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echoes of thought in love with God through Christ crucified

Tag: hypocrisy (page 1 of 4)

Faith is not the human notion and dream that some people call faith. When they see that no improvement of life and no good works follow—although they can hear and say much about faith—they fall into the error of saying, “Faith is not enough; one must do works in order to be righteous and be saved.” This is due to the fact that when they hear the gospel, they get busy and by their own powers create an idea in their heart which says, “I believe”; they take this then to be a true faith. But, as it is a human figment and idea that never reaches the depths of the heart, nothing comes of it either, and no improvement follows.

Faith, however, is a divine work in us which changes us and makes us to be born anew of God, John 1:12–13. It kills the old Adam and makes us altogether different men, in heart and spirit and mind and powers; and it brings with it the Holy Spirit. O it is a living, busy, active, mighty thing, this faith. It is impossible for it not to be doing good works incessantly. It does not ask whether good works are to be done, but before the question is asked, it has already done them, and is constantly doing them. Whoever does not do such works, however, is an unbeliever. He gropes and looks around for faith and good works, but knows neither what faith is nor what good works are. Yet he talks and talks, with many words, about faith and good works.

Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that the believer would stake his life on it a thousand times. This knowledge of and confidence in God’s grace makes men glad and bold and happy in dealing with God and with all creatures. And this is the work which the Holy Spirit performs in faith. Because of it, without compulsion, a person is ready and glad to do good to everyone, to serve everyone, to suffer everything, out of love and praise to God who has shown him this grace. Thus it is impossible to separate works from faith, quite as impossible as to separate heat and light from fire. Beware, therefore, of your own false notions and of the idle talkers who imagine themselves wise enough to make decisions about faith and good works, and yet are the greatest fools. Pray God that he may work faith in you. Otherwise you will surely remain forever without faith, regardless of what you may think or do.

—Martin Luther
Works, 35:370–371 (Preface to Romans).

The true Christian is one whose religion is in his heart and life. It is felt by himself in his heart. It is seen by others in his conduct and life. He feels his sinfulness, guilt, and badness, and repents. He sees Jesus Christ to be that Divine Saviour whom his soul needs, and commits himself to Him. He puts off the old man with his corrupt and carnal habits, and puts on the new man. He lives a new and holy life, fighting habitually against the world, the flesh, and the devil. Christ Himself is the corner stone of His Christianity. Ask him in what he trusts for the forgiveness of his many sins, and he will tell you, in the death of Christ.—Ask him in what righteousness he hopes to stand innocent at the judgment day, and he will tell You it is the righteousness of Christ.—Ask him by what pattern he tries to frame his life, and he will tell you that it is the example of Christ.

But, beside all this, there is one thing in a true Christian which is eminently peculiar to him. That thing is love to Christ. Knowledge, faith, hope, reverence, obedience, are all marked features in a true Christian’s character. But his picture would be very imperfect if you omitted his “love” to his Divine Master. He not only knows, trusts, and obeys. He goes further than this,—he loves.

—J. C. Ryle
Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties and Roots (London: William Hunt and Company, 1889), 341.

“Pearls do not lose their worth though swine trample upon them.”

Scriptural truth is none the less worthy to be held and proclaimed because foolish and depraved men pervert it to their own destruction. A knife is a very useful article; and, though some have committed suicide by its means, it is no reason why knives should be discarded. The doctrines of grace are pearls even after Antinomians have turned them over. Justification by faith is the crown-jewel of the gospel, though hypocrites abuse it. Every truth is perverted by polluted minds, but this is no reason for our renouncing what God has revealed; rather is it a strong argument for adorning the doctrine of our Saviour in all things.

My heart, see thou to it that the doctrines of grace are honored at thy hands. Since so many pour contempt upon them, do thou hold them in high esteem, and by thy life make them to be esteemed by others.

—Charles H. Spurgeon
Flowers from a Puritan’s Garden (Passmore & Alabaster, 1883).

No sin is more apt to insinuate itself into our hearts, and duties, than hypocrisy.

We, of all men, are most in danger to be deceived by it: For our employment lying in, and about spiritual things, we are, on that account, stiled spiritual men (Hosea 9:7). But it is plain, from that very place, that a man may be objectively a spiritual, and all the while subjectively a carnal man. Believe it, brethren, it is easier to declaim, like an orator, against a thousand sins of others, than it is to mortify one sin, like Christians, in ourselves; to be more industrious in our pulpits, than in our closets; to preach twenty sermons to our people, than one to our own hearts.

—John Flavel
The Whole Works of the Reverend John Flavel, 6:568.

Profession of the life of God passeth with many at a very low and easy rate. Their thoughts are for the most part vain and earthly, their communication unsavoury, and sometimes corrupt, their lives at best uneven and uncertain as unto the rule of obedience; yet all is well, all is life and peace!

The holy men of old, who obtained this testimony, that they pleased God, did not so walk before Him. They meditated continually on the law; thought of God in the night seasons; spake of His ways, His works, His praise; their whole delight was in Him, and in all things they followed hard after Him.

—John Owen
The Works of John Owen, 7:301.

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