If there is any possibility of a Christian being saved while he conforms to this world, it can only be so as through fire. Such a bare salvation is almost to be dreaded as much as to be desired. Reader, would you like to leave this world in the darkness of a desponding deathbed and enter heaven like a shipwrecked sailor climbs the rocks of his native country? Then allow the world to squeeze you into its mold and refuse identity with Christ or to bear His reproach. Would you like to have a heaven below as well as a heaven above? Do you want to comprehend with all saints what are the heights and depths and to know the love of Christ that passes knowledge? Would you like to receive an abundant entry into heaven? Then do not live as a friend of the world.
If you would attain the full assurance of faith, you cannot do so in communion with sinners. If you desire to be on fire for God, realize that your love will be dampened by the cold rain of a godless society. You cannot become a great Christian, you can never be a mature believer in Christ Jesus while you give in to godless maxims and modes of life. It is incongruous for an heir of heaven to be a great friend with the heirs of hell. It has a bad look when the servant is too intimate with the king's enemies. Even small inconsistencies are dangerous. Just as small thorns make great blisters and little moths destroy fine clothes, so little frivolities and little indiscretions will rob your testimony of a thousand joys.
Professing Christian on the fence, you do not know what you are losing by your conformity to the world. It cuts the tendons of your strength and makes you crawl when you ought to run. So for your own comfort's sake and for the sake of your growth in grace, if you are a Christian, be a Christian, and be a marked and distinct one.
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From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.