Morning Reading for October 18

Matthew 23:34-39
Suggested further reading: Ezekiel 33:1-11

Though our Lord exposed his enemies' unbelief, yet he showed that he loved and pitied them to the last. God often takes great pains with ungodly men. He sent the Jews messengers (v. 34). He gave them repeated warnings. He sent them message after message. He did not allow them to go on sinning without rebuke. They could never say they were not told when they did wrong.

This is the way that God generally deals with unconverted men. He does not cut them off in their sins without a call to repentance. He knocks at the door of their hearts by sicknesses and afflictions. He assails their consciences by sermons or by the advice of friends. He summons them to consider their ways by opening the grave before their eyes and taking away from them their idols. They often know not what it all means. They are often blind and deaf to all his gracious messages. But they will see his hand at last, though perhaps too late. They will discover that they too, like the Jews, had prophets and wise men and scribes sent to them. There was a voice in every providence that said to them that they should turn and not die (Ezek. 33:11).

Those who are lost for ever are lost through their own fault. The words of our Lord are very remarkable (v. 37). There is something peculiarly deserving of notice in this expression. It throws light on a mysterious subject and one that is often darkened by human explanations. It shows that Christ has feelings of pity for many who are not saved and that the grand secret of man's ruin is want of will. Impotent as man is by nature, unable to think a good thought of himself, without power to turn himself to faith and call upon God, he still appears to have a mighty ability to ruin his own soul. Powerless as he is to do good, he is still powerful to do evil. The seat of impotence is his will. A will to repent and believe no man can give himself, but a will to reject Christ and have his own way every man possesses by nature. This lack of will will prove his destruction (John 5:40; Acts 7:51; Hos. 13:9).
For meditation: We love sin. God forbid that he should allow us what we naturally want. Rather let us have new God-given desires.

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