Category Archives: Spurgeon Quotes
“Babes in Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 1:31
Are you mourning, believer, because you are so weak in the divine life: because your faith is so little, your love so feeble? Cheer up, for you have cause for gratitude. Remember that in some things you are equal to the greatest and most full-grown Christian. You are as much bought with blood as he is. You are as much an adopted child of God as any other believer. An infant is as truly a child of its parents as is the full-grown man. You are as completely justified, for your justification is not a thing of degrees: your little faith has made you clean every whit. You have as much right to the precious things of the covenant as the most advanced believers, for your right to covenant mercies lies not in your growth, but in the covenant itself; and your faith in Jesus is not the measure, but the token of your inheritance in him. You are as rich as the richest, if not in enjoyment, yet in real possession. The smallest star that gleams is set in heaven; the faintest ray of light has affinity with the great orb of clay. In the family register of glory the small and the great are written with the same pen. You are as dear to your Father’s heart as the greatest in the family. Jesus is very tender over you. You are like the smoking flax; a rougher spirit would say, “put out that smoking flax, it fills the room with an offensive odour!” but the smoking flax he will not quench. You are like a bruised reed; and any less tender hand than that of the Chief Musician would tread upon you or throw you away, but he will never break the bruised reed. Instead of being downcast by reason of what you are, you should triumph in Christ. Am I but little in Israel? Yet in Christ I am made to sit in heavenly places. Am I poor in faith? Still in Jesus I am heir of all things. Though “less than nothing I can boast, and vanity confess” yet, if the root of the matter be in me I will rejoice in the Lord, and glory in the God of my salvation.
C.H. Spurgeon Morning & Evening, Morning, October 19
1 Corinthians 1:26-31
Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
Boasting Only in the Lord
26 Brothers, consider your calling: not many are wise from a human perspective, [a] not many powerful, (A) not many of noble birth. 27 Instead, God has chosen (B) the world’s foolish things to shame the wise, and God has chosen the world’s weak things to shame the strong. 28 God has chosen the world’s insignificant and despised things (C) —the things viewed as nothing—so He might bring to nothing the things that are viewed as something, 29 so that no one [b] can boast in His presence. (D)30 But from Him you are in Christ Jesus, who for us became wisdom from God, as well as righteousness, (E) sanctification, (F) and redemption, (G)31 in order that, as it is written: (H) The one who boasts must boast in the Lord. (I)(J)
a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice.
For those whom He foreknew… (Romans 8:29)
“Before the foundations of the earth He knew you, and it’s not because He looked in some crystal ball, or down the corridors of time and saw you in the future.
The bible never speaks of a crystal ball, and it never speaks of corridors of time or God looking into a book that talks about the future… it never does. It never talks about God looking into the future.
God does not know the future because He’s looked ahead and seen it… God knows the future because He’s Lord over it, and directs every molecule, every fiber of being, every bit of matter towards the purpose He has ordained.
That is a God my friend.
Not a god who looks into the future and then reacts, not a god who makes choices based on choices of other men He’s seen in the future.
A god who is The God and Lord and Author of the future.”
Stating the obvious, bumper stickers and church signs are often poor venues for declarations requiring nuance, and perhaps one should not put too much effort in analyzing them. That being said, I ran across a church sign near my house recently that read “Too Blessed to be Depressed.” These are the same guys whose sign once read “God’s Stimulus Package: The Rapture.” (more on it here) After reading this sign I thought of the following verses and the tensions contained therein.
Matthew 5:1-4 (NASB)
When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
I think about the inference of that sign that it is normative that Christians should always be happy and never depressed. What that sign can be is a slap in the face to someone who mourns. There are strains of Christianity that really think that Christians are never to be in any kind of want, physical or otherwise. In light of that church sign, I find it ironic that there is a book in the Bible titled Lamentations. The Psalms are full of lament; some flirt with utter despair. Psalm 88 comes to mind.
Here are a couple of pertinent quotes that I ran across recently to reflect upon in light of the all the aforementioned:
A. W. Tozer: “It is doubtful God can bless any man greatly until He has hurt him deeply.”
Alan Redpath: “When God wants to do an impossible task he takes an impossible man and crushes him.”
HT: Abide In Christ
In light of the above:
“…your poverty is no hindrance, for my Master asks nothing from you – the poorer the wretch, the more welcome to Christ. My Master is no covetous priest, who demands pay for what he does – he forgives us freely; he wants none of your merits, nothing whatever from you; come as you are to him, for he is willing to receive you as you are. But here is my sorrow and complaint, that this blessed Lord Jesus, though present to heal, receives no attention from the most of men. They are looking another way, and have no eyes for him…. My Master is not wrathful with you who forget him and neglect him, but he pities you from his heart. I am but his poor servant, but I pity, from my inmost; heart, those of you who live without Christ. I could fain weep for you who are trying other ways of salvation, for they will all end in disappointment, and if continued in, will prove to be your eternal destruction.” -Charles Spurgeon
Often I feel the need to preface a declaration with a disclaimer, and this post is no exception. I know there are many Christians, better, wiser, than me by far, who love the Messiah who will disagree with me, some perhaps vehemently, regarding the soon-to-follow thoughts. I know, too, that this is ground that has been tread by countless others, and my voice is but one of a myriad, but I want to speak to this subject. Thus it goes…
Here is a typical statement, one I have heard dozens of times, that I believe frames the perception of the nature of salvation of the vast majority of American Christendom:
“If you and I did not have free will, we would not be able to choose to love God. What kind of world would we have if everyone was programmed to love or hate without a choice? God gave us free will so we could choose to love him!”
Another common refrain is that God does not want mere robots to worship Him. If it is His choice, then our ‘choice’ is coerced and thus meaningless. I completely understand that perception, where it comes from, and I used to hold to it.
The problem with this well-intentioned human wisdom is that it does not hold up to robust Biblical scrutiny, that it perhaps does not take the fallen nature of humanity seriously enough, that it glosses over the utterly rebellious nature of the human heart and our innate inability to choose the God of scripture. Read, for one example, Romans 3:11. Let me orbit around this idea of where love for God comes from. Again and absolutely without any ambiguity whatsoever, I do not deny that there are many who disagree with or misunderstand my assertions of God’s sovereign role in salvation who love God. I do affirm, gently, that they misunderstand the perspective of someone who affirms this authentic love for God can, and in the final analysis, must be birthed by the sovereign triune God’s free will in salvation.
First, here are some thoughts on free will:
- Does the fatherless and motherless child choose who will adopt them? Is adoption not the Biblical affirmation of a Christian’s relationship to the Father? (Romans 8:15)
- Did Lazarus choose to be called from the grave by Christ? Do the dead reanimate themselves? Are we not, in our unregenerate state, referred to in Biblical text as being spiritually dead, everyone of us? (Ephesians 2:1) (Colossians 2:13)
- Consider the Christian description and metaphor of salvation as being born again. (John 3:3) Consider this: Did I choose to be physically born? Did I have anything to do with that decision? (John 3:8) (Romans 9:16)
I think that the American church sometimes inadvertently reduces the work of regeneration to a transaction with God that depends to some degree on something we do, even if that work is described as merely making a choice. It is almost as if, in the free-will scheme, I sit in negotiation with God and God slides this offer across the table to me. I pick up the offer and look at it. It is an almost unbelievably good offer, but in the end, Christ’s ability to save is ultimately limited by my inferred ability to ‘choose’ God, to accept that offer. The offer, Christ’s ability to save, is impotent without my input. What sometimes happens is that our certainty of salvation is attached to something we do or perform, even if that work only constitutes 0.00001 percent of the work performed. The results are that we may end up wrestling with doubts about the veracity and ability of our ‘work’. Was I sincere enough? Did I believe hard enough? Is my faith great enough to save? Why am I still struggling with sin if I raised my hand or walked the aisle? Inversely, we may also place our faith in our ‘work’ in such a way that we bank so much on a fleeting, momentary response to an emotionally manipulative call to salvation that we may actually be ‘inoculated’ and hardened to the Gospel. We may also end up taking pride in our ability choose Christ when others do not choose (Ephesians 2:8-9). Think, too, about Acts 13:48.
In searching for some media to give examples of what I refer to, I find this typical example of decisional regeneration in action. I recall being in the audience:
In the end, the evangelical methods used are born out of our view of our role in salvation. If we are trying to coerce a response to an offer that depends on our inferred ability to choose, we may end up marketing the Gospel in the way the world markets products to consumers. I could say more to this, but I have spoken to it ad nausea, among other places, here, here, here, here, and here. The biblical call of repent and believe in Christ is often replaced with non-biblical rhetoric, of offers to try Christ, to accept Christ, to invite Christ. To my ears, these calls, if the language used is actually taken seriously, brings us to the conclusion that Jesus appears to be Someone who needs to be evaluated, and if He meets our needs and qualifications, we ‘accept’ Him. This may not necessarily be the language of someone driven to their knees in despair over their sin and in desperate need of a Saviour.
Here is the crux of the matter. Perhaps we may affirm that love for God is born by a growing understanding of the cost of the Cross and our inability to do anything to add to our salvation.. It is born by the realization that we are utterly and completely helpless to save ourselves, that even our ability to believe is an unmerited gift of the triune God. It is born out of the realization that God owes His creation nothing, that if He never gave us a Saviour, He would still be a holy, righteous, and just God. Indeed, one-third of the angels rebelled and God never offered them clemency, redemption. I love my Saviour, though so imperfectly, because He gave me life – when I was spiritually a walking dead man with no ability to choose God- at the price of His life, that He defeated death as evidenced by the empty tomb. There is nothing good in me that He should condescend to breath life into me.
I could speak so much more to all this, but time to bring pause to the days blogging. Perhaps more on this later….
“The devil has seldom done a cleverer thing than hinting to the church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them…providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as a function of the church…the need is for Biblical doctrine, so understood and felt that it sets men aflame.”
- CH Spurgeon
Any commentary or elaboration on the quote would be superfluous.
An excerpt from a sermon on Psalm 116 by Spurgeon titled Precious Deaths delivered at the Metropolitan Tabernacle on February 18th, 1872.
The church embalms the memories of her martyrs wherever they die-precious in God’s sight must their deaths be. The deaths too of those who work for Christ, until at last weary nature gives out, when body and brain are both exhausted, and the man can no longer continue in his beloved labor, but lays down his body and his charge together, never putting off harness until he puts off his flesh-methinks the deaths of such men must be precious in God’s sight. But, not more so, mark that not more so than the departure of the patient sufferer, scarcely able to say a word, solitary and unknown, only able to serve God by submissively enduring pains which make night weary and day intolerable. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of the consumptive girl who gradually melts into heaven; the death of the pauper in the workhouse, without a friend, but uncomplainingly bearing God’s will, is as precious (not perhaps under some aspects), but as truly precious in the sight of the Lord as that of the most useful preacher of the word. Precious to Jehovah is the death of the least in the ranks, as the death of those who rush to the front and bear the brunt of the battle well. There are no distinctions in the text; if you be a saint no one may know you, you may be too poor and too illiterate to be of much account in the world, you may die and pass away, and no record may be among the sons of men, no stone set up over your lonely grave, but precious in the sight of the Lord in every case is the death of his saints. There is no limit as to whom. (emphasis mine)
“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.”-Psalm 116:15.
1 Corinthians 15:53-57 (ESV)
For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
I believe that every particle of dust that dances in the sunbeam does not move an atom more or less than God wishes-that every particle of spray that dashes against the steamboat has its orbit as well as the sun in the heavens-that the chaff from the hand of the winnower is steered as the stars in their courses. The creeping of an aphid over the rosebud is as much fixed as the march of the devastating pestilence-the fall of sear leaves from a poplar is as fully ordained as the tumbling of an avalanche.
(Charles Spurgeon, ‘God’s Providence’, sermon on Ezekiel 1:15-19, 1908.)
The other evening I was riding home after a heavy day’s work. I felt very wearied, and sore depressed, when swiftly, and suddenly as a lightning flash, that text came to me, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” I reached home and looked it up in the original, and at last it came to me in this way, “MY grace is sufficient for thee”; and I said, “I should think it is, Lord,” and burst out laughing. I never fully understood what the holy laughter of Abraham was until then. It seemed to make unbelief so absurd. It was as though some little fish, being very thirsty, was troubled about drinking the river dry, and Father Thames said, “Drink away, little fish, my stream is sufficient for thee.” Or, it seemed after the seven years of plenty, a mouse feared it might die of famine; and Joseph might say, “Cheer up, little mouse, my granaries are sufficient for thee.” Again, I imagined a man away up yonder, in a lofty mountain, saying to himself, “I breathe so many cubic feet of air every year, I fear I shall exhaust the oxygen in the atmosphere,” but the earth might say, “Breathe away, O man, and fill the lungs ever, my atmosphere is sufficient for thee.” Oh, brethren, be great believers! Little faith will bring your souls to Heaven, but great faith will bring Heaven to your souls.
C. H. Spurgeon
HT: Er Lern Loh
Found the following at Borrowed Breath:
“Jesus said unto them, ‘If ye seek me, let these go their way.’”
(John 18.8 KJV)
“Mark, my soul, the care which Jesus manifested even in His hour of trial, towards the sheep of His hand! The ruling passion is strong in death. He resigns Himself to the enemy, but He interposes a word of power to set His disciples free…The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep, and pleads that they must therefore go free…The thundercloud has burst over the Cross of Calvary, and the pilgrims of Zion shall never be smitten by the bolts of vengeance. Come, my heart, rejoice in the immunity which thy Redeemer has secured thee, and bless His name all the day, and every day.”
Charles H. Spurgeon
Morning and Evening (March 26)