Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Only Change That Counts

“Oh, yes!” says a man, “I used to be an Arminian, now I have become a Calvinist;” or, “I used to be a Churchman, and now I have joined the Baptists;” or, “I used to be a Papist, and I have become a Protestant.” Well, and what difference will that make, if you have not a new nature? A thief is a thief, whatever name he may bear - no change of name will make him honest. You may be quite as bad in one denomination as in another, for hypocrisy and formalism are found among all sorts of professors. If you take a raven and put it in a brass cage, or a silver cage, or a golden cage, it is a raven still; and so, if you, join this church or that church, unless your nature is changed, you are an unsaved sinner.

Let me add that, though it is a useful thing to have the outward conversation changed, yet that is not enough. It is a great blessing when a drunkard becomes a tee-totaller; it is a great blessing when the thief becomes honest; it is a great blessing when any vice is given up, and the opposite virtue is carried out; but that is not the matter. “Ye must be born again.”

From a sermon entitled "Ephraim Bemoaning Himself," delivered March 31, 1867. Image by Dawn Endico under Creative Commons License.

No comments: