And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace…
So many seek salvation and are not saved because they seek amiss. To seek that we may find, three things are to be observed.
I. THE TIME. "Seek first the kingdom of God." If thou seekest it not first but at leisure, it is a thousand to one thou shalt never find it. Usually men postpone this to their age: in their youth nothing but pleasure; old heads must not be set on young shoulders; but when they lie upon their death bed then send for the minister. Is this enough? I should marvel if God should be content with the dregs of thy life when the devil hath had the flower. There is an old saying — He that neglecteth the occasion, the occasion will neglect him, as it appeareth by the example of the five foolish virgins.
II. THE PLACE. He that hath lost a ring and seeks a mile from the place where he lost it is not likely to find it. Seek salvation where it is to be found: that is in Christ, in whom are all treasures. The Jews sought it in themselves and missed of it. But where is Christ to be found? In the house of God; not in an alehouse and the meetings of profane men.
III. THE MANNER.
1. Seek painfully, as the woman for her groat. The mine of gold lies not in the first spade, it lies deeper, it is well if after all pains we find it at the last.
2. Continue seeking; he that continues to the end shall be saved; it is worth all our pains though all should seek a thousand years, give not over till thou hast found. Israel sought for salvation, in the obedience of the law, but found it not; what shall, then, become of the wicked who seek not at all: of those who seek only vanities.
(Elnathan Parr, B.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.