Musings 129

But who is sufficient for these things? Is all this change a small matter? And is it in the power of man thus to renew his heart, and change the whole bent of his affections—i.e. to new make himself? No, no more than it was to make himself at the first. And therefore the Scripture tells us plainly, “that it is God who works in us both to will and to do;” that “without him:–without Christ, “the wisdom of God, and the power of God,” enlightening our understandings, and renewing our wills; “we can do nothing.” And those who think they can do great things for themselves, either never tried, or else they are ignorant of their case, and do not know the work that is before them. Dear brethren, if we mistake here, we lost all. We expect light where there is nothing but darkness; strength from weakness; and look for health and salvation where there is nothing but corruption and death. We are self-sufficient, and can only be self-saved, i.e. miserable, and left to perish by the work of our own hands. (Thomas Adam, 1701-1784)

Salvation is set out to men (today) as if they could give themselves a new heart and change themselves from being an enemy of God in their natures, affections, desires, and thoughts to one that loved God with all of those things. How can one read the Scriptures without seeing just how Scripture is dead set against that idea. Men must be born from above by the power of the Spirit rather than made new by the work of their own hands. This is as far from the biblical teaching as the east is from the west.

Why is it that the vast majority (seemingly all) of preachers never come to the point of showing men how dead they are and their utter insufficiency in these things? How can a man look to Christ alone unless he has been turned from trusting in himself in all ways? How can a man change his own heart and give himself a new nature? Again, it is utterly preposterous to even think that and yet that thinking has seemingly overwhelmed the professing churches in our day. How can the Gospel of Jesus Christ be truly preached if man does not see something of the way Christ is saving sinners? How can men look to the power of Christ if they do not see their own utter impotence? How can men know that their affections must be changed if they never hear from the pulpit that their present affections are wicked, evil, and opposite to all true good?

Could it be that the professing churches (many or most) have their pulpits filled with people ignorant of the basic issues of the Gospel? How can it even be considered that the Gospel has been preached until men have been shown the depths of their need of Christ? How can men think that they are faithful to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ until they have opened the Scriptures and have shown men that they are utterly powerless and need Christ to save them? How can men even imagine that they have preached the Gospel if they have not shown men how their own wisdom is foolishness to God so that they will see that Christ is the wisdom of God?

It is not acceptable to just show men the positive things of Christ and of Christianity, but instead there is a whole message to set forth in order that the positive would be seen in its true light. How criminal it is when preachers will not set forth the true nature of the depravity of man in such a way that men can see that they have no power and no ability to save themselves in the slightest. Jesus Christ is not the Savior of men who have some power to save themselves, but He is the Savior of those who are dead in sins and trespasses. He is Savior of those who have no power to save themselves. He is the Savior of those who are utterly helpless and completely impotent and they are so helpless that they can do nothing in the slightest way to contribute to their own salvation.

As Adam says above, if we are mistaken here, we are lost. This is a point that would be hard to emphasize beyond its level of importance. Until men see and feel the depths of their lostness, they will not understand what it is to hunger and thirst for Christ. Jesus called those who were weary and heavy-laden to Himself. Until men are indeed weary of themselves and of their sin they will not know the burden of it. If they are not weary and heavy-laden, then they are not called to Christ. The Gospel is not for those who trust in their religion or in their morality, it is for lost sinners who are burdened with their sin.

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