BY THEODORE VANDERGROE
First, he who truly knows the Lord Jesus to be his savior has been convicted by the Holy Spirit of his sins, misery, and wretchedness. He has learned to know himself as one who is an utterly unholy, ungodly, abominable, and hell-worthy sinner, who is fully subject to the wrath of God, to the curse of the law, and to the power and dominion of sin and Satan. He is greatly concerned, troubled, perplexed, and distraught due to this view and knowledge of his wretched state. He has acquired a lively knowledge and experience of his spiritual impotence. He has learned to see himself as utterly lost due to sin, being entirely “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Rev. 3:17). He consequently utterly despairs that there is any salvation to be found within himself, and being entirely perplexed and desirous of salvation, begins to cry out, “What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30).
Whoever has not truly had such spiritual conviction of his wretched and utterly lost state (we are here not prescribing what the measure or time-frame should be, that is, how deep or long this should be, but we are only considering the essence of the matter) is yet entirely outside of the Lord Jesus, the savior of the world, and deceives himself in everything that he imagines or appropriates regarding Him and His salvation. Such have never been ready for the grace and salvation of the Lord Jesus, and have never, as a truly perplexed and diseased soul, looked unto this physician.