Salvation By Works Gives No Hope

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“And next I think it will be admitted by all, that the way of salvation by good works would be self-evidently unsuitable to a considerable number. I will take a case. I am sent for in an emergency, and it is the dead of night. A man is dying, smitten suddenly by the death-blast. I go to his bedside, as requested. Consciousness remains, but he is evidently in mortal agony. He has lived an ungodly life—and he is about to die. I am asked by his wife and friends to speak to him a word that may bless him. Shall I tell him that he can only be saved by good works? Where is the time for works? Where is the possibility of them? While I am speaking, his life is struggling to escape him! He looks at me in the agony of his soul, and he stammers out, ‘What must I do to be saved?’ Shall I read to him the Moral Law? Shall I expound to him the Ten Commandments and tell him that he must keep all these? He would shake his head and say, ‘I have broken them all; I am condemned by them all!’ If salvation is of works, what more have I to say? I am of no use here. What can I say? The man is utterly lost! There is no remedy for him. How can I tell him the cruel dogma of ‘modern thought’ that his own personal character is everything? How can I tell him that there is no value in belief, no help for the soul in looking to Another—even to Jesus, the Substitute? There is no whisper of hope for a dying man in the hard and stony doctrine of salvation by works!”

—CH Spurgeon

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