Letter #2: What Must I Do?
My dear sinner-friend:
I note from your letter what you say about being awakened to the fact that you have
missed Christ and that you are a lost sinner. That is God's first step in the
salvation of your soul. You must be awakened to the fact that you are lost. If an
individual is never awakened to the fact that he is lost, he can never be saved (Luke
19:10). The individual who cannot go back to the time that he was awakened, and to the
time that he took his place as a lost sinner before God and asked for mercy, is not saved,
as God saves only lost sinners (Ezek.34:16).
As an awakened sinner, you should be deeply concerned about your soul's salvation:
your one cry should be, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"(Acts 16:30).
Let me warn you, my friend, that you let nothing interfere with your coming to Christ. You
must condemn all indifference and everything that stands in your way of getting to Christ
(Heb. 10:38,39). You are an immortal creature; you are born to live forever, and every day
brings you nearer death, judgment, Hell and eternal torment (Luke 16:19-31). Remember, you
are a sinner – a lost sinner: you have broken God's Law (Gal.3:10). You have rebelled
against God's authority (Eph.2:1-3), and you are under the wrath of a sin-avenging God (Rev.6:12-17).
Let's consider what the loss of your soul includes. I remember, when I was definitely awakened
to the fact that I was lost and admitted it in my heart, I went to the preacher in charge,
who was my associate pastor, and said to him, "Pastor, be true to my soul; I'm going to Hell.
If God does not save me, I am bound for Hell." My friend, the loss of the soul includes
the loss of Heaven. The loss of your soul includes the loss of God's favor. The loss of your
soul includes the loss of all happiness, the loss of all hope, the endurance of God's wrath, the
curse of Almighty God upon you for eternity, and your future abode in Hell. It is Christ or Hell!
Mark 8:35-37 says,"For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall
lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. For what shall it
profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give
in exchange for his soul?" Yes, the cry of your very soul should be, in the face of the
awfulness of eternity, "What must I do to be saved?" And that cry, according
to Luke 18:13, is, "God be merciful to me a sinner." May He break you down as
a completely lost sinner, crying for mercy. Every awakened sinner should give the more earnest
heed lest he fall away from the truth (Heb.2:1-3; Heb.6:4-6; John 8:32), because the eternal loss
of the soul is not a rare thing, but a common occurrence: I meet it every day – sinners
turning away from the Gospel. Are you going to listen to the comfort of your friends? or, are you
going to face the reality of things and come to Christ for salvation? Remember, it is Christ or Hell!
Matt.7:13,14 says, "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the
way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate,
and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." My friend,
not many are being saved. The way is narrow; it is Christ. The door is Christ (John 10:9), and I praise
God that it is narrow. Luke 14:33 says, "Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that
he hath, he cannot be my disciple." Remember, do not stop short of Christ!
Yes, salvation is possible to you; salvation has come to many others, why may it not come to you?
Christ died for others, then He died for you. Others came to Christ, and He didn't turn them
away; why should He turn you away (John 6:37)? Remember, Christ came to save sinners (Luke 19:10).
Let me call your attention to some of the blessings of salvation. First, it includes
all the riches of God's eternal grace and the riches of His glory (Eph.1:7; 2:4).
Salvation is a deliverance from sin (Col.1:13,14). Salvation is a deliverance from death
(Heb. 2:14). Salvation is deliverance from judgment (John 5:24). Salvation is also a
deliverance from Hell (Luke 16:19-31). Let's notice again that salvation is a
possession: it is Christ, and when we have Christ we have all the blessings that go with
salvation. There is pardon from the guilt and penalty of sin (Isa.55:7). There is peace:
Christ is our peace (Col.1:20; Eph.2:14). There is holiness, purity, and power, and – when
we come to die – there is Heaven. Ponder these, and be ready to let go everything for Christ.
Now let me call your attention to some things which are favorable to your salvation.
First, God loves you (John 3:16; Rom.5:8). Second, Christ paid the price for all your sins
(Isa.53:5,6), and He finished your salvation on the cross (John 19:30). Remember, Christ
became what you are, and God made Him your Substitute (II Cor.5:21). Third, the Holy
Spirit loves you and has power to deliver you (Rom.15:30; Rom.1:16,17). He is the One who
opens your heart and lets you see that you are lost (John 16:7-11). Don't rebel
against Him, no matter what He shows you. Ask Him to break the rebellion in your heart
(Jer.17:9). There are two prayers you can pray: first, "Lord, show me myself, and I
will acknowledge it; show me my lost, ruined condition according to Your Word" (Jer.
17:9; Isa.64:6; Rom.3:10-12). And the second prayer is, "Lord, show me Christ as my
Lord and Saviour, and I will believe Him."
Remember again, no matter how sinful, how wicked you may be, God is willing to save
you, according to II Pet.3:9, and Christ invites you to come to Him, according to John 6:37.
Let me call your attention to some things unfavorable toward your salvation, some
things which will fight you every step of the way in coming to Christ. The first is your
old corrupt heart (Jer.17:9): you possess a heart of unbelief. Second, everything around
you will draw your attention away from Christ. Be careful and watch, lest you lose the
first impressions that the Holy Spirit has made upon your heart. Third, Satan blinds your
mind (II Cor.4:3-6), and fills your imagination and heart with other objects. He will try
to convince you, first, that you are saved and that you have made a mistake. If he cannot
do that, he will try to convince you that Christ did not die for you, or that you are too
big a sinner, or that God will not hear your prayers. But, my friend, pay no attention to him –
cry out against him. And remember one thing – you must get to Christ or you will go to Hell.
Let's never get away from this one fact – you must not lose your anxiousness and
desire to be saved. Your soul must want Christ and His righteousness above everything
else, or why should God stoop to give you salvation through Christ! Make much of God's
Word. Learn to live alone in prayer and meditation, asking God to open your heart.
God wants to save you: Christ died for you: the Holy Spirit loves you.
My heart is burdened for you. If you can hear me in person or over the radio, be sure to listen. I'll be true
to your soul: I am your friend. Take comfort from no one. Remember, it is Christ or Hell! Let me hear from you. I am
Your Gospel Preacher,
L. R. Shelton, Sr.
Letter #3: Surrendering to Christ
My dear sinner-friend:
In my contact with you during this past month (by letter, by phone, by personal visit)
you have impressed me very deeply with some things that I want to point out to you in this
brief letter, that I might help you by the revelation of the Holy Spirit so that you might
see why you, awakened sinner, are not saved.
One of the things I have noticed is, you have never been weaned from the arm of flesh.
"Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm."
No sinner ever gets saved until the Holy Spirit breaks that sinner completely off the arm of all
flesh. As long as a sinner leans upon anything or anybody apart from the Lord Jesus Christ,
he can never be saved. He must be brought to the place where he is broken completely off every
creature, or from relying upon his own righteousness, his own ability, or his own possessions.
The sinner has to come to see and to know and to acknowledge that he himself belongs to
the Lord and that everything that he possesses belongs to the Lord. He must forever and
eternally take his hands off and acknowledge in his heart that it all belongs to the Lord
Jesus Christ and he is to trust Him and Him only. The word "believe," or
"trust" means to commit oneself to and to lean wholly and to rely completely
upon the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, Christ is then his Lord. He has no will of his own.
The Lord tests the sinner's will by crossing it at given points to let the sinner
know whether he has surrendered unto Christ as Lord. Christ is your Lord, whether you ever
acknowledge it or not. For the sinner to be saved he must confess with his mouth Jesus as
Lord (Rom.10:9). Then, when you confess Him as Lord, you release unto Him, first,
yourself, and then everything you touch or have or possess, and you don't
argue with Him. You do everything He tells you to do.
When the sinner will not surrender unto Christ as Lord, he is always seeking Christ and
never comes to know Him, because the Holy Spirit does not now, nor will He ever reveal
Christ to the heart that is not surrendered to Him. To seek Christ with your whole heart,
or to turn to Christ with your whole heart, means you have turned loose everything else;
there is no divided attention. You have forsaken your thoughts, your opinions, your ideas,
your wicked ways (Isa. 55:7,8), and you have turned unto Him as your absolute sovereign
Lord. The sinner can't save himself. "Salvation is of the Lord"
(Jonah 2:9), but as the Holy Spirit opens your heart and mind, by His grace you can
acknowledge what He shows you. Christ does not stand before you to be accepted or
rejected; you stand before Him to be accepted or rejected by Him, and He will not accept
you or reveal Himself to you until you have forsaken all. Christ said,
"Whosoever... that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:33).
Now, my dear awakened sinner-friend, what do you want? Do you want Christ, or do you
want to have your own way? Do you want Christ, or do you want your own money? Do you want
Christ, or your own will? Make your choice. I had to give up everything that I ever
thought I knew, everything that I had, everything that I possess, or everything that I
ever hope to have or hope to be, and with my whole heart turn to Him by His grace with no
will of my own. Then the vail was lifted from my heart (II Cor. 3:16) and Christ was made
known to me as my own personal Lord and Saviour, my own Substitute and Sin-Offering.
I have noticed from reading letters and in conversation with many that the reason many
of you are not saved, and never will be, is because you are hanging on to some experience
you have had somewhere back in your past life that you call salvation. You are doing your
best to hang on to it and convince yourself that you know Christ, when you don't know
Him. The result that this experience, whatever it may be, has produced is a hard heart.
Your testimony is cruel and empty. There is not being produced in your heart the fruit
of the Spirit, which is "love, joy, peace," etc., found in Gal.5:22,23.
You are under the Law and know nothing about grace, because Christ has never become your
personal Lord and Saviour. Most of the time this produces a critical attitude, a prejudiced
mind, a self-righteous life, a root of bitterness, a spirit of strife, an earthly attitude,
and a devilish nature. But the individual to whom Christ has been revealed as Lord and Saviour
is first pure, then peaceable, then gentle and easily intreated, full of mercy and good
fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy (James 3:17).
Another fruit of such a life is, there is no compassion for lost souls. You may have a
zeal of labor, but you know nothing about interceding for the lost, because you never have
become a lost sinner yourself. May God break you off that hellish, devilish experience
that you have had and let you see yourself in the light of God's holy Word.
Your Gospel Preacher,
L. R. Shelton, Sr.