Want of Will
‘Ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life.’—John v. 40.
IT is almost certain that some whose eyes glance over these pages will be conscious that they do not very much care to come to Christ, for this is at once the commonest and the most fatal hindrance. You cannot honestly say that you want to come. You perhaps go as far as to say, with momentary seriousness, ‘I wish that I wished !’ but no farther. In your inmost heart you would rather be ‘let alone,’1 not considering that that is the most terribly certain beginning of doom. You are not perfectly comfortable, but you are not so uncomfortable as to feel inclined to make any effort. And as long as you can keep from thinking about it, you say you are ‘very happy.’ Now believe me, yours is a ten times worse and more dangerous state than if you were a condemned murderer, knowing his doom, realizing his sin and therefore seeking the Saviour and coming to Him ‘ with all the desire of his mind.’1
For so long as you are not willing, i.e., not actually and actively willing to come (for that is the meaning of the original), of course you cannot come. And without coming to Jesus you cannot have life.2 And if you do not have life, there is nothing but death for you,—the second death with all its unknown terrors, into the realities of which any moment may plunge you.3 Your not believing this makes no difference to the fact.4 Your doubting it makes no difference to its certainty. I assert it on the authority of the Word of God. ‘I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death. Therefore choose life.’5 For in not willing life, you are willing death, and ‘why will ye die?'”
Why? Is it not utterly unreasonable? Would any but a lunatic walk with mirth and fun over the thin crust which hides unknown depths of boiling lava? Would you enjoy a picnic in the midst of it? Yet this is less mad than what you are doing.
Then you will say, ‘I can’t help it! I can’t make myself care!’ Exactly so; and just in this fact lies, not your excuse, but your one hope and help. You cannot make yourself care to flee from the wrath to come.7 You cannot rouse yourself to be willing to come to Christ for salvation. But One can.8 And you may and can ask for the Holy Spirit to make you willing.
1 Deut. xviii. 6. 2 t John v. 12. 3 Rev. xxi. 8.
* Rom. iii. 3, 4. 5 Deut. xxx. 19 ; Jer. xxi. 8.
6 £zek. xyiii. 31. 7 JV^att. iii. 7. 8 Hos. xiii. 9.
You can say, ‘O God, give me Thy Holy Spirit to make me willing to come, for Jesus Christ’s sake.’ God makes no condition whatever as to giving this. The Blessed Spirit is promised most simply and unconditionally ‘to them that ask Him.’1 This promise says nothing even about desiring or thirsting; it premises absolutely nothing, but comes to the lowest depths of sin-paralyzed will—it is only and simply, ‘Ask.’
Remember that one spirit or the other is now working in you. It is very awful to read of’ the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience; ” and what is more direct disobedience than not coming when Jesus calls? Therefore ask,’ and ask at once, for the other spirit, the Holy Spirit, who can make you ‘willing in the day f His power,”—God the Holy Ghost, who worketh in us to will.’*
Think of Jesus saying, ‘How often would I,’ but ye would not.’5 He is willing. May He give you ‘one heart to do the commandant of the King!”
Come, Holy Spirit, heavenly Dove,
With all Thy quickening powers!
Come, shed abroad a Saviour’s love,
And that shall kindle ours!
1 Luke xi. 9-13. 2 Eph. ii. 2. 3 Ps. ex. 3.
4 Phil. ii. 13. 5 Luke xiii. 34. * 2 Chron. xxx. la.