"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." - Jerome

Friday, April 20, 2012

Richard Sibbes on the Gospel

Richard Sibbes. from "The Ungodly’s Misery."

Works of Sibbes Vol 1 pg. 387-388

[Listen to it read by Mark Dever here.]

Question. But, what is it to obey the gospel?

Answer. To obey the gospel is to entertain the offers of it; for indeed though the gospel command us to believe in the Son of God, yet withal it offers the very command unto us ; to believe in Christ, being in effect a command to receive him, which supposeth an act of giving and tendering something to us. Now when we do not receive and entertain with our whole heart Christ and his benefits, freely offered, we disobey the gospel, and so procure danger to ourselves.

But more particularly, he obeys the gospel that is sensible of his own miserable and sinful condition, and from a sense thereof hungereth after the grace and favour offered in Jesus Christ to pardon sin, which when he hath once obtained, [he] walks answerable to that great mercy received. He that receives whole Christ to justify him, and sanctify him too ; that receives Christ as a king to rule him as well as a priest to save him, such a one receives the gospel. But those that are not sensible of their misery, or if they be, will not go to Christ, but, as desperate persons, fling away the potion that should cure them, these are far from obeying the gospel of God. Such likewise as pretend, Oh, Christ is welcome with the pardon of sin, but yet live in gross wickedness, against knowledge and conscience, and suffer him not to bear sway in their hearts, as if Christ came by blood alone, and not by water ; whereas indeed he came as well by water to sanctify us, as by blood to die for us.

Many there are that think they obey the gospel, who are indeed very rebels and enemies unto it. They welcome the gospel, and they hate popery, &c., but notwithstanding they will be their own rulers, and live as they list ; they will not deny themselves in their beloved sins ; they are fall of revenge, notwithstanding the gospel saith, This is my commandment, that you love one another,' John xv. 12. That ' bids them deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and live soberly,' Titus ii. 12 ; yet they will riot, and follow their base courses still. The gospel teacheth a man to acknowledge God in all his ways, to deal with God in all things he goes about. Now, when a
man lives without God in the world, saying, God is merciful, and Christ is a Saviour, and yet persists in those ways which seem good in his own eyes, never looking to God to guide him, or his law to rule him, how can such a one be said to obey the gospel?

[Works have no place in the act of Justification.]

That works have no place in the act of justification. But some others there are amongst us, that regard not Christ and his satisfaction alone, but join faith and works together in justification ; they will have other priests, and other intercessors than Christ. Alas ! beloved, how are these men fallen from Christ to another gospel, as if Christ were not an all-sufficient Saviour, and able to deliver to the uttermost ! What is the gospel but salvation and redemption by Christ alone ? Gal. ii. 16.

Therefore Rome's church is an apostate church, and may well be styled an adulteress and a whore, because she is fallen from her husband Christ Jesus.

And what may we think of those that would bring light and darkness, Christ and antichrist, the ark and Dagon together ; that would reconcile us, as if it were no such great matter! Beloved, they that join works with
Christ in matter of justification, err in the foundation. The very life and soul of religion consists in this. What was the reason the Jews stumbled at this stumbling block, and were neyer benefited by Christ ? Why ? They set up a righteousness of their own, which could not stand, but soon failed them. So when a man sets up a righteousness of his own, neglecting the righteousness of Christ, it is impossible he should ever be saved, living and dying in that error, Philip, iii. 10.