Some have imagined themselves to be dedicated to the Lord by their good deeds, by paying close attention to their manner of life, to their external duties and having a powerful zeal for the works of charity but all the while this were all to advance their cause and acceptance before God. Many rest upon their duties for their security before God and when these things are found to be lacking they fear that God must not love them anymore so they are reduced to fear and despair. This shows that their works are founded upon the pillars of self righteousness and not under the blanket of His divine grace. Those who are disposed to such avenues find time and time again to be entirely useless in keeping on the narrow path for a mountain appears before them which is insurmountable to climb. Even saints whose eternal abode are secured are apt by their fleshly wants to return to the works of the law wherein their performance dictates the nature of their acceptance before God. Thus a little neglect of divine things is enough to see them imagine that their position before God has changed and that God now beholds them with a frowning hate and so they seek to counter it by works in order to be right again.
If you are one of these souls, like myself who is apt to perform secret duties in self-righteousness rather than having a better principle of performing them to the glory of God, I eagerly advise you to pause and stop. Consider your doings and entirely reflect upon your ways. Do you suppose that by the works of the law any man will be justified before God? Certainly not; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and all will continue to fall short of the glory of God. By works shall no man be accepted before God and if this is so, should you not settle this in your heart and forsake any notion of self-righteous performance? Absolutely; for this hill will only injure your soul and give you a false sense of security which it has proved so far and ought you not to seek a better foundation for your works? Ought you not to seek a better end for your doings?
Yes. You ought to seek a better end for your works and that to the glory of God. But before such end is acquired, you must first survey the cross of Christ. What do you see on your look? Do you see another man, a criminal or do you see the Son of God? It is indeed the Son of God. This is the cross on which the prince of Glory died. Although He was equal with God this man emptied himself and became nothing, humbling himself to be crucified on a Roman tree. See, from his head, his hands and feet, sorrow and love flow mingled down, he hangs there all for you so that you may be accepted while He was rejected. See those nails that pierce his hands, see those blood that dribbles down, see those eyes that looks to the sky, it is for your sin he died. He has finished your work for you and sets you a free man to play with him in His paradise. His cross has broken the curse of the law; you are now under grace, a free man to work for him not for debt as you owed before but for pleasure and joy in which He provides. Is this not a better work to be employed in? certainly; for your duty is born out of love for Him who died for you.
Therefore, forsake any thoughts that promotes pride in self and seek not to do your works in order to be accepted or loved but pour contempt on it all and survey the cross on which the prince of Glory died. Then will all your good frames be founded on a desire for the glory of God rather than self-righteousness.