The Outward Result of An Inward Religion
The religion of the apostate church with an outward formality does not usually mistreat or cheat anyone nor openly commit gross sins. This is the only way the reputation of its work can stand before public opinion. It also refrains from cursing, swearing and the misuse of the name of God.
It is busy doing good, helping the poor; holding forth a means of pardon from sin; goes to church and partakes of the Lord’s Supper; and whoever does this is called a good Christian. But all this cannot bring peace to one who thirsts for God; all this will not restore his soul. He desires a religion that rises higher and reaches down deeper than this outwardly visible religion. Naturally, he also gladly does all the things named above but does not seek his salvation in it. He seeks his salvation in Christ. He feeds the hungry and does good to all men out of a pure love, because the love of God is shed abroad in his heart through the Holy Spirit. But all this is but the outward result of an inward religion for which he constantly hungers and thirsts, ever longing for the knowledge of God in Christ Jesus; to be united with God through Jesus Christ; to be in communion with the Father and the Son, that the soul may be in full fellowship and peace with the Triune God. This is the religion for which he so passionately thirsts.