The Almost Christian 4

Acts 26:28 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.

Matthew 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. 15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 “You will know them by their fruits.

Luke 13:24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.

Take heed of resting in a form of godliness; as if duties could confer grace. A lifeless formality is advanced to a very high esteem in the world, as a cab of dove’s dung was sold in the famine of Samaria at a very dear rate. Alas! The profession of godliness is but a sandy foundation to build the hope of an immortal soul upon for eternity. Remember, the Lord Jesus Christ called him a foolish builder, “that founded his house upon the sand,” and the sad event proved him so, “for it fell, and great was the fall of it.” O therefore lay thy foundation by faith upon the rock Christ Jesus; look to Christ through all, and rest upon Christ in all. (The Almost Christian Discovered, International Outreach, Inc.)

It is important to have a solid foundation for the soul to rest on in terms of eternity. The soul that rests upon self is a soul that has no solid foundation at all. The soul that rests upon anything but Christ and His grace alone has nothing to rest on that will last. The Scriptures above teach us quite clearly that the way of salvation is quite narrow and that while many are on the broad road, there are but comparatively few on the narrow road. While all believe that they are on the road to heaven, the majority are simply wrong. This is jolting and yet something we must not cast away, but instead take this very seriously. Those who take the salvation of their soul seriously and therefore a close examination of it, just may find out that s/he is unconverted. However, it can also be the case that those who doubt their salvation may in fact find solid ground to rest upon.

It seems as if the whole world rests in duties for their salvation. There are some who simply trust in the doing of some externals as proof that they are a Christian. Others have better theology and can repeat the right words about Christ and His Gospel, but down deep they are also trusting in self to be saved. There are still others who trust in their orthodox views to save them, though they will not voice that to themselves or others. There is nothing in the soul and nothing that the soul can do that will qualify the soul for free-grace. All the means of grace that people use do not automatically confer grace as so many seem to think, but instead grace is always sovereign and as such always in the hand of God to show as He pleases. When we read the Scriptures, pray, or take the Supper we are not putting God under obligation to give us grace, but we are simply using the things that He normally uses to give grace. Giving grace is always His option to give at His good pleasure.

The foundation of all assurance is Christ and His free-grace. We must not rest in duties or forms of anything or formality, regardless of what we call those things. The almost Christian will rest in duties and in all types of outward things. The Christian, however, does have duties and does use outward things, but s/he does not rest in them. This distinction is very hard to make and in fact only Christ Himself can teach the soul this. The soul is always looking at itself to trust self in its duties and trust self in the means of grace. What we must never forget or give up is that it is not possible to merit grace in any way. No duty and no work can possibly move God to show grace. No means of grace obligates God to show grace. We are utterly dependent upon God and we must never confuse our dependence upon Him for anything He gives us.

Yes, we are told that faith without works is dead, but we must know that unbelievers can do great works. In other words, a true faith will work but the soul must not look to the works for assurance but instead is to look only to Christ and free-grace. Christ Himself is the only One we can rest upon and the Only One who has righteousness that pleases the Father. Our works can obtain no righteousness before God and we have no need of righteousness for justification if we have Christ. Christ is our all and He gives a perfect righteousness freely by grace to all that He has. This must be held onto firmly and without giving up in the world which trusts in self and its duties. Oh how the soul must have Christ and His free-grace, yet the soul cannot work enough to obtain any part of that grace. This is entering through the narrow gate as the soul must have grace and grace alone. There is no room for anything else, but men want to carry their baggage with them as well. They are not willing to take the journey on the broad road without something of self and pride.

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