False Foundations of “Faith” that are Certain to Fail

John 14:6; I Corinthians 3:11
       Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
       For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

ALEXANDER COMRIE (1706-1774): Each one who lives under the Gospel and has a concern over his soul for an approaching eternity, has a foundation, good or bad, upon which he is building his hope of salvation, upon which he rests his comfort in a dying hour. And of a truth, experience teaches us, that men lay foundations which are so precarious that a perceptive eye looking upon them must tremble on their behalf. It is impossible for any man to name all these foundations, since each has something peculiar to itself; yet they all coincide in this, that they build upon another foundation than Christ the Lord.

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): Men may attempt to lay other foundations than Christ, and build upon them, but to no purpose; they will be of no avail. All besides Him are sandy foundations—such as fleshly privileges, a carnal descent, a religious education, an external profession of religion, a man’s own righteousness, and the absolute mercy of God.

JAMES DURHAM (1622-1658): They think God loves them because they love themselves; and though they know they have sin, yet they think God will not be so ill, as to reckon with them; they think they are sure that God loves them, but they cannot give a ground for it.

ALEXANDER COMRIE: Many mistake as a basis the convictions, the concerns, the continual accusations of their conscience, thinking these come from the Lord, and are a sign that God is working in them, and that they possess something different from their neighbours who live untroubled. But Saul (I Samuel 15:24) cried out, “I have sinned,” as also did Pharaoh and Judas. O! it is no good sign if a man places his convictions for a “foundation” without considering whether the blood of Jesus is ever applied to the soul to make its peace with God.

THOMAS BOSTON (1676-1732): Others come forth too soon; they are born, like Ishmael, before the time of the promise. They take up with a mere Law work, and stay not till the time of the promise of the Gospel. They snatch at consolation, not waiting till it be given them; and foolishly draw their comfort from the Law that wounded them. They apply the healing plaster to themselves before their wound is sufficiently searched.

MATTHEW MEAD (1629-1699): Never rest in convictions till they end in conversion. This is that wherein most men miscarry: they rest in their convictions, and take them for conversion, as if sin seen were therefore forgiven, as if a sight of the want of grace were the truth of a work of grace.

ALEXANDER COMRIE: Others place as their “foundation” their peace of mind; heretofore they have indeed had troubles and have long mourned, but now they are quiet, which is a sign of peace with God, since the wicked are like the troubled sea; however, the young man in Luke 18 was also at peace.

JONATHAN EDWARDS (1703-1758): It is manifest, therefore, that too much stress has been laid by many persons on a great work of the law preceding their comforts, who seem not only to have looked on such a work of the law as necessary to precede faith, but also to have esteemed it as the chief evidence of the truth and genuineness of succeeding faith and comforts. By this means it is to be feared very many have been deceived and established in a false hope.

ALEXANDER COMRIE: Many place as their “ground” the good opinion of others. In their perplexity they have spoken to this or that minister or godly person, relating to them their pathway; and these appeared by their utterances to place the seal of approval upon it; now all is well, no trouble, no arrow can now hit them; such a one has said it; therefore, others may think and say what they will, they take no notice, but go to perdition with a lie in their right hand.

JAMES DURHAM: A second sort are they that take the legal way for making their peace with God. Not as if they thought to appear before God without sin, and holy, as the covenant of works requires; but if they sin, they will make amends. And it is either something negative that they have not done, or something positive that they have done, or some internal qualifications, that they rest upon.

GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770): We all naturally are legalist, thinking to be justified by the works of the law. When somewhat awakened by the terrors of the Lord, we immediately, like the Pharisees of old, go about to establish our own righteousness, and think we shall find acceptance with God, if we seek it with tears; finding ourselves damned by nature and our actual sins, we then think to recommend ourselves to God by our duties, and hope, by our doings of one kind or another, to inherit eternal life.

ALEXANDER COMRIE: Many place as their “foundation” that their convictions have been followed by some breaking off and changing of their deeds, so that they not only forsake former sins, but practise the contrary virtues; just as Herod did many things through the powerful ministry of John (Mark 6:20). Many use for their “foundation” their holy life in the practice of the duties of worship, their hearty prayers, their regular attendance on the means, their love to the ministers, having nothing more than Micah in the book of Judges, who thought that all would be well because he had a Levite to his priest, Judges 17:13. Many set down not only their knowledge of historical truths, but their skill in the knowledge of God and their understanding of God’s word for their “foundation;” however, there is a knowledge with puffeth up, and a wisdom which is not of God.

WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): Most that perish, it is not their disease that kills them, but their physician; they think to cure themselves, and this leaves them incurable.

ALEXANDER COMRIE: Since a man must have a foundation which is sound, he is now out to make provision to have one that is good, so that he partly settles upon the rock of Christ, while there is another part which rests upon a sandy foundation; such are they who receive Christ in part—they are sinners and cannot stand before God, so they receive Jesus for guilt which is past, but now they will by the goodness of God live for Him; just as thousands receive Christ as Priest, but not as King. The Galatians would also lay Christ thus as their foundation, building part upon His righteousness and partly upon their own.

BROWNLOW NORTH (1810-1875): He who depends in part or in whole on his own righteousness will surely be damned.

JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): Jesus is the only door, the only way of a sinner’s access to the knowledge and favour of God. This is the precious and sure foundation which He has laid in Zion (I Peter 2:6); and to presume to build our hope upon any other, is to build upon a quicksand.


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