Category Archives: Sovereignty

“We were once blind to His beauty” by John Newton

“The Lord reigns. He who once bore our sins, and carried our sorrows, is seated upon a throne of glory, and exercises all power in heaven and on earth. Thrones, principalities, and powers, bow before Him.

Every event in the kingdoms of providence and of grace are under His rule. His providence pervades and manages the whole, and is as minutely attentive to every part as if there were only that single object in His view.

From the tallest archangel to the meanest ant or fly, all depend on Him for their being, their preservation, and their powers. He directs the sparrows where to build their nests, and to find their food.

He overrules the rise and fall of nations, and bends, with an invincible energy and unerring wisdom, all events, so that while many intend nothing less, in the issue their designs all concur and coincide in the accomplishment of His holy will.

He restrains with a mighty hand the still more formidable efforts of the powers of darkness, and Satan with all his hosts cannot exert their malice a hair’s-breadth beyond the limits of His permission.

This is He who is the head and husband of His believing people. How happy are they whom it is His good pleasure to bless!

How safe are they whom He has engaged to protect! How honoured and privileged are they to whom He is pleased to manifest Himself, and whom He enables and warrants to claim Him as their friend and their portion!

Having redeemed them by His own blood, He sets a high value upon them. He esteems them His treasure, His jewels, and keeps them as the apple of his eye.

They shall not want. They need not fear. His eye is upon them in every situation, His ear is open to their prayers, and His everlasting arms are under them for their sure support.

On earth He guides their steps, controls their enemies, and directs all His dispensations for their good.

While in heaven He is pleading their cause, preparing them a place, and communicating down to them reviving foretastes of the glory that shall be shortly revealed.

O how is this mystery hidden from an unbelieving world! Who can believe it, till it is made known by experience, what an intercourse is maintained in this land of shadows between the Lord of glory and sinful worms!

How should we praise Him that He has visited us! For we were once blind to His beauty, and insensible to His love, and should have remained so to the last, had He not prevented us with His goodness, and been found of us when we sought Him not.”

–John Newton, Letters of John Newton (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1869/2007), 237-239.

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“God holds us with an omnipotent grasp” by William Plumer

“By faith we have hold on God, but our grip is often feeble. Our great safety lies in this: that God holds us with an omnipotent grasp, and never entirely lets us go.”

–William Plumer, Studies in the Book of Psalms: A Critical and Expository Commentary With Doctrinal and Practical Remarks (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1867/2016), 714. Plumer is commenting on Psalm 74:23.

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“The storm is guided by the hands which were nailed to the cross” by John Newton

“Public affairs look darker still. Expectation is on tiptoe waiting for hourly news from all parts of the world but foreboding that the news, whenever it comes or from whatever quarter, will be distressing.

I am afraid what we next hear from America will not be pleasing. That unhappy country is still likely to be a scene of desolation and our people there likely to sink under the weight of pretended successes.

In the West Indies, Tobago is gone, and perhaps by this time some other of our islands. And the cry of oppression in the East Indies seems at length to have awakened judgment there.

Yet the spirit of the nation seems like that of the thoughtless mariner, asleep on the top of the mast, regardless of the danger every moment increasing.

Yet still I hope there is mercy. The gospel spreads, grace reigns, the number of praying souls is on the increase, and their prayers I trust will be heard.

We are sure that the Lord reigns; that the storm is guided by the hands which were nailed to the cross, and that as He loves His own, He will take care of them.

But they who have not an ark to hide themselves in will probably weep and wail before the indignation be over-past.

Blessed be God for a land of peace where sin and every sorrow will be excluded.”

–John Newton, as quoted in Josiah Bull, Memorials of the Rev. William Bull, of Newport Pagnel: 1738-1814, (London: James Nisbet and Company, 1864), 88-89. This letter was written in April 1781.

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“We know who the real King is” by Rankin Wilbourne

“It may not look like Christ is ruling the universe. Today it might look like just a crack of light under a door.

But the New Testament writers were confident because they knew the light had dawned (Rom. 13: 12) and that one day the door will open, and that light, the Sun of Glory, will flood the whole room.

The gravity of Christ being King is often lost on those of us who have no earthly king. But in the Roman Empire, the tiny church not only survived, but flourished, even amid terrible persecution.

They were willing to die because they knew who the real king was. And they believed He was worth dying for.

King David’s men once said to David, ‘You are worth ten thousand of us’ (2 Sam. 18: 3), and we can now say that to our King and make our lives wholly expendable to Him and His cause.

When you know that Christ is the seated and enthroned King, you too will be willing to surrender all your plans and ambitions into His hands.

Perhaps, with the persecuted church, you can even rejoice when you are counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name (Acts 5:41) because we know who the real King is, and He is worthy.”

–Rankin Wilbourne, Union with Christ: The Way to Know and Enjoy God (Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2016), 165.

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“Our sorrows shall have an end” by Charles Spurgeon

“Our longest sorrows have a close, and there is a bottom to the profoundest depths of our misery.

Our winters shall not frown forever; summer shall soon smile.

The tide shall not eternally ebb out; the floods retrace their march.

The night shall not hang its darkness for ever over our souls; the sun shall yet arise with healing beneath his wings.

The Lord turned again the captivity of Job.’ (Job 42:10) Our sorrows shall have an end when God has gotten His end in them.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “Intercessory Prayer,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Vol. 7 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1861), 7: 449.

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“The great love of Jesus” by Charles Spurgeon

“Jesus has loved His own people from of old. A most blessed fact! He has loved them eternally. There never a time when He did not love them.

His love is positively dateless: before the heavens and earth were made, and the stars were first touched with the torch of flame, Jesus had received His people from His Father, and written their names on His heart.

‘Having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.’ Jesus, before all the world, set the crown of His peculiar love upon those whom He foreordained unto His glory.

This love of His is infinite. Jesus does not love His own with a little of His love, nor regard them with some small degree of affection, but He says, ‘As the Father hath loved me, even so have I loved you,’ and the Father’s love to the Son is inconceivably great, since they are one in essence, ineffably one.

The Father cannot but love the Son infinitely, neither doth the Son ever love His people less than with all His heart. It is an affection which no angelic mind could measure, inconceivable, unknown.

Jesus loved His people with a foresight of what they would be. Love is blind, they say, but not the Saviour’s love. He knew that ‘his own’ would fall in Adam; He knew that as they lived personally each one would become a sinner; He understood that they would be hard to reclaim and difficult to retain, even after they had been reclaimed; He saw every sin that they would commit in the glass of the future, for from His prescient eye nothing can be hidden.

And yet He loved His own over the head of all their sins, and their revoltings, and their shortcomings. Hence we see that He bears towards them an affection which cannot be changed, for nothing can occur which He has not foreseen, nothing therefore which has not already been taken into calculation in the matter of His choice.

No new circumstance can shed unexpected light upon the case. No startling and unforeseen event can become an argument for a change. Hence Jesus’ love is full of immutability. There are no ups and downs in the love of Christ towards His people.

On their highest Tabors He loves them, but equally as well in their Gethsemanes. When they wander like lost sheep His great love goes after them, and when they come back with broken hearts His great love restores them.

By day, by night, in sickness, in sorrow, in poverty, in famine, in prison, in the hour of death, that silver stream of love ripples at their side, never stayed, never diminished. Forever is the sea of divine grace at its flood; this sun never sets; this fountain never pauses.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “The Faithfulness of Jesus,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Vol. 14 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1868), 270-271.

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“Give them all the more of it” by Charles Spurgeon

“If anything is hated bitterly, it is the out-and-out gospel of the grace of God, especially if that hateful word ‘sovereignty’ is mentioned with it.

Dare to say ‘He will have mercy on whom he will have mercy, and he will have compassion on whom he will have compassion,’ and furious critics will revile you without stint.

The modern religionist not only hates the doctrine of sovereign grace, but he raves and rages at the mention of it. He would sooner hear you blaspheme than preach election by the Father, atonement by the Son, or regeneration by the Spirit.

If you want to see a man worked up till the Satanic is clearly uppermost, let some of the new divines hear you preach a free-grace sermon. A gospel which is after men will be welcomed by men; but it needs a divine operation upon the heart and mind to make a man willing to receive into his inmost soul this distasteful gospel of the grace of God.

My dear brethren, do not try to make it tasteful to carnal minds. Hide not the offence of the cross, lest you make it of none effect.

The angles and corners of the gospel are its strength: to pare them off is to deprive it of power. Toning down is not the increase of strength, but the death of it.

Learn, then, that if you take Christ out of Christianity, Christianity is dead. If you remove grace out of the gospel, the gospel is gone.

If the people do not like the doctrine of grace, give them all the more of it.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “Our Manifesto,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Vol. 37 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1891), 49. This from a sermon on Galatians 1:11.

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