CONDEMNED TO DIE!
By Ada Nicholson Brownell
The scene in condemned row is never pleasant.
On the night before an execution, the long empty corridors echo the regular footsteps of a guard as he walks past the prison cells.
None of the prisoners can sleep that night. From one particular cell comes the shuffle of a condemned man’s feet as he paces back and forth like a caged lion.
Perspiration drips from the prisoner’s face and neck. His shirt sags with dampness.
All night he paces, stopping only occasionally to clasp his hands or grab the bars with a groan, his glazed eyes wild with fear. The next morning his life is to be snuffed out in the gas chamber.
A condemned man has no rest—and yet, across America there are millions of men and women under condemnation of death who slumber in blissful ignorance of their spiritual situation. They are condemned to die as surely as the man in death row—not in a gas chamber, but a death far worse. For Bible says, “He that believeth on him (God’s Son) is not condemned, but he that believeth not is condemned already” (John 3:18).
If you are a sinner, you are in death row. Every breath you breathe, every blink of your eyes, brings you nearer the moment when the divine sentence will be executed upon you. God does not want you to die; He has provided every opportunity for you to appeal for mercy and you can obtain forgiveness through His grace if you ask for it. But until now, you have not asked. If you neglect to be saved in time, you will have no one to blame but yourself.
Most condemned men fight for their lives. They exhaust every opportunity to be saved. Caryl Chessman, implicated with the Los Angeles underworld and condemned to die for red-light crimes, fought twelve long years. He studied law books in San Quentin, and used every legal device he could find to remain alive, but on May 2, 1960, he paid with his life. Life was dear to him. He forced the state to spend a fortune, and he himself spent all he had before his case was closed.
How dear is eternal life to you? Do you shrug your shoulders and say, “I will not think about it”? That will not change your fate. The Lord Jesus Christ said, “This is the condemnation, that light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).
If you shut your eyes to the truth you are rejecting God’s light and deliberately choosing the darkness which will condemn you for all eternity.
Children play “let’s pretend” but grown men and women are expected to be mature enough to face reality. The Bible plainly says, “It is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). It is to your own interest to prepare to die and to be ready for the judgment that will follow death.
You are condemned to die—for the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) and “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23). But the same verse that says “the wages of sin is death” goes on to say “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ.” God offers this gift of life forevermore to those who accept Jesus Christ as their Personal Savior. You must decide whether to do that.
You are condemned, but you may be pardoned. Christ made this possible and the way is written plainly in black and white for all who will read their Bibles. You must believe in Jesus as your Savior and you must accept Him as your Lord and Master.
You must confess your sin to Him and ask Him for pardon, as it is only in Him that “we have redemption through his blood for forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7).
If a condemned man were offered a pardon for committing his crime, and he refused, would you call him stupid? Surely any person who is neither stupid nor insane will agree with that. There is life after death, a person should prepare for it.
Down in your heart you know you need a Savior. One self-styled atheist rejected Christ all his life and denied the existence of God, heaven, or hell, but when his time came to die, he screamed that the flames of hell were already enveloping him. He realized then he ought to have asked for a pardon, but it was too late.
When the black hood is placed over the head of a condemned killer, it is too late for redemption. The gas is turned on and in a few seconds his life is snuffed out.
You are condemned to die, if you haven’t accepted Christ. You are going to take that one-way trip to the death house of eternity. Once that time comes, it will be too late for a change of mind. Now is the time to be saved. This day, if you are wise, you will admit your sin to God and throw yourself upon His mercy.
The Bible says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
This is the only hope scriptures offer to condemned men and women. Accept Christ as your Savior today. Receive the pardon offered by God, who loves you so much He gave His only begotten Son, so that you should not perish, but have everlasting life through believing in Him (John 3:16).
THE PENTECOSTAL EVANGEL, October 27, 1963