A nice little wake up call from Francis Chan.
When we have carried you to your narrow bed, let us not have to hunt up stray words, and scraps of religion, in order to make out that you were a true believer. Let us not have to say in a hesitating way one to another, “I trust he is happy; he talked so nicely one day; and he seemed so pleased with a chapter in the Bible on another occasion; and he liked such a person, who is a good man.” Let us be able to speak decidedly as to your condition. Let us have some solid proof of your repentance, your faith, and your holiness, so that none shall be able for a moment to question your state.
Depend on it, without this, those you leave behind can feel no solid comfort about your soul. We may use the form of religion at your burial, and express charitable hopes. We may meet you at the churchyard gate, and say, “Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord.” But this will not alter your condition! If you die without conversion to God, without repentance, and without faith–your funeral will only be the funeral of a lost soul; you had better never have been born.
God is more interested in our holiness than in our comfort. He more greatly delights in the integrity and purity of his church than in the material well-being of its members. He shows himself more clearly to men and women who enjoy him and obey him than to men and women whose horizons revolve around good jobs, nice houses, and reasonable health. He is far more committed to building a corporate “temple’ in which his Spirit dwells than he is in preserving our reputations. He is more vitally disposed to display his grace than to flatter our intelligence. He is more concerned for justice than for our ease. He is more deeply committed to stretching our faith than our popularity. He prefers that his people live in disciplined gratitude and holy joy rather than in pushy self-reliance and glitzy happiness. He wants us to pursue daily death, not self-fulfillment, for the latter leads to death, while the former leads to life. —D.A. Carson
“I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world; but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am.”
“God knows instantly and effortlessly all matter and all matters, all mind and every mind, all spirit and all spirits, all being and every being, all creaturehood and all creatures, every plurality and all pluralities, all law and every law, all relations, all causes, all thoughts, all mysteries, all enigmas, all feelings, all desires, every unuttered secret, all thrones and dominions, all personalities, all things visible and invisible in heaven and in earth, motion, space, time, life, death, good, evil, heaven, and hell.
“Because God knows all things perfectly, He knows no thing better than any other thing, but all things equally well. He never discovers anything. He is never surprised, never amazed. He never wonders about anything nor (except when drawing men out for their own good) does He seek information or ask questions.”
“. . . And to us who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope that is set before us in the gospel, how unutterably sweet is the knowledge that our Heavenly Father knows us completely. No talebearer can inform on us, no enemy can make an accusation stick; no forgotten skeleton can come tumbling out of some hidden closet to abash us and expose our past; no unsuspected weakness in our characters can come to light to turn God away from us, since He knew us utterly before we knew Him and called us to Himself in the full knowledge of everything that was against us.”
A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy, pp. 87-89
“I am convinced that multitudes of confessing Christians have been sold a lie when it comes to their eternal destinies. In our contemporary efforts to spread the Gospel to as many people as possible, I believe we have so maligned and manipulated and misrepresented the very Gospel that we have wished to spread. We have formulated the Gospel as a ‘plan of salvation’ and forgotten the Gospel as the power of God for salvation. We have pared it down to the minimalist picture, the smallest picture, and it gets smaller and smaller and smaller into a shrink-wrapped presentation that if one delivers it and gets someone to say the right things back to them, and even pray the right things back to them, then we pronounce them saved and we move on. And multitudes of professing Christians have been told that as long as they prayed that prayer or walked down that aisle and talked to that person or signed that card, that their salvation is complete. And the result is a host of professing Christians, including many people in this room, think that they are eternally saved from their sins when the reality is they are not. And the reason is because we’ve taken the Gospel, the very lifeblood, out of Christianity and we’ve put kool-aid in its place . . .
“. . . Do you think that it’s possible in 20th century – 21st century Christianity that we have taken threads of the Word here and there, pieced them together with our thoughts and our traditions and our external standards and our ideas about what makes us OK with God, put it all together and said, ‘If you do these things you’ll be alright’? I think it’s entirely possible to do that. I think it’s entirely possible that we have done that. You listen to how salvation, the Gospel, is sold today –‘Accept Jesus into your heart’ . . . ‘Invite Christ into your life’ . . . ‘Make Jesus Lord’. None of these are Biblical phrases. None of them. Now that should throw up red flags — that in the most important issue that determines our eternal destinies we are using phrases that are not even displayed in Scripture, shouldn’t it? You will struggle in this Book to find anyplace where someone says, ‘Bow your head, close your eyes, and pray this prayer with me’. You won’t find it. We have taken the Gospel and substituted language and thoughts and practices that are not displayed in Scripture. The reality is that the Gospel confronts us face to face with the law of God, confronts us with the lordship of Christ, confronts each and every one of us with the depth of our sinfulness before God — the necessity of Christ’s death on a cross to take the wrath of God upon Himself, the necessity of His resurrection to provide victory over sin and death and the grave. The Gospel confronts us with the demand to repent, the enabling to repent, to turn from sin and to turn to Christ. Now these are Biblical terms. These are Biblical terms, but modern day evangelism has cast them aside and has built an evangelism on sinking sand that is disillusioning millions of souls. Biblical evangelism involves wrestling with the depth of the sinfulness of our soul, crying out to God because we realize that we have absolutely no where else to turn. Biblical evangelism sees Jesus not as someone who is looking for an invitation, but Jesus is the one who is infinitely worthy of all glory and demands immediate, total obedience — immediate and total surrender. And Biblical evangelism knows nothing of saying a prayer and then going on and living your life like nothing has happened. Biblical evangelism demands radical obedience to Christ.”