Examining the Heart 78

This will be sound religion; “only rest all upon the everlasting mountains of God’s love and grace in Christ, to live continually in the sight of Christ’s infinite righteousness and merits, they are sanctifying. Without them the heart is carnal, and in those sights to see the full vileness, yet littleness of sin, and to see all pardoned; in those sights to trample upon all your self-glories, righteousness, privileges, as abominable, and be found continually in the righteousness of Christ only, rejoicing in the ruins of our own righteousness, the spoiling of all your own excellencies, that Christ alone, as Mediator, may be exalted in His throne. Mourn over all your duties however glorious, that you have not performed in the sight and sense of Christ’s love.” Without the blood of Christ on your conscience, all is dead service (Heb 9:14). Thomas Willcox

This little paragraph once again gets at the heart of true Christian sanctification. The Christian must not look to self and the obedience that comes from the strength of self as true sanctification, for that is still self doing it. But instead the Christian must rest on Christ alone as his or her sanctification. The Christian is not to live in a way as to earn God’s love and grace, but instead is to know that all of God’s love and grace are in Christ and to live on that love and grace as freely given because of Christ. It is this love and grace of Christ that moves the soul to holiness and it is living upon the infinite righteousness and merits of Christ as all the soul needs to enter into glory and be in the presence of the Father both on earth now and in eternity that the soul will be sanctified.

This is so necessary and so clear, but it is also muddied in so many places today. We don’t become sanctified and therefore God is pleased and gives grace, but instead we should seek the grace of God in order that we may be sanctified and share in His holiness and He will then give grace upon grace. It is in knowing that Christ is my righteousness and His merits alone are all that can possibly be accepted before God that I can be freed from serving self and do all out of love for God. This is utterly delightful to the spiritual taste buds of the soul. It is saved by grace and it is sanctified by grace and all that is needed is in Christ and comes by grace. The soul needs Christ and the merits of Christ and nothing else to be acceptable and pleasing to God.

This should show us how our hearts are so deceptive. The heart wants to love self and do works and think that they are acceptable to God. The heart wants to dote on self and have pride in self when it does a good work. The heart is very prone to deception and thinks that good can come from it rather than from Christ alone. But if what Willcox has written is true, then the thoughts or our hearts that run in that line are wicked. It is necessary that Christ alone be our righteousness and that Christ alone be our merit or what we are doing is nothing but sin. If we don’t look to Christ as our righteousness and our merit as we are doing good works and pursuing God and sanctification, then we are doing them for wrong reasons. It is only when we live in humility regarding self and pride and look to Christ alone that it is possible for the love of God to dwell in us and work through us to His glory.

So little is said from the modern pulpits on this topic that it makes one wonder where true sanctification is in the modern day, though the same could easily be said about the Gospel. We need discriminating ministers who will search the hearts of the people and direct them away from all confidence in their own works to a rest and confidence in the righteousness and merits of Christ. All of our good works must come from Christ by His Spirit first or they are not good, but instead they are sinful works. It must come from Him, be through Him, and then be to Him to be a good work. But oh how our hearts long to take some credit.

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