TO the scribe who spoke well the heart of the Law, Jesus said, “Thou art not far from the kingdom of God” (Mark 12:34). But one may almost reach salvation and still be lost. A soldier, after going through the war in France, was killed in a wreck when he had almost reached his home in America. Almost, but lost! Some get as far as the church. The father brought his demonized boy to the disciples but they could not heal him. Then Jesus came and said, “Bring him to Me” (Matt. 17:14-21). Today a powerless church stands before needy souls, and all too often it must be said of us disciples, “And they could not.” We can do no mighty works because of unbelief. And men lambaste the church and talk of the mistakes and failures of the church. But back of the church stands the Lord saying, “Bring him to Me. I have not failed. The church cannot save. You must get through to Me.” To be sure, this does not excuse the weakness of the church. Such power comes only by prayer and fasting and the church will not fast and pray today. But men need to know that it is not enough to get as far as the church and into the church. Press through to Jesus!
Some get as far as the Bible. “Ye search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me. And ye will not come to Me that ye might have life” (John 5:39-40). One may study the Bible in an academic way and never know its Christ. This scribe we started with knew his Scripture but not the Lord. To be an expert in a biography is not to know the subject of the biography. And greater is the condemnation if we know the Bible and know not Christ. The heathen has not that condemnation. To read travel folders is not to travel! All roads in the book lead to Christ; but do you travel the road?
Some get as far as doctrine. At the grave of Lazarus, Jesus said to Martha, “Thy brother shall rise again.” She said, “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Martha was orthodox; she was correct in her doctrine, a good fundamentalist. But our Lord changed the emphasis from the doctrinal to the person: “I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. Believest thou this?” He made the resurrection not something to believe but someone to believe, and it brought personal confession from Martha: “I believe that Thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.” One may know doctrine and not know Him. It is not he that believes in the resurrection but he that believes in Him who rose who is saved.
Certainly one who comes to Him will belong to the church, read the Bible and believe doctrine. But back of all these stands Christ Himself. The devil will have men join the church and become theologically orthodox if only they do not touch Christ. And one may come almost to Christ! Jostle Him in the crowd but never touch Him and feel His virtue: this is almost. Be sure you get through to Jesus!