Am I in the Right Road?
This is a very necessary question—for if we are not in the right road, we shall never arrive at the place we wish to get to. But it is not a question to be proposed only to a few—for there are many who do not know the right road. And before any judicious person would attempt to answer it, he should ask two or three more questions:
WHERE do you wish to go?If you answer, "To Heaven!" then no question can be more important. So do you really wish to go to heaven? That is, do you really wish . . .
to be perfectly holy;
to have all your evil habits corrected;
to have all your sinful desires conquered;
to have all your carnal indulgences overcome;
to be full of love to God;
to have God enthroned in your heart;
to praise him without ceasing;
to be like Jesus in every way?
This is heaven! For though there is a place called heaven, heaven is rather a state—than a place. Any place would be a heaven—if God were present, and if our souls were prepared to adore his perfections, perform his will, and enjoy his fellowship. Is this what you mean by heaven? Do you really wish to be made perfectly holy, to arrive at the place of God's throne, and to spend an eternity in his worship and service? If so, let me now ask:
What COURSE do you pursue?Is the Bible your directory? Is the worship of God your element? Is the Lord Jesus Christ your "way?" He says, "I am the way; no man comes unto the Father but by me." A way, you know, is that which lies between us—and the place we wish to go to, and which leads us to it. Transfer this figure to a person, and he is a mediator—one that comes between God and us, and through whom we may approach God, and be admitted into the presence of God.
Now, a road is of no use to us, if we do not venture on it, travel along it, and strive to arrive at the end of it. So Christ profits us nothing, if we do not come to him, venture our souls on him, and come to God and glory by him. Christ is as necessary, in order to our access to God, acceptance with God, and admission into the glorious presence of God—as a road is to lead us to a place.
A road which we never use, is of no advantage to us; so if we have no faith in Christ, no personal dealings with the blood of Christ, no fellowship with God through Christ—he is of no saving advantage to us. God will not admit us into his presence—but through Christ; he will not hear our prayers, if they are not offered in the name of Christ; he will not allow us to enter heaven, if we are not washed in the blood and clothed in the righteousness of Christ. The question, then, is—are you in Christ? Or, are you coming unto God by Christ? Or, is Christ to you, in reference to heaven, what a good road is in reference to a place you want to go to? Again I may ask:
What COMPANIONS do you meet with in the road you are taking?Are they saints—or sinners? Are they spiritual—or carnal? "Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leads unto life—and only a few find it." Now, if your road is thronged with travelers, if they are worldly, or merely moral men—then you are not in the right road.
You can tell saints from sinners by their TALK—they speak of the glorious majesty of Christ's kingdom, and talk of his salvation. You can tell saints from sinners by their WALK—they walk in the commandments and ordinances of the Lord. You can tell saints from sinners by their SPIRIT—for the Spirit of God dwells in them. You can tell saints from sinners by their grand OBJECT—for they aim to glorify God in their bodies and spirits, which are God's.
Now, are your companions and associates such? Do you wish to associate with the godly and holy at all times and everywhere? Can you say with David, "I am a companion of all those who fear you, and walk in your statutes?" Once more I may ask:
What OBJECTS do you see before you?Are the examples of the godly set up in your path? Is Christ, as the great pattern to be constantly met with? Is perfect holiness the mark you aim at? Is there a sparkling crown of glory in the distance, promised to every overcomer? Are you now passing through a land of briers and thorns, through a wilderness of difficulties and dangers—with the glorious land in view? Do you live anticipating the coming of the Lord Jesus, as the Sovereign of his church, and the Judge of all? If so, there is no question, but you are in the right road. If you live by faith in the Son of God, if you walk in love, if your way is the way of holiness, if your grand object is to glorify God now, that you may enjoy him forever—then you are in the right road.
But is this the case? Are you in the right road? For if you are not, you will never reach heaven. There is no path to heaven—but the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no walking in him—but by a living faith. There is no living faith, where there is not holiness of heart and life.
If you should be in the wrong road—then every step you take will lead you farther and farther from God, and, consequently, farther and farther from heaven; so that at the close of life, which may now be near, you will be farther from heaven than you were at the beginning of it! And at death, you will be farther from heaven than at any period in your whole life! This is a solemn, a fearful thought. It calls for self-examination, for immediate investigation.
We are either on the road to heaven—or on the road to hell; and every day we make some progress; so that we are nearer to heaven or hell every night that we lie down upon our pillows. We never were so near to heaven as now—if we are in the right road; but we never were so near to hell as now—if we are in the wrong road. Holy Spirit! throw light upon our minds, throw light upon our path—that we may know whether we are in the right road, or in the wrong road!
Dear reader, ponder this question. Ascertain the fact. Come to a certainty upon this point, for of all points—this is of the greatest consequence. If you are in the right road—press forward in it! If you are not—seek it, nor ever rest until you know beyond a doubt that you are in it.