VALLEY REFORMED CHURCH
Savoring God through literacy in His literal Word
When we ask: "Is Christ your LORD?", we do not inquire, Do you believe in the Godhood of Jesus of Nazareth? The demons do that (Matt. 8:28, 29) and yet perish notwithstanding! You may be firmly convinced of the Deity of Christ, and yet be in your sins. You may speak of Him with the utmost reverence, accord Him His Divine titles in your prayers, and yet be unsaved. You may abominate those who traduce His person and deny His Divinity, and yet have no spiritual love for Him at all.
When we ask, "Is Christ your LORD?" we mean, does He in very deed occupy the throne of your heart, does He actually rule over your life? "We have turned every one to his own way" (Isa. 53:6), describes the course which all follow by nature. Before conversion every soul lives to please self. Of old it was written, "every man did that which was right in his own eyes", and why? "In those days there was no king in Israel" (Judges 21:25). Ah! that is the point we desire to make clear to the reader. Until Christ becomes your King (1 Tim. 1:17; Rev. 15:3), until you bow to his sceptre, until His will becomes the rule of your life, SELF dominates, and thus Christ is disowned.
When the Holy Spirit begins His work of grace in a soul, He first convicts of sin. He shows me the real and awful nature of sin. He makes me realize that it is a species of insurrection, a defying of God's authority, a setting of my will against His. He shows me that in going my "own way" (Isa. 53:6), in pleasing myself, I have been fighting against God. As my eyes are opened to see what a lifelong rebel I have been, how indifferent to God's honor, how unconcerned about His will, I am filled with anguish and horror, and made to marvel that the thrice Holy One has not long since cast me into Hell. Reader, have you ever gone through this experience? If not, there is very grave reason to fear you are yet spiritually dead!
Conversion, true conversion, saving conversion, is a turning from sin to God in Christ. It is a throwing down the weapons of my warfare against Him, a ceasing to despise or ignore His authority. New Testament conversion is described thus: "Ye turned to God from idols to serve (be in subjection to, obey) the living and true God" (1 Thess. 1:9). An "idol" is any object to which we give what is due alone unto God--the supreme place in our affections, the moulding influence of our hearts, the dominating power of our lives. Conversion is a right-about-face, the heart and will repudiating sin, self, and the world. Genuine conversion is always evidenced by "Lord. what wilt Thou have me to do?" (Acts 9:6). It is an unreserved surrendering of ourselves to His holy will. Have you yielded yourself to Him (Rom. 6:13)?
There are many people who would like to be saved from Hell, but who do not want to be saved from self-will, from having their own way, from a life of (some form of) worldliness. But God will not save them on their terms. To be saved, we must submit to HIS terms. Listen to His terms. "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him" (Isa. 55:7). Said Christ, "Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be My disciple" (Luke 14:33). Men must be turned "from darkness to light, and the power of Satan unto God" before they can "receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified" (Acts 26:18).
"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk ye in Him" (Col. 2:6). That is an exhortation to Christians, and its force is, Continue as you begin. But how had they "begun" By receiving "Christ Jesus the Lord"; by surrendering to Him, by subjecting themselves to His will, by ceasing to please themselves. His authority was now owned. His commands now became their rule of life, His love constrained them to a glad and unreserved obedience. They "gave their own selves to the Lord" (2 Cor. 8:5). Have you, my reader, done this? Have you? Do the details of your life evidence it? Can those with whom you come into contact see that you are no more living to please self (2 Cor. 5:15)?
O my reader, make no mistake upon this point: a conversion which the Holy Spirit produces is a very radical thing. It is a miracle of grace. It is the enthroning of Christ in the life. And such conversions are rare indeed. Multitudes of people have just sufficient "religion" to make them miserable. They refuse to forsake every known sin--and there is no true peace for any soul until he does. They have never "received Christ Jesus the Lord" (Col. 2:6). Had they done so, "the joy of the Lord" would be their strength (Neh. 8:10). But the language of their hearts and lives (not their "lips") is, "We will not have this Man to reign over us" (Luke 1.9:14). Is that your case?
The great miracle of grace consists in changing a lawless rebel into a loving and loyal subject. It is a "renewing" of the heart, so that the favored subject of it has come to loathe what he loved, and the things he once found irksome are now winsome (2 Cor. 5:17). He delights "in the law of God after the inward man" (Rom. 7:22). He discovers that Christ's "commandments are not grievous" (1 John 5:3), and that "in keeping of them there is great reward" (Psa. 19:11). Is this your experience? It would be if you received Christ Jesus THE LORD!
But to receive Christ Jesus the Lord is altogether beyond unaided human power. That is the last thing which the unrenewed heart wants to do. There must be a supernatural change of heart before there is even the desire for Christ to occupy its throne. And that change, none but God can work (1 Cor. 12:3). Therefore, "Seek ye the Lord while He may be found" (Isa. 55:6). "Search" for Him "with all your heart" (Jer. 29:13). Reader, you may have been a professing Christian for years past and you may have been quite sincere in your profession. But if God has condescended to use this tract to show you that you have never really and truly "received Christ Jesus the Lord", if now in your own soul and conscience you realize that SELF has ruled you hitherto, will you not now get down on your knees and confess to God your self-will, your rebellion against Him, and beg Him to so work in you that, without further delay, you may be enabled to yield yourself completely to His will and become His subject, His servant, His loving slave, in deed and in truth?