For various reasons, people may for a time appear to belong to Christ and hold orthodox belief. Upbringing, self-advantages, and culture may hide for a while what is missing. But let the disadvantages of being an evangelical Christian come to be experienced, and those unrenewed by the Holy Spirit will turn to whatever other system has greater appeal to their nature.
William Wilberfore had reason to warn his son, Samuel, when at Oriel school, against the dread of ridicule and the fear of being singled out; he reminded his son, “More perhaps depends on the selection of personal friends than on any other circumstances in life.”
It is easy to be converted from one group to another, one denomination to another, or one set of opinions to another. But what we all need is conversion from pride to humility, from high thoughts of ourselves to low thoughts, from self-conceit to self-humiliation; conversion is needed from the mind of the Pharisee to the mind of the publican. A conversion of this kind we must experience, if we hope to be saved. This is the conversion that is wrought by the Holy Ghost.
Concerning the contrast between the standards of the world and the standards of the Lord Jesus, Ryle said, “They are more than different; they are flatly contradictory one to the other. Among the children of this world, that man is thought to be the greatest who has the most land, money, servants, position, or power. But among the children of God, he is reckoned the greatest who does the most to promote the spiritual happiness of his fellow creatures. True greatness consists of, not receiving, but in giving and imparting to others, not in being served, but in serving, not sitting still and being ministered to, but in going about and ministering to others.