Stand in amazement at God’s patience

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Let none despise the strivings of the Spirit in the hearts of the young; let not boyish anxieties and juvenile repentances be lightly regarded. He incurs a fearful amount of guilt who in the least promotes the aim of the Evil One by trampling upon a tender conscience in a child. No one knows the age of the youngest child in hell; and therefore none can guess at what age children become capable of conversion. We at least can bear our testimony to the fact that grace operates on some minds at a period almost too early for recollection. Nor let it be imagined that the feelings of the young are slight and superficial—they are frequently of the deepest character. The early woundings of the Saviour are made upon hearts not yet rendered callous by worldliness and sensuality. The Christian whose lot it was to be smitten in his childhood, will well remember the deep searchings of heart and the keen convictions of soul which he endured.

O beloved, how much have we to bless our Jesus for, and how much for which to reprove ourselves! Did we not stifle our conscience, and silence the voice of reproof? Were we not deaf to the warning voice of our glorious Jesus? When he smote us sorely, we returned not to kiss his rod, but were as refractory as the bullock unaccustomed to the yoke. Our most solemn vows were only made to be broken; our earnest prayers ceased when the outward pressure was removed; and our partial reformations passed away like dreams of the night. Blessed be His name, he at last gave us the effectual blow of grace; but we must for ever stand in amazement at the patience which endured our obstinacy, and persevered in its design of love.

Charles Spurgeon, The Saint and His Saviour, pp 45-46

Jesus came to save even you!

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You sinners—I mean you real sinners, not you who call yourselves by that name simply because you are told that is what you are, but you who really feel yourselves to be guilty before God—here is good news for you! O you self-condemned sinners, who feel that if you are ever to get salvation, Jesus must bring it to you and be the beginning and the end of it, I pray you to rejoice in this dear, this precious, this blessed Name, for Jesus has come to save you—even you! Go to Him as sinners, call Him “Jesus,” and say to Him, “O Lord Jesus, be Jesus to me, save me, for I need your salvation!” Do not doubt that He will fulfill His own Name and exhibit His saving power in you. Only confess to Him your sin, and He will save you from it. Only believe in Him, and He will be your salvation.

Charles Spurgeon, Spurgeon Commentary: Galatians (Logos Bible Software)

Sorrow for sin is practical

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Genuine, spiritual mourning for sin is the work of the Spirit of God. Repentance is too choice a flower to grow in nature’s garden. Pearls grow naturally in oysters, but penitence never shows itself in sinners except divine grace works it in them. If thou hast one particle of real hatred for sin, God must have given it thee, for human nature’s thorns never produced a single fig. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh.”

True repentance has a distinct reference to the Saviour. When we repent of sin, we must have one eye upon sin and another upon the cross, or it will be better still if we fix both our eyes upon Christ and see our transgressions only, in the light of his love.

True sorrow for sin is eminently practical. No man may say he hates sin, if he lives in it. Repentance makes us see the evil of sin, not merely as a theory, but experimentally—as a burnt child dreads fire. We shall be as much afraid of it, as a man who has lately been stopped and robbed is afraid of the thief upon the highway; and we shall shun it—shun it in everything—not in great things only, but in little things, as men shun little vipers as well as great snakes. True mourning for sin will make us very jealous over our tongue, lest it should say a wrong word; we shall be very watchful over our daily actions, lest in anything we offend, and each night we shall close the day with painful confessions of shortcoming, and each morning awaken with anxious prayers, that this day God would hold us up that we may not sin against him.

Sincere repentance is continual. Believers repent until their dying day. This dropping well is not intermittent. Every other sorrow yields to time, but this dear sorrow grows with our growth, and it is so sweet a bitter, that we thank God we are permitted to enjoy and to suffer it until we enter our eternal rest.

Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening

What a precious thing is a soul!

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Christ’s ministers must take all occasions of doing good to others, in regard of the work which they are about—which is saving of souls. What a precious thing is a soul! Christ takes, as it were, a pair of scales in his hands and he puts the world in one scale and the soul in the other—and the soul outweighs! (Matthew 16:26). The soul is of a noble origin. It is a flower of eternity; here, in the bud; in heaven, fully ripe. The soul is one of the richest pieces of embroidery which God ever made—the understanding bespangled with light, the will invested with liberty, the affections like musical instruments tuned with the finger of the Holy Spirit. Now if the souls of men are of so noble an extract and made capable of glory, oh how zealously industrious should Christ’s ministers be to save these souls! If Christ spent his blood for souls, well may we spend our sweat! It was Augustine’s prayer that Christ might find him at his coming—either praying or preaching. What a sad sight is it to see precious souls, as so many pearls and diamonds—cast into the dead sea of hell!

Thomas Watson, The Beatitudes

Christ’s forgiveness overcomes our weaknesses

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Let all the world know that the Lord Jesus will not cast away His believing people because of short-comings and infirmities. The husband does not put away his wife because he finds failings in her. The mother does not forsake her infant because it is weak, feeble, and ignorant. And the Lord Christ does not cast off poor sinners who have committed their souls into His hands because He sees in them blemishes and imperfections. Oh! No! It is His glory to pass over the faults of His people, and heal their backslidings,—to make much of their weak graces, and to pardon their many faults.

J. C. Ryle, Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties and Roots

Breadth vs depth

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Much has been done of late to promote the production of dwarfish Christians. The endeavor has been to increase breadth at the expense of depth. What would you think of those who should break the dams of our reservoirs to let the water spread over the country?… If, in order to spread our sea, we make it very shallow, and it breathes miasma and death over the plain, it will be a sorry exchange for life eternal. Oh, to have a church built up with the deep godliness of men who know the Lord in their very hearts, and will seek to follow the Lamb wherever he goes!

Charles Spurgeon, The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons vol XXXV (as published in 1,500 Quotations for Preachers)

The Lord is glorious in grace

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None but God would ever have thought of justifying me. I am a wonder to myself. I doubt not that grace is equally seen in others. Look at Saul of Tarsus, who foamed at the mouth, against God’s servants. Like a hungry wolf, he worried the lambs and the sheep right and left; and yet God struck him down on the road to Damascus, and changed his heart, and so fully justified him that before long, this man became the greatest preacher of justification by faith that ever lived. He must often have marveled that he was justified by faith in Christ Jesus; for he was once a determined stickler for salvation by the works of the law. None but God would have ever thought of justifying such a man as Saul the persecutor; but the Lord God is glorious in grace.

Charles Spurgeon, All of Grace

Come as you are to Him

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Do not attempt to touch yourself up and make yourself something other than you really are; but come as you are to Him who justifies the ungodly. A great artist some short time ago had painted a part of the corporation of the city in which he lived, and he wanted, for historic purposes, to include in his picture certain characters well known in the town. A crossing-sweeper, unkempt, ragged, filthy, was known to everybody, and there was a suitable place for him in the picture. The artist said to this ragged and rugged individual, “I will pay you well if you will come down to my studio and let me take your likeness.” He came round in the morning, but he was soon sent about his business; for he had washed his face, and combed his hair, and put on a respectable suit of clothes. He was needed as a beggar, and was not invited in any other capacity. Even so, the gospel will receive you into its halls if you come as a sinner, not otherwise. Wait not for reformation, but come at once for salvation. God justifies the ungodly, and that takes you up where you now are: it meets you in your worst estate.

Charles Spurgeon, All of Grace

Christianity is not a new morality

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Christianity did not come into the world to proclaim a new morality and, sweeping away all the supernatural props by which men were wont to support their trembling, guilt-stricken souls, to throw them back on their own strong right arms to conquer a standing before God for themselves. It came to proclaim the real sacrifice for sin which God had provided in order to supersede all the poor fumbling efforts which men had made and were making to provide a sacrifice for sin for themselves; and, planting men’s feet on this, to bid them go forward. It was in this sign that Christianity conquered, and it is in this sign alone that it continues to conquer. We may think what we will of such a religion. What cannot be denied is that Christianity is such a religion.

Benjamin B. Warfield, The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, Vol. 2: Biblical Doctrines, 435

Attracting a careless and giddy world

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Act wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time. Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person.—Col. 4:5-6 (HCSB)

Our power in drawing men to Christ springs chiefly from the fullness of our personal joy in him, and the nearness of our personal communion with him. The countenance that reflects most of Christ, and shines most with his love and grace, is most fitted to attract the gaze of a careless, giddy world, and win their restless souls from the fascinations of creature-love and creature-beauty. A ministry of power must be the fruit of a holy, peaceful, loving intimacy with the Lord.

Horatius Bonar, Words to Winners of Souls, 27–28.

Pay attention to these wonderful words

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Are you not surprised that there should be such an expression as that in the Bible, “That justifies the ungodly?” (Rom. 4:15) I have heard that men that hate the doctrines of the cross bring it as a charge against God, that He saves wicked men and receives to Himself the vilest of the vile. See how this Scripture accepts the charge, and plainly states it! By the mouth of His servant Paul, by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, He takes to Himself the title of “Him who justifies the ungodly” He makes those just who are unjust, forgives those who deserve to be punished, and favors those who deserve no favor. You thought, did you not, that salvation was for the good and that God’s grace was for the pure and holy, who are free from sin? It has fallen into your mind that, if you were excellent, then God would reward you; and you have thought that because you are not worthy, therefore there could be no way of you enjoying His favor.

You must be somewhat surprised to read a text like this: “Him who justifies the ungodly “I do not wonder that you are surprised; for with all my familiarity with the great grace of God, I never cease to wonder at it. It does sound surprising, does it not, that it should be possible for a holy God to justify an unholy man? We, according to the natural legality of our hearts, are always talking about our own goodness and our own worthiness, and we stubbornly hold to it that there must be something in us in order to win the notice of God. Now, God, who sees through all deceptions, knows that there is no goodness whatever in us. He says that “None is righteous, no not one” (Ro 3:10). He knows that “all our righteousness deeds are like a polluted garment”(Is 64:6), and, therefore the Lord Jesus did not come into the world to look after goodness and righteousness with him, and to give them upon persons who have none of them. He comes, not because we are just, but to make us so: he justifies the ungodly.

Charles Spurgeon, All of Grace

Quenching thirst with sand

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For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—not from works, so that no one can boast. Eph. 2:8-9 (HCSB)

To take comfort from our good doings, or good feelings, or good plans, or good prayers, or good experiences, is to delude ourselves, and to say peace when there is no peace. No man can quench his thirst with sand, or with water from the Dead Sea; so no man can find rest from his own character however good, or from his own acts however religious.

Horatius Bonar, God’s Way of Peace: A Book for the Anxious, 20–21.

What stands between us and God? Only one thing

Martyn Lloyd-Jones

There is only one thing between us and God, and that is our sin. It is not our intellect that separates us from God. The barrier is sin, this barrier that has come in. That is the problem: God is there, and we are here. “Why do I not know him?” asks someone. Because of this barrier. The only way to have it removed is through the Lord Jesus Christ. He came in order to be my sin offering. “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself . . . he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:19, 21). There it is—your sin has been laid upon him, it has been dealt with, it is cleared. Believe it, thank God for it, and you will know him as your Father. Christ “is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30). “Do you need wisdom?” says Paul in essence to the cultured Greeks. “If you do, go to Christ. He is the wisdom of God; all the necessary truth is in him.” He is the truth.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled

Our need of Christ does not cease with our believing

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There is nothing in us or done by us, at any stage of our earthly development, because of which we are acceptable to God. We must always be accepted for Christ’s sake, or we cannot ever be accepted at all. This is not true of us only when we believe. It is just as true after we have believed. It will continue to be trust as long as we live. Our need of Christ does not cease with our believing; nor does the nature of our relation to Him or to God through Him ever alter, no matter what our attainments in Christian graces or our achievements in behavior may be. It is always on His “blood and righteousness” alone that we can rest.

B.B. Warfield (as quoted in Doxology and Theology: How the Gospel Forms the Worship Leader by Matt Boswell)