Saturday, August 04, 2012
Christianity is not a theory
The teaching of our Lord and Savior was imminently practical. So far was he from introducing abstract and difficult questions into his own discourses, that he even rebuked those who brought them to him for solution. But all who come to him with such questions were sure to get good advice, even if their curiosity remained unsatisfied. The instance in our text (Luke 13:23,24) is a case in point. One came inquiring as to the number that should be saved; and Christ bade him "strive to enter in at the straight gate." As if he had said, "It is not your business to inquire, or your interest to know, whether few or many shall be saved, but to use your most earnest endeavor to be found in that blessed number yourself. All that shall be saved, whether they be few or many, must be saved in the same way, by striving to secure the favor of God." It is the business of the Christian not to speculate upon religion, but to practice it. Christianity is not a theory but a life. It is perhaps, not going too far, to say that all speculative inquiries which have no relation to practice are unprofitable and even hurtful. I do not wish you to understand me as dissuading you from the study of Christian doctrine, even of its more difficult topics, if you study them with reference to the Christian life. But the lesson of our text rebukes that simply inquisitive spirit which meddles with questions absolutely beyond our comprehension, or speculates upon those that are within it, simply for the sake of speculation. The tests of Christianity are not metaphysical but practical. "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God." It is wise for us to remember that while there is much to be done in our state of probation, there is comparatively little to be known. There is a mine of practical wisdom in the proverb, --
"Do what is right in thine own affair,
the rest will of itself take care." John M'clintock
This piece reminds me of the words of Christ, "The fields are white unto harvest, but the workers are few." Not the scholars are few; we have many who like to untie knots and speculate about times and seasons, but the fields lay fallow.