“Among the innocent victims of this effete and degenerate age, there is none so pure and so beautiful as love.
Next to the word God with its various forms, there is no word so fair in all the language. Yet it may be said without qualification that this beautiful word has so suffered in the house of its friends as now to be scarcely recognizable. For the great mass of mankind, love has lost its divine meaning. The novelist, the playwright, the psychoanalyst, the writer of popular love songs, have abused this fair being too long. For filthy lucre, they have dragged her through the sewers of the human mind until she appears to the world as no more than a blowzy and bloated strumpet for whom no one any longer has the least trace of respect, the mention of whose name brings no more than a wink or an embarrassed simper. By losing the divine content from the concept of love, modern man now has remaining only what we might expect–a brazen-faced dowd whom he courts at all hours of the day and night with songs that should make a chimpanzee blush.”
“The man whom Christ illuminates with His message has eyes, and that resolves the old difficulty of blindness; but he must use his new eyes in a blind world, and that creates another problem. The world in its blindness resents his claim to sight and will go to any lengths to discredit the claim. The truth of Christ brings assurance and so removes the former problem of fear and uncertainty, but that assurance will be interpreted as bigotry by the fear-ridden multitudes. And sooner or later this misunderstanding will get the man of God into trouble. And so with many other of the blessed benefits of the gospel. As long as we remain in this twisted world, these benefits will create their own problems. We cannot escape them.
But no instructed Christian will complain. He will rather accept his problems as opportunities for the exercise of spiritual virtues. He will turn them into useful disciplines for the purification of his life and will rejoice that he is permitted to suffer with his Lord. For however severe may be a Christian’s trials, they cannot last very long, and the blessed fruit they bear will last while the ages endure.”
“Some of you will object to my saying this, but it is my opinion that in Christianity we have over-emphasized the psychology of the lost sinner’s condition. We spend time describing the sinner’s woes and the great burden he carries until we almost forget the principal fact that the sinner is actually a rebel against properly constituted authority! That is what makes sin SIN! We are rebels, we are sons of disobedience. Sin is the breaking of the Law and we are fugitives from the just laws of God while we are sinners. We are fugitives from divine judgment. But thankfully, the plan of salvation reverses that, and restores the original relationship, so that the first thing the returning sinner does is confess: “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in Thy sight and I am no more worthy to be called Thy son. Make me as one of Thy hired servants!” Thus, in repentance, we reverse that relationship and we fully submit to the Word of God and the will of God, as obedient children!”
“Now I do not think that Satan much cares to destroy us Christians physically. The soldier dead in battle who died performing some deed of heroism is not a great loss to the army but may rather be an object of pride to his country. On the other hand the soldier who cannot or will not fight but runs away at the sound of the first enemy gun is a shame to his family and a disgrace to his nation. So a Christian who dies in the faith represents no irreparable loss to the forces of righteousness on earth and certainly no victory for the devil. But when whole regiments of professed believers are too timid to fight and too smug to be ashamed, surely it must bring an astringent smile to the face of the enemy; and it should bring a blush to the cheeks of the whole Church of Christ. The devil’s master strategy for us Christians then is not to kill us physically (though there may be some special situations where physical death fits into his plan better), but to destroy our power to wage spiritual warfare. And how well he has succeeded. The average Christian these days is a harmless enough thing. God knows. He is a child wearing with considerable self-consciousness the harness of the warrior; he is a sick eaglet that can never mount up with wings; he is a spent pilgrim who has given up the journey and sits with a waxy smile trying to get what pleasure he can from sniffing the wilted flowers he has plucked by the way. Such as these have been reached. Satan has gotten to them early. By means of false teaching or inadequate teaching, or the huge discouragement that comes from the example of a decadent church, he has succeeded in weakening their resolution, neutralizing their convictions and taming their original urge to do exploits; now they are little more than statistics that contribute financially to the upkeep of the religious institution. And how many a pastor is content to act as a patient, smiling curator of a church full (or a quarter full) of such blessed spiritual museum pieces.”
“Instant Christianity tends to make the faith act terminal and so smothers the desire for spiritual advance. It fails to understand the true nature of the Christian life, which is not static but dynamic and expanding. It overlooks the fact that a new Christian is a living organism as certainly as a new baby is, and must have nourishment and exercise to assure normal growth. It does not consider that the act of faith in Christ sets up a personal relationship between two intelligent moral beings, God and the reconciled man, and no single encounter between God and a creature made in His image could ever be sufficient to establish an intimate friendship between them. By trying to pack all of salvation into one experience, or two, the advocates of instant Christianity flaunt the law of development which runs through all nature. They ignore the sanctifying effects of suffering, cross carrying and practical obedience. They pass by the need for spiritual training, the necessity of forming right religious habits, and the need to wrestle against the world, the devil and the flesh. Undue preoccupation with the initial act of believing has created in some a psychology of contentment, or at least of non-expectation. To many it has imparted a mood of disappointment with the Christian faith. God seems too far away, the world is too near, and the flesh too powerful to resist. Others are glad to accept the assurance of automatic blessedness. It relieves them of the need to watch and fight and pray, and sets them free to enjoy this world while waiting for the next. Instant Christianity is twentieth century orthodoxy. I wonder whether the man who wrote Philippians 3:7-16 would recognize it as the faith for which he finally died. I am afraid he would not.”
“Millions call themselves by His name, it is true, and pay some token homage to Him, but a simple test will show how little He is really honored among them. Let the average man be put to the proof on the question of who or what is ABOVE, and his true position will be exposed. Let him be forced into making a choice between God and money, between God and men, between God and personal ambition, God and self, God and human love, and God will take second place every time. Those other things will be exalted above. However the man may protest, the proof is in the choice he makes day after day throughout his life.”