The following is excerpted from a sermon entitled, “Ready, Ay, Ready!” and was preached on January 28, 1904:
“Ready” means, as you all know, prepared. A man is not ready to go by railway until his trunk is packed, and he is about to start. A man cannot be said to be ready to emigrate till he has the means to pay his passage, and the different things needed for his transit, and for his settling down when he gets to his destination. No road is ready till it is cleared; nothing is ready, in fact, till it is prepared. Sinner, God is ready to forgive; that is, everything is prepared by which you may be forgiven. The road used to be blocked up; but Jesus Christ hath with his cross, tunnelled every mountain, filled every valley, and bridged every chasm, so that the way of pardon is now fully prepared. There is no need for God to say, “I would pardon this sinner, but how shall my justice be honored? “Sinner, God’s justice has been satisfied, the sin of all who believe, or who ever will believe, was laid upon Christ when he died upon the tree. If thou believes in him, thy sin was punished upon him, and it was for ever put away by the great atonement which he offered; so that, now, the righteous God can come out of the ivory palace of his mercy, stretch out his hands of love, and say, “Sinner, I am reconciled to thee; be thou reconciled to me.”
But the word “ready” means something more than prepared; we sometimes use the term to indicate that a thing can be easily done. We ask, “Can you do such-and-such a thing?” “Oh, yes!” you reply, “readily.” Or perhaps we remind you of a promise you have given, and ask if you can carry it out; and you say, “Oh, yes! I am quite ready to fulfill my engagement. Sinner, it is an easy thing for God to forgive thee. “Indeed,” say you; “but you don’t know where I was last night.” No, and I don’t want to know; but it is easy for God to pardon anybody who is not in hell. But you ask, “How can he do it? He speaks, and it is done. He has but to say to you, “Thy sins which are many, are all forgiven;” and it is done. Pardon is an instantaneous work justification is rapid as a lightning flash. You may be black one moment, and as white as alabaster the next; guilty,—absolved; condemned,—acquitted; lost,—found; dead,—made alive. It takes the Lord no time to do this, he does it easily. O brethren, if he could make a world with a word; if he could say, a Let there be light,” and there was light;—surely, now that Christ has offered up himself as a bleeding sacrifice for sin, God hath but to speak, and the pardon is given! As soon as he saith, “I will; be thou clean;” the most leprous sinner is perfectly cleansed. O sinner, wilt thou not offer the prayer, “Save, Lord, or I perish? Wilt thou not ask the Lord to forgive thee? Since he can so readily forgive, wilt thou not cry, “Jesus, save me, or I die”? Stretch forth thine hand, poor trembling woman up yonder, and touch the hem of his garment, and thou shalt be made whole, for he is ready to forgive; that is, he can do it with ease.