You try on a coat. If you do not like it, you need not buy it. You try a type of beverage. If you are not satisfied with the product, there is a money-back guarantee written on the paper cover. You try out a particular sewing machine model. The salesman encourages you to take it home. If it does not work for you, you may return it. How nice, that there is a way out. This “trying” mentality is widespread in the secular world. What’s more, it is thriving in the religious realm also.
Most people have no inkling of what it means to get saved. Indeed, it takes God’s power and grace to save a soul; however, that soul has a definite part to perform as well. Getting saved is a total “sell-out”; a complete 180-degree turn-around; a death to the old life of sin and a resurrection to a new life in Christ; a giving up of the whole world; a pursuit of God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength; and finally, in the words of Talmage, “an infinite and radical change in [your] heart…an earthquake in [your] soul.” And, there is no “escape route” ever!
Salvation is a wonderful experience, but you cannot “give it a try.” You might try on a coat, but you cannot try on salvation. People live in a fantasy experience. They have tried on a “new coat,” but when life’s circumstances get a little hot, they will quickly put off this “experience” to avoid hardships, persecution, or reproach. After all, giving something a try requires no commitment, and to succeed is purely optional. Come Sunday, they can always try again, right? Especially when, during the week, they gave in to the craving “to try the world again.” Just a little taste, you know; they were not planning to be wicked; oh no! Then, when something left a bad after-taste, and they applied for a refund, they found out that Satan does not offer satisfaction guarantees. His refund is death. So Sunday becomes a “try-to-fix-it” day—get back to Jesus. (Satan loves “Sunday-go-to-meeting Christians.” They will fill a large part of hell.) There is one problem: Jesus Christ does not play games. Trying to jump back and forth is presuming on the grace of God, and unless people stop playing, there is no help for them.
Will God not receive sinners and backsliders? He will, just as soon as they are ready to stop playing. When their hearts break with true sorrow and contrition for committing sin, they will forever forsake sin, and get a hold of a real salvation experience.
To reassert: It is not a matter of trying the experience, but of getting it; not a matter of trying to pray, but of praying with all your might. You may have to cry out like Bartimaeus or roar like Billy Bray. And if you are told to “hold your peace,” you will just have to cry out and roar a “great deal” more. It is not a matter of trying to repent or of trying to turn from your sins, but of actually turning. Do you know that you cannot try to turn and actually turn at the same time? It is impossible. You are either turning or you are not. Trying to turn is absurd. Accordingly, the commands of the Bible are extremely firm and settled. There is no option of trying offered: “Ye must be born again. Be ye holy; for I am holy. Touch not the unclean thing. Love not the world.” (If you are trying not to love the world, you are, in fact, loving it.)
Sometimes an individual voices a good intention, but unless he presses through to do it, there is nothing really to shout about. He is trying, and that is not a positive implication, but rather a negative one. The Scripture says, “What must I do to be saved?”
The Bible uses the example of the bride and the bridegroom. Imagine a young man, who has asked a young woman to marry him, receiving this type of answer: “I will try.” His response: “Will you, or will you not?” The marriage vow requires that she say, “I will,” and this promise holds for good times and for bad times. “I will try” leaves a way out. She may one day say, “I’m tired of cooking and doing the dishes and keeping up with the laundry. I’m leaving.” People literally do that today, but such behavior does not fit into the marriage vow. Likewise, such behavior spiritually has no room in the consecrated life of the spiritual bride. Moreover, Jesus, the Bridegroom, left Himself no room for trying. He did not try to pray “Not my will, but Thine, be done.” He did not try to drink that bitter cup. He did not try to spill His blood for the saving of the world. He went ahead and did it all, and when it was all done, He said, “It is finished!” And when you, dear soul, will do your part of repenting, praying, confessing, and believing, God will do His part, and the work will be finished. You will rejoice and shout “Glory” because you are SAVED!
How will you stay saved? By trying? That sounds as though you do not absolutely have to stay saved. “I will try to keep going?” You have no other choice. You have got to keep going or you are not going to heaven. “I will try to be faithful?” If a husband says that to his wife before he leaves for work in the morning, he has changed the marriage vow from “I will” to “I’ll try.” Trouble is on the way. “I will try to resist temptation?” The devil has an advantage over you already. You have not purposed in your heart to overcome. You are leaving for yourself a little opening, should the temptation get too strong. I am afraid that it will get too strong, and that you will enter right in. “I will try to be spiritual?” You will not succeed, unless you “perform the doing of it” (2 Cor. 8:11).
Trying is dying. Jesus does not play this “game of trying,” and you must stop playing it too.