Arhive pe etichete: Grace

GRACE DEFINED By Milburn Cockrell

GRACE DEFINED
By Milburn Cockrell
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men” (Tit. 2:11).
My text speaks of the saving grace of God, or grace which actually brings salvation. In this text “grace” especially means “the gospel of grace” which is the declaration of the free love and favor of God as manifested in Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament the gospel was hid in types and shadows (Eph. 3:3-9), but in the New Testament dispensation Jesus Christ is the personification of the grace of God. This grace has appeared to all kinds of men by the preaching of the gospel.
THE WORD GRACE
In the Old Testament the word “grace” comes from a Hebrew word (chen) which means “kindness or favor.” In the New Testament the Greek word (charis) means “the kindly disposition from which the kindly act proceeds, graciousness, longkindness, goodwill generally” (An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words by W. E. Vine, p. 170). It is related to the Greek word for gift (charisma), and in the King James Version the word for grace (charis) is translated “gift” in II Corinthians 8:4. Our English word “grace” means “favor or goodwill. . .the freely given. . .unmerited favor and love of God. . .the condition of being in God’s favor or one of his elect” (Webster’s Family Dictionary, p. 409).
Perhaps one of the most concise definitions of grace was given by an old black brother who had been a slave for 40 years. When asked, “What is grace?” he replied, “Grace is what I should call giving something for nothing.” I doubt you can improve upon this simple definition.
Abraham Booth (1734-1806), the Baptist theologian, said grace “is the eternal and absolutely free favour of God, manifested in the vouchsafement of spiritual and eternal blessings to the guilty and unworthy” (The Reign of Grace, p. 47). A. W. Pink (1886-1952) tells us that grace “is a perfection of the Divine character which is exercised only toward the elect. Neither in the Old Testament nor in the New is the grace of God ever mentioned in connection with mankind generally, still less with the lower orders of His creatures” (The Attributes of God, p. 60).
Another good definition is given by Burton Scott Easton in The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. He declares that grace “is an attitude on God’s part that proceeds entirely from within Himself, and that is conditioned in no way by anything in the objects of His favor” (Vol. II, p. 1291).
SCRIPTURAL DEFINITIONS
Any reader of the Bible can see the word “grace” means “goodwill and favor” (Ruth 2:2; I Sam. 1:18; II Sam. 16:4). In Ephesians 1:5 “the good pleasure of his will” is the same as “the riches of his grace” (Eph. 1:7). The grace of God is “the kindness and love of God” (Tit. 3:4), the love and pity of God (Isa. 63:9).
The Lord styles Himself: “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth. . .” (Ex. 34:6).
GRACE EXCLUDES HUMAN MERIT
Grace means unmerited favor, mercy shown when punishment is deserving. What is done in grace is done graciously. Grace is unattracted by anything in, or from, or by the objects upon which it bestows blessings. It can neither be sought nor bought by the recipients. If grace could be merited, it would cease to be unmerited favor. As A. W. Pink expressed it: “When a thing is said to be of ‘grace’ we mean that the recipient has no claim upon it, that it was in no-wise due him. It comes to him as pure charity, and, at first, unasked and undesired” (Attributes of God, p. 60).
The word “grace” presupposes unworthiness in its object. It cannot be exercised where there is the slightest degree of human merit recognized. Romans 11:6 declares: “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” God’s grace and man’s works are diametrically opposite and totally irreconcilable. When you add works to grace, then grace changes its meaning; it is no longer grace. The idea of being saved by merit contradicts the very idea of grace. Grace is not grace unless it is altogether free from human merit. When you hear someone talking about what we do to earn God’s grace, you can mark it down that such a person does not know “the grace of God in truth” (Col. 1:6).
Grace cannot be withheld because of demerit in its object. It would cease to be grace, if God withheld it because of human failure and sin. Grace in salvation can only be exercised by God where worthiness is banished forever. God’s grace saves the chiefest of sinners (I Tim. 1:15), the ungodly (Rom. 5:6), the enemies of God (Rom. 5:10); yea, even those who are “by nature the children of wrath, even as others” (Eph. 2:3).
GRACE CANNOT INCUR DEBT
Grace is no sense gracious if God is under any condition of a debt incurred. There is no payment required, past, present, or future. God saves undeserving sinners by unrecompensed and unconditional free grace. “Now 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” (Rom. 4:4-5). Grace and debt are distinct and different; they are irreconcilable. When a man works for wages, the wages are due him as a debt. But God is not a debtor to any man. The payment of an honest debt can never be an act of grace. When you hear a person talking of God owing man salvation and saying God must give every man a chance to be saved you can be certain he is a stranger to grace and to God.
Man being a sinner by nature, practice, and choice could never make God a debtor. Men are “children of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2) and “condemned already” (John 3:18). They are “under sin” (Rom. 3:9; Gal. 3:22), “guilty before God” (Rom. 3:19), and in “unbelief” (Rom. 11:32). There is no possibility of such people putting God under obligation to them.
SOVEREIGN GRACE
Grace reigns in man’s salvation (Rom. 5:21), and the God of all grace Who sits upon the throne is sovereign. God told Moses: “I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy” (Ex. 33:19). The God of all grace dispenses grace according to His goodwill and sovereign pleasure. It is not dispensed to all without exception, but to all God has appointed to obtain salvation by Jesus Christ. This is all to the glory of God’s grace (Eph. 1:4-11).
There can be no election without reprobation. “What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded” (Rom. 11:7). “And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people. . .” (I Pet. 2:8-9). God does not show His grace to the reprobate. Of the Anakims it is written: “For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour (Hebrew techinnah translated “grace” in Ezra 9:8 in KJV), but that he might destroy them, as the LORD commanded Moses” (Josh. 11:20).
FREE GRACE
Grace must always be free, for none ever purchased it. Romans 3:24 tells us: “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” The word rendered here “freely” (dorean) is rendered “without a cause” in John 15:25. We are justified “without a cause”, or without any meritorious cause in ourselves. We are justified wholly and solely by God’s grace or favor, plus nothing, minus nothing. The word “freely” excludes all consideration of any thing in man as the cause of his justification.
Arminians are more concerned with man’s “free will” than with God’s free grace. They contend that man’s will can never be other than free, for the person using it can never be prevented from willing, any more than thinking. They say it is either free will or no will. Arminians fail to consider that man’s will is under the control of his totally depraved nature. Paul wrote: “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not” (Rom. 7:18). According to holy Scriptures, man is a bound immoral agent, and not a free moral agent. To boast of the freedom of the will to do anything spiritually good is unscriptural, for man’s evil will is not free till it is by grace made free. We have no power to become the sons of God until God’s grace gives us the faith of God’s elect (Tit. 1:1; John 1:12; Phil. 1:29). Acts 18:27 speaks of some who “had believed through grace.” Arminians cheapen God’s grace; yea, they are haters of the doctrine of sovereign, free, distinguishing grace!
Mr. McLaren, and Mr. Gustart, were both ministers of the Tolboth church. When Mr. McLaren was dying, Mr. Gustart paid him a visit, and put the question to him: “What are you doing, brother?” His answer was, “I’ll tell you what I am doing, brother; I am gathering together all my prayers, all my sermons, all my good deeds, all my ill deeds; and I am going to throw them all overboard and swim to glory on the plank of Free Grace.”
Hervey once said: “Had I all the faith of the patriarchs, all the zeal of the prophets, all the good works of the apostles, the constancy of the martyrs, and all the flaming devotion of seraphs, I would disclaim them all in point of dependence, and rely only on free grace. I would count all but dung and dross when put in competition with the infinitely precious death and meritorious righteousness of my dear Saviour Jesus Christ. . .”
ETERNAL GRACE
Grace is as old as the covenant of grace and the eternal council of the Godhead. God purposed to give us grace before He imparted it: “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (II Tim. 1:9). Our calling and salvation must be traced back to God’s eternal purpose of grace. He was self-moved, impelled by motives, not from without, but from within Himself. The purpose of God to save us was not called forth by any worthiness in us, but it was “according to his good pleasure which he had purposed in himself” (Eph. 1:9).
This grace was given to us in our covenant Head “before the world began.” We did not exist in eternity past, but our Redeemer and Representative did. This grace was given to Christ for us when we were chosen in Christ (Eph.1:4). This donation of eternal grace occurred before we existed and before we had done any good or evil (Rom. 9:11). Grace that began in eternity past will last till eternity future.
INCOMPREHENSIBLE GRACE
In Ephesians 3:8 it is written: “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph. 3:8). “The unsearchable riches of Christ” means the riches of God’s grace which center in Christ. There is a mighty treasure of grace and love laid up in Christ Jesus. The length, depth, breadth, and height of God’s grace is incomprehensible. Grace is like a boundless, shoreless, bottomless ocean.
IRRESISTIBLE GRACE
What does the term “irresistible grace” mean? It means the love and favor of God in Christ is irresistible in the elect when it pleases God to reveal His Son to them (Gal. 1:15-16). I do not mean by this term that God drags rebellious sinners to Heaven against their will. This is the lie told by our opponents to prejudice people against what we believe. I mean the power of God’s grace makes the sinner willing to come to Christ. I mean, as the Bible teaches, that all the Father gave to Christ in the covenant of redemption will come to Him (John 6:37). Nothing can prevent the eternal purpose of God to save His people by grace. We sometimes speak of this as effectual calling.
The grace of God attacks hostile thoughts of men and brings every thought into obedience to Christ. In II Corinthians 10:4-5 it is written: “(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” Ignorance and love of sin are Satan’s strongholds in the mind of man. Vain imaginations, carnal reasonings, and high thoughts exalt themselves against the knowledge of God. All of these strong holds are pulled down by victorious grace and the power of God.
The term “irresistible grace” does not mean that the sinner may not for a time resist God, for he certainly does. I mean invincible grace will triumph over all human resistance. No sinner is saved without his own hearty will and concurrence. But he is not willing to be saved till victorious grace makes him so. “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power. . .” (Ps. 110:3). The gift of saving grace involves “the effectual working of his power” (Eph. 3:7).
Why does the sinner at first refuse the call of the gospel? Because he is unconscious of his ruined condition. He knows not the evil of sin nor the strictness of God’s moral law. He has never become mindful of the majesty of God whom he has offended. He does not realize he possesses an incurably wicked heart. He sees no beauty in Christ that he should desire Him. The sinner is perfectly content to rely on his wisdom, his power, and his supposed self-righteousness. Nothing but irresistible grace can awaken him from this condition.
Arminian Baptists are very inconsistent. They say that a man may resist God’s saving grace, but then once saved by grace it becomes irresistible (man can’t fall from grace). Fallen man can will himself into Christ, but he can’t will himself out of Christ. This gives more liberty to the unsaved man than the man who is saved!
Victorious grace comes to show the sinner how terrible his plight is and that he deserves the wrath of God. The Spirit of grace causes the sinner to see he is a lost, condemned, helpless creature, standing on the brink of Hell-fire. At this point the poor sinner throws his supposed good works to the wind and flees to Christ as his only refuge. He casts himself upon free grace, for free grace alone can meet his need. Then he sings:
Amazing grace! how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
T’was grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.
GRACE AND CHRIST
Jesus Christ is “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14, 16). All the fullness of the God of all grace (I Pet. 5:10) dwells in the Son of God ( Col. 1:19; 2:9). There was found in Christ both the graciousness which bestows favor and the actual gift bestowed. Christ was full of the grace of God. There is enough grace in Christ for all His people.
In II Timothy 2:1 it is written: “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” In Christ is a fountain, redundant, overflowing, ever-flowing for believers, for “of his fullness have we all received, and grace for grace” (John 1:16). Christ is not only the fountain and foundation of grace, but He also gives us grace to receive grace, one grace after another, grace upon grace.
As God, Christ is the Author and Giver of grace. As the Mediator, He is the Purchaser and Procurer of grace.
All the grace in us comes to us by Christ as a conduit. This is why Paul speaks of “the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ” (I Cor. 1:4). This grace was given us in Christ before the foundation of the world (II Tim. 1:9). Adam was the conveyor of sin and death to his seed. Even so, Christ, the Second Adam, is the conveyor of life and grace to His seed. From Adam we received corruption upon corruption, and from the Second Adam we receive grace for grace. We have no grace but what we received from Jesus Christ.
There is no grace for those who live and die outside of Christ. I believe I heard someone ask, “How do you get into Christ?” I answer by an act of God the Father: “But of him (God the Father) are ye in Christ Jesus. . .” (I Cor. 1:30). God put us in Christ by sovereign election: “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world. . .” (Eph. 1:4). In time God creates us in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:10). As a consequence of this election and regeneration, these people believe the gospel: “. . .and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed” (Acts 13:48; cf. John 10:26; 17:20; Phil. 1:29). In this sense they believe into Jesus Christ (John 3:15-16, 36). Then to declare this experience of grace before the world they are baptized into Jesus Christ: “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:26-27; cf. Rom. 6:3).
GRACE AND GLORY
In Psalm 84:11 it is written: “For the LORD God is a sun and a shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” Thomas Brooks well said, “Grace is glory in the bud, and glory is grace at the full.” Another has said, “Grace is the bud of glory; glory is the flower of grace.” God will give grace and glory, both in due time, both as needed, both to the full, both with absolute certainty. All grace and all glory is a free gift of God’s unfathomable love displayed in Jesus Christ.
What more could we ask of God? What more do we need in time and eternity? Heaven be praised! God gives grace and glory. You cannot separate the two. In II Timothy 2:1 we see Christ as the fountain and foundation of grace: “. . .the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” Then in verse 10 of this same chapter we see the same Christ who give us grace also give salvation “with eternal glory.” Thus there is an inseparable union between grace and glory. They are related as cause and effect. God gives grace to save our souls from sin and glory to sanctify us for the eternal kingdom. Indeed Christ will bring many sons to glory.
CONCLUSION
1. Grace does not offer salvation upon certain terms and conditions to enfeebled and sin-ruined creatures. Grace begins, carries on, and completes the work of man’s salvation: “. . .by grace ye are saved” (Eph. 2:5). By God’s goodwill, His free mercy, His lovingkindness, we are really and truly saved. God’s grace brings salvation (Tit. 2:11); it does not merely offer it.
2. Sinner, do not despair. Men are not saved by their good works, for no man can do enough to be saved. Neither do bad works prevent a man from being saved by grace. “All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men. . .” (Matt. 12:31). The grace of God saves the very chiefest of sinners. Oh, friend, Christ is full of grace. Then why not say: “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13).
3. John Bunyan (1628-1688) wrote: “But, methinks, we should not have done yet with this grace of the Son. Thou Son of the Blessed, what grace was manifested in Thy condescension! Grace brought Thee down from heaven; grace stripped Thee of thy glory; grace made Thee bear such burdens of sin, such burdens of sorrow, such burdens of curse as are unspeakable! On Son of God, grace was in all Thy tears. Here is grace indeed–unsearchable riches of grace–grace to make angels wonder, to make sinners happy, to make devils astonished!”

© Berea Baptist Church, Mantachie, Mississippi, U.S.A.

ALL OF GRACE A Sermon (No. 3479) Published on Thursday, October 7th, 1915. Delivered by C. H. SPURGEON,

ALL OF GRACE
A Sermon
(No. 3479)
Published on Thursday, October 7th, 1915.
Delivered by
C. H. SPURGEON,
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
„For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of
yourselves: it is the gift of God.”—Ephesians 2:8.
OF THE THINGS which I have spoken unto you these many years, this is the
sum. Within the circle of these words my theology is contained, so far
as it refers to the salvation of men. I rejoice also to remember that
those of my family who were ministers of Christ before me preached this
doctrine, and none other. My father, who is still able to bear his
personal testimony for his Lord, knows no other doctrine, neither did
his father before him.
I am led to remember this by the fact that a somewhat singular
circumstance, recorded in my memory, connects this text with myself and
my grandfather. It is now long years ago. I was announced to preach in a
certain country town in the Eastern Counties. It does not often happen
to me to be behind time, for I feel that punctuality is one of those
little virtues which may prevent great sins. But we have no control over
railway delays, and breakdowns; and so it happened that I reached the
appointed place considerably behind the time. Like sensible people, they
had begun their worship, and had proceeded as far as the sermon. As I
neared the chapel, I perceived that someone was in the pulpit preaching,
and who should the preacher be but my dear and venerable grandfather! He
saw me as I came in at the front door and made my way up the aisle, and
at once he said, „Here comes my grandson! He may preach the gospel
better than I can, but he cannot preach a better gospel; can you,
Charles?” As I made my way through the throng, I answered, „You can
preach better than I can. Pray go on.” But he would not agree to that. I
must take the sermon, and so I did, going on with the subject there and
then, just where he left off. „There,” said he, „I was preaching of ‘For
by grace are ye saved.’ I have been setting forth the source and
fountain-head of salvation; and I am now showing them the channel of it,
through faith. Now you take it up, and go on.” I am so much at home with
these glorious truths that I could not feel any difficulty in taking
from my grandfather the thread of his discourse, and joining my thread
to it, so as to continue without a break. Our agreement in the things of
God made it easy for us to be joint-preachers of the same discourse. I
went on with „through faith,” and then I proceeded to the next point,
„and that not of yourselves.” Upon this I was explaining the weakness
and inability of human nature, and the certainty that salvation could
not be of ourselves, when I had my coat-tail pulled, and my well-beloved
grandsire took his turn again. „When I spoke of our depraved human
nature,” the good old man said, „I know most about that, dear friends”;
and so he took up the parable, and for the next five minutes set forth a
solemn and humbling description of our lost estate, the depravity of our
nature, and the spiritual death under which we were found. When he had
said his say in a very gracious manner, his grandson was allowed to go
on again, to the dear old man’s great delight; for now and then he would
say, in a gentle tone, „Good! Good!” Once he said, „Tell them that
again, Charles,” and, of course, I did tell them that again. It was a
happy exercise to me to take my share in bearing witness to truths of
such vital importance, which are so deeply impressed upon my heart.
While announcing this text I seem to hear that dear voice, which has
been so long lost to earth, saying to me, „TELL THEM THAT AGAIN.” I am
not contradicting the testimony of forefathers who are now with God. If
my grandfather could return to earth, he would find me where he left me,
steadfast in the faith, and true to that form of doctrine which was once
delivered to the saints.
I shall handle the text briefly, by way of making a few statements. The
first statement is clearly contained in the text:—
I. There Is Present Salvation.
The apostle says, „Ye are saved.” Not „ye shall be,” or „ye may be”; but
„ye are saved.” He says not, „Ye are partly saved,” nor „in the way to
being saved,” nor „hopeful of salvation”; but „by grace are ye saved.”
Let us be as clear on this point as he was, and let us never rest till
we know that we are saved. At this moment we are either saved or
unsaved. That is clear. To which class do we belong? I hope that, by the
witness of the Holy Ghost, we may be so assured of our safety as to
sing, „The Lord is my strength and my song; he also is become my
salvation.” Upon this I will not linger, but pass on to note the next
point.
II. A Present Salvation Must Be Through Grace.
If we can say of any man, or of any set of people, „Ye are saved,” we
shall have to preface it with the words „by grace.” There is no other
present salvation except that which begins and ends with grace. As far
as I know, I do not think that anyone in the wide world pretends to
preach or to possess a present salvation, except those who believe
salvation to be all of grace. No one in the Church of Rome claims to be
now saved—completely and eternally saved. Such a profession would be
heretical. Some few Catholics may hope to enter heaven when they die,
but the most of them have the miserable prospect of purgatory before
their eyes. We see constant requests for prayers for departed souls, and
this would not be if those souls were saved, and glorified with their
Saviour. Masses for the repose of the soul indicate the incompleteness
of the salvation Rome has to offer. Well may it be so, since Papal
salvation is by works, and even if salvation by good works were
possible, no man can ever be sure that he has performed enough of them
to secure his salvation.
Among those who dwell around us, we find many who are altogether
strangers to the doctrine of grace, and these never dream of present
salvation. Possibly they trust that they may be saved when they die;
they half hope that, after years of watchful holiness, they may,
perhaps, be saved at last; but, to be saved now, and to know that they
are saved, is quite beyond them, and they think it presumption.
There can be no present salvation unless it be upon this footing—”By
grace are ye saved.” It is a very singular thing that no one has risen
up to preach a present salvation by works. I suppose it would be too
absurd. The works being unfinished, the salvation would be incomplete;
or, the salvation being complete, the main motive of the legalist would
be gone.
Salvation must be by grace. If man be lost by sin, how can he be saved
except through the grace of God? If he has sinned, he is condemned; and
how can he, of himself, reverse that condemnation? Suppose that he
should keep the law all the rest of his life, he will then only have
done what he was always bound to have done, and he will still be an
unprofitable servant. What is to become of the past? How can old sins be
blotted out? How can the old ruin be retrieved? According to Scripture,
and according to common sense, salvation can only be through the free
favour of God.
Salvation in the present tense must be by the free favour of God.
Persons may contend for salvation by works, but you will not hear anyone
support his own argument by saying, „I am myself saved by what I have
done.” That would be a superfluity of naughtiness to which few men would
go. Pride could hardly compass itself about with such extravagant
boasting. No, if we are saved, it must be by the free favour of God. No
one professes to be an example of the opposite view.
Salvation to be complete must be by free favour. The saints, when they
come to die, never conclude their lives by hoping in their good works.
Those who have lived the most holy and useful lives invariably look to
free grace in their final moments. I never stood by the bedside of a
godly man who reposed any confidence whatever in his own prayers, or
repentance, or religiousness. I have heard eminently holy men quoting in
death the words, „Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” In
fact, the nearer men come to heaven, and the more prepared they are for
it, the more simply is their trust in the merit of the Lord Jesus, and
the more intensely do they abhor all trust in themselves. If this be the
case in our last moments, when the conflict is almost over, much more
ought we to feel it to be so while we are in the thick of the fight. If
a man be completely saved in this present time of warfare, how can it be
except by grace. While he has to mourn over sin that dwelleth in him,
while he has to confess innumerable shortcomings and transgressions,
while sin is mixed with all he does, how can he believe that he is
completely saved except it be by the free favour of God?
Paul speaks of this salvation as belonging to the Ephesians, „By grace
are ye saved.” The Ephesians had been given to curious arts and works of
divination. They had thus made a covenant with the powers of darkness.
Now if such as these were saved, it must be by grace alone. So is it
with us also: our original condition and character render it certain
that, if saved at all, we must owe it to the free favour of God. I know
it is so in my own case; and I believe the same rule holds good in the
rest of believers. This is clear enough, and so I advance to the next
observation:—
III. Present Salvation by Grace Must Be Through Faith.
A present salvation must be through grace, and salvation by grace must
be through faith. You cannot get a hold of salvation by grace by any
other means than by faith. This live coal from off the altar needs the
golden tongs of faith with which to carry it. I suppose that it might
have been possible, if God had so willed it, that salvation might have
been through works, and yet by grace; for if Adam had perfectly obeyed
the law of God, still he would only have done what he was bound to do;
and so, if God should have rewarded him, the reward itself must have
been according to grace, since the Creator owes nothing to the creature.
This would have been a very difficult system to work, while the object
of it was perfect; but in our case it would not work at all. Salvation
in our case means deliverance from guilt and ruin, and this could not
have been laid hold of by a measure of good works, since we are not in a
condition to perform any. Suppose I had to preach that you as sinners
must do certain works, and then you would be saved; and suppose that you
could perform them; such a salvation would not then have been seen to be
altogether of grace; it would have soon appeared to be of debt.
Apprehended in such a fashion, it would have come to you in some measure
as the reward of work done, and its whole aspect would have been
changed. Salvation by grace can only be gripped by the hand of faith:
the attempt to lay hold upon it by the doing of certain acts of law
would cause the grace to evaporate. „Therefore, it is of faith that it
might be by grace.” „If by grace, then it is no more of works: otherwise
grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace:
otherwise work is no more work.”
Some try to lay hold upon salvation by grace through the use of
ceremonies; but it will not do. You are christened, confirmed, and
caused to receive „the holy sacrament” from priestly hands, or you are
baptized, join the church, sit at the Lord’s table: does this bring you
salvation? I ask you, „have you salvation?” „You dare not say.” If you
did claim salvation of a sort, yet I am sure it would not be in your
minds salvation by grace.
Again, you cannot lay hold upon salvation by grace through your
feelings. The hand of faith is constructed for the grasping of a present
salvation by grace. But feeling is not adapted for that end. If you go
about to say, „I must feel that I am saved. I must feel so much sorrow
and so much joy or else I will not admit that I am saved,” you will find
that this method will not answer. As well might you hope to see with
your ear, or taste with your eye, or hear with your nose, as to believe
by feeling: it is the wrong organ. After you have believed, you can
enjoy salvation by feeling its heavenly influences; but to dream of
getting a grasp of it by your own feelings is as foolish as to attempt
to bear away the sunlight in the palm of your hand, or the breath of
heaven between the lashes of your eyes. There is an essential absurdity
in the whole affair.
Moreover, the evidence yielded by feeling is singularly fickle. When
your feelings are peaceful and delightful, they are soon broken in upon,
and become restless and melancholy. The most fickle of elements, the
most feeble of creatures, the most contemptible circumstances, may sink
or raise your spirits: experienced men come to think less and less of
their present emotions as they reflect upon the little reliance which
can be safely placed upon them. Faith receives the statement of God
concerning His way of gracious pardon, and thus it brings salvation to
the man believing; but feeling, warming under passionate appeals,
yielding itself deliriously to a hope which it dares not examine,
whirling round and round in a sort of dervish dance of excitement which
has become necessary for its own sustaining, is all on a stir, like the
troubled sea which cannot rest. From its boilings and ragings, feeling
is apt to drop to lukewarmness, despondency, despair and all the kindred
evils. Feelings are a set of cloudy, windy phenomena which cannot be
trusted in reference to the eternal verities of God. We now go a step
further:—
IV. Salvation by Grace, Through Faith, Is Not of Ourselves.
The salvation, and the faith, and the whole gracious work together, are
not of ourselves.
First, they are not of our former deservings: they are not the reward of
former good endeavours. No unregenerate person has lived so well that
God is bound to give him further grace, and to bestow on him eternal
life; else it were no longer of grace, but of debt. Salvation is given
to us, not earned by us. Our first life is always a wandering away from
God, and our new life of return to God is always a work of undeserved
mercy, wrought upon those who greatly need, but never deserve it.
It is not of ourselves, in the further sense, that it is not out of our
original excellence. Salvation comes from above; it is never evolved
from within. Can eternal life be evolved from the bare ribs of death?
Some dare to tell us that faith in Christ, and the new birth, are only
the development of good things that lay hidden in us by nature; but in
this, like their father, they speak of their own. Sirs, if an heir of
wrath is left to be developed, he will become more and more fit for the
place prepared for the devil and his angels! You may take the
unregenerate man, and educate him to the highest; but he remains, and
must forever remain, dead in sin, unless a higher power shall come in
and save him from himself. Grace brings into the heart an entirely
foreign element. It does not improve and perpetuate; it kills and makes
alive. There is no continuity between the state of nature and the state
of grace: the one is darkness and the other is light; the one is death
and the other is life. Grace, when it comes to us, is like a firebrand
dropped into the sea, where it would certainly be quenched were it not
of such a miraculous quality that it baffles the water-floods, and sets
up its reign of fire and light even in the depths.
Salvation by grace, through faith is not of ourselves in the sense of
being the result of our own power. We are bound to view salvation as
being as surely a divine act as creation, or providence, or
resurrection. At every point of the process of salvation this word is
appropriate—”not of yourselves.” From the first desire after it to the
full reception of it by faith, it is evermore of the Lord alone, and not
of ourselves. The man believes, but that belief is only one result among
many of the implantation of divine life within the man’s soul by God
Himself.
Even the very will thus to be saved by grace is not of ourselves, but it
is the gift of God. There lies the stress of the question. A man ought
to believe in Jesus: it is his duty to receive him whom God has set
forth to be a propitiation for sins. But man will not believe in Jesus;
he prefers anything to faith in his redeemer. Unless the Spirit of God
convinces the judgment, and constrains the will, man has no heart to
believe in Jesus unto eternal life. I ask any saved man to look back
upon his own conversion, and explain how it came about. You turned to
Christ, and believed in his name: these were your own acts and deeds.
But what caused you thus to turn? What sacred force was that which
turned you from sin to righteousness? Do you attribute this singular
renewal to the existence of a something better in you than has been yet
discovered in your unconverted neighbour? No, you confess that you might
have been what he now is if it had not been that there was a potent
something which touched the spring of your will, enlightened your
understanding, and guided you to the foot of the cross. Gratefully we
confess the fact; it must be so. Salvation by grace, through faith, is
not of ourselves, and none of us would dream of taking any honour to
ourselves from our conversion, or from any gracious effect which has
flowed from the first divine cause.
Last of all:—
V. „By Grace Are Ye Saved Through Faith; and That Not of Yourselves: It
Is the Gift of God.”
Salvation may be called Theodora, or God’s gift: and each saved soul may
be surnamed Dorothea, which is another form of the same expression.
Multiply your phrases, and expand your expositions; but salvation truly
traced to its well-head is all contained in the gift unspeakable, the
free, unmeasured benison of love.
Salvation is the gift of God, in opposition to a wage. When a man pays
another his wage, he does what is right; and no one dreams of belauding
him for it. But we praise God for salvation because it is not the
payment of debt, but the gift of grace. No man enters eternal life on
earth, or in heaven, as his due: it is the gift of God. We say, „nothing
is freer than a gift”. Salvation is so purely, so absolutely a gift of
God, that nothing can be more free. God gives it because he chooses to
give it, according to that grand text which has made many a man bite his
lip in wrath, „I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, I will have
compassion on whom I will have compassion.” You are all guilty and
condemned, and the great King pardons whom he wills from among you. This
is his royal prerogative. He saves in infinite sovereignty of grace.
Salvation is the gift of God: that is to say completely so, in
opposition to the notion of growth. Salvation is not a natural
production from within: it is brought from a foreign zone, and planted
within the heart by heavenly hands. Salvation is in its entirety a gift
from God. If thou wilt have it, there it is, complete. Wilt thou have it
as a perfect gift? „No; I will produce it in my own workshop.” Thou
canst not forge a work so rare and costly, upon which even Jesus spent
his life’s blood. Here is a garment without seam, woven from the top
throughout. It will cover thee and make thee glorious. Wilt thou have
it? „No; I will sit at the loom, and I will weave a raiment of my own!”
Proud fool that thou art! Thou spinnest cobwebs. Thou weavest a dream.
Oh! that thou wouldst freely take what Christ upon the cross declared to
be finished.
It is the gift of God: that is, it is eternally secure in opposition to
the gifts of men, which soon pass away. „Not as the world giveth, give I
unto you,” says our Lord Jesus. If my Lord Jesus gives you salvation at
this moment, you have it, and you have it forever. He will never take it
back again; and if he does not take it from you, who can? If he saves
you now through faith, you are saved—so saved that you shall never
perish, neither shall any pluck you out of his hand. May it be so with
every one of us!
Amen.

A defense of calvinism -C.H.Spurgeon

It is a great thing to begin the Christian life by believing good solid doctrine. Some people have received twenty different „gospels” in as many years; how many more they will accept before they get to their journey’s end, it would be difficult to predict. I thank God that He early taught me the gospel; and I have been so perfectly satisfied with it, that I do not want to know any other. Constant change of creed is sure loss. If a tree has to be taken up two or three times a year, you will not need to build a very large loft in which to store the apples. When people are always shifting their doctrinal principles, they are not likely to bring forth much fruit to the glory of God. It is good for young believers to begin with a firm hold upon those great fundamental doctrines which the Lord has taught in His Word. Why, if I believed what some preach about the temporary, trumpery salvation which only lasts for a time, I would scarcely be at all grateful for it; but when I know that those whom God saves He saves with an everlasting salvation, when I know that He gives to them an everlasting righteousness, when I know that He settles them on an everlasting foundation of everlasting love, and that He will bring them to His everlasting kingdom, oh, then I do wonder, and I am astonished that such a blessing as this should ever have been given to me!
„Pause, my soul! adore, and wonder!
Ask, ‘Oh, why such love to me?’
Grace hath put me in the number
Of the Saviour’s family:
Hallelujah!
Thanks, eternal thanks, to Thee!”
I suppose there are some persons whose minds naturally incline towards the doctrine of free-will. I can only say that mine inclines as naturally toward the doctrines of sovereign grace. Sometimes, when I see some of the worst characters in the street, I feel as if my heart must burst in tears of gratitude that God has never let me act as they have done! I have thought, if God had left me alone, and had not touched me by His grace, what a great sinner I should have been! I should have run to the utmost of sin, dived into the very depths of evil, nor should I have stopped at any vice or folly, if God had not restrained me. I feel that I should have been a very king of sinners, if God had let me alone. I cannot understand the reason why I am saved, except upon the ground that God would have it so. I cannot, if I look ever so earnestly, discover any kind of reason in myself why I should be a partaker of Divine grace. If I am not at this moment without Christ, it is only because Christ Jesus would have His will with me, and that will was that I should be with Him where He is, and should share His glory. I can put the crown nowhere but upon the head of Him whose mighty grace has saved me from going down into the pit. Looking back on my past life, I can see that the dawning of it all was of God; of God effectively. I took no torch with which to light the sun; but the sun enlightened me. I did not commence my spiritual life, –no, I rather kicked and struggled against the things of the Spirit; when He drew me, for a time I did not run after Him; there was a natural hatred in my soul of everything holy and good. Wooings were lost upon me, –warnings were cast to the wind, –thunders were despised; and as for the whispers of His love, they were rejected as being less than nothing and vanity. But, sure I am, I can say now, speaking on behalf of myself, „He only is my salvation.” It was He who turned my heart, and brought me down on my knees before Him. I can in very deed, say with Doddridge and Toplady, –
„Grace taught my soul to pray,
And made my eyes o’erflow;”
and coming at this moment, I can add,–
„‘Tis grace has kept me to his day,
And will not let me go.”
ALL ARMINIANS BY NATURE
Well can I remember the manner in which I learned the doctrines of grace in a single instant. Born, as all of us are by nature, an Arminian, I still believed the old things I had heard continually from the pulpit, and did not see the grace of God. When I was coming to Christ, I thought I was doing it all myself, and though I sought the Lord earnestly, I had no idea the Lord was seeking me. I do not think the young convert is at first aware of this. I can recall the very day and hour when first I received those truths in my own soul, –when they were, as John Bunyan says, burnt into my heart as with a hot iron; and I can recollect how I felt that I had grown on a sudden from a babe into a man, –that I had made progress in Scriptural knowledge, through having found, once for all, the clue to the truth of God. One weeknight, when I was sitting in the house of God, I was not thinking much about the preacher’s sermon, for I did not believe it. The thought struck me, „How did you come to be a Christian?” I sought the Lord. „But how did you come to seek the Lord?” The truth flashed across my mind in a moment, –I should not have sought Him unless there had been some previous influence in my mind to make me seek Him. I prayed, thought I; but then I asked myself, How came I to pray? I was induced to pray by reading the Scriptures. How came I to read the Scriptures? I did read them; but what led me to do so? Then, in a moment, I saw that God was at the bottom of it all, and that He was the Author of my faith; and so the whole doctrine of grace opened up to me, and from that doctrine I have not departed to this day, and I desire to make this my constant confession, „I ascribe my change wholly to God.”
I once attended a service where the text happened to be, He shall choose our inheritance for us; and the good man who occupied the pulpit was more than a little of an Arminian. Therefore, when he commenced he said,
„This passage refers entirely to our temporal inheritance, it has nothing whatever to do with our everlasting destiny; for,” said he, „we do not want Christ to choose for us in the matter of Heaven or Hell. It is so plain and easy, that every man who has a grain of common sense will choose Heaven; and any person would know better than to choose Hell. We have no need of any superior intelligence, or any greater Being, to choose Heaven or Hell for us. It is left to our own free-will; and we have enough wisdom given us, sufficiently correct means to judge for ourselves,” and therefore, as he very logically inferred, there was no necessity for Jesus Christ, or anyone, to make a choice for us. We could choose the inheritance for ourselves without any assistance. „Oh!” I thought, „but, my good brother, it may be very true that we could, but I think we should want something more than common sense before we should choose aright.”
GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY IN LIFE
First, let me ask, must we not all of us admit an overruling Providence, and the appointment of Jehovah’s hand, as to the means whereby we came into this world? Those men who think that, afterwards, we are left to our own free-will to choose this one or the other to direct our steps, must admit that our entrance into the world was not of our own will, but that God had then to choose for us. What circumstances were those in our power which led us to elect certain persons to be our parents? Had we anything to do with it? Did not God Himself appoint our parents, native place, and friends? Could He not have caused me to be born with the skin of the Hottentot, brought forth by a filthy mother who would nurse me in her „kraal,” and teach me to bow down to Pagan gods, quite as easily as to have given me a pious mother, who would each morning and night bend her knee in prayer on my behalf? Or, might He not, if He had pleased, have given me some profligate to have been my parent, from whose lips I might have early heard fearful, filthy, and obscene language? Might He not have placed me where I should have had a drunken father, who would have immured me in a very dungeon of ignorance, and brought me up in the chains of crime? Was it not God’s Providence that I had so happy a lot, that both my parents were His children, and endeavored to train me up in the fear of the Lord.
GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY IN SALVATION
John Newton used to tell a whimsical story, and laugh at it, too, of a good woman who said, in order to prove the doctrine of election, „Ah! sir, the Lord must have loved me before I was born, or else He would not have seen anything in me to love afterwards.” I am sure it is true in my case; I believe the doctrine of election, because I am quite sure He chose me before I was born, or else He never would have chosen me afterwards; and He must have elected me for reasons unknown to me, for I never could find any reason in myself why He should have looked upon me with special love. So I am forced to accept that great Biblical doctrine. I recollect an Arminian brother telling me that he had read the Scriptures through a score or more times, and could never find the doctrine of election in them. He added that he was sure he would have done so if it had been there, for he read the Word on his knees. I said to him, „I think you read the Bible in a very uncomfortable posture, and if you had read it in your easy chair, you would have been more likely to understand it. Pray, by all means, and the more the better; but it is a piece of superstition to think there is anything in the posture in which a man puts himself for reading: and so to reading through the Bible twenty times without having found anything about the doctrine of election, the wonder is that you found anything at all: you must have galloped through it at such a rate that you were not likely to have any intelligible idea of the meaning of the Scriptures.”
If it would be marvelous to see one river leap up from the earth full-grown, what would it be to gaze upon a vast spring from which all the rivers of the earth should at once come bubbling up, a million of them born at a birth? What a vision would it be! Who can conceive it? And yet the love of God is that foundation, from which all the rivers of mercy, which have ever gladdened our race, –all the rivers of grace in time, and glory hereafter, –take their rise. My soul, stand thou at the sacred fountain-head, and adore and magnify for ever and ever God, even our Father, who hath loved us! In the very beginning, when this great universe lay in the mind of God, like unborn forests in the acorn cup; long ere the echoes awoke the solitudes; before the mountains were brought forth; and long ere the light flashed through the sky, God loved His chosen creatures. Before there was any created being, –when the ether was not fanned by an angel’s wing, when space itself had not an existence; when there was nothing save God alone; even then, in that loneliness of Deity, and in that deep quiet and profundity, His bowels moved with love for His chosen. Their names were written on His heart, and then were they dear to His soul. Jesus loved His people before the foundation of the world, –even from eternity! and when He called me by His grace, He said to me, „I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”
Then, in the fullness of time, He purchased me with His blood; He let His heart run out in one deep gaping wound for me long ere I loved Him. Yea, when He first came to me, did I not spurn Him? When He knocked at the door, and asked for entrance, did I not drive Him away, and do despite to His grace? Ah! I can remember that I full often did so until, at last, by the power of His effectual grace, He said, „I must, I will come in;” and then He turned my heart, and made me love Him. But even till now I should have resisted Him, had it not been for His grace. Well, then, since He purchased me when I was dead in sins, does it not follow, as a consequence necessary and logical, that He must have loved me first? Did my Saviour die for me because I believed on Him? No; I was not then in existence; I had then no being. Could the Saviour, therefore, have died because I had faith, when I myself was not yet born? Could that have been possible? Could that have been the origin of the Saviour’s love towards me? Oh! no; my Saviour died for me long before I believed. „but,” says someone, „He foresaw that you would have faith; and, therefore, He loved you.” What did He foresee about my faith? Did He foresee that I should get that faith myself, and that I should believe on Him of myself? No; Christ could not foresee that, because no Christian man will ever say that faith came of itself without the gift and without the working of the Holy Spirit. I have met with a great many believers, and talked with them about this matter; but I never knew one who could put his hand on his heart, and say, „I believed in Jesus without the assistance of the Holy Spirit.”
DEPRAVITY OF MAN
I am bound to the doctrine of the depravity of the human heart, because I find myself depraved in heart, and have daily proofs that in my flesh there dwelleth no good thing. If God enters into covenant with unfallen man, man is so insignificant a creature that it must be an act of gracious condescension on the Lord’s part; but if God enters into covenant with sinful man, he is then so offensive a creature that it must be, on God’s part, an act of pure, free, rich, sovereign grace. When the Lord entered into a covenant with me, I am sure that it was all of grace, nothing else but grace. When I remember what a den of unclean beasts and birds my heart was, and how strong was my unrenewed will, how obstinate and rebellious against the sovereignty of the Divine rule, I always feel inclined to take the very lowest room in my Father’s house; and when I enter Heaven, it will be to go among the less than the least of all saints, and with the chief of sinners.
GRACE FROM START TO FINISH
The late lamented Mr. Denham has put, at the foot of his portrait, a most admirable text, „Salvation is of the Lord.” That is just an epitome of Calvinism: it is the sum and substance of it. If anyone should ask me what I mean by a Calvinist, I should reply, „He is one who says, ‘Salvation is of the Lord.'” I cannot find in Scripture any other doctrine than this. It is the essence of the Bible. „He only is my rock and my salvation.” Tell me anything contrary to this truth, and it will be a heresy; tell me a heresy, and I shall find its essence here, that it has departed from this great, this fundamental, this rock-truth, „God is my rock and my salvation.” What is the heresy of Rome, but the addition of something to the perfect merits of Jesus Christ, –the bringing in of the works of the flesh, to assist in our justification? And what is the heresy of Arminianism but the addition of something to the work of the Redeemer? Every heresy, if brought to the touch-stone, will discover itself here. I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the gospel, if we do not preach justification by faith, without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in His dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the gospel, unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called, and suffers the children of God to be burned in the fires of damnation after having once believed in Jesus. Such a gospel I abhor.
„If ever it should come to pass,
That sheep of Christ might fall away,
My fickle, feeble soul, alas!
Would fall a thousand times a day.”
If one dear saint of God had perished, so might all; if one of the covenant ones be lost, so may all be; and then there is no gospel promise true, but the Bible is a lie, and there is nothing in it worth my acceptance. I will be an infidel at once when I can believe that a saint of God can ever fall finally. If God hath loved me once, then He will love me for ever. God has a master-mind; He arranged everything in His gigantic intellect long before He did it; and once having settled it, He never alters it. „This shall be done,” saith He, and the iron hand of destiny marks it down, and it is brought to pass. „This is My purpose,” and it stands, nor can earth or Hell alter it. „This is My decree,” saith He, „promulgate it, ye holy angels; rend it down from the gate of Heaven, ye devils, if ye can; but ye cannot alter the decree, it shall stand for ever.” God altereth not His plans; why should He? He is Almighty, and therefore can perform His pleasure. Why should He? He is the All-wise, and therefore cannot have planned wrongly. Why should He? He is the everlasting God, and therefore cannot die before His plan is accomplished. Why should He change? Ye worthless atoms of earth, ephemera of a day, ye creeping insects upon this bay-leaf of existence, ye may change your plans, but He shall never, never change His. Has He told me that His plan is to save me? If so, I am for ever safe.
„My name from the palms of His hands
Eternity will not erase;
Impress’d on His heart it remains,
In marks of indelible grace.”
I do not know how some people, who believe that a Christian can fall from grace, manage to be happy. It must be a very commendable thing in them to be able to get through a day without despair. If I did not believe the doctrine of the final perseverance of the saints, I think I should be of all men the most miserable, because I should lack any ground of comfort. I could not say, whatever state of heart I came into, that I should be like a well-spring of water, whose stream fails not; I should rather have to take the comparison of an intermittent spring, that might stop on a sudden, or a reservoir, which I had no reason to expect would always be full. I believe that the happiest of Christians and the truest of Christians are those who never dare to doubt God, but who take His Word simply as it stands, and believe it, and ask no questions, just feeling assured that if God has said it, it will be so. I bear my willing testimony that I have no reason, nor even the shadow of a reason, to doubt my Lord; and I challenge Heaven, and earth, and Hell to bring any proof that God is untrue. From the depths of Hell I call the fiends, and from this earth I call the tried and afflicted believers, and to Heaven I appeal, and challenge the long experience of the blood-washed host, and there is not to be found in the three realms a single person who can bear witness to one fact which can disprove the faithfulness of God, or weaken His claim to be trusted by His servants. There are many things that may or may not happen, but this I know shall happen, –
„He shall present my soul,
Unblemish’d and complete,
Before the glory of His face,
With joys divinely great.”
All the purposes of men have been defeated, but not the purposes of God. The promises of man may be broken, –many of them are made to be broken, –but the promises of God shall be fulfilled. He is a promise-maker, but He never was a promise-breaker; He is a promise-keeping God, and every one of His people shall prove it to be so. This is my grateful, personal confidence, „The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me”; –unworthy me, lost and ruined me. He will yet save me; and–
„I, among the blood wash’d throng,
Shall wave the palm, and wear the crown,
and shout loud victory.”
I go to a land which the plough of earth hath never upturned, where it is greener than earth’s blest pastures, and richer than her most abundant harvests ever saw. I go to a building of more gorgeous architecture than man hath ever builded; it is not of mortal design; it is „a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens.” All I shall know and enjoy in Heaven, will be given to me by the Lord; and I shall say, when at last I appear before Him, –
„Grace all the work shall crown
Through everlasting days;
It lays in Heaven the topmost stone,
And well deserves the praise.”
NO LIMIT TO MERIT OF CHRIST’S BLOOD
I know there are some who think it necessary to their system of theology to limit the merit of the blood of Jesus: if my theological system needed such a limitation, I would cast it to the winds. I cannot, I dare not, allow the thought to find a lodging in my mind, it seems near akin to blasphemy. In Christ’s finished work I see an ocean of merit; my plummet finds no bottom, my eye discovers no shore. There must be sufficient efficacy in the blood of Christ, if God had so willed it, to have saved not only all in this world, but all in ten thousand worlds, had they transgressed their Maker’s law. Once admit infinity into the matter, and limit is out of the question. Having a Divine Person for an offering, it is not consistent to conceive of limited value; bound and measure are terms inapplicable to the Divine sacrifice. The intent of the Divine purpose fixes the application of the infinite offering, but does not change it into a finite work. Think of the numbers upon whom God has bestowed His grace already. Think of the countless hosts in Heaven: if thou wert introduced there today, thou wouldst find it as easy to tell the stars, or the sands of the sea, as to count the multitudes that are before the throne even now. They have come from the East, and from the West, from the North, and from the South, and they are sitting down with Abraham and with Isaac, and with Jacob in the Kingdom of God; and beside those in Heaven, think of the saved ones on earth. Blessed be God, His elect on earth are to be counted by millions, I believe; and the days are coming, brighter days than these, when there shall be multitudes upon multitudes brought to know the Saviour, and to rejoice in Him. The Father’s love is not for a few only, but for an exceeding great company. „A great multitude, which no man could number,” will be found in Heaven. A man can reckon up to very high figures; set to work your Newtons, your mightiest calculators, and they can count great numbers; but God and God alone can tell the multitude of His redeemed.
I believe there will be more in Heaven than in Hell. If anyone asks me why I think so, I answer because Christ, in everything, is to „have preeminence”, and I cannot conceive how He could have the pre-eminence if there are to be more in the dominion of Satan than in Paradise. Moreover, I have never read that there is to be in Hell a great multitude, which no man could number. I rejoice to know that the souls of all infants, as soon as they die, speed their way to Paradise. Think what a multitude there is of them! Then there are already in Heaven unnumbered myriads of the spirits of just men made perfect, –the redeemed of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues up till now; and there are better times coming, when the religion of Christ shall be universal; when–
„He shall reign from pole to pole,
with illimitable sway;”
when whole kingdoms shall bow down before Him, and nations shall be born in a day; and in a thousand years of the great millennial state there will be enough saved to make up all the deficiencies of the thousands of years that have gone before. Christ shall be Master everywhere, and His praise shall be sounded in every land. Christ shall have the pre-eminence at last; His train shall be far larger than that which attended the chariot of the grim monarch of Hell.
ATONEMENT NOT UNIVERSAL IN APPLICATION
Some people love the doctrine of universal atonement because they say, „It is so beautiful. It is a lovely idea that Christ should die for all men; it commends itself,” they say, „to the instincts of humanity; there is something in it full of joy and beauty.” I admit there is; but beauty may be often associated with falsehood. There is much which I might admire in the theory of universal redemption, but I will just show what the supposition necessarily involves. If Christ on His cross intended to save every man, then He intended to save those who were lost before He died. If the doctrine is true, that He died for all men, then He died for some who were in Hell before He came into this world, for doubtless there were even then myriads there who had been cast away because of their sins. Once again, if it was Christ’s intention to save all men, how deplorably has He been disappointed, for we have His own testimony that there is a lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, and into that pit of woe have been cast some of the very persons who, according to the theory of universal redemption, were bought with His blood. That seems to me a conception a thousand times more repulsive than any of those consequences which are said to be associated with the Calvinistic and Christian doctrine of special and particular redemption. To think that my Saviour died for men who were or are in Hell, seems a supposition too horrible for me to entertain. To imagine for a moment that He was the Substitute for all the sons of men, and that God, having first punished the Substitute, afterwards punished the sinners themselves, seems to conflict with all my ideas of Divine justice. That Christ should offer an atonement and satisfaction for the sins of all men, and that afterwards some of those very men should be punished for the sins for which Christ had already atoned, appears to me to be the most monstrous iniquity that could ever have been imputed to Saturn, to Janus, to the goddess of the thugs, or to the most diabolical heathen deities. God forbid that we should ever think thus of Jehovah, the Just and wise and good!
There is no soul who holds more firmly to the doctrines of grace than I do, and if any man asks me whether I am ashamed to be called a Calvinist, I answer, –I wish to be called nothing but a Christian; but if you ask me, do I hold the doctrinal views which were held by John Calvin, I reply, I do in the main hold them, and rejoice to avow it. But far be it from me even to imagine that Zion contains none but Calvinistic Christians within her walls, or that there are none saved who do not hold our views. Most atrocious things have been spoken about the character and spiritual condition of John Wesley, the modern prince of Arminians. I can only say concerning him that, while I detest many of the doctrines which he preached, yet for the man himself I have a reverence second to no Wesleyan; and if there were wanted two apostles to be added to the number of the twelve, I do not believe that there could be found two men more fit to be so added than George Whitefield and John Wesley. The character of John Wesley stands beyond all imputation for self-sacrifice, zeal, holiness, and communion with God; he lived far above the ordinary level of common Christians, and was one „of whom the world was not worthy.” I believe there are multitudes of men who cannot see these truths, or, at least, cannot see them in the way in which we put them, who nevertheless have received Christ as their Saviour, and are as dear to the heart of the God of grace as the soundest Calvinist in or out of Heaven.
FULL-ORBED GOSPEL
I do not think I differ from any of my Hyper-Calvinistic brethren in what I do believe; but I differ from them in what I do not believe. I do not hold any less than they do, but I hold a little more, and I think, a little more of the truth revealed in the Scriptures. Not only are there a few cardinal doctrines, by which we can steer our ship North, South, East, or West; but as we study the Word, we shall begin to learn something about the North-west and North-east, and all else that lies between the four cardinal points. the system of truth revealed in the Scriptures is not simply one straight line, but two; and no man will ever get a right view of the gospel until he knows how to look at the two lines at once. For instance, I read in one Book of the Bible, „The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Yet I am taught, in another part of the same inspired Word, that „it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” I see, in one place, God in providence presiding over all; and yet I see, and I cannot help seeing, that man acts as he pleases, and that God has left his actions, in a great measure, to his own freewill. Now, if I were to declare that man was so free to act that there was no control of God over his actions, I should be driven very near to atheism; and if, on the other hand, I should declare that God so over-rules all things that man is not free enough to be responsible, I should be driven at once into Antinomianism or fatalism. That God predestines, and yet that man is responsible, are two facts that few can see clearly. They are believed to be inconsistent and contradictory; but they are not. The fault is in our weak judgment. Two truths cannot be contradictory to each other. If, then, I find taught in one part of the Bible that everything is fore-ordained, that is true; and if I find, in another Scripture, that man is responsible for all his actions, that is true; and it is only my folly that leads me to imagine that these two truths can ever contradict each other. I do not believe they can ever be welded into one upon any earthly anvil, but they certainly shall be one in eternity. They are two lines that are so nearly parallel, that the human mind which pursues them farthest will never discover that they converge; but they do converge, and they will meet somewhere in eternity, close to the throne of God, whence all truth doth spring.
(From chapter 16 of Spurgeon’s Autobiography)

BY GRACE ARE YE SAVED By C. H. Spurgeon

BY GRACE ARE YE SAVED
By C. H. Spurgeon
It is by the grace of God that ungodly men are preserved instant death. The sharp axe of justice would soon fell the barren tree if the interceding voice of Jesus did not cry, „Spare him yet a little.” Many sinners, when converted to God, have gratefully acknowledged that it was of the Lord’s mercy that they were not consumed. John Bunyan had three memorable escapes before his conversion, and mentions them in his „Grace Abounding” as illustrious instances of long-suffering mercy. Occasionally such deliverances are made the means of affecting the heart with tender emotions of love to God, and grief for having offended him. Should it not be so? Ought we not to account that the longsuffering of God is salvation? (2 Peter 3:15.) An officer during a battle was struck by a nearly spent ball near his waistcoat pocket, but he remained uninjured, for a piece of silver stopped the progress of the deadly missile. The coin was marked at the words DEI GRATIA
(by the grace of God). This providential circumstance deeply impressed his mind, and led him to read a tract which a godly sister had given him when leaving home. God blessed the reading of the tract, and he became, through the rich grace of God, a believer in the Lord Jesus.

Reader, are you unsaved? Have you experienced any noteworthy deliverances? Then adore and admire the free grace of God, and pray that it may lead you to repentance! Are you enquiring for the way of life? Remember the words DEI GRATIA, and never forget that by grace we are saved. Grace always pre-supposes unworthiness in its object. The province of grace ceases where merit begins: what a cheering word is this to those of you who have no worth, no merit, no goodness whatever! Crimea are forgiven, and follies are cured by our Redeemer out of mere free favour. The word grace has the same meaning as our common term gratis: Wickliffe’s prayer was, „Lord save Memphis.” No works can purchase or procure salvation, but the heavenly Father giveth freely, and upbraideth not.

Grace comes to us through faith in Jesus. Whosoever believeth on Him is not condemned. O, sinner, may God give thee grace to look to Jesus and live. Look now, for to-day is the accepted time!
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All Of Grace, None Of Works Ephesians 2:8

All Of Grace, None Of Works
Ephesians 2:8
The longer I live, the more I feel that if there were one thing left undone, if the devil were not conquered, sin not expiated, justice not satisfied, the law not honoured and magnified, death not overcome, and every burden not carried, I should not have a ray of hope. I used to think I saw this as clear as the noon-day thirty or forty years ago; but I saw it very differently then to what I see now; for I see and feel now that if one hair-breath is left for me to do to merit heaven, or bring as a plea before God, I am undone for ever and ever. But on the Mount of Calvary, the Lord Jesus Christ undertook the cause of His people; and there is not a jot nor a tittle that He left undone, but „by one offering he perfected for ever them that are sanctified,” and „there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Here is complete perfection. „Saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation.”
John Warburton

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