Theres quite a bit of interest in this so I thought it would be good to follow on….
This is so important to get right. One of the areas where the devil seeks to cripple the Christian is in the area of faith and works. He’ll suggest that not just faith. Its too good to be true. You need to try a bit just to be sure. Now you’ve blown it!
It can happen anywhere along the journey, even near the end. I’ve spoken to those who were close to death – yes even those who believed in the free grace of God – who’ve asked the question have I done enough? Am I good enough?
Once we get on that one it’s a downward slope all the way – how much is good enough? How much do I need to do to be in, 0.1%, 2%, 50%?
The fact is we were never good enough, it was never about us being good enough, and we shall never be good enough, but there is One who is! If this is not the case then the gospel is not good news. If in any way some puny effort on my part is included, then there can be no assurance, no real joy or confident hope.
That is why we are exhorted to look away from ourselves to Jesus. It is his faithfulness that counts, not mine or yours. He has done the job and he has done it well.
Wesleys forgotten hymn says it well:
Arise, my soul, arise; shake off thy guilty fears;
The bleeding sacrifice in my behalf appears:
Before the throne my surety stands,
My name is written on His hands.
He ever lives above, for me to intercede;
His all redeeming love, His precious blood, to plead:
His blood atoned for all our race,
And sprinkles now the throne of grace.
Five bleeding wounds He bears; received on Calvary;
They pour effectual prayers; they strongly plead for me:
‘Forgive him, O forgive,’ they cry,
‘Nor let that ransomed sinner die!’
The Father hears Him pray, His dear anointed One;
He cannot turn away, the presence of His Son;
His Spirit answers to the blood,
And tells me I am born of God.
My God is reconciled; His pardoning voice I hear;
He owns me for His child; I can no longer fear:
With confidence I now draw nigh,
And ‘Father, Abba, Father,’ cry.
Or as Augustus Toplady put it:
From whence this fear and unbelief?
Hath not the Father put to grief
His spotless Son for me?
And will the righteous Judge of men
Condemn me for that debt of sin
Which, Lord, was charged on Thee?
Complete atonement Thou hast made,
And to the utmost farthing paid
Whate’er Thy people owed;
How then can wrath on me take place
If sheltered in Thy righteousness,
And sprinkled with Thy blood?
If Thou hast my discharge procured,
And freely in my room endured
The whole of wrath divine,
Payment God cannot twice demand—
First at my bleeding Surety’s hand,
And then again at mine.
Turn then, my soul, unto thy rest!
The merits of thy great High Priest
Have bought thy liberty;
Trust in His efficacious blood,
Nor fear thy banishment from God,
Since Jesus died for thee!
No condemnation! He justifies the ungodly through faith in Jesus Christ! Hallelujah!