2492. Paul’s Persuasion

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No. 2492-42:553. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, November 7, 1886, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, November 22, 1896.

For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come nor height, nor depth nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. {Ro 8:38,39}

1. A Christian brother was asked, one day, “To what persuasion do you belong?” He parried the question at first, for he did not think that it was very important for him to answer it. So the enquirer asked him again, “But what is your persuasion?” “Well,” he said, “if you must know my persuasion, it is this, ‘I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ ” I also am of that persuasion. Someone says, “That is Calvinistic doctrine.” If you like to call it that, you may; but I would rather that you made the mistake of the good old Christian woman who did not know much about these things, and who said that she herself was “a high Calvarist.” She liked “high Calvary” preaching, and so do I; and it is “high Calvary” doctrine that I find in this passage. He who hung on high Calvary was such a lover of the souls of men that from that glorious fact I am brought to this blessed persuasion, “I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

2. Paul was fully persuaded of this great truth. Did he not learn it by revelation? I do not doubt that God at first supernaturally revealed it to him; but yet, in order that he might be even more sure of it, God was pleased to reveal it to him again and again, until his trembling heart was more and more completely persuaded of it. It may have seemed to him, as it does to some of us, to be almost too good to be true, and therefore the Holy Spirit so shed abroad this truth in the apostle’s mind that he yielded to it, and said, “I am persuaded.” He may have thought, with a great many in the present day, that it was necessary to caution believers against falling from grace, and to be a little dubious about their final perseverance in the ways of God; but, if he ever had such fears, he gave them up, and said, “I am, — yes, I am persuaded that nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

3. Besides that, I suppose that the apostle was persuaded through reasoning with himself from other grand truths. He said to himself, “If, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, how much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” He argued that, if the death of Christ reconciled God’s enemies to himself, the life of Christ will certainly preserve safely those who are the friends of God; that was a good argument, was it not?

4. I have no doubt that Paul also argued with himself from the nature of the work of grace, which is the implantation of a living and incorruptible seed which lives and endures for ever. Christ spoke of it as the putting of a well into us, and he said, “The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” And as Paul thought of the nature of this new life, he felt persuaded that it would not die; he was convinced that he would never be separated from the love of God.

5. Moreover, I do not doubt that Paul remembered the doctrine of the union of believers with Christ, and he said to himself, “Shall Christ lose the members of his body? Shall a foot or an arm be lopped off from him? Shall an eye of Christ be put out in darkness?” And he could not think that it could be so; as he thought the matter over, he said, “If they are indeed one with Christ, I am persuaded that nothing can separate them from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

6. Now, dear brethren, if I could extend the time for this service to twenty-four hours, I might give you all the arguments, or most of the arguments, which support the blessed truth of the non-separation of believers from the love of Christ. As for my own convictions, I never can doubt it, I am fully persuaded about it. This truth seems to me to have struck its roots down into all the other truths of Scripture and to have twisted itself among the granite rocks which are the very foundation of our hope. I, too, am persuaded by a thousand arguments, and persuaded beyond all question, that nothing shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

7. Yet more, I imagine that Paul had been persuaded of this truth by his own experience. He had endured persecution, imprisonment, famine, shipwreck, he had suffered from scorn and scandal, pain of body, and depression of spirit. “A night and a day,” he said, “I have been in the deep,” and I will warrant you that many a night and many a day he had been in spiritual depths; yet he had survived them all, and he could testify to the faithfulness of his God, and say at the end, as the result of his sufferings, “I am persuaded that nothing in creation is able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

8. So he was persuaded of this truth by revelation, by argument, and by experience; and I should like you to notice that he was not only persuaded that none of the powers he mentions will separate us from the love of Christ, but that they cannot do it. He puts it like this, they are not able to separate us. Yet these are the strongest forces imaginable — death, life, angels, principalities, powers, the dreary present and the darker future. Paul summons all our foes, and sets them in battle array against us, and when he has added up the total of all their legions, he says that he is persuaded that they shall not be able — shall not be able, — notice that, — to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

9. I. In this discourse I am only going to handle the topic of Paul’s persuasion. Paul says, “I am persuaded,” and it is implied that, first, HE IS PERSUADED OF THE LOVE OF GOD. He could not be persuaded that nothing could separate us from a thing which did not exist, so he is persuaded, first of all, of the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

10. Come, my brothers and sisters, are you persuaded of the love of God? Are you intelligently persuaded not only that God is love, but that God loves you? Are you fully persuaded of the love of God, — the love of the Father who chose us, because he would choose us, for nothing but his love; the love of Jesus, the Son of God, who bowed himself from his glory so that he might redeem us from our shame; the love of the Holy Spirit who has quickened us, and who comes to dwell in us so that we may eventually dwell with him? Are you persuaded of this love of God for you? Happy man, happy woman, who can truly say, “I am persuaded that God loves me. I have thought it over, I have fully considered it, I have thoroughly weighed it, and I have come to this persuasion, that the love of God is shed abroad in my heart.”

11. Then, next, it is the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. That is, his great love in giving his dear Son to die for us. I am not going to expound on this wonderful theme. The thoughts are too great to need to be spun out, or you can do that in your private meditations. Is it not a wonderful thing that God loved me, and loved you, (let us individualize it,) that God so loved us that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in him might not perish, but have everlasting life? He gave his Son for you; and for me. It is as though one bartered a diamond to buy a common pebble from the brook, or gave away an empire to purchase some foul thing not worthy of being picked off a dunghill. Yet we are persuaded that he did it, and that the love of God is most clearly to be seen in the fact that he gave his Son Jesus Christ to die instead of us.

12. And, once more, we are persuaded of the love of God for all who are in Christ. We believe in Christ, and so we come to be in Christ by our believing; and now we are persuaded that, to as many as receive Christ, to them he gives power to become the sons of God, even to those who believe in his name, and therefore all who believe in Jesus are loved by the Lord, not because of anything good in them, but for Jesus Christ’s sake. He loves Christ so much that he loves us notwithstanding our unloveliness, because Jesus Christ has covered us with his robe of righteousness, and he has said, “My Father, consider them as lost in me, hidden in me, made one with me.” And the Father says, “Yes, my beloved Son, I will love them; Jesus, I will love them for your sake.”

13. So we are persuaded of these three things: first, that God loves us; next, that God has shown his love for us by the gift of his Son Jesus Christ; and then, that his divine love comes streaming down to us because we are in Christ, and are loved for his sake. I want you, dear friends, to get this persuasion into you. If you are not so persuaded, here is honey, but you do not taste it; here is light, but you do not see it; here is heaven, but you do not enter the pearly gate. Beloved, if you would be saved, you must be persuaded of this truth; and when you are persuaded of it, you will know the joy of it.

14. II. That leads me to pass on to the second thing of which Paul was persuaded. It does not appear on the surface of the text; but if you look for a minute, you will see that PAUL WAS PERSUADED THAT HE AND ALL THE SAINTS ARE JOINED TO GOD BY LOVE. Otherwise, he could not have said, “I am persuaded that things present and things to come shall not be able to separate us.” We must be joined together, or else the apostle would not talk about separation. There is a picture for you to contemplate, — God and ourselves joined together by the bonds of love in Christ Jesus. God loves Christ, and we love Christ, so we have a meeting-place; we love the same blessed Person, and that brings us to love each other.

15. There are two things that join God and a believer together; the first is, God’s love for the believer, and the second is, the believer’s love for God. It is like two dear friends who lovingly embrace with their arms around each other’s neck, there is a double link binding them together. Or, to come nearer to the truth, it is like a mother who puts her arms around the neck of her little child, and her child puts its tiny arms around the mother’s neck; that is how we and God are joined together.

16. Are you persuaded that it is so with you, dear friends? Can each one of you say, as you sit in your pew tonight, “God loves me, and that loved joins him to me; ” and “I love God, and that love joins me to him?” I believe that the apostle was persuaded that these two blessed links existed between him and the great God, and he was persuaded that neither of those two links would ever be broken. God could not withdraw from Paul his embrace of love, and Paul felt that, by divine grace, he could not withdraw his embrace of love from his God; but he must have been first of all persuaded that both those embraces were there. Are you, my dear hearer, persuaded that it is so with you? Are your arms around the neck of the great Father? Are the great Father’s loving arms around your neck? Be persuaded of that truth, and you are indeed happy men and happy women; what more could you wish to say than to be able truthfully to say that?

17. III. Now, to come to what is evidently in the text, and to dwell on it for a little while, Paul being persuaded that there was a love of God, and that there was a union through love between the soul and its God, now says that HE IS PERSUADED THAT NOTHING CAN EVER BREAK THOSE BONDS.

18. He begins by mentioning some of the things that are supposed to separate, and the first is, death. It sends a shiver through some when we begin to speak of death, and the bravest man who ever lived may well tremble at the thought that he must soon meet the king of terrors; but, brothers and sisters, if Christ loves us, and we love Christ, we may well be persuaded that death will not break the union which exists between us. I have recently seen one or two of our friends almost in the very article of death; I think that they cannot long survive, but I have left their bedroom greatly cheered by their holy peacefulness and joy. I can see that death does not break the believer’s peace; it seems rather to strengthen it. I can see that there is no better place than the brink of Jordan, after all. I have seen the brothers, and the sisters, too, sit with their feet in the narrow stream, and they have been singing all the while. Death has not abated a single note of their song; indeed, more, I have known some of them who are like the fabled swan which is said never to sing until it dies. Some of them who were rather heavy and sad of spirit in their days of health have grown joyful and glad as they have neared the eternal kingdom. There is nothing about death that the believer should construe it into a fear that it will separate him from the love of Christ. Christ loved you when he died; he will love you when you die. It was after death — remember that, — it was after death that his heart poured out the tribute of blood and water by which we have the double cure; see, then, how he loves us in death and after death. There is nothing about death that should make Christ cease to love us; our bodies will be under his protection and guardian care, and our souls shall be with Christ, which is “far better” than being anywhere else. Do not, therefore, fear death. In the days when this Epistle was written, the saints had to die very cruel deaths by fire, by the cross, by wild beasts in the amphitheatre; they were sawn asunder, they wandered around in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented; yet they never feared death. It is very amazing how the Church of Christ seems always to brighten up at the idea of death by martyrdom. The grandest, most heroic, days in Christendom were the days of the Pagan persecutions, when, to be a Christian, meant to be doomed to die. In English history, the days of Queen Mary, when the saints at Smithfield {a} bore witness for Christ at the stake, were grand days; and in {b} Madagascar, — did you ever read a more thrilling story than the record of the bravery of those Christian men and women who suffered the tyrant’s cruelty? And at the present moment, in Central Africa, where Bishop Hannington {c} has been put to death, we hear that there is an edict for the killing of Christians, yet hundreds of black men come forward to confess that they are followers of Christ. It is a wonderful thing. We do not ask for these persecutions, but they might do us great good if they came. Certainly, this wonderful ship of Christ’s Church, when she ploughs her way through waves of blood, makes swifter headway to the heavenly haven than she does in times of calm. So, beloved friends, there is nothing in death to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

19. The apostle says next, “nor life.” I must confess that I am more afraid of life than of death. “Oh!” one says, “but dying is such hard work.” Do you think so? Why, dying is the end of work; it is living that is hard work. I am not so much afraid of dying as I am of sinning; that is ten times worse than death. And what if some of us should live very many years? “There’s the respect that makes a calamity of so long a life,” that there is so much longer time for temptation and trial. If one might have his choice, one might be content to have a short warfare, and to enter into the crown at once. But we may be permitted to live on to extreme old age; do you dread it? There is nothing about old age to separate you from the love of Christ; he has made, and he will bear; even to hoar hairs he will carry you; therefore, do not be afraid. The ills of life are many, the trials of life are many, the temptations of life are more; oh life, life, life here below, you are, after all, little better than a lingering death! The true life is hereafter. “Yet,” says Paul, “I am persuaded that life cannot separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.” He means that, if we were tempted by the love of life to deny Christ, we should be strengthened so that we should not deny him even to save our lives, for his people have been brave enough in this respect in all times. Paul himself did not count his life dear to him so that he might win Christ, and be found in him; therefore he says that he is persuaded that neither death, nor life, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

20. Then he mentions angels, principalities, and powers. Well, the good angels cannot separate us from the love of God; we are sure that they would not wish to do so, and whatever spiritual creatures may frequent this earth, they cannot separate us from the love of Christ. Does the apostle mean demons, — fallen angels, that would overthrow us, some of them as “principalities” by their dignity, others of them as “powers” by their subtle, crafty force, — does he refer to demons? I think he does, and this, then, is our comfort, that, if we have to meet the arch-fiend himself foot to foot in a terrible duel, — and we may, for men of God have had to meet him like this, and he who does battle with the adversary will gain nothing by it but sweat of blood and an aching heart, even if he shall win the victory, so that we may well pray, “Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one,” — still we have this comfort, that even though he may rejoice over us for a moment, and may cast us down, he cannot separate us from the love of Christ; he may open many of our veins, and make us bleed even to utter weakness, but he can never touch the life-vein. There is a secret something about the Christian of which Satan wishes to spoil him, but which is entirely out of his reach, so the saint sings, “I am persuaded that neither angels, nor principalities, nor powers can separate me from the love of Christ. You may come on, battalions of the adversary, with all your terrible might sweeping hypocrites and deceivers before you, like chaff before the wind, but as many as are linked to Christ by his eternal love shall stand firm against you, like the solid rocks against the billows of the sea.” Therefore, be confident, dear brethren, that these spiritual beings, these unseen forces, these strange and mysterious powers which you cannot fully understand, not one of them can separate you from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus your Lord.

21. Having summarily disposed of all of them, Paul adds, “nor things present.” I like this thought. He is persuaded that things present cannot separate us from Christ. I wonder what the things present are with you, my dear hearers. One of you says, “Well, it is an empty pocket with me.” Others will say, “It is a family of children who have no food.” Some may say, “It is the prospect of bankruptcy.” Another will say, “Ah, it is an insidious disease that will soon carry me to my grave!” A mother will say, “It is rebellious children who are breaking my heart.” Well, whatever it may be, — and the woes of the present are very many, — there is nothing that can separate us from the love of Christ.

22. I was feeling very heavy, I scarcely knew why, when I came to this text; and it seemed to come in so pleasantly for me when my spirits were down. “Things present.” Even a depressed and desponding state of mind, whatever its reason is, whether weariness of brain or heaviness of heart, cannot separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Then, what can it do? Why, sometimes, it can drive us to Christ; let us pray that it may. But anyway, things present cannot separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

23. Then the apostle says, “nor things to come.” Well, I wonder what is “to come.” Oh friends, I sometimes feel a strange trembling when I stand on this platform to speak to you, because the words that I utter are often so remarkably fulfilled by God as to really amaze me. Two Sunday nights ago, when I stood here to preach about the longsuffering of God being salvation, I spoke, in the middle of the sermon, as if personally addressing someone who was present, who had recently been ill with fever, and who had come to the Tabernacle, still weak, and scarcely recovered. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1997, “God’s Longsuffering: an Appeal to the Conscience.” 1998 @@ "25."} There was a young man here, who exactly answered to the description I gave, and who wrote home to his mother something like this (I have the letter): — “I went to Spurgeon’s Tabernacle on Sunday night, and I heard such a sermon. I never felt anything like it before. He looked at me, and picked me out as if I was the only man there, and described me exactly.” Then he gave the words I used, and continued, “It was a true description of myself. If the sermon is printed, please get me a copy so that I may read it when I come home, for I felt the power of it, and I prayed then and there that God would bring me to my mother’s God, and save me.” That was on the Sunday, notice that; on the Wednesday, he was at Gravesend, there was a collision, and he and five others were drowned. The mother received that letter about an hour before she heard the news that her son was dead, and the parents wrote to tell me what a balm it was to their spirits that God’s providence should bring their boy in here just before he was to meet his God.

24. So, you see, I cannot help wondering what the “things to come” will be for you who are here. With some, — who can tell? — as the Lord lives, there may be only a step between you and death; and if you have no Christ, and have never tasted his love, you are running awful risks even in going one step further. You have walked on, and on, and on, and there has so far always been something beneath your feet; but the next step may precipitate you into the abyss. Therefore, seek the Lord now before it is too late. As for the child of God, he knows no more about his immediate future than you do; but he knows this, that there is nothing in the future that can separate him from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore, let the future bring with it what it may, all will be well with him.

25. Now the apostle adds two more expressions, “nor height, nor depth.” There are some brethren who dwell in the heights; I am rather pleased to meet dear friends who never have any doubts or fears, but are always full of joy and ecstasy, and who go on to tell us that they have left all these things behind, and have risen to the heights of bliss. But what I do not like is the time when they look down from those awful heights on us poor Christians and say that they cannot believe in us because we are anxious, because we practise self-examination, because we have to struggle against sin. They do not struggle; they have risen beyond all struggling, they rub their hands, and sing of everlasting victory. Well, my dear brother, — you up there on the topmost bough, — you will not frighten me with all your heights, though I cannot get up there, and I could not stay there if I could get up so high. This one thing I know, I am sure that there is nothing in those heights that can separate me from the love of Christ; I will stick to that, whatever revelations there may be to the enthusiastic, whatever raptures and ecstasies and extreme delights any may have, they cannot separate me from Christ. I am glad that you have them, brother, may you always keep them; and if I cannot have them, I shall sit down in my struggles and temptations, and still say that there is nothing in the heights, — in high doctrine or in high living, — that can separate me from the love of Christ.

26. I am a little more acquainted with the depths, and I meet many Christian people who are very familiar with those depths. I could indicate some dear friends here whom I hope are not in the depths now, but I have seen them there. You were very low down, brother; we had to stoop to call to you; the waters of God’s waves and billows seemed to have gone over you; you have been down to the depths, and I have been there with you. But there is nothing in the depths that can separate us from the love of Christ. Jonah went down to the depths of the sea, but he came up with this testimony, that there was nothing there to separate us from the love of God. No; though you should be weary of your life, though you should never have a ray of light for months on end, there is nothing there to separate you from the love of Christ. You may go down, down, down, until you seem to have gone beyond the reach of help from mortal man; but there are cords and bands which bind you to Christ that even these depths can never break, come what may.

27. The apostle ends the list by saying, “nor any other creature.” It may be read, “Nor anything in creation, nor anything that ever is to be created,” nothing shall ever separate us from the love of Christ. Oh, what a sweet persuasion this is! Let us go forward into the future, however dark it is, with this confidence, that, one thing at least we know, — the love of Christ will hold us firm, and by his grace we will hold firmly to him. We are married to him, and we shall never be divorced. We are joined to him by a living, loving, lasting union that never shall be broken.

28. IV. I am finished when I have called your attention to one more thing. Did you notice how the text begins? It begins with the word “for.” “For I am persuaded.” What does that mean? That shows that this is used as an argument drawn from something mentioned before. What is that? “Indeed, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us, for I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life,” and so on. It seems, then, dear friends, that PAUL’S PERSUASION HELPED TO BRING HIM TO VICTORY.

29. He was persuaded that Christ would not leave him, and that he would not be allowed to leave Christ, and this stirred him up to deeds of daring. Oh, where there is a real reason for fighting, there cannot be victory without striving! Paul was so persuaded that Christ would never leave him that he became a fighter, and he went in with all his might against the world, the flesh, and the devil. Some say that this doctrine would send us to sleep; it never does, it wakes us up. The doctrine that I am quite sure to gain the victory, makes me fight. If I did not know that I should win it, I might think that I would let discretion be the better part of my valour; but, being assured that Christ will be with me all through, I feel motivated to war against all that is evil so that I may overcome it in his strength.

30. Yes, and the apostle seems to hint that this persuasion that Christ would not leave him made him aspire to a very great victory. Men do not reach what they do not aspire to, and Paul says, “We are more than conquerors.” Therefore, he aspired to be a complete and perfect conqueror. And this persuasion helped him to gain his aspiration. By God’s grace, the man who trusts in Christ’s eternal love, and believes in the immutability of the divine purpose, and therefore is persuaded that he can never be separated from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus, he is the man to win a glorious victory by his faith in his great God. Therefore, let us be encouraged to go on, and fight against everything that is evil, especially in ourselves, and tread down all the powers of darkness, since nothing can stand against us while Christ is for us; and he must be for us for ever and ever.

31. I wish that all present here had a share in my blessed text. It is an intense regret to me that I cannot present it to some of you. You do not know the love of Christ. Oh, that you would come and learn it! May the sweet Spirit lead you to Jesus, cause you to look to him on the cross, and trust in him; then you will have something worth having, for you will have a love that never changes, a love that shall never be separated from you nor you from it. May God bless you, for Christ’s sake! Amen.

{a} Smithfield: The place where the fires that Queen Mary (1553-1558) ordered to be lit to put to death such Protestant leaders and men of influence as Cranmer, Ridley, Latimer and Hooper, but also hundreds of lesser men who refused to adopt the Catholic faith. See Explorer "http://www.britannia.com/history/narrefhist3.html" {b} Madagascar massacre: Queen Ranavalona I called "Ranavalona the Cruel" (reigned 1828-1861) issued a royal edict prohibiting the practice of Christianity in Madagascar, expelled British missionaries from the island, and persecuted Christian converts who would not renounce their religion. People suspected of committing crimes — most went on trial for the crime of practising Christianity — had to drink the poison of the tangena tree. If they survived the ordeal (which few did) the authorities judged them innocent. Malagasy Christians would remember this period as ny tany maizina, or “the time when the land was dark.” By some estimates, 150,000 Christians died during the reign of Ranavalona the Cruel. The island grew more isolated, and commerce with other nations came to a standstill. See Explorer "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Christians" {c} Bishop James Hannington (September 3, 1847-October 29, 1885) was an English Anglican missionary, saint and martyr. He was the first Anglican bishop of East Africa. See Explorer "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Hannington"

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Heb 6}

In the previous chapter, Paul was writing to some who ought to have been teachers, but who still needed to be taught the first principles of the gospel; they were such babes in grace that they needed the milk of the Word, — the very simplest elements of gospel truth, — and not the strong food of solid doctrine. The apostle, however, desires that the Hebrew believers should understand the more sublime doctrines of the gospel, and so be like men of full age who can eat strong food. In this chapter he exhorts them to seek to attain to this standard.

1. Therefore leaving the principles

The rudiments, the elementary truths, —

1. Of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on to perfection; —

Let us go from the school to the university, let us be finished with our first spelling books, and advance into the higher classics of the kingdom.

1. Not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith towards God,

Let us make sure that the foundation is laid, but let us not have to continually lay it again. Let us go on believing and repenting, as we have done; but let us not have to begin believing and begin repenting, let us go on to something beyond that stage of experience.

2. Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

Let us take these things for granted, and never dispute about them any more, but go on to still higher matters.

3. And this we will do, if God permits.

We must keep on going forward; there is no such thing in the Christian life as standing still, and we dare not turn back.

4-6. For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, —

Note that Paul does not say, “If they shall fall”; but, “If they shall fall away, ” — if the religion which they have professed shall cease to have any power over them, — then, it shall be impossible —

6. To renew them again to repentance; since they themselves crucify the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

If all the processes of grace fail in the case of any professors, what is to be done with them? If the grace of God does not enable them to overcome the world, — if the blood of Christ does not purge them from sin, what more can be done? On this supposition, God’s utmost has been tried, and has failed. Notice that Paul does not say that all this could ever happen; but that, if it could, the person concerned would be like a piece of ground which produced nothing but thorns and briers.

7, 8. For the earth which drinks in the rain that comes often on it, and produces herbs appropriate for them by whom it is tended, receives blessing from God: but what bears thorns and briers is rejected, and is near to cursing; whose end is to be burned.

If, after having ploughed this ground, and sown it, and after it has been watered by the dew and rain of heaven, no good harvest ever comes from it, every wise man would stop tilling it. He would say, “My labour is all thrown away on such a plot of ground as this; nothing more can be done with it, for after having done my utmost nothing but weeds is produced, so now it must be left to itself.” You see, my dear hearers, if it were possible for the work of grace in your souls to be of no avail, nothing more could be done for you. You have had God’s utmost effort expended on your behalf, and there remains no other method of salvation for you.

I believe that there have been some professors, such as Judas and Simon Magus, who have come very near to this condition, and others who are said, in a certain way, to have believed, to have received the Holy Spirit in miraculous gifts, and to have been specially enlightened so as to have been able to teach others; but the work of grace did not affect their hearts, it did not renew their natures, it did not transform their spirits, and so it was impossible to renew them to repentance.

Now notice what Paul says: —

9. But, beloved, we are persuaded of better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we speak like this.

Harsh as the apostle’s words may seem, they are not meant for you who are really believers in Christ, and in whom the Holy Spirit has accomplished a complete change of heart and life; Paul is not speaking of such as you.

10. For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which you have shown toward his name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

If you have proved by your works that the grace of God is within you, God will not forget you; he will not leave you, he will not cast you away. You know the contrast in the speech between different people concerning this doctrine. One will wickedly say, “If I am a child of God, I may live as I like.” That is damnable doctrine. Another will say, “If I am a child of God, I shall not want to live as I like, but as God likes, and I shall be led by the grace of God into the path of holiness, and through divine grace I shall persevere in that way of holiness right to the end.” That is quite another doctrine, and it is the true teaching of the Word of God.

11. And we desire that every one of you shows the same diligence to the full assurance of hope to the end:

Keep it up; be as earnest today as you were twenty years ago, when you were baptized and joined the church: “Show the same diligence to the end.” Still, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you both to will and to do his good pleasure.”

12-15. That you are not slothful, but followers of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. For when God made the promise to Abraham because he could swear by no greater, he swore by himself, saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.” And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.

Therefore, brethren, you and I also are to patiently endure, to hold on even to the end, and God’s sure promise will never fail us.

16-18. For men truly swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all strife. By which God, willing more abundantly to show to the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: so that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before us:

It seems a great change in this chapter from the sad tone at the beginning to the joyful note at the end; but, indeed, there is no contradiction between the two. Paul is only giving us two sides of the truth, — both equally true, — the one necessary for our warning, the other admirable for our consolation. God will not leave you, my brethren; he has pledged himself by covenant to you, and he has given an oath that his covenant shall stand. Therefore, be of good courage, and press forward in the divine life, for your work of faith and labour of love are not in vain in the Lord; so let us “lay hold on the hope set before us”: —

19. Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil;

Sailors throw their anchors downwards; we throw ours upwards. Their anchor goes within the veil of the waters into the depths of the sea; ours goes within the veil of glory, into the heights of heaven, where Jesus sits at the right hand of God: “behind the veil”;

20. Where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, made a high priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Privileges, Unchanging Love — ‘Lovest Thou Me?’ ” 735}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Privileges, Security in Christ — Accepted And Safe” 738}

Cloth, gilt. Price 1s. 6d.

A Carillon of Bells

To ring out the Old Truths of “Free Grace and Dying Love.”

It has been the good pleasure of the Lord to bless my “Personal Notes on a Text.” to many of his tried and afflicted people, and to make them messengers of comfort in hours of sorrow or darkness. Very gently did he lead me into the unthought-of service, and most graciously has he hitherto sustained me in it; first giving me in my own heart the joy of his Word, and then enabling me to minister from that rejoicing to others.

When a friend suggested that these “Notes” should be gathered together, and arranged in a small book, I felt it was quite possible that the Lord in his tenderness would continue to speak by them to some who needed consolation or encouragement. So the little volume is now ready, and I shall be a happy woman if God will use it to make music in any worn and weary heart. I have called it, “A Carillon of Bells,” because its one aim and object is to summon the Lord’s people to bless and praise his holy name; and every note, from the highest to the lowest, is meant to peal out the melody of “free grace and dying love.” There is nothing new in the book; — no, for “the old is better,” it tells of ancient covenants, and everlasting love, and full atonement, and final perseverance, — grand old doctrines on which a soul may stand without fear when heaven and earth are passing away, and the Son of Man comes in his glory.

In these days of daring infidelity, and awful treason against the Most High, I count it an unspeakable honour to be permitted to testify to the power of the old truths, and the pleasantness of the old paths, and the unfailing faithfulness of God in the fulfilment of each and all of his precious promises; and though my voice is less than a whisper amid the roar and turmoil of conflicting opinions and blasphemous theories, I know that God can hear it, and that he will accept the loving tribute which my heart offers to him. — Reprinted from “Mrs. Spurgeon’s Work-room” in “The Sword and the Trowel,” December, 1896.

London: Passmore and Alabaster, Paternoster Buildings; and from all Booksellers.

The Christian, Privileges, Unchanging Love
735 — “Lovest Thou Me?” <7s.>
1 Hark, my soul! it is the Lord;
   ‘Tis thy Saviour, hear his word;
   Jesus speaks, and speaks to thee:
   “Say, poor sinner, lov’st thou me?
2 “I deliver’d thee when bound,
   And, when bleeding, heal’d thy wound;
   Sought thee wand’ring, set thee right,
   Turn’d thy darkness into light.
3 “Can a woman’s tender care
   Cease toward the child she bare?
   Yes, she may forgetful be,
   Yet will I remember thee.
4 “Mine is an unchanging love,
   Higher than the heights above:
   Deeper than the depths beneath,
   Free and faithful, strong as death
5 “Thou shalt see my glory soon,
   When the work of grace is done:
   Partner of my throne shall be,
   Say, poor sinner, lov’st thou me?”
6 Lord, it is my chief complaint,
   That my love is weak and faint;
   Yet I love thee and adore —
   Oh for grace to love thee more!
                     William Cowper, 1771.

The Christian, Privileges, Security in Christ
738 — Accepted And Safe <8s.>
1 A debtor to mercy alone,
   Of covenant mercy I sing;
   For fear, with thy righteousness on,
   My person and offering on bring:
   The terrors of law, and of God,
   With me can have nothing to do;
   My Saviour’s obedience and blood
   Hide all my transgressions from view.
2 The work which his goodness began,
   The arm of his strength will complete;
   His promise is yea and amen,
   And never was forfeited yet:
   Things future, nor things that are now,
   Not all things below nor above,
   Can make him his purpose forego,
   Or sever my soul from his love.
3 My name from the palms of his hands,
   Eternity will not erase;
   Impress’d on his heart it remains
   In marks of indelible grace:
   Yes, I to the end shall endure,
   As sure as the earnest is given;
   More happy, but not more secure,
   The glorified spirits in heaven.
                  Augustus M. Toplady, 1771.

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).

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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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