Volume 22 Issue 11
“The enemy gains his end as effectually by what is termed “the religious world” as by any other agency; and hence, when he can succeed in getting a true Christian to accredit the religion of the day, he gains a grand point.”
I pulled a small book from my library shelf recently, and I had marked a passage many years ago that I have chosen to share with the readers of IBC Perspectives magazine. I submit it without comment, except to say, as does the author, “deeply ponder this.”
As a matter of course, men think it quite right for everyone to have a religion, let it be what it may. Provided we are sincere, and do not interfere with our neighbor’s creed, it does not matter what shape our religion may happen to wear. Such are the thoughts of men in reference to what they call religion: but it is very obvious that the glory of the name of Jesus finds no place in all this. The demand for separation is that which the enemy will ever oppose, and which the heart of man cannot understand. The heart may crave religiousness, because conscience testifies that all is not right; but it craves the world as well. It would like to “sacrifice to God in the land:” and Satan’s object is gained when people accept of a worldly religion, and refuse to “come out and be separate.” (2 Cor VI.) His unvarying purpose from the beginning has been to hinder the testimony to God’s name on the earth. Such was the dark tendency of the proposal. “Go ye. sacrifice to your God in the land.- (Ex. 8:25) What a complete damper to the testimony, had this proposal been acceded to! God’s people in Egypt and God Himself linked with the idols of Egypt! Terrible blasphemy!
Reader, we should deeply ponder this. The effort to induce Israel to worship God in Egypt reveals a far deeper principle than we might, at first sight, imagine. The enemy would rejoice, at any time, by any means, or under any circumstances, to get even the semblance of divine sanction for the world’s religion. He has no objections to such religion. He gains his end as effectually by what is termed “the religious world” as by any other agency; and hence, when he can succeed in getting a true Christian to accredit the religion of the day, he gains a grand point. As a matter of actual fact one knows that nothing elicits such intense indignation as the divine principle of separation from this present evil world. You may hold the same opinions, preach the same doctrines, do the same work; but if you only attempt, in ever so feeble a manner, to act upon the divine commands. “From such turn away” (2 Tim. iii. 5), and “Come out from among them” (2 Cor. vi. 17). you may reckon assuredly upon the most vigorous opposition. Now how is this to be accounted for? Mainly by the fact that Christians, in separation from this world’s hollow religiousness, bear a testimony for Christ which they never can bear while connected with it.
There is a very wide difference between human religion and Christ. A poor, benighted Hindoo [sic) might talk to you of his religion, but he knows nothing of Christ. The apostle does not say, If there be any consolation in religion; though, doubtless, the votaries of each kind of religion find what they deem consolation therein. Paul, on the other hand, found his consolation in Christ, having fully proved the worthlessness of religion, and that, too, in its fairest and most imposing form. (Comp. Gal. I. 13, 14; Phil. III 4-11.)
True, the Spirit of God speaks to us of “pure religion and undefiled; ” but the unregenerate man cannot, by any means, participate therein; for how could he possibly take part in aught that is “pure and undefiled”? This religion is from heaven, the source of all that is pure and lovely; it is exclusively before the eye of “God and the Father;” it is for the exercise of the functions of that new nature with which all are endowed who believe on the name of the Son of God. (John I. 12, 13; James I. 18; 1 Peter I. 23; 1 John v. 1.) Finally, it ranges itself under the two comprehensive heads of active benevolence and personal holiness.–To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” (James I 27)
From: “Notes on the Book of Exodus” 1862 C.H.M.(Charles Henry Mackintosh)