Examining the Heart 75

I may be ashamed to think in the midst of so much profession, that I have known so little of the blood of Christ, which is the main thing of the gospel. A Christless, formal religion, will be the blackest sight next to hell, that can be. You may have many good things, and yet one thing may be wanting, that may make you go away sorrowful from Christ. You have never sold all; you have never parted with all your own righteousness, and so on. You may be high in duty, and yet a perfect enemy and adversary to Christ, in every prayer, in every ordinance. Labor after sanctification to your utmost; but make not a Christ of it to save yourself; if so, it must come down one way or another. Christ’s infinite satisfaction, not your sanctification, must be your justification before God. When the Lord shall appear terrible out of His holy place, fire shall consume that as hay and stubble. Thomas Willcox

It should chill each heart to the core and perhaps each bone as well to hear that a Christless, formal religion is the blackest sight next to hell that can be. How many people have a formal religion and yet don’t have Christ? The term “Liberal Christian” is an oxymoron, so that leaves most of those who profess to be that are simply out of true Christianity in America today. This leaves man variations, but there are so many who go through so many forms and yet seem to be without the power of Christ. These people, sad to say, sure sound like those in Matthew 7 who claimed to have done so much in the name of Christ and yet they are told to depart. In a sense this message or this truth (of a Christless, formal religion being the blackest sight next to hell) should be declared from every pulpit in the land and from every housetop as well. It is that important.

A religious person may have many good things, whether creature comforts in this world or religious things, and lack what is the most important thing. It is something like spending years on polishing the outside of a car and expect it to take you on the most important trip of your life and yet forget or not notice that it needs a motor. The most important trip is the trip a soul takes from this life into eternity. If the soul does not have Christ, regardless of whatever it thinks it has it is totally and completely unprepared. Without Christ the soul does not have the wrath of God taken away and without Christ the soul has no righteousness at all before Him. Without Christ the soul does not have a High Priest and a Mediator, but instead it will stand before God on its own and have nothing but its own filthy rags of righteousness to offer up.

It appears that the one thing that people must hang on to with grasping hands and proud hearts is just a little shred of their own righteousness. They want to think that their own will has enough righteousness to allow it to be a will that is free enough to make some good and righteous choice. They want to think that they have enough righteousness that God will look upon their choice and give them salvation. But of course that is complete nonsense, but people want to hang onto something of self and have just enough sufficiency to satisfy their pride. However, until sinners depart from all hope in themselves and their own righteousness they will not have Christ alone as their Savior alone and as their righteousness alone by grace alone.

It is not enough for a person to believe as a doctrine that Christ imputes righteousness to sinners, but a person must part with all righteousness of self and all hope of obtaining any righteousness by self. In modern America we are told that if you simply believe the facts you will be saved, but this is simply not the case. It is not enough to believe the facts, but instead the heart must be changed and the trust of the heart must not be in its own righteousness and it must leave all trust in its own righteousness. The soul must give up all of self and leave all of its own righteousness in order to rest in the righteousness of Christ alone.

It is true that hell will have many people who were open sinners and gave themselves to sin and drank from the poisoned wells of the world freely. However, even worse are those in hell who gave themselves to earning righteousness for themselves to some degree. Perhaps they home-schooled, or were ministers, or refrained from sin, or many other things. But if their so-called righteousness came from the strength of self, religion, and of pride it was a horrible sin against God as they were their own saviors in name. The profligate sinner waters down the commandments of God, but the self-righteous and religious sinner waters down the righteousness and the holiness of God. How we should examine our hearts while asking God to deliver us from ourselves and our own righteousness and to grant us the grace to sell all and to part with all of our own righteousness.

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