By William Booth
THESE INSTRUCTIONS are for those who have a serious desire to obtain the mercy of God. He only can deliver you from your evil habits, from the power of the devil, and from the wrath to come. To those who will listen, I give the following advice. Set apart a special time for the contemplation of these instructions. If possible, find a quiet place where you can be alone with God. Read these instructions carefully and thoughtfully from the first step to the last, and then read them again. Earnestly pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, who God has promised to give to all who seek Him.
Jesus said, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). With all your heart, on your knees before God, take one step at a time. Be careful not to leave the first step for the second until it is clearly understood, heartily received, and solemnly decided upon. Do the same thing with the other steps until the last one is reached. If these instructions are followed, I am quite sure that no sincere person will fail to reach the mercy of God through the loving arms of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and the knowledge of the forgiveness of their sins.
FIRST STEP: DISCOVERY OF SIN
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. – Romans 3:23
But the scripture hath concluded all under sin. – Galatians 3:22
I AM A SINNER. I have sinned against my God, against my neighbor, and against my own soul. I have sinned in my thoughts, in my feelings, in my conversation, and in my actions. I have sinned in my home in the presence of my family. I have sinned in the world, in my business, and in my pleasures. I have done the things that I should not have done and failed to do the things that I should have done. I freely confess this. I will not cover up my sins. They are more in number than I can count and grievous beyond the possibility of calculation. They have dishonored my Heavenly Father and treated the sacrifice of my Savior with contempt. My sins have had a bad influence on the members of my own family, as well as on those in the world. I deserve the everlasting displeasure of God. I realize that if I die in my sins I will enter into the damnation of hell. O Lord, have mercy on me!
SECOND STEP: SORROW FOR SIN
I will be sorry for my sin. – Psalm 38:18
For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of. – 2 Corinthians 7:10
I AM TRULY SORRY for having sinned against God. I hate my evil ways and I hate myself for having followed them. I am grieved on account of my sins — not only because they have exposed me to punishment, but because they have been committed against my Heavenly Father, who has continually loved and cared for me. If I could undo the past I would gladly do so, but alas, I cannot. God remembers all my sins. They are written down in His book against me. No prayers that I can offer, no tears that I can shed, no lamentations that I can make, and no good works that I can perform will remove the guilt of my sins. My only hope is in the forgiving mercy of Jesus Christ, who has said that He will not reject the one who comes to Him.
THIRD STEP: CONFESSION OF SIN
I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. – Psalm 32:5
I ACKNOWLEDGE MY SINS before God. I have no excuse for my sins. It may be true that much of the evil that I was guilty of was done in ignorance, for I did not know God and my duty to Him, or the great love of my Savior, who died for me. I was ignorant of the evil influence that my conduct was having on other people, but this ignorance is no real excuse because I might have known better. I should have read my Bible and listened to those who would have taught me.
I should have thought about my soul. I should have cried to God for help, but I did not, and now I stand ashamed before Him. I confess to God that I am a guilty sinner without excuse, and that I deserve His condemnation. As I have the opportunity, I am willing to confess my sinfulness and my sorrow for my sins before the Lord’s people, before my own family, and before the world. Since I was not ashamed to sin in the presence of others, I am now willing to acknowledge my repentance before them.
FOURTH STEP: REPENTANCE
As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live. – Ezekiel 33:11
Repent ye, and believe the gospel. – Mark 1:15
BY GOD’S HELP, I renounce and give up all my sins. Whatever pleasure they may have brought me in the past, and whatever earthly gain they may promise me in the future, I do here and now, in the strength of God, give them up, and promise never to take them back again.
FIFTH STEP: ASKING FORGIVENESS FOR SIN
Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. – Luke 18:10-14
I AM DEEPLY ASHAMED for having rebelled against my Heavenly Father. I despised His love, broke His Commandments and influenced others to do the same. I do here and now, on my knees, submit myself to Him, humbly praying that He will have mercy on me, a miserable sinner. I beg Him for Christ’s sake to forgive all my sins, to receive me into His favor, and to make me, unworthy though I am, a member of His family.
SIXTH STEP: CONSECRATION
Consecrate yourselves to day to the LORD, . . . that he may bestow upon you a blessing this day. – Exodus 32:29
Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? – Acts 9:6
I PROMISE GOD, here and now, in His strength, and with all my heart, that if He will forgive me and receive me into His favor, I will from this time forward be His faithful servant. I promise to spend the rest of my days in doing what I can for His glory, for the extension of His kingdom, and for the salvation of those around me.
SEVENTH STEP: FAITH
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. – Hebrews 11:1
But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him (God) that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. – Romans 4:5
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. – Romans 5:1
I BELIEVE that Jesus Christ, God’s Son, in His great mercy and love, died for me, bearing my sins in His own body on the cross. I do here and now with joy receive Him into my heart as my Savior from sin, from hell, and from the power of the devil. Jesus Christ has said that He will not reject me if I come to Him; and I do come to Him with all my heart right now as a poor, helpless, guilty sinner seeking salvation. I trust only in His blood atonement for the forgiveness of my sins. I am sure that He will not reject me. As well as I can, I believe that He does at this very moment forgive me. He forgives me now. His precious blood washes away all my sins. He was wounded for my transgressions; He was bruised for my iniquities. He took the punishment that I deserve, and for that reason I can be forgiven. I am forgiven! Praise the Lord! Jesus saves me now!
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He (Jesus) was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. – Isaiah 53:5
Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30
THEREFORE: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. – Isaiah 55:7
How To Be Saved was revised and may be reproduced and distributed.
NOTE: This article is also in French (Comment Être Sauvé).