The Word and Work of God in Man’s Redemption by Jesus Christ
On Entrance into Spiritual Life
Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow
myself before the high God? How shall I, a
sinner, approach the eyes of that Majesty, which cannot
look upon sin without abhorrence? My iniquities are
more in number than the hairs of my head, and my
heart sinketh within me on their remembrance. My
affections are naturally all inclined to the world and
worldly things. My judgment is depraved; my will is
perverse; my understanding is darkened; my knowledge
vain; and I see nothing in me or about me but what by
guilt is altogether defiled. I have sore proof of that
scripture, that every imagination of the thoughts of
man’s heart is only evil continually, and that from the
sole of the foot, even to the head, there is no soundness in my nature; but only the wounds, and bruises, and
putrefying sores of sin.
How then can I please God? How shall such a worm,
such a lump of perverse ungodliness, obtain his favour?
Shall I seek to deserve it by my own good thoughts?
Alas! I am not sufficient of myself to think even one.
Shall I by excellency of words approach my offended
Maker? He regardeth not words, but the spirit and the
heart; and my spirit and heart are wholly defiled. Shall I
then by good works attempt to render him propitious?
O my God, where shall I find them! How can I begin to
act, before I have begun to think, what is right? How
can the exercises of the body be pure and free, when the
soul is unholy and enslaved by sin? And if, from this
day, I could cease from evil, and do perfectly what is just
and right, which the experience of all men tells me is
impossible, yet, what will become of the long black
catalogue of iniquities, both in heart and life, which are
already written against me? How shall I wipe off the sins
of my nature and my life, respecting the times that are
O Lord, thou hast revealed thyself as a holy God,
and a just. Thou hast declared that thou wilt not spare
the guilty. And I have offended thy righteous law in
every hour and every action of my life. How then can I
be saved? How is it possible for me to escape the wrath
to come? My anxieties, like my sins, might justly
overwhelm me; and I ought to tremble at the righteous
judgment which I know I deserve. There are but a few days at the most for me to live upon the earth; and I am
not sure of one. O how shall I flee from the wrath to
come? How shall I avoid eternal burnings, in which no
man can dwell but with misery, and of which no man
can think strictly but with horror? Lord, can such a
sinner as I escape? Canst thou have mercy upon me?
Such are the breathings of the heart when it first begins
to awake, and live, and feel that there is an evil and
a curse in sin, and that sin, with all its evil, lieth at the
The Method of Mercy
Such a flowing from the heart, as that just mentioned,
gladdens all heaven. It is the motion of the
divine Spirit upon the troubled deep, and will ere long
produce both life and peace.
Soul, dost thou feel the power of thy own corruption?
Are these thy meek, yet bitter cries? O hear, and
may thy God enable thee to believe, the glad tidings of
his own salvation!
Thou art a sinner, it is true; and thy mercy it is to
see, in due measure, how great a sinner thou art. It is
the first line in the large book of humiliation, which
thou must be reading all thy life long. But Christ died
for sinners such as thee; for all sinners that come unto God by him; for the vilest of sinners that see the
vileness of sin, and bemoan it, as thou dost. He saved
Mary Magdalene the harlot, Matthew the publican, Paul
the persecutor, Peter, the swearer, liar, and denier of his
Master, the malefactor on the cross, who had been a
thief and a murderer, and ten thousand more like these;
and he hath just the same power, means, and mercy to
save thy soul, even thine.
He saves graciously, that is, freely; because no
wisdom nor worth of man have contrived, or could
have obtained his greatness of salvation. It was planned
in grace, and performed by grace. It is all of grace, and
bounty, and love, from beginning to end.
For this purpose he came into the world and took
our nature upon him. He took it in its meanest and
humblest form; and was content to be born in a stable,
to be brought up by a labouring man, to labour with
him too, to suffer the worst evils of human life, and the
sorest pains of human death, that so he might be an
oblation or sacrifice in the stead of his people, and
render an atonement to the justice of God for them.
These sufferings and this atonement are the debt due to
the law and holiness of God, without which, consistent
with his attributes, he could not spare the sinner, but by
which he can be both just, and yet the justifier of him
who taketh refuge in Jesus. Yea, this dear Saviour
having paid the penalty due to his transgressions, God
is now faithful and just to forgive him his sins, or rather
more faithful and just to forgive them than he could be in laying on the punishment again, which Christ
endured in that behalf.
Christ also lived upon earth to fulfil all righteousness;
and he fulfilled it completely for his redeemed. He
makes himself over to them; and all he hath is theirs,
through faith in him. Thus they have a right to call him,
what he is, the Lord our righteousness. God is well
pleased for his righteousness’ sake, and beholds every
poor sinner who trusts in Christ, and lives in him, as
unblameable and unreprovable in his own most
piercing sight, yea, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such
thing. This righteousness is that garment of salvation,
which covers them wholly, and fits them perfectly for
the kingdom of heaven.
Contrite soul, believest thou this? Is this good news,
the very gospel or good news, of God? Search and see.
Read and pray over thy bible, and thou wilt find, that it
is the very voice and will of thy Lord.
O that the fallow, the hard, and barren ground of
thy heart may be so broken up by his power, as to welcome
this joyful news, like the thirsty soil receiving the
showers from the skies!
Ambrose Serle, from 'the Christian Remembrancer'
"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan