Christ Preparing our Hearts 30

Be persuaded that your soul is far more valuable to you than the whole world and there are only two places (heaven and hell) that you will spend all eternity in.

Did I ever see sin odious, black and hellish, defiling and damning? Have I seen it in the glass of the law, bloody and killing? But in [light of] Christ’s blood exceeding and above measure sinful?

Seeing sin as odious, black and hellish, defiling and damning is important, but it is also important for men to see themselves and their sin as odious in the eyes of God. It is one thing to have some intellectual apprehension that sin is odious to God, but it is quite different to come to grips with the reality that I am odious in the sight of God and even in the presence of God. It is not just that my sin is hellish, but because I sin and am a sinner by nature and practice I am hellish before God. It is not just that my sin is defiled, but I am defiled. It is not just that my sin is worthy to be damned, but I am worthy to be damned. These are the things that Christ alone can teach in the soul as He teaches the inward man by the Spirit who illuminates the Scriptures, the character of God, and our own foul hearts as we are before God. It is Christ alone who can safely guide the soul into a knowledge of the depths of its utter wickedness and inability before God and make the soul feel disgusted with itself and gently take the soul and show it the wonder and glory of free-grace.

The law is preached in many corners today, but is it preached lawfully and with the same intent that the law was given? The law was never intended to give people the idea that it could be obeyed and it was never given so that sinners could deceive themselves about having any form of self-righteousness, but the law was given to show us how wicked and vile we are so that we would never trust ourselves and look to Christ alone. Oh how our vile hearts will take what God gives us to show us our vileness in His sight and we take it and use it as a way to feed our pride and imagine that we could obtain self-righteousness. What horrid hearts we must have! The law can only begin to be kept by love and the only way we can love is to receive it first from God through Christ by the Spirit. We need Christ to be our life and our Prophet to even take the first step toward keeping any commandment, but the truth of the matter is that we will always disobey any particular law more than we keep it. This is to say that in the light of the spiritual nature of the law in this life we will always violate the law more than we keep it.

The greatest sight of our sin, however, is not in the letter of the law or the spiritual nature of the law. The greatest sight our sin is seen in the blood of Christ. Our sin is so hateful to God that once it was imputed to Christ He did not hold back but instead poured out His wrath upon the Son. The Father and the Son lived in perfect and infinite love from all eternity past, but sin is so abhorrent and vile that the Father poured out His wrath on the Son when the Son stood in the place of sinners. He who was life itself took a human body that He might bear the wrath and then death in the place of sinners. He who knew nothing but the eternal pleasure and joy of perfect and infinite love took the sins of sinners upon Himself and suffered the eternal wrath and misery of sin. He who was perfectly holy and knew no sin took upon Himself all the sins of God’s people and felt the misery and vileness of it upon Himself at the cross.

There was no possible way for sin to be taken away except by the suffering and the blood of Christ. There is no way that sinners have any way to take the wrath of God away from themselves and they can do nothing to obtain a righteousness that pleases God. This is all seen in the cross of Christ. If the Father would not withhold His wrath when His Son took sin upon Himself, He will not withhold His wrath even though we plead for mercy. His Son willingly took human nature in order that He might suffer in the place of sinners, so we can be assured that there is nothing we can do in our sinful nature to satisfy the smallest part of the wrath of God. It is Christ alone, however, who can open our eyes to the depths of our sin and prepare our hearts to give up all hope in ourselves and in our own works. It is Christ alone who can show us the spiritual nature of sin and of what He did in suffering for sin. It is Christ alone who can prepare our hearts by breaking them from all hope in anything but the grace of God in Christ. He must teach the soul how exceeding and sinful it really is or the soul will not be taught. If we don’t see how exceeding and sinful we really are, we will never see our need for Christ alone and grace alone.

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