Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Advice Concerning Worldly-Wiseman

AS WE READ THRU PILGRIM'S PROGRESS I hope from time to time to bring out some thoughts which most spoke to me and my girls.

A little background and Advertisement:

My three little girls and I are reading Pilgrim's Progress together and loving it. My wife and I have long considered this book by John Bunyan next to the bible, itself, our family book. And like the Holy Scriptures, Pilgrim's Progress, unites us in our vocabulary, in our experiences, in our common understanding. As we currently read through Pilgrim's Progress we are attempting to make this a kind of Bible Study and not just the reading of a book, or a supplanting of the bible with another book. But we are looking for biblical truths, gospel insights, and those things which will cause us to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. We look up every verse reference cited in the text or footnotes. And hopefully and purposefully we spend a greater time discussing the Word of God than the allegory.

We have just finished Stage 1 and are beginning Stage 2 as Christian enters the Interpreters house. Only 25 pages into the book, but several hours and several days have passed already. Time forbids me from happily relating to you how much fun we had in the author's apology at the beginning of the book - or the four consecutive hours we spent on just the first 9 pages - which was tremendous.

Let's begin:

Evangelists counsel to Christian concerning Worldly Wiseman:
click here to read for yourself

Then Evangelist proceeded, saying, Give more earnest heed to the things that I shall tell thee of. I will now show thee who it was that deluded thee, and who it was also to whom he sent thee. The man that met thee is one Worldly Wiseman, and rightly is he so called; partly because he savoreth only the doctrine of this world, 1John 4:5, (therefore he always goes to the town of Morality to church;) and partly because he loveth that doctrine best, for it saveth him best from the cross, Gal 6:12: and because he is of this carnal temper, therefore he seeketh to pervert my ways, though right. Now there are three things in this man’s counsel that thou must utterly abhor.

1. His turning thee out of the way.

2. His laboring to render the cross odious to thee.

3. And his setting thy feet in that way that leadeth unto the administration of death.

First, Thou must abhor his turning thee out of the way; yea, and thine own consenting thereto; because this is to reject the counsel of God for the sake of the counsel of a Worldly Wiseman. The Lord says, “Strive to enter in at the straight gate,” Luke 13:24, the gate to which I send thee; “for strait is the gate that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matt 7:13-14. From this little wicket-gate, and from the way thereto, hath this wicked man turned thee, to the bringing of thee almost to destruction: hate, therefore, his turning thee out of the way, and abhor thyself for hearkening to him.

Secondly, Thou must abhor his laboring to render the cross odious unto thee; for thou art to prefer it before the treasures of Egypt. Heb 11:25-26. Besides, the King of glory hath told thee, that he that will save his life shall lose it. And he that comes after him, and hates not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be his disciple. Mark 8:38; John 12:25; Matt. 10:39; Luke 14:26. I say, therefore, for a man to labor to persuade thee that that shall be thy death, without which, the truth hath said, thou canst not have eternal life, this doctrine thou must abhor.

Thirdly, Thou must hate his setting of thy feet in the way that leadeth to the ministration of death. And for this thou must consider to whom he sent thee, and also how unable that person was to deliver thee from thy burden.

It was this that really jumped out at me:
Now there are three things in this man’s counsel that thou must utterly abhor.

1. His turning thee out of the way.

2. His laboring to render the cross odious to thee.

3. And his setting thy feet in that way that leadeth unto the administration of death.

Note the words "utterly abhor." For the protecting against the false counsel of a worldly-wiseman we must "HATE TO THE UTTERMOST" these three things in Worldly-Wiseman' advice.

1. Anything that would take us off of Jesus Christ. Anything that would remove us from Jesus Christ who is the way the truth and the life. John 14:6. HATE IT.

2. Anything that would make the cross of Jesus Christ a disgusting thing to you. I take this to be the gospel truth that Jesus Christ the eternal son of the living God, took upon himself our SINS, they were imputed to him and for us and in our place he died on the cross to fully satisfy all the wrath of God due towards us for our sin. "HATE TO THE UTTERMOST" anything that would lessen the gospel truth of the cross of Jesus Christ.

1Co 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
Gal 6:12 As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.
Gal 6:13 For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.
Gal 6:14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

Death on a cross is most horrible and disgusting, but the truth that Christ died for us, is precious and sweet to our soul. When a worldly-wiseman gives counsel that would obscure the cross, diminish the cross, he is making that sweet truth seem less important, and thus is really ashamed of the cross of Christ and making it odious. HATE SUCH COUNSEL UTTERLY.

3. "HATE TO THE UTTERMOST" the counsel of a worldly-wiseman which would bring you back under law for merit. The law condemns but it can never save. No enabling power in the law.
Gal 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

There is wisdom in Evangelists counsel to Christian which we would do well to hear and heed. What practical advice!

It is interesting to note, that Christian, after receiving this counsel from Evangelist continues on straight for the wicket gate. Keeping the light in his eye at all times as advised. And speaking no more with nor listening to any strangers along the way wishing to help him with his burden.

"So he went on with haste, neither spake he to any man by the way; nor if any asked him, would he vouchsafe them an answer. He went like one that was all the while treading on forbidden ground, and could by no means think himself safe, till again he was got into the way which he had left to follow Mr. Worldly Wiseman’s counsel."

By the grace of God we hope to continue to report on our reading through the PILGRIM'S PROGRESS.

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