by John C. Ryle (1816-1900)
In this booklet, J. C. Ryle explores the scriptural basis of conversion. In his clear and winsome style, Ryle first explains that conversion—in his words—is a scriptural thing, a real thing, a necessary thing, a possible thing, a happy thing, and a thing that may be seen. After expounding on these, he urges the reader to “Find out if you are converted” and “If you are not converted, never rest till you are.” Finally, Ryle has the following advice for those who believe they are converted: make your calling and conversion sure, remember that a converted man is still a sinner needing Christ every day, labor to grow in grace as long as you live, and lastly, share your faith. As Ryle puts it: “Never, never if you are a converted man, never be content to go to heaven alone!”
Item code: dyty.
Source [Chapel Library]
What? The Keach Conference is an annual theology and ministry conference presented by the Reformed Baptist Fellowship of Virginia (RBF-VA). It is open to anyone to attend. There is no cost to attend, but participants are encouraged to pre-register.
When? Saturday, October 1, 2016.
Where? The 2016 Keach Conference will meet at the Providence Baptist Church 1441 Erickson Avenue, Harrisonburg, VA 22801
What is the 2016 theme? We are continuing our ongoing series through the Second London Baptist Confession. This year we are on Chapter Ten “Of Effectual Calling.”
Who are the speakers? The speakers will be David Charles, Pastor of Providence Reformed Baptist Church, Toledo, OH; Lee McKinnon, Pastor of Covenant Reformed Baptist Church, Bluefield, WV; Andy Rice, Pastor of Providence Baptist Church, Harrisonburg, VA.
How do I register? Cost: FREE, Web: Register Now!
What is the schedule? The schedule will be as follows:
Coffee and Fellowship, 8:30 am
October 1, Saturday Morning, 9:30 am (Session I):
•Message: Effectual Calling and Regeneration (paragraph 1): David Charles
•Message: Effectual Calling and Spiritual Ability (paragraph 2): Lee McKinnon
Fellowship and Literature Tables
Saturday Afternoon, 12:30am (Session II):
•Message: Effectual Calling and Elect Infants (paragraph 3): David Charles
•Message: Effectual Calling and the Reprobate (paragraph 4): Andy Rice
Question and Answer Session with the Speakers
Source [Reformed Baptist Fellowship]
SIX years ago, to-day, as near as possible at this very hour of the day, I was “in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity,” but had yet, by divine grace, been led to feel the bitterness of that bondage, and to cry out by reason of the soreness of its slavery. Seeking rest, and finding none, I stepped within the house of God, and sat there, afraid to look upward, lest I should be utterly cut off, and lest his fierce wrath should consume me, The minister rose in his pulpit, and, as I have done this morning, read this text-”Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth, for I am God, and there is none else.” I looked that moment; the grace of faith was vouchsafed to me in the selfsame instant, and now I think I can say with truth-
“E’er since by faith I saw the stream
His flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.”
I shall never forget that day, while memory holds its places nor can I help repeating this text, whenever I remember that hour when first I knew the Lord. How strangely gracious! How wonderfully and marvelously kind, that he who heard these words so little time ago for his own soul’s profit, should now address you this morning as his hearers from the same text, in the full and confident hope that some poor sinner within these walls may hear the glad tidings of salvation for himself also, and may to day, on this 6th of January, be “turned from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God.”
Charles H. Spurgeon- Sovereignty and Salvation-A Sermon Delivered On Sabbath Morning, January 6
And now, lastly, this call was an effectual one, for we see the fruits it brought forth. Open was Zaccheus’s door; spread was his table; generous was his heart; washed were his hands; unburdened was his conscience; joyful was his soul. Here, Lord,” says he, “the half of my goods I give to the poor; I dare say I have robbed them of half my property-and now I restore it.” “And if I have taken anything from any one by false accusation, I will restore it to him fourfold.”-away goes another portion of his property. Ah! Zaccheus, you will go to bed to-night a great deal poorer than when you got up this morning-but infinitely richer, too- poor, very poor, in this world’s goods, compared with what thou wert when thou first didst climb that sycamore tree; but richer-infinitely richer-in heavenly treasure. Sinner, we shall know whether; God calls you by this: if he calls, it will be an effectual call-not a call which you hear and then forget but one which produces good works. If God hath called thee this morning, down will go that drunken cup, up will go thy prayers; if God hath called thee this morning, there will not be one shutter up to-day in your shop, but all, and you will have a notice stuck up, “This house is closed on the Sabbath day, and will not again on that day, be opened.” To-morrow, there will be such and-such worldly amusement, but if God hath called you, you will not go. And if you have robbed anybody (and who knows but I may have a thief here?) If God call you, there will be a restoration of what you have stolen? you will give up all that you have, so that you will follow God with all your heart. We do not believe a man to be converted unless he doth renounce the error of his ways; unless, practically, he is brought to know that Christ himself is master of his conscience, and his law is his delight. “Zaccheus, make haste and come down, I must abide at thy house.” And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. “And Zaccheus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
Charles H. Spurgeon- Effectual Calling-A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, March 30, 1856
There is one thing, however, I cannot forget, and that is that it was a necessary call. Just read it over again. “Zaccheus, make haste, and come down; for to-day must abide at thy house.” It was not a thing that he might do, or might not do; but it was a necessary call. The salvation of a sinner is as much a matter of necessity with God as the fulfillment of his covenant that the rain shall no more drown the world. The salvation of every blood bought child of God is a necessary- thing for three reasons; it is necessary because it is God’s purpose; it is necessary because it is Christ’s purchase; it is necessary because it is God’s promise. It is necessary that the child of God should be saved. Some divines think it is very wrong to lay a stress on the word “must,” especially in that passage where it is said “he must needs go through Samaria.” “Why,” they say, “he must needs go through Samaria, because there was no other way he could go, and therefore he was forced to go that way.” Yes, gentlemen, we reply, no doubt; but then there might have been another way. Providence made it so that he must needs go through Samaria, and that Samaria should lie in the route he had chosen. So that we have you anyway.
“He must needs go through Samaria.” Providence directed man to build Samaria directly in the road, and grace constrained the Savior to move in that direction. It was- not “Come down, Zaccheus, because I may abide at thy house,” but “I must.” The Savior felt a strong necessity. Just as much a necessity as there is that man should die, as stern a necessity as there is that the sun should give us light by day and the moon by night, just so much a necessity is there that every blood-bought child of God shall be saved. “Today I must abide at thy house.” And oh! when the Lord comes to this, that he must and he will, what a thing it is with the poor sinner then at other times we ask, “Shall I let him in at all? there is a stranger at the door; he is knocking now; he has knocked before; shall I let him in?” But this time it is, “I must abide at thy house.” There was no knocking at the door, but smash went the door into atoms! and in he walked: I must, I shall, I will; I care not for your protecting your vileness, your unbelief; I must, I will; I must abide in thy house.” “Ah!” says one, “I do not believe God would ever make me to believe as you believe, or become a Christian at all.” Ah! but if he shall but say, “To-day I must abide at thy house,” there will be no resistance in you. There are some of you who would scorn the very idea of being a canting methodist; “What, sir! do you suppose I would ever turn one of your religious people?” No, my friend, I don’t suppose it; I know it for a certainty. If God says “I must,” there is no standing against it. Let him say “must,” and it must be.
I will just tell you an anecdote proving this. “A father was about sending his son to college; but as he knew the influence to which he would be exposed, he was not without a deep and anxious solicitude for the spiritual and eternal welfare of his favourite child. Fearing lest the principles of Christian faith, which he had endeavored to instil into his mind, would be rudely assailed, but trusting in the efficacy of that word which is quick and powerful, he purchased, unknown to his son, an elegant copy of the Bible, and deposited it at the bottom of his trunk. The young man entered upon his college career. The restraints of a pious education were soon broken off, and he proceeded from speculation to doubts, and from doubts to a denial of the reality of religion. After having become in his own estimation, wiser than his father, he discovered one day, while rummaging his trunk, with great surprise and indignation, the sacred deposit. He took it out, and while deliberating on the manner in which he should treat it, he determined that he would use it as waste paper, on which to wipe his razor while shaving. Accordingly, every time he went to shave, he tore out a leaf or two of the holy book, and thus used it till nearly half the volume was destroyed. But while he was committing this outrage upon the sacred book, a text now and then met his eye, and was carried like a barbed arrow to his heart. At length, he heard a sermon, which discovered to him his own character, and his exposure to the wrath of God, and riveted upon his mind the impression which he had received from the last torn leaf of the blessed, yet insulted volume. Had worlds been at his disposal, he would freely have given them all, could they have availed, in enabling him to undo what he had done. At length he found forgiveness at the foot of the cross. The torn leaves of that sacred volume brought healing to his soul; for they led him to repose on the mercy of God, which is sufficient for the chief of sinners.” I tell you there is not a reprobate walking the streets and defiling the air with his blasphemies, there is not a creature abandoned so as to be well-nigh as bad as Satan himself, if he is a child of life, who is not within the reach of mercy. And if God says “To-day I must abide in thy house,” he then assuredly will. Do you feel, my dear hearer, just now, something, in your mind which seems to say you have held out against the gospel a long while, but to-day you can hold out no longer? Do you feel that a strong hand has got hold of you, and do you hear a voice saying, “Sinner, I must abide in thy house; you have often scorned me, you have often laughed at me, you have often spit in the face of mercy, often blasphemed me, but sinner, I must abide in thy house; you banged the door yesterday in the missionary’s face, you burned the tract, you laughed at the minister, you have cursed God’s house, you have violated the Sabbath; but; sinner, I must abide in thy house, and I will,” “What, Lord!” you say, “abide in my house! why it is covered all over with iniquity. Abide in my house! Why there is not a chair or a table but would cry out against me. Abide in my house! why the joists and beams and flooring would all rise up and tell thee that I am not worthy to kiss the hem of thy garment. What, Lord! abide in my house!” “Yes,” says he, “I must; there is a strong necessity, my powerful love constrains me, and whether thou wilt let me or no, I am determined to make thee willing, and thou shalt let me in.” Does not this surprise you, poor trembler-you who thought that mercy’s day was gone, and that the bell of your destruction had tolled your death-knell? Oh! Does not this surprise you, that Christ not only asks you to come to him, but invites himself to your table, and what is more, when you would put him away, kindly says, “I must, I will come in.” Only think of Christ going after a sinner, crying after a sinner, begging a sinner to let him save him; and that is just what Jesus does to his chosen ones. The sinner runs away from him, but free-grace pursues him, and says, “Sinner, come to Christ;” and if our hearts be shut up, Christ puts his hand in at the door, and if we do not rise, but repulse him coldly, he says, “I must, I will come in;” he weeps over us till his tears win us; he cries after us till his cries prevail; and at last in his own well determined hour he enters into our heart, and there he dwells. “I must abide in thy house,” said Jesus.
Charles H. Spurgeon- Effectual Calling-A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, March 30, 1856
Much harm has been done by incompetent “novices” when treating of the subject of regeneration, by confining themselves to a single term—“born again”
Much harm has been done by incompetent “novices” when treating of the subject of regeneration, by confining themselves to a single term—“born again.” This is only one of many figures used in Scripture to describe that miracle of grace which is wrought in the soul when he passes from death unto life and is brought out of darkness into God’s marvelous light. It is termed a new birth because a Divine life is communicated and there is the commencement of a new experience. But it is also likened to a spiritual resurrection, which presents a very different line of thought, and to a “renewing” (Colossians 3:10), which imports a change in the original individual. It is the person who is Divinely quickened and not merely a “nature” which is begotten of God: “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7), not merely something in you must be; “he is born of God” (1 John 3:9). The same person who was spiritually dead— his whole being alienated from God—is then made alive: his whole being reconciled to Him. This must be so, otherwise there would be no preservation of the identity of the individual. It is a new birth of the individual himself, and not of something in him. The nature is never changed, but the person is— relatively not absolutely.
If we limit ourselves to the figure of the new birth when considering the great change wrought in one whom God saves, not only will a very inadequate concept of the same be obtained, but a thoroughly erroneous one. In other passages it is spoken of as an illuminating of the mind (Acts 26:13), a searching and convicting of the conscience (Romans 7:9), a renovating of the heart (Ezekiel 11:19), a subduing of the will (Psalm 110:3), a bringing of our thoughts into subjection to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5), a writing of God’s Law on the heart (Hebrews 8:10). In some passages something is said to be removed from the individual (Deuteronomy 30:6; Ezekiel 36:26)— the love of sin, enmity against God; while in others something is communicated (Romans 5:5; 1 John 5:20). The figures of creation (Ephesians 2:10), renewing (Titus 3:5) and resurrection (1 John 3:14) are also employed. In some passages this miracle appears to be a completed thing (1 Corinthians 6:11; Colossians 1:12), in others as a process yet going on (2 Corinthians 3:18; Philippians 1:16). Though the work of grace be one, yet it is many-sided. Its subject is a composite creature and his salvation affects every part of his complex being.
Physical birth is the bringing into this world of a creature, a complete personality, which before conception had no existence whatever. But the one regenerated by God had a complete personality before he was born again. Regeneration is not the creation of an individual which hitherto existed not, but the spiritualizing of one who already exists—the renewing and renovating of one whom sin has unfitted for communion with God, by bestowing upon him that which gives a new bias to all his faculties. Beware of regarding the Christian as made up of two distinct and diverse personalities. Responsibility attaches to the individual and not to his “nature” or “natures.” While both sin and grace indwell the saint, God holds him accountable to resist and subdue the one and yield to and be regulated by the other. The fact that this miracle of grace is also likened to a resurrection (John 5:25) should prevent us forming a one-sided idea of what is imported by the new birth and “the new creature,” and from pressing some analogies from natural birth which other figurative expressions disallow. The great inward change is also likened to a Divine “begetting” (1 Peter 1:3), because the image of the Begetter is then stamped upon the soul. As the first Adam begat a son in his own image (Genesis 5:3), so the last Adam has an “image” (Romans 8:29) to convey to His sons (Ephesians 4:24).
Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures
Next, it is an affectionate call. “To-day I must abide in thy house.” You can easily conceive how the faces of the multitude change! They thought Christ to be the holiest and best of men, and were ready to make him a king. But he Says, “To-day I must abide in thy house.” There was one poor Jew who had been inside Zaccheus’s house; he had “been on the carpet,” as they say in country villages when they are taken before the justice, and he recollected what sort of a house it was; he remembered how he was taken in there, and his conceptions of it were something like what a fly would have of a spider’s den after he had once escaped. There was another who had been distrained of nearly all his property; and the idea he had of walking in there was like walking into a den of lions. “What!” said they, “Is this holy man going into such a den as that, where we poor wretches have been robbed and ill-treated. It was bad enough for Christ to speak to him up in the tree, but the idea of going into his house!” They all murmured at his going to be “a guest with a man who was a sinner.” Well, I know what some of his disciples thought: they thought it very imprudent; it might injure his character, and he might offend the people. They thought he might have gone to see this man at night, like Nicodemus, and give him an audience when nobody saw him; but publicly to acknowledge such a man was the most imprudent act he could commit. But why did Christ do as he did? Because he would give Zaccheus an affectionate call. “I will not come and stand at thy threshold, or look in at thy window, but I will come into thine house-the same house where the cries of widows have come into thine ears, and thou hast disregarded them; I will come into thy parlour, where the weeping of the orphan has never moved thy compassion; I will come there, where thou, like a ravenous lion hast devoured thy prey; I will come there, where thou hast blackened thine house, and made is infamous; I will come into the place where cries have risen to high heaven, wrung from the lips of those whom thou hast oppressed; I will come into thy house and give thee a blessing.” Oh! what affection there was in that! Poor sinner, my Master is a very affectionate Master. He will come into your house. What kind of a house have you got? A house that you have made miserable with your drunkenness-a house you have defiled with your impurity-a house you have defiled with your cursing and swearing-a house where you are carrying on an ill-trade that you would be glad to get rid of. Christ says, “I will come into thine house.” And I know some houses now that once were dens of sin, where Christ comes every morning; the husband and wife who once could quarrel and fight, bend their knees together in prayer. Christ comes there at dinner-time, when the workman comes home from his meals. Some of my hearers can scarce come for an hour to their meals but they must have word of prayer and reading of the Scriptures. Christ comes to them. Where the walls were plastered up with the lascivious song and idle picture, there is a Christian almanack in one place, there is a Bible on the chest of drawers; and though it is only one room they live in, if an angel should come in, and God should say, “What hast thou seen in that house?” he would say, “I have seen good furniture, for there is a Bible there; here and there a religious book; the filthy pictures are pulled down and burned; there are no cards in the man’s cupboard now; Christ has come into his house.” Oh! what a blessing that we have our household God as well as the Romans! Our God is a household God. He comes to live with his people; he loves the tents of Jacob. Now, poor ragamuffin sinner, thou who livest in the filthiest den in London, if such an one be here, Jesus saith to thee, “Zaccheus, make haste and come down; for to-day I must abide in thy house.”
Charles H. Spurgeon- Effectual Calling-A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, March 30, 1856