Not So Random Thoughts 52

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 human heart is a terrible thing as it constantly wants to rest in self and the things of self. The human heart appears to be fast asleep in the bonds of self-sufficiency and self-love and is religious to some degree and thinks that is all that is needed. When the fallen heart, though perhaps quite religious heart, hears that it must do the will of God, it is not bothered by that at all. It simply sets out to be more religious and do more works. When the religious heart hears that it is not enough to simply say “Lord, Lord” it is not surprised, but it sets out to do religious things and more religious things.

The fallen heart that trusts in itself is hard to awaken to its own helplessness and the hopelessness of its own religious duties, and it takes the very words of God on judgment day to awaken it. It appears that this heart wants to argue with God on the basis of its own deeds on that day. “Many will say to Me on that day.” Note again that those who do this are not just a few here and there, but there are many who will say to Him on that day. There are many who will be shocked that their religious efforts were not enough. There are many who will shocked and horrified that all of their religion was not real obedience to God and had not a scent of doing the will of God in it.

How many are ever awakened to this sad fact? How much do we hear from the pulpits of our land to awaken people to this? People are fast asleep and in bondage to self in different ways, yet we hear so little if any at all about this. People are given things to do or perhaps one thing to do, but they are not told that there is nothing that they can do that pleases God. They are not told that their efforts should be in the realm of seeking a broken and humbled heart from God rather than seeking to do things from their old heart. Preachers trust in being preachers and their preaching. After all, didn’t they prophesy and preach in the name of Christ? Didn’t they spend their lives in the service of God? But could it be that they were really serving self while they used the name of Christ? It is so easy for men to seek self in their preaching and in their serving. As Jehu of old sought honor and wanted others to behold his zeal in serving God, so men do the same in our day. Self can be served while men use the name of Christ and preach in the name of Christ. That is to use Christ for the sake of self and it is a blasphemous idolatry, yet it appears quite common in our day.

We see people who are deceived by miraculous things or the appearance of them. Even false prophets can do miracles if aided by the unholy spirit or perhaps fake them. The miraculous can be done by the false prophets in Egypt. Apart from the new birth there will be no salvation regardless of how many religious things and miraculous things that are done. Apart from the heart being humbled and broken from self and pride there is no salvation in anything that the human heart can possibly do. Apart from the heart being humbled and broken to the point that the heart despairs of all hope of self no miracles and no amount of preaching and religious service will help. All of the religion of self is lawlessness before a thrice holy God. Despite all the arguments of religious man and the religious services of men, on that day they will be told to depart from Him all who practiced lawlessness.

May these things not be ignored. They are only ignored to the damnation of the soul. The wicked and proud self does not want to give up but instead wants to reign and rule in self and remain in control of self while it uses the word “Lord” on its lips. The religious self will remain in control while it works itself into heaven it thinks, but it will also want to be orthodox and use the works and language of orthodoxy to deceive itself even more. The religious self loves to hear of things that it can do like join churches and be committed to many works. The religious self is bound to so many things using the name “Lord” on its lips while in fact it remains in bondage to the lordship of self. How utterly deceitful.

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