Eight Things That Matter
W. Graham Scroggie
TO A SAILOR WHO
IS BEARING HIS
WITNESS AT SEA
A WHILE ago Lord Riddell gave to the public a book with the title Some Things that Matter; and later, another entitled, More Things that Matter. In these interesting volumes is to be found much plain truth and practical wisdom, but in neither of them is attention called to the Things that Matter Most. Ethical and intellectual qualities are of great value, but spiritual qualities are of greater value and importance. No one will underrate the qualities which affect man’s relation to man, but of far greater importance are those which affect man’s relation to God. Salvation is more than sagacity, and life is more than living. In the following pages attention is called to some of the matters which eternally matter, which embrace not only the present, but also the future, and which lead man to the realization of his true end. The subjects have been treated with simplicity and brevity in the hope that the busiest may find time to read. Please personalize your reading of these pages; objectify and catechize yourself. Socrates said, “An unexamined life is not worth living”; then, test yourself by the highest standards.
- Graham Scroggie.
THE Christian life begins at the foot of the Cross and by the Empty Grave. Salvation is not an evolution out of badness into goodness, but the impartation, sovereignly and graciously, of life divine and eternal. Differences of race, colour Station, culture, religion, and means make no difference here. “All sinned and come short of the glory of God,” and “the way of salvation” for the cultured Nicodemus, the harlot of Samaria, the religious Saul, the crafty tax- gatherer, the rich ruler, and the dying thief, was one and the same. Consciousness of sin, repentance for sin, confession of sin, renunciation of sin, and a simple, grateful, whole-hearted acknowledgment and acceptance of the Redeeming Christ are the moral elements in the saving experience. “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” Eternal life is not a product of reformation, but the proof and expression of regeneration: it is not doing all one can, but trusting all that God has done. “As many as received Him, to them gave He power (right) to become the sons (children) of God, even to them that believe on His Name.” Now no one can have this life without knowing it, anymore than one can live without knowing it, or love without knowing it.
“ ’Tis a point I long to know,
Often causes anxious thought,
Do I love the Lord, or no?
Am I His, or am I not? ”
is a sentiment far removed from the joyful assurance of the New Testament. Its language is, “We know that we have passed from death unto life,” “We know that we dwell in Him, and He in us, ” “We know that we are of God” “Ye may know that ye have eternal life” “I know whom I have believed.” It is not presumptuous for us to be sure when God makes it possible for us to be sure. The Christian has every right to sing:
“My God I am Thine, what a comfort divine,
What a blessing to know that the Saviour is mine;
In the Heavenly Lamb thrice happy I am,-
And my soul it doth dance at the sound of His Name.”
Many profess to be Christians who have no ground for their confidence, because they have never been “born again.” The Christian is a Divine creation, and not just a well-meaning person, or a person religiously inclined. “If any man be in Christ he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Having Christian parents does not make one a Christian. Being christened, baptised, or confirmed is no proof that one is a Christian. Being a church-member is no proof that one is a Christian. Attending Holy Communion is no proof that one is a Christian. Singing in a Church Choir, teaching in a Sunday School, being a deacon, elder, or minister, are not proofs that one is a Christian. The proof of Christianity is not in a ceremony, association, or office, but in a quality of life which the New Testament speaks of as “eternal life.” The whole matter is made very plain in the Fourth Gospel, which, it is said, was written “that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His Name.” The first thing, then, of supreme importance is to have the assurance of salvation.
HAVE YOU GOT THAT?