“Stay with me, I cannot bear to be left alone. O Lord help me, what have I done to suffer so much? What will become of me hereafter? No, don’t leave me, stay with me. Send even a child to stay with me, for I am on the edge of hell here alone.” These were the cries of Thomas Paine to his housekeeper, as he lay upon his death bed. Thomas Paine was a founding Father of the United States, political activist, writer, and professing atheist. Why was there such a sense of loneliness and abandonment? Why such fear and dread? The answer is simple: Thomas Paine had denied the existence of God and hell, and when he came to die he was suddenly gripped by the reality of both, and was not ready to face either. He would die without hope.
Contrast Thomas Paine’s final words with those of the great hymn writer Augustus Toplady, who wrote the beloved hymn, “Rock of Ages.” As Toplady’s life ebbed away, he suddenly awoke from sleep and said, “Oh, what delights! Who can fathom the joy of the third heaven? The sky is clear, there is no cloud; come Lord Jesus, come quickly!”
Mr. Toplady was a man who had hope and was looking forward to being with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Passing from time into eternity held no fears for him. There was a time in his life, however, when he recognized that he was a sinner, and needed to be prepared for eternity, and did so by receiving Christ as Savior and Lord of his life. The words of his hymn might well be his own testimony:
Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood, From Thy riven side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure, Cleanse me from its guilt and power.
Let me ask you, dear reader, if you have made Christ your Rock of Ages? Has the blood that flowed from His hands, feet and riven side washed your sins away to give you hope for eternity, or are you still in your sin “having no hope and without God in the world?” Let me exhort you to attend to this urgent matter of the hopeless state of your soul, because if you have not Christ as your Savior, then you have no hope of heaven. To know Christ as Savior is to have “Christ in you the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).
The question is, do you have Christ in your heart, and have you made Him your hope of glory? Perhaps you have never looked to Christ by faith, never had your sins washed away in His precious blood. That means that you are still in your sin and certainly without hope. But you don’t have to spend your days without hope, nor be like Thomas Paine facing eternity without hope. The good news is that the Lord Jesus Christ, who is “the God of Hope,” came into the world to purchase salvation for a sinner like you, through His atoning death on mount Calvary and give you hope for eternity.
Through what the Lord Jesus accomplished on the cross, a door of hope was opened for all who would enter in by receiving Him as Savior. That door leads to heaven and home. We know this because it is written that all the glorified saints in heaven are there because they “have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation7:14). That door will bring joy, happiness, and peace to all who enter in. David said, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered” (Psalm32:1). Sin, on the other hand, brings sorrow and woe to all who do not believe on Christ and would rather “enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season” (Hebrews 11:25). The Lord Jesus said, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved” (John 10:9). You see, it is only through Christ the Door, that anyone can know sins forgiven and be given hope for eternity.
Dear reader, do you know Christ as your own and personal Savior? Are you ready to meet God? Perhaps, like many, when asked this question you say, “Well, I hope so.” But that is not good enough. You cannot face eternity depending on a “hope so.” You must be sure that you are saved! You must be sure that your sins have been forgiven and that Christ is your Savior. You must be sure that He is the keeper of your soul and that heaven is your home. You can be sure because Paul said, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). Notice, “shall be saved” not, “might be saved” or “perhaps will be saved.” Shall be saved is sure, and something upon which you can build for eternity.
So why not call upon the name of the Lord? He will answer your prayer and save you this very hour! Having Christ as Savior, you will no longer be facing eternity depending upon nothing more than a “I hope so.” Instead, knowing Christ as the Redeemer of your soul, and with the hope of glory in your soul, you will be able to say:
My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
Dear friend, there is hope. Christ will be your hope if you repent of your sin and receive Him as your Savior. Why go out into eternity like Thomas Paine, a hopeless lost sinner? Instead, having Christ as your Lord and Saviour you will be able to say, “I have the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:7).
Rev. Reggie Cranston, minister of Port Hope F.P.C.