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The greatest of all experience is to know that “he only is our rock and our salvation”

September 28, 2015 3 comments

Spurgeon 1II. And now, beloved, we come to THE GREAT EXPERIENCE. The greatest of all experience, I take it, is to know that “he only is our rock and our salvation.” We have been insisting upon a doctrine; but doctrine is nothing unless proved in our experience. Most of God’s doctrines are only to be learned by practice — by taking them out into the world, and letting them bear the wear and tear of life. If I ask any Christian in this place whether this doctrine is true, if he has had any deep experience, he will reply, “True I ay, that it is; not one word in God’s Bible is more true than that, for indeed salvation is of God alone.” “He only is my rock and my salvation.” But, beloved, it is very hard to have such an experimental knowledge of the doctrine that we never depart from it. It is very hard to believe that “salvation is of the Lord.” There are times when we put our confidence in something else but God, and sin by linking hand-in-hand with God — something besides him. Let me now dwell a little upon the experience which will bring us to know that salvation is of God alone.

Charles H. Spurgeon- God Alone the Salvation of His People-A Sermon Delivered On Sabbath Morning, May 18, 1856

Sustentation is of the Lord alone

September 14, 2015 Leave a comment

CharlesSpurgeon3. And again: sustentation also is absolutely requisite. We need sustentation in providence for our bodies, and sustentation in grace for our souls. Providential mercies are wholly from the Lord. It is true the rain falls from heaven, and waters the earth, and “maketh it bring forth and bud that there may be seed for the sower, and bread for the eater;” but out of whose hand cometh the rain, and from whose fingers do the dew drops distil? It is true, the sun shines, and makes the plants grow, and bud, and bring forth the blossom, and his heat ripens the fruit upon the tree; but who gives the sun his light, and who scatters the genial heat from him? It is true, I work and toil, this brow sweats; these hands are weary; I cast myself upon my bed, and there I rest, but I do not “sacrifice to mine own drag,” nor do I ascribe my preservation to my own might. Who makes these sinews strong? who makes these lungs like iron, and who makes these nerves of steel? “God only is the rock of my salvation.” He only is the salvation of my body and the salvation of my soul. Do I feed on the word? That word would be no food for me unless the Lord made it food for my soul, and helped me to feed upon it. Do I live on the manna which comes down from heaven? What is that manna, but Jesus Christ himself incarnate, whose body and whose blood I eat and drink. Am I continually receiving fresh increase of might? Where do I gather my might? My salvation is of him: without him I can do nothing. As a branch cannot bring forth fruit except it abide in the vine, no more can I except I abide in him.

Charles H. Spurgeon- God Alone the Salvation of His People-A Sermon Delivered On Sabbath Morning, May 18, 1856

Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 2-Part 2-Chapter 5-Regeneration or the New Birth

September 11, 2015 Leave a comment

CHAPTER 5-REGENERATION OR THE NEW BIRTH

John Ruskin (1819-1900), English art critic, author and political economist said that “the first and last and closest trial question to any living creature is, ‘What do you like?’ Go out into the street and ask the first man you meet, what his taste is, and if he answers you candidly, you know him body and soul. What we like determines what we are, and is a sign of what we are.” If the taste Ruskin speaks of applies to moral and spiritual things, then he has something, and his words are sober truth. Man has moral as well as physical taste. What one likes as a moral being—-what he likes in relation to the true God and His word-determines what he is as a moral being and is a sign to others of what he is. One can know himself, and others can know him by this taste-test. Moral taste is moral desire and moral desire determines moral deed.

David’s moral taste is revealed when he says, “one thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple” (#Ps 27:4). Also, when he says, “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?” (#Ps 42:1-2). This desire for God shows the Psalmist to be a man after God’s own heart. Dr. Broadus gives a three fold test of personal character: What one reads when he is tired, what he thinks about when he is alone, and where he goes when he is away from home.

This taste-test reveals the necessity of regeneration for every man. Man, in his natural condition, does not like God—-the God of the Bible; he does not long for God’s presence as David did; he rather shuns God, as Adam and Eve did when they sinned and hid themselves from Him. The natural man has no taste for the things of God. The carnal mind is enmity against God. Man in his natural and fallen state would not enjoy heaven if he should go there. Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people. Regeneration is the only remedy; every man must be born again —-born from above—-made a new creature—-if he is to see or enter into the kingdom of God.

THE NATURE OF REGENERATION

Regeneration is that aspect of salvation in which the dead sinner- -the sinner with all the faculties of the soul in moral ruins, and paralyzed towards God and holiness, being unable to please God—-is made a child of God with a taste for the things of God.

Regeneration, therefore, may be defined as the gracious work of God in the human soul by which the heart is enabled to love God, the mind is enabled to understand the gospel of Christ and the will is brought to choose Christ as both Lord and Saviour. This definition is in harmony with our New Hampshire Confession which says that “Regeneration consists in giving a holy disposition to the mind; that it is affected in a manner above our comprehension, by the power of the Holy Spirit of God in connection with divine truth, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the gospel and that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance and faith and newness of life.”

John Favel (1650-1691) says that the heart of man is his worst part before regeneration, and the best part afterward; that it is the seat of principles and the fountain of actions; and that the eye of God is, and the eye of the Christian ought to be principally fixed upon it.

Regeneration is not the bringing of a person into existence; it is the birth of one already in existence; therefore, a second birth. Nor is it the bringing of any new faculties or parts into existence. The unregenerate man has as many parts or faculties to his being as the regenerate man. No part of man was annihilated in the fall, but all parts were ruined or depraved. Regeneration is not based upon non- existence, but upon a depraved existence. The soul of man is endowed with heart, and mind and will, and the unregenerate man has all these faculties, although in a ruined or depraved state. He has a mind and can think and understand, but he does not like to think about God, and cannot understand the things of God; he has a heart so that he can and does love, but he does not love God; he has a will so that he can and does choose, but he does not choose Christ as Lord and Saviour.

Regeneration is essentially a changing of the fundamental taste of the soul. By taste we mean the direction of his mind and bent of his affections, the trend of his will. And to alter that taste is not to impart a new faculty, or create a new substance, but simply to set upon God the affections which hitherto have been set upon self and sin. To borrow an illustration from Dr. Strong: The engineer who climbs over the cab into a runaway locomotive and who changes its course, does so not by adding any new rod or cog, but by simply reversing the lever. So in regeneration God is reversing the lever of the soul. He is changing the taste so that a man loves what he once hated and hates what he once loved.

Regeneration is not the eradication of the sinful nature, but the impartation of a new nature—-a sinless nature. The saved man has been born two times, and has twofold disposition or nature. This creates a conflict between the fleshly and spiritual natures: “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (#Ga 5:17). Paul had this conflict in his own experience. He delighted in the law of God after the inward man, but was conscious of another law or force, so that he could not do the good he desired to do “For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin” (#Ro 7:14-25).

TWO ASPECTS OF THE NEW BIRTH

In the first aspect the soul is passive; it is simply acted upon. God changes the governing disposition by a creative act, that is, without the use of means, and without any co-operation on the part of the sinner. How could it be otherwise unless death contributes to life, unless filth purifies itself, and a corpse adorns itself? In a word, regeneration must be altogether of God unless nature acts contrary to nature. If the carnal mind hates God; if the things of God are foolishness to the natural man; if they that are in the flesh cannot please God, what hope is there that such a nature will act as though it were otherwise? There is no such thing as selfbirth, either in the physical or spiritual realms. The mother gives birth to the child, and in the moral realm we are born of God.

In the second aspect of regeneration, God secures the initial exercise of the new nature, and in this the soul is active. Repentance and faith are heart exercises of the sinner in response to the quickening work of the Spirit. The two aspects of regeneration are simultaneous. At the very instant God gives a holy disposition to the soul, He pours in the light of Gospel truth and induces the exercise of the holy disposition He has imparted.

This distinction seems necessary from the twofold representation of the change in the Scripture. In some passages the change is ascribed wholly to God “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (#Joh 1:13). In changing the fundamental taste of the soul there is no use of means or co’operation from the sinner. In fact the truth is rejected until the disposition is changed. Now in other passages we find the truth is employed as means and the mind acts in view of the truth. “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures” (#Jas 1:18); “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (#1Pe 1:23). To deny these two aspects you would have an unregenerated believer on the one hand, or a regenerated unbeliever on the other hand, neither of which is possible. The first aspect is the narrower and is what theologians mean when they speak of pre- regeneration.

THE NECESSITY OF REGENERATION

What we have already written reveals why the new birth is necessary, but we will amplify and illustrate.

The depravity of human nature makes the new birth necessary. The physical birth produces no qualities that are pleasing to God. “So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (#Ro 8:8). Paul reminds the Jews that being the fleshly descendants of Abraham did not make them the children of God: “That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed” (#Ro 9:8). Man has the inherited corruption of a fallen nature. David was not casting reflection upon his mother’s viture, but was confessing to inborn depravity, when he exclaimed, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me” (#Ps 51:5). A man may say, “I know I do things that are wrong, but I have a good heart after all.” But God gives a different verdict. Christ taught that the human heart was the very fountain of all that is sinful: “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, and evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these things come from within, and defile the man” (#Mr 7:21-23). The human affections are misplaced. Man naturally loves the things that are contrary to God. He must be born from above in order to love God. “Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God; and every one that loveth is (Gk. has been) born of God, and knoweth God” (#1Jo 4:7).

The human will is antagonistic to God. God’s will should be supreme in every life, but man by nature is dominated by self-will. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way” (#Isa 53:6). In the life of Christ, the one perfect life, the will of God was supreme: He came not to do His own will, but the will of the Father. Moreover, man by nature, is in a state of moral darkness, ignorant of the things of God. He cannot understand the things of the Spirit: “For they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (#1Co 2:14). There must be a spiritual birth before there can be spiritual understanding.

The writer once heard of a little girl with a defect of vision from birth. Her parents were slow to realize that she could not see many objects which were familiar to others. She was almost grown before an oculist was consulted. He advised and performed an operation, and the child was kept in a dark room for many weeks. One bright and balmy night she stepped out alone upon the lawn. Instantly, she rushed back into the house in a glow of excitement. “Oh come,” she cried, “And see what has happened to the sky.” Her parents hurried out with her, but saw nothing but the familiar glory of the stars—-something she had never seen before. Nothing had happened to the sky, but something had happened to her eyes. So the unregenerate man has the eyes of his understanding darkened in respect to spiritual and saving truth. The stars of the gospel truth shine brightly in the firmament of God’s word, but the lost man does not see them. “But if our gospel be hid it is hid to them that are lost” (#2Co 4:3).

THE EFFICIENT CAUSE OF REGENERATION

By the efficient cause we mean the power by which the effect is secured. What power brings about the new birth? The various answers to this question may be summed up in three general views.

1. Some put the efficient cause or power of regeneration in the human will. This view emphasizes the plan of salvation and makes response to the plan, that is, faith in the gospel, depend upon the human will. The sinner is told that if he will believe the gospel he will be born again. This confounds justification and regeneration. We read again and again that we are justified by faith, but never that we are regenerated by faith. Man’s volition’s—the exercise of his will—are practically the shadow of his affections. You cannot separate man from his shadow and have him going in one direction and his shadow in another direction. Neither can you have a man’s will going in the opposite direction from the way his heart goes. Men choose what they do because of the condition of the heart. #Joh 1:13 is fatal to this view: “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

2. Another view makes the truth the efficient cause of regeneration. This view puts the power of the new birth in the gospel. A. Campbell is one of the best exponents to this view. He says, “We plead that all the converting power of the Holy Spirit is exhibited in the Divine Record.” This denies any subjective or internal work of the Holy Spirit on the heart of the sinner. The preacher is to make the gospel so attractive that the sinner, apart from any change in his heart, will accept it. But to the heart that hates God the plainer you make the gospel, the more he will hate it. If this were true then it would be absurd to pray to God to regenerate, for that is more than He can do—regeneration is simply the effect of the word preached. This is called “the word only,” theory, which is refuted by Paul in #1Th 1:5: “Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost…” This view has led to a lot of silly and unscriptural expressions, such as, “energizing the truth,” or “illuminating the truth.” There is nothing wrong with the truth, the trouble is with the sinner’s darkened understanding. God does not make the truth more true but He opens sin-blinded minds to understand it “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?” (#1Co 3:5); “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (#2Co 4:6). The word gives knowledge of spiritual things. The gospel is objective light; the Holy Spirit gives subjective light.

Dr. T. T. Shields once preached on #1Ti 1:15, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” A few days later he received a letter from a man that read like this: “I enjoyed your sermon last Sunday very much, and could not see why anyone in your audience could not be saved. But your prayer following the sermon spoiled it for me. You asked God by His Spirit to lead sinners to an acceptance of the gospel. I write to ask what the Spirit has to do with it. The way of salvation was presented, and all they had to do was to accept it.” This man was right, if the truth and the human will are all that is necessary, and prayer for God to do something in the sinner would be foolish. This view utterly ignores the truth of human depravity.

3. The position of the writer is, that the immediate agency of the Holy Spirit is the efficient cause of regeneration. The power of the Holy Spirit is immediate, that is, it does not depend upon or flow through anything, not even the gospel itself. The gospel is hated and rejected as foolishness until direct power of the Spirit changes the governing disposition of the heart. As some one has said, “Our natural hearts are hearts of stone. The word of God is good seed sown on the hard, trodden, macadamized highway, which the horses of passion, the asses of self-will, the wagons of imaginary treasure, have made impenetrable. ONLY THE HOLY SPIRIT can soften and pulverize the soil.” The gospel is good seed, but good seed cannot make good soil. Paul may plant and Apollos may water, but God must give the increase.

“Come, Spirit, source of light,
Thy grace is unconfirmed;
Dispel the gloomy shades of night,
The darkness of the mind.

“Now to our eye display
The truth Thy words reveal;
Cause us to run the heavenly way,
Delighting in Thy will.

“Thy teachings make us know
The mysteries of Thy love;
The vanity of things below,
The joys of things above.”

C. D. Cole-Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 2-Part 2

Preservation is of the Lord alone

September 7, 2015 2 comments

Spurgeon 32. And if we are delivered and made alive in Christ, still preservation is of the Lord alone. If I am prayerful, God makes me prayerful: if I have graces, God gives me graces; if I have fruits, God gives me fruits; if I hold on in a consistent life, God holds me on in a consistent life. I do nothing whatever towards my own preservation, except what God himself first does in me. Whatever I have, all my goodness is of the Lord alone. Wherein I sin, that is my own, but wherein I act rightly, that is of God, wholly and completely. If I have repulsed an enemy, his strength nerved my arm. Did I strike a foeman to the ground? His strength sharpened my sword and gave me courage to strike the blow. Do I preach his word? It is not I, but grace that is in me? Do I live to God a holy life? It is not I, but Christ that liveth in me? Am I sanctified? I did not sanctify myself, God’s Holy Spirit sanctifies me. Am I weaned from the world? I am weaned by God’s chastisements. Do I grow in knowledge? The great Instructor teaches me. I find in God all I want; but I find in myself nothing. “He only is my rock and my salvation.”

Charles H. Spurgeon- God Alone the Salvation of His People-A Sermon Delivered On Sabbath Morning, May 18, 1856

Salvation includes deliverance, preservation, sustentation, and the gathering up of the whole in the perfecting of the saints in the person of Jesus Christ at last

Spurgeon 3Let us now explain this doctrine fully. By the term “salvation” here, I understand not simply regeneration and conversion, but something more. I do not reckon that to be salvation which regenerates me, and then puts me in such a position that I may fall out of the covenant and be lost; I cannot call that a bridge which only goes half-way over the stream, I cannot call that salvation, which does not carry me all the way to heaven, wash me perfectly clean, and put me among the glorified who sing constant hosannahs around the throne. By salvation, then if I may divide it into parts, I understand deliverance, preservation continually through life, sustentation, and the gathering up of the whole in the perfecting of the saints in the person of Jesus Christ at last.

Charles H. Spurgeon- God Alone the Salvation of His People-A Sermon Delivered On Sabbath Morning, May 18, 1856

Calvinism declares that ‘God is our rock and salvation,” all other views are heresies

Spurgeon 11. The first thing is, THE GREAT DOCTRINE. — that God “only is our rock and our salvation.” If any one should ask us what we would choose for our motto, as preachers of the gospel we think we should reply, “God only is our salvation.” The late lamented Mr. Denham has put at the foot of his portrait, a most admirable text, “Salvation is of the Lord.” Now, that is just an epitome of Calvinism, it is the sum and the substance of it. If any one should ask you what you mean by a Calvinist, you may reply, “He is one who says, salvation is of the Lord.” I cannot find in Scripture any other doctrine than this. It is the essence of the Bible. He only is my rock and my salvation.” Tell me anything that departs from this and it will be a heresy, tell me a heresy, and I shall find its essence here, that it has departed from this great, this fundamental, this rocky truth, “God is my rock and my salvation.” What is the heresy of Rome, but the addition of something to the perfect merits of Jesus Christ — the bringing in of the works of the flesh, to assist in our justification? and what is that heresy of Arminianism but the secret addition of something to the complete work of the Redeemer? You will find that every heresy, if brought to the touchstone, will discover itself here, it departs from this “He only is my rock and my salvation.”

Charles H. Spurgeon- God Alone the Salvation of His People-A Sermon Delivered On Sabbath Morning, May 18, 1856

He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him

Spurgeon 3The rock is immutable, nought hath been worn from it. Yon old granite peak hath gleamed in the sun, or worn the white veil of winter snow—-it hath sometimes worshipped God with bare uncovered head, and at other times the clouds furnished it with veiling wings, that like a cherub, it might adore its Maker; but yet itself hath stood unchanged. The frosts of winter have not destroyed it, nor have the heats of summer melted it. It is the same with God. Lo, he is my rock, he is the same, and his kingdom shall have no end. Unchangeable he is in his being, firm in his own sufficiency; he keeps himself immutably the same; and “therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” The ten thousand uses of the rock, moreover, are full of ideas as to what God is. You see the fortress standing on a high rock, up which the clouds themselves can scarcely climb, and up whose precipices the assault cannot be carried, and the armed cannot travel, for the besieged laugh at them from their eminence. So is our God a sure defense and we shall not be moved if he hath “set our feet upon a rock, and established our goings.” Many a giant rock is a source of admiration from its elevation; for on its summit we can see the world outspread below, like some small map; we mark the river or broadly spreading stream, as if it were a vein of silver inlaid in emerald. We discover the nations beneath our feet, “like drops in a bucket,” and the islands are “very little things” in the distance, while the sea itself seems but a basin of water, held in the hand of a mighty giant. The mighty God is such a rock; we stand on him, and look down on the world, counting it to be a mean thing. We have climbed to Pisgah’s top, from the summit of which we can race across this world of storms and troubles to the bright land of spirits—-that world unknown to ear or eye, but which God’s truth revealed to us by the Holy Ghost. This mighty rock is our refuge, and it is our high observatory, from which we see the unseen, and have the evidence of things which as yet, we have not enjoyed. I need not, however, stop to tell you all about a rock, we might preach for a week upon it, but we give you that for your meditatation during the week. “He is my rock.” How glorious a thought! How safe am I, and how secure: and how may I rejoice in the fact, that when I wade through Jordan’s stream he will be my rock! I shall not walk upon a slippery foundation, but I shall tread on him who cannot betray my feet; and I may sing, when I am dying, “He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.”

Charles H. Spurgeon-God Alone the Salvation of His People-A Sermon Delivered On Sabbath Morning, May 18, 1856

Abounding Grace Part 3

Grace is threefold: It is for the past, present and future. We see this threefold grace demonstrating itself in the Incarnation … one of the supremely important truths of the gospel. At the Incarnation, God became a man and was thus able, as a man, to die. The writer to the Hebrews puts it this way,

Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; (Hebrews 2:14).

In other words, the death of the cross could not have happened if Jesus Christ had not assumed human nature. That’s grace for the past! But in the Incarnation, we are also instructed about grace for the present. At this very moment, we have a great, merciful and faithful high priest in Heaven. He is one of us. He is appearing even now for us before the presence of God. As He appears, He continually supplies His perfection to our constant imperfection. That’s grace for the present!

Listen to these grace-filled words,

“We do not have a high priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities (our weaknesses) but (one who) was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

The man who is God, is the God who became man. His incarnation not only gives us grace for the past and present but also pledges us grace for the future. He is coming back for us as the reigning rightful King of the Earth and the cosmos.

In 1 Timothy 1:1, we discover that Christ Himself is our future hope. We read, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope; Grace is abounding towards us. Consider this scripture; “Of his fullness have we all received, and grace for grace” John 1:16.

In Christ, grace is replaced by even more grace. That’s the heritage of every believer. But, what do we do when the grace runs out? The answer is nothing. Why? Because grace never runs out! In this New Covenant, we have grace following grace, following grace, following grace. It’s like standing on the seashore and watching wave after wave coming in one after the other. When one wave crashes, another is on the way. We don’t make this happen, we are not called upon to contribute anything to the scene. So it is with grace. It is never ending in its supply to us.

Colossians 2:9 says, “In him (Christ) dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Fullness is the Greek word ‘Pleroma’ which means, among other things, ‘complete totality.’ It is stunning to grasp that the complete totality of the Godhead dwells bodily in the Lord Jesus Christ. Compare this with what is taught in John 1:16; “For of his fullness (Pleroma) have all we received.” This means that we, therefore, have limitless resources in the Lord Jesus Christ. In Christ, grace is abounding to us.

Celsus, a Greek philosopher of the 2nd century, used to jeer at Christ. He didn’t deny Christ’s historical existence but, rather, said that Jesus was both illegitimate and a sorcerer. According to Celsus, every reputable teacher typically attracted the noble and wise people of his day, but Jesus attracted the down and outs and the scum of society.

Yes, that part is correct. Thank God it’s true. Christ Jesus demonstrates His grace by the kind of people he chooses. But, although we are morally down and out, He does not leave us like that. He clothes us with His righteousness. He saves us by grace and makes us Heavenly royalty. When He returns, we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is. That’s grace! Salvation is all of grace! Abounding Grace,

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

God Alone the Salvation of His People

Spurgeon 6How noble a title. So sublime, suggestive, and overpowering. “MY ROCK.” It is a figure so divine, that to God alone shall it ever be applied.

Charles H. Spurgeon-God Alone the Salvation of His People-A Sermon Delivered On Sabbath Morning, May 18, 1856

All of Grace—Alas! I can do Nothing! Pt 1

Chapter Ten

Alas! I can do Nothing!

AFTER THE ANXIOUS HEART has accepted the doctrine of atonement, and learned the great truth that salvation is by faith in the Lord Jesus, it is often sore troubled with a sense of inability toward that which is good. Many are groaning, “I can do nothing.” They are not making this into an excuse, but they feel it as a daily burden. They would if they could. They can each one honestly say, “To will is present with me, but how to perform that which I would I find not.”

This feeling seems to make all the gospel null and void; for what is the use of food to a hungry man if he cannot get at it? Of what avail is the river of the water of life if one cannot drink? We recall the story of the doctor and the poor woman’s child. The sage practitioner told the mother that her little one would soon be better under proper treatment, but it was absolutely needful that her boy should regularly drink the best wine, and that he should spend a season at one of the German spas. This, to a widow who could hardly get bread to eat! Now, it sometimes seems to the troubled heart that the simple gospel of “Believe and live,” is not, after all, so very simple; for it asks the poor sinner to do what he cannot do. To the really awakened, but half instructed, there appears to be a missing link; yonder is the salvation of Jesus, but how is it to be reached? The soul is without strength, and knows not what to do. It lies within sight of the city of refuge, and cannot enter its gate.

Is this want of strength provided for in the plan of salvation? It is. The work of the Lord is perfect. It begins where we are, and asks nothing of us in order to its completion. When the good Samaritan saw the traveler lying wounded and half dead, he did not bid him rise and come to him, and mount the ass and ride off to the inn. No, “he came where he was,” and ministered to him, and lifted him upon the beast and bore him to the inn. Thus doth the Lord Jesus deal with us in our low and wretched estate.

We have seen that God justifieth, that He justifieth the ungodly and that He justifies them through faith in the precious blood of Jesus; we have now to see the condition these ungodly ones are in when Jesus works out their salvation. Many awakened persons are not only troubled about their sin, but about their moral weakness. They have no strength with which to escape from the mire into which they have fallen, nor to keep out of it in after days. They not only lament over what they have done, but over what they cannot do. They feel themselves to be powerless, helpless, and spiritually lifeless. It may sound odd to say that they feel dead, and yet it is even so. They are, in their own esteem, to all good incapable. They cannot travel the road to Heaven, for their bones are broken. “None of the men of strength have found their hands;” in fact, they are “without strength.” Happily, it is written, as the commendation of God’s love to us:

 

When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6).

 

Here we see conscious helplessness succored — succored by the interposition of the Lord Jesus. Our helplessness is extreme. It is not written, “When we were comparatively weak Christ died for us”; or, “When we had only a little strength”; but the description is absolute and unrestricted; “When we were yet without strength.” We had no strength whatever which could aid in our salvation; our Lord’s words were emphatically true, “Without me ye can do nothing.” I may go further than the text, and remind you of the great love wherewith the Lord loved us, “even when we were dead in trespasses and sins.” To be dead is even more than to be without strength.

The one thing that the poor strengthless sinner has to fix his mind upon, and firmly retain, as his one ground of hope, is the divine assurance that “in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” Believe this, and all inability will disappear. As it is fabled of Midas that he turned everything into gold by his touch, so it is true of faith that it turns everything it touches into good. Our very needs and weaknesses become blessings when faith deals with them.

Let us dwell upon certain forms of this want of strength. To begin with, one man will say, “Sir, I do not seem to have strength to collect my thoughts, and keep them fixed upon those solemn topics which concern my salvation; a short prayer is almost too much for me. It is so partly, perhaps, through natural weakness, partly because I have injured myself through dissipation, and partly also because I worry myself with worldly cares, so that I am not capable of those high thoughts which are necessary ere a soul can be saved.” This is a very common form of sinful weakness. Note this! You are without strength on this point; and there are many like you. They could not carry out a train of consecutive thought to save their lives. Many poor men and women are illiterate and untrained, and these would find deep thought to be very heavy work. Others are so light and trifling by nature, that they could no more follow out a long process of argument and reasoning, than they could fly. They could never attain to the knowledge of any profound mystery if they expended their whole life in the effort. You need not, therefore, despair: that which is necessary to salvation is not continuous thought, but a simple reliance upon Jesus. Hold you on to this one fact — “In due time Christ died for the ungodly.” This truth will not require from you any deep research or profound reasoning, or convincing argument. There it stands: “In due time Christ died for the ungodly.” Fix your mind on that, and rest there.

Let this one great, gracious, glorious fact lie in your spirit till it perfumes all your thoughts, and makes you rejoice even though you are without strength, seeing the Lord Jesus has become your strength and your song, yea, He has become your salvation. According to the Scriptures it is a revealed fact, that in due time Christ died for the ungodly when they were yet without strength. You have heard these words hundreds of times, maybe, and yet you have never before perceived their meaning. There is a cheering savor about them, is there not? Jesus did not die for our righteousness, but He died for our sins. He did not come to save us because we were worth the saving, but because we were utterly worthless, ruined, and undone. He came not to earth out of any reason that was in us, but solely and only out of reasons which He fetched from the depths of His own divine love. In due time He died for those whom He describes, not as godly, but as ungodly, applying to them as hopeless an adjective as He could well have selected. If you have but little mind, yet fasten it to this truth, which is fitted to the smallest capacity, and is able to cheer the heaviest heart. Let this text lie under your tongue like a sweet morsel, till it dissolves into your heart and flavors all your thoughts; and then it will little matter though those thoughts should be as scattered as autumn leaves. Persons who have never shone in science, nor displayed the least originality of mind, have nevertheless been fully able to accept the doctrine of the cross, and have been saved thereby. Why should not you?

I hear another man cry, “Oh, sir my want of strength lies mainly in this, that I cannot repent sufficiently!” A curious idea men have of what repentance is! Many fancy that so many tears are to be shed, and so many groans are to be heaved, and so much despair is to be endured. Whence comes this unreasonable notion? Unbelief and despair are sins, and therefore I do not see how they can be constituent elements of acceptable repentance; yet there are many who regard them as necessary parts of true Christian experience. They are in great error. Still, I know what they mean, for in the days of my darkness I used to feel in the same way. I desired to repent, but I thought that I could not do it, and yet all the while I was repenting. Odd as it may sound, I felt that I could not feel. I used to get into a corner and weep, because I could not weep; and I fell into bitter sorrow because I could not sorrow for sin. What a jumble it all is when in our unbelieving state we begin to judge our own condition! It is like a blind man looking at his own eyes. My heart was melted within me for fear, because I thought that my heart was as hard as an adamant stone. My heart was broken to think that it would not break. Now I can see that I was exhibiting the very thing which I thought I did not possess; but then I knew not where I was.

Oh that I could help others into the light which I now enjoy! Fain would I say a word which might shorten the time of their bewilderment. I would say a few plain words, and pray “the Comforter” to apply them to the heart.

Remember that the man who truly repents is never satisfied with his own repentance. We can no more repent perfectly than we can live perfectly. However pure our tears, there will always be some dirt in them: there will be something to be repented of even in our best repentance. But listen! To repent is to change your mind about sin, and Christ, and all the great things of God. There is sorrow implied in this; but the main point is the turning of the heart from sin to Christ. If there be this turning, you have the essence of true repentance, even though no alarm and no despair should ever have cast their shadow upon your mind.

If you cannot repent as you would, it will greatly aid you to do so if you will firmly believe that “in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” Think of this again and again. How can you continue to be hard-hearted when you know that out of supreme love “Christ died for the ungodly”? Let me persuade you to reason with yourself thus: Ungodly as I am, though this heart of steel will not relent, though I smite in vain upon my breast, yet He died for such as I am, since He died for the ungodly. Oh that I may believe this and feel the power of it upon my flinty heart!

Blot out every other reflection from your soul, and sit down by the hour together, and meditate deeply on this one resplendent display of unmerited, unexpected, unexampled love, “Christ died for the ungodly.” Read over carefully the narrative of the Lord’s death, as you find it in the four evangelists. If anything can melt your stubborn heart, it will be a sight of the sufferings of Jesus, and the consideration that he suffered all this for His enemies.

 

O Jesus! sweet the tears I shed,

While at Thy feet I kneel,

Gaze on Thy wounded, fainting head,

And all Thy sorrows feel.

My heart dissolves to see Thee bleed,

This heart so hard before;

I hear Thee for the guilty plead,

And grief o’erflows the more.

‘Twas for the sinful Thou didst die,

And I a sinner stand:

Convinc’d by Thine expiring eye,

Slain by Thy piercèd hand.

 

Surely the cross is that wonder-working rod which can bring water out of a rock. If you understand the full meaning of the divine sacrifice of Jesus, you must repent of ever having been opposed to One who is so full of love. It is written, “They shall look upon him whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” Repentance will not make you see Christ; but to see Christ will give you repentance. You may not make a Christ out of your repentance, but you must look for repentance to Christ. The Holy Ghost, by turning us to Christ, turns us from sin. Look away, then, from the effect to the cause, from your own repenting to the Lord Jesus, who is exalted on high to give repentance.

Charles H. Spurgeon—All of Grace

Follow along as we read this short but marvelous book. Download your copy here. Next chapter will go out Monday June 4 at 8:00 AM. Central Standard Time.