And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables, and said,…
I. One of the commonest excuses which men make to themselves for not accepting God's salvation is THE DESIRE TO MAKE SOME KIND OF PREPARATION FOR COMING TO CHRIST, "How can I come, who have no conviction of sin, no deep repentance, no earnestness?" But uniformly in God's Word salvation is offered to men as they are. "Now is God's accepted time. And the reason is obvious. The salvation offered in Christ is the one thing that can make us any better. We have no hope of getting better feelings, more spiritual desires, a deep and genuine repentance, until we accept Christ. He is exalted to give repentance, and you cannot have it without him. This hard impenitent heart, this unconcern about God, is precisely what identifies you as the person for whom salvation is urgently needed and to whom it is offered. I came not to call the righteous," etc. God's command is on you now, and bids you accept Christ. No preparation is required. Sin is the preparation for salvation. Christ does not say, "Come with sufficient earnestness, and I will save you," but "Come, and I will give you all you need."
II. But possibly you say, "I CAN'T REPENT IN MY OWN STRENGTH; I CAN'T BELIEVE IN MY OWN STRENGTH; I AM WAITING FOR THE SPIRIT, WITHOUT WHOSE AID I CANNOT COME TO CHRIST." Certainly this is true; but are you more ready for good than the Spirit is? Is it not rather true that he has been waiting for you, working in you? He who gives the command to come gives also the strength to obey it. The man with the withered hand might with truth have said, "I cannot," when bidden to stretch out his hand; but he believed and obeyed. "The Father's commandment is life everlasting." The Father is willing you should be saved, the Son is willing, the Spirit is willing. May not Christ be justified in saying to you, as he did to others, "Ye will not come unto me, that ye might have life"?
III. Another common excuse is that PROFESSING CHRISTIANS ARE NO BETTER THAN MANY WHO MAKE NO PROFESSION. But the presence of what is counterfeit in religion or in anything else should only make us careful that we receive the real thing and not the spurious. No man refuses his week's wage because his fellow workman has received a bad shilling. It matters not to you what other men have made of religion; each man must give account of himself to God. And those persons of whom you speak so bitterly are not more bound to set you an example than you are to set them. The fact that you make no profession saves you indeed from the faults of professing Christians, but condemns you with a special guilt, "He that believeth not is condemned already," etc. The sins of others cannot save you from this great condemnation.
IV. A man sometimes pleads that RELIGION IS A VERY SERIOUS MATTER, AND THAT HE HAS NOT TIME TO DETERMINE WHAT ATTITUDE HE SHOULD TAKE UP WITH REGARD TO IT. If this is true, it ought not to be so. Time has no right to cheat a man out of eternity. If there be any truth in what Christ says, you are spending your strength for naught and in vain. Whatever you are giving yourself to, God's judgment about man's work remains, "This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." Until this be done, all your activity is like the hard running of a messenger who has left his message behind him; the harder he runs the further back he has to go before he can be of any use. What is the use of all your toil if you are not at one with God, if you are not obeying his commands?
V. There are those who sincerely grieve that THESE DIFFICULTIES STAND IN THEIR WAY, BUT YET THERE THEY ARE, AND WHAT CAN THEY SAY? But he who determines to have all his difficulties solved before he takes the practical step of choosing Christ as his Saviour, inverts the right order of procedure, inverts God's order; for his law is, "If any man will do the will of God, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God." Do you see your way to attain holiness without the Spirit and the other aids God offers? or, if you do not, how do you propose to justify yourself in living on without asking God for these aids? It may be that for some such reasons as these you may be declining to make a profession which you ought to make. But is there really any need to bring further light or even persuasion to bear on you? Are you not already convinced that the thing for you now is distinctly to close with Christ as your Lord and Saviour? There is always danger in delay; you cannot tell What influences you may shortly come under which will quite turn your mind away from serious and earnest dealing with Christ. But apart from the danger, your first question ought to be in this as in all other matters, "Is it my duty to delay? What ought I now to do?" - D.
Parallel VersesKJV: And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said,