If God finds not in thee, my friend, any holiness of life whatever, neither will he accept thee. “What,” saith one, “of the dying thief then?” There was the righteousness of faith in him, and it produced all the holy acts which circumstances allowed; the very moment he believed in Christ, he avowed Christ, and spoke for Christ, and that one act stood as evidence of his being a friend of God, while all his sins were washed away. May God grant you grace so to confess your sins, and believe in Jesus, that all your transgression may be forgiven you.
There must be some evidence of your faith. Before the assembled host of men there shall be no evidence given of your faith fetched from your inward feelings, but the evidence shall be found in your outward actions. It will still be, “I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.” Take heed, then, as to practical godliness, and abhor all preaching which would make sanctity of life to be a secondary thing. We are justified by faith, but not by a dead faith; the faith which justifies is that which produces holiness, and “without holiness no man shall see the Lord.” See ye then the two classes into which men are divided, and the stern rule by which God shall judge them, and judge yourselves that ye be not condemned with the wicked.
From a sermon entitled "The Coming Resurrection." Image by Bas Lammers under Creative Commons License.