Examining the Heart 77

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 may seem that Willcox is against holiness or against Christians doing duties, but that is not his point. His point is that we are to pursue sanctification and holiness and do so to our utmost, but that those things cannot contribute to a person’s justification before God. When a person tries to make their sanctification a means of justification, without doubt this is no different than a person trying to work for salvation. It is true that working for salvation by calling it sanctification is essentially a Christless, formal religion, yet it is also true that working for salvation is to make a Christ out of our works/sanctification and laboring to save self by those means in the name of Christ. No amount of works, either before or after justification, should ever be thought of as adding to or assisting Christ in the way of justification.

As seen in the previous Blog (Examining the Heart 76), even the enemies of Christ do works and sacraments/ordinances in the name of Christ and yet they are still His enemies and adversaries. Sanctification is built on the foundation of justification and must never be thought to replace the slightest part of it in theory or practice. All true sanctification is a desire for holiness out of love for Christ instead of self-love wanting to have a part in justification. Any life or sanctification or any duties in the life of a person that becomes a way of acceptance to God rather than Christ or in a way that assists or adds to Christ is a terrible deception. It cannot be overstated or stated too plainly that Christ alone is the basis for justification before God and that any true sanctification must have that in mind.

The righteousness of Christ and His infinite satisfaction is the only justification before God and no person’s work or works or holiness can ever add to what He has done. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only Mediator between God and man and no man can ever do anything by which will make him acceptable to God apart from Christ the Mediator. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only High Priest to God on behalf of man and He offers His own blood which makes a perfect sacrifice which fully satisfies the wrath of God for all the sins of His people, but man cannot even satisfy for one sin must less all of them. All the works of man put together could not pay for one sin and even if they could, man owes God a perfect obedience each and every moment of each and every day and so man can do nothing extra to pay for a past misdeed. The only sacrifice that can possible pay for sin is the God-man who suffered the wrath of God on the cross and completely and totally satisfied the debt that all believers owed God. Nothing else can do and nothing else will do.

Oh how men and women who love God should examine their hearts to be sure that all that they do is out of love (imperfect and perhaps small) for Christ rather than an effort to please God themselves. How those who are building their own justification though they think of it in terms of sanctification must be awakened to see that despite what they say they believe and despite their creed they are in the way of damnation. When the Lord appears all the works that people have done that are not built on the foundation of a justification by Christ alone will be burned up and entirely consumed. All the works of human beings are imperfect at best and nothing but sin at worst, but apart from Christ working in the soul all that the soul does is from sinful human flesh. Apart from the soul being born from above and the person justified by Christ all that a person does is from sinful human flesh. Nothing will stand by Christ and what came from Christ in that Day. Oh how all professing believers should examine their hearts to see if Christ is truly there and that all that they do is for Him rather than for self. How all true believers should examine their hearts that they may love Christ in all they do.

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