Extinguishing the Fires of an Accusing Conscience

The following comment from last week’s quote of the week illustrates why I, like Paul, am eager to preach the Gospel (cf., Rom. 1:15) and why I started this site:

I stumbled today and was experiencing some real anguish at my own sinfulness. I just came upon this post somehow and I just felt so refreshed and encouraged. The Lord encouraged me through this. Thank you.

All of us know all too well the crippling pangs of an accusing conscience after we have blown it. Only the Gospel, not law, breaks the crippling power of false guilt and assures our troubled consciences before God.

Only the Gospel has the power to extinguish the flaming fires of a troubled, guilt-laden conscience.

Whenever you are troubled by a consciousness of your faults and failures, you must remind yourself of the Gospel. And from the Gospel be confirmed in the assurance of that sole and perpetual cleansing which you have in Christ.

John Calvin, discussing assurance and a troubled conscience writes:

“Now if we ask in what way the conscience can be made quiet before God, we shall find the only way to be that unmerited righteousness be conferred upon us as a gift of God…we profit nothing in discussing righteousness unless we establish a righteousness so steadfast that it can support our soul in the judgment of God…For no one can ever confidently trust in it [one’s obedience-J.F.] because no one will ever come to be really convinced in his own mind that he has satisfied the law, as surely no one ever fully satisfies it through works…”

Though we are corrupt and wretched in ourselves, through union with Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus is a present Savior from the guilt of our sin by His redemption (cf., Eph. 1:7). In Him alone we are complete.

This is the soul of all our happiness.

Walter Marshall, recognizing this truth wrote,

“You are more sinful than you can imagine! The doctrine of Original Sin is true! You cannot reform your flesh! You cannot become a better person by your own strength no matter how hard you try! But cheer up! If you are a Christian, you have come into union with Christ. Through faith in Jesus Christ you are forgiven. Through faith in Jesus Christ you are sanctified and made holy. Through Christ, you are a new creation! The Holy Spirit lives in you! Therefore, pursue the life of faith in Christ with all diligence.”

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
righteous and having salvation is he… Zech. 9:9

Striving lawfully with you,


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