Sunday, August 16, 2015

Gospel Remedy For A Guilty Conscience...

"The cause of the Israelites' distress arose from the Egyptians marching behind them, with full purpose to ruin and destroy them, Exod. xiv. 10. The anti-type of this type shows the cause of the soul's abovesaid distress, which is the letting in of the soul's guilt of sin upon him, which, like a huge army, pursues the soul day and night, and like so many devouring lions with open mouths, standing ready to devour the soul; which makes the soul, as the Jews did, oftentimes to cry out for a grave to bury his distressed body, judging death to be preferred before life. There is no trouble in the world like to this trouble. A man had better stand in the field against all the armies and cannon in the world, than to stand to behold a guilty conscience....
"If any soul wants relief in such a condition, then let him make unto Jesus Christ for it, for he is thy Leader in this case, as Moses was the leader of the Jews in the other: read Deut. xviii. 15, "The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken." Now, where were the Jews to go in a time of danger, but to Moses? So, soul, if ever thou wouldest have ease and refreshment, thou must go to Christ alone. Some run to creatures, and think to find comfort there; others run to their duties and works of mercy, and think to get it from hence: again there are some that will send thee to thy inward qualifications, or work of God within thee, as they call it, or the light within the soul. I am not hereby undervaluing the works of grace, as they are signs or evidences of our union with Christ, but I send thee to thy true Leader, Christ, who is at the right hand of God, to make daily intercession for such as thou art, Rom. viii. 34. O, look out, and look up to him by faith, for this is the way to it, Isa. xlv. 22."




    john Fonville—I grow weary of Evangelicals who continually set forth “tests of the faith” as a means of attaining assurance. Such an approach to assurance has its roots in continual introspection; searching for marks of spiritual life as a means of attaining assurance). I have a certain disdain for such an inward-looking piety. For years, this approach to assurance led to ever-increasing doubt, confusion, despair and uncertainty.

    There certainly is a place for genuine self-examination and fruit inspection (taking a spiritual inventory). But, it must be done for the purpose of sending us back to Christ. Too often, Evangelical Christians trust in their self-examination rather than in Christ.

    Trusting in self-examination is the great sin of unbelief, and that sin is always missed in self-examination! Scott Clark writes, “your conscience will continue to testify against you all your life. That’s just the way it is. If your conscience does not so testify then you are an unbeliever or confused. The believer says to himself, “Yes, conscience that is all very true but something else is true. God the Son has accomplished all righteousness for me and that is enough, so be quiet.”

    Assurance lies in the very direct act of faith as one is presented with Christ, the object of faith, to whom the writer of Hebrews exhorts his hearers to draw near (Hebrews 10:22). Such focus and assurance is in opposition to one’s own reflections on the work of the Holy Spirit within (the reflex act of faith). The reflex act of faith can support the believer’s profession but it cannot become the ground of the believer’s assurance. John Calvin rightly states that our acts of obedience are of value only after assurance of justification (Institutes, 3.14.19). Assurance must be found in the direct act of faith. John Calvin states, “If believers begin to judge their salvation by good works, nothing will be more uncertain or more feeble; for indeed, if works be judged of themselves, by their imperfection they will no less declare God’s wrath than by their incomplete purity they testify to his benevolence,”

  2. Hebrews 6:1– “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God”

    Hebrews 9:14–”How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

    Romans 6:20 ”For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? The end of those thing is death”

    Romans 7:4 Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we now bear FRUIT FOR GOD. 5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear FRUIT FOR DEATH.”

    Our justification is not by our works, not even by our works after faith and justification. If we are already justified, then it’s too late for us to be justified by works. If we think we will lose our justification if we don’t work, then we do not yet understand what God’s justification is. If we think that our works will give us the evidence that we are still justified, then we have not yet understood and believed the gospel, which is the good news of Christ’s work and not about our works.

    Even after we are justified saints, we are not yet glorified, not yet raised from the first death and given immortality. But neither is the rest of salvation conditioned on our works. Our future resurrection from death is not about God enabling us to do what is required, but about God doing for us what we cannot do and never will do, since God has already purchased all blessings for those in Christ.

    Romans 8: 32 He did not even spare His own Son
    but offered Him up for us all;
    how will He not also with Him grant us everything?
    33 Who can bring an accusation against God’s elect?
    God is the One who justifies.
    34 Who is the one who condemns?
    Christ Jesus is the One who died,
    but even more, has been raised;
    He also is at the right hand of God
    and intercedes for us.