I have started reading Richard Baxter’s masterpiece, The Christian Directory, and have been thoroughly enjoying it. I am reading it quite slowly trying to digest this mammoth volume. This book is about 800 quarto pages long. It will take a LONG time to read, but it is a gold mine!! Reading this last night, Baxter was discussing in his Christian Ethics on the conversion of the lost. On page 18 of Part I, Baxter describes the marks of the unconverted state. I want to share them with you. If you ever wanted to know if you are in the faith or not, this list is a great start to show you your true spiritual state – whether dead or alive.
Here are the words of Baxter:
Marks of an unconverted state:
1. If you are persecutors, or haters, or deriders of men, for being serious and diligent in the service of God, and fearful of sinning, and because they go not with the multitude to do evil, it is a certain sign that you are in a state of death: yea, if you love not such men, and desire not rather to be such yourselves, than to be the greatest of the ungodly.
2. If you love the world best, and set your affections most on things below, and mind most earthly things; nay, if you seek not first God’s kingdom and the righteousness thereof; and if your hearts be not in heaven, and your affections set on the things that are above; and you prefer not your hopes of life eternal before all the pleasures and prosperity of this world, it is a certain sign that you are but worldly and ugodly men.
3. If your estimation, belief, and hopes, of everlasting life through Christ, be not such, as will prevail with you to deny yourselves, and forsake father, and mother, and the nearest friends; and house, and land, and life, and all that you have, for Christ, and for these hopes of a happiness hereafter, you are no true Christians, nor in a state of saving grace.
4. If you have not been converted, regenerated, and sanctified by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, making you spiritual, and causing you to mind the things of the Spirit above the things of the flesh. If this Spriti be not in you, and you walk not after it, but after the flesh; making provision for the flesh, to satisfy its desires, and preferring the pleasing of the flesh before the pleasing of God, it is certain that you are in a state of death.
5. If you have any known sin which you do not hate, and had not rather leave it than keep it, and do not pray, and strive, and watch against it, as far as you know and observe it; but rather excuse it, plead for it, desire it, and are loth to part with it, so that your will is habitually more for it than against it, it is a sign of an impenitent, unrenewed heart.
6. If you love not the word, as it is a light discovering your sin and duty, but only as it is a general truth, or as it reproveth others: if you love not the most searching preaching, and would not know how bad you are, and come not to the light, that your deeds may be manifest, it is a sign that you are not children of the light, but of the darkness.
7. If the laws of your Creator and Redeemer be not of greatest power and authority with you, and the will and word of God cannot do more with you, than the word or will of any man; and the threatenings and promises of God be not more prevalent with you, than the threats or promises of any men, it is a sign that you take not God for your God, but in heart are atheists and ungodly men.
8. If you have not, in a deliberate covenant or resolution, devoted and given up yourselves to God as your Father and felicity, to Jesus Christ as your only Saviour, and your Lord and King, and to be the Holy Ghost as your Sanctifier, to be made holy by him, desiring that your heart and life should be perfectly conformed to the will of God, and that you might know him, and love him, and enjoy him more; you are void of godliness and true Christianity; for this is the very covenant which you make in baptism…”
I don’t know about you, but these signs or marks of the unconverted truly convicted me! Oh how I hate sin, but how I so often find myself not resting in the Spirit of God, but instead allowing myself to live as if I am unconverted! May these marks be blazened on my mind and in my heart that I may not sin against God and thus search out the Scriptures for the surpassing love that is found in Christ Jesus our Lord!