Christ Preparing our Hearts 32

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.

Take it for granted, that there is no name under heaven whereby you can be saved, but Jesus Christ. All grace and mercy for this life, and then to come, must come to you through the channel of Christ’s blood.

The statement above is a statement that is full of truth and doctrine, but it is also one that the heart must be prepared by Christ to receive. It is far easier to accept the above statement as a doctrine that is true or one that the Bible teaches than it is to accept it as true for me from the depths of the soul. Oh how few in our day seem to recognize how deceitful our hearts are and how hardened our hearts are to the spiritual realities of our true helplessness and inability before God. Even harder for people to accept, however, is the fact that believers are also in great need for grace and mercy. While we are to live by grace alone, it is so hard for people to accept that as a doctrine and then even harder to accept that as a vital truth of the Christian life.

Perhaps the hardest truth for anyone to accept as a doctrine, however, is that for all eternity those in heaven will be in utter dependence upon Christ and that the blood of Christ will always and forever be needed. While it is not the case that anyone will sin in heaven, it will always be the case that heaven was purchased for sinful people by the blood of Christ. It may not be the case that people will sin, but those in heaven will have been great sinners one earth who were purchased by the blood of Christ. It may be those in heaven will not look to the blood of Christ to be saved by the blood of Christ, but all grace that they will ever need was purchased by the blood of Christ. No prayer in heaven will ever be to some throne that is other than the throne of grace. It will always be an absolute verity that people will live by the grace of God and yet by the grace of God purchased by Christ.

While it is perhaps the hardest doctrine for anyone to accept (in this context) is that people will always need grace even in heaven, the hardest to accept now is that Christians live by grace alone. Not only must Christ prepare hearts by breaking them from pride and self so that they may look to Christ alone for salvation, but He must break the hearts of believers from any form of self-sufficiency so that they will learn more and more to live by grace alone. There are so many in our day who hold to a form of works for grace that it is impossible to point to very many at all in this little BLOG. We hear preachers telling others that there are conditions that they must meet in order to be saved. We hear preachers telling others that there are conditions that they must meet in order to be sanctified. On the other hand, we have Scripture telling us that Christ is our justification and Christ is our sanctification. Christ and Christ alone is our need who fulfills all of our conditions.

There are many in the Reformed movement (and others) who are so big on the means of grace in our day. They tell people that God operates through the Scriptures (reading, study, preaching), prayer, and the Sacraments. What happens, then, is that people are told that they can avail themselves of grace if they give themselves to those three things. It is true that God does work through those things, but at some point people must understand that just because God works through those things does not mean that He does or that He is obligated to do so. It is when the means of grace become a way that God is obligated to give grace that we have left the biblical teaching on grace far behind. When the thought enters our minds that if I do X then God will give me grace, we are no longer thinking of grace. God may show grace when we hear the truth of God, but He is under no obligation to do so. God may show grace when we pray, but He is under no obligation to do so. In fact, if we come to the throne of grace as in real prayer we will understand that He has utterly no obligation to show grace. God may show grace in someone receiving the Supper, but He is under no obligation to do so. We must get that through our heads and hearts.

There are also books teaching on the Spiritual Disciplines and things like this. Disciplining ourselves in order to obtain grace is a vicious form of works. Learning to be disciplined in our use of Scripture and prayer in order to please God is a vicious form of works. Oh that sinners would be awakened by God to see that we are to live by grace each moment and that there is nothing we can do to obtain grace as a result of our own efforts. It is Jesus the Messiah who is Priest, Prophet, and King who can overpower self and pride in our hearts and teach us so that we come to Him empty and without any hope of grace but what He gives at His sovereign pleasure in Christ. Only Christ can empty the soul of self like that and only Christ can teach the soul the real way of receiving grace. Our discipline will only fill us with pride and harden us toward the work of Christ in our hearts. Grace alone does not teach us to work for grace, but instead that we can do nothing to obtain grace but look to Christ if He is pleased to do so.

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