by Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“If you make an altar of stones for me, do not build it with hewn stones, for you will defile it if you use a tool on it” (Exodus 20:25).
God’s altar was to be built of unhewn stones so that not a trace of human skill or labour might be seen upon it.
Human wisdom delights in trimming and arranging the doctrines of the cross into a more artificial system, one that is more friendly to the depraved tastes of fallen nature. Instead of improving the gospel, however, carnal wisdom pollutes it until it becomes another gospel, and not the truth of God at all. All alterations and amendments to the Lord’s own Word are defilements and pollutions.
The proud human heart is especially eager to have a hand in the justification of the soul before God. People dream of preparations for Christ; they trust in humblings and repentings; they cry up good works; they make much of natural ability; and by all means they try to use human tools on the divine altar. Sinners would do much better to remember that, far from perfecting the Saviour’s work, their confidences in the flesh only pollute and dishonour it. The Lord alone must be exalted in the work of atonement. Not a single mark of man’s chisel or hammer will be endured.
There is an inherent blasphemy in seeking to add to what Christ Jesus in his dying moments declared to be finished. There is an inherent profanity in trying to improve that in which the Lord Jehovah finds perfect satisfaction. O trembling sinner, put aside all your tools. Fall down on your knees in humble supplication. Receive the Lord Jesus as the altar of your atonement. Rest in Christ alone.
May professing Christians also take warning from this text as to which doctrines they believe. There is far too much inclination among us to try to square and reconcile the truths of God’s Word. This is a form of irreverence and unbelief. Let us resist it and receive God’s truth as we find it, rejoicing that the doctrines of the Word are unhewn stones, and so are all the more fit to build an altar for the Lord.
[July 14]Extracted from C. H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening (public domain), language modernized by Larry E. Wilson.