by James Smith, 1860
"One thing you lack." Mark 10:21
How very near some people come to true religion--and yet they are not true believers. They are so nearly like Christians, that we can scarcely distinguish the difference; and yet they are not the children of God, by faith in Jesus Christ. The conduct is changed--but not the heart. They have never passed from death unto life. They are not born of the Spirit. They are not taught of God. Like the young man who came to Christ, they are prepared to do many things--but not to make a full, free, and absolute surrender to the Savior. They are moral, well disposed, kind hearted, and have tolerably correct views of gospel doctrine--and yet they lack one thing.
We must be born again. We must be created anew in Christ Jesus. We must be brought under the training and teaching of the Holy Spirit. Everything short of this, leaves us in the gall of bitterness, and in the bonds of iniquity.
Yes, we must have the life of God within us, and where
sin is perceived, loathed, and forsaken;
the Lord Jesus Christ is received--to save, to teach, and to govern;
the affections are weaned from earth, and are set upon things above;
the treasure is in Heaven, and consequently the heart is there;
everything needed, or desired, is treasured up in Jesus, and therefore he is precious to the soul;
the one grand object and aim is, to be like Christ, to honor Christ, and be with Christ;
everything is given up to Christ, and if required, even life itself.
With Mary at the Savior's feet--we choose the good part, enjoy the one thing needful, and have no reason to fear, that it will be said to us, "One thing you lack!"
If we have not the one thing--we cannot be happy.
If we have not the one thing--we are not safe, for we are not holy.
But if we are in possession of the great secret, then we receive grace from
Christ, realize union to Christ, and live in fellowship with Christ. We
submit to his will, lay down at his feet, and contentedly follow wherever he
leads. Now we are . . .
fit for Heaven,
prepared for sickness, and
can triumph over death.
We have Christ now, and we shall possess Christ forever. He is our portion, and on him we shall live, and in him we shall rejoice, in time and eternity.
With Christ ruling in the heart--we shall be holy;
with Christ pleading for us in Heaven--we shall be safe;
with Christ working for us in providence--we shall be supplied.
Instead then of lacking one thing, and that the grand thing--we have all things.
Reader, how is it with you? Don't stop short of the mark.
The young man brought a question to Christ to be solved--but he did not
bring his soul to be saved. He had no objection to do many things, but he
would not part with all for Christ. He loved his wealth, his station, and
his respectability--more than the Savior. He had not been soundly convinced
of sin, or stripped of self; nor did he know, that without Christ, he was
wretched, and miserable, poor, blind, and naked. And therefore he went away
from Christ very sorrowful, to . . .
die in sin, and
He was not far from the kingdom--but he never entered it. He was almost saved--but he was completely lost. And methinks, one of his bitterest reflections in Hell must be--that he came to Christ and would not make the required surrender; that he found the pearl of great price--but would not go and sell all that he had and buy it. By the gates of Heaven, he passed to the depths of Hell!
Ah, foolish choice of treasures here!
Ah, fatal love of tempting gold!
Must this base world be bought so dear,
Are life and Heaven so cheaply sold?
In vain the charms of nature shine,
If this vile passion governs me:
Transform my soul, O love divine,
And make me part with all for Thee.