Worldly men varnished over with religion
and the World")
"Having a form of godliness
but denying its power."
2 Timothy 3:5
There are many religious professors, whose object
seems to be, to get hold of both worlds. They want
as much of worldly comfort and pleasure as will
gratify their carnal tastes. Their life is a
compromise. Their object is . . .
to balance between two adverse interests;
to adjust the conflicting claims of this world
and of the world
to please and to serve two masters;
to gratify two tastes;
to walk in two opposite ways at once;
to secure the friendship of the world without
These are, in fact, worldly
with religion--that is all. There
are many of these
in our day, when religion is
fashionable. They have
never broken with sin,
nor crucified self, nor taken
up the cross. Their
heart is not right with God.
Some of these are people who have been brought
up in worldliness, and who have, as they grew up,
added a little religion to their worldliness--to
make it respectable. They have merely 'religionized
the outer man'--leaving the inner man unmelted,
unbroken, and unrenewed. They have passed
through a certain religious process--but not
experienced the heavenly change, without
which they cannot enter the kingdom of God.
There has been . . .
no breaking off from sin;
no surrender of the soul to God;
no crucifixion of the old man;
no resurrection to newness of life.
After a while, in such cases, a deep and fixed
'formalism' settles in. Earnestness has faded away,
and left nothing but its dregs. The soul has become
sapless and insensible. The edge of feeling, both
upon heart and conscience, has become blunted.
The 'routine of religion' is still gone through, and
the 'profession' still kept up; but all within is dried
up and withered . . .
there is no enjoyment of spiritual things;
the service of God is a burden;
praise and prayer are irksome;
sermons and sacraments are wearisome;
and the poor professor moves on in his heartless
career. Outwardly he is still religious--but at heart
he is unspiritual and worldly.
These are the 'ambiguous disciples' of our age,
who belong to Christ only in name. These are the
stony-ground or thorny-ground hearers. Such a
man's whole religious life is one grand delusion;
and every step he takes in it is a blunder, and a
stumble, and a snare. Let such a man know that,
in his present half-worldly, half-religious condition,
he has no real religion at all. It is a fabrication,
O worldly formalist, fling away your vain hopes!
Give up your fond idea of securing both earth and
heaven. Go straight to Calvary; there be crucified
to the world, and the world to you, by the cross of
Christ. Go straight to Him who died and rose again,
and drink into His love. One draught, no, one drop
of that love will forever quench your love of sin,
and be the death of that worldliness which
threatens to be your eternal ruin!