The Offense of the Cross
“I sometimes receive letters from persons who say, “We would not wonder if all your congregation were to live in sin, because you are always preaching against man’s righteousness, and inviting poor sinners to come to Christ by simple faith, and to be saved by grace alone.” I daresay they would not wonder if such a thing were to happen; but I would wonder if my people, as a whole, lived in sin, and I bless God that I have no cause to wonder about that matter, for a holier people you will not find this side of heaven than those who receive into their hearts the doctrine of Christ’s imputed righteousness. This I will say of them, that grace has worked in them good fruits; that they do walk in the fear of the Lord, in love to one another, and in the practice of uprightness and godliness. But men of the world cannot stand this teaching, because it makes nothing of the merits of which they think so much. Tell men that they are a very good sort of folk; they will like to hear that. Give people a good conceit of themselves, and they will like to listen to you; but that self-conceit is the ruin of tens of thousands. I am sure it is only when we begin to say— “I’m a poor sinner, and nothing at all, But Jesus Christ is my All-in-all,”— that we are saved. But as long as we are content with ourselves in our natural sinful condition, there is not the slightest hope for us. So, you see, this is “the offense of the cross,” that we do not let men trust in their own merits.”
C.H. Spurgeon, 1856.