GROWING IN GRACE STUDIES
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BOOK: The Deeper Christian Life by Andrew Murray
4. THE WAY OF RESTORATION–HOW IS THAT TO BE BROUGHT ABOUT?
We all know the parable of the prodigal son and how many sermons have been preached about repentance, from that parable. We are told that “he came to himself and said, I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in thy sight.” In preaching, we speak of this as the first step in a changed life–as conversion, as repentance, confession, returning to God. But, as this is the first step for the prodigal, we must remember that this is also the step to be taken by His erring children–by all the ninety-nine “who need no repentance,” or think they do not. Those Christians who do not understand how wrong their low religious life is must be taught that this is sin–unbelief; and that it is as necessary that theyshould be brought to repentance as the prodigal. You have heard a great deal of preaching repentance to the unconverted; but I want to try to preach it to God’s children. We have a picture of so many of God’s children in that elder brother. What the father told him, to bring about a consideration of the love that He bore him, just as he loved the prodigal brother, thus does God tell to us in our contentedness with such a low life: –“You must repent and believe that I love you, and all that I have is thine.” He says, “By your unbelief, you have dishonoured me, living for ten, twenty, or thirty years, and never believing what it was to live in the blessedness of My love. You must confess the wrong you have done Me in this, and be broken down in contrition of heart just as truly as the prodigal.”
There are many children of God who need to confess, that though they are His children, they have never believed that God’s promises are true, that He is willing to fill their hearts all the day long with His blessed presence. Have you believed this? If you have not, all our teaching will be of no profit to you. Will you not say, “By the help of God, I will begin now a new life of faith, and will not rest until I know what such a life means. I will believe that I am every moment in the Father’s presence, and all that He has is mine?”
May the Lord God work this conviction in the hearts of all cold believers. Have you ever heard the expression, “a conviction for sanctification?” You know, the unconverted man needs a conviction before conversion. So does the dark-minded Christian need conviction before, and in order for sanctification, before he comes to a real insight to spiritual blessedness. He must be convicted a second time because of his sinful life of doubt, and temper, and unlovingness. He must be broken down under that conviction; then there is hope for him. May the Father of mercy grant all such that deep contrition, so that they may be led into the blessedness of His presence, and enjoy the fullness of His power and love!
Next week: III. CARNAL OR SPIRITUAL?