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If Ye Be Willing


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You are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.

—John 5:40

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If ye be willing to come to Christ, you are already come, for there is nothing stands betwixt Christ and a sinner but this unwillingness; as soon as you are willing, you are with him.

Now, whether ye be come to Christ, ye may upon serious trial know by these particulars. Those that come to Christ,

1 . Are sorry that they were so long ere they came to him; they know when they were without Christ in the world, they remember when Christ strove with them in his word, by his Spirit, and they resisted, as others do; but now, being by his almighty power drawn to him, they know by experience what they lost by living without him, they are sensible how they provoked and dishonoured Christ by slighting his invitings, neglecting his entreaties, resisting his motions; this is their grief, their sorrow; so it was with the prodigal when he was come home to his father, the first thing that bewrays itself is grief, remorse, for departing from, neglecting to return to him: ‘I have sinned,’ &c. . . .

2. They are acquainted with the way to Christ. Those that have walked in that way do know it by experience, they have clear, distinct discoveries of the multitude and heinousness of their sins, have been apprehensive of the wrath of God due to them for their sins, have been sensible of their misery by reason of sin and wrath, even as a man sinking under a burden is sensible of the weight thereof; have been hereupon convinced of an absolute necessity of Christ, even as the man pursued for slaughter under the law saw his need of the city of refuge . . .

3. They have a high esteem of him. While the soul is afar off, as all are by nature, he sees little of Christ, and enjoys less, and his esteem of Christ is answerable; he is apt to ask, ‘What is thy beloved?’ sees no such beauty nor comeliness in him but that other things may have his affections, tastes no such sweetness in him, but that the pleasures of sin are as delightful; and no wonder, for he is at a great distance, and so cannot see and taste that which is afar off; but when he is come to Christ, he sees such beauty and excellency in him as darkens all outward excellencies, makes them seem dross compared with Christ; so did Paul when he was found in him, Phil. iii., . . . those things which he formerly admired were now not counted worthy to have place in thoughts or affections; he cast them out, as more fit for dogs than for that heart which had entertained Christ.

. .  Those who are so taken with vain delights, sinful pleasures, as they can forego the sweetness of communion with Christ, or know not what this is, who dare usually sin away Christ’s favour for worldly advantage, shew they esteem him not, are not come to him.

4. They are in a new condition. He that comes to him, comes, as it were, into a new world; ‘old things are passed away, all things are made new.’ He finds such a change, as a man who has lived many years in darkness finds when he is brought into the light; so it is expressed, Col. i. 13. He has new thoughts and new affections, new companions and new employments, a new heart and a new life. ‘If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature;’ can say as Augustine, Ego non sum ego, I am not the man I was. If no such inward and outward change, you are not yet come to Christ.

5. They walk with Christ. That is the end of their coming; formerly they had fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, now their fellowship is with the Father and with the Son; formerly, they had their conversations in the world, now their conversation is in heaven, now they know what it is, as Enoch, to walk with God; communion with Christ is no mystery, experience has made them acquainted with it, their mind is with Christ, he is their meditation, their thoughts are of him, they prevent the night-watches, and when they awake, they are continually with him; their hearts are on Christ, he is their love, delight, desire; the bent of their wills is towards him, and so carried with strong inclination, they live to him, act for him, aim at him, depend on him. If it be not thus with you in some degree, you are not come to Christ.

6. They are at a greater distance from sin and the world. For this motion is betwixt these terms, it is a passage from sin and the world to Christ; as when they lived in sin they were at a distance from Christ, so when they are come to Christ they are at a greater distance from sin; as when they were wedded to the world they were separated from Christ, so now when they are married to Christ, they are divorced from the world, they are estranged from it when acquainted with him; crucified to them when alive unto Christ.

7. They have renounced their own righteousness. So Paul, Philip. iii. 9, ‘And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.’

—David Clarkson, Men by Nature Unwilling to Come to Christ, Works (Banner of Truth, 1988), 1:340–342.



Posted 2017·11·15 by David Kjos
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