Men are very much inclined to flatter themselves that God is such a one as themselves, and that they may live in sin and yet die in Christ, may lead the life of the devil’s children and yet go to heaven with the children of God.
Matthew Henry. Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume VI (Acts to Revelation) – Enhanced Version (Kindle Locations 24768-24770). Christian Classics Ethereal Library. Kindle Edition.
No rebels were ever stouter against their prince than an unrenewed soul against the Spirit of God: not a moment without arms in his hand; he acts in defense of sin, and resistance of grace, and combats with the Spirit as his deadly enemy: ‘You always resist the Holy Ghost; as your fathers did, so do you,’ Acts 7:51.
When I would heal Israel, then the iniquity of Ephraim is uncovered, also the wickedness of Samaria; for they commit falsehood, and the thief enters in, and the gang of robbers ravages outside. They don’t consider in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness. Now their own deeds have engulfed them. They are before my face. They make the king glad with their wickedness, and the princes with their lies. They are all adulterers. They are burning like an oven that the baker stops stirring, from the kneading of the dough, until it is leavened. Hosea 7:1-4
Men profess they know the truth; but they know it not in its proper order, in its harmony and use. It leads them not to Christ, it brings not Christ unto them; and so is lifeless and useless. Hence, ofttimes, none are more estranged from the life of God than such as have much notional knowledge of the doctrines of the Scripture. For they are all of them useless, and subject to be abused, if they are not improved to form Christ in the soul, and transform the whole person into his likeness and image.
When all the hidden things of darkness shall be brought to light, and the counsels of the heart shall be made manifest; when those secret impurities and subtle frauds whereof the world did never suspect us, shall be exposed and laid open to public view, and many thousand actions which we never dreamed to be sinful, or else had altogether forgotten, shall be charged home upon our consciences, with such evident convictions of guilt, that we shall neither be able to deny nor excuse them. Then shall all the angels in heaven, and all the saints that ever lived upon the earth, approve that dreadful sentence which shall be passed on wicked men; and those who perhaps did love and esteem them when they lived in the world, shall look upon them with indignation and abhorrence, and never make one request for their deliverance.
Outward reformation only (though of excellent use) is but a new appearance, not a new creature, a change of life, not of the heart; whereas this work we discourse of is a new birth in the understanding and will; it begins at the spirit and descends from thence to the body; it is a sanctification in spirit, soul, and then body.
It is better to mortify one sin than to understand all mysteries…knowledge without repentance will be but a torch to light men to hell.
Men profess they know the truth; but they know it not in its proper order, in its harmony and use. It leads them not to Christ, it brings not Christ unto them; and so is lifeless and useless. Hence, ofttimes, none are more estranged from the life of God than such as have much notional knowledge of the doctrines of the Scripture.
Now it is the case of most sinners to think themselves freest from those sins to which they are most enslaved.
God forbid, that having undertaken the sacred office of revealing the excellencies of Christ to the world, we should make light of him ourselves, and slight that salvation which we daily preach.