“Surely you must be aware that the vast majority of people in the world see nothing, feel nothing, and know nothing in religion as they ought. How and why is this, is not the present question. I only put it ti your conscience: Is it not the fact?
Tell them of the sinfulness of many things which they are doing continually; and what is generally the reply? ‘They see no harm.’
Tell them of the awful peril in which their souls are, the shortness of time, the nearness of eternity, the uncertainty of life, the reality of judgment. They feel no danger.
Tell them of their need of a Savour–mighty, loving, and divine, and of the impossibility of being saved from hell except by faith in Him. It all falls flat and dead on their ears. They see no such great barrier between themselves and heaven.
Tell them of holiness, and the high standard of living which the Bible requires. They cannot comprehend the need of such strictness. They see no use in being so very good.
There are thousands and tens of thousands of such people on every side of us. They will hear these things all their lives, They will even attend the ministry of the most striking preachers, and listen to the most powerful appeals to their consciences, And yet when you come to visit them on their deathbeds, they are like men and women who never heard these things at all. They know nothing of the leading doctrines of the Gospel by experience. They can render no reason whatever of their own hope.
And why and wherefore is all this? What is the explanation, what is the cause of such a state of things? It all comes from this, that man naturally has no sense of spiritual things. In vain the sun of righteousness shines before him: the eyes of his soul are blind, and cannot see it. In vain the music of Christ’s invitations sounds around him: the ears of his soul are deaf, and cannot hear it. In vain the wrath of God against sin is set forth: the perceptions of his soul are stopped – like the sleeping traveler, he does not perceive the coming storm. In vain the bread and water of life are offered to him; his soul is neither hungry for the one or thirsty for the other. In vain he is advised to flee to the great Physician: his soul is unconscious of its disease; why should he go? In vain you put a price to his hand to buy wisdom: the mind of his soul wonders, he is like a lunatic, who calls straws a crown and dust diamonds –he says, ‘I am rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.’ Ah! Reader, there is nothing so sad as the utter corruption of our nature. There is nothing so painful as the anatomy of a dead soul.”
– J.C. Ryle, Regeneration, p.23-25