The Largest Idol…Cast It Down! (McCheyne)

In a sermon on Hosea 14:8 Robert Murray McCheyne gave some helpful notes on idols. After mentioning how we should ask the Lord to take away our idols, McCheyne noted some idols we have that must be cast away. The first on his list was self-righteousness. Here’s what McCheyne said:

Self-righteousness. This is the largest idol of the human heart, the idol which man loves most and God hates most. Dearly beloved, you will always be going back to this idol. You are always trying to be something in yourself, to gain God’s favor by thinking little of your sin, or by looking to your repentance, tears, prayers; or by looking to your religious exercises, your frames, etc; or by looking to your graces, the Spirit’s work in your heart. Beware of false Christs. Study sanctification to the utmost, but make not a Christ of it. God hates this idol more than all others, because it comes in the place of Christ; it sits on Christ’s throne. Just as the worship of the Virgin Mary is the worst of all kinds of idolatry, because it puts her in the place of Christ, so self-righteousness is the idol God hates most, for it sits on the throne of Christ. Dash it down, dear friends; let it never appear again. It is like Manasseh’s carved image in the holiest of all. When Manasseh came home an altered man to Jerusalem, would not his first visit be to the holiest of all? With eager hand he would draw the veil aside; and when he found the carved image, he would dash it down from the throne of God. Go and do likewise. If you feel God’s love freely by the righteousness without works, then why would you go back to this grim idol? What have I to do any more with idols?”

Robert Murray McCheyne, Memoirs: Including His Letters and Messages, p. 363.

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015