They have healed the hurt of my daughter slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): Do you realize it is possible to have a false sense of forgiveness? Do you realize that it is possible to have a false peace within you?
GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770): There are thousands who speak peace to themselves, when there is no peace.
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): We cannot shut our eyes to the fact that in all churches there are persons who have no depth of spiritual root, and we are afraid no real spiritual life…There is nothing about their outward conduct which we could lay hold upon as a proof of their being deceivers, and yet a cold chill runs through us when we talk with them, for they have no warmth, and no life, and nothing of the Lord about them. We miss in their conversation that sweet spirituality, that holy unction, that blessed humility, which are sure to be present when men are truly familiar with the Lord, and have entered into living union with Him.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Our forefathers, in days when they realized these dangers, used to emphasize this tremendously. Read the works of the Puritans and you will find that they devoted not only chapters but volumes to the question of “false peace.” Indeed, this danger has been recognized throughout the centuries. There is the danger of trusting your ‘faith’ instead of Christ, of trusting your belief without really becoming regenerate. It is a terrible possibility.
C. H. SPURGEON: Our forefathers were possibly too suspicious and jealous; but nowadays we nearly all err in the opposite direction: we are so anxious to see everybody brought to Christ, that our wish may tend to delude us into the belief that it is so. We are so willing to cheer and comfort those who seek the Lord, that we may fall into the habit of prophesying smooth things, and thus shun everything which tends to probe and test, lest it should also discourage. Let us beware lest we cry, “Peace, peace,” where there is no peace. It will be a sad thing to breed hypocrites when we were looking for converts. I have heard of one who had been into the Enquiry Room a dozen times, and when on another occasion she was invited to go there she said, “I really do not know why I should go, for I have been told that I was saved twelve times already, and I am not one bit better before they told me so.”
A. W. PINK (1886-1952): So many have been argued into a believing that they are saved. In reality, their ‘faith’ sprang from nothing better than a superficial process of logic. Some “personal worker” addresses a man who has no concern whatever for the glory of God and no realization of his terrible hostility against Him. Anxious to ‘win another soul to Christ,’ he pulls out the New Testament and reads to him I Timothy 1:15. The worker says, “You are a sinner,” and his man assenting, he is at once informed, then that verse includes you. Next John 3:16 is read, and the question is asked, Who does the word “whosoever” include? The question is repeated until the poor victim answers, “you, me, everybody.” Then he is asked, “Will you believe it?―believe that God loves you, that Christ died for you?” If the answer is ‘Yes,’ he is at once assured that he is now saved. Ah, my reader, if this is how you were “saved,” then it was with “enticing words of man’s wisdom” and your ‘faith’ stands only “in the wisdom of men” (I Corinthians 2:4,5), and not in the power of God!
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: No sinner ever really “decides for Christ.” That term “decide” has always seemed to me to be quite wrong. I have often heard people use expressions which have disturbed me, and made me feel very unhappy. They have generally done so in ignorance and with the best of intentions. I can think of an old man who often used the following expression: “You know, friends, I decided for Christ forty years ago, and I have never regretted it.” What a terrible thing to say! “Never regretted it!” But that is the kind of thing people say who have been brought up under this teaching and approach.
A sinner does not “decide” for Christ; the sinner “flies” to Christ in utter helplessness and despair saying—“Foul, I to the fountain fly, Wash me, Saviour, or I die.” No man truly comes to Christ unless he flies to Him as his only refuge and hope, his only way of escape from the accusations of conscience and the condemnation of God’s holy law. Nothing else is satisfactory. If a man says that having thought about the matter and having considered all sides he has on the whole decided for Christ, and if he has done so without any emotion or feeling, I cannot regard him as a man who has been regenerated. The convicted sinner no more “decides for Christ” than the poor drowning man “decides” to take hold of that rope that is thrown to him and suddenly provides him with the only means of escape. The term is entirely inappropriate.
A. W. PINK: The new birth is very, very much more than simply shedding a few tears due to a temporary remorse over sin. It is far more than changing our course of life, the leaving off of bad habits and the substituting of good ones…It goes infinitely deeper than coming forward to take some popular evangelist by the hand, signing a pledge-card, or “joining the church”―It is very evident to one who has been taught of God that the vast majority of present-day evangelists, tract-writers, and “personal workers” do not believe one-half of what Holy Writ declares concerning the spiritual impotency of the natural man, or the absolute necessity of a miracle of grace being wrought within him before he can savingly turn to Christ. Instead, they erroneously imagine that fallen man is a “free moral agent,” possessing equal power to accept Christ as to reject Him.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Does this need to be emphasized? Do you know I have a fear it does. I see too many Christians doing things by the numbers these days…They attend little classes, are given instructions, trained how to do this and―‘If he says this, you say that”―‘trained’ to be evangelists and to give their personal witness and testimony. There’s nothing about that in the New Testament.
C. H. SPURGEON: I have heard men tell the story of their conversion, and of their spiritual life, in such a way that my heart hath loathed them and their story, too, for they have told of their sins as if they did boast in the greatness of their crime, and they have mentioned the love of God, not with a tear of gratitude, not with the simple thanksgiving of the really humble heart, but as if they as much exalted themselves as they exalted God.
WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): Divine grace produces self abasement: and a true penitent…will not do it as if he were relating heroical deeds, or even actions of indifference―he will not, like some, speak of his former wickednesses with a kind of pleasure, arising from the apprehension that they magnify divine grace, and render his conversion the more marvellous and certain, or at least with a tone and countenance far from expressing deep humiliation, and godly sorrow―no―but he will evidence by his feelings and his manner, a broken heart, and a contrite spirit, which God will not despise.
C. H. SPURGEON: Oh! When we tell the story of our own conversion, I would have it done with great sorrow, remembering what we used to be, and with great joy and gratitude, remembering how little we deserve these things…Let me tell you that if you have a peace today, which enables you to be at peace with your sins as well as with God, that peace is a false peace.