Examining the Heart 68

Self-righteousness, self-sufficiency, are the darlings of nature, which she preserves as her life. That makes Christ seem ugly to nature, to all nature’s glorious interests. Let nature but make a gospel, and it would make it quite contrary to Christ; it would be to the just, the innocent and the holy; Christ made the gospel for you; that is, for needy sinners, the ungodly, the unrighteous, the accursed. Nature cannot endure to think the gospel is only for sinners; it will rather choose to despair than to go to Christ upon such terrible terms. When nature is but put to it by guilt or wrath, it will go to its old haunts of self-righteousness and self-goodness. An infinite power must cast down those strongholds. None but the self-justified stands excluded from the gospel; Christ will look to the most abominable sinner before Him; because to such an one Christ cannot be made justification; he is no sinner. Thomas Willcox

Every single human being born is by nature a child of wrath. The very nature of that human being is to be worldly and self-focused and to do all out of the love of self which is a natural (fallen) man. The heart loves the world and the things of the world (fleshly, natural) as opposed to the things of the Spirit. The things of the natural man include self-righteousness and self-sufficiency. It seems to be human nature to fight at all costs to preserve life, but fallen human nature seems to want to defend self-righteousness and self-sufficiency even more. The fallen human seems to want to preserve and defend self-righteousness and self-sufficiency even to the death. It appears that human beings will die rather than give up its self-righteousness and self-sufficiency.

What this shows us is that the fallen human heart is full of self and will defend self at virtually all costs. The Gospel of grace alone and Christ alone is hated when it is understood by the sinner. The Gospel of grace alone teaches the sinner that he has no righteousness at all and that he has no sufficiency at all. If sinners are justified by grace ALONE, then they have absolutely nothing that they can offer up as righteousness when it is the righteousness of Christ ALONE that is acceptable to God. The Gospel of grace alone teaches us that the self-sufficiency of God is the power and the price of the Gospel and that there is no sufficiency in man at all. When the natural man hears that, he hates that. He is full of self-righteousness and self-sufficiency and his heart rebels against the idea that he is capable of nothing but sin and has nothing to offer to God.

The Gospel of GRACE alone instructs men that all their idols that they find in nature are of no help and of no real good to them at all, but instead those things do nothing but add to their condemnation. This is so hard for the natural man to accept as true. Man fights to believe that he does some good things, but the Gospel says salvation is all of Christ and all of grace. Man fights to think that he has some ability to do what God says, but the Gospel says that the whole of the Gospel is all of Christ and all of grace. But even more, Christ tells us that apart from Him we can do nothing. Oh how the natural man does not like that and how professing Christians do not like that either. In order for anyone to do anything good or spiritual, that person must have Christ work that in and through him or her. The natural heart rebels against this need to be utterly dependent on Christ. The natural heart rebels against the need to repent of all of its worldly pleasures and desires and depend totally on Christ for all things.

The Gospel of grace alone appears to have virtually disappeared from the modern scene. There are so many ways to be “converted” now that the true Gospel is hidden from sight. The liberals have no Gospel at all, but they try to preach something about the Bible. Conservatives have brought in many little things that appear good but are adding to the Gospel of grace alone as well. They add faith and/or repentance as something that people must do in order to be saved, but in fact those are things given by grace. They will add all sorts of rules and things to live by that may be good ideas, but they are not the Gospel. How each person should spend time in prayer asking God for mercy to open the eyes of the heart to see ways in which s/he does not depend on Christ alone but instead is looking or depending on works or even a work. The heart should be examined to see if it is looking to self for any sufficiency rather than to grace alone. The Gospel of Christ alone and grace alone teaches us that our hearts should be examined as we cry out to the Lord to deliver us from self.

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