The doctrine which is most urgently, and most frequently insisted on in the following volume, is that of the depravity of human nature, and it were certainly cruel to expose the unworthiness of man for the single object of disturbing him. But the cruelty is turned into kindness, when, along with the knowledge of the disease, there is offered an adequate and all-powerful remedy.
It is impossible to have a true perception of our own character, in the sight of God, without feeling our need of acquittal; and in opposition to every obstacle, which the justice of God seems to hold out to it, this want is provided for in the Gospel. And it is equally impossible, to have a true perception of the character of God, as being utterly repugnant to sin, without feeling the need of amendment; and in opposition to every obstacle, which the impotency of man holds out to it, this want is also provided for in the Gospel.
There (i.e., in the Gospel-J.F.) we behold the amplest securities for the peace of the guilty (i.e., justification-J.F.). But there (i.e., in the Gospel-J.F.) do we also behold securities equally ample for their progress, and their perfection in holiness (i.e., sanctification-J.F.). Insomuch, that in every genuine disciple of the New Testament, we not only see one who, delivered from the burden of his fears, rejoices in hope of a coming glory- but we see one who, set free from the bondage of corruption, and animated by a new love and a new desire, is honest in the purposes, and strenuous in the efforts, and abundant in the works of obedience.
He may experience the motions of the flesh-but he walks not after the flesh.
He feels the instigations of sin, and in this respect he differs from an angel. But he follows not the instigations of sin, and in this respect he differs from a natural or unconverted man. He may experience the motions of the flesh-but he walks not after the flesh. So that in him we may view the picture of a man, struggling with effect against his earth-born propensities, and yet hateful to himself for the very existence of them- holier than any of the people around him, and yet humbler than them all- realizing from time to time, a positive increase to the grace and excellency of his character, and yet becoming more tenderly conscious every day of its remaining deformities- gradually expanding in attainment, as well as in desire, towards the light and the liberty of heaven, and yet groaning under a yoke from which death alone will fully emancipate him.
“…he who truly accepts of Christ, as the alone foundation of his meritorious acceptance before God, is stimulated, by the circumstances of his new condition, to breathe holy purposes, and to abound in holy performances…”
When time and space have restrained an author of sermons from entering on what may be called the ethics of Christianity- it is the more incumbent of him to avouch of the doctrine of the gospel, that while it provides directly for the peace of a sinner, it provides no less directly and efficiently for the purity of his practice-that faith in this doctrine never terminates in itself, but is a mean to holiness as an end- and that he who truly accepts of Christ, as the alone foundation of his meritorious acceptance before God, is stimulated, by the circumstances of his new condition, to breathe holy purposes, and to abound in holy performances. He is created anew unto good works. He is made the workmanship of God in Christ Jesus.
From the Preface of Sermons Preached in the Tron Church, pp. v-viii, Thomas Chalmers, 1819
(Note: Chalmers’s quote is a powerful illustration and explanation of what it means to be gospel-driven, e.g., “…he who truly accepts of Christ, as the alone foundation of his meritorious acceptance before God, is stimulated (i.e., Driven!), by the circumstances of his new condition, to breathe holy purposes, and to abound in holy performances…”
One of the purposes of posting quotes such as these each week is to answer a question that is commonly asked, “Isn’t your whole gospel-driven concept just another Evangelical fad?” The answer is a resounding no! Chalmers’s preached this sermon in the Tron Church in Glasgow in 1819. Though he didn’t use the term gospel-driven he certainly, in this series of published sermons, set forth the concept in a lucid and powerful manner as evidenced by the above quote.)