Collect of the Day
O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Monday, May 11, 2015
Christ Receiveth Sinners
by Walter Marshall
“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” —Isaiah 1:18 KJV
We are not to imagine that our hearts and lives must be changed from sin to holiness in any measure, before we may safely venture to trust on Christ for the sure enjoyment of Himself and His salvation.
WE are naturally so prone to ground our salvation on our own works that, if we cannot make them procuring conditions and causes of our salvation by Christ, yet we shall endeavour at least to make them necessary preparatives to fit us for receiving Christ and His salvation by faith. And men are easily persuaded that this is not at all contrary to salvation by free grace, because all that is in this way ascribed to our works, or good qualifications, is only, “That they put us in a fit posture to receive a free gift. If we were to go to a prince for a free gift, good manners and due reverence would teach us to trim ourselves first, and to change our slovenly clothes, as Joseph did when he came out of the dungeon into the presence of Pharaoh. It seems to be an impudent slighting and contemning the justice and holiness of God and Christ, and an insufferable affront and indignity offered to the divine Majesty, when any dare presume to approach His presence in the nasty pickle of his sins, covered all over with putrefying sores, not at all closed, bound up or cleaned; much more when they endeavour to receive the Most Holy One into such an abominable stinking kennel as a sinner’s heart is, before it be all reformed. The parable concerning the man that was to be bound hand and foot, and cast into utter darkness,for coming to the royal wedding without a wedding garment, seems to be intended as a warning against all such presumption” (Matt 22:11,13). Many that behold with terror the abominable filth of their own hearts are kept off from coming immediately to Christ by such imaginations, which Satan strongly maintains and increases in them by his suggestions, so that they can by no means be persuaded out of them, until God teaches them inwardly, by the powerful illumination of His Spirit. They delay the saving act of faith, because they think they are not yet duly prepared and qualified for it. On the same account, many weak believers delay coming to the Lord’s Supper for many years, even as long as they live in this world, and would be as likely to delay their baptism, if they had not been baptized in infancy. Against all such imaginations, I shall propose the following considerations."
[Note: This opening paragraph is taken from a tract written by Walter Marshall, a 17th century English Puritan who was forced out of the Anglican church in 1662 after the Act of Uniformity. The full tract is downloadable in PDF format from Mount Zion Chapel Library, Pensacola, Florida. Click here to see the PDF article in full: Christ Receiveth Sinners. Also, click here for more free downloadable literature from Mount Zion Chapel Library.]