The Almost Christian Discovered by Matthew Mead PDF Print E-mail
In the Library

 Almost Christian Discovered Cover ArtThe Almost Christian Discovered by Matthew Mead will not make you feel all warm and comfortable inside but will invoke moans and groans as you read and reread passages. They will make you lie awake at night as you reflect upon your condition and then throw you on your knees as you weep before the Lord beseeching Him to take you as His if you are not or give you comfort if you are. At least they should. If they do not, I dare say that it is because your spirit is dead. Mead so honestly points out our opinion of ourselves when he states: “Most men are good Christians in the verdict of their own opinion, but you know that law allows no man to be a witness in his own case, because their affection usually overreaches conscience and self-love deceives truth for its own interest.” Christ himself forewarned us to “strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able” (Luke 13:24). Do not wait until you are old and feeble to start questioning your condition before God. Make certain of your calling today! “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:2-11).     

The book jacket states: “While ‘cheap grace and easy-believism’ are relatively new terms, antinomianism is not. Martin Luther coined the phrase to refer to those who wanted all the benefits of salvation without any of the obligations. The Puritans decried this idea loudly and often. There are many classic Puritan treatises on true and spurious conversions. Among them are Anthony Burgess’ Spiritual Refining, Samuel Crook’s Divine Characters, Thomas Shepard’s Parable of the Ten Virgins, and Giles Firmin’s The Real Christian. To those who looked to some external act for confirmation of a regenerate heart, the Puritans pointed to proper motives as well as proper conduct. To those who looked merely to their orthodox beliefs, the Puritans pointed out that the demons are orthodox in their creed, but not in their conduct. Ever mindful not to stir up unnecessary doubts in weak believers, the Puritans, nevertheless, felt it imperative to awaken the carnal hypocrite out of this undeserved security. John MacArthur writes in this foreword to the book, ‘This is not balm for the emotions; it is food for the soul. Those looking for a tranquilizing devotional study will not be soothed by this book. People who have come to Christ only for what they can get out of Him will find no encouragement here. On the other hand, true believers who want to deepen their walk—even struggling Christians who are open to reproof and instruction—will find plenty of sustenance on these pages.’” Amen! Always desirous to deepen our walk and always open to reproof and instruction, Jon and I greatly appreciated both this book and True Believer! Our thanks to Anne Belley for another treasure.     

The following are other passages that I had highlighted of Matthew Mead that I thought would be beneficial.      “He only knows God aright who knows how to obey Him, and obeys according to his knowledge of Him. A graceless professor may have greater gifts than the most holy believer. A man may profess religion and yet never have his heart changed…he may be a constant hearer of the Word and yet be a sinner still. He may come often to the Lord’s table and yet go away a sinner. Many may be members of the church of Christ and yet not be members of Christ…Cain had communion with Abel; Ishmael dwelt in the same house with Isaac; Judas was in fellowship with the apostles…”     

“The professor rests in duties, and so is but almost a Christian; but you must be sure to rest upon the Lord Christ….How far may a man go in the way to heaven and yet be but almost a Christian? He may have much knowledge, great gifts, a high profession, do much against sin, may desire grace, tremble at the word, delight in the word, be a member of the church of Christ, have great hopes of heaven, be under great and visible changes, very zealous in the matters of religion, much in prayer, suffer for Christ, called of God, have some kind of faith, may love the people of God, may go far in obeying the commands of God, may be, in some sense, sanctified, may do all as to external duties, that a true Christian can, and yet be no better than almost a Christian.”      

“Natural conscience, enlightened by the Word, may reveal to a man much of the misery of a natural state…the soul runs to a life of duties, thinking hereby to stead the misery of his case and make a covering for his nakedness. It is said that when Adam and Eve ‘saw they were naked, they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves a covering.’ So when once the sinner sees his nakedness and vileness by reason of sin, whereas he should run to Christ, close with Him, and beg His righteousness for a covering that the shame of his nakedness does not appear, he rather runs to a life of duty and performances; and thus makes himself a covering with the fig leaves of a profession, without Christ truly embraced and conscience at all renewed.”     

As Jon and I have always said—many profess Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, when in truth they want Him as their Savior but not their Lord. Mead concurs with this when he states, “Now many embrace Christ as a Priest but they do not own Him as a King…They like to share in His righteousness but not to partake of His holiness. They would be redeemed by Him but they would not submit to Him. They would be saved by His blood but not submit to His power. Many love the privileges of the gospel but not the duties of the gospel.”     

“Natural convictions reach chiefly to open and scandalous sin, sins against the light of nature, for natural conviction can reach no further than natural light. But spiritual conviction reaches to secret, inward, and undiscerned sins such as hypocrisy, formality, lukewarmness, deadness, and hardness of heart. Observe, then, whether your trouble for sin looks inward as well as outward and reaches not only to open sins but to secret lusts; to inward and spiritual sins. And, if so, this is a sure sign of the work of the Spirit, because the trouble occasioned by these sins bears a more immediate relation to the holiness of God, who only is offended by them, they being such as none else can see or know.”