Friday, July 15, 2011

Not a self-improvement program

The theory of some is, that there is much natural goodness in men, and they have only to work it out and gradually improve themselves into a state of grace. No, sir, you are on the wrong tack. Do you know what is the very first ceremony of the Christian religion? “Yes,” say you, “baptism.” So it is. And what is baptism? “Buried with Christ in baptism.” Who are buried, then? Living people? No! but dead people.

The very first lesson of the gospel after believing in Christ is that you are, before the law, dead, through having been crucified with Christ, and therefore you must be buried. There is no improving your old nature, mending it up and beautifying it into perfection-the thing is hopeless, and it must die and be buried. The scripture does not say, “Ye must be improved,” “Ye must be born again.” That is quite another thing.

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "Good News For The Lost," delivered March 9, 1873. Image by -Chiotas- on Flickr under Creative Commons License.

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