True religion has its seat in the heart. Christ says, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3 KJV).
This statement applies equally to the kingdom in is incipiency and in its glory. He who does not experience that radical, spiritual change implied in being “born again,” not only cannot see heaven, but he cannot have a clear understanding of what it is that constitutes a Christian. Hearing a country described is not seeing it. One who has listened to preaching all his days, has, when he becomes converted, a different idea of the Christian religion from what he ever had before. He is in a new creation.
There is more in Christianity than can be gathered from books or teachers. A blind man may learn the theory of light. But open his eyes and he is in a new world.
“All thy children shall be taught of the Lord” (Isaiah 54:13 KJV).
Though one may have had the best instructors, yet if he is not taught of the Lord, he is not prepared to teach others the way of salvation. The captain who understands navigation, in approaching a strange coast, gives the content of the ship into the hands of the pilot who knows the channel. An unlettered man who enjoys religion is a much safer spiritual guide than an unconverted theologian. One cannot teach what he does not comprehend: “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God”
(1 Corinthians 2:11 KJV).
One may have ever so much learning, but if he is destitute of the Spirit of God he cannot comprehend the things of God.
This article is an excerpt from Free Methodist founder B.T. Roberts’ 1878 book “Fishers of Men.”
Go to fmchr.ch/btfishers to order “Fishers of Men.”