Tag Archives: salvation

“At the time when He Himself was dying, He conferred on a sinner eternal life” by J.C. Ryle

“First of all you are meant to learn from these verses Christ’s power and willingness to save sinners. This is the main doctrine to be gathered from the history of the penitent thief. It teaches you that which ought to be music in the ears of all who hear it,—it teaches you that Jesus Christ is mighty to save.

I ask you if any man’s case could look more hopeless and desperate, than that of this penitent thief once did?

He was a wicked man—a malefactor,—a thief, if not a murderer. We know this, for such only were crucified. He was suffering a just punishment for breaking the laws. And as he had lived wicked, so he seemed determined to die wicked,—for when he first was crucified he railed on our Lord.

And he was a dying man. He hung there, nailed to a cross, from which he was never to come down alive. He had no longer power to stir hand or foot. His hours were numbered. The grave was ready for him. There was but a step between him and death.

If ever there was a soul hovering on the brink of hell, it was the soul of this thief. If ever there was a case that seemed lost, gone, and past recovery, it was his. If ever there was a child of Adam whom the devil made sure of as his own, it was this man.

But see now what happened. He ceased to rail and blaspheme, as he had done at the first. He began to speak in another manner altogether. He turned to our blessed Lord in prayer. He prayed Jesus to ‘remember him when He came into His kingdom.’ He asked that his soul might be cared for, his sins pardoned, and himself thought of in another world. Truly this was a wonderful change.

And then mark what kind of answer he received. Some would have said he was too wicked a man to be saved. But it was not so. Some would have fancied it was too late, the door was shut, and there was no room for mercy. But it proved not too late at all.

The Lord Jesus returned him an immediate answer,—spoke kindly to him,—assured him he should be with Him that day in paradise,—pardoned him completely—cleansed him thoroughly from his sins—received him graciously—justified him freely—raised him from the gates of hell,—gave him a title to glory.

Of all the multitude of saved souls, none ever received so glorious an assurance of his own salvation, as did this penitent thief. Go over the whole list from Genesis to Revelation, and you will find none who had such words spoken to them as these, “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”

Reader, the Lord Jesus never gave so complete a proof of His power and will to save, as He did upon this occasion. In the day when He seemed most weak, He showed that he was a strong deliverer. In the hour when his body was racked with pain, He showed that He could feel tenderly for others. At the time when He Himself was dying, he conferred on a sinner eternal life.

Now have I not a right to say, “Jesus is able to save to the uttermost all them that come unto God through Him?” Behold the proof of it. If ever sinner was too far gone to be saved, it was this thief. Yet he was plucked as a brand from the fire.

Have I not a right to say. “Christ will receive any poor sinner who comes to Him with the prayer of faith, and cast out none?” Behold the proof of it. If ever there was one that seemed too bad to be received, this was the man. Yet the door of mercy was wide open even for him.

Have I not a right to say, “By grace ye may be saved through faith, not of works,—fear not, only believe?” Behold the proof of it. This thief was never baptized. He belonged to no visible church. He never received the Lord’s Supper. He never did any work for Christ. He never gave money to Christ’s cause,—But he had faith, and so he was saved.

Have I not a right to say, “The youngest faith will save a man’s soul, if it only be true?” Behold the proof of it. This man’s faith was only one day old, but it led him to Christ, and preserved him from hell.

Why then should any man or woman despair with such a passage as this in the Bible? Jesus is a physician who can cure hopeless cases. He can quicken dead souls, and call the things which be not as though they were.

Never should any man or woman despair! Jesus is still the same now that He was eighteen hundred years ago. The keys of death and hell are in His hand. When He opens none can shut.*

What though your sins be more in number than the hairs of your head? What though your evil habits have grown with your growth, and strengthened with your strength? What though you have hitherto hated good, and loved evil, all the days of your life?

These things are sad indeed; but there is hope even for you. Christ can heal you. Christ can cleanse you. Christ can raise you from your low estate. Heaven is not shut against you. Christ is able to admit you, if you will humbly commit your soul into His hands.

Reader, are your sins forgiven? If not, I set before you this day a full and free salvation. I invite you to follow the steps of the penitent thief,—come to Christ, and live. I tell you that Jesus is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. I tell you He can do everything that your soul requires. Though your sins be as scarlet, He can make them white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. Why should you not be saved as well as another? Come unto Christ by faith, and live.

Reader, are you a true believer? If you are, you ought to glory in Christ. Glory not in your own faith, your own feelings, your own knowledge, your own prayers, your own amendment, your own diligence. Glory in nothing but Christ. Alas! the best of us knows but little of that merciful and mighty Saviour. We do not exalt Him and glory in Him enough. Let us pray that we may see more of the fulness there is in Him.

Reader, do you ever try to do good to others? If you do, remember to tell them about Christ. Tell the young, tell the poor, tell the aged, tell the ignorant, tell the sick, tell the dying,—tell them all about Christ. Tell them of His power, and tell them of His love. Tell them of His doings, and tell them of His feelings. Tell them of what He has done for the chief of sinners. Tell them what He is willing to do to the last day of time. Tell it them over and over again.

Never be tired of speaking of Christ. Say to them broadly and fully, freely and unconditionally, unreservedly and undoubtingly, ‘Come unto Christ as the penitent thief did,—come unto Christ, and you shall be saved.'”

–J.C. Ryle, Living or Dead? A Series of Home Truths (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1851), 258–265.

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“Christ is the greatest good” by Thomas Brooks

Remedy (7). The seventh remedy against this device of Satan is, wisely to consider, That as there is nothing in Christ to discourage the greatest sinners from believing in Him, so there is everything in Christ that may encourage the greatest sinners to believe on Him, to rest and lean upon Him for all happiness and blessedness, (Cant. 1:3).

If you look upon His nature, His disposition, His names, His titles, His offices as king, priest, and prophet, you will find nothing to discourage the greatest sinners from believing in Him, but many things to encourage the greatest sinners to receive Him, to believe on Him.

Christ is the greatest good, the choicest good, the chiefest good, the most suitable good, the most necessary good. He is a pure good, a real good, a total good, an eternal good, and a soul-satisfying good, (Rev. 3:17, 18).

Sinners, are you poor? Christ hath gold to enrich you.

Are you naked? Christ hath royal robes, He hath white raiment to clothe you.

Are you blind? Christ hath eye-salve to enlighten you.

Are you hungry? Christ will be manna to feed you.

Are you thirsty? He will be a well of living water to refresh you.

Are you wounded? He hath a balm under His wings to heal you.

Are you sick? He is a physician to cure you.

Are you prisoners? He hath laid down a ransom for you.

Ah, sinners! Tell me, tell me, is there anything in Christ to keep you off from believing? No.

Is there not everything in Christ that may encourage you to believe in Him? Yes.

Oh, then, believe in Him, and then, ‘Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool,’ (Isa. 1:18).

Nay, then, your iniquities shall be forgotten as well as forgiven, they shall be remembered no more. God will cast them behind His back, He will throw them into the bottom of the sea, (Isa. 43:25, 38:17, Micah 7:19).”

–Thomas Brooks, “Precious Remedies,” in The Works of Thomas Brooks, Volume 1, Ed. Alexander Balloch Grosart (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1666/2001), 143-144.

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“Emulate those whose constant confidence and boast is in Christ Jesus and in nothing else” by D.A. Carson

“In the flow of the chapter, then, Paul makes these points, at least in part, to insist that the Philippian believers emulate those whose constant confidence and boast is in Christ Jesus and in nothing else.

Most who read these pages, I suspect, will not be greatly tempted to boast about their Jewish ancestry and ancient rights of race and religious heritage.

But we may be tempted to brag about still less important things: our wealth, our status, our education, our emotional stability, our families, our political or business successes, our denominational alignments, or even about which version of the Bible we use.

Be careful of people like that.

They tend to regard everyone who is outside their little group as somehow inferior. Somewhere along the way they inadvertently—or even intentionally and maliciously—imagine that faith in Christ Jesus and delight in Him is a little less important than their personal accomplishments.

Instead, look around for those whose constant confidence is Jesus Christ, whose constant boast is Jesus Christ, whose constant delight is Jesus Christ.

Jesus is the center of their worship, the center of their gratitude, the center of their love, the center of their hope.

After that, doubtless we shall sometimes need to argue about relatively peripheral matters. But in the first instance, emulate those whose constant confidence and boast is in Christ Jesus and in nothing else.”

–D.A. Carson, Basics for Believers: An Exposition of Philippians (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1996), 86.

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“Never let go out of your minds the thoughts of a crucified Christ” by Thomas Brooks

“Remedy (4.) Seriously to consider, That even those very sins that Satan paints, and puts new names and colours upon, cost the best blood, the noblest blood, the life-blood, the heart-blood of the Lord Jesus.

That Christ should come from the eternal bosom of His Father to a region of sorrow and death;
that God should be manifested in the flesh, the Creator made a creature;
that He that was clothed with glory should be wrapped with rags of flesh;
He that filled heaven and earth with His glory should be cradled in a manger;
that the power of God should fly from weak man, the God of Israel into Egypt;
that the God of the law should be subject to the law, the God of the circumcision circumcised, the God that made the heavens working at Joseph’s homely trade;
that He that binds the devils in chains should be tempted;
that He, whose is the world, and the fulness thereof, should hunger and thirst;
that the God of strength should be weary, the Judge of all flesh condemned, the God of life put to death;
that He that is one with His Father should cry out of misery, ‘My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?’;
that He that had the keys of hell and death at His girdle should lie imprisoned in the sepulchre of another, having in His lifetime nowhere to lay His head, nor after death to lay His body;
that that head, before which the angels do cast down their crowns, should be crowned with thorns,
and those eyes, purer than the sun, put out by the darkness of death;
those ears, which hear nothing but hallelujahs of saints and angels, to hear the blasphemies of the multitude;
that face, that was fairer than the sons of men, to be spit on by those beastly wretched Jews;
that mouth and tongue, that spake as never man spake, accused for blasphemy;
those hands, that freely swayed the sceptre of heaven, nailed to the cross;
those feet, ‘like unto fine brass,’ nailed to the cross for man’s sins;
each sense annoyed: His feeling or touching, with a spear and nails;
His smell, with stinking flavour, being crucified about Golgotha, the place of skulls;
His taste, with vinegar and gall;
His hearing, with reproaches, and sight of His mother and disciples bemoaning Him;
His soul, comfortless and forsaken;
and all, this for those very sins that Satan paints and puts fine colours upon!

Oh! How should the consideration of this stir up the soul against it, and work the soul to fly from it, and to use all holy means whereby sin may be subdued and destroyed!

It was good counsel one gave, ‘Never let go out of your minds the thoughts of a crucified Christ.’

Let these be meat and drink unto you; let them be your sweetness and consolation, your honey and your desire, your reading and your meditation, your life, death, and resurrection.”

–Thomas Brooks, The Works of Thomas Brooks, Volume 1, Ed. Alexander Balloch Grosart (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1666/2001), 17-18.

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“We are equally delighted to preach good high practice and to insist upon it” by Charles Spurgeon

“The word ‘conversation’ does not merely mean our talk and converse one with another, but the whole course of our life and behaviour in the world. The Greek word signifies the actions and the privileges of citizenship, and we are to let our whole citizenship, our actions as citizens of the new Jerusalem, be such as becometh the gospel of Christ.

Observe, dear friends, the difference between the exhortations of the legalists and those of the gospel. He who would have you perfect in the flesh, exhorts you to work that you may be saved, that you may accomplish a meritorious righteousness of your own, and so may be accepted before God.

But he who is taught in the doctrines of grace, urges you to holiness for quite another reason. He believes that you are saved, since you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and he speaks to as many as are saved in Jesus, and then he asks them to make their actions conformable to their position; he only seeks what he may reasonably expect to receive.

‘Let your conversation be such as becometh the gospel of Christ. You have been saved by it, you profess to glory in it, you desire to extend it; let then your conversation be such as becometh it.’

The one, you perceive, bids you to work that you may enter heaven by your working; the other exhorts you to labour because heaven is yours as the gift of divine grace, and he would have you act as one who is made meet to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light.

Some persons cannot hear an exhortation without at once crying out that we are legal. Such persons will always find this Tabernacle the wrong place for them to feed in.

We are delighted to preach good high doctrine, and to insist upon it that salvation is of grace alone; but we are equally delighted to preach good high practice and to insist upon it, that that grace which does not make a man better than his neighbours, is a grace which will never take him to heaven, nor render him acceptable before God.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “The Gospel’s Power in a Christian’s Life,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Vol. 11 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1865), 11: 399. Spurgeon was preaching on Philippians 1:27.

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“No one is too bad to be saved” by J.C. Ryle

“No one is too bad to be saved, or beyond the power of Christ’s grace. The door of hope which the Gospel reveals to sinners is very wide open.

Let us leave it open as we find it. Let us not attempt in narrow-minded ignorance, to shut it.

We should never be afraid to maintain that Christ is ‘able to save to the uttermost,’ and that the vilest of sinners may be freely forgiven if they will only come to Him.

We should offer the Gospel boldly to the worst and wickedest, and say, ‘There is hope. Only repent and believe. Though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson they shall be as wool.’ (Isaiah 1:18.)

Such doctrine may seem to worldly people foolishness and licentiousness. But such doctrine is the Gospel of Him who saved Zacchaeus at Jericho.

Hospitals discharge many cases as incurable. But there are no incurable cases under the Gospel. Any sinner may be healed, if he will only come to Christ.”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Luke, Vol. 2 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1858/2012), 2: 216-217.

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“Our great and glorious Covenant Lord” by Stephen Wellum

“By taking on our humanity, Christ became the first man of the new creation, our great mediator and new covenant head. As this man, Christ reverses the work of the first Adam and forges ahead as the last Adam, our great trailblazer and champion (archégon; Heb. 2:10).

God the Son incarnate is perfectly qualified to meet our every need, especially our need for the forgiveness of sin. According to the storyline of Scripture, only the God-man—the Son incarnate—could mediate the reconciliation of God and man by offering Himself as a sinless, sufficient, substitutionary sacrifice such that God Himself redeems His people as a man (1 Tim. 2:5-6; Hebrews 5-10).

As the divine Son, Christ alone satisfies God’s own judgment upon sinful humanity and demand for perfect righteousness. As the incarnate Son, Christ alone identifies with sinful humanity in His suffering and represents a new humanity as our great and glorious Covenant Lord…

In Jesus, we truly meet God face-to-face; we meet Him, not indwelling or overshadowing human flesh, nor merely associated with it, but in full and wonderful glory.

Although we behold Him as a man, He is much more; He is the Lord, the divine Son who humbles Himself and veils His glory by becoming one with us. It is God the Son Himself who dwells among us to speak, act, live, love, rule, and redeem for our good and His glory.”

—Stephen J. Wellum, God the Son Incarnate: The Doctrine of Christ (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2016), 434, 435-436.

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