2933. Dead, Yet Alive

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Dead, Yet Alive

No. 2933-51:205. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, August 6, 1876, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Published On Thursday, April 27, 1905.

Likewise consider also yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Do not let sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. {Ro 6:11,12}

 For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 503, “Death and Life in Christ” 494}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2933, “Dead, Yet Alive” 2934}
   Exposition on Ro 6 Isa 53 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3347, “Things to be Remembered” 3349 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Ro 6:1-19 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3400, “Day of Atonement, The” 3402 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Ro 6 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2938, “Jesus the Way” 2939 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Ro 6 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3298, “Lessons from Christ’s Baptism” 3300 @@ "Exposition"}

1. How remarkably interwoven and intertwined are the duties of believers and their privileges! Indeed, it is very often very difficult to say which is a privilege and which is a duty, for what is a duty under one aspect is a privilege under another aspect, and what is evidently a privilege may involve sin if it is not enjoyed, and therefore it has something of duty about it. I think there should be no dividing asunder the duties and privileges which God has obviously joined together, and that we should consider it our highest privilege to do his will in every duty which he has commanded us.

2. It is equally remarkable how closely the privileges and duties of the Christian life are connected with the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Because we are one with him, therefore we are beloved by the Father, therefore we are redeemed from death and hell, therefore we are separated from the world, therefore we are dead to sin, therefore we live to the Lord, and therefore we confidently expect a final triumph over all our adversaries until the last enemy of all shall be put under our feet. You get nothing, dear brother or sister in Christ, unless you get it through Christ. Apart, from him, you would be miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked, as you were until you came to him; but in union with him you are rich to all the intents of bliss. All things are yours because you are Christ’s; and while the Father views you as one with Christ, he will bless you; and while you view yourself as one with Christ, you will be conscious of the blessing, and, at the same time, will be led to devote yourself more completely to the pursuit of holiness and the fear of God.

3. I have been especially praying for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in handling a subject which belongs not so much to the worshippers in the outer court, where we preach the gospel to all, as to those in the inner court, where we speak only to those who are, we trust, already saved. If I have the gracious guidance of the Spirit of God, my words will drop as dew on the hearts of those who are living to God, and they will be refreshed and encouraged. But I could not bear the thought that my sermon should have no bearing whatever on those who are, at present, outside the visible fold of Christ. Therefore, at the very outset of my discourse, I let you all know that I am preaching now especially to the Lord’s own people. Judge yourselves, therefore, concerning whether you belong to that privileged company or not; and if you have not believed in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, know that you have no share in the privileges of the covenant of grace; and while I am preaching to believers, sit down, and sigh from your innermost heart over the sad fact that you are an alien from the commonwealth of Israel. If the Lord, by his gracious Spirit, will lead you to do so, he will hear that sorrowful sigh of yours; and I trust that you will be led, sighing and crying, to the Saviour’s feet, to believe in him to the salvation of your never-dying soul. Then you will enter at once into all the privileges which belong to the children of God, those privileges about which I am now about to speak.

4. The two verses, which form my text, seem to me to set before us, first, a great truth, — a great fact which is to be the subject of our consideration: “Likewise consider also yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God through Jesus Christ our Lord”; and, secondly, a great lesson to be put into practice:“ Do not let sin therefore” — for the argument is carried on from the former verse, — “Do not let sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.”

5. I. What is the meaning of the first verse? What is THE GREAT TRUTH which is taught to us there by the Holy Spirit? It is this: “Consider also yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

6. It is quite certain that God never asks believers to consider anything to be true which is not true; for to consider a thing to be what it is not would be to build on a false basis, and, in fact, to argue from what is false. This would not be consistent with the character of God himself, nor with the nature of the gospel, which is, essentially, a proclamation of truth. There are no suppositions and imaginations in the gospel; it tells of positive sin, positive punishment, positive substitution, and positive forgiveness, for God would not have his people depend on anything which is not absolutely true. Hence, the text does not mean that you are to think that there is no sin in you, but that you are “dead indeed to sin.” You are not to consider what is falsehood; what God the Holy Spirit intends you to think is a matter of positive, undoubted fact. If you read the context, you will see what that matter of fact is.

7. It is, first, that every believer is truly dead to sin, because Christ has died to sin. The Lord Jesus Christ is our Covenant-Head; and what he did, he did in the room, and place, and stead of his people; he did it all representatively on their behalf; so that, what he did, they virtually did through him as their Representative. Always remember that the federal principle has been adopted by God in his dealings with the human race from the very beginning. We were all, representatively, in Adam; and, hence, Adam’s sin brought us all into transgression and condemnation, so that we have all become partakers in the result of Adam’s one sin. It was not actually ours, but it became ours by imputation, and it brought on us all its terrible consequences because Adam was our federal head. In the same way, the Lord Jesus Christ is the federal Head and Representative of his people; and what he has done, he has done on their behalf, and it is considered as though they had done it themselves. Beloved, it was due from us that, having broken God’s law, we should endure the punishment resulting from our disobedience. That punishment was death, for “the soul that sins shall die.” There must therefore be passed on us, if we are ever to be clear at God’s judgment bar, a sentence that shall be an adequate punishment for sin; that sentence is so overwhelming and so dreadful that nothing can describe it but the term death. Can that ever happen to us? It has happened to us. We, who believe in Jesus Christ, have been confronted with our sins, accused of them, condemned for them, and punished for them. The full penalty, or what was tantamount to it, has been exacted from us. We have died the death that was sin’s due reward.

8. “But,” someone asks, “how is that?” I answer, that the apostle tells us, in this chapter, that we have done it, representatively, in the person of Jesus Christ, our great federal Head, Surety, and Substitute. Can you grasp the great truth that, whatever was due from us to God’s justice has been fully paid by Christ? Whatever of suffering was necessary as the result of sin, from the penal side of the question, has been already endured by Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. Hence, Christ took our sin on him, though in him was no sin of his own, and he died to sin, bearing its penalty. As the inevitable consequence of his sacrifice on the cross, he is clear from the sin that was laid on him, and so are all his people, in whose place he suffered. Toplady truly sang, —

    Complete atonement thou hast made,
    And to the utmost farthing paid
       Whate’er thy people owed:
    Nor can his wrath on me take place,
    If shelter’d in thy righteousness,
       And sprinkled with thy blood.
    If thou hast my discharge procured,
    And freely in my room endured
       The whole of wrath divine:
    Payment God cannot twice demand,
    First at my bleeding Surety’s hand
       And then again at mine.

9. I may make this truth plainer by a comparison, which is impossible in the case of men, but which may illustrate the point we are now considering. Suppose that a man has been found guilty of a crime which is a capital offence according to the law of his country. The only way of dealing with him, in justice, is that he should endure the penalty for his offence. Suppose the sentence to have been carried out, the man has been put to death, and has been buried. But after that, he has risen again; can the law touch him now? Can any charge be laid against him? Can he be brought a second time before the tribunal? Assuredly not; the same justice, which brought him to the judgment bar before, and punished him, now stands up, and declares that he cannot be touched again, for how shall he be charged twice, and tried twice, and put to death twice for the same offence? This cannot happen, as I have said, among men, but it has happened in the case of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. For all his people he has borne the death-penalty, and he has risen from the dead; and they have borne the death-penalty in him, and risen from the dead in him. Therefore, let them rejoice that, in the person of their Redeemer, they are dead by sin, and dead for sin, — for such is the meaning of this passage. I wish that all of you, who believe in Jesus, could get a firm hold of this blessed truth; for, if you do, it will make your heart dance for joy. We are emancipated because our ransom price has been fully paid; we are set free from the law, not by the law waiving the penalty due to our sin, for the penalty has been endured in the person of One who had the right to endure it, for he was his people’s Representative; and what he endured on their behalf is counted as though they had personally endured it, so that each one of them can say, with Toplady, —

    Turn then, my soul, unto thy rest:
    The merits of thy great High Priest
       Have bought thy liberty:
    Trust in his efficacious blood,
    Nor fear thy banishment from God,
       Since Jesus died for thee.

10. Further, the apostle says that we are to consider ourselves “dead indeed to sin, but alive to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” This is the other side of the great truth which is implied in our union to Christ, — that every believer is truly alive to God, because Christ is alive to God. We know that Christ is alive to God: “Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dies no more”; and we also know that the new life, of which the apostle is here writing, is a life that we share with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, because of our union to him. Christ died, and was laid in the grave, because he was our Surety and Substitute. Our great debt of sin was laid to his account, but his death discharged all our liabilities. What then? The receipt for our debt, the sign that our sin had been put away for ever, was that Christ should come out of the prison of the grave. As one of our poets says, —

    If Jesus had not paid the debt,
    He ne’er had been at freedom set.

He “died for our sins,” but he also “rose again for our justification.” When the bright angel flew from heaven, and rolled away the stone from the mouth of the sepulchre, and Jesus unwrapped the grave-clothes of his tomb, and came out in the glory of his resurrection-life, everyone for whom he died and rose again were acknowledged as justified before God through his righteousness, and cleansed from all sin by his blood. And now, beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, this is our joy, that we are alive to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. A little while ago, we were dead to God, for the sentence which he had pronounced on us made us virtually dead to him. We were under condemnation, “the children of wrath, even as others”; but now that Jesus Christ has risen from the grave, we are no longer dead to God, but we are alive to him; and he looks on us as those who have been delivered from the sentence of spiritual death, and who cannot again come under that penalty, since Christ, who stood in our place, and suffered in our place, has for ever put away from us, not only our guilt, but also all its dread consequences

    We were lost, but we are found,
    Dead, but now alive are we;
    We were sore in bondage bound,
    But our Jesus sets us free.
    Therefore will we sing his praise
    Who his lost ones hath restored,
    Hearts and voices both shall raise
    Hallelujahs to the Lord.

11. Further than that, as the text says, “Likewise,” the very word here used tells us to run the parallel as the apostle has done. He says, “Christ being raised from the dead dies no more; death has no more dominion over him.” See then, what this means in reference to us who have believed in him. Jesus Christ will not die twice. The sin of his people, that was laid on him, brought him down to the grave; but there he buried it, and he rose again, no longer bearing the sin for which he had paid the penalty; and that sin cannot be laid on him a second time, and therefore he shall never again need to be crucified. Beloved, do you not see that, if your sin was really laid on Christ, and you died to sin in Christ, you can never have that sin laid to your charge again, under any circumstances whatever, unless Christ can die again? By one sufficient punishment, our offence has been put away even from the sight of God; can that offence, then, be brought against us, and laid to our charge a second time? No, truly; for if it could, it would be necessary that our great Substitute should bleed and die a second time; but, since that cannot be, the sin of the believer can never again be imputed to him, and can never again rise in judgment against him. While Christ, the ever-blessed Saviour, continues to live, his people must also continue to live. What a glorious truth this is! I, then, if I am a believer in Christ, have, through my union to him, borne the penalty of sin, I have died in Christ, and the life that I now live before the living God is a life that is uncondemned and uncondemnable, and which never can expire, because sin can never be laid to its charge again.

12. Beloved brother or sister in Christ, how I wish that you could get a firm grip on this blessed truth, so that you could enjoy it to the full in your own soul! It is not always easy to understand your union with Christ, — to see how he takes your place, and you take his, — to see how he is bruised for your iniquities, and how the chastisement for your peace is laid on him; and that, as a result, you take his place as accepted and beloved by the Father, that you are raised from the dead, and honoured even to share his glory in the highest heavens, for he has gone up there as the Representative of all his people, and you also are raised up together with him, and made to sit with him in the heavenly places; and since he is to come again, in all the glory of the Father, to subdue all things to himself, so you are to reign with him, for he has said, “Where I am, there also my servant shall be”; and “to him who overcomes I will grant to sit with me on my throne, even as I also overcame, and sat down with my Father on his throne.” What a glorious truth this is, that all believers are dead, raised, living, exalted, and glorified, in Christ Jesus!

13. Now, beloved, having given you that meaning of the passage, — and I am persuaded that it is its true meaning, and that no other will bear examination, — I want to warn you against the interpretation that some have tried to put on the apostle’s words. They say that they are dead to sin, and alive to God; and they tell us — perhaps not in so many words, — that now they do not sin, that they live in a state of perpetual sanctity, and are no more affected by sin than a dead man would be affected by what goes on in the house where his corpse is lying. These people say that their life now is one, if not of absolute holiness, yet, in a certain sense, of perfect holiness. I conceive this to be one of the most dangerous delusions of the present age, — apparently specious and supportable by Scripture; but, in reality, without any solid foundation, and full of a thousand dangers. There are two ways by which a man can persuade himself that he does not sin. The first is the Antinomian {a} method, by which he says that he is not under the law, and that, therefore, whatever he does is not sinful. If another man were to do a certain thing, he would be very wrong; but if he himself does it, he, being a specially chosen one, is in a condition in which it is not thought to be sin, or is not laid to his charge. Well, beloved, I can only say that, when I have read certain caricatures of this doctrine, — and it is most natural that ungodly men should make fun of it, — I have thought that the caricature was richly deserved, and that any contempt that could be poured on such atrocious falsehoods was well merited. For sin, in a Christian, is quite as much sin as it is in anyone else; indeed, it is a great deal more sinful, for never does a black stain seem so black as when it falls on spotlessly white linen, and never is sin as sinful as when it is committed by one who is greatly loved by the Lord, and is the subject of particular favour. May Antinomianism never mislead either you or me, beloved!

14. The other way of perverting this truth is to say that you do not sin at all, — to stand up straight, like the Pharisee in the temple, and say that you have attained such a condition that you do not sin now. If any of you, my dear friends, are in that condition, the sooner you get out of it, and humble yourselves before God for ever having dared to get into it, the better it will be for you. Our Lord Jesus Christ and his apostle never meant that we were to consider ourselves to be dead to sin in such a sense that we never sinned at all, or that sin did not affect us as it affected other people, because that is not the truth. I appeal to every man who has a conscience, and I trust that even the believers in this super fine holiness have some trace of conscience left, so I appeal to them whether they are not conscious of sin. My dear brother or sister, if you are not guilty of a single sin of commission, — if you never utter an unkind or angry word, — if you never speak unadvisedly with your lips, — if you never break one of the ten commandments in the letter by an overt act of sin, — if there is never about you any trace of pride, or covetousness, or wrath, or anything else that is wrong, can you say that you are free from sins of omission? Have you done all you should have done, in as high and noble a spirit as you ought to have displayed in it? Oh my brother, if this is your belief, you must be strangely different from what I have ever been able to be; for, when I have done my very best before God, I have always felt that my best was imperfect and marred by sin. I have had to mourn over many omissions even when I have diligently laboured to obey my Lord and Master perfectly; and in reviewing any one day of my life, I have never dared to congratulate myself on it; but, with tears of repentance, I have had to confess that, if I have not erred by overt sin, yet I have somewhere or other come short of the glory of God. My dear brother, do you really believe that your motives, and the spirit in which you have acted, have been perfect in God’s sight? It is quite unaccountable to me, if you look into your own heart, and try to trace all your secret motives, and desires, and imagination, and all the tendencies of your nature, and yet say that you do not sin against the Lord? Do you have the same standard of holiness that we have? Surely you cannot have, if you think you have attained it; if you have the same standard that we have, I am certain that you have not attained it. The holiness that a Christian ought to aim at is to be absolutely as just, and righteous, and pure as God himself is. This is the mark that he sets before us: “Be holy, for I am holy”; “Be perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect.” If you say that you have reached that perfection, I believe that, if you let your conscience speak the truth, it will tell you that you are under a great delusion, and that you are utterly self-deceived on that matter.

15. As for the notion that considering yourself to be perfect will help you to be so, I tell you flatly that it will most effectively prevent you from becoming perfect. Consider that you are sinful, admit that sin far too often prevails over you, and then go humbly to God, and confess that it is so, and seek from him grace to keep you, day by day, from the power of reigning sin; and you will, in that way, make a real advance in sanctification and true holiness. But if you think that you have reached this blessed condition, you never will reach it. If you sit down in carnal security, you will rest in contentment with yourself, but you will never be what I trust you really desire to be. Your experience will be like that of the artist who at last painted a picture with which he was perfectly satisfied, and he then said to his wife, “I may as well break my pallet, and throw away my brush. I shall never be a great painter now, for I have achieved my ideal, I am perfectly satisfied with this picture that I have produced.” It is far better for you to have a sacred dissatisfaction and hallowed discontent with all that you are. That forgetting of the things which are behind, and reaching out to those which are before, that pressing forward toward the mark for the prize of your high calling in Christ Jesus, to which the apostle urges you, — that seeking to fight from day to day with the temptations that surround you, not thinking that you have won the victory yet, but believing that you will win it through the blood of the Lamb; — this is what we long to see in you; and not to see you sitting down in calm contentment, and saying, “It is all done; I am perfect.” For, believe me, my brother, — or, if you do not believe me, you will find it to be true, sooner or later, — you are not perfect by a very long way, as the devil knows, and as God knows, and as many people besides yourself know, who see what your daily life is, and see your conduct.

16. II. Now, having spoken concerning this great truth, and having shown you in what way we are dead to sin, and alive to God, through our union to Christ, I want to point out to you THE GREAT PRACTICAL LESSON WHICH THE TEXT SETS BEFORE US: “Do not let sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.”

17. This is the great fact that you are always to remember, you are now an altogether new man. In Christ Jesus, you have died, and been buried, and have risen again. Surely you will not now have anything to do with sin, will you? You must hate it, for it has done you such serious mischief. It was sin that slew you in the person of your Substitute and Saviour; but, now, you have been born again, and you are a new man in Christ Jesus. You are not going back to sin, are you? Oh, no; your whole soul abhors it, and you endeavour now, from this time forward, to be entirely free from its dominion. You mourn that sin is still within you, and that it still has great power over you. It will try to use that power, and it strives to get complete dominion over you. It seeks to make you again what you formerly were, its subject and its slaves.

18. You are told, in the text, not to let sin reign in your mortal body, and this injunction implies that sin is already there, and that sin will seek to get dominion over you. Do not be surprised, young converts, if you find sin to be terribly fierce within you, and if sometimes it seems even to be stronger than divine grace. It is not really so, but it may appear to you sometimes to be so; and rest assured of this, — that sin in you is so strong that, unless God the Holy Spirit shall help you, it will get the victory over you. It will fail to get the victory over you, because God will help you; but if he did not, the smallest soldier in the army of sin would be too strong for you, however powerful you may think yourself to be. Sin in a believer can never reign over him, because he is dead to the reigning power of sin. Oh King Sin, I am no subject of yours! I was once, but I died, and now I have risen again in Christ, and I am no subject of yours. What, then, does sin do, if it cannot reign over the believer? It lurks inside the soul like an outlaw whose banishment has not yet taken place. John Bunyan’s description of the Holy War is a matter of true experience. After the Diabolonians were overthrown in Mansoul, many of them remained hidden away in dens and corners of the city, and although diligent search was made to find them, there were always some of them hiding away in the back lanes and side streets, where they could not easily be discovered. It is just so with sin. As a reigning king, sin is dead to you, and you to it; but, as a sneaking outlaw, sin is still lurking within your soul. It is plotting and planning to get back its former dominion over you, and not merely plotting and planning, but it is also warring and fighting for that purpose.

19. Oh, with what terrible force sin sometimes assails a believer! Just when he least expected it to come, some old lust reappears. “Oh!” he cries, “I thought that evil passion would never again assail me.” Perhaps when he is on his knees in prayer, a blasphemous thought is suddenly injected into his mind; and when he is engaged in his business, endeavouring to provide things honest in the sight of all men, he finds a temptation to do something which is unjust put in his way, and though, at first, it seems as if he would consent to it, yet, by the grace of God, he is enabled to get the victory over it. The very best man in the world, if he were left by divine grace only for five minutes, might become, and probably would become, the worst man in the world. Left to himself, impetuous Peter begins cursing and swearing, and denies his Master. three times This vile outlaw, sin, that is always fighting within us, will be king if it can. It will rally all the forces of the world against us, it will call the devil himself to its assistance, and so seek to get the reigning power again; but it never can, for we are not its subjects, we are not under its dominion, and we never will be. The almighty God, who has redeemed us from going down into the pit, will never permit us to be again the slaves of sin; yet we are constantly to be on to watch against its attacks.

20. The text also implies that the point of assault of sin on you will be your body: “Do not let sin therefore reign in your mortal body!” It is generally through our body that sin tries to bring our soul into captivity. There are natural needs of the body which must be attended to; but every one of these needs may become a sinful craving, and we may so excessively minister to the need that, eventually, it becomes a sinful lusting. That a man should eat to appease his hunger, is right; but, alas! gluttony often follows. That a man should drink to quench his thirst, is right; but there are various drinks which lead to drunkenness; and so, even through two such perfectly justifiable natural needs as eating and drinking, sin may come in. There are a great many other needs, emotions, and passions of the body, which are, in themselves, properly considered, not sinful, but every one of them may readily be made into a door through which sin can enter. No, it is not only the needs of the body, but also the pleasures of the body, which may lead to sin. There are bodily enjoyments which are perfectly innocent; but it is very easy to pass beyond that line, and to indulge the flesh with what is evil. Even the pains of the body may become the means of attack on the soul, for great pain will often bring depression of spirit, and despondency; and through despondency comes doubt. Indeed, and pain sometimes causes murmuring, and murmuring is really rebellion against God. This poor flesh seems to be the battle-field in which the fight with sin is continually to be carried on. Sin makes frequent incursions into the region of mind and spirit, but it generally begins with the body. How strenuously, therefore, must we see to it that we obey the apostolic injunction, “Do not let sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts”; but, rather, let us yield these members of ours to be the instruments of righteousness and purity. Watch and pray, beloved; do not imagine that the stern battle is over, it is only just begun. As long as you are in this mortal state, you are to put on the whole armour of God, and to strive, and agonize, and wrestle against sin, in the power of the blood of Jesus Christ, who will help you by his ever-blessed Spirit; but to suppose that the battle for purity is over is to suppose a falsehood, which will seriously endanger the sanctity of your lives.

21. The apostle uses one word which is very comforting to my mind: “Do not let sin therefore reign in your mortal body.” I am very glad to read that word “mortal.” If this body were immortal, with its present tendencies, then it might continue to be a field of battle for the believer for ever. But it is mortal; and when it dies, then its tendencies, which now incline us to sin, shall die also. “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God,” for flesh and blood always will have a tendency towards what is evil. But, brethren, we are going to leave this flesh and blood behind us when we die. We shall be reunited to our body after it has been refined, for the grave is the refining pot for it; but, until we die, this body will be the nest of sin, and within our flesh, as Paul truly says, “there dwells no good thing.” Through being encumbered with this flesh, many a true child of God will, perhaps, have to cry even on his death-bed, “Oh wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Thank God, then, that it is a mortal body in which this warfare is waged, so that, when it dies, the fight is over, and the emancipated spirit shall then rejoice in the fulness of the glory of God; but not until then, neither need you expect it; for, if you do, you will be grievously disappointed when you find that you have been buoyed up with a false hope, based on self-conceit, and not on the work of the Spirit of God at all.

22. The pith of the matter lies here, brethren. Consider yourselves to be dead to sin because, in Christ Jesus, you died to sin; and let that truth strengthen you to fight sin. As long as you have any question about whether God considers you among the guilty, you will never have courage to contend with sin. Evangelical doctrine is the battle-axe and the other weapons of war with which the believer is to fight against sin. That I am saved, — that I am fully absolved from guilt, — that I am accounted just in the sight of God, — that I am saved for all eternity, — this is a firm foundation for me to stand on; and now, relying on the power of God’s grace, I may confidently say, “Sin shall not have dominion over me, because of this amazing mercy which I have received. Because of this high calling, to which God’s infinite love has called me, I will cast down every sin that dares to lift itself up; I will take by the throat everything that is hostile to God, and I will labour to perfect holiness in the fear of God.” Tell the sinner that he must do this and that, and he is conscious of his lack of power, and therefore he does nothing; but, go to him, sent by God, in the power of the Holy Spirit and say to him, “Your sin was laid on Jesus, so you are free from it, for Jesus bore its penalty. You are saved, for in him you have virtually died, and the law cannot touch you now; you are a dead man so far as it is concerned. Sin cannot accuse you, for you are dead to it,” — and what does the man say? Why, with great surprise in his soul, he is enabled to believe it, and he sees, as it were, the mountains cast down, the valleys filled up, a pathway made in the desert for God to come to his soul, and for him to come to his God; and, in the joy of pardon freely given through his Saviour’s precious blood, in the bliss of salvation graciously bestowed without money and without price, he shakes himself from the dust, arises from his former love of sin, and says, “Now, sin, I am dead to you, and I will never permit you to be king over me. I am no longer under your dominion, and I will drive you out of my being altogether. You shall not reign over me. I will, by the power and grace of him who has bought me with his blood, live for the praise and glory of God alone.”

23. Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, most earnestly do I desire that you may live so that you will never doubt your eternal union with Christ, and your subsequent perfect acceptance with God. I pray that you may exercise an unstaggering faith in the finished work of Christ culminated on Calvary’s cross; and then I say to you, “Think what kind of people you ought to be in all holy conduct and godliness.” Never tolerate any sin in yourselves; never wink at it, or imagine that it is less in you than it would to in others. Grieve over every shortcoming, every failure, everything that is not according to the perfect rule of righteousness; and, watch every day, and every hour of the day, calling in the aid of divine strength so that you may be enabled to watch, and believing, at the same time, that that strength will be given to you, for the promise to you is, “Sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the law, but under grace.” This will make sure work for holiness; you will not be puffed up, but you will be built up; you will not go bragging about how holy you are, your own mouth condemning you all the while; but, in silence before the Lord, you will sit down to admire the grace which has looked in love on such a poor unworthy worm as you are. While you will seek to do what is right, and will hate every false way, you will, at the same time, take your place with the tax collector in the temple, and cry, “God, be merciful to me a sinner.” Seek to be as holy as the angels, yet be, all the while, as humble as the tax collector. Remember that it is grace which has made you what you are, and that it is grace which must keep you faithful to the end. If grace did not keep you, you must be a castaway; but you shall not be a castaway, for, “beloved, we are persuaded of better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we speak like this.” I pray that every member of this church, and of Christ’s Church at large, may be very careful in his living, very watchful, very devout, very earnest. Oh professing Christians, you are not what you should be! A great many of you seem to forget altogether the sacred obligations of the love which has been from eternity fixed on you. Confess this sin, mourn over it, and seek the power of Christ to help you against it, and henceforth may your course be as “the shining light, which shines more and more to the perfect day.”

24. I imagine that I hear someone in the congregation say, “These godly people seem to have a hard fight of it.” They do; it is not an easy work to get to heaven, even by grace; for, though we are saved, yet it is a pilgrimage to heaven, and a stern fight all the way. What we have to say to unconverted people is this, “If the righteous scarcely” — or, with difficulty, — “are saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” If he, who zealously desires to follow after holiness, has such a stern fight of it, what must be the end of the man who never denies himself, but indulges his sinful passions, and throws the reins on the neck of his lusts? Oh Christian, yours is the lot of a soldier, and you have to “endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ”; but you are comforted because, by faith, you can see the crown of life, which does not fade away, and which is reserved in heaven for you; and therefore you keep on contending. But as for you who never fight against sin, and who feel no agony within, it is very evident why you have no inward struggle; it is because your whole nature goes one way. Dead fish float with the stream; it is the live fish that swim against it; and if you never feel any inward contention and striving, — if you never have to cry, “To will is present with me; but how to perform what is good I do not find,” — if you never groan under a sense of sin, I close my sermon by saying that I pray God that you soon may do so, and that your groanings may be uttered at the foot of his cross, who will look down on you as you lie there in utter weakness and misery, and who will say to you, “I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, your transgressions, and, as a cloud, your sins: return to me, for I have redeemed you.” May we all learn that Christ is everything, and that we are nothing; that he is holiness, and that we are unholiness, and may the Lord give us the grace to be found in him, not having our own righteousness, which is by the law, but the righteousness which is from God by faith! Amen.

{a} Antinomian: One who maintains that the moral law is not binding on Christians, under the “law of grace.” spec. One of a sect which appeared in Germany in 1535, alleged to hold this opinion. OED.

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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