2556. Life Proved By Love

by on

No. 2556-43:73. A Sermon Delivered On Thursday Evening, January 18, 1883, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, February 13, 1898.

We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. {1Jo 3:14}

1. I have heard it said, by those who would be thought philosophers, that in religion we must believe, but cannot know. I am not very clear about the distinction they draw between knowledge and faith, nor do I care to enquire; because I assert that, in matters relating to religion, we know; in the things of God, we both believe and know. If you will read this Epistle through, and with a pencil draw a line under the word “know” wherever it occurs, you will be astonished to see now continually John asserts about the great verities of our faith, “We know, we know, we know, we know.” He does not say that any one of these things is a subject of conjecture, but he asserts it to be a matter of positive knowledge. These philosophical gentlemen call themselves Agnostics; that is a word derived from the Greek, and has the same meaning as the word “ignoramus,” which comes from the Latin, and is the English equivalent for a “know-nothing.” Well, if they like to be called ignoramuses, I have not the slightest objection to their keeping the title, but they should never presume to argue with Christian men. They immediately put themselves out of the court, for we say, “We know.” They cannot deny anything we choose to affirm after that, because confessedly they do not know. If we do know, and they cannot allege against us that we are deceivers, — if, in any court of law, they will admit that our testimony would be taken quite as quickly as theirs, and that our general reputation is that we are as upright and as honest as they are, — then they ought, in modesty, never to contradict us in anything, but to believe what we declare to be true. Since they do not know anything themselves, let them be guided by those who do know. At any rate, whether they choose to agree with us or not, we shall always affirm that we do know what we do know; and there are some things about God, and about the future, and about prayer, and about the work of the Spirit of God in our own souls, which we do not dream, or imagine, or even make to be merely matters of faith. We know them, we are sure of them, for we have felt them, tasted them, handled them, and we know them as surely as we know the fact of our own existence. My text seems to me to speak of four things about which believers in Christ are and ought to be positive and certain.


3. That is implied in the text: “We know that we have passed from death to life.” We could not have passed from death if we were not in death; neither would there have been a change in bringing us into life if we were in life before. Herein, I believe, lies the doctrine of the natural ruin of man, — his original sin, the depravity of his heart. I have heard it said that the children of some Christians are so very good, — I suppose on account of their having such wonderfully good fathers and mothers, — that they may be considered to have been born in the church; they have no need of any conversion, and they never ought to need it. There are such principles within the dear little souls that you have only to nourish those blessed principles, and they will turn into veritable angels. I have seen some of these children, and I regret to say that I have not found them different in nature from other people’s boys and girls, neither have they grown up to be better than the children of the most ungodly. I believe, concerning everyone’s child, that they must be born again, that the Spirit of God must change their natural heart if they are to become children of God. At any rate, whatever may be the theory with regard to other people, we know that we were once dead in sin, we have no question about that.

4. We who have been converted, and become the subjects of the work of the Spirit of God, know that we were once firmly bound in spiritual death; at one time we were utterly insensitive. We heard the Word of God, and were pleased, perhaps, with the oratory of the speaker; or moved by his earnestness; but we were never led, by all his pleadings, to hate sin, and to believe in Christ. We were shaken, but we were not awakened; we were insensitive, spiritually, to the power of the law. We heard it preached, and we might be for a moment disturbed, but we never felt the terror of the condemnation which God pronounces on the sinner who breaks his law. If we did feel anything of it, we strove to get away from its influence, and drowned in pleasure and in sin all thoughts of the wrath of God. We could also hear the gospel, as well as the law, and the sweetest note in it had no music for our ears. What did we care for Jesus and his bleeding wounds? What respect had we for infinite love, and the invitations of the precious Word? We came, and we went, yet continued just as we were. We saw our face in the mirror, but we did not wash it, and the spots of sin still remained. Some of you, dear friends, remember that you had grown so insensitive to spiritual things that you did not even care to hear the gospel. The Sabbath was for some of you just like any other day in the week, except that, sometimes, you took most of your pleasure then, which meant that you went further into sin than you ordinarily did, for your daily labour kept you pretty steady through the week. You know how often Sunday brought “St. Monday” after it, with all kinds of mischief in its train; and the Sabbath became to you rather a door of sin than a gate of mercy. Some of you had godly parents, yet you took no notice of your father’s God, and your mother’s Saviour. You saw others go to the house of prayer, but you were in your shirtsleeves all the morning, and in the evening you “did not care to go,” you said, “to be packed in with a crowd to listen to dry talk.” Just so; all this was because you were quite insensitive to divine things. Charm he ever so wisely, the charmer cannot allure the deaf adder; and, for a time, the gospel’s charming music could not reach your ears. That was one proof of your being dead, — that you were spiritually insensitive.

5. More than that, we did not have the appetites of living men and women. You know that, if a man is alive, he will be hungry in due time. There is a bell that is sure to ring inside to tell him that it is time to fuel up, and set the fires going again. He will be thirsty, too; the body will need moisture, and there will be a summons for him to drink if he is alive. He may be just on the borders of life, perhaps almost gone, and then hunger and thirst may be forgotten; but the healthy man has these signs of life about him at fit times, that he must eat and drink. There was a time when you and I had no hunger for the Bread of life. “Nonsense!” we said, “What pious platitudes! What nonsense!” We did not desire to drink from “the river of the water of life.” We did not believe in its existence; and, though now every drop of the gospel is sweet to us as honey, once we did not care about it at all. We despised the doctrines of grace, and we did not wish for the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ himself. He who is the Bread of heaven, was without any attraction for us; we did not feel any need of him. We thought that we were strong, and could find our own way into heaven; we did not know our own weakness, nor his strength. We believed that we were fat and flourishing, and therefore we did not want to feed on him. It is perfectly true that, with regard to grace and all spiritual things, we were dead. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” But dead are they to whom no spiritual hunger or thirst ever comes. This was the second proof of our spiritual death.

6. There was this further evidence, that we were without power of movement of a spiritual kind. You remember the philosopher who was asked to prove that he lived, and he did it by simply walking; for movement is a proof of life. Certainly, spiritual movement proves spiritual life. To draw near to you, my God, proves that I am alive. To approach you, — though it is with faltering steps, like a tottering infant who any moment may fall, — yet, to draw near to you, though I only crawl like a babe of a few months old, proves that I am alive. The movement of godly desire, the movement of a humble hope, the movement of a holy wish, the movement of a penitential sigh or cry, — if there are any of these in the soul, they are proofs of life. It is not so very long ago since some of you had none of them. I had the great delight, yesterday, of seeing many who have just recently been quickened by divine grace; and many of them, as they looked me in the face with holy shame, told how dead they had been towards God; — they were alive, indeed, to transgression and unrighteousness; but stone dead concerning any movement of the Spirit of God, who now has made them alive in Christ Jesus.

7. There is another sign which proves death, namely, the lack of breath. That is one of the last signs of expiring life. You have heard of friends holding a mirror to the man’s mouth, and as long as there is a little dimness to be seen on the glass, they say, “He still lives”; but when the breath is all gone, then the life has gone. The poet truly said, —

    “Prayer is the Christian’s vital breath”;

but there was a time with us when we did not pray. Perhaps some of you from your childhood always said a form of prayer, and if you ever went to bed without saying it, you dared not go to sleep; yet how much of that formality was only a mockery of God! I will not speak too harshly about the child’s form of prayer, for sometimes that form has been made use of by God to lead on to true spiritual supplication. Still, it would be idle for us to imagine that the mere repetition of certain words, was prayer; we know now that it was not prayer. We did not really ask for anything from God, we did not truly speak to God at all; we might just as well have said our prayers backward as forward for any good there was in them. I have heard of some people who, even at thirty and forty years of age, have repeated the same form of prayer that they used when they were children; I have even read of one who, at sixty or seventy, used to pray God to bless his father and mother who had been dead thirty years before! When men once get into the way of using a form of prayer, they are apt to keep to that form, when there positively is no meaning whatever in it. That is the state in which some of us were; we used dead prayers, for there was no life in us. Ah! but it is not so now, beloved; now, we pray. I think that some of us could more easily tell when we do pray than when we do not pray. As we walk the crowded streets, we cry to God in secret, “Oh, that you would be with me!” We cannot read a book without praying that we may have help from God to understand the meaning. We do not even go to look at a babe without pleading with God to save the soul of that dear child. We feel habitually in the spirit of prayer; if it is not so with any of us, we ought to pray that it may be so. Note that, the spirit of prayer is better than any mere act of prayer. The act of prayer is good, the habit of prayer is good; but to have the spirit of prayer always with us, so that we as naturally pray as we breathe, this is the highest blessing of all, and one of the best signs of spiritual life.

8. I grieve to add, but it is true of some of us, in a very special degree, that we know we were dead in sin because we had begun to corrupt. If a man has lost his life for only a certain number of hours, he may still look very much as he did; and, if the eye were the only guide, we might scarcely know whether he was a living man or not. But that appearance will not last for many days; you soon perceive the signs of an inward dissolution. Corruption is beginning to take possession of the place which death has conquered, and very soon you will have to say, “Bury my dead out of my sight.” It happened to some of us to be, in our salvation, like the little girl to whom Christ went soon after the breath was out of her body; he took her by the hand, and said, “Talitha, cumi”; — “Maid, arise”; and she lived again before corruption had done any great change within her. Happy are those who are saved in their youth, before the inward death has begun to show itself in outward corruption. Yet, some of us, who were converted while we were still boys, remember enough of our wanderings to make us fear what we might have been if grace had not intervened. I have often told the story of Rowland Hill, and the good Scotchman who sat for some time looking at the preacher’s face, and at the strange, comic twinkling about his eyes. “What are you doing?” he asked. “I am looking at the lines of your face,” said the Scotchman. “And what do you make of them?” “Oh! I was thinking what a bad fellow you would have become if it had not been for the grace of God.” And some of us, as we look back at the lines of our young character before it was allowed to develop, cannot help saying to ourselves, “What great sinners we should have been but for the grace of God!” There were signs already of corruption begun.

9. But there are others in whom the corruption has become more apparent. They have gone into actual transgression, and have become familiar with what are called the pleasures of this world, its vanities, and gaieties, and pollutions. They have not been worse than others; indeed, even while dead in sin, they compliment themselves that they are not so bad as others; yet they would not like to have their secret deeds proclaimed before the face of all men, as they will be at the judgment day; they would be ashamed to have them known. You, my friend, are like that young man, who was carried out at the gate of Nain, whom Christ met on the way to the sepulchre, and raised from the dead. You are dead, surely enough; but there are some others who are dead, like Lazarus, who had lain four days in the grave, and of whom his sister said, “Lord, by this time he stinks.” God’s grace has come to some, who will easily recognise my description of them, when they were as far gone in evil as they could be. There was not any other sin left for them to commit, they had sinned up to their neck; they had plunged into it, and done as much evil as they could. Rottenness was in their very soul, corruption was in everything they said, for it was full of obscenity and blasphemy; it was in all they did, for the more nauseous the sin was in the nostrils of God, the more pleasing it was to them. There are some here who will always say, “I know that I was dead, for I was corrupt. Death had set his seal on me with a stamp that could not be mistaken, I was indeed dead before God, for I had begun to be offensive even in the nostrils of good men.”

10. That will suffice for this part of our subject. Let us look back with shame on our origin. Let us remember the hole of the pit from where we were dug, and then stand firm in this one certainty, we know that we were dead.

11. II. Secondly, we know another thing, and a brighter thing. WE KNOW THAT WE HAVE UNDERGONE A VERY UNIQUE CHANGE; “We know that we have passed from death to life.”

12. That passage, “from death to life,” is the opposite of the natural one. We all expect to pass from life to death. The heathen talks of a Charon {a} to ferry men across the river into the unseen world. Long ago, the poet said, “Easy is the descent to Avernus; {b} but to retrace your steps, — that is the work, that is the difficulty.” Yet that is just what God has done for us who believe; we have not gone from life to death, but he has brought us up from death to life. There has been such a change in us as is altogether supernatural, such a change as never would have occurred had we been left to ourselves. We now are sure that it is so; I speak to some, in whom the change is so evident to themselves, that they often are amazed by it. One of the best proofs to any man of the existence of a God consists in his dealings with that man in turning him from darkness to light, and from the power of sin and Satan, to God. All the arguments that ever were written by Butler, or Paley, or any of the defenders of religion, will never convince a man like coming into personal dealings with God; and when those dealings assume this form, — that we have passed from death to life, — they become indisputable proofs of the Godhead, and of the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

13. I do not think that it is easy to describe the passage from life to death; I could not describe it, though I have seen many pass away; and it is almost impossible to describe the passage from death to life. I know what it is, as you do, brothers and sisters, many of you. It has happened in your own case, yet you could not explain it. What an amazing process it is! It is not dying; it is quite the opposite, it is being quickened. Can you tell another person how it happened? You can speak of the outward means and the external circumstances, but you cannot describe to anyone the secret way of the Spirit. His methods of quickening are deep mysteries, and even he who has felt them cannot translate them into human language. Yet believe us, oh unbelievers, we are before you men and women as different from what we used to be, as though we had died and risen from the dead! Some of us here are so changed and altered that, if we met our old selves, we should not know ourselves again; we are no longer ourselves, though now most truly we are ourselves by the effective working of the almighty grace of God.

14. We can tell you, however, that this passing from death to life usually begins with pain. I have heard that, when men have been nearly drowned, and life has been restored by rubbing and other processes, their first sensation was that of intense anguish. When the blood began to move again, and the lungs began gently to heave, the first feeling was one of great pain. You know how, if your foot “goes to sleep,” as we say, when it begins to get right again, what pain there often is! That is, on a very small scale, what happens to a man who is being resuscitated; it is just a faint sample of the pain that is usually felt by those who pass from death to life. Yet let me lay down no hard-and-fast rule; I am not giving a description that is to be stereotyped, but I only say what usually happens. I do not know that the little girl, to whom the Lord Jesus said, “Talitha, cumi,” had any pain at all. I expect that she just opened her eyes, and sat up, and as soon as she ever saw that it was Jesus, she wanted to wait on him, and he commanded that something should be given to her to eat. And there are some dear children, and some people of older growth, who are brought to Jesus very gently. There are not so many pangs in their birth as there are in the births of others; yet they are as truly regenerated, and born into the family of God. Still, I think that the new life usually begins with pain.

15. One of the first signs of it is that it is accompanied with great self-depreciation. The man who is passing from death to life grows very little in his own esteem. He gets to despise what he once thought to be his beauty and his attractiveness. As for his supposed excellence, he is not half the man he used to be. He would never have been able to go through the needle’s eye while he was such a size as that, so he had to be reduced, and then still further reduced, until he became less than nothing in his own eyes.

16. At the same time, when that life really does begin in a soul, it begins very quickly. There may be at first only enough light to make the darkness visible, only enough life to incarnate itself in a sigh. The prayer, “God be merciful to me a sinner,” is rather a large-sized form of the heavenly life. Sometimes, the poor, trembling soul cannot get as far as that. Yet, not a single spark of the divine life ever did die out, or ever can. The living and incorruptible seed of the Word of God lives and endures for ever; if it is only like a grain of mustard seed, and it falls into the ground which God has prepared for it, it must live, and it must grow. But, often, it is at first extremely weak. The test of its reality is that the man trusts in Jesus, for “he who believes in the Son has everlasting life.” That is a sure word, for he has himself spoken it: “Whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.” The renewed man, however feeble his life may be, believes in Jesus; and therefore he is saved.

17. When that life comes to the birth, it is usually attended with great joy. When at last the man has believed in Jesus, and rested in him, then he passes from darkness to light in the sense of passing from sorrow into overflowing joy. It is not always so, but that is the general way; there is a joy, unspeakable and full of glory, which attends this passing from death to life; it is a period to which a man may always look back with gratitude to God. I am always glad when our friends get a very decided conversion, because, though I am not going to say a word about those who come to Christ very gradually, yet their experience is rather cloudy. No doubt they are just as safe as others, but they lack a good deal of comfort afterwards; and sometimes people who are very readily converted, and who have no very deep sense of sin, are more apt to play with evil than others indeed who have had a clearer sight of its enormity.

18. So, we know — however it came to pass, — we do know that we have undergone a very unique change.

19. III. Thirdly, we know something else. WE KNOW THAT WE LIVE: “We know that we have passed from death to life.”

20. In that life, first of all, is included non-condemnation. A man who is condemned to die can hardly be said to live, but he who has believed in Jesus Christ knows that there is no condemnation for him. Nothing shall ever be laid to his charge, for all his sins were punished on Christ; a full atonement was made for them, and they were put away for ever. This we do know, and we rejoice to know it; it is the very glory and bliss of our life.

21. We live now, dear friends, in this way: we have entered into a new state of being. We have made the acquaintance of a great many things that we did not know anything about before. “All things have become new.” “Ah, sir!” one said to me once, “either all the world has altered, or else I have, for people I once delighted in I am now afraid of. The things that once made me glad now make me unhappy, and the things that I thought melancholy are now the very things in which I find my highest joy.” Yes, we have not merely to talk about God now, but to know him; not simply to speak about Christ, but to live on him; not now to dream or read about the Spirit of God, but to feel him working in us. We have now come to know the blood of Jesus as applied to our souls to make us clean, the promises are now our riches, and prayer is a reality to us. We never need anyone to tell us that there is a power in prayer; for we have signs from day to day that the Lord hears our petitions. We are living in a new world altogether, we know we are; these things were unknown and unperceived by us once, but they are perceived by us now.

22. Besides that, we are now introduced into spiritual company. I hardly know how to explain the great change to some here; but suppose you had been a pig all your life, and that you were suddenly made into a man. Well, now you are a man, you look through a telescope; swine cannot do that. You look through a microscope; I never knew a pig to do that in my life. Swine do not talk, but you speak, you sing, you pray, you are quite a different creature from what you were before. It is just so with some of us; we have another life than we ever possessed before, we live in a different world to what we used to live in, we know things that were unknowable to us once, we enjoy what we never had enjoyed, and we have griefs that never occurred to us before we passed from death to life. By all these things we know that we do really live.

23. Further, this new life necessitates new food. We feel now an appetite which nothing but Christ can satisfy; we love the house of God, we delight in God’s Word; and when the Holy Spirit blesses us, then we are filled as with marrow and fatness.

24. We believe, too, that this life guarantees to us eternal life, — that, in fact, it is eternal life, — life that can never die, or be taken away from us. Let me tell you, my unconverted friend, that we are very happy. “But,” you say, “you said that you had sorrows which we do not have.” Exactly so. Men, you know, have sorrows which swine do not have. Do I compare you to swine? Well, if you do not like the image, I cannot help it; I will take any other that is true, but there is as great a difference between a living Christian and a mere man as there is between a living man and a dog. He has another life, and a higher life, and he has entered another realm. I would not try to teach a dog astronomy, and it is impossible for an unrenewed man to know the things of God. I should not think of putting my dog into a chair, and beginning to explain theology to him; and until you are born again, you will never understand the meaning of God’s grace. You must get a new life, pass from death to life, or you cannot know these things; but we who believe in Jesus know that we have this life.


26. The enquiry as to whether we are alive or not, is a very curious thing. This morning, I received a letter informing me that the High Court of Chancery has ordered an investigation, with an affidavit, as to whether “the said Charles Haddon Spurgeon” is still alive. I replied to the lawyer that I would not make an affidavit to that effect, for I would not take an oath for any purpose; but that I was willing most solemnly to affirm that, to the best of my knowledge and belief, I am still alive; and I expect to have to do that before long. I did not say to myself, “Am I really alive or not?” But I have known some Christian people, who have so often sung, —

    “’Tis a point I long to know,” —

which all of us have to sing some time or other, — that they are not sure whether they are alive or not. Making themselves sad, and miserable, and melancholy, they think is a proof of life; perhaps it is, but there are other proofs of life besides that, and I like the one that is given in the text: “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren.”

27. So, brethren, if we can say that we love God’s people, as God’s people, because they are God’s people, that is a sign that we have passed from death to life. Do you love them for Christ’s sake? Do you say to yourself, “That is one of Christ’s people; that is one who bears Christ’s cross; that is one of the children of God; therefore I love him, and take delight in his company?” Then, that is an evidence that you are not of the world. If you were, you would love the world, but, belonging to Christ, you love those who are Christ’s, and you love them for Christ’s sake.

28. Another is, you love them for the truth’s sake. We are only clay vessels, yet there is the excellency of the treasure of God put within us; so, when you can say, “I love that man because of the truth he preaches, I do not care about his talents, but I do care about his gospel” — when you can say, “I love that woman, I delight to hear her speak of Jesus, her experience comforts me because it is full of Christ; I love to read the writings of such a brother, because there is a savour of Christ about every letter that he writes”; — that is a sign that you have passed from death to life. If you love the children, you love the Father, I am pretty sure of that; and if you love him, it is because he first loved you.

29. It is another sign of our passing from death to life when we love God’s people for their own sake, when we wish that we were like them, when we say to ourselves, “I would gladly be the least among them, washing their feet, and filling the humblest place, so that I might share the love which is their joy.”

30. It is a sure sign that you are a child of God when you love God’s people even when the world hates them, taking their part, being willing to be reproached with them; when you say, “You scoff at such a saint, do you? I am one of the same family, so give me some of your scorn. If you have any rotten stuff to fling, and you set this Christian man in the pillory, I will stand by his side, and consider it a great honour to share the contempt that comes on a child of God.” If you love the saints like this, you need not be afraid whether you have passed from death to life.

31. It is also a sure sign of grace when we love the company of God’s people as a people, when we are willing to go to the little prayer meeting to hear them pray, when we hear them groaning, and yet feel, “That is just the kind of sorrow that I would like to feel”; when we hear them joyful, and say, “That is the kind of joy I want to feel”; when we hear them tell about what the Lord has done for them, and though we have not felt quite the same joy ourselves, yet say, “I love them because the Lord has loved them. If he has not yet done all this in me, I love them because he has done it in them. I rejoice to see my Father’s finger anywhere, on anyone, whoever he may be.” Well, if that is your case, go your way in peace. It seems only a very small sign of the inward life that we love the brethren, yet it is one of the best in the world, and it is one of which even you high and mighty saints may be glad to avail yourselves in the cloudy and dark day which sooner or later may come to you.

32. May God grant us all to have a share in this precious knowledge, for Christ’s sake! Amen and Amen.

{a} Charon: In Greek and Latin mythology the name of the ferryman who conveyed the shades of the departed across the Styx. OED. {b} Avernus: This place was believed to be the entrance to the underworld, and is portrayed as such in the Aeneid of Virgil. See Explorer "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avernus"

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Ps 32}

A Psalm of David, giving instruction.

The thirty-second Psalm is a gospel blessing. It does not belong to the law; it is a word which can only come from sovereign grace to the guilty. The very first sentence tells us that, —

1. Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

Blessed would have been the man who never transgressed, who never sinned; but, be encouraged, oh sinner, there is blessedness even for the likes of you! Blessed is he who, though he has transgressed, has had his transgression forgiven; — who, though he has sinned, and sinned often, and sinned foully, yet, nevertheless, has had his sin covered. There is such blessedness in this forgiveness that scarcely can the bliss of an unfallen spirit excel it. There is a tenderness, a delicacy, a fragrance, a love, about the dealings of God with pardoned sinners, that even angels can scarcely tell the excessive sweetness of it. They have never known the joy of redeeming grace and dying love; and although they are blessed, yet particularly and especially is he blessed “whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin, is covered.”

2. Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.

He is blessed twice over; God multiplies the blessing. He really blesses him, he blesses him emphatically, he blesses him in body, he blesses him in soul. He is blessed; he has iniquities, but God does not impute them to him. They have been of old imputed to Another, who stood in the sinner’s place, and bore the sinner’s guilt, and put it all away by his own expiatory sufferings. Therefore, since these deeds were put to Christ’s account, they are not laid to the account of the Lord’s people: “Blessed is the man to whom Jehovah does not impute iniquity.” But even pardon and deliverance from guilt would not be sufficient to make a man blessed if they stood by themselves, for, as long as our heart is full of sin and deceit, and follows crooked ways, there can be no true rest for us. Hence the blessedness comes to the man “in whose spirit there is no guile,” — no falsehood. The guile and the guilt have gone together, and the gall is gone, too. Now the man is truthful, so he confesses his sin; he is also trustful, so he lays hold on the sinner’s Substitute, and so he finds peace. Dear friends, do you all know this blessedness? If you do not, I pray that you may, for it is heaven begun below, — the heaven of a poor sinner whose sin is covered, and whose heart is purified from guile.

Now see the way by which we come to this blessedness: —

3. When I kept silence, my bones became old through my roaring all the day long.

Sin was in his heart, but he would not confess it. He was silent before God in hardness of heart; and then his sorrow grew worse and worse, until not only his flesh began to fail, but his bones — the most solid part of his body, began to grow old, too. He felt like a man prematurely aged, melting away into the grave.

4. For day and night your hand was heavy on me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.

When a man gets God’s hand on him, I warrant you that he will want no other burden. This hand of God goes with him wherever he goes, it is like his own shadow. Whenever you meet people who are self-righteous, you may pray God to lay his hand on them; that will drive the pride and unbelief out of them. David says that he was so pressed under God’s hand that the very essence of his soul was squeezed out of him.

5. I acknowledged my sin to you, and I have not hidden my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”; and you forgave the iniquity of my sins. Selah.

“And you forgave” — blessed “and.” How very simple it was! The floods of divine wrath were swelling; he just pulled up the sluices of confession, the floods ran away, and all was quiet. Oh, what a simple plan this is! But pride cannot tolerate it; to humble oneself, and confess before God that one is utterly undone and ruined and sinful, is what our proud spirit will not bring itself to do, if it can help it. Yet that is the way of peace. Down, down, down, flat on your face! “He who is down need fear no fall.” But we do not like that going down, that acknowledgment of transgression. Still, we must come to it; and the sooner, the better. May the Lord bring every proud soul here to a full acknowledgment and confession of sin, and then forgiveness will surely follow.

6. For this shall everyone who is godly pray to you in a time when you may be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come near to him.

The fact that God hears us at the first and gives us a great deliverance when we are under a sense of sin, makes us pray to him as long as we ever live. We shall never forget how God heard us then; and something whispers into our heart, “He heard you then; he will hear you now.” One thing I know, if you do not. I never can come to God again in such a plight as I came to him at the first. Whatever happens to me, — if I am bereaved a thousand times, — if I am covered, from head to foot with sores, and sit like Job on a dunghill, — I can never be brought so low as I was when, in my despair, I was ready to commit suicide rather than live any longer under a sense of sin. I looked to him, and I was enlightened; and that first grand deliverance ensures that, in every other time of trial, in every other flood of great waters, when I cry to God, he will deliver me.

7. You are my hiding-place; you shall preserve me from trouble; you shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah.

Here is a threefold declaration: “You are my hiding-place; you shall preserve me from trouble; you shall surround me with songs of deliverance.” “Yes,” says God, “I will”; and now he speaks to his servant. When we speak to God, we may expect that God will speak to us; and what a happy dialogue it is when a soul can pray, and praise, and magnify the Lord, and then the Lord condescends to speak to his poor servant in this way!

8. I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you shall go:

“I have led you so far; I have brought you up out of the horrible pit, and out of the miry clay; I will not let you perish now; I will not leave you to your own folly.”

8. I will guide you with my eye.

It is a very gentle way of guidance when a mistress just turns her eye towards her servant, who understands her without a word. So God is quite willing to guide his people with his eye, if they are willing to be guided like that.

9. Do not be like the horse, or like the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near to you.

Alas! there are some hard-mouthed Christians; they will not take a hint from God. They do not watch God’s eye, and so do not learn by that gentle means; and therefore they require to have a bit and a bridle, and such things are not at all nice in one’s mouth. Some Christians must always be in trouble, or else they would be in sin. It seems as if some could never be allowed a furlough from sorrow, or else they would spend it in the tents of wickedness: “Do not be like the horse, or like the mule.” Be tender-mouthed; be willing to be guided; yield to the gentle admonitions of the Divine Spirit so that you may have a truly happy life.

10. Many sorrows shall be to the wicked.

It is all merriment with them now; they “consider it one of the wisest things, to drive dull care away.” But listen to this death knell of all their joys, “Many sorrows shall be to the wicked.” If not today, or tomorrow, yet eventually, and in that day, it shall be so. All the future is dark for the wicked; the further they go, the worse they will grow.

10. But he who trusts in the LORD, mercy shall surround him.

“He who trusts in the Lord,” — he is the very opposite of the wicked. Do you trust in the Lord, my friend? If not, you will have to be put among the wicked, for there are only two kinds of people in the world, — the wicked, and those who trust in the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ, you must go with the other company.

“He who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him.” Mercy shall go all around him, before him, behind him, above him, beneath him, within him, and around him everywhere. Just as you see the moon sometimes with a halo around it, so you shall be; you shall have brightness within and all around you, mercy shall surround you.

11. Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, you righteous: and shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart.

If anyone has a right to be glad, you have; so indulge the gladness, and magnify the name of the Lord.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Spirit of the Psalms — Psalm 30” 30}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Received by Faith — The Great Sight” 561}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Received by Faith — The Voice Of Jesus” 560}

Spirit of the Psalms
Psalm 30
1 I will exalt thee, Lord of hosts,
   For thou’st exalted me;
   Since thou hast silenced Satan’s boasts,
   I’ll therefore boast in thee.
2 My sins had brought me near the grave,
   The grave of black despair;
   I look’d, but there was none to save
   Till I look’d up in prayer.
3 In answer to my piteous cries,
   From hell’s dark brink I’m brought:
   My Jesus saw me from the skies,
   And swift salvation wrought.
4 All through the night I wept full sore,
   But morning brought relief;
   That hand, which broke my bones before
   Then broke my bonds of grief.
5 My mourning he to dancing turns,
   For sackcloth joy he gives,
   A moment, Lord, thine anger burns,
   But long thy favour lives.
6 Sing with me, then, ye favour’d men,
   Who long have known his grace;
   With thanks recall the seasons when
   Ye also sought his face.
                  Charles H. Spurgeon, 1866.

Gospel, Received by Faith
561 — The Great Sight
1 In evil long I took delight,
      Unawed by shame or fear,
   Till a new object struck my sight,
      And stopp’d my wild career.
2 I saw One hanging on a tree,
      In agonies and blood,
   Who fix’d his languid eyes on me,
      As near his cross I stood.
3 Sure never till my latest breath
      Can I forget that look;
   It seem’d to charge me with his death,
      Though not a word he spoke.
4 My conscience felt and own’d the guilt,
      And plunged me in despair;
   I saw my sins his blood had spilt,
      And help’d to nail him there.
5 Alas! I knew not what I did;
      But now my tears are vain;
   Where shall my trembling soul be hid?
      For I the Lord have slain.
6 A second look he gave, which said,
      “I freely all forgive;
   This blood is for thy ransom paid,
      I die, that thou mayest live.”
7 Thus while his death my sin displays
      In all its blackest hue
   (Such is the mystery of grace),
      It seals my pardon too.
8 With pleasing grief and mournful joy,
      My spirit now is fill’d
   That I should such a life destroy,
      Yet live by him I killed.
                        John Newton, 1779.

Gospel, Received by Faith
560 — The Voice Of Jesus
1 I heard the voice of Jesus say,
      “Come unto me and rest;
   Lay down, thou weary one, lay down
      Thy head upon my breast.”
   I came to Jesus as I was,
      Weary, and worn, and sad:
   I found in him a resting place,
      And he has made me glad.
2 I heard the voice of Jesus say,
      “Behold, I freely give
   The living water — thirsty one,
      Stoop down, and drink, and live.”
   I came to Jesus, and I drank
      Of that life giving stream;
   My thirst was quench’d, my soul revived,
      And now I live in him.
3 I heard the voice of Jesus say,
      “I am this dark world’s light:
   Look unto me, thy morn shall rise,
      And all thy day be bright.”
   I look’d to Jesus, and I found
      In him my star, my sun;
   And in that light of life I’ll walk
      Till travelling days are done.
                        Horatius Bonar, 1857.

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.

Spurgeon Sermon Updates

Email me when new sermons are posted:

Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Learn more

  • Customer Service 800.778.3390