It Must Suck to Be Jesus: A Letter of Advice to JC

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If He afflicts us in our circumstances—it is for our spiritual good. When the eye is opened to see—the ear to hear—the heart to believe—and the conscience made tender to feel—we know and confess that these things are sent from God. Here is the difference between a believer and an unbeliever. There are many afflicted—but only few chastened.

J.C. Philpot's Blog

Here is all the difference between a believer and an unbeliever— between a child of God and an infidel. But is that all? They want something particular—something that shall come directly to the point—something that shall anatomize the inward man, dissect him, lay him bare, and point out what a child of God is, and what a child of God is not; so that each may have a testimony in his own conscience whether he is under the teachings of the Holy Spirit or not.

Self has never been denied, or crucified; and he is therefore full of self, because it has never received a death blow in him.

There are many people who would scorn the idea of being Pharisees, in whom the heart-core of Pharisaism never has been touched. And I believe in my heart and conscience that every man is a double-dyed and treble-distilled Pharisee, unless God has begun and is carrying on the work of grace in his heart; and perhaps the greatest Pharisees that walk abroad in the light of day are some in a Calvinistic profession of religion, who have a name to live, but in the eyes of God are dead in sin.

Unless a man is taught and brought to know experimentally these two things—the law and the gospel—he must be more or less a Pharisee. If he knows nothing of a sentence of inward condemnation and death under which he falls down before the throne of the Most High God as a ruined wretch without hope or strength, the heart-core of Pharisaism is not yet touched in him.

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And if he does not know more or less of the gospel, so as to see by the eye of faith a blessed and a blessing Jesus, Pharisaism will still lurk and work within him. The deception of the human heart is past the power of man, and I might say of angels, to dissect. The depths of human hypocrisy are beyond the reach of the most keen-eyed man to scrutinize, and beyond the power of the ablest man to lay bare. The truth has not entered nor grown into a wounded heart, as the grafted scion enters and grows into the wounded stock.

My friends, of all spiritual sins that is, sins that a spirit may commit I believe the child of God dreads most the sin of presumption.

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Now a man who has no fear of God in his heart, no spiritual apprehension in his soul of the greatness, majesty, justice, and the holiness of Jehovah, if he should take up religion, must necessarily be presumptuous. Under the Levitical law, if anyone entered into the Holy Place, and still more into the most Holy Place, unless he were privileged, in the one case as a priest, and in the other as high priest once a year, he would be guilty of presumption, because he was not the person whom God had appointed to enter there.

And what sort of pride? A man who has had no soul humbling sight of God, no debasing view of himself, no feeling acquaintance with the depths of the fall, no insight into his own lost, ruined condition, and who therefore knows nothing experimentally of vital godliness, must needs be a proud man; for he has had nothing to break the neck of pride within him. O what a dangerous, O what a subtle devil have we to contend with!


He can use the very name of Christ, and the very doctrines of Christ, all the time that he is luring by them his deceived victims to their ruin. But when we speak of and insist upon a conscience touched with godly fear, and a heart melted and softened by the Spirit—when the hand is firmly put upon some rotten spot within, he writhes like a serpent which you suddenly step on in your path.

When a man loathes himself, it is not merely that he hates himself; but that he looks upon himself as a vile, detestable wretch. Some loathe toads; some loathe spiders; some lizards gecko and some loathe filth. Loathing, then, not merely implies hating a thing, but hating it as a thing we cannot bear to look upon.

Now, which are you? Do you dislike experimental preaching? Do you hate to have your heart probed and searched, and all your religion torn to pieces?

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But does not that make you want food? So the hungry soul too has its desires. And the mercy is, that spiritual desires shall never be unrelieved—for the Lord has promised to feed the hungry with good things—while He sends the rich empty away. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow. Our materials for this sketch for, of a character so various, so intricate. So ever-changing, so branching out into a thousand shapes and a million hues. Our description can only be a very feeble sketch must be drawn from three sources: 1 From Scripture.

To some who know neither their own deceitfulness and hypocrisy, nor the awful delusions of the devil as an angel of light, I may appear harsh, bitter, severe, bigoted, narrow-minded, and to deserve every other term of reproach which self-seekers and flesh-pleasers heap upon those who fearlessly hunt out their refuge of lies. I called your attention in the beginning of this discourse to the different form of the address to the heir of heaven and the heirs of hell.

Thus the heir of heaven is represented as a solitary traveller, a lonely pilgrim, journeying on amidst darkness and sorrow; but the heirs of hell as a merry troop, with their blood boiling high with confidence, and their spirits undismayed with fear. And thus the blessed Spirit seems in the text to call our attention to a strange sight, to something we should not expect to see, and which we might not observe, unless our notice was especially directed to it. And what is this strange sight, this spectacle, to which the Holy Ghost calls our particular attention? I may very simply arrange all that is said of the heirs of hell in the text under two heads: 1 Their conduct.

The catalogue of their offences is a very short, but it is a very black one. The sum total of their crimes is stated in a few words, but it is heavy enough to sink them down into hell. Thirdly, against God the Holy Ghost, in walking in a light which He has not kindled, and resting in a confidence which He has not inspired.

But here ties the core of their offence, this is the turning point of their case, that they take up a counterfeit religion and call it the true one; that they kindle a false fire. It would be a crime if the forgers of money were to coin gold and silver into sovereigns and shillings.

According to the ancient laws of this land, therefore, the crime of forgery is high treason, and the punishment death. Apply this to the crime of false professors.

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If it were possible for these forgers to procure for themselves the right religion, which they can never do, for God keeps that in His own hands, they would still be guilty of the most awful presumption in calling their religion the religion of God. To preach so is to beat the air, and imitate the high-church ministers of the Establishment, who are wonderfully severe against the Pharisees and Sadducees of old, and the Papists and the Unitarians of present times, and know not that they themselves equal the Pharisee for self-righteousness, the Sadducee for unbelief, the Roman Catholic for superstitious ceremonies, and the Socinian for hatred and contempt of the doctrines of grace and the mysteries of vital godliness.

Let us rather pass on to such delusions as occur daily before our eyes. And I know not with whom we had better begin than the corrupt ministers of a carnal establishment. These take high ground, and put themselves forward as the only successors of the apostles, as the only ministers of Christ, the only stewards of the mysteries of the kingdom of God. I once heard a minister of this stamp declare, in a sermon preached at Oxford before the Bishop and his assembled clergy, that there was no hope of salvation whatever for any man who wilfully separated or dissented from the Church of England.

And this is, I believe, the received opinion amongst such clerical bigots. But what is all their religion made up of from the first to last? This is the fire which they have kindled, and these are the sparks with which they compass themselves. Their boast, for instance, that they receive their ministry in a direct line from the apostles, what is it but a spark of fire which they have kindled to warm themselves into a persuasion that they are the true ministers of Christ? The road to The distinguishing mark of all false religion is, that It commences with man and not with God.

But where shall we find the power of the creature more daringly asserted than amongst the Ranters and Wesleyan Methodists! Their creed is, that man can turn to God of himself, can make himself a new heart, can come to Christ, can believe, hope, and love of his own free-will, and by the exercise of that natural strength which they assert that all men possess.

Thus, free-will kindles a fire and presumption blows up the coals.

So that all their religion, so far as it is the work of the creature, is nothing but a counterfeit of the work of the Holy Ghost in the hearts of the elect. I once visited one of their converts, who was proclaimed all over the country as triumphing over death. He certainly had no fears of dying; but when I began to sound the foundation of his hope, I found him ignorant of himself, ignorant of the curse of the law, ignorant that he deserved to be sent to hell; and therefore, though he talked about Jesus Christ, he was yet ignorant of the blood of sprinkling and the revelation of a justifying righteousness.

Like all self-deceivers, he could not bear the probe. Thus they begin in delusion, are trained up in it, and mostly die in it. The weekly confessional of the class-meeting kindles the fire of hypocrisy, each member not wishing to be behind another in experience. The love-feast, the watch night, by the excitement of lights, late hours and singing, the bawling of the preacher, and the groans and A mens of the hearers, kindle a fire which passes off for the love of God. The impassioned rant of a preacher, calling upon the wicked to turn to God, lights up a spark of natural feeling which they gladly seize as the meltings of the blessed Spirit.

Zeal for John Wesley, or the cause of the Primitive Methodists, raises a fire within which blazed forth in the support of new chapels, local preachers, Arminian writings, and a thorough hatred of unconditional election, particular redemption, and imputed righteousness. I remarked that false religion took a thousand different shapes and colors, and therefore we need not wonder if it sometimes clothes itself in a form the direct opposite to Arminianism.

It matters little to Satan how the fire is lighted up, so long as the hand of God does not kindle it. Thus, a sound creed kindles the flame of pride over those whose judgments are not so well informed-, notions in the head light up the sparks of presumption; election floating in the brain sets on fire a false confidence; distinguishing mercy, received as a doctrine in the head and not felt as a truth in the soul, blows up the coals of arrogance; and sovereign grace itself, learned in a mechanical way like the lesson of a parrot, instead of melting the heart with flames of divine love, only hardens it like a piece of clay into stone.

Now all these dead Calvinists, these bastards and not sons, these children of the bond-woman and not the children of the free, however they may differ in their creed from the Arminians, resemble them in this-that they kindle a fire.

It Must Suck to Be Jesus: A Letter of Advice to JC It Must Suck to Be Jesus: A Letter of Advice to JC
It Must Suck to Be Jesus: A Letter of Advice to JC It Must Suck to Be Jesus: A Letter of Advice to JC
It Must Suck to Be Jesus: A Letter of Advice to JC It Must Suck to Be Jesus: A Letter of Advice to JC
It Must Suck to Be Jesus: A Letter of Advice to JC It Must Suck to Be Jesus: A Letter of Advice to JC
It Must Suck to Be Jesus: A Letter of Advice to JC It Must Suck to Be Jesus: A Letter of Advice to JC

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