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September 12 Today’s Reading: Hosea 8-14
“What shall I do unto thee?”
“O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away.” — It is a fact that many, upon hearing the Gospel preached in the power of the Holy Spirit, experience deep religious convictions, which soon die away like the morning dew. Lot’s wife (Genesis 19:15-16), Israel at the Red Sea (Exodus 15:2, 22-24), the rich young ruler (Luke 18:18-23), Felix, the Roman Governor (Acts 22:24-25), and King Agrippa (Acts 26:28), all heard God speak and were moved toward repentance by the Word. But their convictions did not last long. Many others went further than these. Under deep conviction, Ananias and Saphira, Simon Magus, and Demas professed faith in Christ, united with His people, and served His cause for a while. But in time their convictions died.
Moved, but Not Saved
Most people who sit under the sound of the Gospel are, at one time or another, moved by it. Few will read these lines who have not been convicted, in some measure, and moved toward repentance by the Word of God. God has spoken to you by His Word. Has he not? You have heard His voice in the Gospel. Yet, you harden your heart. You lay aside the claims of Christ in the Gospel, like Felix, saying, “At a more convenient season I will call for thee.” But, like the morning dew before the rising sun, your convictions die away. Be warned, my friend. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. There are multitudes in hell who once wept and prayed over their souls (Read Proverbs 29:1).
How many there are who once stood as pillars in the visible church of God whose convictions died away in time. They began well. But they are no longer among us. They did much, moved by conviction. They gave much, moved by conviction. But, where are they now? What happened? The convictions they once felt so strongly died altogether.
Are your convictions dying? Here are three symptoms of dying convictions: (1.) The Neglect of Private Prayer — (2.) The Neglect of Holy Scripture — (3.) The Neglect of Public Worship. — “Be watchful and strengthen the things which remain” (Revelation 3:2).
Why do the convictions of many die? I have preached to many who wept, but repented not. And I have preached to many who appeared to be truly penitent, who appeared to be men and women of strong, firm conviction, whose convictions faded away like the morning dew before the sun. How does this happen? Why do the convictions of many die? Here are four answers to those questions…
1. They never knew their own quilt, depravity, sin, and helplessness before God. You may see the doctrine of total depravity very clearly, without having any personal knowledge of inward corruption.
2. They never saw the beauty, glory, and fulness of Christ. Many know the doctrine of Christ who never embraced Christ. Many see His doctrine who never see Him. Many love His doctrine who never love Him.
3. They never bowed to the rule and dominion of Christ as their Lord. Many want a Savior to keep them out of hell who refuse to bow to Christ as Lord to rule over them. But Christ will not be your Savior if He is not your Lord.
4. They still love the world. If you love the world, the love of God is not in you. Nothing is more deadly than the cares and pleasures of the world and the deceitfulness of riches. Sooner or later, the love of the world will cause conviction to die. Materialism will destroy conviction.
Dying convictions are natural, legal convictions. Saving faith is the result of Holy Spirit conviction (John 16:8-11). True, saving, Holy Ghost conviction only grows and increases; but legal convictions are only dying convictions. And dying convictions are seldom corrected. God will not always speak to those who refuse to hear. He will not always call those who refuse to obey. There is such a thing as judicial reprobation. God will fix it so that those who will not obey the Gospel cannot obey. If you harden your heart, God will harden your heart (Proverbs 1:23-33; Luke 13:23-27). Take heed. In the Word of God I see no record of God ever crossing a sinner’s path more than once! God has no method of saving sinners, but that which you have heard in the Gospel. If you reject the Gospel, you reject life. Convictions that are put off tend to make the heart harden. Just as iron is hardened by being melted and cooled again, so is the heart of man.