Charles Finney had been warned not to go with the most dangerous man in town, but he had given his word. The man led him up a dark alley, through a back door. He locked the door, sat down at a desk and pulled out a gun.
The man said: 'I heard you say something and I want to know if it is true. You said that the blood of Jesus, God's Son, cleanses us from all sin.'
Charles Finney corrected him. 'I didn't say that. God said that. It is true.'
The man said: 'You don't know me. In the next room is an illegal gambling room and the gambling machines are fixed. I have taken the last dollar from many people and they've gone out and committed suicide. You mean God could forgive me for that?'
C.F.: 'All I can tell you is the Bible says the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, can cleanse a man from all sin.'
The man: 'I own the bar out in front. Men will come in and drink; their wives will come and beg me not to sell their husbands booze. I throw the wives out and I sell their husbands drink until they run out of money and then I kick them out in the street. You mean God can forgive a man like that?
C.F.: 'The Bible says the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, can cleanse a man from ALL sin.'
The man: 'There is more. This gun. It has killed several people who have gotten in my way. I have hired men to kill others. I paid them to kill. You mean God would forgive me?'
C.F.: 'All I can tell you is that the Bible says ALL sin.'
The man: 'Across the street is my house. I have never said a decent word to my wife. I have a beautiful little girl and I've never told her I love her. The other day she ran to me and I shoved her away. She fell into the stove and was burned. You mean God could forgive a man like that?'
C.F.: 'That is about as horrible a story as I've heard or could dream. I don't know if I could forgive you, but the Bible says that the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, will cleanse a man from ALL sin.'
The man: 'That's all I wanted to know. Thank you; you can go now.'
The next morning he walked home from the bar. His wife was making breakfast, but he walked past her, up the stairs. She told the little girl: 'Go tell Daddy breakfast is ready.' She ran halfway up the stairs and called out: 'Daddy, Mommy said breakfast is ready.'
The man: 'Sweetheart, tell Mommy that Daddy doesn't want any breakfast this morning.'
The girl: 'Mommy, Daddy said he doesn't want any breakfast, and he called me sweetheart!'
The wife: 'Honey, you must have misunderstood. Go tell him again.'
So the little girl ran halfway up the stairs and again said: 'Daddy, Momma said breakfast is ready.' He said, 'Come here, honey.' She went to him and he picked her up and sat her on his lap and began to tell her how much he loved her.
The mother, wondering what was going on, followed her daughter up the stairs and saw her husband holding his daughter for the first time, tears running down his face.
He said to his wife: 'Come here, honey. I found out something last night that is the greatest thing I ever heard, and it's true. The blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, can cleanse a man from ALL sin.'
He closed the bar and began to be a benefactor for that community, changed by the power of Jesus Christ.
This story of an incident during one of Charles Finney's revivals was told by Pastor Chuck Smith at Calvary Chapel in California, and can be heard on his Through the Bible 2000 series*, available free. Here is the link to his teachings through the entire Bible
To hear the tale above scroll down Chuck Smith's list nearly to the end, to 1 John 1. The famous scripture is 1 John 1:7. The blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, can indeed cleanse us from ALL sin. If you have never known this, take it aboard now. All sin can be forgiven except the unforgiveable sin - the sin of rejecting Jesus Christ. Whatever evil you may have done can be washed away and your slate wiped clean in an instant, if you open your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ, repent of those sins, and beg Him to forgive you. He will! That is why He died, to take the punishment due to sinners.
But His great sacrifice will do you no good if you turn your back on Him. And you cannot just say, 'OK, I accept Him, now I'm forgiven,' and then go on living as before. No. Accepting Jesus as your Savior is a once and for all deal, a life changing moment. You are never the same. It is the start of a whole new life. The Lord Jesus wants to give you that new life today. Are you willing to accept it?
Here is a good prayer: 'Lord Jesus, I know I am not right with You. There's something in the way. I can't really pray. If I do, my prayers don't get answered. Show me the way to You, Lord. Show me what the problem is. I want to change, but I can't. I want my slate wiped clean. Maybe I'm not as bad as that gangster, but I know I'm not really good. I want You in my heart and in my life. I want that new life You promised people who accept You.
'I open the door of my heart right now. Please come in and be my Lord and Savior. Please forgive my sins (tell Him what they are, although He already knows each one). Please make me one of Your people.'
*You can copy all of Chuck Smith's Through the Bible teachings on to an MP3 (Walkman) and listen to them whenever you like. We know builders who listen to Chuck while they work - being themselves built up with the Word of God while they paint, plaster or whatever. You can listen while you cook, exercise, as soon as you wake up in the morning - what a blessing Chuck's messages are.