Charles Haddon Spurgeon: The Rule of Service

If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
John 12:26

So you are proposing to yourself that you will serve Christ, are you? You are a young man, as yet you have plenty of vigor and strength, and you say to yourself, “I will serve Christ in some remarkable way; I will seek to make myself a scholar, I will try to learn the art of oratory, and I will in some way or other glorify my Lord’s name by the splendor of my language.”

Will you, dear friend? Is it not better, if you are going to serve Christ, to ask him what he would like you to do?

Now listen: Your Lord and Master does not bid you become either a scholar or an orator in order to serve him. Both of those things may happen . . . but first of all he says, “If anyone serves me, let him follow me.”

This is what Christ prefers beyond anything else, that his servants should follow him. If we do that, we shall serve him in the way which is according to his own choice. . . .

What does the Savior mean by bidding us render to him our best service by following him?

[F]irst, I understand by these words that we are to follow Christ by believing his doctrine.

Our Lord says, practically, “If any anyone serves me, let him follow me as Teacher; let him sit at my feet, let him learn of me.” . . . [Christ] has come to be the Teacher of the glorious gospel of the blessed God, and it is only by teaching the truths which he has made known, and by publishing the message which he has revealed, that you can really be his servant. . . .

[N]ext, I think that the text means, “If anyone serves me, let him follow me by obeying my commands.”

 If you want truly to serve Christ, do not do what you suggest to yourself, but do what he commands you. Remember what Samuel said to Saul, “To obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” . . .

 [T]hirdly, I think that by these words our Lord means, “If anyone serves me, let him follow me by imitating my example.”

It is always safe, dear friends, to do what Christ would have done under the same circumstances in which you are placed. . . . [T]he ordinary life of Christ is in every respect an example to us. Never do what you could not suppose Christ would have done. If it strikes you that the course of action that is suggested to you would be un-Christly, then it is un-Christian, for the Christian is to be like Christ. . . .

Once more, I think the Savior means this: “If anyone serves me, let him follow me by clinging to my cause.”

Cling to the cause of Christ, dear friend, give yourself to that kingdom for which you are taught to pray, and be ready to make any sacrifice whatever that you may advance and extend it.

Yea, throw your whole self into the holy service of your Lord; make the name of Christ to be more widely known, and the cause of Christ to be further extended among the sons of men. Cling to the cause of Christ, and so carry out his own words, “If any man serve me, let him follow me.” . . .

If any man will serve Christ, let him follow Christ.

Let him put his foot down as nearly as he can where Christ put his foot down; let him tread in Christ’s steps, and be moved by his spirit, actuated by his motives, live with his aim, and copy his actions. This is the noblest way in which to serve the Lord.

From the sermon The Rule and Reward of Serving Christ, delivered at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington, June 27th, 1889

Charles Haddon Spurgeon: The Rule and Reward of Serving Christ

If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
John 12:26

You cannot have Christ if you will not serve him.

If you take Christ, you must take him in all his characters, not only as Friend, but also as Master; and if you are to become his disciple, you must also become his servant.

I hope that no one here kicks against that truth Surely it is one of our highest delights on earth to serve our Lord, and this is to be our blessed employment even in heaven itself:

“His servants shall serve him: and they shall see his face.”

This thought also enters into our idea of salvation; to be saved, means that we are rescued from the slavery of sin, and brought into the delightful liberty of the servants of God. O Master, thou art such a glorious Lord that serving thee is perfect freedom, and sweetest rest! Thou hast told us that it should be so, and we have found it so.

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”

We do find it so; and it is not as though rest were a separate thing from service, the very service itself becomes rest to our souls. I know not how some of us would have any rest on earth if we could not employ our daily lives in the service of Christ; and the rest of heaven is never to be pictured as idleness, but as constantly being permitted the high privilege of serving the Lord.

Learn hence, then, all of you who would have Christ as your Savior, that you must be willing to serve him.

We are not saved by service, but we are saved to service. When we are once saved, thenceforward we live in the service of our Lord.

If we refuse to be his servants, we are not saved, for we still remain evidently the servants of self, and the servants of Satan.

Holiness is another name for salvation; to be delivered from the power of self-will, and the domination of evil lusts, and the tyranny of Satan,—this is salvation.

Those who would be saved must know that they will have to serve Christ, and those who are saved rejoice that they are serving him, and that thus they are giving evidence of a change of heart and renewal of mind.

Come, beloved, and when the text says, “If any man serve me,” let each of us read his own name there, and let us say, “Yes, I would serve the Lord Jesus Christ.”

If we cannot read our own name there as yet, let us pray God that we may first believe in Jesus unto eternal life, and then, receiving that eternal life, may spend the full force and strength of it in his service.

From the sermon The Rule and Reward of Serving Christ, delivered at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington, June 27th, 1889

Charles Haddon Spurgeon: The Redeemer's Prayer

Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
John 17:24

“Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am.”

This was not a universal prayer.

It was a prayer including within it a certain class and portion of mankind, who are designated as “those whom the Father had given him.”

Now we are taught to believe that God the Father did, from before the foundation of the world, give unto his Son Jesus Christ a number whom no man can number, who were to be the reward of his death, the purchase of the travail of his soul; who were to be infallibly brought unto everlasting glory by the merits of his passion, and the power of his resurrection.

These are the people here referred to.

Sometimes in Scripture they are called the elect, because when the Father gave them to Christ he chose them out from among men. At other times they are called the beloved, because God’s love was set upon them of old.

They are called Israel; for like Israel of old, they are a chosen people, a royal generation. They are called God’s inheritance, for they are especially dear to God’s heart; and as a man cares for his inheritance and his portion, so the Lord cares especially for them.

The people whom Christ here prays for, are those whom God the Father out of his own free love and sovereign good pleasure ordained unto eternal life, and who, in order that his design might be accomplished, were given into the hands of Christ the Mediator, by him to be redeemed, sanctified, and perfected, and by him to be glorified everlastingly.

These people, and none others, are the object of our Savior’s prayer.

It is not for me to defend the doctrine; it is Scriptural, that is my only defense. It is not for me to vindicate God from any profane charge of partiality or injustice. If there be any wicked enough to impute this to him, let them settle the matter with their Maker. Let the thing formed, if it have arrogance enough, say to him that formed it, “Why hast thou made me thus?” I am not God’s apologist, he needs no defender. . . .

Can you now from your inmost soul say, “Who have I in heaven but thee, and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee!”

If so, trouble not your minds about election, there is nothing troublesome in election to you.

He that believes is elected, he who is given to Christ now, was given to Christ from before the foundation of the world. You need not dispute divine decrees, but sit down and draw honey out of this rock, and wine out of this flinty rock.

Oh, it is a hard, hard doctrine to a man who has no interest in it, but when a man has once a title to it, then it is like the rock in the wilderness, it streams with refreshing water whereat myriads may drink and never thirst again. . . .

If you be given to Christ now, you are among the happy number for whom he intercedes above, and you shall be gathered amongst the glorious throng, to be with him where he is, and to behold his glory.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, from the sermon The Redeemer’s Prayer, delivered on April 18th, 1858, at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens

Charles Haddon Spurgeon: Faith Produces a Far-Seeing Obedience

How great a company would obey God if they were paid for it on the spot! They have “respect unto the recompense of the reward;” but they must have it in the palm of their hand.

With them—”A bird in hand is better far, than two which in the bushes are.” They are told that there is heaven to be had, and they answer that, if heaven were to be had here, as an immediate freehold, they might look after it, but they cannot afford to wait. To inherit a country after this life is over is too like a fairy tale for their practical minds.

Many there are who enquire, “Will religion pay? Is there anything to be made out of it? Shall I have to shut up my shop on Sundays? Must I alter my mode of dealing, and curtail my profits?” When they have totalled up the cost, and have taken all things into consideration, they come to the conclusion that obedience to God is a luxury which they can dispense with, at least until near the end of life.

Those who practice the obedience of faith look for the reward hereafter, and set the greatest store by it. To their faith alone the profit is exceeding great.

To take up the cross will be to carry a burden, but it will also be to find rest. They know the words, “No cross, no crown;” and they recognise the truth that, if there is no obedience here, there will be no reward hereafter. This needs a faith that has eyes which can see afar off, across the black torrent of death, and within the veil which parts us from the unseen.

A man will not obey God unless he has learned to endure “as seeing him who is invisible.”

Yet, remember that the obedience which comes of true faith is often bound to be altogether unreasoning and implicit; for it is written, “He went out, not knowing whither he went.” God bade Abraham journey, and he moved his camp at once. Into the unknown land he made his way; through fertile regions, or across a wilderness; among friends or through the midst of foes, he pursued his journey. He did not know where his way would take him, but he knew that the Lord had bidden him go.

Even bad men will obey God when they think fit; but good men will obey when they know not what to think of it. It is not ours to judge the Lord’s command, but to follow it. . . . Prudent consideration of consequences is superabundant; but the spirit which obeys, and dares all things for Christ’s sake—where is it? The Abrahams of today will not go out from their kindred; they will put up with anything sooner than risk their livelihoods. If they do go out, they must know where they are going, and how much is to be picked up in the new country.

The modern believer must have no mysteries, but must have everything planned down to a scientific standard. Abraham “went out, not knowing whither he went,” but the moderns must have every information with regard to the way, and then they will not go. If they obey at all, it is because their own superior judgements incline that way; but to go forth, not knowing whither they go, and to go at all hazards, is not to their minds at all. They are so highly “cultured” that they prefer to be original, and map out their own way.

Brethren, having once discerned the voice of God, obey without question. If you have to stand alone and nobody will befriend you, stand alone and God will befriend you.

If you should get the ill word of those you value most, bear it. What, after all, are ill words, or good words, as compared with the keeping of a clear conscience by walking in the way of the Lord?

The line of truth is narrow as a razor’s edge; and he needs to wear the golden sandals of the peace of God who shall keep to such a line. Through divine grace may we, like Abraham, walk with our hand in the hand of the Lord, even where we cannot see our way!

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, from the sermon The Obedience of Faith, delivered on August 21st, 1890, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington

Charles Haddon Spurgeon: Faith Creates a Prompt Obedience

Genuine faith in God creates a prompt obedience.

“By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed.”There was an immediate response to the command. Delayed obedience is disobedience.

I wish some Christians, who put off duty, would remember this. Continued delay of duty is a continuous sin. If I do not obey the divine command, I sin; and every moment that I continue in that condition, I repeat the sin.

This is a serious matter. If a certain act is my duty at this hour, an I leave it undone, I have sinned; but it will be equally incumbent upon me during the next hour; and if I still refuse, I disobey again and so on till I do obey. Neglect of a standing command must grow very grievous if it be persisted in for years.

In proportion as the conscience becomes callous upon the subject, the guilt becomes the more provoking to the Lord. To refuse to do right is a great evil; but to continue in that refusal till conscience grows numb upon the matter is far worse. . . .

Obedience is for the present tense: it must be prompt, or it is nothing. Obedience respects the time of the command as much as any other part of it.

To hesitate is to be disloyal.

To halt and consider whether you will obey or not, is rebellion in the germ.

If thou believest in the living God unto eternal life, thou wilt be quick to do thy Lord’s bidding, even as a maid hearkens to her mistress. Thou wilt not be as the horse, which needs whip and spur; thy love will do more for thee than compulsion could do for slaves. Thou wilt have wings to thy heels to hasten thee along the way of obedience. “Today, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, from the sermon The Obedience of Faith, delivered on August 21st, 1890, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington

Charles Haddon Spurgeon: The Kind of Faith Which Produces Obedience

It is, manifestly, faith in God as having the right to command our obedience.

He has a greater claim upon our ardent service than he has upon the services of angels; for, while they were created as we have been, yet they have never been redeemed by precious blood.

Our glorious Incarnate God has an unquestioned right to every breath we breathe, to every thought we think, to every moment of our lives, and to every capacity of our being.

This loyalty of our mind is based on faith, and is a chief prompter to obedience.

[W]e must have faith in the rightness of all that God says or does.

If the Lord be God, he must be infallible; and if he can be described as in error in the little respects of human history and science, he cannot be trusted in the greater matters.

The words of the Lord are like fine gold, pure, precious, and weighty—not one of them may be neglected. We hear people talk about “minor points,” and so on; but we must not consider any word of our God as a minor thing, if by that expression is implied that it is of small importance.

We must accept every single word of precept, or prohibition, or instruction, as being what it ought to be, and neither to be diminished nor increased. We should not reason about the command of God as though it might be set aside or amended. He bids: we obey. [Read more...]

Charles Haddon Spurgeon: Faith is the Fountain, Foundation and Fosterer of Obedience

Faith is the fountain, the foundation, and the fosterer of obedience.

Men obey not God till they believe him. We preach faith in order that men may be brought to obedience. To disbelieve is to disobey.

One of the first signs of practical obedience is found in the obedience of the mind, the understanding, and the heart; and this is expressed in believing the teaching of Christ, trusting to his work, and resting in his salvation.

Faith is the morning star of obedience. If we would work the work of God, we must believe on Jesus Christ whom he has sent.

Brethren, we do not give a secondary place to obedience, as some suppose. We look upon the obedience of the heart to the will of God as salvation. The attainment of perfect obedience would mean perfect salvation. We regard sanctification, or obedience, as the great design for which the Saviour died. He shed his blood that he might cleanse us from dead works, and purify unto himself a people zealous for good works. It is for this that we were chosen: we are “elect unto holiness.” We know nothing of election to continue in sin. It is for this that we have been called: we are “called to be saints.”

Obedience is the grand object of the work of grace in the hearts of those who are chosen and called: they are to become obedient children, conformed to the image of the Elder Brother, with whom the Father is well pleased.

The obedience that comes of faith is of a noble sort.

The obedience of a slave ranks very little higher than the obedience of a well-trained horse or dog, for it is tuned to the crack of the whip. Obedience which is not cheerfully rendered is not the obedience of the heart, and consequently is of little worth before God. If the man obeys because he has no opportunity of doing otherwise, and if, were he free, he would at once become a rebel—there is nothing in his obedience.

The obedience of faith springs from a principle within, and not from compulsion without.

It is sustained by the mind’s soberest reasoning and the heart’s warmest passion. The man reasons with himself that he ought to obey his Redeemer, his Father, his God; and, at the same time, the love of Christ constrains him so to do, and thus what argument suggests affection performs. A sense of great obligation, an apprehension of the fitness of obedience, and spiritual renewal of heart, work an obedience which becomes essential to the sanctified soul. Hence, it is not relaxed in the time of temptation, nor destroyed in the hour of losses and sufferings.

Life has no trial which can turn the gracious soul from its passion for obedience; and death itself doth but enable it to render an obedience which shall be as blissful as it will be complete. Yes, this is a chief ingredient of heaven—that we shall see the face of our Lord, and serve him day and night in his temple. Meanwhile, the more fully we obey at this present, the nearer we shall be to his temple-gate. May the Holy Spirit work in us, so that, by faith—like Abraham—we may obey!

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, from the sermon The Obedience of Faith, delivered on August 21st, 1890, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington

Charles Haddon Spurgeon: What Comes of Humility?

What comes of humility? “Before honor is humility.” Humility is the herald which ushers in the great king; it walks before honor; and he who has humility, will have honor afterwards. I will only apply this spiritually.

Have you been brought today to feel, that in yourself you are less than nothing, and vanity? Art thou humbled in the sight of God, to know your own unworthiness, your fallen estate in Adam, and the ruin you have brought upon yourself by your own sins? Have you been brought to feel yourself incapable of working out your own salvation, unless God shall work in you, to will and to do of his own good pleasure? Have you been brought to say, “Lord, have mercy upon me, a sinner?” Well, then, as true as the text is in the Bible, you shall have honor by-and-bye.

“Such honor have all the saints.” You shall have honor soon to be washed from all your guilt; you shall have honor soon to be clothed in the robes of Jesus, in the royal garments of the King; you shall have honor soon to be adopted into his family, to be received amongst the blood-washed ones who have been justified by faith. You shall have honor to be borne, as on eagles’ wings, to be carried across the river, and at last to sing his praise, who has been the “Death of deaths, and hell’s destruction.” You shall have honor to wear the crown, and wave the palm one day, for you have now that humility which comes from God. You may fear that because you are now humbled by God, you must perish.

I beseech you do not think so; as truly as ever the Lord has humbled you, he will exalt you. And the more you are brought low, the less hope you have of mercy; the more you are in the dust, so much the more reason you have to hope. So far from the bottom of the sea being a place over which we cannot be carried to heaven, it is one of the nearest places to heaven’s gate.

And if you are brought to the very lowest place to which even Jonah descended, you are so much the nearer being accepted. The more you know your vileness; remember the blacker, the more filthy, the more unworthy you are in your own esteem, so much the more right have you to expect that you will be saved.

Verily, honor shall come after humility. Humble souls, rejoice; proud souls, go on in your proud ways, but know that they end in destruction.

Climb up the ladder of your pride, you shall fall over on the other side and be dashed to pieces. Ascend the steep hill of your glory; the higher you climb the more terrible will be your fall. For know you this, that against none hath the Lord Almighty bent his bow more often, and against none has he shot his arrows more furiously than against the proud and mighty man that exalteth himself.

Bow down, O man, bow down; “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.”

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, from the sermon Pride and Humility,
delivered on August 17, 1856, at New Park Street Chapel, Southwark

Charles Haddon Spurgeon: True and False Humility

I do hate, of all things, that humility which lives in the face.

There are some persons who always seem to be so very humble when you are with them, but you can discover there is something underneath it all, and when they are in some other society, they will brag and say how you told them your whole heart. Take heed of the men who allow you to lay your head in their lap and betray you into the hands of the Philistines.

There is a kind of oil, sanctimonious, proud humility, which is not the genuine article, though it is sometimes extremely like it. You may be deceived by it once or twice, but by-and-bye you discover that is a wolf dexterously covered with sheep’s clothing. It arrays itself in the simplest dress in the world; it talks in the gentlest and humblest style; it says, “We must not intrude our own peculiar sentiments, but must always walk in love and charity.” But after all, what is it? It is charitable to all except those who hold God’s truth, and it is humble to all when it is forced to humble.

True humility does not continually talk about “dust and ashes,” and prate about its infirmities, but it feels all that which others say, for it possesses an inwrought feeling of its own nothingness.

Very likely the most humble man in the world won’t bend to anybody. John Knox was a truly humble man, yet if you had seen him march before Queen Mary with the Bible in his hand, to reprove her, you would have rashly said, “What a proud man!”

Cringing men that bow before everybody, are truly proud men; but humble men are those who think themselves so little, they do not think it worth while to stoop to serve themselves. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, were humble men, for they did not think their lives were worth enough to save them by a sin. Daniel was a humble man; he did not think his place, his station, his whole self, worth enough to save them by leaving off prayer.

Humility is a thing which must be genuine; the imitation of it is the nearest thing in the world to pride.

Seek of God, dear friends, the gift of true humility.

Seek to have that breaking in pieces by the Holy Spirit, that breaking in the mortar with the pestle which God himself gives to his children. Seek that every twig of his rod may drive pride out of you, so that by the blueness of your wound, your soul may be made better. Seek of him, if he does not show you the chambers of imagery within your own heart, that he may take you to Calvary, and that he may show you his brightness and his glory, that you may be humble before him.

Never ask to be a mean, cringing, fawning thing: ask God to make you a man—those are scarce things now-a-days—a man who only fears God, who knows no fear of any other kind. Do not give yourselves up to any man’s power, or guidance, or rule, but ask of God that you may have that humility towards him, which gives you the noble bearing of a Christian before others.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, from the sermon Pride and Humility,
delivered on August 17, 1856, at New Park Street Chapel, Southwark

Charles Haddon Spurgeon: What is Humility?

 

Now let us briefly enquire, in the first place, what is humility?

The best definition I have ever met with is, “to think rightly of ourselves.” Humility is to make a right estimate of one’s self.

It is no humility for a man to think less of himself than he ought, though it might rather puzzle him to do that. Some persons, when they know they can do a thing, tell you they cannot; but you do not call that humility? A man is asked to take part in some meeting. “No,” he says, “I have no ability;” yet, if you were to say so yourself, he would be offended at you.

It is not humility for a man to stand up and depreciate himself and say he cannot do this, that, or the other, when he knows that he is lying. If God gives a man a talent, do you think the man does not know it? If a man has ten talents he has no right to be dishonest to his Maker, and to say, “Lord, you have only give me five.” It is not humility to underrate yourself.

Humility is to think of yourself, if you can, as God thinks of you. It is to feel that if we have talents, God has given them to us, and let it be seen that, like freight in a vessel, they tend to sink us low. The more we have, the lower we ought to lie.

Humility is not to say, “I have not this gift,” but it is to say, “I have the gift, and I must use it for my Master’s glory. I must never seek any honor for myself, for what have I that I have not received?” But, beloved, humility is to feel ourselves lost, ruined, and undone. To be killed by the same hand which, afterwards, makes us alive, to be ground to pieces as to our own doings and willings, to know and trust in none but Jesus, to be brought to feel and sing—

“Nothing in my hands I bring,
Simply to thy cross I cling.”

Humility is to feel that we have no power of ourselves, but that it all comes from God. Humility is to lean on our beloved, to believe that he has trodden the winepress alone, to lie on his bosom and slumber sweetly there, to exalt him, and think less than nothing of ourselves. It is in fact, to annihilate self, and to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ as all in all.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, from the sermon Pride and Humility,
delivered on August 17, 1856, at New Park Street Chapel, Southwark

Charles Haddon Spurgeon: If You Desire Shame, Desire Pride

 

[Pride] is a brainless thing as well as a groundless thing; for it brings no profit with it.

There is no wisdom in a self-exaltation.

Other vices have some excuse, for men seem to gain by them; avarice, pleasure, lust, have some plea; but the man who is proud sells his soul cheaply. He opens wide the flood-gates of his heart, to let men see how deep is the flood within his soul; then suddenly it flows out, and all is gone—and all is nothing, for one puff of empty wind, one word of sweet applause—the soul is gone, and not a drop is left.

In almost every other sin, we gather up the ashes when the fire is gone; but here, what is left? The covetous man has his shining gold, but what has the proud man? He has less than he would have had without his pride, and is no gainer whatever.

Oh! man, if you were as mighty as Gabriel, and had all his holiness, still you would be an arrant fool to be proud, for pride would sink you from your angel station to the rank of devils, and bring you from the place where Lucifer, son of the morning, once dwelt, to take up your abode with hideous fiends in perdition.

Pride exalts it head, and seeks to honor itself; but it is of all things most despised. It sought to plant crowns upon its brow, and so it hath done, but its head was hot, and it put an ice crown there, and it melted all away. Poor pride has decked itself out finely sometimes; it has put on its most gaudy apparel, and said to others, “how brilliant I appear!” but, ah! pride, like a harlequin, dressed in thy gay colours, thou art all the more fool for that; you are but a gazing stock for fools less foolish than yourself. You have no crown, as you think you have, nothing solid and real, all is empty and vain.

If you, O man, desire shame, be proud. A monarch has waded through slaughter to a throne, and shut the gates of mercy on mankind to win a little glory; but when he has exalted himself, and has been proud, worms have devoured him, like Herod, or have devoured his empire, till it passed away, and with it his pride and glory. Pride wins no crown; men never honor it, not even the menial slaves of earth; for all men look down on the proud man, and think him less than themselves.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, from the sermon Pride and Humility,
delivered on August 17, 1856, at New Park Street Chapel, Southwark

Charles Haddon Spurgeon: The Wretchedness of Pride

…Pride is a protean thing; it changes its shape; it is all forms in the world; you may find it in any fashion you may choose, you may see it in the beggar’s rags as well as in the rich man’s garment. It dwells with the rich, and with the poor. The man without a shoe to his foot may be as proud as if he were riding in a chariot.

Pride can be found in every rank of society—among all classes of men. Sometimes it is an Arminian, and talks about the power of the creature; then it turns Calvinist, and boasts of its fancied security—forgetful of the Maker, who alone can keep our faith alive. Pride can profess any form of religion; it may be a Quaker, and wear no collar to its coat; it may be a Churchman, and worship God in splendid cathedrals; it may be a Dissenter, and go to the common meeting-house; it is one of the most Catholic things in the world, it attends all kinds of chapels and churches; go where you will, you will see pride. It comes up with us to the house of God; it goes with us to our houses; it is found on the mart, and the exchange, in the streets, and everywhere. Let me hint at one or two of the forms which it assumes.

Sometimes pride takes the doctrinal shape; it teaches the doctrine of self-sufficiency; it tells us what man can do, and will not allow that we are lost, fallen, debased, and ruined creatures, as we are. It hates divine sovereignty, and rails at election. Then if it is driver from that, it takes another form; it allows that the doctrine of free grace is true but does not feel it.

It acknowledges that salvation is of the Lord alone, but still it prompts men to seek heaven by their own works, even by the deeds of the law. And when driven from that, it will persuade men to join something with Christ in the matter of salvation; and when that is all rent up, and the poor rag of our righteousness is all burned, pride will get into the Christian’s heart as well as the sinner’s—it will flourish under the name of self-sufficiency, teaching the Christian that he is “rich and increased in goods, having need of nothing.”

It will tell him that he does not need daily grace, that past experience will do for tomorrow—that he knows enough, toils enough, prays enough. It will make him forget that he has “not yet attained;” it will not allow him to press forward to the things that are before, forgetting the things that are behind. It enters into his heart, and tempts the believer to set up an independent business for himself, and until the Lord brings about a spiritual bankruptcy, pride will keep him from going to God.

Pride has ten thousand shapes; it is not always that stiff and starched gentleman that you picture it; it is a vile, creeping, insinuating thing, that will twist itself like a serpent into our hearts. It will talk of humility, and prate about being dust and ashes. I have known men talk about their corruption most marvellously, pretending to be all humility, while at the same time they were the proudest wretches that could be found this side the gulf of separation.

Oh! my friends, you cannot tell how many shapes pride will assume; look sharp about you, or you will be deceived by it, and when you think you are entertaining angels, you will find you have been receiving devils unawares.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, from the sermon Pride and Humility,
delivered on August 17, 1856, at New Park Street Chapel, Southwark

Charles Haddon Spurgeon: Him who Justifies the Ungodly

This message is for you: “And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.”

I call your attention to the words, “Him who justifies the ungodly.” They seem to me to be very wonderful words.

Are you not surprised that there is such an expression as that in the Bible, “who justifies the ungodly”? I have heard that men who hate the doctrine of the Cross bring the 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 Spirit, He takes to Himself the title of “Him who justifies the ungodly.” He makes those just who are unjust. He forgives those who deserve no favor.

Did you think that salvation was for the good and that God’s grace was for the pure and holy who are free from sin? Perhaps you think that if you were excellent, then God would reward you. Maybe you have thought that, because you are not worthy, there could be no way for you to enjoy His favor.

You must be somewhat surprised to read a text like this: “Him who justifies the ungodly.” I do not wonder at your surprise. For, with all my familiarity with the great grace of God, I never cease to wonder, at it either…

“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” This truth is a very surprising thing—a thing to be marveled at most of all by those who enjoy it. I know that it is to me even to this day the greatest wonder that I ever heard of—that God should ever justify me.

I feel myself to be a lump of unworthiness, a mass of corruption, and a heap of sin, apart from His almighty love. I know and am fully assured that I am justified by “faith which is in Christ Jesus.” I am treated as if I had been perfectly just and made an heir of God and a joint-heir with Christ. And yet by nature, I must take my place among the most sinful. Though altogether undeserving, I am treated as if I had been deserving. I am loved with as much love as if I had always been godly, whereas before I was ungodly. Who can help being astonished at this demonstration of grace? Gratitude for such favor stands dressed in robes of wonder. 

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, All of Grace, pp 13-14, 15-16 (Scripture updated to ESV)

All of Grace by C.H. Spurgeon

all-of-grace-spurgeon

Charles Spurgeon is renowned the world over as one of the greatest preachers ever to live. Saved at age 15, he began preaching at 16, and became pastor of the New Park Street Chapel in London when he was 19. Spurgeon dearly loved Jesus, and passionately proclaimed the gospel to sometimes more than ten thousand people every week (the Metropolitan Tabernacle was built in 1861 to hold all the people who would come to hear him preach), and he saw many people saved through his ministry.

All of Grace, by the author’s own admission, is a book written with the intention “that many will be led to the Lord Jesus.” This intention leads to an extremely thorough and clear articulation of the good news of Jesus centering around the truth that “while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6).

This is arguably the most crucial point of Spurgeon’s message, in large part due to the heavy attack it faces today. We see ourselves as strong, though we are weak. We see ourselves as capable of earning our salvation, although we have no hope of doing so. Spurgeon puts it this way: “He did not come to save us because we were worth saving, but because we were utterly worthless, ruined, and undone” (pg. 90).

Spurgeon has the great ability to illustrate the ridiculousness of pride, particularly when addressing the necessity of salvation through faith (and indeed what is faith). On its necessity, he writes, “[God] will not give salvation in a way that will suggest or foster pride… The hand that receives charity does not say, ‘I am to be thanked for accepting the gift;’ that would be absurd” (pg. 79).

He makes his point exceedingly clear: We don’t earn salvation. We don’t deserve it. We don’t choose it. Indeed, we cannot.

It’s pure, unmerited grace.

What I appreciated a great deal while reading All of Grace is this call to the death of pride. If our salvation is in Christ alone, through faith alone, there is no room for boasting. Even when we repent, we cannot take credit. Spurgeon says, “We repent and believe, though we could do neither if the Lord did not enable us” (pg. 116). How often do we really see our ability to repent as a gift from God, as an ability enabled and empowered by the Holy Spirit?

In all honesty, I rarely give it much thought. But I realize it’s not something I can or should take for granted. I can only repent and believe because Jesus has allowed me to do so. Should that not, then, drive me to pursue repentance even more? “Repentance is the inseparable companion of faith,” says Spurgeon (pg. 128). If we have faith, we must make a lifestyle of repentance, because “it is not a true faith in Jesus that is not colored by repentance” (pg. 128).

Where there is no repentance, there is only pride.

Spurgeon’s All of Grace is an engaging, compelling and inspiring look at the love of God, one that ends with a passionate appeal for all his readers to trust in the Lord Jesus and meet him (Spurgeon) in heaven, to worship the God who saves by grace. And I look forward to the day that I get to meet him there.


Title: All of Grace
Author: Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Buy it at: Amazon

Note: This review is based on a previously released edition of this book.