Thomas Chalmers’ “Expulsive Power of a New Affection”

I’ve posted this article by Thomas Chalmers before, but as I’m at a new church now many of those who read this blog now may not have seen it. If you are an unbeliever wondering about what it means to be a believer, or if you are a Christian struggling with sin, and wonder how it will ever be rooted out of your heart, “The Expulsive Power of a New Affection” is must reading. It isn’t easy reading, but it’s worth the effort to come to understand what Chalmers has to say. In a nutshell, he’s reminding us that the only way to get rid of one love is to replace it with another, stronger love – the only way to get rid of the love of sin is to replace it with the love of God in Christ Jesus. He also has wonderful things to say about the gospel method of sanctification. Here’s a slice:

“It is only when, as in the gospel, acceptance is bestowed as a present, without money and without price, that the security which man feels in God is placed beyond the
reach of disturbance, or that he can repose in Him as one friend reposes in another; or that any liberal and generous understanding can be established betwixt them, the one party rejoicing over the other to do him good, the other finding that the truest gladness of his heart lies in the impulse of a gratitude by which it is awakened to the charms of a new moral existence. Salvation by grace—salvation by free grace—salvation not of works, but according to the mercy of God, salvation on such a footing is not more indispensable to the deliverance of our persons from the hand of justice than it is to the deliverance of our hearts from the chill and the weight of ungodliness. Retain a single shred or fragment of legality with the gospel, and you raise a topic of distrust between man and God. You take away from the power of the gospel to melt and to conciliate. For this purpose the freer it is the better it is. That very peculiarity which so many dread as the germ of Antinomianism, is, in fact, the germ of a new spirit and a new inclination against it. Along with the lights of a free gospel does there enter the love of the gospel, which, in proportion as you impair the freeness, you are sure to chase away. And never does the sinner find within himself so mighty a moral transformation as when, under the belief that he is saved by grace, he feels constrained thereby to offer his heart a devoted thing, and to deny ungodliness.”

Tolle lege! Take up and read, and grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.


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