Ready! or Making Ready?

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 6
"Tell them the difference, tell them the difference between being whitewashed and washed white! Tell them the difference, tell them difference between being ready and making ready!"
Such were the forcible but never-to-be-forgotten words uttered in my ears by an unknown listener one night after a gospel meeting. I had never seen his face before. I thought to myself: "What a graphic description of a great deal that is going on in the religious world at the present day! In many instances the walls, to use Ezekiel's figure, are being daubed with untempered mortar; souls are being put to sleep in their sins with the soft, soothing lullaby sung into their ears, "PEACE, PEACE," when there is no peace.
Surely anyone can see that there is the greatest possible difference between two. Are there not many people in these so-called Christian lands who are at best only covered over with religious whitewash, and have never been washed white from their sins in the precious blood of Christ? "Thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead," seems sadly true of the vast majority of people in these countries. "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof," is what prevails on every hand. "Dead works" are being substituted for that which can only be produced as the fruit of divine life in the power of the Holy Ghost.
These religionists have never known, perhaps, what real soul-searching means. The arrow of conviction, it may be, has never pierced their consciences. They have never been in the light of God's presence in true self-judgment. How awfully solemn, in the face of such a momentous fact, that people should be deluded and flattered into the thought that, after all, they are not so bad!
No amount of whitewashing will cover up one's true state in that day when the searching light of divine holiness reveals all, naked and bare. Then everything will be exposed in its true colors. "For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known." Luke 12:22For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. (Luke 12:2). May all who read these pages come down from the high pedestal of self-satisfied morality, and take their place with those who condemn themselves by accepting God's judgment as true of them.
Saul of Tarsus, though once the proudest, most self-satisfied religionist of his day, must say of himself: "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; OF WHOM I AM CHIEF." 1 Tim. 1:1515This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. (1 Timothy 1:15).
Saul was saved by grace alone, and had the certain knowledge of it. This he asserts most clearly and fearlessly when he says, "Who HATH saved us, and called us with an holy calling, NOT ACCORDING TO OUR WORKS." 2 Tim. 1:99Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, (2 Timothy 1:9).
Are there not also professors of religion who are not really ready for the trumpet's blast to sound, or the archangel's voice to waken the sleeping dead? They are busily making ready. Like the foolish virgins in Matthew 25: "While they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with Him to the marriage: and the door was shut."
Shut against whom? Against those who were making ready. The door that shut those who were really ready inside, shut the company who were only making ready outside forever.
Reader, "the night is far spent and the day is at hand"—the day when Christ will appear "in flaming fire taking vengeance on them who know not God and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ." It behooves you to be thoroughly in earnest. Make no mistake about it. See that you are indeed ready, and not making ready. Unless you are born again by the Word and Spirit of God; unless you know that for Christ's name's sake your sins are forgiven you; unless you are in the enjoyment of peace with God, let the truth be plainly told, YOU ARE NOT READY. You are still outside the door of grace. I beseech you, wash off the whitewash! Lay your own busy doings down and take up what Christ has done for you. Then you will "be ready when the Bridegroom comes."