I'm going to speak on the subject "Saved By Grace Alone" and it is one of the most important messages I shall ever bring to you and I want you to give me your undivided attention. I'll begin the message with a question and that question is this: DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE MOST DIFFICULT THING FOR A SON OF ADAM, (a human being) TO DO? The most difficult thing, and I'm not talking about something foolish in the material or physical world, I'm talking about something that pertaineth to life, that which pertaineth to God, that which pertaineth to the spiritual life, that which is real life. The most difficult thing for any human being to do, that which an unbeliever cannot possibly do-and that which a believer finds most difficult? Do you know what it is? IT IS TO BELIEVE IN, COMPLETELY TRUST AND LOOK ONLY TO, JESUS CHRIST FOR JUSTIFICATION. I will guarantee you that it is the hardest thing you will ever be called on to do. To believe only, to trust only, and to look only to Christ. - I didn't say to look to Christ or believe in Christ - I said only - only so that nothing else enters in to the slightest degree. Nothing else affects your look, your trust, or your confidence only to Christ and Christ alone not only for your justification, but for sanctification and for a full acceptance with God. The Galatians couldn't do it. The Colossians had trouble doing it. The Philippians were rebuked for not doing it. This is what I am talking about, what we were just singing 'other refuge have I none, hangs my what? helpless soul on thee' - helpless soul on thee. Leave ah leave me not alone, still support and comfort me. All my trust on thee is staid'. (We sing it, that's what I'm talking about - all of it - all my help, most of it? - No! all of it from thee I bring.) Cover my defenseless head, with the shadow of thy wing'. That is what I am talking about. 'Thou O Christ art all I want, more than all in thee I find. Raise the fallen, heal the sick and lead the what? - blind'. Not the nearsighted or the dimsighted but the blind. 'Just and Holy is thy name. I am all unrighteousness'. Not I was, but I am. 'False and full of sin I am. Thou art full of grace and truth'.
My friends, man by nature is religious. If you are religious, you are no more than a fallen son of Adam who is carrying out your nature. Man by nature is religious. Every man is religious by nature to some extent and natural man is married to a covenant of works. He is married to it, enslaved by it, to the law and to his own works, and the most difficult thing in the world for him to do, is to pronounce that the law and his works are totally dead, once and for all and to become married only to Christ. The most difficult thing that anybody ever tried to do is to put that old man and that old law in the grave, bury it, consider it totally dead with all relics, all souvenirs, and all mementos and cover it up and live only in and for Christ Jesus. That is so very difficult. You may say I have! The person who says, I have, is the one least likely to have done it. Now the Scripture is very plain on this. First we're going to the book of Galatians. I know exactly what I'm preaching tonight. I have given this a lot of consideration and a lot of thought and I am saying, that which is impossible with an unbeliever is also most difficult for a believer, and that is to look to, trust in completely, rest in, and believe in Jesus Christ for justification' sanctification, wisdom, and redemption, of which God says he is made unto us.
Read with me Galatians 2, versus 20 and 21, - "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I," - (not I at all) "but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." That is how I live - I live in the faith of the Son of God, through the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Christ is my life. "I do not frustrate the grace of God: if righteousness come by the law, if sanctification comes by the law," if holiness comes by the law, "then Christ is dead in vain." Jesus Christ actually gave his blood in vain, if righteousness comes by law.
Look at Galatians 3, verse 11 - "But that no man" (no man) "is justified by the law in the sight of God." Our Lord said, 'You are they which justify yourselves, among yourselves, comparing yourselves with yourselves, but in the sight of God no man is justified by the law. It is evident; for the just shall live by faith and the law is not of faith, but the man that doeth them, he will live in them.' But Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree. Why was Christ made a curse for us? Verse 14 says, "That the blessing of Abraham", what are the blessings of Abraham? Imputed righteousness! That is what the blessings of Abraham are; "might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ". Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness. This is the blessing of God.
Read Galatians 3:23 - "But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.', Now Galatians 5 verse 1 - "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing." In other words, if you are doing your works for acceptance with God, if you are doing this ritual or keeping this day or going through these motions, or having this special thing done to you, in order to gain favor with God, Christ is no effect to you at all. "For I testify again to every man" who does in order to gain God's favor, "that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; you are fallen from grace."
Read Colossians 1 verse 19 - "For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell". In Christ, that is where all fullness is. All of the fulness in God is in Christ. "And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you" - he did it, he accomplished it, "to present you" in Him, "holy and unblamable and unreproveable in his sight: if you continue in the faith."
Read Colossians 2, verse 3 - This speaks of Christ - the mystery of God, of the Father and of Christ - "In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." Colossians 2:9 - "For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him." There isn't a word you could choose that would more ably describe the absolute sufficiency of the person and work of Christ on behalf of a believer than that word complete. I am complete in Him. All that God requires, all that the law commands, all that the justice of God demands, all that God expects, we have complete in Christ.
Read Colossians 2:20 - "Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments" (or elements) "of this world, why, as though living in the world, are you subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; which all are to perish with the using;)" Why are you subject to ordinances "after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed", (these touch not, taste not, handle not, observing days and rituals and all these things in the flesh) they indeed have "a show of wisdom", a show of spirituality. But I'll tell you what they show - will worship and a false humility and a neglecting of the body for approval before God.
Now my friends, man was created in the image of God. Let me take you back, to when God created Adam and placed him in the garden of Eden. God created one man but God made that man holy and upright, perfect, in the image of God and that man loved God. That man loved holiness. He loved righteousness, and truth and beauty and that man walked with God. He walked with God in purity and perfection. He had to be pure, holy, and without sin, or he couldn't have walked with God, God could have no communion with him. He was perfect and without sin. And God provided the earth for that man's habitation, and that man's comfort. That man was a man like I am, like you are. That man drank water, juice, whatever was provided by God. He slept, he laughed, he talked, he had a companion, he enjoyed all that God had made. He lived on the same earth that we are living on today, apart from the paved sidewalks and the power lines and the airplanes and all these things that man has brought forth from the earth. But he lived on this earth. He had a mind, a heart, hands, feet, flesh, thoughts and all these things. He was totally naked and was not ashamed. He knew no fear. He knew no guilt and he knew no depression and he knew no hate. And God said to this man and to his companion - Multiply and replenish the earth, subdue the earth. You have dominion and power in this earth. You have authority over this earth. You have authority over the birds, over the beasts of the field, over the fish of the sea, over everything upon the earth. Here was a man who was a king, who was a prince. Here was a man that was truly a man, in blood, flesh and bone, just like we are, who loved God, who knew God, who walked with God, who lived and inhabited an earth which God had made and provided for his comfort and his habitation. But one commandment God gave to that man. You are not God. I'm God. There must never be any question about who is God. One basic law of this universe, God says, is that I am God. That's what God is saying over here in Genesis 2, verse 16. "And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:' That's pretty wide permission, pretty lenient, anything you want, every tree. The whole garden is at your command, for your comfort, your enjoyment, there it is. "But", he said, "of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." I don't know what that tree was, and nobody else does. But I do know what that tree said. When that tree stood untouched, as Adam left it alone, he recognized one thing, that though God put everything in his hands and gave everything at his disposal, for his use, he's recognizing that God's still boss, that God is God in this universe. I know a lot of people say it was an apple, some people say it was sex, some say it was something else. They don't know any more about it than you or I know, but I just know that it was a tree of some sort. God called it a tree. And that tree was a token. As long as Adam never ate it, or partook of it, it was saying this, though Adam was high, God is higher. Though Adam is powerful, God is more powerful. Though Adam has authority, God has authority over him. Though man has power, still God is the head of every man. God is God! And that's the issue with this whole world today - who is God? Our Lord Jesus Christ was betrayed and accused before Pilot of being a king. That's what they said, "He made himself a king." Our Lord Jesus Christ was mocked and ridiculed in the soldiers' hall in the character of a king. Our Lord Jesus was nailed on the cross and over his head were the accusations and charges for which he was dying - the KING OF THE JEWS. And our Lord Jesus Christ reigns and will return as a king. That is the whole issue. They said we'll not have this man reign over us. They said we have no king but Caesar. That is the issue between you and God right now - who is God? This whole Arminian, freewill generation is not willing for God to be God. They want a road to heaven which bypasses God's lordship and crown rights. That's exactly right. They are not willing for God to be God! Or Jesus Christ to be King.
Alright stay with Genesis 3. There is the man, no shame, no fear, no guilt, no hate, walking in the flesh, flesh and blood and bones, partaking of all the good things God made. But man, like Satan, rejected God's way and God's authority. Adam did not get drunk, did not steal a man's wife, did not kill anybody, did not do any of these things that we talk about that are so obnoxious, (and they are) but that which plunged man into darkness and death was: He rejected God's authority, Genesis 3 Verse 5 Satan said, "God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be openned and ye shall be as gods." This is what men want. You will be your own boss. You will be God. That is what destroyed Lucifer. This was the first sin of the universe. In Isaiah chapter 14 - you read the sin of Satan - the sin of the fallen angels. In Isaiah 14 Verse 12, God said, "How art thou fallen from heaven O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of congregation, in the sides of the north: will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High."
Well, when man did that, when Adam partook of that forbidden fruit the scripture says he died spiritually. God said, 'in the day you eat therof you'll die'. Man is now an alien. He's now an enemy. He is now full of shame and fear and hate and self-esteem. He is now blind. He is not partially blind, he is totally blind spiritually. He is deaf, he's dumb, he's dead, dead in trespasses and sin, dead to God. In this world he is without hope, without help, without God. And he's subject now to all that sin brings. God said, 'your sins have separated you and your God'. Hell is separation from God, and man is now a subject of hell. He is under the wrath of God. Men must bear the consequences of their rebellion and not only did Adam bear the consequences of his rebellion but the whole creation bears it. The whole creation is subject to vanity because of the fall of Adam. The whole creation was plunged into darkness, disease, and the death of sin and death and evil and darkness reigns over all that we see and all that we don't see. We don't know how dead we are by nature, totally dead, lifeless. The natural mind is now enmity against God. it's not subject to the law of God neither indeed can be.
There's Adam, created with divine favor, divine presence, divine communion, intelligent, free from guilt, free from any fear, free from any disease, anything that would taint or mar or scar - free! And he rejected one point, one principle which is the primary principle of Almighty God's universe. I'll be like God, I will not bow. When he took that fruit, he died spiritually. By one man's sin, death passed upon all men. We are now in the same condition Adam was when he died. In fact, there's no improvement, there's no evolving concerning us. We've got a few more inventions, few more luxuries, and comforts, we're more adept in hiding our meanness, but we're in the same shape Adam was in - An alien, a foreigner, separated from God, dead in trespasses and sin.
Now grab hold of your seat. L.R. Shelton used to say grab your seat we're going to jump a creek, I'm going to tell you the truth! You can talk all you want of God's love and God's favor being upon this world and it's inhabitants. But you might as well talk about God being in love with devils, as to talk about God being in love with the sons of Adam. He is not now, and since the fall, has never been. That's exactly right. He's not in love with Satan and the fallen angels and He's not in love with Adam's fallen race who committed the same sin. 'God is angry with the wicked', that's what the Bible says. 'God hateth all workers of iniquity.' Sin is under God's wrath and all creatures and all creation is under the judgement of God. That is right, I'm telling you the truth, man is under the wrath of God. This generation and this world has latched on to some kind of hope that God loves everybody that false teachers and preachers have given them in emotionalism, and sentimentalism and traditional religion, (like the Jews of old, who said, 'We be God's children'. They weren't God's children.) When Adam stood in holiness, he was the subject of God's love. But not after the fall - God can't love sin. I know we use this little foolish adage and cliche, 'Well God loves a sinner but hates his sin'. They're one and the same. We are sin. There's no way that God can love us in our sin. But you say the Bible says God is love. Certainly, God is love. God loves holiness! God loves pure, immaculate holiness. God loves righteousness and the only true holiness and true righteousness is in himself. That's the truth. It's in himself, it's in his Son. God loves his beloved son. He that believeth not on the Son, the wrath of God abideth upon him - The wrath of God, not the love of God. Christ is called the Son of his love and we're told in Romans that nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ. Yes sir, God is love. But his love is a love of holiness, he cannot do anything contrary to his holiness. He cannot do anything contrary to his righteousness. There's nothing in me, about me, or upon me that can merit God's love, attract God's love, or claim God's love. That's right only in Christ can God love us. God can only love holiness. Alright, does he love the devil, does he love the fallen devils, does he love the demons in hell? Well, we did the same thing they did. We defied God. We challenged God. We dared to try to replace God with ourselves on the throne. The same wrath that fell upon those angels who fell, fell upon men who sinned.
But God, who is rich in mercy, commended his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. God made a covenant in Christ in which he could love sinners, forgive sinners, accept sinners in the righteousness and blood of his Son. A covenant of grace, an everlasting covenant, with the Son of his love before the foundation of the world, in which he gave Christ an eternal kingdom; in which he gave Christ a new heaven and a new earth; in which he gave Christ a people from every tribe, kindred nation, and tongue under heaven; in which he gave into the hands of Christ all things. His love and grace and mercy upon that new heaven and that new earth and that new world, that new generation of people and that new kingdom and world of believers was all in Christ from the beginning.
When Satan and the angels (and somebody said a third of the heavenly host) fell, they were immediately confined to the darkness. Isn't that what the Bible says? Immediately! Reserved in chains of darkness until the day of judgement. That is the wrath of God. 'How art thou fallen from Heaven, oh Lucifer, son of the morning? I saw Satan,' Christ said, 'fall from Heaven' immediately. Why didn't God put up with him for 6,000 years like he did man? Because there was no covenant of grace for the angels. He took not on him the nature of angels. There wasn't any surety, there wasn't any provision. There wasn't any grace to hold back the wrath! Only God's unparalleled, pure wrath! When Satan sinned and said, I will, God said you won't. And that's the end of it. When Adam said I will, he was not cast into darkness. The earth didn't open up and swallow him, chains of darkness didn't wrap around him. The fires of hell didn't breath on his back. He walked out of the garden and begat a son. That son was a killer. He begat another. He had sons and daughters and kept on living. Why? The covenant of grace, made before the foundation of the world in Christ, held back the judgement of God and holds it back today. Now you can walk down the aisle, and shake the preacher's hand and give your tithe and sing 'Just As I Am', whenever you want. But that does not hold back the wrath of God. It's His promise and His love to Christ. That's what held it back then and that's what's holding it back right now. It postponed God's judgement until one day when Almighty God will say I'm going to burn this planet to a crisp. That's exactly right I'm going to burn it to crisp. Everything is held in check, even the final doom of Satan, by that covenant. He's not in hell yet. He's still running around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Going to and fro upon the earth, even appearing in the assembly of God's sons, even coming unto a disciple like Peter, sifting him.
Everything is being used of God as it is until He brings through the door that last sheep. Until He brings through the door that last one of the elect for whom Christ died. Until his Holy Spirit through the Word breaks the last rebel and brings him to Christ to kiss the feet of the Son of God. Everything is being used of God until all that the Father giveth him has come to him, has seen the Son and embraced the Son. Even evil does what evil wills on this earth. Yes it does it does what it will. You smell it, you see it, you hear it, you taste it, you are exposed to it - evil is everywhere. Men do what they will on this earth. God has given them the will to do evil and they are going at it 100% - rebels in heart and mind. God Almighty restrains evil and constrains evil and controls evil while letting men and devils do what they will. He controls it and sustains and restrains it in such a way that he is not the author of sin, yet his will is done. I will give you an example. Here's Joseph, God's man and his 10 brothers, Benjamin wasn't around. God wants Joseph in Egypt. He wants him on the throne. How is he going to get him there? He is going to get him there using evil men - evil brothers. These fellows hated Joseph and they were going to kill him but one of them had a little bit of compassion on him and he said, lets don't kill him. Let's sell him to these Egyptians. Let him go down to Egypt and work as a slave. In this you have the evil ones wanting to kill him and you have the more compassionate ones not wanting to kill him but to sell him (all this plotting and planning) and yet God Almighty's eternal will is done in everything they do!
Our Lord said men delivered Christ to be crucified. Men with wicked hands crucified him, but they did what God willed to be done from the foundation of this world. The wrath of man will praise the Lord. I am saying that when man fell, it was a fall; out of favor. It was a fall out of light, into darkness, out of life into death, out of a heavenly communion into a separation-like hell. Men are aliens, they are unclean. They are flesh under the judgement and wrath of God just like their predecessors, the devils. But God, in his eternal mercies, for reasons known only to himself, according to the pleasure of his own will, back before this world began, before he laid its foundation, before the morning stars sang together, purposed, and provided a covenant, made it with Christ and he gave Christ a people. He loved them in Christ. Christ is the first elect. We are chosen in him. He is the first born. We are regenerated in him. He is the first born from the dead - we have life in him. God's love is upon Him, all fullness of grace and love and truth is in Christ - Everything else is under the wrath of God. That is what John said - he that believeth not on the Son, the wrath of God abideth on him. I'm telling you the truth. Go on out there and tell all men God loves them - you are lying if you do. And while you tell them God loves them, tell them God loves the devil too. And God loves the demons of hell. God doesn't love evil - God loves holiness! God doesn't love men apart from Christ - never has and never will. That is exactly right. He doesn't love anything we have ever done or anything we have ever said because it is all polluted with our sinful nature. We are accepted in the Beloved if we are accepted at all.
Back yonder, after the fall, certain men found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Abel found grace in the eyes of the Lord. He knew God and he proved it when he offered the blood sacrifice. It wasn't that Abel was not a sinner. It wasn't that Abel was any less evil than his brother. Abel came out of the same daddy as Cain. But he found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Enoch walked with God. He knew God and he proved it by his testimony and God took him. Job found grace in the eyes of the Lord and he knew God and he proved it by his testimony and patience. Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Abraham was called out of idolatry. He found grace in the eyes of the Lord. God wasn't looking for volunteers and Abraham raised his hand and said pray for me. God called Abraham, God loved Abraham. God sought Abraham. God Almighty gave the grace of the living God to Abraham. God promised Abraham that he would raise up of him and out of his loins a nation of people through whom he would send the Messiah. That nation wasn't saved. Only two of them entered the Promise land of all that came out of Egypt (over 20 years of age) - Caleb and Joshua and they were men of grace who found grace in the eyes of the Lord. This nation was a picture, a type of spiritual Israel. And to that nation God gave his law through Moses and he said in that law this is what men ought to do but they won't. This is what men ought to be but they aren't. This is what God demands and what God must have which no man can produce. The nation of Israel was a physical, materialistic, fleshly nation which was blessed materially when they obeyed God and punished materially when they didn't - strictly material things. Keep my statutes and judgements and I will prosper you. I'll make your wheat to grow and other things to grow. Disobey me and I will send enemies down to whip you and take you into captivity. And to that nation God gave a ceremonial law. That nation came from the loins of Abraham who was blessed of God. They said 'we are sons of Abraham, He said if you were sons of Abraham, you would believe me. Your father Abraham saw my day and rejoiced to see it.'
To that nation God gave his ceremonial law which pictured Christ and his redemptive work. He gave them sacrifices, the passover and the atonement. He gave them holy days, such as the Sabbath, the feast days, the worship days. He gave them the tithe. It was a tax to support the temple, to support the ceremonial government, to support the priesthood, to support the tribe of Levi. He gave them circumcision as a mark of Israel, as a token. But none of these things had any saving power. None of these things could make a man holy. None of these things could make a man acceptable to God. Some understood this - very few of them - most of them did not. Moses did. He wrote of Christ. And when Christ came to this earth that same nation held to their material sacrifices, their material days, their worship and they rejected The Messiah. Turn to John, chapter 1, verse 10. "He was in the world and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not," didn't have eyes to see him or ears to hear him or hearts to understand him. "He came unto his own", his own nation - Israel, the people who for 2000 years had these types and holy days and all these things that were supposed to point them to the Messiah, "and his own received him not." They said we have our ceremonies and tradition, we don't need you. "But as many as received Him, to them gave He power," the right, the privilege "to become sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born," - not proselyted, which were born, not persuaded, which were born, not volunteered, which were born, "not of blood," that is not of a fleshly genealogy and heritage, "nor of the will of man," not of the will of the flesh, "but of God". They found grace in the eyes of the Lord. They were born of God. They were begotten of God. They were children of his love. Paul saw that. He saw Christ as the end of the law for everyone that believeth. He said, 'Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth!. Paul saw Christ as all we need. He said, 'in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily and you are complete in Him'. He, of God, is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption. He said, 'I count all these things' - my heritage, ancestry, accomplishments, traditions, ceremonies, custom, self-righteousness, 'but dung that I may win Christ and be found in Him.'
Let me tell you something. I am totally dependent on Christ and his obedience and righteousness and blood and intercession and mediatorial work right now. God sees me in Him the same as he did before the foundation of the world when he put me in Christ in that covenant. I haven't added anything to that covenant. I haven't added anything to God, not by my preaching or by my faithfulness or by my diligence or dedication. I have not acquired one ounce of favor with God that wasn't already mine in Christ. And I haven't lost one ounce of it by anything I have ever done. I told you it is the hardest thing a man ever had to do - to trust Christ. I hear them tell me it is simple - nothing to it just walk down the aisle and shake the preacher's hand and say I am believing Jesus. Believing totally in Jesus is impossible with men, it is a gift of God! There is no one in this world who can believe in Christ apart from divine aid. You can say you trust him. It's a whole lot different saying it and doing it. You can say I am saved - but it is another thing for God to say you're saved. You can say I believe the Bible - it's another thing to actually believe the Bible. I am resting in Christ - but it is another thing to rest ONLY in Christ. God won't let you hold on, even with your little finger. Any man who can still reach up and clutch the ledge with just his little finger, is not resting in Christ. The man who is resting in Christ is totally resting and he's ceased from his labors. You say he doesn't labor at all any more? It doesn't take anyone but a fool to ask a stupid question. That's what they ask Paul. They said, 'well, shall we sin that grace shall abound?' He said, 'God forbid.' God's children are not looking for a way to sin. They're looking for a way to obey God by grace. Somebody said, if I believe what you believe, I would sin all I wanted to. I sin more now than I want to, don't you? God's people delight to obey God, to serve God, and to walk in holiness, not to be saved, but because they are saved.
Here's the problem everybody's confronted with, God is not going to honor anyone but Christ. You're going to slip off the ledge of self-righteousness, into the arms of Christ, or you're going to perish. There's one song in Heaven. It's not the Baptist song, it's not the Catholic song, it's unto Him who loved us and loosed us from our sin in His own precious blood. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power and glory, both now and forever more. He has always been the Son of God's love and He will be the Son of God's love in Glory. The feast of the marriage supper will be to honor the Son, not you. He's going to gather together all things in Christ which are in Heaven and earth. He's going to show the riches of his grace. He's not going to show the riches of your faith. He's not going to call you up on the platform and praise you and crown you and laud you. You're going to be at His feet and we're all going to worship Him. That's right. Boy, I tell you this, no one in Glory will talk about God loving them outside of Christ - nobody, because it's just not so.
Here's the problem we all face. We're confronted with it today, we'll be confronted with it tomorrow. It's so difficult for us not to feel somehow lifted up when we pray, and depressed when we don't. It's so hard for us not to feel spiritual when we're obeying God, and unspiritual when we're not. You're either in Christ or you're not. Our salvation is in Christ, through Christ, of Christ, for his glory. Our acceptance is in Christ, through Christ, of Christ, for his glory. Our sanctification is of Christ, in Christ, through Christ, and for his glory. The believer is not in bondage, he's a son. I don't care how weak he is, how frail he is, he's a son. And sometimes the frail son gets more attention than the strong son. He needs more.
The believer is not forced to obey. He wills to obey. Any other obedience is not worth a snap of your fingers. I wouldn't give you two cents for a tithe so don't bring one down here. Keep it at home, buy a car. God never commanded the church to tithe. God's people quit tithing when God saved them and they started giving. The believer's not looking for ways to sin, he's looking for grace to glorify God. The believer is never at any time, under any circumstances, judged, accepted or loved, because of what he gives, what he does, or what he did. It's only in Christ. That's the truth. I know people right now will say, 'well, what's the use of me giving or working?' See there, you're not resting in Christ. You missed Him. You see, when Christ comes in, he gives a new nature. He says I'll write my law, not in a book, but in the heart. So you will love it. And I'll write it on your minds so you'll appreciate it and think of it. That's what you want to do. Not what you ought to do but what you want to do! Love from a new nature and a new heart springs up just as spontaneously as hate did from that old heart. I heard a man say, 'I don't love my wife.' I said 'You're not saved then.' A saved man doesn hate anybody. He loves people. That's exactly right. 'He that loveth not, knoweth not God.' He's lost. How do you learn this? Well it's not easy. The law says do this and live The gospel says live and do this!
I hear preachers say, 'lay down your shotgun.' After we lay down our shotgun, we start praising God. Lay down your palm branches too. Sometimes it's easier to repent of your sins than it is to repent of your righteousness. 'My sins are ever before me.' Yes and my righteousness, filthy rags, are too. Sometimes it's a lot easier to say 'oh wretched man that I was,' than to say, 'oh wretched man that I am.' 'Lord, save me from the devil.' That's easier to say than to say, 'Lord save me from myself.' I'm as great an enemy to myself as the devil is. Do you know that? Most of my meanness didn't come from him anyway... I'm the author of it. Let me look only to Christ in time of trouble. That is not too hard to say, where else would you look? Let me look only to Christ in time of blessing. I'm just as much destitute when I'm on the mountain as I am when I'm in the valley. I need Christ at all times.
Yes sir I know whereof I speak. The most difficult thing I've ever had to do in all of life is to look only to Christ, to lay hold upon Christ and to rest in Christ. I tell you I get depressed with my flesh and I think, oh God doesn't love me. And then I hit a high note and preach a sermon, God saves somebody and then I think he loves me better than anybody. Just remember, when you're at the highest point of your spiritual experience and feel as near to God as you've ever been, there's a good possibility you're further away than you've ever been. And when you feel so naked and ashamed and such an outcast, unworthy of the least of his mercies, and you feel like you're on the back row of the whole congregation of the righteous, peeking through the bars, just trying to get a little glimpse of the hem of the garment, you just might be closer to God than you've ever been before. He loves sinners. That's right, He loves and accepts sinners in Christ.
Can you do it? I tell you this, if you can praise him here like he ought to be praised, you can praise him there. If you can rest in him here, you'll never be lost, I promise you. You may find the right church, you may find the right doctrine, you may find the right ceremony and may find the right mode and form of worship and find the right all this, that, and the other and perish with all the other Pharisees. But if you can come to his feet, like the harlot, if you can come to his feet, like the publican, if you can lay hold upon the Lord, like the thief on the cross - 'false and full of sin I am, thou art all righteousness,' you're going to find favor with the Lord because he did the work. Stripping sinners is his work. Killing sinners is his work. Bringing men to the dust is his work. Exalting his Son is his work. I can't do that. If I ever come to rest in Christ, I'm saved - saved forever by the Sovereign Grace of God!
Our father, for your glory, oh for your glory, and that's all that shall be served is your glory, and for the glory of your dear Son whom you have determined to glorify, 'glorify me with the glory which I had with thee before the world was, that the world might behold my glory,' is what he said. 'For thou lovest me before the foundation of the world.' And Father, we believe, by your grace, according to your good pleasure that your love was upon us in Christ before the foundation of the world. Bring us, by your grace, to trust Christ, rest in Christ, to be honest with thee and ourselves and know ourselves as we are, but to love Him as He is. For Christ's sake, I pray. Amen.