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The Wednesday Word: When a Guilty Sinner met the Gracious Saviour

When a guilty sinner met the gracious Saviour the result was blessing (see Luke 7:36-50).

The Bible tells us that we are saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8-10) but grace makes no sense to the person who has not seen their lostness before God. Just as, when we are sick, our stomachs despise and reject health giving food, so the proud person rejects salvation by free grace.

To my unbelieving friends I would ask a question… have you become aware of your spiritual destitution? Have you discovered that your sin has already damned you? (John 3:18). Instead of being pure, have you discovered that your heart, like everyone else’s, is deceitful, and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). That’s a hard pill to swallow.

Do you not know yourself? Instead of your works being good, outside of Christ they are either “bad” or “dead” (see Philippians 3:4-9; John 6:28-29; Hebrews 6:1-3).

So, here’s a question, if you are a sinner at best, …what are you at worst?

The truth is, outside of Christ, we are all desperately wicked and guilty before the all-holy God. Guilty! Guilty of sins, innumerable sins, and responsible for every one of them!

Terrible!

But, what a wonderfully suitable Saviour we find in the Lord Jesus. He was and is full of grace. What He was … is what He is! He never changes.

Do you remember Simon the Pharisee?

No?

Let me then ‘stir up your pure mind by way of remembrance.’ Simon, a local leader of religion, ‘condescended’ to entertain the Master with a meal (see Luke 7:36-50). I’m sure, at the back of it, he prided himself on having such a famous man as Jesus for a guest. But, during the feast the Lord disrupted the party by announcing forgiveness and grace for a local prostitute. Simon was both shocked and offended. Grace will do that to us at times. Simon, you see, was self-righteous. In his estimation, Jesus was not for the likes of her. But this woman, this notorious sinner, had what Simon had not… she had a knowledge of personal guilt. Simon was ignorant of his.

This poor woman placed herself at the mercy of her Maker. And how did Jesus respond?

He forgave her.

Grace outweighed her guilt and she went home with the Master’s triple announcement:

“Thy sins are forgiven;” (Mark 7:47).

“Thy faith hath saved thee;” (Mark 7:50).

“Go in peace” (Mark 7:50).

Evidently, before she met Jesus, conviction of sin had taken possession of her. She rightly judged herself guilty, turned to the Lord for mercy and was met by perfect grace.´´Perfect Grace!´´ What a description of the character of God. Grace changed the dear woman’s hell into heaven and cleansed her filth.

In this story, guilt entered the lists with grace and grace triumphed. It’s no wonder then that we can boldly say, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief ” (1 Timothy 1:15).

So, let’s ask a question, … do you know Him? If you say you do, let’s ask another question … is He is precious to you? If you don’t know and love Him then may the Lord open your understanding and may you, “acquaint thyself now with him, and be at peace; …” (Job 22:21).

The unsaved’s desire is to get away from God … and keep away from Him (John 3:19-21). Unless grace, therefore, intervenes, your wish will be granted, and you will eventually find yourself excluded from God forever. In the Lake of Fire, there is no grace. Grace never visits. Rays of mercy make no surprise appearances. (see Matthew 25; Luke 14). I urge you, therefore, to “Believe (trust) in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved” (Acts 16:31). Rest on Him, He is the sure foundation (Isaiah 28:16).

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

C. H. Spurgeon’s Prayers-Prayer 20

THE GREAT SACRIFICE.

O GOD our Father, we do remember well when we were called to Thee; with many sweet and wooing voices we were bidden to return. Thou didst Thyself hang out the lights of mercy that we might know the way home, and Thy dear Son himself came down to seek us. But we wandered still. It brings the tears to our eyes to think that we should have been so foolish and so wicked, for we often extinguished the light within and conscience we tried to harden, and we sinned against light and knowledge with a high hand against our God.

Thou hast often brought us very low even to our knees, and we cried for mercy, but we rose to sin again. Blessed was that day when Thou didst strike the blow of grace — the effectual blow. Then didst Thou wither up our comeliness and all our perfection was rolled in the dust. We saw ourselves to be slain by the law, to be lost, ruined, and undone, and then we rolled to and fro in the tempests of our thoughts and staggered like drunken men, and were at our wits’ end — then did we cry unto Thee in our trouble, and blessed be Thy name for ever, Thou didst deliver us.

O happy day that sealed our pardon with the precious blood of Jesus accepted by faith. We would recall the memory of that blessed season by repeating it. We come again now to the cross whereon the Savior bled; we give another look of faith to Him. We trust we never take away our eyes off Him, but if we have done so we would look anew; we would gaze into the body of the Son of God, pierced with nails, parched with thirst, bleeding, dying, because “it pleased the Father to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief.”

Lord God, we see in Thy crucified Son a sacrifice for sin; we see how Thou hast made Him to be sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him; and we do over again accept Him to be everything to us. This is the victim by whose blood the covenant is made through faith; this is that Paschal Lamb by the sprinkling of whose blood all Israel is secured; for Thou hast said, “When I see the blood I will pass over you.” This is the blood which gives us access into that which is within the veil; this is the blood which now to our souls is drink indeed, and we do rejoice in the joy which this new wine of the covenant hath given unto our spirits.

We would take afresh the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord. We would pay our vows now in the midst of all the Lord’s people and in the courts of His house; and this is a part payment of our vow that we bless the Lord Jesus who hath put away our sin. We bless Him that He hath redeemed us unto Himself not with corruptible things as silver and gold, but with His own precious blood; and we do avow ourselves today to be the Lord’s.

We are not our own; we are bought with a price. Lord Jesus, renew Thy grasp of us, take us over again, for we do even with greater alacrity than ever before surrender ourselves to Thee, and so “bind the sacrifice with cords, even with cords to the horns of the altar.” O Lord, I am Thy servant, and the son of Thine handmaid. Thou hast loosed my bonds. The Lord liveth, and blessed be my Rock. Henceforth within that Rock I hide myself. For Him I live. The Lord enable all His people with sincere hearts, with undivided hearts, thus again to give themselves up to Jesus, and do Thou set in them anew the marks and tokens of Thy possession till every one of us shall say as many of us can say, “From henceforth let no man trouble me; for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

We bless Thee, Lord, for that mark to which some of us can look back with much joy. It is not in our hand, nor in our forehead, nor on our foot, nor on our heart alone; our whole body has been buried with Christ in baptism unto death, and now the whole body, soul and spirit, by our willing consecration, belong unto Christ henceforth and for ever.

Our Father, there is one prayer which has kept rising to our lip even while we have been thus speaking to Thee. It comes from our very heart. It is: Bring others to Thyself. Hast Thou not said, O God of Jacob, “Yet will I gather others unto Him that have not been gathered?” Hast Thou not given to Thy Son the heathen for His inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for His possession? Lord, give Thy Son the reward of His travail; give Him a part of that reward this day wherever He is preached. Oh! That some might be moved with the love of Christ.

Lord, some know not who Thou art; convince them of Thy Deity and Thy power to save. Lord, many of them do not think; they live as if they were to die, and there would be an end of them. O Divine Spirit, convince them of judgment to come. Set before each careless eye that day of terrible pomp when for every idle word that men shall speak they must give an account. O Divine Spirit, teach unreasonable men true reason; teach the obdurate sensitiveness; look upon them, Jesus, just as Thou didst on those of the synagogue, not with anger, but still being grieved because of the hardness of their hearts. “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do,” and bring many, many, many this very day to the dear feet that were nailed to the cross. Oh! how we long for it. Deny us what Thou wilt, only bring sinners to Thyself.

Lord Jesus, Thou art gone from us. We rejoice that this is the fact, for Thou hast taught us that it is expedient for us that Thou shouldest go, and that the Comforter should be with us; but, oh! let us not miss that promised presence of the Comforter. May He be here to help and succor in all works of faith and labors of love, and may we feel that He has come among us and is dwelling with us because He is convincing the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment to come.

O Spirit of God, bring men to accept the great propitiation, to see their sin washed away in the purple flood whose fount was opened when the heart of Christ was pierced, and may blood-washed sinners begin to sing on earth that everlasting anthem which shall be sung by all the redeemed in heaven.

We beseech Thee now, Lord, to look upon all Thy people, and grant every one a blessing. Some are in great trouble. Deliver them, we pray Thee. Others may be in great peril, though they have no trouble. The Lord save His people from the evils of prosperity. It may be some of Thine own people find it hard to worship because of cares; may they be able, like Abraham, when the birds came down upon the sacrifice, to drive them away.

O Spirit of God, make us all more holy. Work in us more completely the image of Christ. We do long to be as the Lord Jesus Christ in spirit and temper, and in unselfishness of life. Give us the character of Christ, we pray Thee. Redemption from the power of sin is purchased with His blood, and we crave for it, and pray that we may daily receive it. Let the whole militant Church of Christ be blessed; put power into all faithful ministries; convert this country; save it from abounding sin; let all the nations of the earth know the Lord, but especially bless those nations that speak our own dear mother tongue, where our same Lord and Christ is worshipped this day after the same fashion.

The Lord bless His people. Bring the Church to break down all bonds of nationality, all limits of sects, and may we feel the blessed unity which is the very glory of the Church of Christ; yea, let the whole earth be filled with His glory. Our prayer can never cease until we reach this point: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Nothing less than this can we ask for. And now hear us as we pray for the Sovereign and all in authority, and ask Thy blessing to rest upon this land, and let Thy blessing extend over all the family of man. We ask it for Christ’s sake. Amen.world without end. Amen.

C. H. Spurgeon’s Prayers

The Law-Gospel Contrast

February 24, 2014 3 comments

by Tom Hicks

I submit that we need a clear understanding of the law/gospel contrast, if we want to be healthy in our preaching, churches, families, and individual sanctification. The law/gospel distinction is often misunderstood or overlooked, but it is thoroughly biblical and vital. Consider three different places in Scripture that teach the law/gospel contrast:

Galatians 4:22-26 says, “For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.”

These verses contrast the two covenants of law and gospel, which are typologically revealed in Hagar and Sarah. The law covenant is a covenant of slavery to guilt and condemnation. The gospel covenant is a covenant of freedom to life and justification.

 

Read the entire article here.

The Wednesday Word: Righteous Grace (Part 2)

February 12, 2014 1 comment

The Wednesday Word: Righteous Grace (Part 2)

It’s one thing to feel good about the gospel, but quite a different matter to grasp its ramifications. I have met many professing Christians who, for example, are ‘martyrs’ to a bad conscience. They know the words, “saved by grace,” but suspect that grace means, ‘God’s lackadaisical kindness’. Not having understood that the grace which saves is righteous grace, they have no peace. The ‘gospel’ that they know ministers calm to neither their mind nor their conscience (Jeremiah 6:14).

For true peace we, as gospel believers, continually find ourselves going back to the cross. When your conscience tells you that you are a rat, then asks you if you are sure that God is merciful?” … What do you do? And just as you are thinking about the question, your conscience pipes up again saying “What if God grows weary of you and forgets to be gracious?” What can you say? The only answer to these accusations is the cross for it boldly declares that, “Christ Jesus was set forth as a substitutionary wrath offering for sin.” At the cross, we learn that He saves by both love and justice. At the cross, we learn that we are saved as a matter of righteousness grace (Romans 3:24-26).

He saves us justly. This is good news for we easily could imagine a scenario where God could cease to be merciful, but we could never envision Him ceasing to be just.

Righteous grace is no new concept. In the Old Testament, the blood of the sin offering was sprinkled on the mercy seat. Justice and mercy combined. The sinner was, consequently, saved, not only by grace, but also saved righteously. Likewise, in the New Covenant, the God of the gospel graciously justified the ungodly by ruthlessly punishing our sins in the person of our substitute Jesus Christ. Although we are saved by grace alone, saving grace is never alone for it is inseparably joined to righteousness. Our salvation and right standing with God now rest on the righteous and gracious work which God has already accomplished for us, outside of us, in the Person of Jesus Christ (Romans 3:24).

Two thousand years ago there was an objective, actual, historical event when God Himself broke into human history as one of us. He became our representative and was so identified with us that all which He did was, not only done for us, but was exactly the same as if we had done it ourselves. When He graciously bore the punishment for our sin, we were righteously punished in Him. When He arose, we arose. When He was exalted to the right hand of the majesty on high so were we (Ephesians 2:6)! It is finished! We can now be at peace.

Have you ever had a troubled conscience? I have! The following are some scriptures (in personalized form) that I have frequently used to defeat the accusations of a bad conscience. Take these wonderful truths and confess them.

 

“Christ died for my sins” (1 Corinthians 15:3).

“He was wounded for my transgressions; he was bruised for my iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5).

“Christ was once offered to bear my sins” (Hebrews 9:28).

“Who gave himself for me, that he might redeem me” (Titus 2:14).

“He was “delivered for my offences and was raised for my justification” (Romans 4:25).

“He “gave himself for my sins” (Galatians 1:4)

“Christ died for me” (Romans 5:6).

“He has appeared to put away my sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:26).

 

See also 1 Peter 4:1, 1Peter 3:18, 1 Peter 2:24.

Notice how the words, ‘Himself’ and ‘He’ appear frequently in the preceding verses. This is because the gracious and righteous Lord Himself is our salvation. He is our robe of righteousness.

Someone once asked Irenaeus, the 2nd Century, iconic champion of the faith, “Irenaeus, what has Christ brought that other religious leaders have not brought?” He answered, “He brought Himself.”

That’s what makes our gospel different. God came here Himself to righteously and gracious deal with sin and sinners. This is good news for the troubled conscience.

And that’s the Gospel Truth

Miles McKee

 

Minister of the Gospel

6 Quay Street, New Ross, County Wexford, Ireland,

www.milesmckee.com

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The Wednesday Word: Righteous Grace Part 1

The Wednesday Word: Righteous Grace Part 1

God is the God of all Grace (1 Peter 5:10). He is also the God of righteousness (Ezra 9:15). It is as we see that God saves us, not only by grace, but also through righteousness that we enjoy His full and perfect peace (Isaiah 45:21, Romans 4:5; Isaiah 26:3).

At the heart of the gospel, we discover that grace is, as Horatius Bonar terms it, “Righteous Grace.” Unless we understand this, we will continually struggle with assurance and peace. God justifies the ungodly (Romans 4:5) and does so as a matter, not solely of love, but also of righteousness. At the cross, the justice of God punished Christ as though He were the worst of sinners (2 Corinthians 5:21). Because God refused to gloss over the sin problem, Christ was condemned as though He were us. Justice has, therefore, been satisfied.

Luther, at first, struggled to understand this very thing. One day he read David’s prayer in Psalm 71:2: “Save me in thy righteousness” and cried out, “What does this mean? I can understand how God can damn me in His righteousness, but if he would save me it must surely be in His mercy.” Through time, however, He came to understand that gospel grace is righteous grace.

In the Gospel, we are not confronted with a vague forgiveness, arising out of some sort of paternal love on the part of a bemused God. That would be far from righteous grace. We’ve got to get to grips with this! We need to know both the righteous and gracious basis of our acceptance before God. Indeed, if we are not clear on this, we have no gospel! If we take away either righteousness or grace from the gospel, we have eliminated its very life-blood, and there is, as Spurgeon says, “Nothing left worth preaching, worth believing, or worth contending for.”

Righteous grace is at the heart and soul of the gospel: without it, the gospel is dead. Without righteous grace, there is no comfort for the troubled conscience. From first to last, everything in salvation is of grace and that grace comes to us righteously.

Additionally, to help us understand this we need to ask:

1) Did God recognize our absolute guilt, but chose to ignore it since He is our Father?

2) Or, did God acquit us because He loves us and, at the back of it all, He is very good-natured?

3) Or, is God indifferent to sin?

4) Or, was it that because God’s absolute holiness demanded He took action against our sin, He punished Christ Jesus at the cross of Calvary?

So, how say you? On what basis does God acquit us? Are we declared not-guilty because God is kind and tender? Or, does God forgive us in a righteous, just and gracious manner? We must be clear on this. We must be clear that, at the cross, our sins were paid for by our substitute. Christ was legally cursed on our behalf (Galatians 3:13). Our gracious acquittal is, therefore, based on the work of righteousness. It was righteousness that had condemned us in the first place. It was righteousness that had barred us from heaven and if ever we were to be saved it had to be done righteously.

Now that Christ has been righteously punished in our place, our condemnation has been righteously and graciously removed (Romans 8:1). Christ has died in place of the ungodly and has been righteously condemned. Believers have now been declared righteous, not because the Lord is nice, but because of righteous grace. Christ died and intercepted our well-earned wrath as He purged and took our sin away (Romans 3:25, Hebrews 1:3, John 1:29).

Since the perfect righteousness of Christ has now been graciously reckoned to us, it would be, therefore, an unrighteous thing for God to condemn anyone for whom Christ died (Romans 4:22-25, Romans 8:34).

And that’s the Gospel Truth

Miles McKee

 

Minister of the Gospel

6 Quay Street, New Ross, County Wexford, Ireland,

www.milesmckee.com

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Question 32-Puritan Catechism

August 15, 2013 6 comments

Spurgeon 1Q. What is justification?

A. Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein he pardons all our sins, (Romans 3:24; Ephesians 1:7) and accepts us as righteous in his sight (2 Corinthians 5:21) only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, (Romans 5:19) and received by faith alone. (Galatians 2:16; Philippians 3:9)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon-A Puritan Catechism

He that worketh, rejects the way of salvation

March 11, 2013 1 comment

fullerCommenting on Acts 16:30 Andrew Fuller said:

If these or such like exercises, occupy your mind, the question of the Philipian jailer is yours; and to you let me address a few DIRECTIONS included or implied in the answer.

If by this question you mean, What can you do to appease the wrath of God, or recommend yourself as a fit object of his mercy? What can you do as a good deed, or the beginning of a course of good deeds, in reward of which he may bestow upon you an interest in the Saviour? I answer, Nothing. An interest in Christ, and eternal life, are indeed given as a reward; but not of any thing we have done, or can do, even with divine assistance; it is the reward of the obedience of Christ unto death. To us it is of mere grace, and as such must be received, Though faith is in itself a holy exercise of the mind, yet, as that by which we are justified, it is directly opposed to doing. “To him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt; but to him, that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” He that worketh, seeks to obtain life and the favor of God, in some way or other, as a reward; but he that believeth, receives it as a free gift to the unworthy. And let me apprize you, that this is the state of mind you must be brought to, or you must perish forever. So far as you think of doing anything, call it what you may, with a hope of being pardoned and justified for its sake, so far you reject the only way of salvation, and have reason to expect your portion with unbelievers.

Rev. Andrew Fuller–The Great Question Answered

The marriage feast for the Son

fullerSpeaking on the sacrifice of Christ- Andrew Fuller declared……The blessings of pardon, peace, and eternal life, are compared to a feast, or marriage-supper, which the King of heaven and earth hath made for his Son; and he hath commanded his servants to go forth, as to the highways and hedges, and to invite without distinction; yea, to compel them to come in. Nor is this all: you are exhorted and commanded to believe in Christ, on pain of damnation. All your other you merely to the curse of the law; but the sin of unbelief, if persisted in, will expose you, like the barren fig tree, to the curse of the Saviour, from which there is no redemption.

Rev. Andrew Fuller–The Great Question Answered

All of Grace—Repentance Must Go with Forgiveness

Chapter Fourteen

Repentance Must Go with Forgiveness

IT IS CLEAR from the text which we have lately quoted that repentance is bound up with the forgiveness of sins. In Acts 5:31we read that Jesus is “exalted to give repentance and forgiveness of sins.” These two blessings come from that sacred hand which once was nailed to the tree, but is now raised to glory. Repentance and forgiveness are riveted together by the eternal purpose of God. What God hath joined together let no man put asunder.

Repentance must go with remission, and you will see that it is so if you think a little upon the matter. It cannot be that pardon of sin should be given to an impenitent sinner; this were to confirm him in his evil ways, and to teach him to think little of evil. If the Lord were to say, “You love sin, and live in it, and you are going on from bad to worse, but, all the same, I forgive you,” this were to proclaim a horrible license for iniquity. The foundations of social order would be removed, and moral anarchy would follow. I cannot tell what innumerable mischiefs would certainly occur if you could divide repentance and forgiveness, and pass by the sin while the sinner remained as fond of it as ever. In the very nature of things, if we believe in the holiness of God, it must be so, that if we continue in our sin, and will not repent of it, we cannot be forgiven, but must reap the consequence of our obstinacy. According to the infinite goodness of God, we are promised that if we will forsake our sins, confessing them, and will, by faith, accept the grace which is provided in Christ Jesus, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. But, so long as God lives, there can be no promise of mercy to those who continue in their evil ways, and refuse to acknowledge their wrongdoing. Surely no rebel can expect the King to pardon his treason while he remains in open revolt. No one can be so foolish as to imagine that the Judge of all the earth will put away our sins if we refuse to put them away ourselves.

Moreover, it must be so for the completeness of divine mercy. That mercy which could forgive the sin and yet let the sinner live in it would be scant and superficial mercy. It would be unequal and deformed mercy, lame upon one of its feet, and withered as to one of its hands. Which, think you, is the greater privilege, cleansing from the guilt of sin, or deliverance from the power of sin? I will not attempt to weigh in the scales two mercies so surpassing. Neither of them could have come to us apart from the precious blood of Jesus. But it seems to me that to be delivered from the dominion of sin, to be made holy, to be made like to God, must be reckoned the greater of the two, if a comparison has to be drawn. To be forgiven is an immeasurable favor. We make this one of the first notes of our psalm of praise: “Who forgiveth all thine iniquities.” But if we could be forgiven, and then could be permitted to love sin, to riot in iniquity, and to wallow in lust, what would be the use of such a forgiveness? Might it not turn out to be a poisoned sweet, which would most effectually destroy us? To be washed, and yet to lie in the mire; to be pronounced clean, and yet to have the leprosy white on one’s brow, would be the veriest mockery of mercy. What is it to bring the man out of his sepulcher if you leave him dead? Why lead him into the light if he is still blind? We thank God, that He who forgives our iniquities also heals our diseases. He who washes us from the stains of the past also uplifts us from the foul ways of the present, and keeps us from failing in the future. We must joyfully accept both repentance and remission; they cannot be separated. The covenant heritage is one and indivisible, and must not be parceled out. To divide the work of grace would be to cut the living child in halves, and those who would permit this have no interest in it.

I will ask you who are seeking the Lord, whether you would be satisfied with one of these mercies alone? Would it content you, my reader, if God would forgive you your sin and then allow you to be as worldly and wicked as before? Oh, no! The quickened spirit is more afraid of sin itself than of the penal results of it. The cry of your heart is not, “Who shall deliver me from punishment?” but, “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? Who shall enable me to live above temptation, and to become holy, even as God is holy?” Since the unity of repentance with remission agrees with gracious desire, and since it is necessary for the completeness of salvation, and for holiness’ sake, rest you sure that it abides.

Repentance and forgiveness are joined together in the experience of all believers. There never was a person yet who did unfeignedly repent of sin with believing repentance who was not forgiven; and on the other hand, there never was a person forgiven who had not repented of his sin. I do not hesitate to say that beneath the copes of Heaven there never was, there is not, and there never will be, any case of sin being washed away, unless at the same time the heart was led to repentance and faith in Christ. Hatred of sin and a sense of pardon come together into the soul, and abide together while we live.

These two things act and react upon each other: the man who is forgiven, therefore repents; and the man who repents is also most assuredly forgiven. Remember first, that forgiveness leads to repentance. As we sing in Hart’s words:

 

Law and terrors do but harden,

All the while they work alone;

But a sense of blood-bought pardon

Soon dissolves a heart of stone.

 

When we are sure that we are forgiven, then we abhor iniquity; and I suppose that when faith grows into full assurance, so that we are certain beyond a doubt that the blood of Jesus has washed us whiter than snow, it is then that repentance reaches to its greatest height. Repentance grows as faith grows. Do not make any mistake about it; repentance is not a thing of days and weeks, a temporary penance to be over as fast as possible! No; it is the grace of a lifetime, like faith itself. God’s little children repent, and so do the young men and the fathers. Repentance is the inseparable companion of faith. All the while that we walk by faith and not by sight, the tear of repentance glitters in the eye of faith. That is not true repentance which does not come of faith in Jesus, and that is not true faith in Jesus which is not tinctured with repentance. Faith and repentance, like Siamese twins, are vitally joined together. In proportion as we believe in the forgiving love of Christ, in that proportion we repent; and in proportion as we repent of sin and hate evil, we rejoice in the fullness of the absolution which Jesus is exalted to bestow. You will never value pardon unless you feel repentance; and you will never taste the deepest draught of repentance until you know that you are pardoned. It may seem a strange thing, but so it is — the bitterness of repentance and the sweetness of pardon blend in the flavor of every gracious life, and make up an incomparable happiness.

These two covenant gifts are the mutual assurance of each other. If I know that I repent, I know that I am forgiven. How am I to know that I am forgiven except I know also that I am turned from my former sinful course? To be a believer is to be a penitent. Faith and repentance are but two spokes in the same wheel, two handles of the same plough. Repentance has been well described as a heart broken for sin, and from sin; and it may equally well be spoken of as turning and returning. It is a change of mind of the most thorough and radical sort, and it is attended with sorrow for the past, and a resolve of amendment in the future.

 

Repentance is to leave

The sins we loved before;

And show that we in earnest grieve,

By doing so no more.

 

Now, when that is the case, we may be certain that we are forgiven; for the Lord never made a heart to be broken for sin and broken from sin, without pardoning it. If, on the other hand, we are enjoying pardon, through the blood of Jesus, and are justified by faith, and have peace with God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, we know that our repentance and faith are of the right sort.

Do not regard your repentance as the cause of your remission, but as the companion of it. Do not expect to be able to repent until you see the grace of our Lord Jesus, and His readiness to blot out your sin. Keep these blessed things in their places, and view them in their relation to each other. They are the Jachin and Boaz of a saving experience; I mean that they are comparable to Solomon’s two great pillars which stood in the forefront of the house of the Lord, and formed a majestic entrance to the holy place. No man comes to God aright except he passes between the pillars of repentance and remission. Upon your heart the rainbow of covenant grace has been displayed in all its beauty when the tear-drops of repentance have been shone upon by the light of full forgiveness. Repentance of sin and faith in divine pardon are the warp and woof of the fabric of real conversion. By these tokens shall you know an Israelite indeed.

To come back to the Scripture upon which we are meditating: both forgiveness and repentance flow from the same source, and are given by the same Savior. The Lord Jesus in His glory bestows both upon the same persons. You are neither to find the remission nor the repentance elsewhere. Jesus has both ready, and He is prepared to bestow them now, and to bestow them most freely on all who will accept them at His hands. Let it never be forgotten that Jesus gives all that is needful for our salvation. It is highly important that all seekers after mercy should remember this. Faith is as much the gift of God as is the Savior upon whom that faith relies. Repentance of sin is as truly the work of grace as the making of an atonement by which sin is blotted out. Salvation, from first to last, is of grace alone. You will not misunderstand me. It is not the Holy Spirit who repents. He has never done anything for which He should repent. If He could repent, it would not meet the case; we must ourselves repent of our own sin, or we are not saved from its power. It is not the Lord Jesus Christ who repents. What should He repent of? We ourselves repent with the full consent of every faculty of our mind. The will, the affections, the emotions, all work together most heartily in the blessed act of repentance for sin; and yet at the back of all that is our personal act, there is a secret holy influence which melts the heart, gives contrition, and produces a complete change. The Spirit of God enlightens us to see what sin is, and thus makes it loathsome in our eyes. The Spirit of God also turns us toward holiness, makes us heartily to appreciate, love, and desire it, and thus gives us the impetus by which we are led onward from stage to stage of sanctification. The Spirit of God works in us to will and to do according to God’s good pleasure. To that good Spirit let us submit ourselves at once, that He may lead us to Jesus, who will freely give us the double benediction of repentance and remission, according to the riches of His grace.

BY GRACE ARE YE SAVED”

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 Wednesday June 20 at 8:00 AM. Central Standard Time.