Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Examine your state

In his classic on sanctification, Walter Marshall, like many strong Christians from days gone by, encourages readers to examine their lives. Interestingly, his standard for this examination is not his feelings, his friends' thoughts about him, or even logically deduced judgments. The standard is the Word. Those who find themselves in a state of grace should be comforted and strengthened. Those who find themselves under wrath and in sin; come to Christ.

Another means to be used diligently for the promoting the life of faith is examination of our state and ways according to the Word, whether we be at present in a state of sin and wrath, or of grace and salvation; that, if we be in a state of sin, we may know our sickness and come to the great Physician while it is called today; and, if we be in a state of grace, we may know that we are of the truth, and assure our hearts before God with greater confidence, by the testimony of a good conscience (1 John 3:19, 21); that so our hearts may be more strongly comforted by faith and established in every good work; and that, if our ways be evil, we may turn from them to the Lord our God through Christ; without whom none come to the Father (Lam. 3: 40; John 14:6). 

But your great care in this work of self-examination must be to perform it in such a manner that it may not hinder and destroy the life of faith, as it does in many, instead of promoting it. 

Therefore, beware lest you trust upon your self-examination, rather than upon Christ, as some do, that think they have made their peace with God merely because they have examined themselves upon their sick bed, or before the receiving of the Lord's Supper, though they have found themselves stark naught, and do not depend on Christ to make them better, but on their own deceitful purposes and resolutions.

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