The full quote is, "If this is Christianity, then I have never really known what Christianity is. In fact; If this is Christianity, I may not be a Christian". This was a quote from a pastor of a church, after he was introduced to the "Christianity" expressed and experienced by men who lived over 400 years ago. He was filled with sorrow and with joy (all at the same time) for the very first time in His walk with the Lord.
I have found this to be my same experience and I have found that many genuinely "born-again" believers are moved in the very same way when they discover the depth of the hearts of these men for Christ. This is truly one of God's precious gifts to His people.
Why is this important? It is important because we are living in "shallow", "superficial", "man-centered times" and yet true believers hunger and thirst for Joy--for REALITY; for purpose.
Read this excerpt from Thomas Watson's treatise on "Men's Chief End" and tell me if this is your experience. Tell me if you hunger for this. Tell me if you experience this beauty and depth with the Lord while you attend His ordinances. This is "Christianity" and this is what our souls long for and can experience.
The enjoyment of God in this life. It is a great matter to enjoy God's ordinances, but to enjoy God's presence in the ordinances is that which a gracious heart aspires after. Psalm 63:2, "To see thy glory so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary." This sweet enjoyment of God is when we feel his Spirit co-operating with the ordinance, and distilling grace upon our hearts.
When in the Word the Spirit quickens and raises the affections. Luke 24:32, "Did not our hearts burn within us?"
When the Spirit transforms the heart leaving an impress of holiness upon it. 2 Cor. 3:8, "We are changed into the same image, from glory to glory."
When the Spirit revives the heart with comfort, it comes not only with its anointing, but with its seal; it sheds God's love abroad in the heart. Rom. 5:5, "Our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ." 1 John 1:3.
In the Word we hear God's voice; in the sacrament we have his kiss. (Have you felt the kiss of Christ in the sacraments?) The heart being warmed and inflamed in a duty is God's answering by fire. The sweet communications of God's Spirit are the first fruits of glory. Now Christ has pulled off his veil, and showed his smiling face; now he has led a believer into the banqueting-house, and given him of the spiced wine of his love to drink; he has put in his finger at the hole of the door; he has touched the heart, and made it leap for joy.
Oh how sweet is it thus to enjoy God! The godly have, in ordinances, had such divine raptures of joy, and soul transfigurations, that they have been carried above the world, and have despised all things here below. (Is this your experience?)
Is the enjoyment of God in this life so sweet?
How wicked are they who prefer the enjoyment of their lusts before the enjoyment of God! 2 Pet. 3:3, "The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, the pride of life," is the Trinity they worship. Lust is an inordinate desire or impulse, provoking the soul to that which is evil. There is the revengeful lust, and the wanton lust. Lust, like a feverish heat, puts the soul into a flame. Aristotle calls sensual lusts brutish, because, when any lust is violent, reason or conscience cannot be heard. These lusts besot and brutalise the man. Hos. 4:11,"Whoredom and wine take away the heart;" the heart for anything that is good. How many make it their chief end, not to enjoy God, but to enjoy their lusts; as that cardinal who said, "Let him but keep his cardinalship of Paris and he was content to lose his part in Paradise." Lust first bewitches with pleasure, and then comes the fatal dart. Prov. 7:23, "Till a dart strike through his liver." This should be as a flaming sword to stop men in the way of their carnal delights. Who for a drop of pleasure would drink a sea of wrath?
Let it be our great care to enjoy God's sweet presence in his ordinances. Enjoying spiritual communion with God is a riddle and mystery to most people. Every one that hangs about the court does not speak with the king.
We may approach God in ordinances, and hang about the court of heaven, yet not enjoy communion with God.
We may have the letter without the Spirit, the visible sign without the invisible grace. It is the enjoyment of God in a duty that we should chiefly look at. Psalm 13:2, "My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God." Alas! what are all our worldly enjoyments without the enjoyment of God?
What is it to enjoy good health, a brave estate, and not to enjoy God? Job 30:28, "I went mourning without the sun." So mayest thou say in the enjoyment of all creatures without God, "I went mourning without the sun." I have the starlight of outward enjoyments, but I lack the Sun of Righteousness. "I went mourning without the sun." It should be our great design, not only to have the ordinances of God, but the God of the ordinances.
The enjoyment of God's sweet presence here is the most contented life: he is a hive of sweetness, a magazine of riches, a fountain of delight, Psalm 36:8,9. The higher the lark flies the sweeter it sings; and the higher we fly by the wings of faith, the more we enjoy of God. How is the heart inflamed in prayer and meditation! What joy and peace is there in believing! Is it not comfortable being in heaven? He that enjoys much of God in this life carries heaven about him. Oh let this be the thing we are chiefly ambitious of, the enjoyment of God in his ordinances! The enjoyment of God's sweet presence here is an earnest of our enjoying him in heaven.
Ah, yes! This is Christ and this is Christianity.