Examining the Heart 79

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

It is in light of the everlasting mountains of God’s love and grace in Christ that the sinfulness of man is seen. This is not to deny that we see sin by the glass of the Law, but it is to say that the depths of the Law are only seen in the light of God’s love and grace in Christ as well. Apart from the love and grace of God in Christ the Law will only be seen as external rules, but in Christ we see the lengths of where love must go to keep the Law and we see the grace in Christ that we must have in order to keep the Law. It is also true that as a person grows in the understanding of the infinite righteousness of Christ and His merits that a person will grow in the understanding of his or her own heart and how shallow it really is.

It is also true that the pride of the human heart and the drive for the survival of self will move the soul to deny its own sin and how sinful the human heart really is. As the soul grows in its trust and reliance upon the infinite righteousness and merits of Christ, that soul can relax its hold on self-righteousness and the desire to have merits for self. How tenacious the soul holds to self-righteousness and the hidden thought of having its own merits. The soul in its pride, self-reliance, and self-sufficiency will hang on with great tenacity to some idea of having just a little righteousness and some control over self. But the teaching of Scripture is that man has no righteousness of his own and has no ability to obtain any at all. The soul must look to Christ and His infinite righteousness alone and to His merits alone or it will be trusting in self to some degree, and despite the appearance of a small trust in self it is actually a very large trust in self.

Without the soul’s trusting in Christ for righteousness and merit the soul will hope in self and as such will be loathe to turn loose of all hope in self and of some form of self-justification. Oh how hard it is for the soul to accept the teaching of Scripture on just how vile sin is and how vile the soul is for loving sin. The heart cannot stand to see itself as so vile and full of sin so it is in a constant state of denial until it sees the wonders and glories of the righteousness and merits of Christ. But even after the soul sees how vile it is, it is prone to think of how large sin is instead of seeing how little sin is in light of the infinite righteousness of Christ. The heart will struggle to believe that the blood of Christ pardons all of its sins and since it cannot even make up for one sin it must be Christ alone who pardons all sin. It is hard for the heart to look to grace alone without one condition and without anything in it that would move God to save sinners.

Once the soul arrives an understanding that the Lord alone can give of His righteousness and merits the soul is now free to delight itself to confessing how vile it is and “to trample upon all” of its “self-glories, righteousness, privileges, as abominable.” The soul now sees that instead of being dangerous to renounce its own righteousness as vileness, it is instead the safest and best course. Now the soul sees that it was never intended to trust in itself or to obtain righteousness for itself, but instead it was created for the glory of God and it is His glory to save sinners by grace alone which is to say by the blood and righteousness of Christ alone. The soul is now free to examine itself that it may be free of its horrid pride and self-righteousness that it may be found continually in the righteousness of Christ alone and it will rejoice in the ruins of its own righteousness. It is free to examine its own heart and it is freeing to be turned from any hope in self and any trust in self. It is now free to look at the righteousness and merits of Christ with joy as it tramples upon its own righteousness with disdain and even mourning.

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