2240. A Challenge And A Shield

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No. 2240-38:37. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, August 24, 1890, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, January 24, 1892.

Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died. {Ro 8:34}

For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 256, “Believer’s Challenge, The” 249}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1223, “Jesus, the Substitute for His People” 1214}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2240, “Challenge and a Shield, A” 2241}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2932, “False Justification and True” 2933}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3067, “Bold Challenge Justified, A” 3068}
   Exposition on Ps 138 Isa 55:1-11 Ro 8:28-39 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3422, “Call to the Depressed, A” 3424 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Ro 8:1-34 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3486, “God’s Desire for Us, and His Work in Us” 3488 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Ro 8:14-39 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2626, “Peace in Believing” 2627 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Ro 8:18-39 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2872, “Lord’s Supper, The” 2873 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Ro 8:19-39 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2550, “Joy in God” 2551 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Ro 8:26-39 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3204, “Saints Riches, The” 3205 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Ro 8:26-39 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3398, “Love’s Great Reason” 3400 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Ro 8 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3255, “Pearl of Patience, The” 3257 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Ro 8 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3502, “Powerful Persuasives” 3504 @@ "Exposition"}

1. Here are two very wonderful challenges thrown out by the apostle Paul. First, he boldly defies anyone to charge the chosen of God with sin: “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” and then, even if any charges should be brought against them, he defies all our foes to secure an adverse verdict: “Who is he who condemns?” This would be a very bold challenge even for a man who had been righteous from his youth up. If there had ever been a man, in the history of the world, who from his infancy had known God, and who had grown up serving him, devoting himself entirely to the cause of the Lord Christ; and if he had kept the commandments without fail, as far as man could judge, it would be a very hazardous thing even for him to say. “Who is he who condemns?” For human righteousness is only human; being human, it is finite; and, being finite, it falls short somewhere or other. The best of men are only men at the best; to be a man is to be a fallen creature, and being fallen creatures, we cannot by ourselves perfectly please the thrice-holy Jehovah. In many things we all offend.

2. The man who uttered this challenge, “Who is he who condemns?” and uttered it under the inspiration of God, did not, however, occupy the position of a sinless man. His early years had been spent in opposition to his Saviour. He had been extremely mad against the disciples of Christ, and had persecuted them even to foreign cities. In another place he calls himself the very chief of sinners; and yet it is this man who dares to ask the question, “Who is he who condemns?” It is a bold, brave challenge; but it never could have been uttered by Paul if it had not been accompanied by the next sentence, “It is Christ who died.” First, he flings down the gauntlet, and challenges a battle, crying, “Who is he who condemns?” And then he holds up a shield so broad that he is completely concealed behind it, and every enemy is defeated in the conflict, because “It is Christ who died.” Happy shall you and I be if, though covered with sin, though guilty and unclean, we nevertheless shall have faith to believe in the Christ who died, a faith so strong, and confident that we shall dare to stand both now, and at the judgment seat of Christ, and say, “Who is he who condemns?” May we have this faith on our death-bed, when the pulse is faint and feeble, and heart and flesh begin to fail! May we still, between the very jaws of death, have solid confidence in God, and dare to ask, in the presence of men and demons, too, “Who is he who condemns?” being made bold to do so because we have believed in the Christ who died.

3. Paul has, in this case, only one answer to the question, “Who is he who condemns?” He meets it by the blessed fact that “It is Christ who died.” I recommend that each one of us should have only one hope of salvation. As long as we have half-a-dozen, we have half-a-dozen doubtful ones: but when it comes to only one, and that such a sufficient one as the truth that “It is Christ who died,” we have a well-founded hope, in which we may rest with confidence. Such a hope as this is “an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast”; and the man who has this anchor on board the barque of his life can never suffer spiritual shipwreck. When the Emperor Charles V went to war with Francis I, King of France, he sent a herald to him, declaring war in the name of the Emperor of Germany, King of Castille, King of Aragon, King of Naples, King of Sicily, and he went on with many more titles, giving his sovereign all the honours that were his due. When the herald of Francis I took up the gauntlet of battle, he would not be outdone in the list of honours, so he said, “I take up the challenge in the name of Francis I, King of France; Francis I, King of France; Francis I, King of France; Francis I, King of France; Francis I, King of France.” He just repeated his master’s name and office as many times as the other gentleman had titles. So it is a grand thing, whenever Satan comes and begins to accuse you, just to say, “Christ has died, Christ has died.” If anyone confronts you with other confidences, still stick to this almighty plea, “Christ has died.” If one says, “I was christened, and confirmed,” answer him by saying, “Christ has died.” Should another say, “I was baptized as an adult,” let your confidence remain the same: “Christ has died.” When another says, “I am a sound, orthodox Presbyterian,” you stick to this solid ground, “Christ has died.” And if still another says, “I am a red-hot Methodist,” answer him in the very same way: “Christ has died.” Whatever may be the confidences of others, and whatever may be your own, put them all away, and stick with this one declaration, “It is Christ who died.” There is enough in that one truth to include all that is excellent in the others, and to answer all the accusations that may be brought against you. “Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died.” I would put the trumpet to my lips while I preach, and sound out this one note, praying that it may be a death-blast to all accusations that can be brought against believers in Christ.

4. I want you to notice that Paul does not even rest his confidence concerning the believers’ safety on the fact that they are able to say, “We have trusted in Christ; we have loved Christ; we have served Christ.” He allows nothing to mar the glory of this one blessed fact, “It is Christ who died.” If he adds anything at all, it is still something about that same Christ — “yes rather, who is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.”

5. This is a subject upon which I delight to speak; for here is all my hope and confidence. In these words I see first, a challenge to all comers: “Who is he who condemns?” Secondly, I see here, a remedy for all sin. If any take up the gage {a} of battle, and say, “We condemn you,” we shall have this for our complete answer to everyone, “It is Christ who died.” And lastly, I see here, an answer to every accusation arising from sin. “Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died.”

6. I. Here is A CHALLENGE TO ALL COMERS.

7. By the grace of God, the apostle stands defiantly in the midst of all the believer’s foes, and flings down the gauntlet before them all. The encounter to which he challenges them is not to be a mere tilt in a tournament, but a battle for life or death. Who enters the fray against the believer? First comes Satan; then the world; then conscience; and last of all the law of God. Over them all the believer triumphs. “It is Christ who died,” becomes both his sword and his shield; and when the dread conflict is over, and even while it is raging, he sings, “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

8. The first who takes up the believer’s challenge is Satan. Some do not believe in the personality of the devil; but I am as sure of it as I am of the personality of his children who deny their own father. Those of us who have passed through any spiritual conflicts know that Satan is a terribly real person. He attacks us on the right hand and on the left, from beneath and from above. Very dexterously, with infernal malice, he endeavours to condemn the child of God. It is his business to be the accuser of the brethren, and he carries it on with very great vigour. He knows enough of our conduct to be able, truthfully, to bring to our memory much that might condemn us. When this fails, he never sticks at an accusation because it does not happen to be true. Being the father of lies, he will accuse us of things of which we are not guilty, or, when it suits his purpose, he will exaggerate our guilt, and make it appear worse than it is, in order that he may drive us to despair. There is only one way to successfully resist the onset of the arch-enemy; but that one way ensures certain victory. Up with your shield, and say, “Yes, it is all true, or it might have been, for my heart is so evil that it would have led me to any sin; but ‘It is Christ who died.’ ” This will defeat your great adversary.

9. Suppose Satan should come to anyone who is seeking the Saviour, and say, “You will never find the Lord; you have sinned beyond all limit; you are too far gone for mercy to reach you; you must perish”; it will be your highest wisdom to give him this one reply, “It is Christ who died.” That short sentence completely answers all his accusations. There is no terror to him like the terror of the cross. He gloated over the crucifixion once, and he has been distressed and terrified by it ever since. Tell him that you are a sinner, and that if he should paint your sin in its blackest colours, you would not even then despair, for it would still be true that Christ “is able also to save to the uttermost those who come to God by him.” Christ has died, and there is more than enough virtue in his death to atone for the blackest or most crimson sins ever committed by men. Close beside the bottomless pit of our iniquity stands the cross on which Christ has made payment for all our faults; and when we set Christ opposite the gulf of our sin, we see that he far transcends it. Sin is great, but Christ is greater. His precious blood takes away every stain of guilt. Take care that you do not answer Satan with any other argument than this: “It is Christ who died.” Again and again let this blow, from the sword of the Spirit, descend on him, “It is Christ who died,” and you will soon be acclaimed the victor over your greatest foe. In this way “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

10. When you have overcome Satan, the world will come out to attack you, and to dispute your claim to be numbered among the people of God. As long as you go with evil companions, they will applaud you. You will be “a jolly good fellow” while you join them in their folly; but when you give up their ways, their habits, and their company, then they will say that you are melancholy, and no longer fit company for such, “hail fellows, well met,” and they will turn away from you. If you follow after Christ, and find eternal life, when they hear about it, they will sneer at you, and bring up all your past life against you. They will say, “What! you converted? You are as bad as any one of us. What! you a saint? Well, certainly, you made no pretension to it six months ago; you were about as black as a man could be.” The world will begin to throw in the believer’s teeth all his former iniquities, when he proclaims with the cry, “Who is he who condemns?” Tell the world, once and for all, that it may condemn you, if it pleases, for it condemned the Lord Jesus long ago, and say that, therefore, you think very little of the condemnation of your fellow men. Tell the men of the world that it is right that they condemn you for all your past life, for doubtless you have been what they say you are, you will not dispute that fact; but tell them also that what Paul wrote to the Christians at Corinth is true of you, “You are washed, you are sanctified, you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” Tell them even that Christ died. If they say that Christ’s death does not repair the injury you have done to your fellow men, tell them that, as far as you can, you intend to make restitution to them; and where you have done the world a bad turn, let them know that your Master has done it more good than you ever did it harm. The influence of his holy religion has made abundant atonement to the world for any wrong that you ever did to it. He has rendered more of good to men than you ever rendered of evil. In all your answers to the accusations of the world, take care that you base your hopes concerning forgiven sin upon the death of Christ. The world will, before long, understand what you mean by saying that Christ has made atonement for your sin; and, perhaps, here and there, a few of those who ridiculed you will be inclined to know more about this matter, and in private may come and ask you how the death of Christ has saved your soul. At any rate, meet the attack of the world as you met the attack of Satan, with this weapon only: “It is Christ who died,” and you will be “more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

11. The third foe who will seek to condemn you, and one whom you have great cause to fear, is your own conscience; but the weapon which has defeated your other foes will also avail you against this one. Still, this foe is fierce and terrible. Let me feel the worm that never dies rather than the stings of an offended conscience, if indeed this is not itself, “the worm that does not die.” Fire such as martyrs felt at the stake were only a plaything compared with the flames of a burning conscience. We read that, when David had cut off Saul’s skirt. “It came to pass afterwards that David’s heart struck him.” It is an ugly knock that a man’s heart gives when it strikes him. There is no getting away from yourself, and when you yourself condemn yourself, then you are condemned indeed. You go to your bed, but your conscience is there, and it will not sleep. You go out to your pleasures, but your conscience goes with you, and spoils your mirth. You would forget your guilt in your daily business, but your conscience calls out at such a rate that there is no hearing anything else. Thunderbolts and tornadoes are nothing in force compared with the charges of a guilty conscience.

12. What is to be done when a man condemns himself? Can he still be valiant, and maintain his ground, calling out, “Who is he who condemns?” Yes, blessed be God, even this foe can be overcome by the weapon the believer wields in the power of God, for he can tell conscience, as he told his former opponents, “It is Christ who died.” It is a wonderful story — this old, old story, of Jesus and his love for guilty sinners; let me tell it once again. God so loved me that he willed to forgive me; but for the sake of the world which he governs righteously he could not forgive me without an atonement for my sin. It would not have been consistent with his justice for him to ignore my sin. What was to be done? His own dear Son came, and stood in my place, and took my sin upon him. Knowing that my sin deserved death, he willingly died, the Just for the unjust, so that he might bring me to God. God is well pleased with the death of Christ as the vindication of his justice, and for Christ’s sake he says to me, “I have blotted out like a thick cloud your transgressions, and like a cloud your sins: return to me; for I have redeemed you.” Tell conscience that Christ has died for your sins, according to the Scriptures, and it will be perfectly satisfied: it will not go to sleep, but it will use its voice for other purposes, and it will no longer seek to condemn you.

13. There is still another foe that answers your challenge, “Who is he who condemns?” It steps out into the arena, and we behold the law of God. What shall we say to that? The law of God says, “You shall,” and we have not done what it commands. The law of God says, “You shall not,” and we have done exactly what we were forbidden to do. Only too true is that confession, “We have left undone those things which we ought to have done, and we have done those things which we ought not to have done, and there is no health in us.” The law condemned us in former days, and would again overthrow us if we ventured to meet it unarmed. It must condemn sin, for “the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just and good.” But when it has attacked us, and done its worst, there comes in the majesty of divine sovereignty. God is King over all, and able to govern the world according to his own mind, which mind is always infinitely just. He decrees that Christ Jesus, the Well-Beloved, even his own other self, who is one with him, should come into the world and bear the sin of man, make amends to the injured honour of God, and magnify the law before the eyes of the whole universe. If the guilty sinner dies, the law is honoured; but if God shall assume human flesh, and die for that sinner, the law is even more honoured. When Christ Jesus took away our guilt, and “he himself bore our sins in his own body on the tree,” justice was more terribly displayed than when guilty sinners sink to hell. We are only creatures after all, and when we are condemned, we sink down into destruction, and suffer for our sin; but he is the eternal God, and when he takes our nature, and cries, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” and bleeds his life away in agony, then the law of God is abundantly honoured. Therefore we say to that law, “Law, you have nothing to do with me; I am ‘not under law, but under grace.’ My Substitute has kept the law on my behalf. He has borne the penalty which I ought to have borne, and I am clear. I am now dead to the law. I have died in Christ, and my life now is that of a child of God, for I have been lifted to that high estate by my redeeming Lord.”

14. There is now no one left whom I know of, who can condemn us, except the Judge; and if we have escaped our opponents — Satan, the world, conscience, and the law, we need not fear to stand even at God’s judgment seat. The Judge is now on our side; and none of us needs to fear anyone’s condemnation if the Judge does not condemn us. You come into court with your case, and the counsel on the other side condemns you. When he sits down, he has done his worst; and his witnesses also condemn you; but if the verdict is in your favour, and the judge says that you leave the court with a stainless character, you do not care about the condemnation of others. Now, there is only one Judge — the man Christ Jesus. It is he who died for us. He cannot bring us in debt to divine justice; for in his own hands and feet are the nail-prints, which are the receipts of justice in full settlement of all claims against us. He has paid all we owed and he will vindicate his own death, and claim for the travail of his soul its due reward, which is the forgiveness and the salvation of all guilty men who have come and put their trust in him. Therefore, since it is only our Judge who can condemn us, and since he is the very Person who has paid our debt for us, and put our sin away, we dare to repeat again, with additional emphasis, our ringing challenge to all the universe, “Who is he who condemns?”

   Who now accuseth them,
      For whom their Ransom died?
   Who now shall those condemn
      Whom God hath justified?
   Captivity is captive led;
   For Jesus liveth, who was dead.

15. II. In the second place, I see in our text A REMEDY FOR ALL SIN. On this I shall speak very briefly. We stand boldly in front of all our foes, because we know that we are free from the evil which once condemned us: it is all gone. Our confidence is therefore strong, and it is so because Christ’s dying has removed all sin from all believers.

16. “Look,” one says, “there is sin. It is true that you are a believer, but you have sinned often, for years, in all kinds of ways.” Yes, as we look, we must confess that it is true, there is the sin. But over there is the Saviour, and he is called Jesus, “For he shall save his people from their sins.” He has come on purpose to put away our sin, and when he died, he made an end of it. The answer, therefore, to the statement, “There is sin,” is this, “Christ has died.”

17. Another says, “Yes, but then you have been especially guilty, there is great sin against a great God. You have continued in it, and persisted in it.” True, we do confess that accusation; but then there is a great sacrifice, for he who came to save us, laid down his life for us; and greater sacrifice than this could never be. “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.’ ” This is the grandest message of the gospel, that “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” The apostle Paul puts this “first of all,” and every true preacher of the good news of salvation will follow his example. We have, indeed, in the death of Christ, a great atonement; an atonement so great, that no one can measure its height and depth, its length and breadth. The glory of the Person who died, the anguish and the suffering he endured, the love that moved him to give himself up to death for us, all make us see how great the atonement is. There is great sin; that we know only too well: but we also rejoice in the knowledge that there is a great atonement to cover all our sin, “For it is Christ who died.”

18. “But,” interrupts another, “God must punish sin. It is not optional with him, it is an inevitable law of the universe. Transgress the law, and punishment will follow.” It is even so; but listen: God must punish sin, and God has punished sin. He took the great mass of the sins of believers, and piled it all on Christ; and when he hung upon the cross as his people’s Substitute, even his Father hid his face from him. He died, the Prince of glory died the ignominious felon’s death, in the room and place and stead of guilty men. God has punished sin; and when men say, “God must punish sin,” we answer, “Sin has been punished, for Christ has died.”

19. Not only is our sin punished, but the sin is gone. If my friend over there has paid my debt, it is gone. I owe no man anything after the debt has been paid, whether by myself, or by someone else; and if Christ took our sin upon himself, and suffered for it, the sins for which he suffered are gone, plunged as in a shoreless sea, drowned in the Redeemer’s blood. They are gone, and gone for ever!

   He breaks the power of cancelled sin,
      He sets the prisoners free;
   His blood can make the foulest clean,
      His blood availed for me.

20. And that my sins are gone is more clear, for he rose again from the dead. “It is Christ who died, yes rather, who is risen again.” If he had not paid the debt, he would have remained in the prison of the grave: but he rose again. He has discharged the debt; and we have still another assurance that it is all gone, for the apostle goes on to speak of Christ “who is even at the right hand of God.” He would not be there if he were a debtor. If Christ owed anything to the justice of God by reason of his suretyship engagements, he would not be at God’s right hand: but he owes nothing whatever. Both the sinner and the Surety are now free. The debt is paid, and Christ is at the right hand of God. And as for our weaknesses and infirmities, he is there to plead for his people: “Who also makes intercession for us.” He lives for ever to secure effectively the eternal salvation of every soul for whom he died, even for everyone who puts his trust in him. Are you among the number? Oh, if you, my dear hearers, knew the joy and peace that would come to you if you only trusted in the doctrine of substitution, you would not rest until you were able to say, “Christ was in my place, so that I might stand in his place: my sins were laid on him, so that his righteousness might be girded on me.” If you understood how delightful it is to get out of yourself into Christ, and to live because Jesus died, you would not linger and doubt, and fear, but you would say, “If it is so, I will come to Christ, and I will trust him, so that with you I may say, ‘The chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed.’ ” This, then is God’s great remedy for sin: “It is Christ who died.”

21. III. Now I want your attention while I try to show that this blessed sentence, “It is Christ who died,” is AN ANSWER TO EVERY ACCUSATION which, under any circumstances, may arise from sin. We have seen that Christ’s death enables us to conquer our foes, and frees us from our sins. It also delivers us from every fear and doubt. The death of Christ gives us a full salvation. I cannot mention all the accusations which sin makes, but I will mention a great many of them very quickly, and show how the man who believes in Christ, the dying Christ, the risen Christ, the reigning Christ, is able to meet and overcome them.

22. Sometimes the accusing whisper comes to your ear, “You have sinned against a great God. It will be a terrible thing to have to answer to the great and mighty God for having so sinned.” I will make no answer to that accusation but this: “It is Christ who died.” Christ himself, the great and mighty God is the “Interpreter, one among a thousand,” able to stand between me and God. It is true that God is great, but he cannot ask for more than divine righteousness, and in Christ I present that. Indeed, his law never asked for more than human righteousness. I give him Christ’s righteousness, which is a divine righteousness. The law has, therefore, more than it asked for, and so I am not afraid of the anger of the great God. It is the mighty God himself who came here to be a Man, and to die in our place, for is it not written that God has bought his people with his own blood? We read about “the church of God, which he has purchased with his own blood.” It is a strong expression, but since it is scriptural, we cannot alter it; and we have no wish to do so. Oh, beloved, if we have a God for our Redeemer, though our sins against God are very many, and though they are very black and foul, yet Christ’s infinite sacrifice meets them all.

   Love of God, so pure and changeless,
      Blood of God, so rich and free,
   Grace of God, so strong and boundless,
      Magnify them all in me,
                             Even me.

23.You have robbed God of his glory,” another voice seems to say. “You know how you used to blaspheme his name.” Or, perhaps, you were more polite; you did not curse and swear, but the accusation comes: “You argued against God and his Son, and against his blessed gospel; you have robbed him of his glory.” To that I give the same answer, “It is Christ who died.” I know that I have robbed God of his glory, but Christ has brought all the glory back again. I see “the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” A dying Saviour brings more glory to the love of God, indeed, and to the justice of God, than any mortal sinner could have done; more than any perfect man, though he lived throughout eternity, could have done. So, that doubt is answered by the same all-powerful argument: “It is Christ who died.”

24. “But you have sinned wilfully,” says the upbraiding accuser. “You went after evil with all your heart; you know that you did. As a young man, you were a ringleader in evil. You were not one who was stirred up and led on by others; you led other people. You drank down sin as the greedy ox drinks down water.” True, true, I sinned wilfully; but then my Lord Jesus came willingly to stand in my place. He willingly died for me, the wilful sinner. He had power to lay down his life, and he had power to take it again; of his own free will he went to prison and to death, for his people’s sake. So the evil done by my free will is met and covered by the sovereign obedience of his free will: “It is Christ who died.”

25. “Ah!” says the accuser, “but you sinned against light and knowledge. You cannot deny it. When you sinned, you were not like the common people of the street, who know no better. You had a godly father; you had a Christian mother; you were trained in the fear of God. You read your Bible in early youth, and you went astray with a vengeance; for when you sinned, you knew that you were sinning, and yet you transgressed.” Yes, I know that it was so; I will not debate about it; I will only say, “It is Christ who died,” and Christ, to meet my sin against knowledge brings a sacrifice offered with his own full knowledge of all that it involved.

   This was compassion like a God,
      That when the Saviour knew
   The price of pardon was his blood,
      His pity ne’er withdrew.

“Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands,” poured out water, and began to wash his disciples’ feet, and then went, with full knowledge of all that was before him, to pour out his blood to wash their souls from guilt. In the midst of his agony on the tree, he still had full understanding concerning his sacrifice: “Knowing that all things were now accomplished,” he bowed his head, and died. So my poor knowledge is met by the great and heavenly knowledge with which he went about the work of offering a complete atonement in my room and place. “It is Christ who died.”

26. “No, indeed!” says yet another accuser; “but you have sinned with delight. You took pleasure in it. You were not as some who were mere drudges to sin. You drank it down like sweet wine, and you could not have too much of it.” Ah! it is so; but then my Lord Christ delighted to come to be my Saviour. In the volume of the Book it is written of him: “I delight to do your will, oh my God! Yes, your law is within my heart.” I took pleasure in sin; but, “he, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame.” Therefore, opposite my delight in sin, I place his delight in presenting to the Father his perfect righteousness and his all-sufficient substitutionary sacrifice: “It is Christ who died.”

27. I do not seem to want to preach. I want to sit down, and draw all the sweetness out of this blessed truth: “It is Christ who died.” Ah! but another bitter taunt comes to me, “You have sinned in spirit. You not only sinned with your body, with your eyes, your lips, your hands; but you have sinned in imagination and desire very horribly.” Ah, brethren! Here we must bow our heads. All manner of evil things we commit in our thoughts; sin runs riot in our spirit. Well, we confess that too; but then Christ suffered in his spirit. The sufferings of his soul were the very soul of his sufferings. He not only groaned in body, when beaten by the Roman soldiers, and pierced with nails and thorns; but in soul he was overwhelmed by extreme heaviness, and by the desertion of his God. To atone for the sin of my soul there is the sorrow of his soul; if I poured out my soul in sin, he poured out his soul to death, and he was numbered with the transgressors. “It is Christ who died.”

28. If the black thought then comes up, “Ah! but you have previously refused Christ. Many times you put him away. You quenched conscience. You went to the house of God, not to pray, but to laugh. Indeed, and when Christ would have pulled you away, you held on hard to your sin! You rejected Christ for a long time.” Yes; but I put opposite to that the fact that he always would have me. He loved me to the death; and albeit that he foresaw and foreknew that I should reject him, yet he would not take “No” for an answer from me; but he resolved that his true grace should conquer me truly, and make me willing in the day of his power.

29. Still the accuser continues reminding us of our past life: “You have trusted in others, and turned away from Christ; you went everywhere before you came to him.” Did you ever want to hire a horse in a market town? You went to some place, and asked the price, and thought it was too high; then you went away to half-a-dozen other stable keepers, and could not do any better, so you came back to the first; but he, displeased with you, very possibly said, “I do not want you for customer. You have been to everyone else; you may go to them now.” I have known a surly man act in that way; but Christ never turns us away because we only come to him when others fail us. Many have gone around the world to look for a saviour other than the Lord Jesus Christ, and they have only come to him when all others have failed them. It is astonishing where men will go to seek salvation. Some go to Rome, and some to Oxford; some go I do not know where. They seek in vain; for there is no Saviour to be found, except at Calvary; and after you have made the circuit of the globe, and encompassed heaven and hell to find another way of salvation, you will have to come back to Christ. Blessed be his name, he will not refuse you even then, if you will only believe in him! The proof of love to the uttermost is that “It is Christ who died.”

30. But I feel a darkness coming down over my spirit, and in the darkness there is a fiendish voice that says, “But you have committed unknown sins, sins that no one else knows, and there have been sins which you yourself did not know. Hidden in your heart there is a damning spot which your eye has not discovered.” Here comes in this blessed word taken out of the Greek litany, “By your unknown sufferings.” It is almost as good as Scripture; for Scripture leads us to think of the sufferings of Christ as an unfathomable deep. Who can tell us what Christ’s suffering really was? It goes into the region of things unknown; it goes beyond the knowable; for flesh and blood will never be able to comprehend what Jesus suffered when the great flood of human sin came rushing down upon him, and filled his spirit to the brim. “It is Christ who died.” My unknown sins are buried in the unknown depths of his almighty sacrifice.

31. Ah! but another thought comes up, “You know that he died; but then you have slain your Lord. You had a share in his death. You know that every sinner is guilty of the murder of Christ.” I know it, I know it to my shame and confusion; yet I live by him I killed, I am saved by him I murdered; and I glory in the grace that makes such a miracle of mercy possible.

   With pleasing grief and mournful joy
      My spirit now is filled,
   That I should such a life destroy,
      Yet live by him I killed.

Whether it was by mine or by any other wicked hands, yet it was by “the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God,” that Jesus died, in the place of all who believe in him: I believe in him, therefore he has died for me. He died for his murderers, for those who mocked and insulted him; for he commanded his disciples to begin preaching the gospel at Jerusalem, where they crucified him, to preach it even to those who had hounded him to his doom. Oh dear friends, what comfort lies in this word, “It is Christ who died!”

32. “Ah!” says the accuser, “but you are still sinful. What if Christ died for all your past sins? What about your present sinfulness?” Well, about that, I have this to say, “It is Christ who died, yes rather, who is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” I believe that, when Christ died, he took all the sins of all his people, past, present, and to come, and when the whole mass was condensed into one bitter cup, he drank it all up.

   “At one tremendous draught of love,”

leaving not so much as a single drop of wormwood or gall for any to drink who put their trust in him. Come, my hearer, if what I say to you is true (and I will answer for its truth at God’s great judgment seat), then please believe in the Lord Jesus Christ; for “he who believes in him shall not be ashamed, nor confounded, world without end.” I am in this boat myself. If it sinks, I am lost; but it will not sink, for the Pilot of the Galilean Lake is on board. Come in with me, let us sail together to glory. I will not say, “Let us sink or swim together,” for there is no sinking for a soul that rests in Christ. This is a good seaworthy vessel: “It is Christ who died.” God has accepted Christ in the place of his people; and you, accepting Christ to stand in your place, shall find that your sin is put away, that his righteousness is yours, and that you are “accepted in the Beloved.” I have once more preached the gospel to you as plainly and as simply as I can. Whether you will receive it, or not, must rest with yourselves. May God the Holy Spirit lead you to trust in “Christ who died!” May God bless you! Amen.

[Portion Of Scripture Read Before Sermon — Ro 8:26-39]
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Stated — ‘Jesus Only’ ” 537}
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Received by Faith — Jesus Died For Me” 553}
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Sufferings and Death — All For Us” 297}


{a} Gage: spec. A pledge (usually a glove thrown on the ground) of a person’s appearance to do battle in support of his assertions. OED.

Letter From Mr. Spurgeon

My Dear Readers, — Your weekly preacher is still weakly; but though his progress towards strength is slow, it has been steadily maintained during the recent trying weather. When we consider how many have died, your chaplain is very grateful to be alive, to be able to send out his usual discourse from the press, and to be, as he hopes, half-an-inch nearer to his pulpit. Happy will he consider himself when he is able to preach with the living voice.

Would it not be good for all the churches to hold special meetings for prayer concerning the deadly scourge of influenza? The suggestion has, no doubt, been made by others; but I venture to press it upon Christians of all denominations so that they may, in turn, urge all their pastors to summon such meetings. Our nation is fast learning to forget God. In too many cases ministers of religion have propagated doubt, and the result is a general hardening of the popular feeling, and a greatly increased neglect of public worship. It is written, “When your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.” Let us, who believe in inspired Scripture, unite our prayers that it may be even so. With a court and a nation in deepest mourning, it is a time to cry mightily to the Lord.

I have been able again to revise a sermon without assistance. It is upon Ps 105:37; and, if the Lord wills, it will be published next week.

      Yours, in deep sympathy with all the sick and the bereaved,
                                   C. H. Spurgeon
Mentone, January 17, 1892.


Gospel, Stated
537 — “Jesus Only”
1 When wounded sore the stricken soul
      Lies bleeding and unbound,
   One only hand, a pierced hand,
      Can salve the sinner’s wound.
2 When sorrow swells the laden breast,
      And tears of anguish flow,
   One only heart, a broken heart,
      Can feel the sinner’s woe.
3 When penitence has wept in vain
      Over some foul dark spot,
   One only stream, a stream of blood,
      Can wash away the blot.
4 ‘Tis Jesus’ blood that washes white,
      His hand that brings relief,
   His heart that’s touch’d with all our jays,
      And feeleth for our grief.
5 Lift up thy bleeding hand, oh Lord;
      Unseal that cleansing tide;
   We have no shelter from our sin,
      But in thy wounded side.
               Cecil Frances Alexander, 1858.


Gospel, Received by Faith
553 — Jesus Died For Me
1 Great God, when I approach thy throne,
      And all thy glory see;
   This is my stay, and this alone,
      That Jesus died for me.
2 How can a soul condemn’d to die
      Escape the just decree?
   A vile, unworthy wretch am I,
      But Jesus died for me.
3 Burden’d with sin’s oppressive chain,
      Oh, how can I get free?
   No peace can all my efforts gain,
      But Jesus died for me.
4 My course I could not safely steer
      Through life’s tempestuous sea,
   Did not this truth relieve my fear,
      That Jesus died for me.
5 And, Lord, when I behold thy face,
      This must be all my plea —
   Save me by thy almighty grace,
      For Jesus died for me.
               William Hiley Bathurst, 1831.


Jesus Christ, Sufferings and Death
297 — All For Us <8.7.>
1 Great High Priest, we view thee stooping,
   With our names upon thy breast,
   In the garden, groaning, drooping,
   To the ground with horrors press’d
   Weeping angels stood confounded
   To behold their maker thus;
   And can we remain unwounded,
   When we know ‘twas all for us?
2 On the cross thy body broken
   Cancels every penal tie;
   Tempted souls, produce this token,
   All demands to satisfy.
   All is finish’d; do not doubt it;
   But believe your dying Lord;
   Never reason more about it;
   Only take him at his word.
3 Lord, we fain would trust thee solely;
   ‘Twas for us thy blood was spilt,
   Bruised Bridegoom, take us wholly;
   Take and make us what thou wilt.
   Thou hast borne the bitter sentence
   Past on man’s devoted race;
   True belief and true repentance
   Are thy gifts, thou God of grace.
                        Joseph Hart, 1759.

Spurgeon Sermons

These sermons from Charles Spurgeon are a series that is for reference and not necessarily a position of Answers in Genesis. Spurgeon did not entirely agree with six days of creation and dives into subjects that are beyond the AiG focus (e.g., Calvinism vs. Arminianism, modes of baptism, and so on).

Terms of Use

Modernized Edition of Spurgeon’s Sermons. Copyright © 2010, Larry and Marion Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario, Canada. Used by Answers in Genesis by permission of the copyright owner. The modernized edition of the material published in these sermons may not be reproduced or distributed by any electronic means without express written permission of the copyright owner. A limited license is hereby granted for the non-commercial printing and distribution of the material in hard copy form, provided this is done without charge to the recipient and the copyright information remains intact. Any charge or cost for distribution of the material is expressly forbidden under the terms of this limited license and automatically voids such permission. You may not prepare, manufacture, copy, use, promote, distribute, or sell a derivative work of the copyrighted work without the express written permission of the copyright owner.

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