Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Good enough for God?

Have you ever felt that God could not possibly accept you because you were not good enough? Or that you had sinned or fallen away so badly that you were afraid to return to him? Or, after self-examination of your interior life, that you were such a sinner that you could not go directly to Christ? That is the situation Howell Harris (1714-1773) once found himself in even after several years of preaching Christ to growing numbers. Here is how he resolved it:

"Although I had been delivered from trust in works a long time before, by reading The Sincere Convert (by Thomas Shepherd), I was wounded by close re-examination of myself, especially as he went on to show that we must trust in our faith. Good works, though they are good in their place, yet to rely on them is idolatry. True salvation is in Christ's Blood only.

Though I had the seed sown in my soul four years before, and had daily feelings of God's love in my heart, yet the awakenings that I felt this time made so deep an impression on my heart that I could hardly bear them. Yea, I can say that my spirit was greatly distressed with deep anguish of soul for some days together, until I was refreshed by the text in Revelation chapter 22:17, "Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." It sustained me, and I felt I was willing to let God do what He pleased with me.

But still I was troubled with some reasoning about going directly to Christ in every condition. Then a woman came to me, to relate how all the night she had been in distress and perplexity, reasoning with the enemy, whether she was a child of God or not, and that she could have no rest or satisfaction till it came to her mind to go to Christ just as she was. She had thereupon found peace and victory.
Upon hearing this, and some preaching afterwards - that people should come to Christ as they are, without reasoning in themselves - I was made to cease from reasoning, and to go with all my troubles and fears and lay them before the Friend of sinners, who loved me freely, and not for any good in me. Now, that legal principle of fitting myself for Christ, and of being afraid to go to Him when I was not in a good frame, was rooted out of my heart. Then I learned to look and go directly to Christ at all times, and in all circumstances".
Howell Harris: In his own words pages 33-35

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