Not So Random Thoughts 48

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. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 “So then, you will know them by their fruits. 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

Matthew 18:1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, 3 and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 “Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Romans 9:15 For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.” 16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.

“God has surely promised His grace to the humbled: that is, to those who mourn over and despair of themselves. But a man cannot be thoroughly humbled till he realizes that salvation is utterly beyond his own powers, counsels, efforts, will and works, and depends absolutely on the will, counsel, pleasure and work of Another—God alone. As long as he is persuaded that he can make even the smallest contribution to his salvation, he remains self-confident and does not utterly despair of himself, and so is not humbled before God; but plans out for himself (or at least hopes and longs for) a position, an occasion, a work, which shall bring him final salvation. But he who is out of doubt that his destiny depends entirely on the will of God despairs entirely of himself, chooses nothing for himself, but waits for God to work in him; and such a man is very near to grace for his salvation. (Martin Luther, Bondage of the Will)

The Scriptures point to a huge change that must take place in man in order for man to be truly saved. Luther’s statement also points to a great change and points to some details regarding that change. This is to say that it is not enough for man to have orthodox words come from his lips, but there must be a great change worked in man. It is not enough to say the words as people believe in our day, nor is it enough to simply live a moral life. It is also not enough to live a religious life and even a very devoted and rigorous religious life. There must be a great change in the soul. This great change brings the sinner from self-righteousness to the righteousness of Christ. This great change brings the sinner from the lordship of self to the lordship of Christ. The difference between the lordship of self and the lordship of Christ is an infinite difference. There are many who want to make Christ as Lord, but in fact He already is Lord and we have no power to make Him Lord of ourselves or anyone else.

The last sentence in the previous paragraph might be rather startling to some, but we must realize that it is important and even vital to understand that. It is God who must take those who are dead in sin and make them alive. It is God alone who can take those who are spiritually dead and make them spiritually alive. It is God alone who can take sinners who are under the dominion and power of the devil and translate them into the kingdom of the Beloved Son (Col 1:13). In that text we can see that all unregenerate sinners are under the power and rule of the devil who rules over them by the power and love of self. A lover of self cannot lay self down and “make” Christ as Lord. In that case the self would be the superior and could make Christ as non-Lord when wanted. No, as long as sinners are under the dominion and power of the devil they are the children of the devil. The children of the devil are under the power and lordship of self (and the devil) and cannot break the power of self. They can become quite religious, but they will not and cannot bow to Christ as absolute Lord until He exerts His Lordship over them.

How many people are deceived into thinking that they are Christians because they profess in words and a moral life that Christ is Lord while they live for self? All that a professing Christian does who does not truly have Christ is sin. The religion of that person is sin. The prayer of that person is sin. The profession of Christ as Lord is sin. The whole time the person is doing religious things that person is bowing to the lordship of self and the devil. Oh how people can shed tears and go on and on in their religious life, but it is all about self.

Titus 1:16 They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.

These people make a profession of knowing God (calling Christ Lord), but they deny Him by what they do and how they do it. Some may indeed make a profession and follow it with an outwardly profane life, but what is more profane than using the name of God and the things of God in the service of self and the devil? These people, even when and perhaps especially when they call Christ Lord, are detestable and disobedient and worthless for any (truly) good deed. A person that uses the name “Lord” in the service of self is indeed worthless for any good deed since all truly good news are done out of love for God and for His glory.

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