I can imagine nothing so pleasant to men, as the fallacious theory that we may live in sin--and yet escape eternal perdition; that although we "are slaves to many wicked desires and evil pleasures"while we are here in this world, we shall somehow or other, all get to heaven hereafter!
Only tell the young man who is "wasting his substance in riotous living," that there is a heaven at last, even for those who live and die in sin--and he is never likely to turn from evil. What does it signify how he lives, if there is no "future eternal punishment?" Why should he repent and take up the cross--if he can get to heaven at last without trouble?
Six thousand years ago, sin entered into the world by the devil's daring falsehood, "You shall not surely die!" (Genesis 3:4) At the end of six thousand years, the great enemy of mankind is still using his old weapon, and trying to persuade men that they may live and die in sin--and yet at some distant period may be finally saved! Let us not be ignorant of his devices. Let us walk steadily in the old paths. Let us hold fast the old truth, and believe that, as the happiness of the saved is eternal--so also the misery of the lost is eternal.
Unrepented sin is an eternal evil--and can never cease to be sin; and He with whom we have to do--is an eternal God!
"Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life." Galatians 6:7-8
"All the Ten Commandments, like ten great pieces of cannon, are pointed at thee to-day, for thou hast broken all God’s statutes, and lived in the daily neglect of all His commands."
"The Ten Commands surround us on all sides, and encompass all the movements of body, soul, and spirit, comprising under their jurisdiction the whole range of moral action; they hold us under fire from all points, and nowhere are we out of range."
"I find it sometimes profitable to myself to read the Ten Commandments, and to think over my sins against each one of them. What a list it is, and how it humbles you in the dust to read it over!"
"Read the Ten Commandments, and pause at each one, and confess that you have broken it either in thought, or word, or deed. Remember that by a glance we may commit adultery, by a thought we may be guilty of murder, by a desire we may steal."
"The law of the ten commandments is strictly just; it is such a law as a man might make for himself if he studied his own best interests, and had wisdom enough to frame it aright. It is a perfect law, in which the interests of God and man are both studied; it is not a partial law, but impartial, complete, and covering all the circumstances of life. You could not take away one command out of the ten without spoiling both tables of the law, and you could not add another command without being guilty of making a superfluity. The law is holy, and just, and good; it is like the God who made it, it is a perfect law."
Praise God for the perfect Law which leads us to the cross at Calvary!!
(1) True Christianity has always taught the inspiration, sufficiency, and supremacy of Holy Scripture. It has told men that "God's written Word" is the only trustworthy rule of faith and practice in religion; that God requires nothing to be believed that is not in this Word; and that nothing is right which contradicts it. It has never allowed reason, or the voice of the Church, to be placed above, or on a level with Scripture. It has steadily maintained that, however imperfectly we may understand it, the Old Book is meant to be the only standard of life and doctrine.
(2) True Christianity has always taught fully the sinfulness, guilt and corruption of human nature. It has told men, that they are born in sin, deserve God's wrath and condemnation, and are naturally inclined to do evil. It has never allowed that men and women are only weak and pitiable creatures, who can become good when they please, and make their own peace with God. On the contrary, it has steadily declared man's danger and vileness, and his pressing need of a Divine forgiveness and atonement for his sins, a new birth or conversion, and an entire change of heart.
(3) True Christianity has always set before men, the Lord Jesus Christ as the chief object of faith and hope in religion--as the Divine Mediator between God and men, the only source of peace of conscience, and the root of all spiritual life. The main things it has ever insisted on about Christ, are--the atonement for sin He made by His death, His sacrifice on the cross, the complete redemption from guilt and condemnation by His blood, His victory over the grave by His resurrection, His active life of intercession at God's right hand, and the absolute necessity of simple faith in Him. In short, it has made Christ the Alpha and the Omega in Christian theology.
(4) True Christianity has always honored the Person of God the Holy Spirit, and magnified His work. It has never taught that all professing Christians have the grace of the Spirit in their hearts, as a matter of course--because they are baptized, or because they belong to a Church. It has steadily maintained that the fruits of the Spirit are the only evidence of having the Spirit, and that those fruits must be seen! It has always taught, that we must be born of the Spirit, led by the Spirit, sanctified by the Spirit, and feel the operations of the Spirit--and that a close walk with God in the path of His commandments, a life of holiness, love, self-denial, purity, and zeal to do good--are the only satisfactory marks of the Holy Spirit.
Such is true Christianity. Well would it have been for the world, if there had been more of it during the last nineteen centuries! Too often, and in too many parts of Christendom, there has been so little of it--that Christ's religion has seemed extinct, and has fallen into utter contempt!
This is the Christianity which, in the days of the Apostles, "turned the world upside down!" It was this which emptied the idol temples of their worshipers, routed the Greek and Roman philosophers, and obliged even heathen writers to confess that the followers of the "new superstition," as they called it, were people who loved one another, and lived very pure and holy lives!
Let it never be forgotten, that its leading principles are those which are least likely to please the natural man. On the contrary, they are precisely those which are calculated to be unpopular and to give offense. Proud man does not like to be told that he is a weak, guilty sinner--that he cannot save his own soul, and must trust in the work of another--that he must be converted and have a new heart--that he must live a holy, self-denying life, and come out from the world.
Yet, this is the Christianity which is doing good at this day, wherever real good is done. The only religious teaching which can show solid, positive results--is that which gives prominence to the doctrines which I have endeavored to describe. Wherever they are rightly taught, Christianity can point to fruits which are an unanswerable proof of its Divine origin. There are myriads of professing Christians who have no life or reality in their religion--and are only nominal members of Christ's Church. Except for going to church on Sundays, they give no evidence of true Christianity. If you mark their daily life--they seem neither to think, nor feel, nor care for their souls, or God, or eternity. Men and women who crowd churches on Sundays--and then live worldly selfish lives all the week--are the best and most efficient allies of the devil.
True faith is not a mere "mental assent" to certain theological propositions--but a living, burning, active principle--which works by love, purifies the heart, overcomes the world, and brings forth much fruit of holiness and good works. Let us live as if we really believed every jot and tittle of Scripture--and as if a dying, risen, interceding, and coming Christ, were continually before our eyes!
I am convinced that one of our grave defects today, is a most serious diminishing of the good old custom of private reading of the Bible. Between the growth of Christian periodicals and books, I have a strong impression that Bibles are not read as much and as carefully as they were two hundred years ago.
I am well aware that there are more Bibles in Great Britain at this moment, than there ever were since the world began! There is more Bible-buying and Bible-selling, more Bible-printing and Bible-distributing, than there ever was! But all this time, I fear we are in danger of forgetting--that to have the Bible is one thing--and to read it privately ourselves quite another!
I am afraid that the Bible of many a man and woman in Great Britain is never read at all. In one house, it lies in a corner--as stiff, cold, glossy and fresh as it was, when it came from the bookseller's shop! In another house, it lies on a table, with its owner's name written in it--a silent witness against him day after day! In another house, it lies on some high shelf, neglected and dusty--to be brought down only on grand occasions, such as a birth in the family--like a heathen idol at its yearly festival. In another house, it lies deep down at the bottom of some box or drawer, among the things not wanted, and is never dragged forth into the light of day--until the arrival of sickness, or death! These things are sad and solemn. But they are true.
I am afraid that many in Great Britain who do read the Bible--yet do not read it aright. One man looks over a chapter on Sunday evening--but that is all. Another reads a chapter every day at family prayers--but that is all. A third goes a step further, and hastily reads a verse or two in private every morning, before he goes out of his house. A fourth goes further still, and reads as much as a chapter or two every day, though he does it in a great hurry, and omits reading it on the smallest inconvenience. But each and every one of these men does what he does--in a heartless, scrambling, formal kind of way. He does it coldly, as a duty. He does not do it with appetite and pleasure. He is glad when the task is over. And when the book is shut--he forgets it all! This is a sad picture. But in multitudes of cases--oh, how true!
But why do I think all this? What makes me speak so confidently? Listen to me a few moments, and I will lay before you some evidence. Neglect of the Bible, is like disease of the body--it shows itself in the face of a man'sconduct. It tells its own tale. It cannot be hidden.
I fear that many neglect the Bible--because of the enormous ignorance of true religion which everywhere prevails. There are thousands of professing Christians in this country, who know literally nothing about the Gospel. They could not give you the slightest account of its distinctive doctrines. They have no more idea of the true meaning of conversion, grace, faith, justification, and sanctification--than of so many words and names written in Arabic! And can I suppose that such people search the Scriptures? I cannot suppose it. I do not believe they do!
I fear that many neglect the Bible--because of the utter indifference with which they regard false doctrine--as if it did not signify much, and was all the same thing in the long run--whether one was a Roman Catholic, or a Socinian, or a Mormonite, or a Deist, or an Agnostic. And can I suppose that such people search the Scriptures? I cannot suppose it. I do not believe they do!
I fear that many neglect the Bible--because of the readiness with which they receive false teaching. They are led astray by the first false prophet they meet with, who "comes in sheep's clothing," and has a pleasant voice, a nice manner, and a gift of eloquent speech! They swallow all that he says without inquiry, and believe him as implicitly as papists believe the Pope! And can I suppose that such people search the Scriptures? I cannot suppose it. I do not believe they do!
I declare my firm conviction, that an idle neglect of the Bible is one cause of the ignorant formal Christianity which is so widely prevalent in these latter days!
Brethren! We are drifting, drifting, drifting--and what the end will be--no man can tell.
Note: This was written 113 years ago. We should add USA everywhere Ryle mentions Great Britain.
Let us learn never to despair of the salvation of anyone--as long as he lives. Fathers ought never to despair of prodigal sons. Mothers ought never to despair of self-willed, headstrong daughters. Husbands should never despair of wives, nor wives of husbands.
There is nothing impossible with God.
The arm of grace is very long, and can reach those who seem very far off. Let us pray on, and hope on, for others--however unlikely their salvation may appear to be at present. The Holy Spirit can change any heart!
The blood of Christ can cleanse away any sin!
We shall see many in heaven, whom we never expected to see there.
Grimshaw, the famous pastor of Yorkshire, when he died, left his only son unconverted, careless, thoughtless, and indifferent to true religion. The day came when the young man’s heart was changed, and he walked in the steps of his holy father. And when he lay upon his deathbed, one of his last words was, "What will my old father say--when he sees me in heaven!"
"Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save!" Isaiah 59:1
I heard a pastor say this morning that sometimes, he thought, that God had placed him in the midst of certain people that would no way ever come to the Lord. Whether they did or not, he reasoned that at least they would have the chance to hear the Gospel and never be able to use 'not hearing it' as an excuse on the Day of Judgment with God.
A little boy with an extra chromosome was born on April 18. His name is Trig Paxson Van Palin and his new home is the Alaska Governor's Mansion in Juneau. His mom is Governor Sarah Palin, who along with her husband Todd, has welcomed Trig as their second son and fifth child.
Governor Palin has already made a mark on the political scene. A high school basketball star and beauty queen, she was elected Alaska's governor in 2006. She is often mentioned as a potential running mate for Sen. John McCain. The Palins' other children include Track, their oldest son, who now serves in the U.S. Army. They also have three daughters, Bristol, Willow, and Piper.
Trig made news long before he was born, as Alaska's citizens learned that their governor was pregnant. Then, for the Palins, the story got more complicated.
This past December, Sarah Palin was told that her baby was likely to have Down syndrome -- just one extra chromosome.
As the Associated Press reports:
The doctor's announcement in December, when Palin was four months pregnant, presented her with a possible life- and career-changing development.
"I've never had problems with my other pregnancies, so I was shocked," said Palin.
"It took a while to open up the book that the doctor gave me about children with Down syndrome, and a while to log on to the Web site and start reading facts about the situation."
When he was told, Todd Palin quickly said, "We shouldn't be asking, 'Why us?' We should be saying, 'Well, why not us?'"
The Palins never considered aborting the baby. That means that Trig Palin is now is a very rare group of very special children, because it is now believed that the vast majority of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome before birth are being aborted.
Modern diagnostic tests are driving a "search and destroy mission" to eliminate babies judged to be inferior, disabled, or deformed. Some experts now believe that up to 90 percent of all pregnancies diagnosed as having a likelihood of Down syndrome end in abortion.
Back in 2005, ethicist George Neumayr commented: "Each year in America fewer and fewer disabled infants are born. The reason is eugenic abortion. Doctors and their patients use prenatal technology to screen unborn children for disabilities, then they use that information to abort a high percentage of them. Without much scrutiny or debate, a eugenics designed to weed out the disabled has become commonplace."
The Palins would not even consider aborting their baby. "We've both been very vocal about being pro-life," Governor Palin said. "We understand that every innocent life has wonderful potential."
She loves her baby boy and is proud of him. "I'm looking at him right now, and I see perfection," Palin told the Associated Press. "Yeah, he has an extra chromosome. I keep thinking, in our world, what is normal and what is perfect?"
Some ethicists now go so far as to argue for a "duty" to abort a baby with a Down diagnosis. This is an assault upon the dignity of every human being. The fact that so few Down syndrome babies now make it to birth is a sign that America is making its own pact with the Culture of Death.
Trig Paxson Van Palin has an extra chromosome, two proud and loving parents, four very happy siblings, and he will bring his own joy to untold numbers of lives.
He will face some unique challenges, but he has a loving family who will face those with him. They will learn together the wonder and beauty of a Down syndrome child and will learn to see the glory of God in his trusting face.
Mothers Day 2008 is certain to be a special day in the Alaska Governor's Mansion. What an unspeakable tragedy that so many other homes will have aborted that joy.
Welcome to the world, Trig Paxson Van Palin. Your very existence defies the Culture of Death and gives us all hope.
I came across this storyon CNN. Basically, the story is about the top ten things your body can do after you die. Here are the top ten without the explanations behind them (Click on the link to see that):
1. Get married
2. Unwind with a few friends
3. Tour the globe as a scandalous work of art
4. Fuel a city
5. Get sold, chop shop-style
6. Become a Soviet tourist attraction
7. Snuggle up with your stalker
8. Don't spread an epidemic
9. Stand trial
10. Stave off freezer burn
After reading the explanations behind the top ten things your body can do after you die, my mind was instantly thinking evangelism! Well, evangelism is just about all that's ever on my mind anyway.......
I was thinking about Mark Cahill's book, "The one thing you can't do in Heaven". There may very well indeed be a lot more than ten things your body can do after you die, but the one thing it won't be able to do is talk to someone about the things of God.
Think about it Christian, the moment you step into that glorious eternity to be with our Lord and meet Him face to face, you will gain so much the mind cannot comprehend it right now. Have you ever thought about the one precious thing you will lose once you enter Heaven?
You will lose the ability to stand face to face with a complete stranger, a cherished loved one, a co-worker, a teacher, a student, or anyone else for that matter, and witness the Gospel to that person.
The moment you, Christian, step out into eternity to shine in the light of the glory of God, you will have lost the opportunity forever to share the Good News.
Next time you're standing in line at the supermarket, the next time your waiting to get your hair cut, the next time your at the ball game, the next time your just out and about, witness to someone.
It may be the last opportunity you will ever have; it may also be that persons last chance to hear it as well.