Examining the Heart 88

A slighting spirit will turn a profane spirit, and will sin and pray too. Slightness is the bane of real religion, if it be not rooted out of the heart, by constant and serious dealings with, and beholdings of Christ in duties; it will grow more strong, and more deadly, by being under church-ordinances. Measure not your graces by others’ attainments, but by scripture trials. Be serious, exact in duty, having the weight of it upon your heart but be as much afraid of taking comfort from duties as from sins. Comfort from any hand but Christ is deadly. Be much in prayer, or you will never keep up much communion with God. As you are in private prayer, so much you will be in all other ordinances.   Thomas Willcox

It is hard to overstate the importance of the statement that “comfort from any hand but Christ is deadly.” He did not say that it was unhealthy or even dangerous, but deadly. This should be taken into account and be dealt with very, very seriously. From speaking with people and hearing people talk (either in person or various forms of communication) it appears that finding comfort in something or even someone other than Christ is rampant. Finding comfort in things other than Christ is not just the majority, but it appears as if it is the vast majority.

It seems as if people find comfort in an orthodox creed, the means of grace rather than grace itself, the doctrine of Christ rather than Christ Himself, the church rather than the Head of the Church, and works and morality. This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but it is an effort to show how so many conservative and orthodox churches (by profession) can be looking to something other than Christ for comfort. The statement by Willcox also includes those who look to a false Christ and those who look to rigorous orthodoxy in the name of Christ and yet not to Christ Himself. It would appear that so many use so many things, even good things, that makes them think that they are looking to Christ and yet those things are being used to blind them and deceive them.

It is a wonderful thing to be in an orthodox church (by profession), but is it so wonderful if that orthodoxy was used to deceive people? Can it be that orthodoxy can be trusted in rather than Christ Himself? Can it be that orthodoxy can be a means of pride and so people are really trusting in themselves as they proudly think of themselves as orthodox and therefore converted? Here we see that there can be a great distinction or difference between those who hold to a form of orthodox belief. One group sees that the orthodox doctrine teaches them the truth of Christ and so they look to Christ, but the second group (appears to be larger by far than group one) looks to orthodoxy as a sign of faith and so they don’t die to self and their pride and so they look to their creed or orthodoxy rather than Christ Himself.

This can happen that when a person questions his salvation in his heart (despite the external confidence) he will look to his creed or his orthodoxy and think of himself as a believer in the truth. The devil knows what is true (in that sense) and believes it is true as well. Having an orthodox creed is nothing more than the devil has, or at least in one sense. The devil uses orthodoxy and biblical truth to blind people and to deceive them. He even used Scripture in an effort to deceive Christ. An orthodox creed can be as dangerous to a person as open sin if the creed is used to gain comfort by rather than Christ Himself. The orthodox creed is meant to be biblical truth that points to Christ rather than something that points to itself. The orthodox creed is meant to be a way to tell the truth about Christ who is to be trusted in and rested upon, but when it is trusted in and rested upon it becomes a wicked sin of pride and self. Finding comfort in a creed or a statement of orthodoxy is a very, very dangerous thing and when one finds comfort in a creed that creed is being used to blind a person to the Gospel of Christ alone.

It is a necessary thing to examine the heart for its deepest beliefs and its deepest comforts. While it may be widely taught in our day for people to simply profess a creed and live a moral life, the Scripture knows nothing of such a thing. It teaches us that we must have Christ as our life and we must rest in Christ alone. A slighting spirit in a person will keep them from a blood earnestness that is necessary to examine the heart to find its deepest comforts and what it rests upon in fact and reality. If we are not earnest and serious about the things of God and the Gospel, we have yet to understand the reality of eternity and of holiness and grace.

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