Bulletin Edition September 2019


I Timothy 1:9

Henry Mahan

No man is righteous in himself. The righteous man here intended is the man who believes in Christ with the heart unto righteousness and who lays hold on Christ’s righteousness by faith, in consequence of which he lives soberly, righteously, and godly, though not without sin! The law of God does not lie as a weight and burden on him. (1) He delights in the law of God, and God’s commandments are not grievous to him; (2) nor do its curse and penalty lie on him as a punishment to be borne; (3) nor is it to him a terrifying law, bringing him into bondage and fear; (4) nor is it a despised law, forcing him into a way of life he detests. But the law is enacted for the ungodly, the evil, and the profane; for it is against such persons and their deeds as an accusing, condemning, and terrifying law. Locks on doors are not made for honest men, but for crooks. “Do not steal, kill, lie, etc.” are not rules needed by righteous men, but laws enacted to control and convict ungodly men.

“ANYTHING THAT IS CONTRARY TO THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST” the law lies against it, takes notice of it, and condemns it. We observe the harmony between God’s law and His gospel, rightly understood and used. What is contrary to the one is contrary to the other. The gospel no more excuses sin than the law does. What is repugnant to the moral law of God is also contrary to the gospel of Christ, who said, “I came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it.”

Poor, miserable, paltry works of a polluted worm!

(Philpot, “The Loss of All Things for Christ’s Sake”)

“We are all infected and impure with sin. When we

proudly display our righteous deeds, we find they

are but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither

and fall. And our sins, like the wind, sweep us away.”

Isaiah 64:6

We once thought that we could gain heaven by

our own righteousness. We strictly attended to

our religious duties, and sought by these and

various other means to recommend ourselves

to the favour of God, and induce Him to reward

us with heaven for our sincere attempts to obey

His commandments.

And by these religious performances we thought we

would surely be able to make a ladder whereby we

could climb up to heaven. This was our tower of

Babel, whose top was to reach unto heaven, and

by mounting which, we thought to scale the stars.

But the same Lord who stopped the further building

of the tower of Babel, by confounding their speech

and scattering them abroad on the face of the earth;

began to confound our speech, so that we could not

pray, or talk, or boast as before; and to scatter all

our religion like the chaff of the threshing floor. Our

mouths were stopped; we became guilty before God;

and our bricks and mortar became a pile of confusion!

When, then, the Lord was pleased to discover to our

souls by faith, His being, majesty, greatness, holiness,

and purity; and thus gave us a corresponding sense of

our filthiness and folly; then all our creature religion

and natural piety which we once counted as gain, we

began to see was but loss; that our very religious duties

and observances, so far from being for us, were actually

against us; and instead of pleading for us before God as

so many deeds of righteousness, were so polluted and

defiled by sin perpetually mixed with them, that our

very prayers were enough to sink us into hell, had

we no other iniquities to answer for in heart, lip or life.

But when we had a view by faith of the Person, work,

love, and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, then we began

more plainly and clearly to see, with what religious toys

we had been so long amusing ourselves, and what is

far worse, mocking God by them.

We had been secretly despising . . .

Jesus and His sufferings,

Jesus and His death,

Jesus and His righteousness,

and setting up the poor, miserable, paltry

works of a polluted worm in the place of

the finished work of the Son of God.


From Spurgeon’s sermon, “HIS NAME — WONDERFUL!”

Once upon a time, there came one to my house of a black and

terrible aspect. He smote the door; I tried to bolt it- to hold

it fast. He smote again and again, till at last he entered,

and with a rough voice he summoned me before him; and he said,

“I have a message from God for you–

you are condemned on account of your sins.”

I looked at him with astonishment; I asked him his name.

He said, “My name is the Law.” and I fell at his feet as

one that was dead. “I was alive without the law once:

but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.”

As I lay there, he smote me.

He smote me till every rib seemed as if it must break,

and the bowels be poured forth.

My heart was melted like wax within me;

I seemed to be stretched upon a rack-

to be pinched with hot irons-

to be beaten with whips of burning wire.

A misery extreme dwelt and reigned in my heart.

I dared not lift up mine eyes, but I thought within myself,

“There may be hope, there may be mercy for me.

Perhaps the God whom I have offended may accept my

tears and my promises of amendment, and I may live.”

But when that thought crossed my mind, heavier were the

blows and more poignant my sufferings than before, till hope

entirely failed me, and I had nothing wherein to trust.

Darkness black and dense gathered round me.

I heard a voice as it were, of rushing to and fro, and of wailing

and gnashing of teeth. I said within my soul, “I am cast out from

his sight, I am utterly abhorred of God- he has trampled me in

the mire of the streets in his anger.”

And there came one by, of sorrowful but of loving aspect,

and he stooped over me, and he said, “Awake you that sleep,

and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.”

I arose in astonishment, and he took me, and he led

me to a place where stood a cross, and he seemed to

vanish from my sight.

But he appeared again hanging there.

I looked upon him as he bled upon that tree.

His eyes darted a glance of love unutterable into my spirit,

and in a moment, looking at him, the bruises that my soul had

suffered were healed; the gaping wounds were cured;

the broken bones rejoiced; the rags that had covered me

were all removed; my spirit was white as the spotless snows

of the far-off north; I had melody within my spirit, for I was

saved, washed, cleansed, forgiven, through him that did hang

upon the tree!

Oh, how I wondered that I should be pardoned!

It was not the pardon that I wondered at so much;

the wonder was that it should come to ME.

I wondered that he should be able to pardon such sins as mine;

such crimes, so numerous and so black, and that after such an

accusing conscience he should have power to still every wave

within my spirit, and make my soul like the surface of a river,

undisturbed, quiet, and at ease.


By J. C. Philpot

As from the cross flows all salvation, so from the cross flows all sanctification. What have not men done, to make themselves holy; and by this means render themselves, as they have thought, acceptable to God! What tortures of body, what fastings, scourgings, self-imposed penances to sanctify their sinful nature, and conform their rebellious flesh to the holiness demanded by the law! And with what success? They have landed either in self-righteousness or despair—though at opposite points of the compass.

The flesh cannot be sanctified. It is essentially and incurably corrupt; and therefore, if we are to possess that inward holiness, “without which no man shall see the Lord,” it must be by Christ being “of God, made unto us sanctification,” as well as righteousness—sanctifying us not only “with his own blood,” (Heb. 13:13,) but by his Spirit and grace. If we believe in Him, we shall love him (“unto you which believe, he is precious;”) if we love him, we shall seek to please, and fear to displease him; if we believe in Him, by the gift and work of God, this divine and living faith will purify our heart, overcome the world, produce that spiritual mindedness which is life and peace, give union and communion with the Lord of life and glory; and every believing view of him, every act of faith upon him, and every visit from him, will conform us to his likeness, as the Apostle speaks: “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Cor. 3:18.)

If, then, we are to feel an inward power sanctifying our hearts, drawing up our minds to heavenly things, subduing our sins, meekening and softening our spirit, separating us from the world, filling us with holy thoughts, gracious desires, and pure affections, and thus making us “meet for the inheritance of the saints in light,” this inward sanctification must flow wholly and solely from the Blessed Spirit, as the gift of a risen Jesus: as he himself said, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” “He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you” (John 16:7, 14).

It is not, then, the hair-shirt, the monk’s cell, the midnight vigil, the protracted fast; no, nor the soothing strains of the swelling organ, the melodious chant of surpliced choristers, the “dim religious light” of the stained Gothic window; no, nor the terrors of the Law, the accusations of conscience, the tears, cries and resolutions of a heart that still loves sin, though professing to repent of it; no, nor gloomy looks, neglected apparel, softly uttered words, slow walk, holiness of face, manner, and gesture, hollow voice, demure countenance, a choice assortment of Scripture words and phrases on every occasion, or no occasion; no, nor all the array of piety and sanctity which Satan, transformed into an angel of light, has devised to deceive thousands, that can purge the conscience from the guilt, filth, love, power and practice of sin, or raise up that new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Like the blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean, they may, and even that very imperfectly, sanctify to the purifying of the flesh; but it is the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot to God, which can alone purge the conscience from filth, guilt, and dead works, to serve the living God; and it is the work of the blessed Spirit alone which, by revealing Christ, and forming him in the heart, “the hope of glory,” can create and bring forth that new man of grace which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him who created him.

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