“The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved” (Jeremiah 8:20).
One of the distressing facts of Christian behavior is that many professing believers in Christ, many of the Lord’s disciples, do not change. It seems that they cannot change. The question is why? The angry person is just as angry after professing Christ as Savior, being baptized, and reading the Scripture as before. The lustful person remains consumed with various lust patterns. The critical person remains judgmental. The greedy person cannot get enough of the material goods of this world. The negative person remains pessimistic. Why? Several possibilities come to mind.
First, salvation has been superficial. Like Judas Iscariot, it is one thing to profess love for Christ, pretend to be a disciple to the point that religious works are done in His name, and yet, not be converted. A. W. Tozer exhorts people to look to the root of righteousness, for if there is no fruit, then the root is rotten.
Second, it is possible that a person has been truly converted, but has failed to obey the gospel principles leading to sanctification, and holiness of life. One gospel principle for sanctification is to “make no provision for the flesh.” Roman 13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof. Unless there is a conscious and deliberate change in habits and behavior, there will be no fundamental change. Charles Spurgeon once observed that you cannot entertain the Lord Jesus in the parlor of your heart, if the devil lives in the cellar. Therefore, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:7).
Third, it is possible that a medical condition exists, in respect to certain types of personality disorders. It would be wise for a person to have a through medical checkup.
Fourth, there is no intake of Bible doctrine on a daily basis, and that is why a person does not change. The psalmist said, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalms 119:11). There is no substitute in spiritual growth for daily, spiritual food, if a person is to be convicted, and changed, by the Word of God, and cease from sinning.
Fifth, there is bad theology. The person who believes that they can be a Christian, and still be a homosexual, for example, has been taught bad theology, for the heart cannot condone what Christ clearly condemns. The Sermon on the Mount is an example of the poor teaching the Jews had received under the Scribes and Pharisees, and the true meaning of Scripture (Matthew 5:21-43).
Sixth, there is the placing of the wrong object between the soul and sin. Many people sin and then they think, “I will say I am sorry.” It is good to say one is sorry to God, and to man, but it is better to change. The paradigm of many is, in essence, “If I apologize then I can continue to do wrong” To this type of thinking, the apostle Paul cries out, “God forbid” (Romans 6:1-2).
Seventh, time is another wrong solution to the problem of the soul not changing. Following sin, a sensitive soul, a converted soul, is sorrowful. Then, time passes, and the condemning conscience is eased. A false salve has been put on the soul. Instead of radically dealing with sin, as Jesus commands (Matthew 5:30), the heart is comforted by the passing of time.
Eighth, another wrong object placed between sin, and change, is intent. People are always reforming, they are always intending to stop, next time they will be better, next time they will be different. Such souls are never able to come to a knowledge of the truth (2 Timothy 3:7). What is the truth?
The truth is that the heart must turn to Christ. Jesus said, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5). Christ is our sanctification and without Him there will never be any change. 1 Corinthians 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.”
Helen H. Lemmel
Finally, some people depend on the grace of God, to allow them to continue to engage in sinful behavior. “Once saved, always saved, no matter what I do or say,” has become the rallying cry of the heart, thereby, turning the grace of God into lasciviousness “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ”(Jude 4).
For those who are serious about personal sanctification, these thoughts should be seriously considered if you find no change in behavior. Without change, the heart will one day cry out in anguish, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved”. “We are not saved, from the power of sin. We are not saved, from the pollution of sin.” Oh how tragic that will be.