THE REASON I AM SAVED

THE REASON I AM SAVED

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!

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THE CHRISTIAN’S ANCHOR SECURED BEYOND THE VEIL

THE CHRISTIAN’S ANCHOR SECURED BEYOND THE VEIL

C.H. Spurgeon

“Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the Forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an High Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec!” [Heb 6:19,20]

The design of an ANCHOR, of course, is to hold a vessel firmly to one place when winds and currents would otherwise remove it. God has given us certain truths which are intended to hold our minds fast to truths of God, holiness, and His perseverance—in a word, to hold us to Him. But why hold the vessel? The first answer which would suggest itself would be to keep it from being wrecked. The ship may not need an anchor in calm waters, when upon a broad ocean a little drifting may not be a very serious matter, but there are conditions of weather in which an anchor becomes altogether essential. When a gale is rushing towards the shore, blowing great guns and the vessel cannot hold her course, and must surely be driven upon an iron-bound coast, and then an anchor is worth its weight in gold!

If the good ship cannot be anchored there will be nothing left of her in a very short time except for here and there a spar; the gallant vessel will go to pieces, and every mariner drowned; now is the time to let down the anchor, the best bower anchor if you will, and let the good ship defy the wind. Our God does not intend His people to be shipwrecked—shipwrecked and lost forever; however, they would be if they were not held fast in the hour of temptation. Brothers and sisters, if every wind of doctrine whirled you about at its will, you would soon be drifted far away from the truth as it is in Jesus—and concerning it you would make shipwreck; but you cost your Lord too dear for Him to lose you; He bought you at too great a price, and sets too great a store by you for Him to see you broken to pieces on the rocks; therefore He has provided for you a glorious holdfast, that when Satan’s temptations, your own corruptions, and the trials of the world assail you, hope may be the anchor of your soul both sure and steadfast.

How much we need it! For we see others fall into the error of the wicked, overcome by the deceivableness of unrighteousness, and left forever as castaways. “Having no hope and without God in the world.” If you have done business on the great waters for any length of time, you must be well aware that were it not for everlasting truths of God which hold you fast, your soul had long since been hurried into everlasting darkness, and the proud waters had long before this have gone over your soul. When the mighty waves have lifted themselves up your poor boat has seemed to go down to the bottom of the mountains, and had it not been for His unchanging Love and immutable faithfulness, your heart had utterly fainted. Nevertheless here you are today convoyed by grace, provisioned by mercy, steered by heavenly Wisdom, and propelled by celestial power!

Thanks to the anchor, or rather to the God who gave it to you, no storm has overwhelmed you; you are under way for the port of glory! Hallelujah!

A WORD FROM A.W. PINK ON THE WORD ‘ANCHOR’

Below we give the literal rendering of Bagster’s Interlinear. “Which as an anchor we have of the soul both certain and firm, and entering into that within the veil”. Now an anchor is used for securing a ship, particularly in times of storm, to prevent it from DRIFTING. It is an INVISIBLE thing, sinking down beneath the waters and gripping firmly the ground beneath. The winds may roar and the waves lash the ship, but it rides them steadily, being held fast by something outside itself. Surely the figure is plain.

The “anchor” is CHRIST HIMSELF, sustaining His people down here in this world, in the midst of the wicked, who are likened unto “the troubled sea, when it cannot rest” ( Isaiah 57:20). Did He not declare, “Neither shall any pluck them out of My hand” ( John 10:28)? Certainly there is nothing in us “both sure and steadfast”: it is the love ( John 13:1), power ( Matthew 28:18,20), and faithfulness ( Hebrews 7:25) of Christ which is in view. “Whither the Forerunner is for us entered, Jesus, made an High Priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek” (verse 20).

Surely this explains for us the previous verse: it was the entrance of Christ into Heaven which settles fast the “Anchor” within the veil! It was FOR US Christ has gone on High! A “forerunner” is one who has already traversed every step of the race which is set before us ( Hebrews 12:1,2), and who has entered into possession of that toward which he ran. Because Christ has been where we now are, we shall soon be where He now is. Thus, the force of this figurative title of our Redeemer is not only designed to give assurance of our security, but to show us WHERE that security lies entirely outside of ourselves: held fast by a triumphant and ascended Christ. Hence the force of His name here: “Jesus”, who “shall save his people from their sins” ( Matthew 1:21).

Praise the Lord!

AN EXHORTATION TO PRAY

AN EXHORTATION TO PRAY

C.H. Spurgeon

“Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things,which thou knowest not.”— Jer 33:3

GOD encourages us to PRAY. They tell us that PRAYER is a pious exercise which has no influence except upon the mind engaged in it. We know better. Our experience gives the lie a thousand times over to this infidel assertion. Here Jehovah, the living God, distinctly promises to answer the PRAYER of His servant. Let us CALL UPON Him again and admit no doubt upon the question of His hearing us and answering us. He that made the ear, shall He not hear? He that gave parents a love to their children, will He not listen to the cries of His own sons and daughters?

God will answer His PLEADING people in their anguish. He has wonders in store for them. What they have never seen, heard of, or dreamed of, He will do for them. He will invent new blessings if needful. He will ransack sea and land to feed them: He will send every angel out of heaven to succor them, if their distress requires it. He will astound us with His grace and make us feel that it was never before done in this fashion. All He asks of us is that we will CALL UPON Him. He cannot ask less of us. Let us cheerfully render Him our PRAYERS at once.

SINS OF PRESUMPTION

SINS OF PRESUMPTION

C.H. Spurgeon

“Keep back Thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me!” [Psalm 19:13]

ALL SINS are great sins, but yet some sins are greater than others. Every sin has in it the very venom of rebellion, and is full of the essential marrow of traitorous rejection of God. But there be some sins which have in them a greater development of the essential mischief of rebellion, and which wear upon their faces more of the brazen pride which defies the Most High. It is wrong to suppose that because all sins will condemn us, that therefore one sin is not greater than another. The fact is, that while all transgression is a greatly grievous sinful thing, yet there are some transgressions which have a deeper shade of blackness, and a more double scarlet-dyed hue of criminality than others.

“Keep back Thy servant also from presumptuous sins!”

Will you just note, that this prayer was the PRAYER OF A SAINT, the prayer of a holy man of God! Did David need to pray thus? Did the “man after God’s own heart” need to cry, “Keep back Thy servant?” Yes, he did. And note the beauty of the prayer. If I might translate it into more metaphorical style, it is like this: “Curb Thy servant from presumptuous sin.” “Keep him back or he will wander to the edge of the precipice of sin. Hold him in, Lord; he is apt to run away; curb him; put the bridle on him; do not let him do it; let Thine overpowering grace keep him holy; when he would do evil, then do Thou draw him to good, and when his evil propensities would lead him astray, then do Thou check him.” “Check Thy servant from presumptuous sins.”

What then? Is It true that the best of men may sin presumptuously? Ah! it is true. It is a solemn thing to find the Apostle Paul warning saints against the most loathsome of sins. He says, “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth, fornication, uncleanness, idolatry, inordinate affection,” and such like. What! do saints want warning against such sins as these? Yes, they do.

THE HIGHEST SAINTS MAY SIN THE LOWEST SINS, UNLESS KEPT BY DIVINE GRACE!

You old experienced Christians, boast not in your experience; you may trip yet, unless you cry, “Hold Thou me up, and I shall be safe.” Ye whose love is fervent, whose faith is constant, whose hopes an bright, say not “I shall never sin,” but rather cry out, “Lord, lead me not into temptation, and when there leave me not there; for unless Thou hold me fast I feel I must, I shall decline, and prove an apostate after all.” There is enough tinder in the hearts of the best men in the world to light a fire that shall burn to the lowest hell, unless God should quench the sparks as they fall.

There is enough corruption, depravity, and wickedness in the heart of the most holy man that is now alive to damn his soul to all eternity, if free and sovereign grace does not prevent. O Christian, thou hast need to pray this prayer. But I think I hear you saying, “Is thy servant a dog, that I should do this thing?” So said Hazael, when the prophet told him that he would slay his master; but he went home and took a wet cloth and spread it over his master’s face and choked him, and did the next day the sin which he abhorred before. Think it not enough to abhor sin, you may yet fall into it.

Say not, “I never can be drunken, for I have such an abhorrence of drunkenness;” Thou mayest fall where Thou art most secure. Say not, “I can never blaspheme God, for I have never done so in my life;” take care; you may yet swear most profanely. Job might have said, “I will never curse the day of my birth;” but he lived to do it. He was a patient man; he might have said, “I will never murmur; though He slay me, yet will I trust in him;” and yet he lived to wish that the day were darkness wherein he was brought forth. Boast not, then, O Christian; by faith thou standest. “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”

But if this need to be the prayer of the best, how ought it to be the prayer of you and me? If the highest saint must pray it, O mere moralist, thou hast good need to utter it. And ye who have begun to sin, who make no pretensions to piety, how much need is there for you to pray that you may be kept from presumptuously rebelling against God.

Instead, however, of enlarging upon that point, I shall close my few remarks this morning by just addressing myself most affectionately to such of you as are now under a sense of guilt by reason of presumptuous sins. God’s Spirit has found some of you out this morning. I thought when I was describing presumptuous sin that I saw here and there an eye that was suffused with tears; I thought I saw here and there a head that was bowed down, as much as to say, “I am guilty there.” I thought there were some hearts that palpitated with confession, when I described the guilt of presumption. I hope it was so. If it was I am glad of it. If I hit your consciences, it was that I meant to do. Not to your ears do I speak, but to your hearts. I would not give the snap of this my finger to gratify you with mere words of oratory, with a mere flow of language. No, God is my witness. I never sought effect yet, except the effect of hitting your consciences. I would use the words that would be most rough and vulgar in all our language, if I could get at your heart better with them than with any other; for I reckon that the chief matter with a minister is to touch the conscience.

If any of you feel, then, that you have presumed against God in sinning, let me just bid you look at your sin, and weep over the blackness of it; let me exhort you to go home and bow your heads with sorrow, and confess your guilt, and weep over it with many tears and sighs. You have greatly sinned, and if God should blast you into perdition now, He would be just; if now His fiery thunderbolt of vengeance should pierce you through, if the arrow that is now upon the string of the Almighty should find a target in your heart, he would be just. Go home and confess that, confess it with cries and sighs. And then what next wilt thou do? Why, I bid thee remember that there was a man who was a God. That man suffered for presumptuous sin. I would bid thee this day, sinner, if thou knowest thy need of a Saviour, go up to thy chamber, cast thyself upon thy face, and weep for sin; and when thou hast done that, turn to the Scriptures, and read the story of that man who suffered and died for sin. Think you see him in all his unutterable agonies, and griefs, and woes, and say this—

“My soul looks back to see
The burdens thou didst bear
When hanging on the accursed tree,
And hopes her guilt was there.”

Lift up your hand, and put it on His head who bled, and say,

“My faith would lay its hand
On that dear head of Thine,
While, like a penitent, I stand,
And there confess my sin.”

Sit down at the foot of his cross, and watch Him till your heart is moved, till the tears begin to flow again, until your heart breaks within you; and then you will rise and say—

“Dissolved by His mercy, I fall to the ground,
And weep to the praise of the mercy I found.”

O sinner, thou canst never perish, if thou wilt cast thyself at the foot of the cross. If thou seekest to save thyself thou shalt die; if thou wilt come, just as thou art, all black, all filthy, all hell-deserving, all ill-deserving, I am my Master’s hostage, I will be answerable at the day of judgment for this matter, if He does not save thee, I can preach on this subject now, for I trust I have tried my Master myself. As a youth I sinned, as a child I rebelled, as a young man I wandered into lusts and vanities: my Master made me feel how great a sinner I was and I sought to reform, to mend the matter; but I grew worse. At last I heard it said, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth;” and I looked to Jesus. And O! my Saviour, Thou hast eased my aching conscience, Thou hast given me peace; Thou hast enabled me to say;

“Now, freed from sin I walk at large;
My Saviour’s blood’s a full discharge
At His dear feet my soul I lay,
A sinner saved, and homage pay.”

And O! my heart pants for you. O that you who never knew Him could taste His love now. O that you who have never repented might now receive the Holy Ghost who is able to melt the heart! And O that you who are penitents would look to Him now! And I repeat that solemn assertion—I am God’s hostage this morning; ye shall feed me on bread and water to my life’s end, ay, and I will bear the blame for ever, if any of you seek Christ and Christ rejects you. It must not, it cannot be. “Whosoever cometh,” He says, “I will in no wise cast out.” “He is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by Him.” May God Almighty bless you; and may we meet again in yonder Paradise; and there will we sing more sweetly of redeeming love and dying blood, and of Jesus’ power to save;

When this poor lisping, stammering tongue
Lies silent in the grave.
Then in a nobler, sweeter song,
I’ll sing Thy power to save:
I’ll sing Thy power to save.

NO LOVE LIKE THE LOVE OF JESUS FOR HIS OWN

NO LOVE LIKE THE LOVE OF JESUS FOR HIS OWN

C.H. Spurgeon

Think WHAT that love must have been which brought the Lord of glory from the highest heaven to become the Man of sorrows for our sakes!

Think again HOW GREAT that love must have been which caused Him who is God to become a man for us! We remember that JESUS DIED BECAUSE OF LOVE! ” Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” That laying down of life in our Lord’s case was specially a proof of love, for He died voluntarily; there was no necessity upon Him, as upon us, to die.

Other men, if they died for us, would but pay the debt of nature a little before its time; but Jesus died who needed not to die, so far as He himself was concerned. He died also amid circumstances of pain, and shame, and desertion, which made that death peculiarly bitter. The death of the cross is to us the highest proof of our Saviour’s infinite love to us.

He must die the death of a felon, between two thieves, utterly friendless, the object of general ridicule; and this He must do as bearing our sins in His own body. All this makes us say, “Behold HOW He loved us!” O beloved! can we doubt Christ’s love, since He laid down His life, “the just for the unjust, to bring us to God”?

It was BECAUSE OF THIS LOVE, remember, dear child of God, that THE LORD MADE THEE LIVE. I cannot quote at full length that memorable passage in the sixteenth chapter of Ezekiel; but there you have our condition represented as that of a deserted infant cast out to die, unwashed, unswaddled, bleeding itself to death in filth and misery; and it is written that when the Lord passed by, He said unto that infant, “Live.” Even thus did He speak to us, and we lived, and rose out of our misery. He declares that the time when He thus passed by was “a time of love.” Shall I not touch your hearts when I remind you of the Lord’s time of love to you?

Remember your cast-out condition, your helpless distress, your hopeless ruin. You lay between the very jaws of death, and no one eye pitied you; you did not even pity yourself. Jesus looked on you long before you looked to Him. He spoke to you before you spoke to Him. He said, “Live!” and you did live, but before that you were dead in trespasses and sins. Then He washed, clothed, beautified, and adopted you. He made a wretched foundling to be joint-heir with Himself.

O love! Matchless love! We owe our spiritual life to love, and therefore as long as we live we will praise the Lover of our souls! Amen!

Say “Praise the Lord!”

WHEN GOD CALLS YOU BY NAME

WHEN GOD CALLS YOU BY NAME

C.H. Spurgeon

“UNTO THEM WHO ARE CALLED.” I received a note this week asking me to explain that word “called”; because in the passage it says, “Many are called but few are chosen,” while in another it appears that all who are called must be chosen. Now, let me observe that there are two calls. As my old friend, John Bunyan, says, the hen has two calls, the common cluck, which she gives daily and hourly, and the special one, which she means for her little chickens. So there is a general call, a call made to every man; every man hears it. Many are called by it; all you are called this morning in that sense, but very few are chosen.

The other is a special call, the children’s call. You know how the bell sounds over the workshop, to call the men to work—that is a general call. A father goes to the door and calls out, “John, it is dinner time”—that is the special call. Many are called with the general call, but they are not chosen; the special call is for the children only, and that is what is meant in the text, “Unto us who are called, both Jews and Greeks, the power of God and the wisdom of God.” That call is always a special one. While I stand here and call men, nobody comes; while I preach to sinners universally, no good is done; it is like the sheet lightning you sometimes see on the summer’s evening, beautiful, grand; but whoever heard of anything being struck by it? But the special call is the forked flash from heaven; it strikes somewhere; it is the arrow sent in between the joints of the harness.

The call which saves is like that of Jesus, when he said “Mary,” and she said unto him “Rabonni.” Do you know anything about that special call, my beloved? Did Jesus ever call you by name? Canst thou recollect the hour when he whispered thy name in thine ear, when he said, “Come to me”? If so, you will grant the truth of what I am going to say next about it—that it is an effectual call; there is no resisting it.

When God calls with his special call, there is no standing out. Ah! I know I laughed at religion; I despised, I abhorred it; but that call! Oh, I would not come. But God said, “Thou shalt come. All that the Father giveth to me shall come.” “Lord, I will not.” “But thou shalt,” said God. And I have gone up to God’s house sometimes almost with a resolution that I would not listen, but listen I must. Oh, how the word came into my soul! Was there a power of resistance? No; I was thrown down; each bone seemed to be broken; I was saved by effectual grace. I appeal to your experience, my friends. When God took you in hand, could you withstand him? You stood against your minister times enough. Sickness did not break you down; disease did not bring you to God’s feet; eloquence did not convince you; but when God puts his hand to the work, ah! then what a change.

Like Saul, with his horses going to Damascus, that voice from heaven said, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.” “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?” There was no going further then. That was an effectual call. Like that, again, which Jesus gave to Zaccheus, when he was up in the tree; stepping under the tree, he said, “Zaccheus, come down, today I must abide in thy house.” Zaccheus was taken in the net; he heard his own name; the call sank into his soul; he could not stop up in the tree, for an almighty impulse drew him down. And I could tell you some singular instances of persons going to the house of God and having their characters described, limned out to perfection, so that they have said, “He is painting me, he is painting me.” Just as I might say to that young man here, who stole his master’s gloves yesterday, that Jesus calls him to repentance.

It may be that there is such a person here; and when the call comes to a peculiar character, it generally comes with a special power. God gives his ministers a brush, and shows them how to use it in painting life-like portraits, and thus the sinner hears the special call. I cannot give the special call; GOD ALONE CAN GIVE IT, and I leave it with him. Some must be called. Jew and Greek may laugh, but still there are some who are called, both Jews and Greeks.

Praise the Lord!

Jonah’s Doctrate earned in a strange College

Jonah’s Doctrate earned in a strange College

 C.H. SPURGEON

[A must read sermon for all of God’s Elect – M.J.]

 Jonah learned this sentence of good theology in a strange college. He learned it in the whale’s belly, at the bottom of the mountains, with the weeds wrapped about his head, when he supposed that the earth with her bars was about him forever.

Most of the grand truths of God have to be learned by trouble; they must be burned into us with the hot iron of affliction, otherwise we shall not truly receive them. No man is competent to judge in matters of the kingdom, until first he has been tried; since there are many things to be learned in the depths which we can never know in the heights. We discover many secrets in the caverns of the ocean, which, though we had soared to heaven, we never could have known.

He shall best meet the wants of God’s people as a preacher who has had those wants himself; he shall best comfort God’s Israel who has needed comfort; and he shall best preach salvation who has felt his own need of it. Jonah, when he was delivered from his great danger, when, by the command of God the fish had obediently left its great deeps and delivered its cargo upon dry land, was then capable of judging; and this was the result of his experience under his trouble—”Salvation is of the Lord.”

By salvation here we do not merely understand the special salvation which Jonah received from death; for according to Dr. Gill, there is something so special in the original, in the word salvation having one more letter than it usually has, when it only refers to some temporary deliverance, that we can only understand it here as relating to the great work of the salvation of the soul which endureth for ever. That “salvation is of the Lord,”

First, then, to begin by explanation, let us EXPOUND THIS DOCTRINE—the doctrine that salvation is of the Lord, or of Jehovah. We are to understand by this, that the whole of the work whereby men are saved from their natural estate of sin and ruin, and are translated into the kingdom of God and made heirs of eternal happiness, is of God, and of him only. “Salvation is of the Lord.”

To begin, then, at the beginning, THE PLAN OF SALVATION IS ENTIRELY OF GOD. No human intellect and no created intelligence assisted God in the planning of salvation; he contrived the way, even as he himself carried it out. The plan of salvation was devised before the existence of angels. Before the day-star flung its ray across the darkness, when as yet the unnavigated ether had not been fanned by the wing of seraph, and when the solemnity of silence had never been disturbed by the song of angel, God had devised a way whereby he might save man, whom he foresaw would fall. He did not create angels to consult with them; no, of himself he did it. We might truly ask the question, “With whom took he counsel? Who instructed him, when be planned the great architecture of the temple of mercy? With whom took he counsel when he digged the deeps of love, that out of them there might well up springs of salvation? Who aided him?” None.

He himself, alone, did it. In fact, if angels had then been in existence, they could not have assisted God; for I can well suppose that if a solemn conclave of those spirits had been held, if God had put to them this question, “Man will rebel; I declare I will punish; my justice, inflexible and severe, demands that I should do so; but yet I intend to have mercy;” if he had put the question to the celestial squadrons of mighty ones, “How can those things be? How can justice have its demands fulfilled, and how can mercy reign?” the angels would have sat in silence until now; they could not have dictated the plan; it would have surpassed angelic intellect to have conceived the way whereby righteousness and peace should meet together, and judgment and mercy should kiss each other. God devised it, because without God it could not have been devised. It is a plan too splendid to have been the product of any mind except of that mind which afterward carried it out. “Salvation” is older than creation; it is “of the Lord.”

And as it was of the Lord in planning so IT WAS OF THE LORD IN EXECUTION. No one has helped to provide salvation; God has done it all himself. The banquet of mercy is served up by one host; that host is he to whom the cattle on a thousand hills belong. But none have contributed any dainties to that royal banquet; he hath done it all himself. The royal bath of mercy, wherein black souls are washed, was filled from the veins of Jesus; not a drop was contributed by any other being. He died upon the cross, and as an expiator he died alone. No blood of martyrs mingled with that stream; no blood of noble confessors and of heroes of the cross entered into the river of atonement; that is filled from the veins of Christ, and from nowhere else beside. He hath done it wholly!

Atonement is the unaided work of Jesus. On yonder cross I see the man who “trod the winepress alone;” in yonder garden I see the solitary conqueror, who came to the fight single-handed, whose own arm brought salvation, and whose omnipotence sustained him. “Salvation is of the Lord,” as to its provisions; Jehovah—Father, Son, and Spirit—hath provided everything.

So far we are all agreed: but now we shall have to separate a bit. “Salvation is of the Lord” IN THE APPLICATION OF IT. “No,” says the ARMINIAN, “it is not; salvation is of the Lord, inasmuch as he does all for man that he can do; but there is something that man must do, which if he does not do, he must perish.” That is the ARMINIAN way of salvation.

Now last week I thought of this very theory of salvation, when I stood by the side of that window of Carisbrooke castle, out of which King Charles of unhappy and unrighteous memory, attempted to escape. I read in the guide book that everything was provided for his escape; his followers had means at the bottom of the wall to enable him to fly across the country, and on the coast they had their boats lying ready to take him to another land; in fact everything was ready for his escape. But here was the important circumstance: his friends had done all they could; he was to do the rest; but that doing the rest was just the point and brunt of the battle. It was to get out of the window, out of which he was not able to escape by any means, so that all his friends did for him went for nothing, so far as he was concerned. SO WITH THE SINNER.

If God had provided every means of escape, and only required him to get out of his dungeon, he would have remained there to all eternity. Why, is not the sinner by nature dead in sin? And if God requires him to make himself alive, and then afterward he will do the rest for him, then verily, my friends, we are not so much obliged to God as we had thought for; for if he require so much as that of us, and we can do it, we can do the rest without his assistance.

The Romanists have an extraordinary miracle of their own about St. Dennis, of whom they tell the lying legend that after his head was off be took it up in his hands and walked with it two thousand miles; whereupon, said a wit, “So far as the two thousand miles go, it is nothing at all; it is only the first step in which there is any difficulty.” So I believe, if that is taken, all the rest can be easily accomplished. And if God does require of the sinner—dead in sin—that he should take the first step, then he requireth just that which renders salvation as impossible under the gospel as ever it was under the law, seeing man is as unable to believe as he is to obey, and is just as much without power to come to Christ as he is without power to go to heaven without Christ. The power must be given to him of the Spirit. He lieth dead in sin; the Spirit must quicken him. He is bound hand and foot and fettered by transgression; the Spirit must cut his bonds, and then he will leap to liberty. God must come and dash the iron bars out of their sockets, and then he can escape from the window, and make good his escape afterward; but unless the first thing be done for him, he must perish as surely under the gospel as he would have done under the law.

I would cease to preach, if I believed that God, in the matter of salvation, required anything whatever of man which he himself had not also engaged to furnish. For how many have I frequently hanging upon my lips of the worst of characters—men whose lives have become so horribly bad, that the lip of morality would refuse to give a description of their character? When I enter my pulpit am I to believe that these men are to do something before God’s Spirit will operate upon them? If so, I should go there with a faint heart, feeling that I never could induce them to do the first part.

But now I come to my pulpit with a sure confidence—God the Holy Spirit will meet with these men this morning. They are as bad as they can be; he will put a new thought into their hearts; he will give them new wishes; he will give them new wills, and those who hated Christ will desire to love him; those who once loved sin will, by God’s divine Spirit, be made to hate it; and here is my confidence, that what they cannot do, in that they are weak through the flesh, God sending his Spirit into their hearts will do for them, and in them, and so they shall be saved.

Well then, says one, that will make people sit still and fold their arms. Sir, it shall not. But if men did so I could not help it; my business, as I have often said in this place before, is not to prove to you the reasonableness of any truth, nor to defend any truth from its consequences; all I do here, and I mean to keep to it, is just to assert the truth, because it is in the Bible; then, if you do not like it, you must settle the quarrel with my Master, and if you think it unreasonable, you must quarrel with the Bible. Let others defend Scripture and prove it to be true; they can do their work better than I could; mine is just the mere work of proclaiming.

I am the messenger; I tell the Master’s message; if you do not like the message, quarrel with the Bible, not with me; so long as I have Scripture on my side I will dare and defy you to do anything against me. “Salvation is of the Lord.” The Lord has to apply it, to make the unwilling willing, to make the ungodly godly, and bring the vile rebel to the feet of Jesus, or else salvation will never be accomplished. Leave that one thing undone, and you have broken the link of the chain, the very link which was just necessary to its integrity. Take away the fact that God begins the good work, and that he sends us what the old divines call preventing grace—take that away, and you have spoilt the whole of salvation; you have just taken the key-stone out of the arch, and down it tumbles. There is nothing left then.

And now on the next point we shall a little disagree again, “Salvation is of the Lord,” AS TO THE SUSTAINING OF THE WORK IN ANY MAN’S HEART. When a man is made a child of God he does not have a stock of grace given to him with which to go on forever, but he has grace for that day; and he must have grace for the next day, and grace for the next, and grace for the next, until days shall end, or else the beginning shall be of no avail. As a man does not make himself spiritually alive, so neither can he keep himself so. He can feed on spiritual food, and so preserve his spiritual strength; he can walk in the commandments of the Lord, and so enjoy rest and peace, but still the inner life is dependent upon the Spirit as much for its after existence as for its first begetting.

I do verily believe that if it should ever be my lot to put my foot upon the golden threshold of Paradise, and put this thumb upon the pearly latch, I should never cross the threshold unless I had grace given me to take that last step whereby I might enter heaven. No man of himself, even when converted, hath any power, except as that power is daily, constantly, and perpetually infused into him by the Spirit. But Christians often set up for independent gentlemen; they get a little stock of grace in hand, and they say, “My mountain standeth firm, I shall never be moved.” But ah! it is not long before the manna begins to be putrid. It was only meant to be the manna for the day, and we have kept it for the morrow, and therefore it fails us. We must have fresh grace.

“For day by day the manna fell;
O to learn that lesson well.”

So look day by day for fresh grace. Frequently too the Christian wants to have grace enough for a month vouchsafed to him in one moment. “O!” he says, “what a host of troubles I have coming—how shall I meet them all? O! that I had grace enough to bear me through them all! “My dear friends, you will have grace enough for your troubles, as they come one by one. “As thy days, so shall thy strength be;” but thy strength shall never be as thy months, or as thy weeks. Thou shalt have thy strength as thou hast thy bread. “Give us this day our daily bread.” Give us this day our daily grace. But why is it you will be troubling yourself about the things of tomorrow?

But, lastly, upon this point. THE ULTIMATE PERFECTION OF SALVATION IS OF THE LORD. Soon, soon, the saints of earth shall be saints in light; their hairs of snowy age shall be crowned with perpetual joy and everlasting youth; their eyes suffused with tears shall be made bright as stars, never to be clouded again by sorrow; their hearts that tremble now are to be made joyous and fast, and set for ever like pillars in the temple of God. Their follies, their burdens, their griefs, their woes, are soon to be over; sin is to be slain, corruption is to be removed, and a heaven of spotless purity and of unmingled peace is to be theirs forever. But it must still be by grace. As was the foundation such must the top-stone be; that which laid on earth the first beginning must lay in heaven the top-most stone. As they were redeemed from their filthy conversation by grace, so they must be redeemed from death and the grave by grace too, and they must enter heaven singing

“Salvation of the Lord alone;
Grace is a shoreless sea.”

THERE MAY BE ARMINIANS HERE, BUT THEY WILL NOT BE ARMINIANS THERE; they may here say, “It is of the will of the flesh,” but in heaven they shall not think so. Here they may ascribe some little to the creature; but there they shall cast their crowns at the Redeemer’s feet, and acknowledge that he did it all. Here they may sometimes look a little at themselves, and boast somewhat of their own strength; but there, “Not unto us, not unto us,” shall be sung with deeper sincerity and with more profound emphasis than they have even sung it here below.

In heaven, when grace shall have done its work, this truth shall stand out in blazing letters of gold, “Salvation is of the Lord.”

Read the full sermon – http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0131.htm

GOD’S PEOPLE GO FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH

GOD’S PEOPLE GO FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH

C.H. Spurgeon

“They go from strength to strength.” — Psalm 84:7

They go from strength to strength. There are various renderings of these words, but all of them contain the idea of progress. Our own good translation of the Authorized Version is enough for us this morning. “They go from strength to strength.” That is, they grow stronger and stronger. Usually, if we are walking, we go from strength to weakness; we start fresh and in good order for our journey, but by-and-by the road is rough, and the sun is hot, we sit down by the wayside, and then again painfully pursue our weary way.

But the Christian pilgrim having obtained fresh supplies of grace, is as vigorous after years of toilsome travel and struggle as when he first set out. He may not be quite so elate and buoyant, nor perhaps quite so hot and hasty in his zeal as he once was, but he is much stronger in all that constitutes real power, and travels, if more slowly, far more surely. Some gray-haired veterans have been as firm in their grasp of truth, and as zealous in diffusing it, as they were in their younger days; but, alas, it must be confessed it is often otherwise, for the love of many waxes cold and iniquity abounds, but this is their own sin and not the fault of the promise which still holds good: “The youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint.” [Isaiah 40:31]

Fretful spirits sit down and trouble themselves about the future. “Alas!” say they, “we go from affliction to affliction.” Very true, O thou of little faith, but then thou goest from strength to strength also. Thou shalt never find a bundle of affliction which has not bound up in the midst of it sufficient grace. God will give the strength of ripe manhood with the burden allotted to full-grown shoulders.

ALL THINGS ORDAINED FOR THE SALVATION OF GOD’S ELECT

ALL THINGS ORDAINED FOR THE SALVATION OF GOD’S ELECT

 “Things that accompany Salvation.” [Hebrews 6:9]

 C.H. Spurgeon

 IN THE MARCHES OF TROOPS AND ARMIES, THERE ARE SOME THAT ARE OUTRIDERS, AND GO FAR AHEAD OF THE OTHER TROOPS. So in the march of Salvation, which have far preceded it to clear the way. I will tell you the names of these stupendous Titans who have gone before. The first is ELECTION, the second is PREDESTINATION, the third is REDEMPTION and the COVENANT is the captain of them all. Before Salvation came into this world, Election marched in the very forefront, and it had for its work the billeting of Salvation. Election went through the world and marked the houses to which Salvation should come and the hearts in which the treasure should be deposited. Election looked through all the race of man, from Adam down to the last, and marked with sacred stamp those for whom Salvation was designed. “He must needs go through Samaria,” said Election; and Salvation must go there.

Then came Predestination. Predestination did not merely mark the house, but it mapped the road in which Salvation should travel to that house, Predestination ordained every step of the great army of Salvation, it ordained the time when the sinner should be brought to Christ, the manner how he should be saved, the means that should be employed; it marked the exact hour and moment, when God the Spirit should quicken the dead in sin, and when peace and pardon should be spoken through the blood of Jesus. Predestination marked the way so completely, that Salvation doth never overstep the bounds, and it is never at a loss for the road. In the everlasting decree of the Sovereign God, the footsteps of Mercy were every one of them ordained. As nothing in this world revolves by chance—as even the foreknown station of a rush by the river is as fixed as the station of a king—it was not meet that Salvation should be left to chance; and therefore God has mapped the place where it should pitch its tent, the manner of its footsteps to that tent, and the time when it should arrive there.

Then came Redemption. The way was rough; and though Election had marked the house, and Predestination had mapped the road, the way was so impeded that Salvation could not travel it until it had been cleared. Forth came Redemption, it had but one weapon; that weapon was the all-victorious cross of Christ. There stood the mountains of our sins; Redemption smote them, and they split in halves and left a valley for the Lord’s redeemed to march through. There was the great gulf of God’s offended wrath; Redemption bridged it with the cross, and so left an everlasting passage by which the armies of the Lord may cross. Redemption has tunnelled every mountain; it has dried up every sea, cut down every forest; it has levelled every high hill, and filled up the valleys, so that the road of Salvation is now plain and simple. God can be just, and yet the justifier of the ungodly.

Now, this sacred advance-guard carry for their banner the Eternal Covenant. Election, Predestination, and Redemption—the things that have gone before, beyond the sight, are all rallied to the battle by this standard—the Covenant, the Everlasting Covenant, ordered in all things and sure. We know and believe that before the morning star startled the shades of darkness, God had covenanted with his Son that he should die and pay a ransom price, and that, on God the Father’s part, he would give to Jesus “a number whom no man could number,” who should be purchased by his blood, and through that blood should be most securely saved. Now, when Election marches forward, it carries the Covenant. These are chosen in the Covenant of grace. When Predestination marcheth, and when it marketh out the way of Salvation, it proclaims the Covenant. “He marked out the places of the people according to the tribes of Israel.” And Redemption also, pointing to the precious blood of Christ, claims Salvation for the blood-bought ones, because the Covenant hath decreed it to be theirs.

Now, my dear hearers, this advance-guard is so far ahead that you and I cannot see them. These are true doctrines, but very mysterious; they are beyond our sight, and if we wish to see Salvation, we must not stop until we see the van-guard, because they are so far off that only the eye of faith can reach them. We must have that sacred glass, that divine telescope of faith, or else we shall never have the evidence of things not seen. Let us rest certain, however, that if we have Salvation we have Election. He that believeth is elected and whoever casts himself on Christ as a guilty sinner, is certainly God’s chosen child. As sure as ever you believe on the Saviour, and go to him, you were predestinated to do so from all eternity, and your faith is the great mark and evidence that you are chosen of God, and precious in his esteem.

Dost thou believe? Then Election is thine. Dost thou believe? Then Predestination is as surely thine as thou art alive. Dost thou trust alone in Jesus? Then fear not, Redemption was meant for thee. So then, we will not be struck with terror at that grand advance-guard that hath already gained the celestial hill, and have prepared the place where the elect shall for ever repose upon the bosom of their God.

But mark, we are about to review THE ARMY THAT IMMEDIATELY PRECEDES SALVATION; and first, in the forefront of these, there marches one whose name we must pronounce with sacred awe. It is God, the Holy Spirit. Before anything can be done in our salvation, there must come that Third Person of the Sacred Trinity. Without him, faith, repentance, humility, love, are things quite impossible. Even the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ cannot save until it has been applied to the heart by God the Holy Spirit. Before we notice the grand army, then, that immediately precedes Salvation, let us be cautious that we do not forget Him who is the leader of them all. The great King, Immortal, invisible, the Divine person, called the Holy Ghost, the Holy Spirit: it is he that quickens the soul, or else it would lie dead for ever; it is he that makes it tender, or else it would never feel, it is he that imparts efficacy to the Word preached, or else it could never reach further than the ear; it is he who breaks the heart, it is he who makes it whole: he, from first to last, is the great worker of Salvation in us just as Jesus Christ was the author of Salvation for us.

O soul, by this mayest thou know whether Salvation has come to thine house—art thou a partaker of the Holy Spirit? Come now, answer thou this question—hath he ever breathed on thee? Hath he ever breathed into thee? Canst thou say that thou hast been the subject of his supernatural influence? For, if not, remember except a man be born of the Spirit from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; only that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Thy best exertions will be all unavailing unless the Holy Ghost shall work in thee, to will and to do of God’s good pleasure.

The highest efforts of the flesh can never reach higher than the flesh, just as water of itself will never run higher than its source. You may be moral, you may be strictly upright, you may be much that is commendable, but unless you be partakers of the Holy Spirit, salvation is as impossible to you as it is even to the lost. We must be born again, and born again by that divine influence, or else it is all in vain. Remember, then, that the Spirit of God always accompanies Salvation.

TRAINING NEW DISCIPLES IN CHRIST

TRAINING NEW DISCIPLES IN CHRIST

C.H. Spurgeon

“Come, ye children, hearken unto me: and I will teach you the fear of the LORD!” [Psalm 34:11]

The best of the church are none too good for this work. Do not think because you have other service to do that therefore you should take no interest in this form of holy work, but kindly, according to your opportunities, stand ready to help the little ones, and to cheer those whose chief calling is to attend to them. To us all this message comes: “Feed My lambs!” To the minister, and to all who have any knowledge of the things of God, the commission is given. See to it that you look after the children that are in Christ Jesus. Peter was a LEADER among believers, YET HE MUST FEED THE LAMBS!

The LAMBS are the young of the flock. So, then, we ought to look specially and carefully after those who are YOUNG IN GRACE. They may be old in years, and yet they may be, mere babes in grace as to the LENGTH OF THEIR SPIRITUAL LIFE, and therefore they need to be under a good shepherd.

As soon as a person is converted and added to the church, he should become the object of the special care and kindness of his fellow-members. He has but newly come among us, and has no familiar friends among the saints, therefore let us all be friendly to him. Even should we leave our older comrades, we must be doubly kind towards those who are newly escaped from the world, and have come to find a refuge with the Almighty and His people. Watch with ceaseless care over those new-born babes who are strong in desires, but strong in nothing else. They have but just crept out of darkness, and their eyes can scarcely bear the light; let us be a shade to them until they grow accustomed to the blaze of gospel day.

Addict yourselves to the holy work of caring for the feeble and despondent. Peter himself that morning must have felt like a newly-enlisted soldier, for he had in a sense ended his public Christian life by denying his Lord, and he had begun it again when he “went out and wept bitterly.” He was now making a new confession of his faith before his Lord and his brethren, and, therefore, because he was thus made to sympathize with recruits, he is commissioned to act as a guardian to them. Young converts are too timid to ask our help, and so our Lord introduces them to us, and with an emphatic word of command He says, “Feed My lambs!” This shall be our reward: “Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these—you have done it unto Me!”

However young a believer may be, he should make an OPEN CONFESSION of his faith, and be folded with the rest of the flock of Christ. We are not among those who are suspicious of YOUTHFUL PIETY: we could never see more reason for such suspicions in the case of the young, than in the case of those who repent late in life. Of the two we think the latter are more to be questioned than the former: for a selfish FEAR OF PUNISHMENT and dread of death are more likely to produce a COUNTERFEIT FAITH than mere childishness would be. How much has the child missed—which might have spoiled it! How much it does not know—which we hope it never may know!

Oh, how much there is of brightness and trustfulness about children when converted to God which is not seen in elder converts! Our Lord Jesus evidently felt deep sympathy with children—and he is but little like Christ who looks upon them as a trouble, and treats them as if they must needs be either little deceivers or foolish simpletons. To you who teach in our schools is given this joyous privilege of finding out where these young disciples are, who are truly the lambs of Christ’s flock, and to you He says, “Feed My lambs!”; that is, instruct such as are truly gracious, but young in years.

It is very remarkable that the word used here for “feed My LAMBS” is very different from the word employed in the precept, “feed My SHEEP.” I will not trouble you with Greek words, but the second “feed” means exercise the office of a shepherd, rule, regulate, lead, manage them, do all that a shepherd has to do towards a flock; but this first feed does not include all that: it means distinctly FEED, and it directs teachers to a duty which they may perhaps, neglect—namely, that of INSTRUCTING children in the faith.

The lambs do not so much need keeping in order, as we do who know so much, and yet know so little: who think we are so far advanced that we judge one another, and contend and strive. Christian children mainly need to be taught the DOCTRINE, PRECEPT, and CHRISTIAN LIVING: they require to have Divine truth put before them clearly and forcibly. Why should the higher doctrines, the DOCTRINES OF GRACE, be kept back from them? They are not as some say, bones; or if they are bones—they are full of marrow, and covered with fatness! If there is any doctrine too difficult for a child, it is rather the fault of the teacher’s conveyance of it—than of the child’s power to receive it, provided that child is really converted to God. It is ours to make doctrine simple; this is to be a main part of our work. Teach the little ones the whole truth and nothing but the truth; for instruction is the great need of the child’s nature.

A child has not only to LIVE as you and I have—but also to grow; hence he has double need of food. When fathers say of their boys, “What appetites they have!” they should remember that we also would have great appetites if we had not only to keep the machinery going, but to ENLARGE it at the same time. Children in grace have to grow, rising to greater capacity in knowing, being, doing, and feeling, and to greater power from God; therefore above all things they must be FED. They must be WELL fed or instructed, because they are in danger of having their cravings perversely satisfied with error! Youth are susceptible to false doctrine.

Whether we teach young Christians truth or not, the DEVIL will be sure to teach them ERROR. They will hear of it somehow, even if they are watched by the most careful guardians. The only way to keep CHAFF out of the child’s little measure—is to fill it brimful with good WHEAT. Oh, that the Spirit of God may help us to do this! The more the young are taught the better; it will keep them from being misled!