Reading: “Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”—Galatians 3:3
Consider the church of Galatia, which set out on true gospel principles, yet very soon turning to seek justification by works. On what are you building your hopes of salvation? Is it simply on Christ, or are you mingling something of your own works with the blood and righteousness of Jesus by way of justification? See to it that there is no reserve, no limitations, nothing to qualify the plain and direct answer to the apostle’s words. See to it that having begun in the Spirit, you may truly say that you do not seek to be made perfect by your own works.
If this is your case, you have learned to make a very proper distinction between the great object of faith, which is Christ alone, and the fruits and effects of that faith, which are the gracious influences that Jesus, by His Holy Spirit, has worked in your heart. It is very blessed and desirable, to let the world, both of saints and of sinners, see our light so shine before them, that it may be not the subject of doubt, whose we are, and whom we serve.
But, if any attainments, which grace has blessed me with, are made a part saviour in my views of justification—and I am not looking wholly to Jesus for this great work—it is certain that I am now turning aside to the flesh. Moreover, if what I feel, and what I enjoy in the fruits and effects of faith, are made part of my hopes and confidence; alas, when those feelings, and enjoyments abate, my hopes and confidence will abate also.
And is it not, from this very cause, that so many precious souls go in leanness all their days, sometimes feeling hope, but for the most part, exercised with doubts and fears, according to what they feel, and not what Jesus is in their view, and because in themselves, they are looking for somewhat that may give a greater confidence in Christ?—Author and the Finisher of salvation?