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We can never be saved partly by grace and partly by works

December 27, 2012 2 comments

Spurgeon 3Now I suppose that in this congregation we have but very few-there may be some-who would indulge a hope of being saved by the law in itself; but there is a delusion abroad that perhaps God will modify the law, or that at least he will accept a sincere obedience even if it be imperfect; that he will say, “Well, this man has done what he could, and, therefore, I will take what he has given as though it were perfect.” Now, remember against this the Apostle Paul declares peremptorily, “By the works of the law shall no flesh living be justified,” so that that is answered at once. But more than this, God’s law cannot alter, it can never be content to take less from thee than it demands. What said Christ? “It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail,” and again he expressly said, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets, I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” The law’s demands were met and fulfilled for believers by Christ; but as far as those demands are concerned to those who are under it, they are as great, as heavy, and as rigorous as ever they were. Unless his law could be altered, and that is impossible, God cannot accept anything but a perfect obedience; and if you are hoping to be saved by your sincere endeavors to do your best, your hopes are rotten things, delusions, falsehoods, and you will perish wrapped up in the shrouds of your pride. “Yes,” some say, “but could it not be partly by grace and partly by works?” No. The apostle says that boasting is excluded, and excluded by the law of faith; but if we let in the law of works in any degree, we cannot shut out boasting, for to that degree you give man an opportunity to congratulate himself as having saved himself. Let me say broadly-to hope to be saved by works is a delusion; to hope to be saved by a method in which grace and works are co-acting, is not merely a delusion, but an absurd delusion, since it is contrary to the very nature of things, that grace and merit should ever mingle and co-work. Our apostle has declared times without number, that if it be of grace it is not of works, otherwise grace is no more grace; and if it be of works, then it is not of grace, otherwise work is no more work. It must be either one or the other. These two cannot be married, for God forbids the banns. He will have it all grace or all works, all of Christ or all of man; but for Christ to be a make-weight, for Christ to supplement your narrow robes by patching on a piece of his own, for Christ to tread a part of the wine-press, and for you to tread the rest; oh! this can never be. God will never be yoked with the creature. You might link an angel with a worm and bid them fly together, but God with the creature-the precious blood of Jesus with the foul ditch-water of our human merits- never, never. Our paste gems, our varnished falsehoods, our righteousnesses which are but filthy rags, put with the real, true, precious, everlasting, divine things of Christ! Never! Unless heaven should blend in alliance with hell, and holiness hold dalliance with impurity! It must be one or the other, either man’s merit absolutely and alone, or unmixed, unmerited favor from the Lord.

Charles H. Spurgeon—Grace Exalted-Boasting Excluded—A Sermon Delivered on Sunday Morning, January 19th, 1862

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The law demands perfection

December 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Spurgeon 1Now, the plan of salvation by works is impossible for us. Even if God had ordained it to be the way by which men should labor to be saved, yet it is certain that none would have been saved by it, and therefore all must have perished. For if thou wouldst be saved by works, remember O man, that the law requires of thee perfection. One single flaw, one offense, and the law condemns thee without mercy. It requires that thou shouldst keep it in every point, and in every sense, and to its uttermost degree, for its demands are rigorous in the extreme. It knows nothing of freely forgiving because thou canst not pay, but like a severe creditor, it takes thee by thy throat, and says, “Pay me all;” and if thou canst not pay even to the uttermost farthing, it shuts thee up in the prison of condemnation, out of which thou canst not come. But if it were possible for you to keep the law in its perfection outwardly, yet, remember, that you would be required to keep it in your heart as well as in your external life. One single motion of the heart from the right, one reception of even the shadow of a passing temptation, so as to become a partaker of sin, would ruin you. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and thy neighbor as thyself.” Fail here, and oh! who among us can be such a hypocrite as to think he has not failed ten thousand times!-fail here, and though your life were virtuous, though your exterior were such as even criticism itself must commend, yet you perish because you have not kept the law and yielded its full demands. Remember, too, that it is clear you can never be saved by the law, because if up to this moment your heart and life have been altogether without offense, yet it is required that it should be so even to your dying day. And do you hope that as temptations come upon you thick as your moments, as your trials invade you numerous as the swarms which once thronged from the gates of Thebes, you will be able to stand against all these? Will there not be found some joint in your harness? Will there not be some moment in which you may be tripped up-some instant when either the eye may wander after lust, or the heart be set on vanity, or the hand stretched out to touch that which is not good? Oh! man, remember, we are not sure that even this life would end that probation, for as long as thou shouldst live and be God’s creature, duty would still be due, and the law still thine insatiable creditor. For ever would thy happiness tremble in the scales; even in heaven itself the law would follow thee; even there, as thy righteousness would be thine own, it would never be finished; and even from yonder shining battlements thou mightest fall, and amid those harps, wearing that white robe, if thou wert to be saved by thine own works, there might be a possibility of perishing. The obedience of a creature can never be finished; the duty of a servant of the law is never over. So long as thou wast the creature of God, thy Creator would have demands upon thee. How much better to be accepted in the Beloved, and to wear his finished righteousness as our glory and security. Now in the face of all this, will any of you prefer to be saved by your works? or, rather, will you prefer to be damned by your works? for that will certainly be the issue, let you hope what you may.

Charles H. Spurgeon—Grace Exalted-Boasting Excluded—A Sermon Delivered on Sunday Morning, January 19th, 1862