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Gaining the World but Losing the Soul

Charles SpurgeonMany men have been made bankrupts through inattention to their books. No man ever loses anything by counting the cost, knowing his own expenditure, and keeping his debtor and creditor pretty closely up; but many men have been ruined by attempts which have been suggested by a spirit of speculation, and fostered by a negligence of their own concerns, combined with absolute ignorance of their real financial position. Spiritually man is a great trader—he is trading for his own welfare; he is trading for time and for eternity; he keeps two shops: one shop is kept by an apprentice of his, a rough unseemly hand, of clayey mould, called the body; the other business, which is an infinitely more vast concern, is kept by one that is called “the soul” a spiritual being, who does not traffic upon little things, but who deals with hell or heaven, and trades with the mighty realities of eternity. Now, a merchant would be very unwise who should pay all attention to some small off-hand shop of his, and take no account whatever of a large establishment. And he would, indeed, be negligent, who should very carefully jot down every trifle of the expenditure of his own household, but should never think of reckoning the expenses of some vast concern that may be hanging on his hands. But the most of men are just as foolish—they estimate the profits (as they conceive them to be) which are gained in that small corner shop called the body, but they too seldom reckon up the awful loss which is brought about by a negligence of the soul’s concerns in the great matters of eternity. Let me beseech you, my brethren, while you are not careless of the body, as, indeed, you ought not to be, seeing that it is, in the case of believers, the temple of the Holy Ghost, to take more especial care of your souls. Decorate the tenement, but suffer not the inhabitant to die of starvation; paint not the ship while you are letting the crew perish for want of stores on board. Look to your soul, as well as to your body; to the life, as well as to that by which you live. Oh that men would take account of the soul’s vast concerns, and know their own standing before God. Oh that ye would examine yourselves. It men would do so, if all of you would now search within, how many of you would be bankrupts? You are making a pretty little fortune with regard to the body; you are doing tolerably well and comfortable; you are providing for yourselves things as you would desire them. Your mortal body, perhaps, if even pampered, and has no fault to find with its owner; but as your poor soul how that is getting on, and you will find it not a gainer, but in many instances, I fear, a loser. Let me solemnly tell you, that if your soul be a loser, however much your body may be a gainer, you have not profited in the least degree. Let me ask you all this question in the name of Jesus Christ, “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

- Charles H. Spurgeon

Who is it that gave Himself for us?

Charles Spurgeon“Who gave himself for us.” — Titus 2:14.

“Who gave himself for us” The first question we ask the text is, Who is this that is spoken of? and the text gives the answer. It is “the great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us.” We had offended God; the dignity of divine justice demanded that offenses against so good and just a law as that which God had promulgated should not be allowed to go unpunished. But the attribute of justice is not the only one in the heart of God. God is love, and is, therefore, full Of mercy. Yet, nevertheless, he never permits one quality of his Godhead to triumph over another. He could not be too merciful, and so become unjust; he would not permit mercy to put justice to an eclipse. The difficulty was solved thus: God himself stooped from his loftiness and veiled his glory in a garb of our inferior clay. The Word—that same Word without whom was not anything made that was made—became flesh, and dwelt amongst us; and his apostles, his friends, and his enemies, beheld him—the seed of the woman, but yet the Son of God, very God of very God, in all the majesty of deity, and yet man of the substance of his mother in all the weakness of our humanity, sin being the only thing which separated us from him, he being without sin, and we being full of it. It is, then, God, who “gave himself for us”; it is, then, man, who gave himself for us. It is Jesus Christ, co-equal and co-eternal with the Father, who thought it not robbery to be equal with God; who made himself of no reputation, and took upon himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of sinful flesh, and, being found in fashion as a man, humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. It is Christ Jesus, the man, the God, “who gave himself for us.” Now I hope we shall not make any mistakes here, for mistakes here will be fatal. We may be thought uncharitable for saying it, but we should be dishonest if we did not say it, that it is essential to be right here.

“Ye cannot be right in the rest
Unless ye think rightly of him.”

You dishonour Christ if you do not believe in his deity. He will have nothing to do with you unless you accept him as being God as well as man. You must receive him as being, without any diminution, completely and wholly divine, and you must accept him as being your brother, as being a man just as you are. This, this is the person, and, relying upon him, we shall find salvation; but, rejecting his deity, he will say to us, “You know me not, and I never knew you!”

- Charles H. Spurgeon

Secret Sins

Charles SpurgeonOne danger is, that a man cannot commit a little sin in secret, without being by-and-by betrayed into a public sin. You cannot, sir, though you may think you can preserve a moderation in sin. If you commit one sin, it is like the melting of the lower glacier upon the Alps; the others must follow in time. As certainly as you heap one stone upon the cairn to-day, the next day you will cast another, until the heap, reared stone by stone, shall become a very pyramid. See the coral insect at work, you cannot decree where it shall stay its work. It will not build its rock just as high as you please, it will not stay until it shall be covered with weeds, until the weeds shall decay; and there shall be soil upon it, and an island shall be created by tiny creatures. Sin cannot be held in with bit and bridle. “But I am going to have a little drink now and then, I am only going to be intoxicated once a week or so. Nobody will see it; I shall be in bed directly.” You will be drunk in the streets soon. “I am only just going to read one lascivious book; I will put it under the sofa-cover when any one comes in.” You will keep it in your library yet, sir. “I am only going into that company now and then.” You will go there every day, such is the bewitching character of it; you cannot help it. You may as well ask the lion to let you put your head into his mouth. You cannot regulate his jaws: neither can you regulate sin. Once go into it, you cannot tell when you will be destroyed. You may be such a fortunate individual, that like Van Amburgh you may put your head in and out a great many times; reset assured that one of these days it will be a costly venture. Again, you may labour to conceal your vicious habit, but it will come out, you cannot help it. You keep your little pet sin at home; but mark this, when the door is ajar the dog will be out in the street. Wrap him up in your bosom, put over him fold after fold of hypocrisy to keep him secret, the wretch will be singing some day when you are in company; you cannot keep the evil bird still. Your sin will gad abroad; and what is more, you will not mind it some of these days. A man who indulges in sin privately, by degrees gets his forehead as hard as brass. The first time he sinned, the drops of sweat stood on his brow at the recollection of what he had done; the second time, no hot sweat on his brow, only an agitation of the muscle; the third time there was the sly, sneaky look, but no agitation; the next time, he sinned a little further; and by degrees he became the bold blasphemer of his God, who exclaimed, “Who am I that I should fear Jehovah, and who is he that I should serve him?” Men go from bad to worse. Launch your boat in the current—it must go where the current takes it. Put yourself in the whirlwind—you are but a straw in the wind: you must go which way the wind carries you—you cannot control yourself. The balloon can mount, but it cannot direct its course; it must go whichever way the wind blows. If you once mount into sin there is no stopping. Take heed if you would not become the worst of characters, take heed of the little sins, they, mounting one upon another, may at last heave you from the summit and destroy your soul for ever. There is a great danger in secret sins.

- Charles H. Spurgeon

Alive in Christ

Charles SpurgeonOur text testifies that “He that hath the Son hath life.” Of course, by “life” here is meant not mere existence, or natural life; for we all have that whether we have the Son of God or no—in the image of the first Adam we are all created living souls, and continue in life until the Lord recalls the breath from our nostrils—but the life here intended is spiritual life, the life received at the new birth, by which we perceive and enter into the heavenly kingdom, come under new and spiritual laws, are moved by new motives, and exist in a new world. The life here meant is the life of God in the soul, which is given us when we are new created in the image of the second Adam, who was made a quickening spirit; a celestial form of life inwardly perceptible to the person who possesses it, and outwardly discernible to spiritual observers by its holy effects and heavenly fruits. This spiritual life is the sure mark of deliverance from the penal death which the sentence of the law pronounced. Man under the law is condemned, sentence of death is recorded against him; but man under grace is free from the law, and is not adjudged to death, but lives by virtue of a legal justification, which absolves him from guilt, and consequently liberates him from death. These two kinds of life, the life which is given by the judge to the offender when he is pardoned, and the life which is imparted from the divine Father, the heir of heaven is begotten again unto a lively hope—these two lives blend together and ensure for us the life eternal, such as they possess who stand upon the “sea of glass,” and tune their tongues to the music of celestial hosts. Eternal life is spiritual life made perfect. If we live by virtue of our pardon and justification, and if, moreover, we live because we are quickened by the Holy Spirit, we shall also live in the glory of the eternal Father, being made in the likeness of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the true God and eternal life. This is the life here intended—life spiritual, life eternal.

- Charles H. Spurgeon

Where does your hope lie?

One of the bloggers I usually follow, Mike Ratliff, writes on the powerful influence of pragmatism in churches today: 

Pragmatism is deadly to New Testament Christianity because it is based on human reasoning and human ingenuity in solving problems or issues. It utilizes expediency in dealing with issues rather than prayer and obedience to what is clearly taught in scripture. The reason expediency is wrong is that its solutions will always be short term in focus while neglecting the long term.

I would like to further note that the driving principle behind this pragmatism is Arminian theology. Arminian theology, in its most basic form, asserts that mankind has the ability to freely choose repentance from sin and faith in God. I could never hope to elaborate so well on this topic, so I will quote a man much more learned that myself. Charles Spurgeon writes of Arminianism in his day:

Nay, the doctrine of justification itself, as preached by an Arminian, is nothing but the doctrine of salvation by works, lifted up; for he always thinks faith is a work of the creature and a condition of his acceptance. It is as false to say that man is saved by faith as a work, as that he is saved by the deeds of the law. We are saved by faith as the gift of God, and as the first token of his eternal favor to us; but it is not faith as our work that saves, otherwise we are saved by works, and not by grace at all. (Bold emphasis mine)

Arminianism as a “doctrine of salvation by works”? Harsh words, for salvation by any other means than faith through Jesus Christ is a damnable heresy.

In most of evangelicalism today, this salvation of works takes the form of decisional regeneration. This theology, teaches that man is saved by his decision to follow Jesus. We see its pernicious influence everywhere – from blogs to altar calls to youth camps.

I’ve linked to this video before, but in the clip below Paul Washer tells us what’s wrong with decisional regeneration. I wanted to post it again because he is spot on.

So what about you?  Does your faith rest in your “decision” to follow Christ or in the covering blood of the Lamb slain for sins? There’s an eternity of difference. One hope is false and leads to death; the other is true and leads to eternal life. Where does your hope lie?

Do You Know Him?

Charles SpurgeonBeloved, let us PASS BY THAT CROWD OF OUTER-COURT WORSHIPPERS WHO ARE CONTENT TO LIVE WITHOUT KNOWING CHRIST. I do not mean the ungodly and profane; we will not consider them just now—they are altogether strangers and foreigners to him—I mean children of God: the visible saints. How many there are of these whom I must call outer-court worshippers, for they are strangers to this panting to know him. They can say with Paul, “That I may win him and be found in him”—that they do want; but this higher wish, “That I may know him,” has not stirred their hearts. How many brethren we know, who are content to know Christ’s historic life! They read the evangelists and they are charmed with the perfect beauty of the Savior’s history. “Never man spake like this man,” say they; and they confess that never man acted with such love as he did. They know all the incidents of his life, from his manger to his cross; but they do not know HIM. They are as men who have read “Caesar’s Commentaries,” but who have never seen Caesar. They know the battles which Caesar fought; they can even recognize the mantle which Caesar wore “that day he overcame the Nervii;” but they do not know Caesar himself. The person of the Lord Jesus is us much hidden from their eyes us the golden pot of manna when concealed in the ark. They know the life of Christ, but not Christ the Life; they admire his way among men, but they see not himself as the way.

Others there are who know Christ’s doctrine, and prize it too, but they know not Him. All which he taught is dear to them; orthodoxy—for this they would burn at Smithfield, or lay down their necks at Tower Hill. Many of them are well-instructed and divinely-illuminated in the doctrine of Christ, and the wonder is, that they should stop there; because, beloved, it does seem to me when I begin to know a man’s teaching, that the next thing is the desire to know his person. Addison, in one of the ” Spectators,” tells us that the reason why so many books are printed with the portraits of the authors is just this, that as a man reads a book, he feels a desire to know what sort of appearance the author had. This, indeed, is very natural. If you have ever been refreshed under a minister’s printed sermons, if you have at any time received any benefit from his words, I know you have said, “I would like to see that man; I would like to hear the truth flow hot and fresh from his living lips; I would like to know just how he said that sentence, and how that passage sounded as it came from his earnest heart.” My beloved, surely if you know the doctrine of Jesus, if you have so been with Christ as to sit at his feet and hear what he has to say, you must, I hope, have had some longings to know him—to know his person; and if you have, you will have had to pass by multitudes of followers of Jesus who rest satisfied with his words, but forget that he is himself “THE WORD.”

Beloved, there are others—and against them I bring no complaint; they go as far as they can—who are delighted with Christ’s example. Christ’s character is in their esteem the mirror of all perfection. They desire to walk in his footsteps; they listen to his sermon upon the Mount; they are enchanted with it—as well they may be; they pray to he obedient in all things to Christ, as their Master and their Lord. They do well. Mark, I am finding no fault with any of these who prize the history, or who value the doctrine, or who admire the precept; but I want more. I do want, beloved, that you and I should “know HIM.” I love his precepts, but I love HIM better. Sweet is the water from Bethlehem’s well; and well worth the struggle of the armed men to win but a bucket from it; but the well itself is better, and deserves all Israel’s valor to defend it. As the source is ever more valuable than the stream, so is Christ ever better than the best words of his lips, or the best deeds of his hand. I want to know him. I do care for his actions; my soul would sit down and admire those masterly works of holy art—his miracles of humiliation, of suffering, of patience, and of holy charity; but better far I love the hands which wrought these master-works, the lips which spoke these goodly words, and the heart which heaved with that matchless love which was the cause of all. Yes, beloved, we must get farther than Immanuel’s achievements, however glorious; we must come to “know him.”

Most believers rest perfectly at ease with knowing Christ’s sacrifice. They see Jesus as the great High Priest, laying a great sacrifice upon the altar for their sins, and with their whole heart they accept his atonement. By faith they know that all their sin is taken away by precious blood. This is a most blessed and hallowed attainment, I will grant you; but it is not every Christian who perceives that Christ was not only the offerer of a sacrifice, but was himself the sacrifice, and, therefore, loves him as such. Priest, altar, victim, everything Christ was. He gathers up all in himself, and when I see that he loved me, and gave himself for me, it is not enough to know this fact: I want to know him, the glorious person who does and is all this. I want to know the man who thus gave himself for me. I want to behold the Lamb once slain for me. I want to rest upon the bosom which covers the heart which was pierced with the spear; I pray him to kiss me with the kisses of that mouth which cried, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” I love Calvary, the scene of woe, but I love Christ better, the great object of that agony; and even his cross and all his sufferings, dear though these must ever be to the Christian mind, only occupying a second place; the first seat is for himself, his person, his deity, and humanity.

Thus, you see, we have to leave a great many believers behind; nor have we enumerated all, for I believe that even some of those saints who have received grace to look for the coming of Christ, yet in their vision of his coming too much forget him. Is it not possible for nine to pant for the second advent as to lose sight of him who is to make that advent? So to long for a millennium, that I may forget him who is to reign King of kings? So to pant after that glory of Israel that I may forget him who is Israel’s glory? Anywhere short of knowing him, I would not have you stop, beloved; and even when you know him, I would urge you still to be impelled with the same desire, and to press forward, crying with the apostle, “That I may know him.”

Beloved, how many there are who have heard of Christ and read about Christ, and that is enough for them! But it is not enough for me, and it should not be enough for you. The apostle Paul did not say “I have heard of him, on whom I have believed,” but “I know whom I have believed.” To hear about Christ may damn you, it may be a savor of death unto death to you. You have heard of him with the ear; but it is essential that you know him in order that you may be partakers of eternal life. My dear hearers, be not content unless you have this as your soul’s present portion.

Others there be who have been persuaded by the judgment and encouragement of others, that they know something about the great Redeemer. They do not know him, but still they are persuaded by others that they have an interest in him. Let me warn you of second-hand spirituality, it is a rotten, soul-deceiving deception. Beware of all esteeming yourself according to the thoughts of others, or you will be ruined. Another man’s opinion of me may have great influence over me, I have heard of a man in perfectly good health killed by the opinion of others. Several of his friends had foolishly agreed to play him a practical trick; whereupon one of them met him and said, “How ill you look this morning.” He did not feel so; he was very much surprised at the remark. When he met the next, who said to him, “Oh! dear, how bad you look,” he began to think there might be something in it; and as he turned smart round the corner, a third person said to him, “What a sight you are! How altered from what you used to be!” He went home ill, he took to his bed and died. So goes the story, and I should not marvel if it really did occur. Now, if such might be the effect of persuasion and supposed belief in the sickness of a man, how much more readily may men be persuaded into the idea of spiritual health! A believer meets you, and by his treatment seems to say, “I welcome you as a dear brother”—and means it too. You are baptized, and you are received into Church-fellowship, and so everybody thinks that you must be a follower of Christ; and yet you may not know him. Oh, I do pray you, do not be satisfied with being persuaded into something like an assurance that you are in him, but do know him—know him for yourself.

There are many who I hope will be saved ere long; but I am in great doubt of them, because they can only say they half think they know Christ; they do not quite believe in him, but they do not disbelieve in him; they halt between two opinions. Ah, dear hearer, that is a very dangerous place to stand in. The border-land is the devil’s hunting ground. Undecided souls are fair game for the great fowler. God give you once for all the true decision by which through grace you shall know him. Do not be satisfied with thinking you know him; hoping you know him, but know him. Oh, it is nothing to have heard about him, to have talked about him, to have eaten and have drank with him, to have preached him, or even to have wrought miracles in his name, to have been charmed by his eloquence, to have been stirred with the story of his love, to have been moved to imitate him—this shall nothing avail you, unless you win him and are found in him. Seek with the apostle, to give up everything of your own righteousness, and all other objects and aims in life, and say, “This I seek after, that I may know him.” Thus much, then, on the first point. Leaving those behind who do not know him, let us make an advance.

- Charles H. Spurgeon

Charles Spurgeon on False Repentance

Charles SpurgeonFirst, then, we will consider certain FALSE REPENTANCES. I will begin with this remark—that trembling beneath the sound of the gospel is not “repentance.” There are many men who when they hear a faithful gospel sermon, are exceedingly stirred and moved by it. By a certain power which accompanies the Word, God testifies that it is his own Word, and he causes those who hear it involuntarily to tremble. I have seen some men, while the truths of Scripture have been sounded from this pulpit, whose knees have knocked together, whose eyes have flowed with tears as if they had been fountains of water. I have witnessed the deep dejection of their spirit, when—as some of them have told me—they have been shaken until they knew not how to abide the sound of the voice, for it seemed like the terrible trumpet of Sinai thundering only their destruction. Well, my hearers, you may be very much disturbed under the preaching of the gospel, and yet you shall not have that “repentance unto life.” You may know what it is to be very seriously and very solemnly affected when you go to God’s house, and yet you may be hardened sinners. Let me confirm the remark by an instance:—Paul stood before Felix with the chains upon his hands, and as he preached of “righteousness, temperance, and of judgment to come,” it is written, “Felix trembled,” and yet procrastinating Felix is in perdition, among the rest of those who have said, “Go thy way for this time; when I have a more convenient season I will call for thee.” There are many of you who cannot attend the house of God without being alarmed; you know what it is often to stand aghast at the thought that God will punish you; you may often have been moved to sincere emotion under God’s minister; but, let me tell you, you may be after all a castaway, because you have not repented of your sins, neither have you turned to God.

Further still. It is quite possible that you may not only tremble before God’s Word, but you may become a sort of amiable Agrippa, and be “almost persuaded” to turn to Jesus Christ, and yet have no “repentance;” you may go further and even desire the gospel; you may say: “Oh! this gospel is such a goodly thing I would I had it. It ensures so much happiness here, and so much joy hereafter, I wish I might call it mine.” Oh! it is good, thus to hear this voice of God! but you may sit, and, while some powerful text is being well handled, you may say, “I think it is true;” but it must enter the heart before you can repent. You may even go upon your knees in prayer and you may ask with a terrified lip that this may be blessed to your soul; and after all you may be no child of God. You may say as Agrippa said unto Paul, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian;” yet, like Agrippa, you may never proceed beyond the “almost.” He was “almost persuaded to be a Christian,” but not “altogether.” Now, how many of you here have been; almost persuaded” and yet you are not really in the way of eternal life. How often has conviction brought you on your knees and you have “almost” repented, but you have remained there, without actually repenting. See that corpse? It is lately dead. It has scarcely acquired the ghastliness of death, the color is still life-like. Its hand is still warm; you may fancy it is alive, and it seems almost to breathe. Every thing is there—the worm hath scarcely touched it dissolution hath scarcely approached; there is no foeted smell—yet life is gone; life is not there. So it is with you: you are almost alive; you have almost every external organ of religion which the Christian has; but you have not life. You may have repentance, but not sincere repentance. O hypocrite! I warn you this morning, you may not only tremble but feel a complacency towards the Word of God, and yet after all not have “repentance unto life.” You may sink down into the pit that is bottomless, and hear it said, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.”

Yet, again, it is possible for men to progress even further than this, and positively to humble themselves under the hand of God, and yet they may be total strangers to repentance. Their goodness is not like the morning cloud and the early dew that passeth away, but when the sermon is heard they go home and commence what they conceive to be the work of repentance, they renounce certain vices and follies, they clothe themselves in sack-cloth, their tears flow very freely on account of what they have done; they weep before God; and yet with all that, their repentance is but a temporary repentance, and they go back to their sins again. Do you deny that such a penitence can exist? Let me tell you of a case. A certain man named Ahab coveted the vineyard of his neighbor Naboth, who would not sell it for a price, nor make an exchange. He consulted with his wife Jezebel, who contrived to put Naboth to death, and thus secure the vineyard to the king. After Naboth was put to death, and Ahab had taken possession of the vineyard, the servant of the Lord met Ahab, and said to him, “Hast thou killed, and also taken possession. Thus saith the Lord, in the place where the dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall the dogs lick thy blood, even thine. Behold, I will bring evil upon thee, and will take away thy prosperity “We read that Ahab went awe, and humbled himself; and the Lord said, “Because Ahab humbleth himself before me I will not bring evil in his days.” He had granted him some kind of mercy; but we read in the very next chapter that Ahab rebelled, and in a battle in Ramoth-Gilead, according to the servant of the Lord, he was slain there; so that “the dogs licked his blood “in the very vineyard of Naboth. You, too, I tell you, may humble yourselves before God for a time, and yet remain the slaves of your transgressions. You are afraid of damnation, but you are not afraid of sinning: you are afraid of hell, but you are not afraid of your iniquities; you are afraid of being cast into the pit, but not afraid to harden your hearts against his commands. Is it not true, O sinner, that you are trembling at hell? It is not the soul’s state that troubles you, but hell. If hell were extinguished, your repentance would be extinguished; if the terrors awaiting you were withdrawn, you would sin with a higher hand than before, and your soul would be hardened, and would rebel against its sovereign. Be not deceived, my brethren, here; examine yourselves whether you are in the faith; ask yourselves if you have that which is “repentance unto life;” for you may humble yourselves for a time, and yet never repent before God.

Beyond this many advance, and yet fall short of grace. It is possible that you may confess your sins, and yet may not repent. You may approach God, and tell him you are a wretch indeed; you may enumerate a long list of your transgressions and of the sins that you have committed, without a sense of the heniousness of your guilt, without a spark of real hatred of your deeds. You may confess and acknowledge your transgressions, and yet have no abhorrence of sin; and if you do not in the strength of God resist sin, if you do not turn from it, this fancied repentance shall be but the guilding which displays the paint which decorates; it is not the grace which transforms into gold, which will abide the fire. You may even, I say confess your faults, and yet have not repentance.

Once more, and then I have gone to the farthest thought I have to give on this point. You may do some work meet for repentance, and yet you may be impenitent. Let me give you a proof of this in a fact authenticated by inspiration.

Judas betrayed his Master; and after having done so, an overwhelming sense of the enormous evil he had committed seized upon him. His guilt buried all hope of repentance, and in the misery of desperation, not the grief of true regret, he confessed his sin to the high priests, crying, “I have sinned, in that I have betrayed innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us, see thou to that.” Whereupon he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, to show that he could not bear to carry the price of guilt upon him; and left them there. He went out, and—was he saved? No. “He went out and hanged himself.” And even then the vengeance of God followed him: for when he had hanged himself he fell from the height where he was suspended, and was dashed to pieces; he was lost, and his soul perished. Yet see what this man did. He had sinned, he confessed his wrong, he returned the gold; still after all that, he was a castaway. Does not this make us tremble? You see how possible it is to be the ape of the Christian so nearly, that wisdom itself, if it be only mortal, may be deceived.

Charles Spurgeon on Repentance Unto Life

Charles SpurgeonBy “Repentance unto life,” I think we are to understand that repentance which is accompanied by spiritual life in the soul, and ensures eternal life to every one who possesses it. “Repentance unto life,” I say, brings with it spiritual life, or rather, is the first consequent thereof. There are repentances which are not signs of life, except of natural life, because they are only effected by the power of the conscience and the voice of nature speaking in men; but the repentance here spoken of is produced by the Author of life, and when it comes, it begets such life in the soul, that he who was “dead in trespasses and sins,” is quickened together with Christ; he who had no spiritual susceptibilities, now “receives with meekness the engrafted word;” he who slumbered in the very center of corruption, receives power to become one of the sons of God, and to be near his throne. This I think is “repentance unto life,”—that which gives life unto a dead spirit. I have said also, this repentance ensures eternal life; for there are repentances of which you hear men speaks which do not secure the salvation of the soul. Some preachers will affirm that men may repent, and may believe, and yet may fall away and perish. We will not consume our time by stopping to expose their error this morning; we have often considered it before, and have refuted all that they could say in defense of their dogma. Let us think of an infinitely better repentance. The repentance of our test is not their repentance, but it is a “repentance unto life;” a repentance which is a true sign of eternal salvation in Christ; a repentance which preserves us through this temporary state in Jesus, and which when we are passed into eternity, gives us a bliss which cannot be destroyed. “Repentance unto life “is the act of salvation of the soul, the germ which contains all the essentials of salvation, which secures them to us, and prepares us for them.

- Charles H. Spurgeon

Charles Spurgeon on Regeneration

Charles Spurgeon

And, my brethren, it is quite certain that no man ever begins the new birth himself. The work of salvation was never started by any man. God the Holy Spirit must begin it. Now, the reasons why no man ever started the work of grace in his own heart, are very plain and palpable: firstly, because he cannot; and secondly, because he will not.

The best reason of all is because he cannot–he is dead. Well, the dead may be made alive, but the dead cannot make themselves alive, for the dead can do nothing. Besides, the new thing to be created has no being. The uncreated cannot create. “No,” but you say, “that man can create.” Yes, but can hell create heaven? Then sin may create grace. What! Will you tell me that fallen human nature that has come almost to a level with the beasts, is competent to rival God; that it can emulate the divinity in working as great a miracle, and in imparting as divine a life as even God himself can give? It cannot. Besides, it is a creation; we are created new in Christ Jesus. Let any man create a fly, and afterwards let him create a new heart in himself; until he has done the lesser he cannot do the greater.

Besides, no man will. If any man could convert himself, there is no man that would. If any man said he would, if that were true, he is already converted; for the will to be converted is in great part conversion. The will to love God, the desire to be in unison with Christ, is not to be found in any man who has not already been reconciled with God through the death of his Son. There may be a false desire, a desire grounded upon a misrepresentation of the truth; but a true desire after true salvation by the true Spirit is a certain indication that the salvation is already there in the germ and in the bud, and only needs time and grace to develop itself.

But it is certain that man neither can nor will, being on the one hand utterly impotent and dead, and on the other hand utterly depraved and unwilling; hating the change when he sees it in others, and most of all despising it in himself. Be certain, therefore, that God the Holy Spirit must begin, since none else can do so.

- Charles H. Spurgeon

HT: Saved By Grace

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