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24 November, 2013

Alarm To The Unconverted - The MARKS of the Unconverted

The MARKS of the Unconverted

While we keep aloof in general statements, there is little fruit to be expected; it is the close hand-fight that does execution. David is not awakened by the prophet's hovering at a distance in parabolic insinuations. Nathan is forced to close with him, and tell him plainly, 'You are the man!' [2 Sam 12:7] Few will, in words, deny the necessity of the new birth; but they have a self-deluding confidence that the work is not to be done now

And because they know themselves to be free from that gross hypocrisy which takes up religion merely for a color to deceive others, and for covering wicked designs, they are confident of their sincerity, and do not suspect that more close hypocrisy, in which the greatest danger lies and by which a man deceives his own soul. But man's deceitful heart is such a matchless cheat—and self-delusion so reigning and so fatal a disease—that I do not know which is the greater—the difficulty, or the necessity of the undeceiving work that I am now upon. Alas for the unconverted, they must be undeceived—or they will be undone! But how shall this be effected?

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'Help, O all-searching Light, and let Your discerning eye disclose the rotten foundation of the self-deceiver. Lead me, O Lord God, as You did the prophet, into the chambers of imagery, and dig through the wall of sinners' hearts, and reveal the hidden abominations that are lurking out of sight in the dark. O send Your angel before me to open the sundry wards of their hearts, as You did before Peter, and make even the iron gates fly open of their own accord. And as Jonathan no sooner tasted the honey but his eyes were enlightened, so grant, O Lord, that when the poor deceived souls with whom I have to do shall cast their eyes upon these lines, their minds may be illuminated, and their consciences convinced and awakened, that they may see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and be converted, and You may heal them.'

This must be premised before we proceed, that it is most certain that men may have a confident persuasion that their hearts and states are good—while yet they are unsound. Hear the Truth Himself who shows, in Laodicea's case, that men may be wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked—and yet not know it. Yes, they may be confident they are rich, and increased in grace (Rev 3:17). 'There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes—and yet are not washed from their filthiness' (Prov 30:12). Who better persuaded of his state than Paul, while he yet remained unconverted? (Rom 7:9). So that they are miserably deceived who take a strong confidence for a sufficient evidence. Those who have no better proof than barely a strong persuasion that they are converted—are certainly as yet strangers to conversion.

But to come closer. As it was said to the adherents of Antichrist, so here—some of the unconverted carry their marks in their forehead more openly, and some in their hands more covertly. The apostle reckons up some upon whom he writes the sentence of death, as in these dreadful catalogues which I beseech you to attend to with all diligence: 'For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person--such a man is an idolater--has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient.' (Eph 5:5-6). 'But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars--their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. 

This is the second death' (Rev 21:8). 'Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God' (1 Cor 6:9-10). Woe to those who have their name written in this catalogue. Such may know, as certainly as if God had told them from heaven, that they are unsanctified, and under an impossibility of being saved in this condition.......

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