Worldly men varnished over with religion!

(Horatius Bonar, "Christ and the World")

"Having a form of godliness but denying its power." 2 Timothy 3:5

There are many religious professors, whose object seems to be, to get hold of both worlds. They want as much of worldly comfort and pleasure as will gratify their carnal tastes. Their life is a compromise. Their object is . . .
  to balance between two adverse interests;
  to adjust the conflicting claims of this world
    and of the world to come;
  to please and to serve two masters;
  to gratify two tastes;
  to walk in two opposite ways at once;
  to secure the friendship of the world without
    losing the friendship of God.

These are, in fact, worldly men varnished over with religion—that is all. There are many of these in our day, when religion is fashionable. They have never broken with sin, nor crucified self, nor taken up the cross. Their heart is not right with God.

Some of these are people who have been brought up in worldliness, and who have, as they grew up, added a little religion to their worldliness—to make it respectable. They have merely 'religionized the outer man'—leaving the inner man unmelted, unbroken, and unrenewed. They have passed through a certain religious process—but not experienced the heavenly change, without which they cannot enter the kingdom of God. There has been . . .
  no broken-heartedness;
  no breaking off from sin;
  no surrender of the soul to God;
  no crucifixion of the old man;
  no resurrection to newness of life.

After a while, in such cases, a deep and fixed 'formalism' settles in. Earnestness has faded away, and left nothing but its dregs. The soul has become sapless and insensible. The edge of feeling, both upon heart and conscience, has become blunted. The 'routine of religion' is still gone through, and the 'profession' still kept up; but all within is dried up and withered . . .
  there is no enjoyment of spiritual things;
  the service of God is a burden;
  praise and prayer are irksome;
  sermons and sacraments are wearisome;
and the poor professor moves on in his heartless career. Outwardly he is still religious—but at heart he is unspiritual and worldly.

These are the 'ambiguous disciples' of our age, who belong to Christ only in name. These are the stony-ground or thorny-ground hearers. Such a man's whole religious life is one grand delusion; and every step he takes in it is a blunder, and a stumble, and a snare. Let such a man know that, in his present half-worldly, half-religious condition, he has no real religion at all. It is a fabrication, a delusion.

O worldly formalist, fling away your vain hopes! Give up your fond idea of securing both earth and heaven. Go straight to Calvary; there be crucified to the world, and the world to you, by the cross of Christ. Go straight to Him who died and rose again, and drink into His love. One draught, no, one drop of that love will forever quench your love of sin, and be the death of that worldliness which threatens to be your eternal ruin!