Christ Preparing our Hearts 26

Be persuaded that your soul is far more valuable to you than the whole world and there are only two places (heaven and hell) that you will spend all eternity in.

Debate the case with your soul solemnly. What is there in sin, that I so much dote on? What are my greatest designs and projects in the world? Can I dig the pearl of happiness out of this dunghill world? Can I get the houses, lands, honors, friends, that I aim at; and if I should, what are they? Certainly conclude, the greatest wisdom is to be wise unto salvation; and may best work is, to work it out with fear and trembling, lest I lose it.

In the last BLOG in this series (Christ Preparing our Hearts 25), a series of questions was given in order to help people examine their souls and to help others examine their souls as well. The point of the questions is not to make people discover their righteousness, but to discover their unrighteousness. When people discover their unrighteousness, they see their great and utter need for grace alone and for Christ alone. It also seems true that so many people are satisfied with their present religious practice and as such remain satisfied while dead in sins and trespasses. Eternity is perhaps the most real thing about our existence and yet we are blind and dead to it so much of the time. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation and the devil does a great job in deceiving people about whether they are saved or not and whether they really have Christ or not.

While the soul cannot be prepared in a way that makes it more likely for God to save it because of what it does, yet we must understand that in using the means of grace this is to be in the way or path that God saves sinners. We should pray as we meditate and think upon the Scriptures and our own souls. We must seek the illuminating work of the Spirit who alone can regenerate us and give us life. The Holy Spirit is sovereign in His work of regeneration as the Father was sovereign in His electing and the Lord Jesus was in purchasing salvation. The means of grace can be a very helpful thing if we use them correctly, which is to say that there is no merit in using them and we put no obligation on God to save us because we use them.

When we use the Scriptures, questions, meditation, and prayer we are to cry out to Christ to prepare us for salvation. But again, the true preparation for salvation is for Him to strip us of all hope in our selves and all help from ourselves. When Christ prepares the heart He takes the Scriptures we read, pray over, and meditate upon to show us our sin and just how unprepared we really are. Part of the work of the Holy Spirit is to convict us of sin, righteousness, and of the judgment to come. This all falls under the work of Christ in preparing a people to see themselves as totally and completely undone and as such to look to grace alone.

The world is a place where there are deceptive people, deceptive sin, a deceptive devil, and all working on the deceptive hearts of human beings. How deceptive the pleasures of sin are. How deceptive it is to our deceptive hearts for men to praise and honor us. How wicked it is for men to trust in themselves, yet how wicked that appears in their own eyes when Christ shows them that. While the physical world is presented to us today as a world that came into being on its own, or perhaps even created itself, the physical world is not morally evil itself. When the thinking about the physical world is in the hands of deceived human beings, it is used as a way to get people to look to the world as an answer for all our problems.

The real problem with the world is when the “world” is used as the Bible does at times. The “world” is used as a system of thought that is set against God and His glory. It is this world that men often times try to obtain pleasure and honors. It is that world that man must begin to see just how evil it is because it is set up against the living God as an alternative way of living and of morality. It is set up not just as an alternative, but as the only way. It is set up in direct opposition to the ways and being of God. As we begin to see the two contrasting systems, we must be enlightened to the opposing system and we must see that what we have as pleasure in the worldly system is wicked and sinful in the kingdom of God. Can the worldly system provide true pleasure to a spiritual soul who has Christ as his all in all? No, it cannot. Only worldly people caught in the deception of the worldly system can have pleasure that lasts as long as they lasts in this world. The work of Christ by His Spirit is to show us how deceptive the worldly system, how sinful it is against God, and then if He is pleased He can translate us from the dominion of darkness and into the kingdom of the Beloved Son. This takes the hand of God to prepare a soul and then transfer it.

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