Now then, little man, for a short time fly from your business; hide yourself for a moment from your turbulent thoughts. Break off now your troublesome cares, and think less of your laborious occupations. Make a little time for God, and rest for a while in Him. Enter into the chamber of your mind, shut out everything but God and whatever helps you to seek Him, and, when you have shut the door, seek Him. Speak now, O my whole heart, speak now to God: “I seek Thy face; Thy face, Lord, do I desire.”
Thou didst seek us when we sought Thee not; didst seek us indeed that we might seek Thee.
Form the feeling of our own ignorance, vanity, poverty, infirmity, and – what is more – depravity and corruption, we recognize that the true light of wisdom, sound virtue, full abundance of every good, and purity of righteousness rest in the Lord alone. To this extent we are prompted by our own ills to contemplate the good things of God; and we cannot seriously aspire to Him before we begin to become displeased with ourselves… Accordingly, the knowledge of ourselves not only arouses us to seek God, but also, as it were, leads us by the hand to find Him.
An “impersonal God” – well and good. A subjective God of beauty, truth and goodness, inside our own head – better still. A formless life-force surging through us, a vast power which we can tap – best of all. But God Himself, alive, pulling at the other end of the cord, perhaps, approaching an infinite speed, the hunter, king, husband – that is quite another matter. There comes a moment when the children who have been playing at burglars hush suddenly: Was that a real footstep in the hall? There comes a moment when people who have been dabbling in religion (“Man’s search for God!”) suddenly draw back. Supposing we really found Him? We never meant it to come to that! Worse still, supposing He had found us?
A true seeker has come under the convicting power of the Holy Spirit by virtue of a true understanding of the law of God. A true seeker has been broken and contrite in heart by being measured against the law of God and found guilty before God. A true seeker knows that there is no way to earn salvation by works. And a true seeker is so desperate for eternal life as to gladly abandon everything in this life for that greatest of all gifts and willingly submit to the lordship of Jesus Christ. Those are the tests that separate the false seeker from the true seeker. The true seeker can be saved because God alone produces that kind of repentance and submission. The false seeker cannot be saved because it’s impossible if you’re just coming on your own.
The Impossibility of Salvation – Part 2. The sermon originally appeared (https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/42-233/the-impossibility-of-salvation-part-2) at www.gty.org. © 1969-2008. Grace to You. All rights reserved. Used by Permission
God has hidden every precious thing in such a way that it is a reward to the diligent, a prize to the earnest, but a disappointment to the slothful soul. All nature is arrayed against the lounger and the idler. The nut is hidden in its thorny case; the pearl is buried beneath the ocean waves; the gold is imprisoned in the rocky bosom of the mountains; the gem is found only after you crush the rock which encloses it; the very soil gives its harvest as a reward to the laboring farmer. So truth and God must be earnestly sought.
I once read the following definition of a fanatic: “A fanatic is a person who, having lost sight of his goal, redoubles his effort to get there.” The fanatic runs around frantically getting nowhere. He is a basketball player without a basket, a tennis player without a net, a golfer without a green. For a Christian to make progress in…learning to please God, he must have a clear idea of what his goal is… Jesus stated it this way: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
Seeking God? We have totally revised corporate worship services to be sensitive to “seekers.” If worship were to be tailored for seekers, it would be directed exclusively to believers, for no one except believers ever seeks God (Rom. 3:9-12).
In Romans 3, Paul makes abundantly clear that unconverted people do not seek after God… To the naked eye it may seem that unbelievers are searching for God or seeking for the kingdom of God, while they are in fact fleeing from God with all of their might… People who are unconverted seek the “benefits” that only God can give them, such as ultimate meaning and purpose in their lives, relief from guilt, the presence of joy and happiness, and things of this nature. These are benefits the Christian recognizes can only come through a vital, saving relationship with Christ.
If there were such a thing as a seeker, what would he be seeking? The church growth movement seems to believe he would be seeking more of the same. In a world consumed with lighthearted entertainment, we offer up less professional, less entertaining lighthearted entertainment? Why, I keep wondering, would a “seeker” get up on a Sunday morning, and travel to some giant box to hear a third rate rock band preceding a third rate comic giving a third rate “message” that leaves him in the same state that he arrived in?
We are programmed for failure if we’re looking for ultimate answers in a non-ultimate realm, a realm that’s partial, fragmented, incomplete. We end up worshiping the creation rather than the Creator. We can do that as believers. The total answer is a Person, Jesus Christ. It’s part of God’s program to make us dissatisfied with what the temporal realm offers, so that we might seek life in Him.