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Oswald Smith's sermon, "Who Can Pay So Much?"

Recording from Collection 322, audio tape T18.  The published version in tract form is permenantly stored in the Billy Graham Center Museum.

You can see a reproduction of the tract, hear Smith give the message, and read along in a transcript. The text of Smith's message was published as an evangelistic tract by The Peoples Church in Toronto. The covers appear above, with the reproduction of the two-sided tract following the transcribed text below. The published text follows closely but not exactly Smith's spoken version, which you can listen to here. (Recording from Collection 322, audio tape T18. The published version in tract form is permenantly stored in the Billy Graham Center Museum.)

Who Can Pay So Much?

The Russian Czar used to love to disguise himself and mingle with his subjects to hear what they might have to say.

One night he visited the barracks and listened to the conversation of the soldiers.

While passing a tent he observed a young officer sitting at a table with his head on his arm, sound asleep. The Czar tiptoed to the back of the chair and looked over his shoulder. There on the table before him he saw, to his amazement, a loaded revolver. Beside the revolver was a sheet of paper and on the paper a long list of gambling debts.

The Czar noted the total and was about to turn away when, suddenly, he saw that there was something written below the column of figures.

Stepping closer, he read the words: "Who can pay so much?"

Like a flash he grasped the situation. The young officer had gambled everything he had. He was deeply in debt, and he had no way of meeting his obligations. Hence his decision to blow his brains out and end it all.

But, after writing the words, "Who can pay so much?", he had fallen asleep. Soon he would awaken, and then--

The Czar at first decided to report him. Then, remembering that he was a friend of the young man's father, he changed his decision.

Taking up the pen that had fallen from the hand of the young man and dipping it in the ink, he looked for a moment again at the question before him:

"Who can pay so much?"

Then, stooping over, he wrote one word underneath--this:

"Alexander."

Quietly he turned away.

Presently the young officer opened his eyes, picked up the revolver and slowly raised it to his brow. But, just before pulling the trigger, he glanced for the last time, at the list of his debts. Then he read once more what he had written: "Who can pay so much?"

Suddenly he bent nearer. There was another word on the paper. He read it--"Alexander."

In amazement he dropped the revolver from his hand. He had recognized the handwriting. His Czar had been there. With great joy he read again the writing: "Who can pay so much?" "Alexander."

Next morning, sure enough a messenger came with a bag of money from the Czar. His debts were paid and his life saved.

Friend, you, too, have accumulated a debt, a debt that you can never hope to pay--a debt of sin. And when you realize it, you too, will cry: "Who can pay so much?" and then God will answer,

"JESUS."

Yes, Jesus settled the account. He became the payment for your debt of sin. Listen!

"God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them." (2 Cor. 5:19).

Isn't that glorious? Not imputing (charging against or reckoning to) their trespasses (sins) unto them."

And why not? Because He imputed, charged against, or reckoned, them to Christ.

Your sins were placed to Christ's account when He died on Calvary. Therefore you can go free. Your debt has been paid. "Jesus paid it all." What wonderful news!

But not only did He die to make an atonement; He rose again, and now He lives to save.

"Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin: that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cor. v. 20-21).

Oh, my friend, believe God and accept His Son. the Lord Jesus Christ, as your Saviour, for He has paid your debt of sin that you might go free. Will you do it? Do it and do it NOW.


Recording from Collection 322, audio tape T18.  The published version in tract form is permenantly stored in the Billy Graham Center Museum.

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Last Revised: 10/12/04
Last Revised: 1/5/05
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Wheaton College 2005