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Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Sinless Sacrifice

{346} HOPE. Do! I could not tell what to do, until I brake my mind to Faithful, for he and I were well acquainted. And he told me, that unless I could obtain the righteousness of a man that never had sinned, neither mine own, nor all the righteousness of the world could save me.

CHR. And did you think he spake true?

HOPE. Had he told me so when I was pleased and satisfied with mine own amendment, I had called him fool for his pains; but now, since I see mine own infirmity, and the sin that cleaves to my best performance, I have been forced to be of his opinion.

{347} CHR. But did you think, when at first he suggested it to you, that there was such a man to be found, of whom it might justly be said that he never committed sin?

HOPE. I must confess the words at first sounded strangely, but after a little more talk and company with him, I had full conviction about it.

CHR. And did you ask him what man this was, and how you must be justified by him?

HOPE. Yes, and he told me it was the Lord Jesus, that dwelleth on the right hand of the Most High. And thus, said he, you must be justified by him, even by trusting to what he hath done by himself, in the days of his flesh, and suffered when he did hang on the tree. I asked him further, how that man's righteousness could be of that efficacy to justify another before God? And he told me he was the mighty God, and did what he did, and died the death also, not for himself, but for me; to whom his doings, and the worthiness of them, should be imputed, if I believed on him. [Heb. 10, Rom. 6, Col. 1, 1 Pet. 1]

{348} CHR. And what did you do then?

HOPE. I made my objections against my believing, for that I thought he was not willing to save me.

CHR. And what said Faithful to you then?

HOPE. He bid me go to him and see. Then I said it was presumption; but he said, No, for I was invited to come. [Matt. 11:28] Then he gave me a book of Jesus, his inditing, to encourage me the more freely to come; and he said, concerning that book, that every jot and tittle thereof stood firmer than heaven and earth. [Matt. 24:35] Then I asked him, What I must do when I came; and he told me, I must entreat upon my knees, with all my heart and soul, the Father to reveal him to me. [Ps. 95:6, Dan. 6:10, Jer. 29:12,13] Then I asked him further, how I must make my supplication to him? And he said, Go, and thou shalt find him upon a mercy-seat, where he sits all the year long, to give pardon and forgiveness to them that come. I told him that I knew not what to say when I came. And he bid me say to this effect: God be merciful to me a sinner, and make me to know and believe in Jesus Christ; for I see, that if his righteousness had not been, or I have not faith in that righteousness, I am utterly cast away. Lord, I have heard that thou art a merciful God, and hast ordained that thy Son Jesus Christ should be the Saviour of the world; and moreover, that thou art willing to bestow him upon such a poor sinner as I am, (and I am a sinner indeed); Lord, take therefore this opportunity and magnify thy grace in the salvation of my soul, through thy Son Jesus Christ. Amen. [Exo. 25:22, Lev. 16:2, Num. 7:89, Heb. 4:16]

{349} CHR. And did you do as you were bidden?

HOPE. Yes; over, and over, and over.

CHR. And did the Father reveal his Son to you?

HOPE. Not at the first, nor second, nor third, nor fourth, nor fifth; no, nor at the sixth time neither.

CHR. What did you do then?

HOPE. What! why I could not tell what to do.

CHR. Had you not thoughts of leaving off praying?

HOPE. Yes; an hundred times twice told.

CHR. And what was the reason you did not?

HOPE. I believed that that was true which had been told me, to wit, that without the righteousness of this Christ, all the world could not save me; and therefore, thought I with myself, if I leave off I die, and I can but die at the throne of grace. And withal, this came into my mind, "Though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry." [Heb. 2:3] So I continued praying until the Father showed me his Son.

{350} CHR. And how was he revealed unto you?

HOPE. I did not see him with my bodily eyes, but with the eyes of my understanding; [Eph. 1:18,19] and thus it was: One day I was very sad, I think sadder than at any one time in my life, and this sadness was through a fresh sight of the greatness and vileness of my sins. And as I was then looking for nothing but hell, and the everlasting damnation of my soul, suddenly, as I thought, I saw the Lord Jesus Christ look down from heaven upon me, and saying, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." [Acts 16:30,31]

{351} But I replied, Lord, I am a great, a very great sinner. And he answered, "My grace is sufficient for thee." [2 Cor.12:9] Then I said, But, Lord, what is believing? And then I saw from that saying, "He that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst", that believing and coming was all one; and that he that came, that is, ran out in his heart and affections after salvation by Christ, he indeed believed in Christ. [John 6:35] Then the water stood in mine eyes, and I asked further. But, Lord, may such a great sinner as I am be indeed accepted of thee, and be saved by thee? And I heard him say, "And him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out." [John 6:37] Then I said, But how, Lord, must I consider of thee in my coming to thee, that my faith may be placed aright upon thee? Then he said, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." [1 Tim. 1:15] "He is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." [Rom. 10:4] "He died for our sins, and rose again for our justification." [Rom. 4:25] "He loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood." [Rev. 1:5] "He is mediator betwixt God and us." [1 Tim. 2:5] "He ever liveth to make intercession for us." [Heb. 7:24,25] From all which I gathered, that I must look for righteousness in his person, and for satisfaction for my sins by his blood; that what he did in obedience to his Father's law, and in submitting to the penalty thereof, was not for himself, but for him that will accept it for his salvation, and be thankful. And now was my heart full of joy, mine eyes full of tears, and mine affections running over with love to the name, people, and ways of Jesus Christ.

{352} CHR. This was a revelation of Christ to your soul indeed; but tell me particularly what effect this had upon your spirit.

HOPE. It made me see that all the world, notwithstanding all the righteousness thereof, is in a state of condemnation. It made me see that God the Father, though he be just, can justly justify the coming sinner. It made me greatly ashamed of the vileness of my former life, and confounded me with the sense of mine own ignorance; for there never came thought into my heart before now that showed me so the beauty of Jesus Christ. It made me love a holy life, and long to do something for the honour and glory of the name of the Lord Jesus; yea, I thought that had I now a thousand gallons of blood in my body, I could spill it all for the sake of the Lord Jesus.

CHR. He told me once that he was resolved to go on pilgrimage, as we do now; but all of a sudden he grew acquainted with one Save-self, and then he became a stranger to me.


This is an extract from Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan (1678, public domain. One version gives paragraph numbers.) Bunyan included the scriptural references in the book. Pilgrim's Progress, though little read now, was important enough to have been considered, for a century or two, the most important writing in English, except for the Bible.

HOPE. is Hopeful, Christian's companion, and CHR. is Christian, the main character of this book, on his way from the City of Destruction to the Heavenly City.

Thanks for reading.

2 comments:

Tap said...

I am really enjoying reading these excerpts. I just wanted to say thanks for posting them, so you don't get discouraged. :)

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, Tap. That's two of us, anyway!