Friday, October 31, 2008

Labor in Vain


Ask either saint or sinner, and you shall find that peace was never obtained in the way of the flesh. Turn to the Christian, and he will tell you, “Therefore being justified BY FAITH, we have peace with God.” He will tell you that when he turns away from faith and looks to himself; at once his darkness begins. He will assure you that he never walks in perfect light and true comfort except when he keeps his eye fast fixed upon the great sacrifice of Calvary. I know, brethren, whenever I am dull and drooping as to my eternal interests, it is always because I have thought more of my graces than of Christ’s grace, or more of the Spirit’s work in me than of the finished work of Christ on my behalf. There is no living happily, but by depending wholly upon Christ. A sinner resting upon his Savior as his only hope, is blest. Now, if this be the experience of all saints, and if no sinner living will dare to tell you that he can get his conscience quiet by his own works, why do any of you try it?

Heaven bears witness that salvation by faith is certain: hell bears witness that works do but ruin us. O, hear the double testimony, and lay hold upon eternal life through the person of Christ Jesus. O my dear friend, if you are really panting for salvation, go not round and round these dreary performances of your own doings! It must all end in misery, disappointment, and despair. “They rowed hard to bring it to land, but they could not.” All human work which does not begin and end in the Lord Jesus must be a non-success. All your working has been a non-success with you up to the present, and so it will be to the end of the chapter. Give it up, and God help you to try his method, for it is sure and efficacious.

From a sermon entitled "Labor In Vain," delivered May 1, 1864. Flickr photo by Chris Gin; some rights reserved.

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