“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
To believing, there must be a clear conviction of sin, and the merits of the blood of Christ, and of Christ’s willingness to save upon this consideration, merely, that you are a sinner.
When we come to God, we must bring nothing but Christ with us. Any ingredients, or any previous qualifications of our own, will poison and corrupt faith.
Believing is the most wonderful thing in the world. Put any thing of your own to it, and you spoil it. Christ will not so much as look at it for believing. When you believe and come to Christ, you must leave behind your own righteousness, and bring nothing but your sin: (Oh, that is hard!) leave behind all your holiness, sanctification, duties, or else Christ is not fit for you , nor you for Christ. Christ will be a pure Redeemer and Mediator, and you must be an undone sinner, or Christ and you will never agree.
Hence see the nature of faith; it is a coming in as we are; poor, maimed, halt, blind, and naked as we are, without tarrying and waiting, for better qualifications, which we shall never have till we come in to Christ for them.
Whatever comes in when you go to God for acceptance, besides Christ, call it anti-Christ; bid it begone; make only Christ’s righteousness triumphant. All besides that is Babylon, which must fall if Christ stand, and you shall rejoice in the day of the fall thereof, Isaiah 14:4. Christ alone did tread the winepress, and there was none with Him, Isaiah 63:3. If you join anything to Christ, Christ will trample upon it in fury and anger, and stain His raiment with the blood of it.
You must take all out of God’s hand. Christ is the gift of God, John 4:10. Faith is the gift of God, Ephesians 2:8. Pardon, a free gift, Isaiah 45:22. Ah, how nature storms, frets, rages at this, that all is a gift and it can purchase nothing with its actings, tears and duties, that all workings are excluded, and of no value in heaven.
You say you cannot believe, you cannot repent. Go to Christ with all your impenitence and unbelief, to get faith and repentance from Him; that is glorious. Tell Christ, “Lord, I have brought no righteousness, no grace to be accepted in, or justified by: I am come for Thine, and must have it.”
You may be brought low, even to the brink of hell, ready to tumble in; you cannot be brought lower than the belly of hell. Even there you may look toward the holy temple, Jonah 2:4. Into that temple none might enter but purified ones, and with an offering too, Acts 21:26. But now Christ is our temple, sacrifice, altar, high priest, to whom none must come but sinners, and that without any offering, but His own blood once offered, Hebrews 7:27.
Despairing sinner! You look on your right hand and on your left, saying, “Who will shew us any good?” You are tumbling over all your duties and professions to patch up a righteousness to save you. Look at Christ now; look to Him and be saved all the ends of the earth. There is none else. He is a Saviour, and there is none beside Him, Isaiah 45:21, 22. Look anywhere else and you are undone. God will look at nothing but Christ, and you must look at nothing else. Christ is lifted up on high, as the brazen serpent in the wilderness, that sinners at the ends of the earth, at the greatest distance, may see Him and look towards Him. The least sight of Him will be saving, the least touch healing to you.
God intends that you should look on Him, for He has set Him on a high throne of glory, in the open view of all poor sinners who desire Him. You have infinite reason to look on Him, no reason at all to look away from Him: for He is meek and lowly of heart, Matthew 11:29.
He is “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world,” John 1:29. And He has drunk the bitterest of the cup and left the sweet; the condemnation is out. Christ drunk up all the Father’s wrath at one draught; and nothing but salvation is left for you, Luke 23:33,34.
See that the wound that sin has made in your soul be perfectly cured by the blood of Christ! not skinned over with duties, humblings and enlargements. Apply what you will besides the blood of Christ, it will poison the sore. You will find that sin was never mortified truly, if you have not seen Christ bleeding for you upon the cross. Nothing can kill it, but beholding Christ’s righteousness.