In the professing church today, the vital point of Christian experience has, to a large degree, been cast aside. On the one hand, liberal churches will neglect true Christian doctrine, and say that “love” is all that matters. On the other, many who call themselves ‘Calvinists’ create a notional religion that is all doctrine, and neglect Christian experience. Thus, they say that faith is a mere ‘duty’; something required of all men everywhere (whether they are eternally a sheep or a goat).
Believing true doctrine is good, but assenting to the truth with the mind does not save the soul. Afterall, the devils believe, and tremble (James 2:19). Joseph Hart once penned the following verse:
“Vain is all our best devotion,
If on false foundations built;
True religion’s more than notion;
Something must be known and felt.”
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the true foundation of real religion. Indeed, He is the Foundation of true and saving faith. It is a sovereign act of God that saves the sinner. And a vital part of this is that he must be made to see and to feel that he is a sinner, and worthy of the wrath of Almighty God. Brought to this place, the sin that once he loved becomes a great burden to him, and seeing something of the holiness of God, the sinner is made to despise his wickedness. It is such who feelingly need salvation. It is such who will cry out “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13). This is because, the real child of God feels the doctrine of ‘Total Depravity’ in his own heart, not just in his head. He would believe, but in himself, finds that he cannot. He would obey His God, but by experience finds that he is unable. He has something of the loveliness of Christ revealed to himself, but finds his own heart to be so wretchedly cold, and unable to love the Lord as he would so wish to.
This is the work of the Spirit of God, and, having worked upon them thus (for it is His work, from first to last), He is gracious in answering the cries of the Lord’s own people, applying the precious blood and the perfect righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ; showing them that He is all that they stand in need of. And, knowing the grace of God, the sinner will have the love of God shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Ghost (Romans 5:5). “We love him, because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
And so, there is a living religion, and there is a dead one. There is a faith that “worketh by love”, and there is a false faith that rests on notions held in the head. Where do you find yourself? Are you okay because you believe in ‘Calvinism,’ or, finding yourself to be nothing but sin, must you have Christ lest you die?
The aim of this website is to provide material on these truths – much of which has not been published for centuries. May it be to the praise of the glory of God’s sovereign grace, and to the edification of His blood-bought people.