Christianity Today 4

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.

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

Jeremiah 7:4 “Do not trust in deceptive words, saying, ‘This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD.’ 14:14 Then the LORD said to me, “The prophets are prophesying falsehood in My name. I have neither sent them nor commanded them nor spoken to them; they are prophesying to you a false vision, divination, futility and the deception of their own minds. 23:26 “How long? Is there anything in the hearts of the prophets who prophesy falsehood, even these prophets of the deception of their own heart,

Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

I read a good illustration recently and I would like to use that illustration and build on it. We can imagine a man coming to us who was cold and did not have a coat and use that as a picture of an individual walking into a professing church. We can imagine that the man who was cold was told about a coat, he was given great lectures about a coat, and then he was urged to believe that there was a coat and that there was a coat for him. But we can also imagine that the man never tried the coat on despite his belief that there was a coat. We can imagine that the man tried to make himself believe that he had a coat on, but he never had a coat on. He remained unclothed and cold.

The above analogy is easy to apply to many in the professing church. They are told about the Gospel, they are told parts of the Gospel, and they are told to believe that they have a Savior. But the problem is that they are never told essential aspects of the Gospel and as such they believe that they have put Christ on and yet they do not have Christ. They only have some information about Christ. God has been left out and people are not told that they cannot believe in Christ of themselves, but instead they are told that all they have to do is believe (as believe certain information). But information about Christ does not save one single soul. Christ Himself is the Savior and not information about Christ. For Christ to be put on (as the coat must be put on) someone must put Christ on. Either the sinner is able to put the coat on or someone must put the coat on the sinner. How can sinners put a coat on when they are dead in sins and trespasses?

What seems to be doing on today in professing churches is that a practical Pelagianism has taken over. That is true in professing churches that have Reformed creeds and confessions as well. Men trust in themselves to put Christ on and they trust in themselves to keep Christ on. They can do this while holding to various creeds and confessions. The religion of self and the power of self continue to hold their hearts while they trust in self rather than Christ. They think of God as being focused on them because they are focused on themselves. They think that God loves them so they in return love God. They are told that as long as they believe some information that they are saved.

The analogy of the coat is also seen by analogies from the medical field. Men can be told the truth that they have a certain disease and they can even be told of certain ways they can be cured. But unless they take the medicine, have surgery, or take other steps all that information will do them no good. A person that has been poisoned does not just need to hear and believe the information about the poison and then the information about the antidote to the poison, but the person must take the antidote and it must be the proper antidote. If the antidote is not applied in the proper dosage and taken in the proper way, the antidote will not work either. We must not only tell people that the gate is small and the way to life is narrow, but we must tell them the specifics about the gate and how that gate is to be entered. Christ must be applied to the soul really and truly and yet He alone can apply Himself to the soul. No one can put on Christ as all are born dead in sins and trespasses. Christ did not come to help the righteous or partially righteous, He came to raise sinners from the dead. When people try to help Christ, even if it is just a little, they show that they do not understand that they are dead and that they do not look to Christ alone.

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