Tag Archives: Election

“If you want to understand theology, you had better begin here” by Charles Spurgeon

“All of us put together, and millions upon millions of our human race, could never equal in value the precious Lord Jesus. If you were to put in all the angels as well, and all the creatures that God has over made, they could not equal Him who is the brightness of His Father’s glory, and the express image of His person.

‘Yet He spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all.’ And this is the gospel which we have to preach to you every time we stand before you, namely, that Christ Jesus, the Lamb of God, was offered to God as a substitute for ungodly, unclean, unacceptable man.

That we might not die, Christ died.

That we might not be cursed, Jesus was cursed and fastened to the tree.

That we might be received, He was rejected.

That we might be approved, He was despised.

That we might live forever He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

If any man wants to understand theology, he had better begin here. This is the first and main point.

I do not think I should dispute with any of my brethren in the ministry upon what else they hold if they all hold purely and straightforwardly the doctrine of substitution by Jesus Christ on the behalf of His own elect people.

Martin Luther stood out for justification by faith, and rightly so, for in his day that seemed to be the center, where all the battle raged. I think that just now substitution by Christ seems to be the place where the garments are rolled in blood, and where the fight is thickest.

That Jesus Christ was punished in the sinner’s stead, that the wrath which was due to His people was endured by Him, that He drank the cup of bitterness which they ought to have drained, is the grandest of all truths, and so sublime a truth that if all the Christians in the world were to be burned in one dreadful holocaust, the price would be but little to maintain this precious doctrine in its integrity upon the face of the earth.

Now most men know that they are to be saved by Christ, but I am afraid, but I am afraid that it is not always preached plainly, so that men know how it is that Christ saves them.

My dear hearer, I would not have you go away without knowing this. Christ Jesus came into the world to take the sins of His people upon Himself, and to be punished for them.

Well, if Christ was punished for them, they could not be punished afterwards. Christ’s being punished in their stead was the full discharge of their debt which they owed to divine justice, and they are sure to be saved.

Those for whom Christ died as a Substitute can no more be damned than Christ Himself can be. It is not possible that hell can enclose them, or elsewhere are the justice and the integrity of God?

Does He demand the man, and then take a Substitute, and then take the man again? Does He demand the payment of our debt, and receive that payment at the hand of Christ, and then arrest us a second time for the same debt?

Then, in the great court of King’s Bench in heaven, where is justice? The honour of God, the faithfulness of God, the integrity of God are certain warrants to every soul for whom Christ died, that if Christ died for him he shall not die, but shall be exempt from the curse of the law.

‘How then,’ says one, ‘may I know that Christ died for my soul?’

Sir, dost thou trust Him? Wilt thou trust Him now? If so, that is the mark of His redeemed.

This is the King’s mark upon His treasure. This is the mark of the great Sheep-Master upon every one of those whom He has bought with blood.

If thou wilt take Him to be the unbuttressed pillar of thy salvation, if thou wilt build upon Him as the sole foundation of thine everlasting hope, then art thou His, and as for thy sins, they are laid on Him.

As for thy righteousness, thou hast none of thine own, but Christ’s righteousness is thine. As in the case before us, the lamb was offered, the donkey was spared; the unclean animal lived; the clean creature died. There was a change of places.

So does Christ change places with the sinner. Christ puts Himself in the sinner’s place, and what do we read? ‘He was numbered with the transgressors,’ and, being numbered with the transgressors, what then?

Why, He was put to death as a transgressor. They crucified Him between two malefactors. He had to suffer the death of a felon, and though in him was no sin, yet ‘the Lord hath made to meet upon Him the iniquities of us all.’

He was before God the representative of all His people, and all the sins of his people covered Him until He had drunk the cup of wrath, and then He threw off the horrible incubus of His people’s sins, and cast the stupendous load of the guilt of all His elect down into the sepulchre, and there left it buried forever, while in His rising He gave to them the pledge and earnest of their acquittal, and of their everlasting life.

Ah! My hearers, I wish I had a thousand tongues with which to proclaim this one truth! As I have not, I ask the tongues of all those who know its preciousness to tell it forth.

Tell the sick, tell the dying, tell the young, tell the old, tell sinners of every degree and every class, that salvation is not by what they do, nor by what they feel, but that it all lies in that Man who was once crucified, but who now lives in the power of an endless life before the eternal throne.

And if they say, ‘What mean you by this?’ tell them that this man is none other than God over all, blessed forever, and that He condescended to become man, and take upon Himself the sin of His people, and to be punished for their guilt, so that whosoever believeth on Him might not perish, but have everlasting life.

The just for the unjust, He died to bring us to God. This is the gospel– the core, the kernel, the marrow of the entire Bible.

You may say of all the book besides that it is but folds and wrappings; but this is what it wraps up—substitution by Christ.

Believe this truth. Believe it as a doctrine, but, better still, cast your souls on it, and say, ‘If it be so, then will I trust in the power of him who loved, and lived, and died for sinners that I might go free.'”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “Redeeming the Unclean,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Vol. 61 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1915), 61: 221–223.

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“He bore my shame” by Charles Spurgeon

“God sees no sin in any one of His people, no iniquity in Jacob, when He looks upon them in Christ. In themselves He sees nothing but filth and abomination, in Christ nothing but purity and righteousness.

Is it not, and must it not ever be to the Christian, one of his most delightful privileges to know that altogether apart from anything that we have ever done, or can do, God looks upon His people as being righteous, nay, as being righteousness, and that despite all the sins they have ever committed, they are accepted in Him as if they had been Christ, while Christ was punished for them as if He had been sin.

Why, when I stand in my own place, I am lost and ruined; my place is the place where Judas stood, the place where the devil lies in everlasting shame.

But when I stand in Christ’s place– and I fail to stand where faith has put me till I stand there– when I stand in Christ’s place, the Father’s everlastingly beloved one, the Father’s accepted one, Him whom the Father delighteth to honour– when I stand there, I stand where faith hath a right to put me, and I am in the most joyous spot that a creature of God can occupy.

Oh, Christian, get thee up, get thee up into the high mountain, and stand where thy Saviour stands, for that is thy place. Lie not there on the dunghill of fallen humanity, that is not thy place now; Christ has once taken it on thy behalf. ‘He made Him to be sin for us.’

Thy place is yonder there, above the starry hosts, where He hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Him. Not there, at the day of judgment, where the wicked shriek for shelter, and beg for the hills to cover them, but there, where Jesus sits upon His throne—- there is thy place, my soul.

He will make thee to sit upon His throne, even as He has overcome, and has sat down with His Father upon His throne.

Oh! That I could mount to the heights of this argument tonight; it needs a seraphic preacher to picture the saint in Christ, robed in Christ’s righteousness, wearing Christ’s nature, bearing Christ’s palm of victory, sitting on Christ’s throne, wearing Christ’s crown.

And yet this is our privilege!

He wore my crown, the crown of thorns; I wear His crown, the crown of glory.

He wore my dress, nay, rather, he wore my nakedness when he died upon the cross; I wear His robes, the royal robes of the King of kings.

He bore my shame; I bear His honour.

He endured my sufferings to this end that my joy may be full, and that His joy may be fulfilled in me.

He laid in the grave that I might rise from the dead and that I may dwell in Him, and all this He comes again to give me, to make it sure to me and to all that love His appearing, to show that all His people shall enter into their inheritance.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “Christ—Our Substitute,” in The New Park Street Pulpit Sermons, Volume 6 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1860), 6: 195.

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“We believe the old doctrines of grace” by Charles Spurgeon

“Little did I think I should live to see this kind of stuff taught in pulpits. I had no idea that there would come out a divinity which would bring down God’s moral government from the solemn aspect in which Scripture reveals it, to a namby-pamby sentimentalism, which adores a Deity destitute of every masculine virtue.

But we never know today what may occur tomorrow. We have lived to see a certain sort of men– thank God they are not Baptists– though I am sorry to say there are a great many Baptists who are beginning to follow in their trail– who seek to teach nowadays that God is a universal Father, and that our ideas of His dealing with the impenitent as a Judge, and not as a Father, are remnants of antiquated error.

Sin, according to these men, is a disorder rather than an offence, an error rather than a crime. Love is the only attribute they can discern, and the full-orbed Deity they have not known.

Some of these men push their way very far into the bogs and mire of falsehood, until they inform us that eternal punishment is ridiculed as a dream.

In fact, books now appear, which teach us that there is no such thing as the Vicarious Sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ. They use the word Atonement, it is true, but in regard to its meaning, they have removed the ancient landmark.

They acknowledge that the Father has shown His great love to poor sinful man by sending His Son, but not that God was inflexibly just in the exhibition of His mercy, not that He punished Christ on the behalf of His people, nor that indeed God ever will punish anybody in His wrath, or that there is such a thing as justice apart from discipline.

Even sin and hell are but old words employed henceforth in a new and altered sense. Those are old-fashioned notions, and we poor souls who go on talking about election and imputed righteousness, are behind our time.

Ay, and the gentlemen who bring out books on this subject, applaud Mr. Maurice, and Professor Scott, and the like, but are too cowardly to follow them, and boldly propound these sentiments.

These are the new men whom God has sent down from heaven, to tell us that the apostle Paul was all wrong, that our faith is vain, that we have been quite mistaken, that there was no need for propitiating blood to wash away our sins; that the fact was, our sins needed discipline, but penal vengeance and righteous wrath are quite out of the question.

When I thus speak, I am free to confess that such ideas are not boldly taught by a certain individual whose volume excites these remarks, but as he puffs the books of gross perverters of the truth, I am compelled to believe that he endorses such theology.

Well, brethren, I am happy to say that sort of stuff has not gained entrance into this pulpit. I dare say the worms will eat the wood before there will be anything of that sort sounded in this place.

And may these bones be picked by vultures, and this flesh be rent in sunder by lions, and may every nerve in this body suffer pangs and tortures, ere these lips shall give utterance to any such doctrines or sentiments.

We are content to remain among the vulgar souls who believe the old doctrines of grace.

We are willing still to be behind in the great march of intellect, and stand by that unmoving cross, which, like the pole star, never advances, because it never stirs, but always abides in its place, the guide of the soul to heaven, the one foundation other than which no man can lay, and without building upon which, no man shall ever see the face of God and live.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “Christ—Our Substitute,” in The New Park Street Pulpit Sermons, Volume 6 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1860), 6: 190.

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“Almighty wisdom” by J.C. Ryle

“Let us notice, secondly, in these verses, how all things in our Lord’s passion happened according to God’s word. His own address to those who took Him, exhibits this in a striking manner: ‘the Scriptures must be fulfilled.’

There was no accident or chance in any part of the close of our Lord’s earthly ministry. The steps in which He walked from Gethsemane to Calvary, were all marked out hundreds of years before.

The twenty-second Psalm, and the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, were literally fulfilled. The wrath of His enemies,—His rejection by His own people,—His being dealt with as a malefactor,—His being condemned by the assembly of the wicked,—all had been foreknown, and all foretold.

All that took place was only the working out of God’s great design to provide an atonement for a world’s sin. The armed men whom Judas brought to lay hands on Jesus, were, like Nebuchadnezzar and Sennacherib, unconscious instruments in carrying God’s purposes into effect.

Let us rest our souls on the thought, that all around us is ordered and overruled by God’s almighty wisdom. The course of this world may often be contrary to our wishes.

The position of the Church may often be very, unlike what we desire. The wickedness of worldly men, and the inconsistencies of believers, may often afflict our souls.

But there is a hand above us, moving the vast machine of this universe, and making all things work together for His glory. The Scriptures are being yearly fulfilled.

Not one jot or tittle in them shall ever fail to be accomplished. The kings of the earth may take counsel together, and the rulers of the nations may set themselves against Christ. (Psal. 2:2.)

But the resurrection morning shall prove that, even at the darkest time, all things were being done according to the will of God.”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Mark (London: William Hunt, 1859), 322–323. Ryle is commenting on Mark 14:43-52.

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“Amazing electing grace” by John Newton

“Admitting, what I am sure you will admit, the total depravity of human nature, how can we account for the conversion of a soul to God, unless we likewise admit an election of grace? The work must begin somewhere.

Either the sinner first seeks the Lord, or the Lord first seeks the sinner. The former is impossible, if by nature we are dead in trespasses and sins; if the god of this world has blinded our eyes, and maintains the possession of our hearts; and if our carnal minds, so far from being disposed to seek God, are enmity against Him.

Let me appeal to yourself. I think you know yourself too well to say, that you either sought or loved the Lord first: perhaps you are conscious, that for a season, and so far as in you lay, you even resisted His call; and must have perished, if He had not made you willing in the day of His power, and saved you in defiance of yourself.

In your own case, you acknowledge that He began with you; and it must be the case universally with all that are called, if the whole race of mankind are by nature enemies to God. Then, farther, there must be an election, unless ALL are called.

But we are assured that the broad road, which is thronged with the greatest multitudes, leads to destruction. Were not you and I in this road? Were we better than those who continue in it still?

What has made us differ from our former selves? Grace. What has made us differ from those who are now as we once were? Grace. Then this grace, by the very terms, must be differencing, or distinguishing grace; that is, in other words, electing grace.”

–John Newton, “Letter IX: On the Doctrine of Election and Final Perseverance,” in The Works of the John Newton, Volume 1, Ed. Richard Cecil (London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1824), 191-192.

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“Grace is the seed of glory” by John Newton

“The Lord claims the honour; and He engages for the accomplishment of a complete salvation, that no power shall pluck His people out of His hand, or separate them from His love.

Their perseverance in grace, besides being asserted in many express promises, may be proved with the fullest evidence from the unchangeableness of God, the intercession of Christ, the union which subsists between Him and His people, and from the principle of spiritual life He has implanted in their hearts, which in its own nature is connected with everlasting life; for grace is the seed of glory.

I have not room to enlarge on these particulars, but refer you to the following texts, from which various strong and invincible arguments might be drawn for their confirmation: Luke 14:28–30, compared with Phil. 1:6; Heb. 7:25, with Rom. 8:34–39; John 14:19, with John 15:1, 2; John 4:14.

Upon these grounds, my friend, why may not you, who have fled for refuge to the hope set before you, and committed your soul to Jesus, rejoice in His salvation and say:

‘While Christ is the foundation, root, head, and husband of His people, while the word of God is Yea and Amen, while the counsels of God are unchangeable, while we have a Mediator and High Priest before the throne, while the Holy Spirit is willing and able to bear witness to the truths of the Gospel, while God is wiser than men, and stronger than Satan, so long the believer in Jesus is and shall be safe. Heaven and earth must pass away; but the promise, the oath, the blood, on which my soul relies, affords me a security which can never fail.’

As the doctrines of election and perseverance are comfortable, so they cut off all pretence of boasting and self-dependence when they are truly received in the heart, and therefore tend to exalt the Saviour. Of course they stain the pride of all human glory, and leave us nothing to glory in but the Lord.

The more we are convinced of our utter depravity and inability from first to last, the more excellent will Jesus appear. The whole may give the physician a good word, but the sick alone know how to prize him. And here I cannot but remark a difference between those who have nothing to trust to but free grace, and those who ascribe a little at least to some good disposition and ability in man.

We assent to whatever they enforce from the word of God on the subject of sanctification. We acknowledge its importance, its excellency, its beauty; but we could wish they would join more with us in exalting the Redeemer’s name.

Their experience seems to lead them to talk of themselves, of the change that is wrought in them, and the much that depends upon their own watchfulness and striving. We likewise would be thankful if we could perceive a change wrought in us by the power of grace; we desire to be found watching likewise.

But when our hopes are most alive, it is less from a view of the imperfect beginnings of grace in our hearts, than from an apprehension of Him who is our all in all. His person, His love, His sufferings, His intercession, His compassion, His fulness, and His faithfulness,—these are our delightful themes, which leave us little leisure, when in our best frames, to speak of ourselves.

How do our hearts soften, and our eyes melt, when we feel some liberty in thinking and speaking of Him! For we had no help in time past, nor can have any in time to come, but from Him alone.

If any persons have contributed a mite to their own salvation, it was more than we could do. If any were obedient and faithful to the first calls and impressions of His Spirit, it was not our case. If any were prepared to receive Him beforehand, we know that we were in a state of alienation from Him.

We needed sovereign, irresistible grace to save us, or we had been lost forever. If there are any who have a power of their own, we must confess ourselves poorer than they are.

We cannot watch, unless He watches with us; we cannot strive, unless He strives with us; we cannot stand one moment, unless He holds us up; and we believe we must perish after all, unless His faithfulness is engaged to keep us.

But this we trust He will do, not for our righteousness, but for His own name’s sake, and because, having loved us with an everlasting love, He has been pleased in lovingkindness to draw us to Himself, and to be found of us when we sought Him not.”

–John Newton, “Letter IX: On the Doctrine of Election and Final Perseverance,” in The Works of the John Newton, Volume 1, Ed. Richard Cecil (London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1824), 191-192.

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“The power that is in the Gospel” by Charles Spurgeon

“The Gospel is preached in the ears of all—it only comes with power to some. The power that is in the Gospel does not lie in the eloquence of the preacher, otherwise men would be the converters of souls. Nor does it lie in the preacher’s learning, otherwise it would consist in the wisdom of man.

The power which converts souls does not even lie in the preacher’s simplicity or adaptation to his work—that is a secondary agency, but not the cause. Again, the power which converts souls does not even lie in the pathos which the speaker may employ.

Men may weep to the tragic muse in a theater as well as to prophetic strains in a chapel! Their creature passions may be impressed through the acting on the stage as well as by the utterance of God’s own servants! No, there is something more than this needed and where it is absent, all preaching is nothing!

We might preach till our tongues rotted, till we should exhaust our lungs and die, but never a soul would be converted unless there were the mysterious power of the Holy Spirit going with it, changing the will of man! O Sirs! We might as well preach to stone walls as preach to humanity unless the Holy Spirit is with the Word to give it power to convert the soul!

We are reminded of Mr. Rowland Hill, who once met a man in the street at night, not quite drunk, but almost so. The man said, ‘Mr. Hill, I am one of your converts.’ ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘I dare say you are one of mine—but if you were one of God’s, you would not be in the state in which you now are.’

Our converts are worth nothing. If they are converted by man they can be unconverted by man! If some charm or power of one preacher can bring them to Christ, some charm or power of another preacher can take them from Christ. True conversion is the work of the Holy Spirit and of the Holy Spirit alone.”

–Charles Spurgeon, “Election: Its Defenses and Evidences,” as cited on http://www.biblebb.com/files/spurgeon/2920.htm (accessed June 10, 2012).

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