Repentance is necessary for well behaved persons

Repentance is necessary for well-behaved persons. These have no visible spots on them. They are free from gross sin, and one would think they had nothing to do with the business of repentance. They are so good that they scorn a psalm of mercy. Indeed these are often in the worst condition: these are the ones who need no repentance (Luk 15.7). Their civility undoes them. They make a Christ of it, and so on this shelf they suffer shipwreck.5 Morality shoots short of heaven. It is only nature refined. A moral man is but old Adam dressed in fine clothes. The king’s image counterfeited and stamped on brass will not become currency. The civil person seems to have the image of God, but he is only brass metal which will never pass for currency. Civility is insufficient for salvation. Though the life may be moralized, the lust may be unmortified. The heart may be full of pride and atheism. Under the fair leaves of a tree there may be a worm. I am not saying, repent all you who are are civil, but that you are nothing more than civil. Satan entered into the house that had just been swept and put in order (Luk 11.25-26). This is the emblem of a moral man who has been swept clean by civility and set in order with common gifts; but he is not washed by true repentance. The unclean spirit enters into such a person. If civility were sufficient for salvation, Christ need not have died. The civilian has an attractive lamp, but it lacks the oil of grace.

Thomas Watson

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