Charles Spurgeon, from “Sovereignty and Salvation.”
Text: Isaiah 45:22 — “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.”
A person who has forgotten their brokenness is someone for whom the beauty of the cross has begun to wear off, and there is no disease is as toxic to the heart as grace-amnesia.
But sometimes we swing to the other extreme and yield to the urge to wallow in our imperfections. A person who is consumed by their brokenness, obsessing over failures and compromises, has also lost sight of the gospel.
Spurgeon reminds us that the cure for self-righteousness is not self-punishment. The way out of pride is not to work up a healthy lather about our bad behavior, punishing ourselves with a good emotional whipping—as if that would please God. As if that’s what he was waiting to see.
“I do not repent enough.” That is looking to yourself.
“I do not believe enough.” That is looking to yourself.
“I am too unworthy.” That is looking to yourself.
“I cannot discover that I have any righteousness.” It is quite right to say that you have not any righteousness; but it is quite wrong to look for any.
If you look to yourself you are damned. Filled with loathsomeness, corrupt and corrupting others. But look here—see that man hanging on the cross?
Those hands were nailed for thee; those feet gushed for thee; that side was opened wide for thee; and if you want to know how you can find mercy, there it is.
The more conscious a person is of their sin, the more eagerly we should invite them to believe in Jesus. The cure for our wallowing is to turn our eyes upon Jesus.
Spurgeon quotes the 17th century English minister Tobias Crisp, who said, “Righteousness keeps me from Christ: the whole have no need of a physician, but they that are sick. Sin makes me come to Jesus, when sin is felt; and, in coming to Christ, the more sin I have the more cause I have to hope for mercy.”