Three Great Difficulties†††††††††††††††††††††††††
††††††††††† Paul was very concerned for the Gatltians. Though they professed faith in Christ, he was fearful that they may have become so corrupted by legalism that they might prove to be reprobate at last. The fact is, every gospel preacher is faced with three great difficulties as he labors for the souls of men, seeking to bring them to Christ.
††††††††††† The first difficulty in conversion is TO GET A PERSON LOST - REALLY LOST. The hardest thing in the world to find is a sinner who is really lost. In the years of my ministry, I have met very few people who were really lost. That is to say, people who knew that they were lost, so thoroughly and completely lost that no system of works, no law, no code of morality could do them any good. There are many people who will admit that they are weak, and in need of help. There are even some who will admit that they are sinful, and in need of some atonement. But there are few people in this world who will acknowledge that they are totally and justly lost under the wrath of God, in need of salvation by pure grace alone. Only the Holy Spirit can produce a lost sinner. The first thing that must be done is to get a man lost. Only real sinners seek real grace.
††††††††††† The second difficulty is TO TEACH A PERSON THE GOSPEL OF THE GRACE OF GOD. There are few people in this world who have ever heard the gospel, and fewer still who ever really learn it. The gospel of Godís free-grace in Christ comes to the lost sinner without any return on his part. It is the free gift of God, from beginning to end. Even repentance, faith, and good works are gifts of his grace. It is a very difficult thing for men to learn the gospel, because it is opposed to our pride, wisdom, prejudices, and traditions.
††††††††††† The third great difficulty in conversion is TO BRING SINNERS TO REST IN CHRIST ALONE. We must rest entirely upon Christ. We must never grow beyond that. We are to live all the days of our lives trusting that same grace and love that first took us in. We are chosen, redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and kept by grace alone.
Here I raise mine Ebenezer; Hither by Thy help Iím come:
And I hope by Thy good pleasure Safely to arrive at home.
"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him" (Col. 2:6). We place no hope whatsoever in our obedience to the law of God. We have neither salvation, nor sanctification, nor reward by our obedience to the law. We trust Christ alone for all things.
††††††††††† The law of God has but one proper use. It was given for only one purpose. It was not given as a code of moral ethics, to be the believerís rule of life, a motive for Christian service, a measure of sanctification, a basis of assurance, or a basis for reward in heaven. The purpose of Godís holy law is to expose manís sin, shutting him up to Christ alone for acceptance with God. The law of God has no other function. It shuts us up to Christ by indentifying and condemning our sin. Once it has driven us to Christ, it has nothing more to do with us (Gal 3:23-25).