Paul Apprehended and Apprehending
Charles H. Spurgeon
Observe the apostle's condition when he wrote these words. I do not think that either you or I will be found to be in a better one. If any are, or think they are, I would suggest a question. I, for my part, would be satisfied to be just as Paul was.
He was in a position of conscious safety; he was a saved man, he knew that he was saved, for he rejoiced in Christ Jesus and had no confidence in the flesh. He knew that he was justified by faith in Christ Jesus, and he counted all his own works, which formerly were his ground of trust, to be as dross and dung, that he might win Christ. He was a saved man, and he knew it. I do not think that he often had doubts about that point; but yet he was in a state of conscious imperfection: "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect." He had not yet reached his own ideal of what a Christian might be. He had not yet obtained from Christ all that he expected to obtain. He was not sitting down to rest and be thankful; but he was still hurrying on, reaching after something which was yet beyond him. He could not say, "Soul, take thine ease, thou hast much goods laid up for many years"; but he felt his own spiritual poverty still, and he cried, "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect" But, beloved, let not that thought be any kind of solace to you, for I would remind you that, though consciously imperfect, Paul was zealously making progress. He says, "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
I know many who say that they are imperfect, and they seem to be quite satisfied to be so. That was never the case with the apostle; as long as any trace of a sinful nature or a sinful tendency remained in him, it made him cry out, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" It was not because he was dead in sin that he cried in that way. It ...
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