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Church Hypocrites

Church hypocrites?

by Spurgeon

No man who is not united in his heart vitally and entirely to
Christ, can ever be of the slightest service to the church of God.

Oh, if there be a place where sinners are more loathsome
to God than anywhere else, it is in his church.

A dog in its kennel is well enough- but a
dog in the throne-room is quite out of place.


A sinner in the world is bad enough-
but in the church he is hideous!

A madman in an asylum is a creature to be pitied,
but a madman who protests he is not mad, and will
thrust himself among us that he may obtain means
of doing mischief, is not merely to be pitied,
he is to be avoided, and needs to be restrained.

God hates sin anywhere, but when sin puts its fingers
upon his divine altar; when it comes and lays its insolent
hand upon the sacrifice that is burning there, then God
spurns it from him with disgust.

Of all men, who stand in the most likely place to receive the
mightiest thunderbolt, and the most terrible lightning’s flash,
those are the men who have a divided heart, and profess to
serve God, while with their souls they are serving sin.

Take heed, sinner, take heed, running on in your sin you will
meet with punishment. But after all, O hypocrite, look well
to your ways, for your sin and your lie together shall bring
down a dread and swift destruction upon your devoted head.

Source: http://www.gracegems.org/9/church_hypocrites.htm

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They Are Glad To Be Deceived

“And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.” Zechariah 3:1

It is the object of Satan to keep those secure who are safe in his hands; nor does God see fit to disturb their quiet. But on the other hand, where Satan perceives a work of grace going on, where he sees the eyes sometimes filled with tears, where he hears the sobs heaving from the contrite heart, where he observes the knees often bent in secret prayer, where his listening ear often hears the poor penitent confess his sins, weaknesses, and backslidings before God, (for by these observations we have reason to believe Satan gains his intelligence,) wherever he sees this secret work going on in the soul, mad with wrath and filled with malice, he vents his hellish spleen against the objects of God’s love. Sometimes he tries to ensnare them into sin, sometimes to harass them with temptation, sometimes to stir up their wicked heart into desperate rebellion, sometimes to work upon their natural infidelity, and sometimes to plague them with many groundless doubts and fears as to their reality and sincerity before a heart-searching God.

So that while those who have no work of grace upon their hearts at all, are left secure, and free from doubt and fear, those in whom God is at work are exercised and troubled in their minds, and often cannot really believe that they are the people in whom God takes delight. The depths of human hypocrisy, the dreadful lengths to which profession may go, the deceit of the carnal heart, the snares spread for the unwary feet, the fearful danger of being deceived at the last–these traps and pitfalls are not objects of anxiety to those dead in sin. As long as they can pacify natural conscience, and do something to soothe any transient conviction, they are glad to be deceived.

But, on the other hand, he that has a conscience tender in God’s fear knows what a dreadful thing it is to be a hypocrite before God, to have “a lie in his right hand,” and be deluded by the prince of darkness; and therefore, until God himself with his own blessed lips speaks with power to his conscience, and establishes him in a blessed assurance of his saving interest in Christ by “shedding abroad his love in his heart,” he must be tried and exercised in his mind, he must have these various tossings to and fro, for this simple reason–because he cannot rest satisfied except in the personal manifestations of the mercy of God.

J.C. PHILPOT 1802-1869

Source: https://puritanboard.com/threads/they-are-glad-to-be-decieved.17756/#post-222779, Comment 1

Effectual Calling

Effectual Calling

Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. Romans 8:30

And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. Romans 8:30

And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And he gave them right standing with himself, and he promised them his glory. Romans 8:30

The truth of God must necessarily be a perfect whole, a chain of doctrines in which not a single link is lacking to connect together the different parts binding and weaving them into a beautiful and harmonious system. To a mind not thoroughly skilled in the deep things of God, this chain may appear broken and incomplete, because to such an individual there may appear truths which are either irreconcilable or are invisible altogether. But this apparent discrepancy and invisibility of truth forms no real evidence of an actual lack of continuity or harmony, any more than a chain thrown across the channel of a river would be regarded as broken and incomplete simply because some of its links were submerged beneath the stream, or its two extremes were invisible to the eye. A beautiful chain of truth is presented to our view in the present verse. The first and extreme link has already been examined. The second, a sequence from the first, is now to engage our attention; the effectual calling of those who are predestinated.

“Whom he predestinated, them he also CALLED.” While we maintain that the calling here referred to is a particular and effectual vocation, we yet as strenuously maintain that there is an external call lying at the door of every individual who hears the Gospel. Recognizing human responsibility, the Gospel meets man as a sinful and accountable being. It lifts up its voice in silver tones, and exclaims, “Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of men.” When our Lord returned from his grave, he enlarged the commission of his apostles, and placed the call of the Gospel upon a broader basis. “Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Thus to every creature the external call of the Gospel is to be addressed. Who will dare to limit and circumscribe what God has made as wide and boundless as man’s moral necessity? “Many are called.” Oh, it is a real and a solemn call, the call of the Gospel. He who hears it is brought beneath a responsibility the most tremendous. From its obligations nothing can ever release him. For every summons he has had to repent, to lay down his arms, to give up his enmity, to turn to the Lord, to believe in Christ, to escape from the wrath to come, he will be called to an account when all shall appear before the judgment seat of Christ. Dear reader, has the music of this call, breaking so sweetly and so solemnly upon your external ear, penetrated your soul, echoing through the chambers of your heart, and awaking a response of love, surrender, and obedience? Or- solemn conclusion!- or, are you wilfully turning from the sound “like the deaf adder that stops her ear; which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming ever so wisely?”

But the call here referred to is the especial call of the Gospel- the secret, effectual call which has found its way to the heart by the power of the Holy Spirit. The connection of these two truths- an especial people, and an especial call- is thus conclusively shown- “And that he might make known the riches of his glory in the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, even us, whom he has called.” “Who has saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus, before the world began.” “Those who are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Christ Jesus, and called.” Honored Church! Happy people! Called to be saints. Oh, to have the Divine testimony that we are among them!

But from what, and into what, are the Lord’s people called? The Apostle answers- “That you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” It is indeed “marvellous light;” and marvellous grace, that calls us out of a deeper than Egyptian darkness, to see and rejoice in the glory of God beaming in the face of Jesus Christ. We find it, too, a calling into liberty. “Brethren, you have been called unto liberty.” Bond-slaves to sin and Satan, we become Christ’s freemen, those whom his Spirit and truth have made free. It is also a call into fellowship. “God is faithful, by whom you were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord;” -called into a oneness with Christ, privileged to open the heart to him in all the confidence and affection of a child, while in return he reveals the secret of the Lord to us.

And what are some of the attributes of this calling? It is holy. “Who has saved us, and called us with a holy calling.” They who are the subjects of this call desire to be holy. Their direst evil is sin. It is, in their experience, not a silken chain, but a galling fetter, beneath whose weight they mourn, and from whose bondage they sigh to be delivered. It is a high and heavenly calling. “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling.” How does this calling elevate a man- his principles, his character, his aims, his hopes! It is emphatically a “high vocation.” So heavenly is it, too, it brings something of heaven into the soul. It imparts heavenly affections, heavenly joys, and heavenly aspirations. It leads to heaven. Could he look within the veil, each called saint would see a prepared mansion, a vacant throne, a jeweled crown, a robe, and a palm, all ready for the wearing and the waving, awaiting him in glory. Thus it is a call from heaven and to heaven. It is an irrevocable calling. “For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn.” God has never for a moment repented that he chose, nor has the Savior repented that he redeemed, nor has the Spirit repented that he called, any of his people. Not all their wanderings, nor failures, nor unfruitfulness, has ever awakened one regret in the heart of God that he has called them to be saints. “I knew that you would deal treacherously.” “He will visit their transgressions with his rod, and their iniquities with his stripes, but his loving-kindness he will not take from them, nor allow his faithfulness to fail.” “Faithful is he that calls you.”

Nor must we overlook the Divine sovereignty which appears so illustrious in this especial calling. All ground of human boasting is removed, and God has secured to himself, from eternity, the entire glory of his people’s salvation. So conspicuously appears the sovereignty of God in this effectual calling, that all foundation of creature-glory is annihilated. And if it be asked by the disputers of this truth, why one is called and another is left? Why Jacob, and not Esau? Why David, and not Saul? Why Cornelius the Gentile, and not Tertullus the Jew? Why the poor beggars in the highway, and not the bidden guests? Why the woman who laved with her tears the Savior’s feet, and not Simon, in whose house the grateful act was performed? The answer is, “He will have mercy upon whom he will have mercy.” To this acquiescence in the sovereignty of the Divine Will our Lord was brought when he beheld the mysteries of the Gospel veiled from the wise of this world: “I thank you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and the prudent, and have revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father, for so it seems good in your sight.” To this precious truth let us bow; and if the efficacious grace of God has reached our hearts, let us ascribe its discriminating choice to the sovereign pleasure of that Divine and supreme Will, which rules among the armies of heaven, and among the inhabitants of earth, and to which no creature dare say, “What are you doing?”

But let us pass for a moment to a more experimental and practical view of this subject. The question has often been asked by the trembling lip, “How may I be assured of an interest in the eternal purpose and everlasting love of God? By what evidence may I conclude that I am one I whom he predestinated?” Listen to the words of the Apostle, addressed to the Thessalonian saints, “Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.” But how did he know this? Had he read their names in the Lamb’s book of Life? No! See how he solves the mystery: “For our Gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit, and in much assurance.” By this he knew their election of God. And by a similar test you must bring the question to an issue. Has the Gospel come to your heart by the Holy Spirit? In other words, have you been called by the inward call? Have you fled as a poor sinner to Christ, and is he all your salvation and all your desire? Assume the truth of nothing, take nothing for granted as to your salvation, until thus is the case. We recur to a thought advanced in the preceding chapter, that it is with the fact of your open call, and not with the fact of your secret predestination, that you have mainly to do. It is this central and visible link in the chain that you must grasp. Secret things belong to God. The things revealed belong to us. You are assuming an attitude of the most appalling temerity in attempting to force your way into the secret counsels of the Most High, plunging into the fathomless depths of a past eternity, and intruding into those mysteries, veiled and unsearchable, upon whose awful threshold an angel’s foot dare not tread. But oh, how near, how visible, how precious, the truth with which you have to do- God standing in the most impressive and winning attitude of a gracious, sin-pardoning God- inviting you, imploring you, all guilty, and burdened, and sorrowful as you are, to accept his mercy, to avail yourself of his forgiveness, to believe in his Son; and thus by grasping the outstretched hand, by heeding the earnest call, and accepting the gracious invitation, you may set forever at rest the question of your salvation. Oh, let the great, the all-absorbing question with you be, “What shall I do to be saved?” Postpone every other question, adjourn every other debate, until this is met and fairly settled, that you are the called of God. Take hold of the full and free invitations of the Gospel- and Christ, and salvation, and heaven are yours.

And for your encouragement we would say, that the feeblest puttings forth of grace in the soul are indisputable evidences of the inward and effectual call of the Spirit. If in the spring time I mark the gentle buddings of the costly plant, I rejoice, yet with trembling. The cold wind may blow and the hoar frost may light upon those buds, and so nip and kill those who they shall never burst into the beautiful and fragrant flower. But when I trace the buddings of grace in the heart of a poor sinner, when I observe the evidence of the Spirit’s operation in the soul, I feel no misgiving, I cherish no fear, for I am assured that He who has begun the good work will carry it on and perfect it in glory. No worm shall kill its root, no frosts shall nip its leaf, no winds shall scatter its fruit, it shall never, never be destroyed. God will complete the work to which he puts his hand. Oh, precious truth, replete with encouragement to the sorrow-stricken, sin-burdened, Christ-seeking soul! Sweeter music is not heard in heaven than chimes in these words addressed to you- “Whoever comes to me I will never drive away.”

Are we called? Then let us heed the earnest entreaty of the Apostle, “Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.” Let the lowliest and the highest vocation of life be dignified and sanctified by the heavenly calling. Wherever you are, and in whatever engaged, forget not your high calling of God. You are called to be saints; called to a separation from the world; called to a holy, heavenly life; called to live for God, to labor for Christ; and soon will be called to be with the Lord forever!

Source: https://gracegems.org/W/r27.htm

Not a Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Everything

Holy bible book

Joel Beeke on the limits of the sufficiency of Scripture:

The sufficiency of Scripture is, however, limited to the Bible’s purpose in revealing truth for our salvation, faith, and obedience (Ps. 19:7–11; John 20:31). The doctrine does not assert that the Bible is sufficient to guide all human activities in every respect, except in the most general way. The Bible does not claim to be a comprehensive encyclopedia of everything. Instead, it gives us “the words of the wise” so “that thy trust may be in the Lord” (Prov. 22:17, 19). The Holy Scriptures “are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15). It is “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (v. 16). Other matters must be governed by “the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed,” such as “Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).

He Saves All He Pleads For

Hugh Binning, Works, p. 348:

Yea, he is so fully qualified for this that he is called Jesus the Saviour; he is such an Advocate that he saves all he pleads for. The best advocate may lose the cause, either through the weakness of itself, or the iniquity of the judge; but he is the Advocate and the Saviour, that never succumbed in his undertaking for any soul. Be their sins never so heinous – their accusation never so just and true – their accuser never so powerful; yet they who put their cause in his hand, who flee in hither for refuge, being wearied of the bondage of sin and Satan, he hath such a prevalency with the Father, that their cause cannot miscarry. Even when justice itself seems to be the opposite party, yet he hath such marvellous success in his office, that justice shall rather meet amicably with mercy and peace, and salute them kindly (Ps. 85:10, 11), as being satisfied by him, than he come short in his undertaking.

Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/he-saves-all-he-pleads-for.89572/, Comment 1

5 Warnings to Those Who Pretend to be Godly

Faces @ Kushalnagar

Challies:

“There are many within the church who are hypocrites, people who claim to be Christians but who are, in fact, unbelievers attempting to convince others (and perhaps themselves) that they are followers of Jesus Christ. They are people who do not practice true virtue but who instead offer counterfeit versions of it…

Here are five solemn warnings to those who only pretend to be godly:”

https://www.challies.com/reading-classics-together/5-warnings-to-those-who-merely-pretend-to-be-godly/

Reasons Some Will Not Come To Christ

This article struck a chord with me since I know some young people who will not come to Christ because they do not wish to leave their sins. May God grant them true repentance before it is too  late.


Reasons Why Some Will Not Come to Christ

Albert N. Martin

Bellini-paining-arms folded

Jerusalem was buzzing with activity during one of the high Jewish feast days. And now at the pool of Bethesda the controversial young rabbi from Galilee had astounded everyone by healing a man paralyzed for thirty-eight years! But instead of rejoicing, the Jewish leaders first confronted the healed man for carrying his bed on the Sabbath—this was work, they said, and God had forbidden all work on the Sabbath—and then condemned Jesus for His “work” of healing on the Sabbath day! Chapter Five of the Gospel of John records Jesus’ simple response: “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” This response the Jews understood as nothing less than Jesus “making himself equal with God” (John 5:18).

His plain claims to equality with God stirred up murder in the hearts of those envious Jewish leaders, yet Jesus graciously affirmed His heart’s desire for them when He declared in verse 34, “I say these things that you may be saved.” And since they could not be saved unless they believed on Him as God in the flesh and their promised Messiah, He showed them that His claims to deity were validated by three kinds of evidence, not unfamiliar to any of them: the testimony of John the Baptist, the miraculous works which Jesus had done, and the Scriptures themselves. But in spite of all this evidence, their persistent unbelief called forth from Jesus these words recorded in verse 40: “And you will not come to me, that you may have life.”

Surely these are some of the most tragic words ever spoken! In them Jesus plainly asserted that life was to be found in Him, and that it was to be obtained simply by coming to Him. He was not speaking of physical life or physical coming, for his hearers had already come near Him physically, but of spiritual and eternal life received by joining themselves to Him through faith. Yet His hearers refused to do the one thing necessary to have eternal life, for they refused to believe on Him. And Jesus’ sober words show that He holds them—and everyone like them—fully accountable for their stubborn unwillingness to come to Him.

What kept these outwardly religious people from coming to Christ? What keeps you, my unsaved friend, from coming to Christ today? As I outline four major reasons why some will not come to Christ, I hope to show you that every kind of reason is inexcusable. I hope to persuade you to abandon those reasons, and come to Jesus Christ.

1. Ignorance of Your Desperate Need of Christ

Some people will not come to Christ simply because they are ignorant of their need as sinners. The Pharisees of Jesus’ day were classic examples of this self-ignorance. In Luke 18 Jesus boldly spoke a parable directed toward these hypocrites, who “trusted in themselves that they were righteous” (Luke 18:9). When the scribes and Pharisees murmured against Jesus for eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners, Jesus observed, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Luke 5:31-32).

What was true of the Pharisees two thousand years ago is true of many today: they don’t even know they are sick. They are unaware that they have any moral or spiritual disease. They don’t care to go to the great Physician of their souls because they don’t think there is anything wrong.

But such indifference to the real condition of your soul is inexcusable, and it is inexcusable because of the clear testimony of the Bible and of your conscience.

Open almost any book of the Bible and you will read about the sinful, fallen condition of man. From the account of Adam and Eve disobeying God, down through the entire record of man, God’s Word shows we are a guilty and polluted race. But if you count yourself an exception, consider several summarizing statements by the apostle Paul, speaking on behalf of Jesus Christ and through the infallible guidance of the Holy Spirit: “In Adam all die” (1 Corinthians 15:22), or Romans 5:12, “Through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.”

We are, indeed, sinners because of this heritage. Paul describes us as “children of wrath by nature” (Ephesians 2:3). David, the man after God’s own heart, testifies of himself, “I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5). Each one of us has inherited a sin-nature, and sinning comes naturally to every one of us. We are guilty of breaking the laws of God written on our hearts and in God’s Word. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way,” declares the prophet in Isaiah 53:6. Paul asserts with final, sweeping authority, “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10).

And besides the external witness of the Scriptures, there is the internal testimony of your own conscience. Conscience is active in every person, either accusing bad actions or commending those which are good (Romans 2:15). You know that conscience takes the pleasure out of sin, and you find ways to argue it down. If conscience could speak audibly it would declare loudly how vile your heart is. It would reveal all the perverse motives and desires active in your spirit. If you would only listen to your conscience you could not be ignorant of your desperate need of Christ. You know that you are under the condemnation of God because of your sin, and liable for the full punishment of that sin. Yet you also know that you are powerless to help yourself.

How many there are who ignore the testimony of the Bible and fight the witness of their own consciences! Don’t congratulate yourself that you can listen unmoved to the offer of mercy from Christ, but pray instead for a sight of your desperate need and the extent of your guilt and defilement. Instead of being like the Pharisee in Luke 18, who brazenly stood in God’s presence proclaiming his own goodness, may you bow like the humble tax collector and cry, “God be merciful to me, the sinner.”

2. Impenitence before the Searching Demands of Christ

Perhaps you are ready to admit your need and escape the accusations of a condemning conscience, but there is another reason why you will not come to Christ. Perhaps you are one who remains impenitent before His searching demands.

Christ’s call to come to Him is also a command to leave your sins. “You shall call His name Jesus,” said the angel to Joseph, “for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). He will not save them in their sins, but from their sins. “I have come to call sinners to repentance,” Jesus said in Luke 5:32. The terms under which you may be wedded to Christ are terms of complete divorce from your sins. Nor can you separate repentance from faith and forgiveness. Paul affirmed the authentic Gospel message to be “repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). God exalted Jesus as Prince and Savior, Peter told the Jews in Acts 5:31, in order to “give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.”

Your problem may not be insensitivity—in fact, you may be miserably aware of your desperate need for pardon and peace. But you are not ready to leave your sins and come to Christ on His terms. This was the problem of the rich young ruler in Matthew 19. He sincerely desired eternal life, and he came to Christ looking for it. But Jesus, in His omniscient knowledge of the human heart, focused on one issue: the man’s love of possessions. Jesus must be his only master: “Go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven; and come, follow Me.” But the rich young ruler was unwilling to yield to the searching demands of Christ, and the narrative says, “he went away sorrowful.”

We must not think that the issue is always a call to forsake riches, for Jesus called at least a few rich men like Matthew and Zaccheus and never made that particular demand upon them. But when He dealt with any sinner, like the woman of Samaria in John 4, He found his or her darling sin and boldly staked His claim. Jesus says to each one that eternal life is to be found in supreme attachment to Himself. “You cannot serve God and the things of this world” (Matthew 6:24). “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Mark 8:34).

Do you see that impenitence before the searching demands of Christ is inexcusable? The perfectly holy Lord of glory calls you away from your sins in order to give you eternal life, and you refuse to leave them. But those sins to which you are clinging, what will they do for you in the end? “The wages of sin is death,” says the apostle in Romans 6:23. Salvation through Jesus Christ is intended to deliver you from the penalty, power, practice, and one day, blessed be God, even the presence of sin. Why do you cling to those sins which will only drag you to Hell?

Jesus knows how costly separation may be. He spoke of sins as dear as a right eye or a right hand. He knows that true repentance, confession and forsaking of sin may cause embarrassment, misunderstanding, financial loss, and the pain of breaking off close relationships. When He said to those Jews, “You will not come to Me,” He knew that they loved to receive honor from one another (John 5:44). To follow such a despised teacher was more than their proud hearts could bear. Jesus knew their struggles but never compromised His flesh-withering demands.

Do you see that such impenitence is not only inexcusable, but also irrational? Consider all the evidence against a life given over to sin. Look closely at the scarred and twisted lives of those who resisted God’s gracious call in their youth—people who are the very fulfillment of God’s prophetic words in Isaiah, “The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. ‘There is no peace for the wicked,’ says my God” (Is. 57:20-21). “The way of transgressors is hard” (Proverbs 13:15). Look at the terror-filled deathbeds of those who die in their sins. Look at the coming Day of Judgment, when the great ones of the earth will cry for mountains and rocks to fall on them, to hide them from “the wrath of the Lamb” (Rev. 6:16). Look into Hell itself, as unrepenting sinners are cast into the furnace of fire: “There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:42). “The smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever” (Rev. 14:11).

Finally, look at the cross. Behold the Lord of glory, the only man who ever lived a sinless life, who, there on the cross, was made to be sin for His people. Look at the price Jesus paid for the sins which you love. Look upon His sufferings at the hands of wicked men. Mark His greater, indescribable agony under His Father’s wrath for human sin. Stand and look until you can say with John Newton: “A bleeding Savior I have viewed, And now I hate my sin.”

If such meditations are not enough to turn you away from those sins which now seem so dear, it will be right in that last great day for God to say to you, “Depart from Me, you cursed” (Matthew 25:41). “Ephraim is joined to idols, let him alone” (Hosea 4:17). Do not sink down into Hell, clinging to your darling sins. Come to Christ on His terms, that you may have life.

3. Unbelief with Respect to the Promises of Christ

You may not be guilty of some daring, idolatrous attachment to sin. Perhaps you already have forsaken many sins, for your own good and for the sake of respectability before others. Yet there is one subtle form of sin which you have never even considered. Maybe you do not think it is very important, and certainly not very disgraceful. Perhaps you are one who does not believe Christ’s promises.

But you say, “Unbelief? What kind of sin is that? And why would God hold me responsible for not believing something?” My friend, consider for a few minutes how unbelief can be one of the greatest obstacles to coming to Christ, and thereby keep you from entering Heaven.

Can there be any question that the promises of Jesus Christ are clear, certain, and all-embracing? Read this sampling of His promises. Look them up in the Bible to see for yourself how absolutely free of conditions and qualifications they are.

Matthew 11:28 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Romans 10:12 “The Lord is rich to all who call upon Him.”

Romans 10:13 “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

John 5:24 “He who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”

John 6:37 “The one who comes to Me I will by no means”—under no conditions whatever, under no circumstances—”cast out.”

God likens His work of salvation to a wedding feast and says, “All things are ready. Come to the wedding” (Matthew 22:4). God has made all the preparations, and God has done all that needs to be done. We do not need to bring anything; we only need to come.

In the light of such marvelous, unqualified promises of forgiveness and acceptance, do you see how inexcusable is the sin of unbelief? The gospel feast has been spread and God has sent His servants to say, “Come, for all things are now ready” (Luke 14:17). But you linger outside the banquet hall, lost and condemned in your unbelieving refusal to embrace the promised mercy of God. You may not be ignorant of your desperate need or impenitent for your sins, but you are unwilling to believe God’s testimony concerning the sufficiency of His Son as a redeemer for sinful men—the God who spoke audibly from Heaven, “This is My beloved Son; hear Him” (Mark 9:7).

There will be many surprising kinds of sinners in Heaven. There will be notorious sinners like the immoral woman of Luke 7 whose reputation was known by all. There will be desperate sinners like the thief whose crimes warranted crucifixion. There will be murderers and blasphemers in Heaven like Saul of Tarsus, and even some people whose hands put to death the Son of God (Acts 2:23). But there will be one type of sinner who will be conspicuously absent: there will be no unbelievers. There will be no persons in Heaven who in this life were not joined by faith to Jesus Christ.

The Book of the Revelation paints many pictures of God’s final judgment of mankind. Many of these images are puzzling and mysterious, but look at one very clear picture of those standing outside the gates of Heaven. Revelation 21:8 says, “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Those whose lives were respectable and even upright, but marked by the chronic sin of unbelief, shall take their eternal place with those whose lives were characterized by murder, lying and other grosser forms of sin.

We are tempted to view unbelief as a defect, or a sort of “vitamin deficiency” that leaves us spiritually anemic but really not so bad overall. God views unbelief in its true light. When Jesus describes the Holy Spirit’s purpose in coming to convict the world of sin, here is the principal sin which He highlights: “Because they do not believe in Me” (John 16:9).

If until now you have been unbelieving, will you turn from this sin and cling by faith to Christ? Will you believe His abundant promises of salvation, pardon and rest?

4. Unwarranted Expectation of Additional Revelation from Christ

Perhaps we have not yet identified your reason for waiting to come to Christ. You feel your need and you are ready to leave your sins. You are seeking to put your faith in Jesus at the right time, but you want some additional word from Him.

Your exposure to the Bible, whether through personal reading, family training, or church attendance, has taught you an important truth. You know that unless you are one of God’s elect, one of God’s special chosen ones, you cannot come to Christ. God must awaken a sinner to his need, God must draw him to Himself, and God must give him the gift of faith. And so, you reason, “Until I know that I am one of God’s elect, it would be presumptuous for me to come to Christ.”

With this conviction firmly in hand, then, you have determined that you cannot act until some additional revelation comes from Christ. You would not demand a vision or a voice in the night, of course, but you are waiting either for some special text which fixes itself on your mind, or some overwhelming sense of God’s convicting presence, or some evidence of the marks of regeneration in your life. And so, you will not come to Christ because you are waiting for a message from God.

Why is it unwarranted to expect such additional revelation? The passage in John 5 gives us a compelling answer to that question. Jesus asserted that, to the Jews, the Old Testament Scriptures should be the final, convincing proof of His claims. He said in verse 39, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.” In verse 46 he says, “If you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me.” In other words, Jesus is saying, “What the Scriptures say about Me, from the earliest writings of Moses through the closing words of the last prophets, is all the warrant you need to come to Me. You should not wait for something else; these words are sufficient.”

The dialogue with the rich man in Hell further reinforces Jesus’ teaching on the sufficiency and finality of the scriptural witness. To the rich man’s plea that someone warn his brothers about the torments of Hell, Abraham responds, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them” (Luke 16:29). The rich man, though, has a better scheme: “No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent” (v. 30). We hear the voice of Christ speaking in the final answer of Abraham: “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.”

Are you waiting for some spectacular revelation from God before you will come to Christ? Are you ignoring the message of “Moses and the prophets” which you have in your Bible? Do you see that such waiting is inexcusable? Do not think that your attitude is humble submission before God. Your reluctance is actually a proud and arrogant demand upon God, telling Him how He ought to act. In effect you are saying with the rich man, “God, I have a better plan of salvation than your ordinary methods. I have a special way for you to call me, and I’m waiting for this special revelation.” The truth is, God’s plan of salvation has been presented plainly and simply to you through the witness of the Scriptures. The wedding feast of the gospel has been spread, and God invites you to have eternal life. All you need to do is come.

Is Jesus Christ calling to you? Do you see yourself, not as a special sinner, but as a needy, lost, hell-deserving sinner? Then come to Him in repentance and faith. Look upon Christ as the perfectly suitable “friend of sinners.” See how His perfectly righteous life fully satisfies the requirements of divine law. Consider how His substitutionary death fully satisfies divine justice for your sins. Do not make complicated what God has made beautifully simple; just come.

Come to Christ because of God’s gracious directive: “This is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 3:23). Come to Christ because of God’s gracious promise: “Whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). May you this day put aside any reasons that stop you. Come to Christ, that you may have life!

Just as I am, without one plea
But that your blood was shed for me,
And that you bidd’st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come.

Just as I am, and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To you, whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come.

Just as I am! You will receive,
Will welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve,
Because your promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come.