“You get one pass at life. That’s all. Only one. And the lasting measure of that life is Jesus Christ.” (Don’t Waste Your Life)
“My Lord, I have nothing to do in this World, but to seek and serve thee; I have nothing to do with a Heart and its affections, but to breathe after thee. I have nothing to do with my Tongue and Pen, but to speak to thee, and for thee, and to publish thy Glory and thy Will. What have I to do with all my Reputation, and Interest in my Friends, but to increase thy Church, and propagate thy holy Truth and Service? What have I to do with my remaining Time, even these last and languishing hours, but to look up unto thee, and wait for thy Grace, and thy Salvation?” (Dying Thoughts on Philippians 1:23)
The heart may be turned away from God in many ways. How subtle are the workings of evil; how hidden are it motives; and therefore its influence is extensive. According to John Angell James:
The apostle John closes his first epistle with the following tender and solemn admonition —”Little children, keep yourselves from idols!” Those to whom he thus addressed himself had been converted from Paganism, and needed to be cautioned against relapsing into their former idolatry, and against every practice, which would in the smallest degree seem to countenance it. There is no need that I should warn you against this sin in its literal import. You have never bowed the knee to a graven or molten image, and never will — but is there no such thing as SPIRITUAL idolatry? The first commandment of the Decalogue says —”You shall have no other gods before me.” The meaning of this precept, which is the foundation of all religion, is not merely that we shall not acknowledge any other God besides Jehovah — but also that we shall treat him as God! That is, we must love him with all our hearts, serve him with all our lives, and depend upon him for our supreme felicity. It is obvious that all this, as well as prayer and praise, is the worship that God requires.
The bended knee, whether this be done to God or an idol, is of no value—but as the expression of the state of the mind and heart at the time. The affections are a much more sincere and expressive homage than bodily attitudes and outward forms of devotion. Hence, it is obvious that — whatever we love most, and are most anxious to retain and please — whatever it be we depend most upon for happiness and help — whatever has most of our hearts — that is, in effect, is our God! — whether it be Jehovah or Jupiter, or whether it be friends, possessions, or our own desires, or our own selves! Is it not, therefore, to be feared that the hearts of many professors are going too much after other objects of worship than God, and need the admonition, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols!” (“Spiritual Idolatry”)
“Grace” is more than mercy and love, it super-adds to them. It denotes, not simply love, but the love of a sovereign, transcendently superior, one that may do what he will, that may wholly choose whether he will love or no. There may be love between equals, and an inferior may love a superior; but love in a superior, and so superior as he may do what he will, in such a one love is called grace: and therefore, grace is attributed to princes; they are said to be gracious to their subjects, whereas subjects cannot be gracious to princes. Now God, who is an infinite Sovereign, who might have chosen whether ever He would love us or no, for Him to love us, this is grace.
The great righteousness of God is made plain in Jesus Christ. How extraordinary it is that men refuse to receive what is so generously provided. Charles H. Spurgeon writes:
You have only to trust Christ, and you shall live. Whoever, or whatever, or wherever you are, even though you lie at hell’s dark door to despair and die, the message comes to you: “God hath made Christ to be a propitiation for sin. He made him to be sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. Christ has delivered us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.” He who believes no longer has a curse upon him. He may have been an adulterer, a swearer, a drunkard, a murderer; but the moment he believes, God sees none of those sins in him. He sees him as an innocent man, and regards his sins as having been laid on the Redeemer, and punished in Jesus as he died on the tree. If you believe in Christ, though you are one of the most damnable wretches who ever polluted the earth, you shall not have a sin remaining on you after believing. God will look at you as pure; even Omniscience shall not detect a sin in you, for your sin shall be put on the scapegoat, even Christ, and carried away into forgetfulness.
Put away your accursed and idolatrous dependence upon yourself; Christ has finished salvation-work, altogether finished it. Do not hold your rags in competition with his fair white linen. Christ has borne the curse; do not bring your pitiful penances, and your tears all full of filth, to mingle with the precious fountain flowing with his blood. Lay down what is your own, and come and take what is Christ’s. Put away now everything that you have thought of being or doing by way of winning acceptance with God; humble yourselves, and take Jesus Christ to be the Alpha and Omega, the first and last, the beginning and end of your salvation. If you do this, not only will you be saved, but you are saved. Rest, O weary one, for your sins are forgiven; rise, you lame man, lame through want of faith, for your transgression is covered; rise from the dead, you corrupt one, rise, like Lazarus from the tomb, for Jesus calls you! Believe and live. (Advice for Seekers)
The wicked is a very coward, and is afraid of everything; of God, because He is his enemy; of Satan, because he is his tormentor; of God’s creatures, because they, joining with their Maker, fight against him; of himself, because he bears about with him his own accuser and executioner. The godly man contrarily is afraid of nothing; not of God, because he knows Him his best friend, and will not hurt him; not of Satan, because he cannot hurt him; not of afflictions, because he knows they come from a loving God, and end in his good; not of the creatures, since “the very stones in the field are in league with Him;” not of himself, since his conscience is at peace.