We are trying to make the gospel acceptable to man as he is. The church becomes an Old Adam Improvement Society. Here is a prospective church member in a Sunday morning congregation. He is a man of the world, takes a social drink, swears, and, if tempted, is shaky morally. He wants to join the church. It helps business, will look good on his obituary, and is a status symbol. He may have a church letter. People are going to hell on church letters. Do we ask him whether he has ever been converted? He might be offended. If we challenged him to deny self, take up his cross, and follow Jesus, he might take off to some other church where he can be a member and live in any old way. Such a church would not be hard to find, Our Lord lost some of His best prospects. The rich young ruler would be received gladly today, with no questions asked and no sacrifice required. The status quo would not be disturbed. It might help some prospects today if their status were “un-quoted.”
Royal Robes and Sackcloth
And it came to pass, when the king heard the words of the woman, that he rent his clothes; and he passed by upon the wall and the people looked, and behold, he had sackcloth within upon his flesh.
II Kings 6:30
Jehoram, walking the walls of famine-stricken Samaria, wore a king’s garments without but sackcloth next to his flesh. What a picture of this poor world today, spiritually starving trying to be gay without to hide the floom within! The robes of royalty without but the rags of a beggar within! How it illustrates the plight of every sinner bedecked without in the colorful garb of this world but clad in the filthy rags of self-righteousness in his inmost soul!
Alas, there are too many in our churches robed in a profession of piety, a form of godliness; but beneath the sham, the shame-the sackcloth of fear and doubt and sin.
What a Samaria of hunger and want is ours today! God grant us a few lepers in the gate, as in the long ago, who will venture forward to find the bounty that God has prepared for all who trust Him and who refuse to sit still until they die!