You will never be a Christian until you accept that there must be bad news on the way to good news. We will not know our only comfort in life and in death unless we are willing to see our misery. The goal in Christian preaching is not to have us all wallow in condemnation. But the question is this: How am I to live and to die in the joy of Christ’s comfort? The answer to that question begins with knowing your misery.
If you do not know that your sin is serious and significant and sustained, and that you stand guilty before a holy God, you will never cry out to God for deliverance. You never fall on your knees before the Savior and say, “You’re all that I have in life and in death, and all I plead is your precious blood. All I have to stand on is your mercy alone. O Lord Jesus, comfort and save a wretch like me.”
Oh that we might utter these words as our own!
And yet such cry will not explode out of your heart because a perfunctory religious ritual. God must do a quickening work in our hearts. He must mortify in order to vivify. He must bring us low to lift us up. When we kneel before God as a miserable offender, he comes to us with the sweetest balm and the richest healing and the highest hope.