The Pilgrim’s Heart Part 1 – Introduction

by Mike Ratliff

One of my favorite books outside of the Bible is John Bunyan’s allegory, The Pilgrim’s Progress. Bunyan wrote this wonderful book while in prison for preaching without license from the Church of England. He was a 17th Century Baptist non-conformist preacher who was counted among the Puritans. The continuing appeal of this book, even into the 21st Century, is its inherent Christian authenticity. Through this authenticity we learn what real Christianity is and what it isn’t.

Bunyan suffered for his faith. His first imprisonment lasted 12 years. He was sentenced to a few months, but his release from prison was always contingent upon his agreeing to stop preaching. He refused. While in prison, he wrote poetry and books to be sold to support his family. He also made boot laces to sell for the same reason. Finally, he was released from prison and returned to preaching to his little flock. Then he was arrested again on the same charge. This time, he was in prison for only six months, but it was during this imprisonment that he wrote The Pilgrim’s Progress.

It was an immediate success and went through several editions. The reason this wonderful book has had such lasting success with Christians is that the reader knows the author suffered for His savior. Also, the essence of the message reveals that the authentic Christian faith will result in the believer suffering as well.

Bunyan portrayed each believer’s life as a Pilgrimage. Each Pilgrim would experience various tests and trials in their life journey until they reached the Celestial City. I agree with this analogy. Each day of our Christian walk takes us closer to that day we will arrive at the gates of Heaven to meet our savior face to face. Each Christian’s pilgrimage will be unique, but the end is the same. Some will arrive after much victory while others will arrive by the skin of their teeth. However, all of the Elect will complete this journey.

This study will take a look at the heart of the Pilgrim. What I mean by that is that we will examine the various traits of the genuine regenerate heart. As we look at these traits we will also compare them with those inherent in the heart of the disingenuous Pilgrim. Many appear to be on the same path to the Celestial City as the genuine Pilgrim. However, they didn’t enter by the narrow gate, but climbed in some other way. They look religious, but are not one of the savior’s sheep.

As we study The Pilgrim’s Heart we must do much self-examination. I pray that the Holy Spirit will use this study to draw each reader into making their Pilgrimage via the narrow path straying neither to the right nor to the left.

3 thoughts on “The Pilgrim’s Heart Part 1 – Introduction

  1. Mike states, “What I mean by that is that we will examine the various traits of the genuine regenerate heart. As we look at these traits we will also compare them with those inherent in the heart of the disingenuous Pilgrim. ”

    I look forward to this study. We all need to know what a truly regenerate heart looks like, and as we compare this to those who have sought to enter another way may we be confirmed or convicted about our true state before God.

    In reference to those who have sought to enter another way, I am reminded of this verse:

    Jer 17:9 “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?

    Our hearts are deceitful and there is not one of us above that deception. If God does not quicken our heart, then we have no hope but to remain in the state of deception. May God use this study to reveal truth to many. May many hearts be quickened, and by faith believe. And may those who are already counted among the Children of God be strengthened to walk by faith glorifying God in all they do.

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  2. Currently in the Western Chruch there is much confusion about salvation. The church growth movement has created a form of salvation and assurance that are completly bogus. They leave the Holy Spirit out of the equation. The result is huge numbers of disengenuous believers who are the product of decisional regeneration which is no regeneration at all. These false believers did not enter the pilgramage by the narrow gate. They climbed in some other way. Prior to salvation we are all dead men walking. Only the genuine regenerate heart has died completly as God regenerated it in it's new birth. This heart will have characteristics that will set it apart from the merely religious heart.

    Let's pray that God will use this study to break down the barriers of antagonism toward the genuine Gospel of Sovereign Grace.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

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