Spurgeon in his highly recommendable book “All of Grace” tells the story of a young pastor going to visit a very poor widow to give her a gift of money. He knocked at her door and there was no answer. Seeing her in church the next Sunday, the pastor told her he had come to give her the gift, but she wasn’t home. Realizing when he had come, she answered, “No. Actually I was there. But I thought you were the landlord coming to collect rent, and I had no money, so I hid.” When we preach “Turn from your sins and be saved,” honest hearts who would be saved if they heard the true gospel say to themselves, “I cannot turn from my sins. I am bogged down in sins. God is apparently requiring of me a debt I cannot pay.” And so they turn off the preacher’s voice and continue in sin and shame. Spurgeon rightly then tells the listener that yes, you have sinned, and God has come not to make you pay for it, but to announce to you His free gift that your debt has already been paid.
This by the way, was a paraphrase of Spurgeon, not a quote. I don’t have the book in front of me at the moment. But it’s just 99 cents if you have a kindle, and you will be very glad you read it.