Not So Random Thoughts 58

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 heart of the Reformation at least included as a necessary part of it the doctrine of the bondage of the human will. This was at the heart of the Reformation because it was at the heart of the Gospel of grace alone and the Gospel of God who is sovereign. The Gospel cannot be of a free and sovereign grace as long as the doctrine of free-will is taught. As long as what Rome taught (at the time) was based on free-will, then that had to be addressed if there was going to be a Reformation. As long as Rome held to free-will it could not and did not preach and teach a Gospel of the free-grace of God.

The same thing is true in our day as well. As long as any professing church is preaching and teaching things that are based on free-will or just take it for granted, then the heart of what is needed for true Reformation and a biblical Christianity is absent. If any professing church has a creed that states that men are depraved and that grace is sovereign and yet that is not preached and freely declared, that is a practical denial of the truth. It is not those who say they believe the truth and say that they hold to certain things, but instead it is those who really and actually preach those things and declare those things to lost sinners. It is not enough to have a creed about the truth, but instead it must be a deeply held belief of the heart and what men are willing to suffer to preach.

Matthew 7:21 “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.”

It should be clear from the text quoted just above that there are many who will have an orthodox statement of Christ. It should also be clear that there will be many on judgment day who were preachers and yet they will be told to depart from Him. It should be clear that it is not enough to preach and it is not enough to hold to a creed that is true. It is not enough to state things about Jesus that are true, but sinners must be told who they are and how it is that the Gospel actually saves sinners. People are not saved because they believe, but instead they believe because they are saved. People are not saved because they believe certain facts, but they are saved when the living God through the resurrected Christ actually and really delivers them from the kingdom of darkness and translates them into the kingdom of the Beloved Son.

In an effort to dive deeper into this, we must say that knowing the facts or some of the facts of the Gospel does not save. It is not that the Gospel is the power of man to hear the facts and save himself by doing something, but the Gospel is the power of God to save sinners. Sinners are really and truly regenerated and really and truly united to Christ. It is not just knowing about these things that save sinners, it is when they actually happen that sinners are saved. Preachers do not preach because they know facts and so they stand up and repeat the facts, but preachers preach when they have been broken in their own hearts and have Christ as their very lives. Preachers do not preach until they are preaching Christ Himself and not just about Him.

There will be no Reformation until preachers give up on their preaching and begin to preach the living Christ. There will be no Reformation until preachers learn what a broken heart is and that heart is worked in them by God. There is no true preaching apart from a broken and humbled heart that God breaks and humbles. It is painful and nothing that self wants to do. But until it happens, we will live in an age which knows nothing of true preaching. Until preachers actually have broken hearts, they cannot and will not preach that sinners must be actually and really broken and humbled by and before a living God in order to receive grace. Until that happens, professing preachers will preach to a professing church and Reformation and true revival will not happen. We must seek Him for this.

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