I have found the blogosphere to be somewhat slow around the weekend, so I have decided to post some kind of edifying work from the past on Saturdays.II. Let me point out, in the second place, the way of forgiveness (cont'd).
Christ, in one word, has purchased a full forgiveness, if we are only willing to receive it. He has done all, paid all, suffered all that was needful to reconcile us to God. He has provided a garment of righteousness to clothe us. He has opened a fountain of living waters to cleanse us. He has removed every barrier between us and God the Father, taken every obstacle out of the way, and made a road by which the vilest may return. All things are now ready, and the sinner has only to believe and be saved, to eat and be satisfied, to ask and receive, to wash and be clean.
And faith, simple faith, is the only thing required, in order that you and I may be forgiven. That we will come by faith to Jesus as sinners with our sins, — trust in Him, — rest on Him, — lean on Him, — confide in Him, — commit our souls to Him, — and forsaking all other hope, cleave only to Him, — this is all and everything that God asks for. Let a man only do this, and he shall be saved. His iniquities shall be found completely pardoned, and his transgressions entirely taken away. Every man and woman that so trusts is wholly forgiven, and reckoned perfectly righteous. His sins are clean gone, and his soul is justified in God's sight, however bad and guilty he may have been.
This is the doctrine which is the true strength of any Church on earth at this day. It is not orders, or endowments, or liturgies, or learning that will keep a Church alive. Let free forgiveness through Christ be faithfully proclaimed in her pulpits, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against her. Let it be buried, or kept back, and her candlestick will soon be taken away. A Church is only useful so far as she exalts free forgiveness through Christ.
This is the doctrine which, of all others, is the mightiest engine for pulling down the kingdom of Satan. Preach salvation by the sacraments, exalt the Church above Christ, and keep back the doctrine of the Atonement, and the devil cares little, — his goods are at peace. But preach a full Christ, and a free pardon by faith in Him, and then Satan will have great wrath, for he knows he has but a short time.
This is the only doctrine which will ever bring peace to an uneasy conscience, and rest to a troubled soul. A man may get on pretty well without it so long as he is asleep about his spiritual condition. But once let him awake from his slumber, and nothing will ever calm him but the blood of Atonement, and the peace which comes by faith in Christ.
You should ask yourself whether you have really received the truth which I have been dwelling on, and know it by experience. Jesus, and faith in Him, is the only way to the Father. He that thinks to climb into Paradise by some other road will find himself fearfully mistaken. Other foundation can no man lay for an immortal soul than that of which I have been feebly speaking. He that ventures himself here is safe. He that is off this rock has got no standing ground at all.
You should seriously consider what kind of a ministry you are in the habit of attending, supposing you have a choice. You have reason indeed to be careful. It is not all the same where you go, whatever people may say. There are many places of worship, I fear, where you might look long for Christ crucified, and never find Him. He is buried under outward ceremonies, — thrust behind the baptismal font, — lost sight of under the shadow of the Church. “They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him” (Joh 20:13). Take heed where you settle yourself. Try all by this single test, “Is Jesus and free forgiveness proclaimed here?” There may be comfortable pews, — there may be good singing, — there may be learned sermons. But if Christ's Gospel is not the sun and centre of the whole place, do not pitch your tent there. Say rather with Isaac, “Here, is the wood and the fire, but where is the lamb?” (Gen 22:7). Be very sure, this is not the place for your soul.
posted at 5:00 PM