Evening, October 14, edited from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening
“And do not be conformed to this world.” — Romans 12:2
If a Christian can possibly be saved while he conforms to this world, at any rate it must be so as by fire. Such a meager salvation is almost as much to be dreaded as desired. Reader, would you wish to leave this world in the darkness of a despondent death bed, and enter heaven as a shipwrecked mariner climbs the rocks of his native country? Then be worldly; be mixed up with those fixated on wealth, and refuse to go outside the camp bearing Christ’s reproach. But would you have a heaven here below as well as a heaven above? Would you comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God? Would you receive an abundant entrance into the joy of your Lord? Then come out from among them, and be separate, and do not touch the “unclean thing.” Do you wish to attain the full assurance of faith? You cannot gain it while you closely fellowship with sinners. Would you be alight with fervent love? Your love will be dampened by the drenching of godless society. You cannot become a great Christian–you may be a babe in grace, but you never can be a perfect man in Christ Jesus while you yield yourself to the worldly principles and mode of business of men of the world. It is detrimental for an heir of heaven to be a great friend with the heirs of hell. It looks bad when a courtier is too intimate with his king’s enemies. Even small inconsistencies are dangerous. Little thorns make great blisters, little moths destroy fine garments, and little trivialities and a little dishonesty will rob religion of a thousand joys. O professor, too little separated from sinners, you do not now know what you lose by your conformity to the world. It cuts the tendons of your strength, and makes you creep when you ought to run. Then, for your own comfort’s sake, and for the sake of your growth in grace, if you would be a Christian, be a Christian, and be a marked and distinct one.
Editor’s note: The second part of this verse is as important as the warnings Spurgeon give us: “But be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” He continues with encouragement to serve, to pray, to fellowship with believers. And he ends with, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” This is the means by which you come out of being conformed to the world. Paul also says in 1 Corinthians 5, “I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world.” As one commentator said, we are in the world (our point of location) but should not be of the world (our source of information).