Good Intentions Not Enough

Truman Smith
Akron, Ohio

Paul said, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad" (2 Cor. 5: 10).

Judgment will not be according to what "he hath intended to do," but according to what "he bath DONE." God does not reward a man on his good intentions. I heard of a woman who, mailing a package of home-cooked food, wrote on the wrapping, "If not delivered in ten days, never mind." I believe that this is also true of many good intentions.

When you know that it is right to do a thing, God says, "Now is the accepted time" (2 Cor. 6:2). But the enthusiasm and noble purpose may have oozed away if you delay very long in doing that which your own judgment, wisdom and nobility urge you to do.

We read of people in the New Testament who asked, "What shall we do?" "What must I do to be saved?" Invariably they were immediately told what they were to do. One case in point is that found in Acts 16: 25-33. Paul and Silas were miraculously released from the Philippian prison, causing the keeper of the prison to cry out: "Sirs ' what must I do to be saved?" Since the keeper of the prison was an unbeliever, Paul told him the first thing that be must do in order to be saved: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house."

But the apostle did not stop at this point. The Bible says: "And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway." This keeper of the prison did not wait until his good intentions were gone and thus lose his soul, but was "baptized, he and all his, straightway." The American Standard Version uses the word "immediately." Thus, there was no delay.

It was by inspiration that Solomon wrote: "He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap" (Eccl. 11:4). Why should you wait about doing what you know is right to do?

On the day of Pentecost they cried, "What shall we do?" Peter's forthright reply was, "Repent, and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:37, 38). Verse 41 says, "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls." Again, we have a case where people had good intentions, but acted on what they knew was right for them to do, and did so without delay!

The requirements for salvation from sin are so simple and easily understood, perhaps you, dear reader, are lost in sin. Don't you know what is right for you to do? Then don't you intend to do something about your soul's condition? Remember the song:

"Why do you wait, dear sinner, O why do you tarry so long?

Your Saviour is waiting to give you a place in His sanctified throng.

Why not? Why not? Why not come to Him now?

Why not? Why not? Why not come to Him now? "

April 1967