“Rend your heart, and not your garments.” -Joel 2:13
Garment-rending and other outward signs of religious emotion, are easily manifested and are frequently hypocritical; but to feel true repentance is far more difficult, and consequently far less common. Men will attend to the most multiplied and minute ceremonial regulations–for such things are pleasing to the flesh–but true religion is too humbling, too heart-searching, too thorough for the tastes of the carnal men; they prefer something more ostentatious, flimsy, and worldly. Outward observances are temporarily comfortable; eye and ear are pleased; self-conceit is fed, and self-righteousness is puffed up: but they are ultimately delusive, for in the article of death, and at the day of judgment, the soul needs something more substantial than ceremonies and rituals to lean upon. Apart from vital godliness all religion is utterly vain; offered without a sincere heart, every form of worship is a solemn sham and an impudent mockery of the majesty of heaven.
Heart-rending is divinely wrought and solemnly felt. It is a secret grief which is personally experienced, not in mere form, but as a deep, soul-moving work of the Holy Spirit upon the inmost heart of each believer. It is not a matter to be merely talked of and believed in, but keenly and sensitively felt in every living child of the living God. It is powerfully humiliating, and completely sin-purging; but then it is sweetly preparative for those gracious consolations which proud unhumbled spirits are unable to receive; and it is distinctly discriminating, for it belongs to the elect of God, and to them alone.
The text commands us to rend our hearts, but they are naturally hard as marble: how, then, can this be done? We must take them to Calvary: a dying Saviour’s voice rent the rocks once, and it is as powerful now. O blessed Spirit, let us hear the death-cries of Jesus, and our hearts shall be rent even as men rend their vestures in the day of lamentation.
Spurgeon Audio is Dave Seip and Jon Ladner. Dave Seip lives in Denton, Texas. Great modern preachers like John Piper and Matt Chandler were used by God to preach truth and lead him into maturity, and it is his desire to take the words of another man used mightily by God, Charles H. Spurgeon, and give him a sermon podcast stream alongside those in the hope that they will go on to bear fruit in the ears of others. Visit his blog at: http://davethehedonist.blogspot.com.
Jon Ladner lives in Denton, TX with his wife, Rachel. He is a high school English teacher, a writer, a musician, and he has been doing audio production in varying capacities for several years. Through the Spurgeon Audio Podcast, he enjoys digging into the compelling writings of Charles Spurgeon. Visit his blog at jonladnertheturingtest.blogspot.com. Follow them on Twitter at @SpurgeonAudio, on Facebook at Facebook at Spurgeon Audio, or visit their website at https://spurgeonaudio.org.