This is my heart’s cry: That the ‘ploughshare’ be sent deeper. That my love for Christ is not an emotional medley of hearsay theology, but that it might be rooted and grounded in the eternal Truths of His Word. My heart aches while considering how so few desire to pursue a clearer picture of the Heavenly One, the Holy One, the Savior, the Righteous God. We squeeze out our tears and lift up barren hands on Sunday… then go on as if He did not give us anything at all… as if His radical plan of salvation is worthy of a few twinges of grateful (perhaps guilty) acknowledgment. How hollow is our ‘religion’? How fair-weather is our ‘friendship’ with Christ?
I speak as one who would be condemned, not as the condemner. He knows my heart well, how desperately wicked, how futile my efforts to grasp eternity would be, if not for the Spirit working in me, if not for the finished work of Christ that brings the sinner into favour with God. (Bonar) How far exceeding is His grace to make Christ the perfect substitute on our behalf that we might approach Him as our Abba. Do we contemplate the marvel of the gospel enough? Or is it worn and wearisome to us?
Is it enough to be recognized and commended as a believer, impressing with outward professions of faith but void of inward reformation and renewal? Does it suffice to be warmed by the coziness of a loving Christ and yet be offended by the scope of His Sovereignty and wrath?
I’m echoing the words of Horatius Bonar, a 19th-century preacher, in his book “Everlasting Righteousness”:
Religion is fashionable in our age…But… Is it that of apostles and prophets? Is it the calm yet thorough religion which did such great deeds in other days? Has it gone deep into the conscience? Has it filled the heart? has it pervaded the man? Or has it left the conscience unpacified, the heart unfilled, the man unchanged, save with some external appliances of religiousness, which leaves him hollow as before? There is at this moment many an aching spirit, bitterly conscious of this hollowness. The doctrine, the profession, the good report of others, the bustle of work, will not fill the soul. God Himself must be there, with His covering righteousness, His cleansing blood, His quickening Spirit. Without this, religion is but a shell: holy services are dull and irksome. Joy in God, which is the soul and essence of worship, is unknown. Sacraments, prayer-meetings, religious services, labours of charity, will not make up for the living God.
May His Word so deeply probe, penetrate, excavate our hearts that stubborn roots of unbelief may be ripped out and replaced by a humble, ‘more excellent’ treasure.