To him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Romans 4:5
Charles Spurgeon — All of Grace
To him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Romans 4:5
Charles Spurgeon — All of Grace
THOU shalt call His Name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins .” Matt 1:21
He is not called Jesus because He is our Exemplar, though indeed He is perfection itself, and we long to tread in His footsteps; but He is called Jesus because He has come to seek and to save that which was lost.
He is Christ, too, or the Anointed, but then He is Christ Jesus; that is to say, it is as a Savior that He is anointed. He is nothing at all if He is not a Savior. He is anointed to this very end. His very Name is a sham if He does not save His people from their sins.
It is a gracious but very startling fact that our Lord’s connection with His people lies in the direction of their sins. This is amazing condescension. He is called Savior in connection with His people, but it is in reference to their sins, because it is from their sins that they need to be saved. If they had never sinned, they would never have required a Savior, and there would have been no Name of Jesus known upon earth.
That is a wonderful, text in Galatians 1:4, did you ever meditate upon it?. “Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.” It is true, as Martin Luther says, He never gave Himself for our righteousness, but He did give Himself for our sins. Sin is a horrible evil, a deadly poison, yet it is this which gives Jesus His title when He overcomes it. What a wonder this is! The first link between my soul and Christ is, not my goodness, but my badness; not my merit, but my misery; not my standing, but my falling; not my riches, but my need. He comes to visit His people, yet not to admire their beauties, but to remove their deformities; not to reward their virtues, but to forgive their sins.
O ye sinners, I mean you real sinners, not you who call yourselves by that name simply because you are told that is what you are, but you who really feel yourselves to be guilty before God, here is good news for you! O you self condemned sinners, who feel that, if you are ever to get salvation, Jesus must bring it to you, and be the beginning and the end of it, I pray you to rejoice in this dear, this precious, this blessed Name, for Jesus has come to save you, even you! Go to Him as sinners, call Him “Jesus,” and say to Him, “O Lord Jesus, be Jesus to me, save me, for I need Thy salvation!” Doubt not that He will fulfill His own Name, and exhibit His saving power in you. Only confess to Him your sin, and He will save you from it. Only believe in Him, and He will be your salvation.
What does Paul mean when he says “that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”? He means, first, that Jesus carne to save them from the punishment of their sin . Their sin shall not be laid to their charge, so that they shall be condemned for it, if they do but trust in Him who was punished in the place of those who were really guilty. That is one thing that Christ Jesus came into the world to do for sinners.
He came, also, to save them from the pollution of: their sin , so that, though their mind has been debased, and their taste degraded, and their conscience deadened by sin, He came to take that evil away, and to give them a tender heart, and a hatred of sin, and a love for holiness, and a desire for purity. That is a great work for Him to accomplish, yet Jesus came to do even more than that.
He came, also, to take away our tendencies to sin , those tendencies which are born in us, and which grow up with us. He came by His Spirit to eradicate them, to pluck them up by the roots, and to put within us another principle, which shall fight with the old principle of sin, and overcome it, till Christ alone shall reign, and every thought shall be brought into captivity to Him.
Further, Jesus came to save His people from apostasy . He “came into the world to save sinners,” in the fullest possible sense, by keeping them faithful to the end, so that they shall not go back unto perdition. This is a very important part of the work of Divine grace. To start a man right, is but little; but to keep that man holding on even to the end, is a triumph of almighty grace, and this is what Christ has come to do.
Christ Jesus came into the world,” not to half save you, not to save you in this direction or that, and in this light or that, but to save you from your sin, to save you from an angry temper, to save you from pride, to save you from strong drink, to save you from covetousness, to save you from every evil thing, “and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.” This is a glorious truth, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” He came to Bethlehem’s manger, and afterwards to Calvary’s cross, with this as His one business, that He might save sinners.
Is He not able to save? Is He not just the Savior that we need? God and yet man in one adorable Person, He is able to sympathize because He is man, and He is able to save because He is God. Blessed God man, Jesus Christ, Thou art able and willing to save me, and Thou art able and willing to save all other sinners who will believe in Thee!
Excerpt from Christ’s Incarnation, the Foundation of Christianity by C. H. Spurgeon (.pdf)
Repent or Perish!
by Arthur Pink
“Unless you repent—you too will all perish!” Luke 13:3
These were the words of the incarnate Son of God. They have never been cancelled; nor will they be as long as this world lasts. Repentance is absolute and necessary if the sinner is to make peace with God (Isaiah 27:5), for repentance is the throwing down the weapons of rebellion against Him. Repentance does not save, yet no sinner ever was or ever will be saved without it. None but Christ saves—but an impenitent heart cannot receive Him.
A sinner cannot truly believe—until he repents. This is clear from the words of Christ concerning His forerunner, “For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him” (Matthew 21:32).
It is also evident from His clarion call in Mark 1:15, “Repent—and believe the gospel.” This is why the apostle Paul testified “repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). Make no mistake on this point dear reader, God “now commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30).
In requiring repentance from us, God is pressing His righteous claims upon us. He is infinitely worthy of supreme love and honor, and of universal obedience. This we have wickedly denied Him. Both an acknowledgment and amendment of this is required from us. Our disaffection for Him and our rebellion against Him are to be owned and made an end of. Thus repentance is a heartfelt realization of how dreadfully I have failed, all through my life, to give God His rightful place in my heart and daily walk. The righteousness of God’s demand for my repentance, is evident if we consider the heinous nature of sin. Sin is a renouncing of Him who made me. It is refusing Him His right to govern me. It is the determination to please myself; thus, it is rebellion against the Almighty. Sin is spiritual lawlessness, and utter disregard for God’s authority. It is saying in my heart: “I do not care what God requires—I am going to have my own way! I do not care what God’s claim upon me is—I am going to be master over myself!” Reader, do you realize that this is how you have lived?
True repentance issues from a realization in the heart, wrought therein by the Holy Spirit, of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, of the awfulness of ignoring the claims of Him who made me, of defying His authority. It is therefore a holy hatred and horror of sin, a deep sorrow for it, and acknowledgment of it before God, and a heart-forsaking of it. Not until this is done will God pardon us.
“He who covers his sins shall not prosper! But whoever confesses and forsakes them shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13). In true repentance the heart turns to God and acknowledges, “My heart has been set upon a vain world, which could not meet the needs of my soul. I forsook You, the fountain of living waters, and turned unto broken cisterns that can hold no water. I now own and bewail my folly!” But more, it says, “I have been a disloyal and rebellious creature—but I will be so no longer. I now desire and determine with all my might to serve and obey You as my only Lord. I flee to You as my present and everlasting Portion!”
Reader, be you a professing Christian or not—it is repent or perish. For everyone of us, church members or otherwise, it is either turn—or burn! Turn from your course of self-will and self-pleasing; turn in brokenness of heart to God, seeking His mercy in Christ; turn with full purpose of heart to please and serve HIM—or be tormented day and night, forever and ever, in the Lake of Fire! Which shall it be? Oh, get down on your knees right now and beg God to give you the spirit of true repentance!
“Him has God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Savior—to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:31). “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death!” (2 Corinthians 7:10).
WALKING WITH GOD
“Come, put ye on the Lord Jesus. Come, haste ye away and walk with God, and make no longer provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lust thereof. Stop, stop, O sinner! turn ye, turn ye, O ye unconverted men, for the end of that way you are now walking in, however right it may seem in your blinded eyes, will be death, even eternal destruction both of body and soul. Make no longer A tarrying, I say: at your peril I charge you, step not one step further on in your present walk. For how knowest thou, O man, but the next step thou takest may be into hell? Death may seize thee, judgment find thee, and then the great gulf will be fixed between thee and endless glory for ever and ever. O think of these things, all ye that are unwilling to walk with God.
Lay them to heart. Shew yourselves men, and in the strength of Jesus say, Farewell lust of the flesh, I will no more walk with thee! farewell lust of the eye, and pride of life Farewell carmal acquaintance and enemies of the cross, I will no more walk and be intimate with you ! Welcome Jesus, welcome thy word, welcome thy ordinances, welcome thy Spirit, welcome thy people, I will henceforth walk with you. O that there may be in you such a mind! God will set his almighty fiat to it, and seal it with the broad seal of heaven, even the signet of his holy Spirit. Yes, he will, though you have been walking with, and following after,the devices and desires of your desperately wicked hearts ever since you have been born. “I, the high and lofty One,” says the great Jehovah, “that inhabiteth eternity, will dwell with the humble and contrite heart, even with the man that trembleth at my word.” The blood, even the precious blood of Jesus Christ, if you come to the Father in and through him, shall cleanse you from all sin..”
Sermons of George Whitefield WALKING WITH GOD
THE BACKSLIDER’S RETURN
“Yet return again to Me, says the Lord.”–Jer. 3:1
Could there be a more touching “Thus says the Lord” than this? The voice of Jesus, as it echoed over the mountains and along the valleys of our unregenerate distance from God, seeking and finding and bringing us home, was inexpressibly sweet and irresistibly gracious. But, to hear that same voice, after our many wanderings, our repeated relapses, our sad backslidings, still seeking, still inviting, still imploring us to return, though we had “played the harlot with many lovers,” oh, there is music in that voice such as the heavenly minstrelsy must bend their ear to catch.
My soul, you are “bent upon backsliding, even as a backsliding heifer.” Your heart is as a broken bow, treacherous to the arrow fixed upon the string, and ready for its flight. Your purposes of good formed, but thwarted; resolutions of amendment made, but broken; plans of usefulness laid, but frustrated; prayers for grace offered, but forgotten; desires and aspirations after God sent up, but, through a deceitful and wicked heart, dissolving into air. Oh! how many and aggravated have your backslidings from God been–backslidings in heart, backslidings in deed–secret wanderings, open wanderings. You have “left your first love,” have “forgotten your resting-place;” and, straying from the cross, have gone back to walk no more with Jesus. Truly, your “heart is like a deceitful bow.”
But, has the Lord, by some gentle movement of His grace, or by some solemn event of His providence, aroused, overtaken, arrested you? Has He set a hedge around your path, that you could not find your lovers, bringing you to reflection, to penitence, to prayer? Then, listen, O my soul, to the gracious words of your “first husband;” “Yet return again to Me, says the Lord.”
Spiritual restoration implies a spiritual re-conversion. In this sense we are to interpret our Lord’s words to His fallen apostle Peter–“When you are converted, strengthen your brethren,”–that is, when you are restored, recovered, turned back again, employ your restored grace, the experience you have derived, and the lessons you have learned by your fall and recovery, in strengthening your weak brethren–in warning and exhorting, in restoring and comforting those who have been alike tempted, and have alike fallen.
There is something very expressive, tender, and touching in the word–“Again.” “Yet return again.” It sounds like the “forgiveness of seventy times seven.” Lord! I have wandered from You times without number–“Yet return again.” Lord! I have so often sinned and repented–“Yet return again.” Lord! You have received and forgiven me more than seventy times seven–“Yet return again.” Lord! I come confessing the same sins, deploring the same backslidings, acknowledging the same self-will and base ingratitude–“Yet return again to me, says the Lord.” Then, Lord! I come with weeping, and mourning, and confession, since Your tenderness, grace, and changeless love, and outstretched hand bid me.
“Return to Me.” My soul, rest not until you rest in Jesus. Let nothing come between your returning heart and your advancing, loving, forgiving Father. There is no true return of a backsliding believer but that which takes him past his repentance, past his tears, past his confessions, past his amendments, past his minister, and brings him at once close to Christ. There is no healing of the hurt, no binding up of the wound, no cleansing, no peace, no comfort, no joy, but as the soul comes to the blood, and nestles once more within the very heart of Jesus. “Return unto ME.”
Octavius Winslow (1808 – 1878)
- The work which our Lord Jesus has done has made repentance possible, available, and acceptable.
An Earnest Word with Those
Who Are Seeking Salvation
by the Lord Jesus Christ..
All of Grace by Charles Spurgeon
“Come unto Me,” says the Savior, “all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” Matthew 11:28
“He who believes on the Son shall not perish, but have eternal life.”—”He who believes on Him is not condemned.”—”He who comes unto Me I will never cast out.”—”Everyone who sees the Son, and believes on Him may have everlasting life.”—”He who believes on Me has everlasting life.”—”If any man thirsts, let him come unto Me and drink.” “Whoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.” (John 3:15, 18; 6:37, 40, 47; 7:37; Rev. 22:17.)
An affectionate INVITATION to all who desire their souls to be saved. I invite every reader of this paper who feels the value of his soul, and desires salvation, to come to Christ without delay, and be saved. I invite him to come to Christ by faith, and commit his soul to Him, that he may be delivered from the guilt, the power, and the consequences of sin.
My tongue is not able to tell, and my mind is too weak to explain, the whole extent of God’s love towards sinners—and of Christ’s willingness to receive and save souls. You are not straitened in Christ, but in yourself. You mistake greatly if you doubt Christ’s readiness to save. I know there are no obstacles between that soul of yours and eternal life, except your own will. “There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repents.” (Luke 15:10) You may have heard something of the wonders of the choruses at the Crystal Palace concerts. But what is all that burst of harmony in the “Hallelujah Chorus,” to the outburst of joy which is heard in heaven when a soul turns from darkness to light? What is it all but a mere whisper, compared to the “joy of angels” over one sinner taught to see the folly of sin, and to seek Christ? Oh, come and add to that joy without delay!
If you love life, I beseech you to lay hold on Christ at once, that your soul may be saved. Why not do it today? Why not this day join yourself to the Lord Jesus in an everlasting covenant which cannot be broken? Why not resolve, before tomorrow’s sun dawns, to turn from the service of sin, and turn to Christ? Why not go to Christ this very day, and cast your soul on Him, with all its sins and all its unbelief, with all its doubts and all its fears?
Are you poor? Seek treasure in heaven and be rich. Are you old? Hasten, hasten to be ready for your end, and prepare to meet your God. Are you young? Begin well, and seek in Christ a never-failing friend, who will never forsake you. Are you in trouble, anxious about this life? Seek Him who alone can help you and bear your burdens—seek Him who will never disappoint you. When others turn their backs upon you, then will Jesus Christ the Lord take you up. Are you a sinner, a great sinner, a sinner of the worst description? It shall all be remembered no more if you only come to Christ—His blood shall cleanse all sin away. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be made white as snow.
Go then, and cry to the Lord Jesus Christ. Think of the value of your soul, and think of the one way of salvation. Call on the Lord in earnest prayer. Do as the penitent thief did—pour out your heart before Him—cry, “Lord remember me, even me!” Tell him you come to Him, because you have heard that He “receives sinners,” and because you are a sinner and want to be saved. Tell Him the whole story of your past life. Tell Him, if you will, that you have been an unbeliever, a profligate, a Sabbath-breaker, a godless, reckless, ill-tempered man. He will not despise you. He will not cast you out. He will not turn His back upon you. He never breaks the bruised reed, or quenches the smoking flax. No man ever came to Him and was cast out. Oh, come to Christ, and your soul shall live!
My last word of application shall be an affectionate EXHORTATION to every reader of this paper who has found out the value of his soul, and believed in Jesus Christ. That exhortation shall be short and simple. I beseech you to cleave to the Lord with all your heart, and to press towards the mark for the prize of your high calling.
I can well conceive that you find your way very narrow. There are few with you—and many against you. Your lot in life may seem hard, and your position may be difficult. But still cleave to the Lord, and He will never forsake you. Cleave to the Lord in the midst of persecution. Cleave to the Lord, though men laugh at you and mock you, and try to make you ashamed. Cleave to the Lord, though the cross be heavy and the fight be hard. He was not ashamed of you upon the Cross of Calvary—then do not be ashamed of Him upon earth, lest He should be ashamed of you before His Father who is in heaven. Cleave to the Lord, and He will never forsake you. In this world there are plenty of disappointments—disappointments in properties, and families, and houses, and lands, and situations. But no man ever yet was disappointed in Christ. No man ever failed to find Christ all that the Bible says He is, and a thousand times better than he had been told before!
Look forward, look onward and forward to the end! Your best things are yet to come. Time is short. The end is drawing near. The latter days of the world are upon us. Fight the good fight. Labor on. Work on. Strive on. Pray on. Read on. Labor hard for your own soul’s prosperity. Labor hard for the prosperity of the souls of others. Strive to bring a few more with you to heaven, and by all means to save some. Do something, by God’s help, to make heaven more full and hell more empty. Speak to that young man by your side, and to that old person who lives near to your house. Speak to that neighbor who never goes to a place of worship. Speak to that relative who never reads the Bible in private, and makes a jest of serious religion. Entreat them all to think about their souls. Beg them to go and hear something on Sundays which will be for their good unto everlasting life. Try to persuade them to live, not like the beasts which perish, but like men who desire to be saved. Great is your reward in heaven, if you try to do good to souls. Great is the reward of all who confess Christ before the sons of men.
The honors of this world will soon be at an end forever. But the crown which Christ gives, never fades. Seek that crown, my believing reader. Labor for that crown. It will make amends for all that you have to pass through in this troublous world. The rewards of Christ’s soldiers are for evermore. Their home is eternal. Their glory never comes to an end!
OUR SOULS! by J. C. Ryle