
Many are at times troubled with the suggestions of
skepticism. God never asks us to believe, without giving sufficient
evidence upon which to base our faith. Disguise it as they may, the real
cause of doubt and skepticism, in most cases, is the love of sin. We must
have a sincere desire to know the truth and a willingness of heart to obey
óSummary of Steps to Christ, pages 51 to 111, in the authorís own