SPURGEON KING OF SINNERS
By C.H. SPURGEON
“Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you.” [John 15:16]
Sometimes, when I see some of the worst characters in the street, I feel as if my heart must burst forth in tears of gratitude that God has never let me act as they have done! I have thought, if God had left me alone, and had not touched me by His grace, what a great sinner I should have been! I should have run to the utmost lengths of sin, dived into the very depths of evil, nor should I have stopped at any vice or folly, if God had not restrained me. I feel that I should have been a very king of sinners, if God had let me alone.
I cannot understand the reason why I am saved, except upon the ground that God would have it so. I cannot, if I look ever so earnestly, discover any kind of reason in myself why I should be a partaker of Divine grace. If I am not at this moment without Christ, it is only because Christ Jesus would have His will with me, and that will was that I should be with Him where He is, and should share His glory. I can put the crown nowhere but upon the head of Him whose mighty grace has saved me from going down into the pit.
Looking back on my past life, I can see that the dawning of it all was of God; of God effectively. I took no torch with which to light the sun, but the sun enlightened me. I did not commence my spiritual life—no, I rather kicked, and struggled against the things of the Spirit: when He drew me, for a time I did not run after Him: there was a natural hatred in my soul of everything holy and good. Wooings were lost upon me—warnings were cast to the wind—thunders were despised; and as for the whispers of His love, they were rejected as being less than nothing and vanity. But, sure I am, I can say now, speaking on behalf of myself, “He only is my salvation.” It was He who turned my heart, and brought me down on my knees before Him. I can in very deed, say with Doddridge and Toplady—
“Grace taught my soul to pray,
And made my eyes o’erflow;”
and coming to this moment, I can add—
“‘Tis grace has kept me to this day,
And will not let me go.”
Well can I remember the manner in which I learned the doctrines of grace in a single instant. Born, as all of us are by nature, an Arminian, I still believed the old things I had heard continually from the pulpit, and did not see the grace of God. When I was coming to Christ, I thought I was doing it all myself, and though I sought the Lord earnestly, I had no idea the Lord was seeking me.
I do not think the young convert is at first aware of this. I can recall the very day and hour when first I received those truths in my own soul—when they were, as John Bunyan says, burnt into my heart as with a hot iron, and I can recollect how I felt that I had grown on a sudden from a babe into a man—that I had made progress in Scriptural knowledge, through having found, once for all, the clue to the truth of God. One week-night, when I was sitting in the house of God, I was not thinking much about the preacher’s sermon, for I did not believe it. The thought struck me, HOW DID YOU COME TO BE A CHRISTIAN? I sought the Lord. BUT HOW DID YOU COME TO SEEK THE LORD? The truth flashed across my mind in a moment—I should not have sought Him unless there had been some previous influence in my mind to MAKE ME seek Him. I prayed, thought I, but then I asked myself, HOW CAME I TO PRAY? I was induced to pray by reading the Scriptures. HOW CAME I TO READ THE SCRIPTURES? I did read them, but what led me to do so?
Then, in a moment, I saw that GOD WAS AT THE BOTTOM OF IT ALL, and that HE was the Author of my faith, and so the whole doctrine of grace opened up to me, and from that doctrine I have not departed to this day, and I desire to make this my constant confession, “I ascribe my change wholly to God.”
The FIRST CAUSE of your union with Christ lies in the PURPOSE OF GOD who gave you grace in Christ Jesus from before the foundation of the world. And as to the purpose, so to the power of God is your union with Christ to be attributed. HE brought you into Christ; you were a stranger, HE brought you near; you were an enemy, He reconciled you.
You had never come to Christ to seek for mercy if first of all the Spirit of God had not appeared to you to SHOW YOU your need, and to LEAD YOU to cry for the mercy that you needed. Through God’s operation as well as through God’s decree you are this day in Christ Jesus. It will do your souls good, my brethren, to think of this very common-place truth. Many days have passed since your conversion, it may be, but do not forget what a high day the day of your new birth was; and do not cease to give glory to that mighty power which brought you out of darkness into marvellous light.
YOU DID NOT CONVERT YOURSELF; IF YOU DID, YOU STILL HAVE NEED TO BE CONVERTED AGAIN!
Your regeneration was not of the will of man, nor of blood, nor of birth; if it were so, let me tell you the sooner you are rid of it the better. THE ONLY TRUE REGENERATION IS OF THE WILL OF GOD AND BY THE OPERATION OF THE HOLY GHOST. “By the grace of God I am what I am.” He “has begotten us again unto a lively hope.” “He that hath wrought us to the selfsame thing is God.” “OF HIM are ye in Christ Jesus.” Through the operation and will and purpose of God are you this day a member of Christ’s body and one with Jesus.
Give all the glory, then, to the Lord alone!