There are many who are deceiving themselves by indulging the belief that they are forgiven, while they have not made that confession and restitution which is demanded by the Gospel. In other words, they have not truly repented; they have not given up their sin. They do not outwardly repeat it; neither do they in heart forsake it.
Again, many persons fail of this salvation because they are waiting for God to fulfill conditions which it is naturally impossible for him to fulfil, and which they themselves must fulfil, and which God is endeavoring to persuade and influence them to fulfil. For example–God cannot repent for them; he cannot believe for them; no, but these are the natural conditions of their salvation, and these very things Christ is persuading them to do. Now, they are waiting for God to do that which he will never do, that in fact, which he cannot do, but which he is requiring us to do for ourselves. Let me be understood. God never requires of us to perform an impossibility, nor does he accomplish that for us which we can do ourselves.
Don’t be shocked at this, for it is truth. Now, observe, God requires us to repent; this is an act of our own minds, and therefore he cannot do it for us. It is true that these things are spoken of sometimes as being done by God; it is said that he gives repentance, faith, and love, but he only does this in the sense of persuading and inciting our minds to the performance of these duties. Now, if anybody is seeking for God to do that which they must do themselves, they will fail of eternal life. How many are making mistakes in this matter! they are waiting for God to put repentance and faith into them, and entirely overlooking the fact of its being an exercise of their own minds. Again: Another difficulty, and another reason, why persons are not saved is this–they profess to be waiting for the Holy Spirit, while in fact they are resisting the Holy Spirit. They pretend that they are waiting for the Holy Spirit to save them and convert them: now, mark, every moment they wait they are grieving and resisting the Holy Spirit. Now, what do they mean by waiting, when they ought to be acting? From the beginning and end He is the teacher. “No man can come unto me, except the Father which sent me draw him.” “They shall all be taught of the Lord.” “He shall take of the things of mine and show them unto you.” Now, the Bible represents the Holy Spirit in this way as a teacher, and those who do not yield when the truth is presented to them, are resisting and grieving the Spirit. You remember the words of our Savior to the Jews, “Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost; as your fathers did, so do ye.”
Now, multitudes in the present day are resisting the Holy Spirit under the pretense of waiting for it. The divine influence is always waiting to save you, if you will comply with the necessary conditions; but if under any pretense you neglect your duty, you never will be saved. But I pass next to consider another great difficulty in the way of a sinner’s conversion. Many are really seeking to be justified in sin. They ask God to pardon them, but they refuse to be sanctified; they seek Christ as their justification only. They cleave to their sins, they are living in their sins, and they seek to be justified rather than sanctified–indeed, they refuse to be sanctified at all. Now, this is a very common case.