Vain Christianity desires benefit and blessing but hardly desires life transformation. Ours is a practical atheism which makes pretense at following God, but denies the power of God in life today.
Isaiah 5 opens with a wonderful picture. God is pictured as the Master of a vineyard. He provides in every way for fertile growth. What does He receive in return for His abundant, gracious provision? Rancid, rotten grapes! Who’s at fault here? There can only be two possible reasons for such an unproductive crop. Either God is at fault or His people are! Forget about entertaining the latter; it must be the former.
We often present “If Only” arguments to God in order to excuse our faithlessness:
“If only I had more time…”
“If only I had better parents…”
“If only authority wasn’t so repressive…”
“If only life wasn’t so demanding…”
“If only I had more money…”
“If only I had a better job…”
Presenting arguments like these indicates that we don’t believe that God has provided the grace we need to live an eternally fruitful life (see 2 Peter 1.2-3). It’s not a question of God shedding His grace upon our lives; it is a question of whether or not we’ll receive that grace!
God has promised that the church will overcome. Christ will build it (Matthew 16)! However, we need to produce! We had better face our failures. We had better face the fact that we are rejecting the grace of God – that which is shed abundantly upon us. Then, we had better cry out for the mercy of God to do that which will matter 10,000 years from now!
May Thy rich grace impart
Strength to my fainting heart,
my zeal inspire!
As Thou hast died for me,
O may my love to Thee,
Pure warm, and changeless be,
a living fire!