Why blood was ordained by God for remission of sin, we may clearly see through the Scriptures. As 'the' blood is the life of all flesh," (Lev. 17:11-14) and as the life is forfeited by sin, (Gen. 2:17; Ezek. 18:4) the shedding of blood was ordained to keep the sinner in remembrance of his penal condition, and to foreshadow the great mystery that was to be developed in future ages on the cross of Calvary.
The earliest intimation of blood-shedding is through the fact of God making "coats of skins" for our first parents after their fall. (Gen. 3:21) We assume that those skins were the skins of animals slain in sacrifice to God, at His command, in propitiation for the sin of our progenitors; for it is a most unlikely thing that God would kill harmless animals for the purpose of clothing Adam and Eve. However, be that as it may, we have the case of Abel offering the firstlings of his flock unto the Lord, (Gen. 4:4) to prove that God must have ordained blood for the remission of sin from the very first, for except this had been revealed from heaven, what could have put it into Abel's head to slaughter poor innocent lambs for such a purpose?
We take it for granted, then, that God revealed His will in this respect immediately after man's fall. After this period, there is abundant evidence of the sacrifice of animals as sin-offerings before the Lord; and we all know that the Jewish dispensation was one scene of blood-shedding from beginning to end.
Underneath all this lies the great doctrine of Imputation; for here we have blood substituted for blood, life substituted for life, the penalty incurred by one paid for by another, the sin of the sinning party expiated for (in figure) by a party wholly innocent. But, as the context tells us, that it is not possible for the blood of animals to take away sins (Heb. 10:4), we are forced to the conclusion that Christ Jesus' blood, or Christ Jesus' life was substituted for the blood or life of the sinners for whom He was offered, and consequently that He took away for ever the sins of all such. In the context of our text, you will find all this worked out by an inspired pen. There you will see that Christ was the great prototype, set up from everlasting, of all the types of the old dispensation, or, in other words, the Substitute for His people's life, or blood, or sin.
This day we commemorate this wondrous event, the blood-shedding of Christ, "the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world," (John 1:29) as He Himself has explained it, the sins of many; (Matt. 26:28; Mark 14:24) and now, I would, under God, help you to meditate upon the necessity for the act, and to discuss the efficacy of it.
I. As our text tells us--"Without shedding of blood there is no remission of sins," and as we are informed by the context (Heb. 10:4)--"It is not possible for the blood of bulls or of goats to take away sins;" and further, as we are taught elsewhere that no human efforts can atone for sin, that thousands of rams, and ten thousand rivers of oil, yea, even the flow of human blood cannot take away the sin of the soul, (Micah 6:6,7) we logically arrive at the truth that Christ's blood alone can wash out sin.
I would put it to you this way--Sin cannot be remitted without blood: The blood of animals cannot remit it, The blood of our own nature cannot remit it. Therefore it must be the blood of Christ that is to do it; for there is no other blood.
They, then, who fancy that prayers, or tears, or repentance, or reformation, or good works of any kind, can remit sin are in the most awful delusion. Sirs! "Without shedding of blood is not remission;" (Heb. 9:22) but "the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin." (1 John 1:7)
A caviler may object--"But John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins," (Mark 1:4) and Peter said--"Repent, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins," (Acts 2:38) by which it appears that repentance or even baptism can remit sins."
To whom I reply--It is totally impossible that the act of repentance, or the act of baptism, should remit sins, for our text is explicit, that "without blood-shedding is no remission;" but John and Peter were addressing unbelievers in the atonement of Christ, unbelievers in the blood-shedding, and meant to convey that as long as they remained such there was no hope for their souls; but if they could forsake their unbelief, and rely upon Him whose blood alone could remit sins, they would be saved.
I say again, that it is a terrible delusion to suppose that anything man can do can remit sin. Repentance from unbelief to belief in the blood of the Lord Jesus gives evidence that the persons so believing have remission of sins; and baptism is an emblem of the cleansing properties of the blood of Christ, and is a sign (either in hope of fact) that Christ's blood is applied to the souls of the baptized; but as for any act of yours or mine remitting sin, it is heresy and blasphemy to suppose.
It is from having incorrect notions of sin that men are so apt to think so lightly of its remission. They think that nothing but overt acts of immorality are sin. This is a monstrous error; for God has told us that infirmities, and even ignorances are sins; ay, sins that, if not remitted by blood, will destroy the soul! (Lev. 5:17)
What saith the Scripture concerning sin? "Sin is the transgression of the law," (1 John 3:4) Sin is the breaking down in our obedience to any part of the law. "The thought of unrighteousness is sin." (Prov. 24:9) Yea, the forgetfulness to obey a precept of the Lord, is sin, damning sin--for there was an atonement ordered for such an omission, and atonement implies guilt, soul-destroying guilt. (Lev. 5:17)
Now, these Scripture statements encompass so wide a moral space, make so tremendous a sweep, or, as the Psalmist has it, are "so exceeding broad," that they must bring in every living soul guilty before God.
I warn you all against unscriptural notions about sin. These are the very first steps that lead downwards to the blackness of darkness!
The Rev. John Wesley had most incorrect notions upon Sin, and this will account for his romantic, absurd, and, I might add, fatal views about "sinless perfection." He gave his own definition of sin; and of course, if we are at liberty to describe sin according to our own carnal ideas, we may soon, and logically too, prove the existence of this "Fool's Paradise;" but if we must adhere to the Scriptures, every man maintaining "sinless perfection" must be brought in guilty before God as one whose deceived heart has turned him aside. Here was this "much esteemed" man's definition of sin: "Sin is a voluntary violation of the law of God." By which he meant that nothing but a willful breach of any of the commandments is sin!
Now, though even this definition of sin would bring himself and all his followers in guilty, for both he and they have willfully broken the commandments, yet it is far short of the Scripture definition of sin, and totally contradictory to the Psalmist's conception of sin!
Let us hear what God's ideas of sin are, and see how tightly He draws the cord about us:
"And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying: If a soul commit a trespass, and sin through ignorance in the holy things of the LORD; then he shall bring his trespass unto the LORD a ram without blemish out of the flocks, with thy estimation, by shekels of silver after the shekel of the sanctuary for a trespass offering: and he shall make amends for the harm that he hath done in the holy thing, and he shall add the fifth part thereto, and give it unto the priest; and the priest shall make an atonement for him with the ram of the trespass offering, and it shall be forgiven him. And if a soul sin and commit any of these things which are forbidden to be done by the commandment of the Lord; though he wist it not, yet he is guilty, and shall bear his iniquity. And he shall bring a ram without blemish out of the flock, with thy estimation, for a trespass offering unto the priest; and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his ignorance wherein he erred and wist it not, and it shall be forgiven him. It is a trespass offering: he hath certainly trespassed against the LORD." (Lev. 5:14-19)
To any individual under heaven, who has ears to hear, surely these instructions speak trumpet-tongued! The very sins of ignorance required an atonement, needed blood to wash them out! And as the blood of bulls and of goats could not take away sins, it must have been the blood of CHRIST, typified through it, that was required of God for them.
It will not do to say that those instructions, or those revelations concerning sin where limited to the Jews, or the Jewish dispensation, and have nothing to do with us. It is as clear as light, through this quotation, that any breach of any commandment of the LORD, whether through willfulness or ignorance is a sin that requires an atonement. And though the ceremonial law is not binding upon us, or upon any now, what it typified or proclaimed is binding upon us and all, namely, strict obedience to the very letter and spirit of the commandments of God, and, in case of disobedience, an atonement by blood.
O see, then, that you have Scriptural conceptions of Sin! We now come to the Psalmist's ideas of Sin, and shall see how different they were from Mr. Wesley's:
"Who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright and innocent from much transgression. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer." (Ps. 19:12-14)
Did the Psalmist conceive nothing to be sin but a willful violation of a part of God's law? Surely not! He confesses to sins unknown to everybody but God; sins of mistake, of ignorance, as well as sins of thought! The "presumptuous" sins he speaks of are the willful sins Mr. Wesley spoke of; but the Psalmist knew what the divine of after ages knew not, namely, that there was enough sin in his unknown, forgotten, or unnoticed thoughts to damn him if it were not cleansed by blood!
O, how differently was David taught to him who could continually sing--
But, "I take you to record this day that I am pure from the blood of all, for I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God;" (Acts 20:26,27) and I tell you that until you have correct or Scriptural conceptions of sin, you will never value the blood-shedding of the Lord Jesus, or understand the paramount necessity there was for it.
I have met somewhere this beautifully clear and simple definition of sin: "Sin is whatever was not in Christ when on earth, and whatever He cannot now approve that He is in Heaven." This definition will, perhaps, meet the understandings of some upon whose ears the oft-repeated words of inspiration fall pointless, "Sin is the transgression of the law." Ay, that condemns us all--the most virtuous, the most moral, the most religious, the most worthy, the most unexceptionable amongst us!
I know that some of us are greater sinners than others; I know that some have been permitted to sin with a high hand, and have rushed presumptuously upon the bosses of God's buckler; and I know also that some have been kept from outward falls, and so are comparatively better than others; but let all of you know this as a Scriptural truth, that no one sin unatoned for by Christ's blood will ever suffer the committer of it to enter heaven, and no amount of aggravated guilt can keep that man out whose soul has been washed in Christ's blood. (1 John 1:7)
Which of you can respond to this beautiful hymn?
"Not on me, Lord, not on me,--
I am all iniquity;
Look upon that Holy One,
Who, before Thy glorious throne,
On his breast bears my poor name,
And my load of sin and shame,--
Look on Him--my Surety!
"Look on thine anointed Son;
Only in His name I come;
Only for His sake I dare
Breathe to Thee my earnest pray'r;
While I to His garment cling,
While I hide beneath His wing,
Look on Him--my Surety!
"I have often broke Thy laws,
Oft prov'd traitor to thy cause;
He that broken law hath kept,
He o'er my transgressions wept;
He, upon the cross for me,
Bore the dread death-penalty.
Look on Him--my Surety!
"Now He pleadeth Thee before,
And I kneel, Lord, to adore,
For the pardon Thou hast giv'n,
For the death chains He has riv'n;
Even when I sue for grace,
Look thou on His pity'ng face;
Look on Him--my Surety!"
There is language that cuts up by the roots all self-righteousness, and strips the sinner naked, as he ought to be when a suppliant at the throne of grace! And whosoever can take this plea into his mouth, and feel it as the confession of his heart, has good reason to believe he is washed in Christ's blood.
Well, then, poor sensible sinners, whose guilty souls have been pardoned, justified, washed, and sanctified by the blood of the Lord Jesus, commemorate the event with joy, ay, with rejoicing, and not with fasting and mourning! Good Friday is generally observed as a fast, as a day of penance and mortification; but I am sure it is a mistake. It is a piece of Popery, of hypocrisy, and sham, to keep it as it is for the most part kept! Not to speak of the exceeding folly of thinking to please God by eating one sort of food rather than another on this day, or by assuming a melancholy aspect, or by going through religious services in which the heart cannot be engaged, because the understanding is not enlightened--all which must be highly offensive to God--I would ask, why should this day be regarded with melancholy and sadness?
"Because of the melancholy death of the Lord Jesus Christ," replies some one.
Well but, I retort, what about the glorious result of that death? If Christ had failed in His struggle with sin and death and hell, we might well keep this day as a day of fasting, and sorrow, and humiliation; but when this very day's proceedings have brought comfort, and peace, and happiness to the souls of countless thousands, why should it be kept in mourning? The thing is done, it is finished--the pain, the agony, and the anguish are all over. "There remaineth no more sacrifice for sins." All then should be jubilant with those who can realize the fact that Christ's blood was shed for them. It is only for those who tread underfoot the Son of God, and count the blood of the covenant an unholy thing, and do despite to the Spirit of Grace, (Heb. 10:29) to be melancholy and sad. The poor original disciples of the Lord, no doubt, spent a melancholy and miserable day of it, but they didn't know then what we know. They thought that all their bright prospects were for ever eclipsed. They might well be sad. But when the glorious truth flashed upon them, we don't read of any more sadness. Neither do we read in the Scriptures of their setting apart a certain day in the year to re-enact, through mimic or histrionic performances, the awful events of Calvary. No, no. It is all the invention of mistaken conception, and radical ignorance of the truth as it is in Jesus. When we first get to know that we have been the cause of Christ's sufferings and death, we mourn as one mourneth for his only son, and are in bitterness for Him as one that is in bitterness for his first born; (Zech. 12:10) but when the Spirit of God teaches us that "by His stripes we are healed," we rejoice at the fact of Christ's blood-shedding, for it has brought remission of sins to our souls and consciences. Believe me that you will have plenty to do on the way of mourning before you die, without mourning on Good Friday. You will have many a time to mourn over fresh sin, the darkness of providences, and the apparent absence of your Lord, without encumbering yourselves with the formal and fictitious fasts of Lent! Fast from sin, by all means; fast from formalism, ritualism, and hypocrisy; fast from association with the world, and the monstrosities of Popery in all shapes and forms, but as for fasting on Good Friday, if the fast consist in abstaining from a particular kind of food, or in assuming a religious aspect, or in listening to music on a minor key, or in being more reserved than on any other day in the year, it is a fast of hypocrisy, folly, and delusion, that can only impose upon deceived hearts!
II. We will now speak of the efficacy of Christ's blood-shedding. "Without shedding of blood is no remission," says our text. Then we conclude that with blood-shedding there is remission of sin.
Now, the question is, What is remission of sin?
Christ himself once spoke these words, viz., "Whosoever sins ye remit they are remitted unto them; and whosoever sins ye retain, they are retained." (John 20:23)
Now, here, "remit" and "retain" are put in opposition to one another, and we all know what "retain" means. It is to keep, to continue to hold on. So the opposite, "remit," must mean to let go, to let pass away, to deliver from; and, consequently, remission of sin must mean to make sin let loose its hold on any one, to deliver from the charges of sin, to liberate from the captivity, or bondage, or hold of sin.
And so it is in the original. The word rendered "remission" in our text means forgiveness, pardon, deliverance from.
Here, then, we have the exact meaning of remission. It is deliverance from all charges of sin.
Such is the efficacy of Christ's blood-shedding. It takes away all sin out of God's sight as chargeable upon those interested in it.
It is this glorious fact that made the Apostle Paul exclaim, "Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is GOD that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is CHRIST that died, yea, rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." (Rom. 8:33,34) God be praised! They who cannot be accused cannot be condemned! None can discover a single sin of which to accuse them, i.e., as still subjecting them to the curse of the law, and to bring them into that condemnation from which they have been delivered by what Christ has done for them by His blood-shedding!
A deeply-taught man of God has thus written upon this passage: "By Christ's death, the penalty of the holy law, on account of its violation by His people, was executed, and satisfaction made to divine justice. In answer to the question, Who is he that condemneth? The Apostle replies that Christ died. By this he intimates the impossibility of our being absolved from sin without satisfaction for the injury done to the rights of God's justice, and the sacred majesty of His eternal laws which had been violated; for the just God could not set aside His justice by His mercy, and justify sinners without an atonement. It is on this account that God had instituted sacrifices under the law, to hold forth the necessity of a satisfaction, and to prove that without shedding of blood there could be no remission of sin. There is, then, a manifest necessity of repairing the outrage against the perfections of God, which are the original and fundamental rule of the duty of the creature. This reparation could only be made by a satisfaction that should correspond with the august majesty of the holiness of God; and, consequently, it must be of infinite value, which could only be found in a person of infinite dignity.
"To the death of Jesus Christ as the atonement for sin, our eyes are constantly directed throughout the Scriptures, whether by types, by prophecies, or by historical descriptions of the event. Death was the punishment threatened in the covenant of works against sin. But Christ had neither transgressed that covenant nor could participate in the imputation of the sin of Adam, because He sprang not from him by the way of natural generation. Being, therefore, without sin, the penalty of death could not be incurred on His own account. Death, then, which is the wages of sin, must have been suffered by Him for sinners. Their iniquities were laid on Him, and by His stripes they are healed. (Isa. 53:5) His death, therefore, utterly forbids the condemnation of the Elect of God, who were given to Him, and are one with Him, of whom only the context speaks. It must be a just and full compensation for their sins. It is evidently implied that none for whom He died can be condemned. For if condemnation be forbidden by His death, then that condemnation must be prohibited with respect to all for whom He died. His death made satisfaction to justice for them; and, therefore, in their case, both accusation and condemnation are rendered impossible."
Such is the efficacy of Christ's blood-shedding! Remission of sin! Deliverance from all charges of sin! Or, in other words, no sin whatever, in its judicial consequences, can be found to their charge! (See Rom. 8:1)
O, how that announcement rejoices the poor sensible sinner's heart! How it fills him with thankfulness, and love, and praise! What a difference is there between this divinity and that which first elates us and then casts us down; which first tells us we may be pardoned and justified, and then condemned; which first tells us we are children of God, and then that we may be children of the devil!
Of course, the poor creatures who speak, or teach, or think thus, knew no better, for they have never been taught by the Holy Ghost, and are to be pitied; but when I hear a man prating such monstrous absurdities, I cannot help thinking "it had been better for that man if he had never been born!
But now, my dear hearers, let me remind you of another fact, namely, that though those interested in Christ's blood-shedding are free from condemnation, altogether, and for ever free, they are not free from the being of sin, or the assaults of sin.
Alas! Much corruption remains, and ever will remain in God's pardoned and justified ones! But God has promised that "sin shall not have dominion over them, for they are not under the law but under grace." (Rom. 6:14) They are completely discharged from the curse of the law. They are completely delivered from the claims of divine justice. They are completely forgiven all sins, past, present, and to come.
But they are not freed from the assaults of Satan, or the perverse iniquity and deceit of their own hearts. These are puzzles to the mere professor; but they are facts nevertheless. They must be so for more reasons than one. They must be so on account of the existence of "the old man" within, and the devil without. They must be so on account of perfection being required by God on the part of every one who enters the holy city. (Rev. 21:27; Jer. 17:9; 1 Pet. 5:8-10)
But, says some one, does it not say in the context of the text--
"If we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses. Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant wherewith He was sanctified an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of Grace?" (Heb. 10:26-29)
Yes, I answer, all this is true; and as assuredly as you and I shall be proved to be amongst the parties described here, so shall we suffer their doom. But the question is, Is it possible for any quickened soul to be ever of this party?
To this, I answer unhesitatingly--impossible! Let us calmly examine this passage. Now, in the first place, if the word "willfully" here, is to be taken in its bald or literal sense, we all are cut off! For there is not a man living that has not sinned willfully since he received the knowledge of the truth. Of course, men who have incorrect notions of sin (as I have observed in the former part of this discourse) will demur to this assertion, and it is no use arguing with them; but I deliberately, advisedly, and fearlessly assert that every converted man has sinned willfully since his conversion. So then we all are cut off by this passage! But how can this be? Seeing that by Christ's blood-shedding our sins are all remitted! How can this be? Since, then Christ would have no church in heaven, and consequently He would have died in vain! You see the absurdity of this. But in the next place, we must consider what the Apostle means by sinning willfully after receiving a knowledge of the truth. He explains himself. It is to deny Christ; it is to tread Him under foot; it is to count the blood of the covenant, wherewith He was sanctified, (see John 17:19) an unholy thing, and thus do despite to the Spirit of Grace. This is sinning willfully. This is the unpardonable offence spoken of in the passage. But, surely, you and I have never been guilty of this sin! We have never committed this grievous iniquity! O, no! We think too highly of Christ to do any thing of the kind! We value His precious blood too greatly to throw the slightest discredit upon it! It is our continual endeavor to laud and magnify our glorious Christ! Christ, and His blood, and His Spirit are precious to us beyond compare! We honor Him, we worship Him, we adore Him! He is all our hope, and all our desire! He is our righteousness, our sanctification, and our redemption. (1 Cor. 1:30) And, consequently, it is totally impossible that we should be guilty of thus sinning "willfully!"
I remember the time when this Scripture used to fill me with terror; but it has no terror for me now, for the Spirit of God has enlightened me, and taught me its true meaning. I find it to be the same with all Scripture. There is not a single word in the entire Bible, which, when rightly understood, need alarm any poor sensible sinner. It is against the unbelieving, the unsubmissive, the unwashed, the unstable, the unlearned in God's Word and God's plan of salvation, that all the woes, and threats, and denunciations of Jehovah are hurled. We need fear none of them, for we are washed in Christ's blood, and are covered behind Christ's shield, yea, our lives are hid in Christ with God. (Col. 3:3) Whom shall we fear, then? Of whom shall we be afraid? (Ps. 27:1) None! Though a host should encamp against us, our hearts shall not fear, though war should rise against us, in this will we be confident, namely, the LORD is our salvation! In His blood we are washed! In His righteousness we are clothed! In His person we are "without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing!" (Eph. 5:27)
"When, on the cross, my Lord I see,
Bleeding to death for wretched me;
Satan and sin no more can move,
For I am all transform'd to love!
"Come, sinners, view the Lamb of God,
wounded and dead, and bath'd in blood!
Behold His side, and venture near,
The well of endless life is here.
"Here I forget my cares and pains;
I drink, yet still my thirst remains,
Only the fountain-head above
Can satisfy the thirst of love!
"O that I thus could always feel!
Lord, more and more Thy love reveal!
Then my glad tongue shall loud proclaim,
The grace and glory of Thy name.
"Thy name dispels my guilt and fear,
Revives my heart and charms my ear;
Affords a balm for every wound,
And Satan trembles at the sound!"
And now, my hearers, the question comes, are we all assembled here interested in the blood-shedding we have been meditating upon? That we all are sinners whose lives have been forfeited on account of our transgressions is a patent fact; but what about the Substitute, and His being a Substitute for us?
I once again solemnly warn you against the deluding doctrine of the day, which persuades every man that Christ shed His blood for him! If this were true, there would be no need for alarm or inquiry, for such is the efficacy of this blood-shedding by reason of the dignity of the Victim, that whosoever is interested in it can never perish. I have proved this so often to you, both in my preaching and writing, that it seems tautologous to speak about it now; but knowing as I do that the human mind is more ready to cling to error in religion than to seize upon truth, and more content to soothe itself with vain traditions, than to work out the deep problem for itself, I feel constrained to stir you all up by way of remembrance upon this all-important subject.
Now, suppose you were on your death-beds, what evidence could you give that your souls were washed in the blood of Christ?
You know, it would not do to say, "We hope they are; we hope in God's mercy, we hope in God's love, we hope in God's kindness;" for the hypocrite himself can say that; but we know that "the hope of the hypocrite shall perish." (Job 8:13) Neither would it do to say, "We have done our best, we have been moral, and upright, and zealous, and religious, and charitable, and just," for the Pharisee in the parable was a better and holier man than any of us, and Christ has said, "Except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye can in no case enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 5:20)
God can show no kindness, no love, no mercy to any man who is out of Christ: no, though he were a very paragon of virtue! What evidence, then, I ask, could you give of your souls' interest in Christ's blood-shedding, if you were required?
I will help you to answer the question by relating to you the solemn convictions of a Christian man as he once expressed himself to me:--"Sir, I don't like talking of works, or even of graces developed in me, for, God knows, I am so deeply conscious of my inborn corruption, that I dare not look upon any of them with satisfaction, yet, if consistency of life and conversation were to be the test of fitness for heaven, I think I might dare go into the scales with most men; but this I can call God a witness to, namely, I have seen so clearly the awful and damning nature of sin, and the wondrous efficacy of Christ's blood, that I am certain, if I were left to my own will, I should perish everlastingly; and if I am interested in Christ's blood-shedding, I am saved for ever and ever!"
"You are not sure, then, that you are interested?" I observed.
"Well, sir," he continued, "sometimes I am, and sometimes I am not. I have had many sweet visits from the Lord, many precious lifts by the way, but somehow darkness overshadows my soul sometimes, and I wonder whether I am the Lord's or not; but here is my strong consolation--I know I am a hell-deserving sinner, and I know I am not a hypocrite. The Lord knows that I lie not. I worship God through the Spirit, I make my boast in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. (Phil. 3:3) I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus. He is all my hope and all my desire."
Dear hearers, can you endorse this? If so, you may have the confidence of Paul, for you have Paul's convictions, Paul's longings, and Paul's teaching.