3032. “The Form Of This World”

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No. 3032-53:145. A Sermon Delivered On Thursday Evening, August 12, 1869, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Published On Thursday, March 21, 1907.

The form of this world passes away. {1Co 7:31}

For other sermons on this text:

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 481, “Drama in Five Acts, A” 472}

   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3032, “Form of This World, The” 3033}

1. In this Epistle, Paul deals with many matters of conscience, and explains them for the benefit of the troubled ones in the church at Corinth. In the chapter out of which our text is taken, he writes wisely concerning the important question of marriage, and he recommends that, during the time of persecution it is good to abstain from marriage, though he does not forbid it even under the pressure of those trying circumstances. Then, after he has spent a considerable time in looking at the subject from various standpoints, he says, “It remains, that those who have wives, be as though they had none.” He seemed to think that the whole matter of marriage was too small for him to take into any very serious consideration, since the time was so short in which such questions could need to be discussed at all, “for,” he said, “the form of this world passes away.”

2. The Greek word used in this verse has, by some expositors, been read as though the apostle referred to mathematical figures, as when the boy at school, working out the propositions in Euclid, draws on his slate circles, triangles, and squares, and then almost immediately rubs everything out, and begins another set of figures. In that sense, the whole scheme or form of this world is only like the markings on a slate, or the chalk drawings on a blackboard; something not intended to last, but to be done away with almost immediately. So there is no need to be troubled about the things of this world, except as far as they have reference to the world to come, for the whole scheme, and plan, and form of this world passes away.

3. But an interpretation which is far more likely to be correct is that the apostle meant, “The whole theatrical performance of this world’s pageant passes away; all of its various acts, and shows, and displays passes away.” If that is the meaning, Paul seems to be of the mind of the world’s great poet, {Shakespeare} that — 

   All the world’s a stage,

   And all the men and women merely players.

So he says, “The whole play passes away; the whole performance, which is now on the stage, will soon be changed, and all will be gone.” Just as men put on mimic robes, and one is arrayed as a monarch, and another appears as a slave; one is dressed in scarlet and fine linen, and another comes on the scene in the rags of a beggar; but, as soon as the play is over, they all take off the costumes pertaining to their various parts, and go to their homes in quite different garb; — so, all the pomp and glory of this world will soon have passed away, and men will go to their own eternal dwelling-place, the form of this world having passed away for ever. It is to that thought that I wish to call your earnest attention just now. May the Holy Spirit teach us what he intended the apostle to convey to our minds concerning the transitory character of all worldly things!


5. I answer, first, it is the whole world itself and all humanity dwelling on it. All that we see around us is passing away. Although, to some minds, this visible creation looks as if might last for ever, there are signs of decrepitude and decay which the thoughtful can easily discern. The very granite crumbles, the sea breaks its bounds, even the sun’s lamp at times grows dim. All things bear signs that this world is only as the traveller’s tent that is pitched tonight, only to be struck tomorrow morning. The day is coming, whether we wish it or not, when “the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are in it shall be burned up.” As once by a deluge of water, so the second time by a deluge of fire, the whole form of this world shall surely pass away; “all these things shall be dissolved.” We talk about the everlasting hills, and speak of the sea as the hoary ocean; but there is nothing except God that is really worthy of veneration because of age. We read of his Son, in whom he has revealed himself, that “his head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow,” to indicate the great antiquity of Christ; but all human beings are only things of an hour, and they and the world they inhabit shall soon have departed.

6. Vain man, who looks on this world as a thing that is lasting, should at least look at himself as fleeting. Generations have followed each other until the whole earth resembles a sea beach when the tide is out, where ten thousand worms have each cast up his little separate mound, and then gone from sight. What is there to remind us of past generations but their graves? Even their works have decayed before the time when all men’s works are to be consumed. Since we have been our own little while in the world, how many have passed away! The funeral bell is almost always tolling; the sexton {grave-digger} never ceases from his work. Every time the clock ticks, a soul takes its flight into the land unknown. While we have been sitting here, the great processes of decay, and dissolution, and death have been going on; and although we may not have noticed it, we ourselves have been passing onwards by an inevitable march towards the confines of the spirit world. We are in a dying world, and none of us will be able to escape from the influences that are, in due time, to bear us away from this world, which is itself passing away. So, brethren, if the apostle meant nothing more than this, there is enough, in the fact that this world, and all who are on it, are passing away, to calm our minds, and to make us remember the instability of mortal things, and of the necessity of securing something more substantial and enduring.

   The time is short ere all that live

   Shall hence depart, their God to meet:

   And each a strict account must give,

   At Jesus’ awful judgment seat.

   The time is short, oh, who can tell

   How short his time below may be?

   Today on earth his soul may dwell,

   Tomorrow in eternity.

7. But, secondly, “the form of this world passes away” in reference to all its honours and dignities. All that was ever emblazoned on the roll of fame, and thought to be written there for ever, shall surely be blotted out. Those who wear royal crowns now shall not always be crowned. Those who are decorated with glittering stars and jewels now shall not be always so adorned. Come to the mausoleum, and see how much is left of any of the Caesars. Look into the vault of Alexander, and see how little is the greatest of the great. The monarch cannot be distinguished from his slave, and men cannot maintain their various ranks and degrees of dignity in the grave. Death, that great Radical and Communist, that awful leveller, is continually striking down the mighty; and with his dread axe he fells the haughty cedar of Lebanon as easily as he does the rush by the riverside. But there are those who will be kings when these kings of earth are no more regarded as royal, and there are those who will be peers of the heavenly realm when earthly peers have lost their patents of nobility. There are kings and priests whom the world knows nothing about, who shall yet come out from their obscurity; in the day when the King of kings will be revealed, they also shall be revealed; but, meanwhile, the form of this world, so far as its pomp and greatness are concerned, passes away.

8. Then, dear friends, let us remember, in the third place, that the civil form of this world will certainly pass away too. It is necessary for good government that there should be judges, and dignitaries, and magistrates, and so forth, and men think much of the power of governing their fellow creatures, and talk proudly about constitutions that are to last all down the ages, and establishments that will withstand the attacks of the years that are yet to come, but they make a great mistake. All these must pass away. The magistrate on the bench must be made equal with the prisoner at the bar. The great man must slumber in the dust with the beggar who was splashed by the mud from his horses’ hoofs as he rode along in his pride.

9. Remember, too, — and this is a solemn reflection that ought to press heavily on every ungodly heart, — that the association of the righteous and the wicked, which is part of the form of this world today, is passing away. Many of you are, at the present moment, being kindly cared for by divine providence more for the sake of your godly relatives than for your own sakes, for you are ungodly, and therefore God cannot regard you in the same light as he does his own believing children. You are nestling under the same roof with your father, who is a saint of God; yet, if you died as you now are, you would be lost for ever. You are, at this moment, sitting in the same pew with one who loves the Lord Jesus Christ, but you are yourself Christless and hopeless. This congregation, as I look at it, seems to me like a heap of grain on the threshing-floor, but there is much chaff mingled with the wheat. I see here a great field of precious grain springing up, but the tares are mixed with the wheat. That is according to the form of this world; it must inevitably be so in the present state of things.

10. Even in the professing church itself, this is the form today, for the great drag-net has taken in its meshes fish of every kind, some good and some bad. But this shall not be the form before long, for this present form passes away; and, then, the net shall be drawn to shore, and they shall gather the good into vessels, but they shall cast the bad away. The great reaping time shall come eventually, and then the tares shall be bound in bundles to be burned; while the wheat shall be gathered into the garner.

   East and West, and South and North,

   Speeds each glorious angel forth,

   Gathering in with glittering wing

   Zion’s saints to Zion’s King.

   Man nor angel knows that day,

   Heaven and earth shall pass away;

   Still shall stand the Saviour’s word,

   Deathless as its deathless Lord.

Think of this, you who are living now in close relationship to Christian people. How will you bear to be separated from them when this present form passes away? Oh husbands of gracious wives, children of godly parents, ungodly parents of converted children, think of the time when this form shall be ended, and the separating day shall come, and you are driven out to the blackness of darkness for ever, while your loved ones are walking with Christ for ever in the home of the blessed glory!

11. Notice, too, fourthly, that the busy form of this world will also pass away. You are engaged in your shops, most properly; you are toiling in your various callings, or pursuing your different professions. One is a baker, another a grocer; one is a lawyer, and another a doctor; but all these occupations pass away. There is a land in which there shall be no toiling for daily bread, and no need to cast ourselves wearily on our couch after too long and too trying a day of toil. There is a time coming when that extra ten pounds which seems so important now, or that extra ten thousand pounds, or that extra million pounds added to one’s estate shall be thought to be of no more value than a single hair. When men come to die, how their business dwarfs to nothing! It casts a long shadow right across the pathway of life; but when they lie on their last bed, and gaze into eternity, they see things in a different light, and estimate them at their real value. Oh sirs, you, who are pursuing earthly gain as though it were something substantial, are like the fools that hunt the will-o’-the-wisp, {a} and plunge after it into the morass, to their own destruction! Can you carry your gold with you into the world where you are going? If you could hang it on the grave-clothes that are to be wrapped around you in the tomb, how much the richer would your dead body be for all its golden decorations? What can your gold buy for you beyond a thicker slab of stone to lie on your corpse while the poor sleep under a lighter load in a field where the wild flowers grow?

12. Believe me, there is nothing here that is worthy of your pursuit. If you give your soul up to anything earthly, whether it is the wealth, or the honours, or the pleasures of this world, you might as well hunt after the mirage of the desert, or try to collect the mists of the morning, or to store up for yourselves the clouds of the sky, for all these things are passing away. It is hard sometimes to realize that we are citizens of that country where worldly wealth has lost all value because of the infinitely more precious wealth there, that is the common property of all the saints. It is hard sometimes to realize what that land must be where we are to rest for ever, and yet to serve God day and night in his temple; but when we are indulged by the Holy Spirit with a faith’s view of that better country, and are permitted for a little while to think of the time when we shall bathe our weary souls in these seas of heavenly rest, and not a wave of trouble shall roll across our peaceful heart, then we are glad that the form of this poor weary world is so soon to pass away. But, alas! the thought of death, and the natural clinging that we all have to life, make us sometimes wish that this world would last for ever, and that its form were not so transient as it is. Yet, wish as you may, you sons of men cannot make the form of this world remain; it will soon be gone, every jot of it; so may you all have a portion that shall last!

13. Once more, even this world’s religious forms will pass away. The time is coming when the Pharisee will no more stand and say, “God, I thank you, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.” Self-righteousness is a form that will not outlast the trial of hour of death. The time is coming when men will no longer be able to put their trust in priests, or to imagine that occult influences can flow from human hands into their souls. The foolish form of Ritualism and Ceremonialism will certainly pass away. It ought never to have existed, for it is a delusion and a snare; but it will pass away when HE comes who abhors it with all his soul. This world’s religion is sometimes that of mere formal orthodoxy, — the mental acceptance of a certain creed, the laying hold of certain dogmas, and fighting for the outward forms of them. All this is common enough in the religion with which many men are satisfied; but it will all pass away. In that day when nothing but genuine heart-work will endure the tests that will then be applied, and when only the real regenerating work of the Holy Spirit will be acceptable with the Most High, all mere head-knowledge and notional religion will have melted, and flowed away. Your unopened family Bibles with their great gilded clasps, your brass-bound Prayer-Books and hymn-books, your mere formal family prayers read out in so orderly a tone, with no heart in the performance, — all will pass away like the foam on the waters. What does God care for all that you have to say if you do not say it from your heart? What value does he set on a round of ceremonies if true soul-worship is absent from them? All mere outward godliness and fictitious religion will pass away; and how naked and ashamed will the worldly professor be when God shall strip him of his tawdry robes! How foul will they look who thought themselves clean! How horrible will be the leprosy on the brows of those who imagined that all was well because they covered their filthy sores from the sight of men! How desperate will be their doom who dreamed of going to heaven, yet who have never trusted in Christ’s great atoning sacrifice! May none of us have anything to do with this world’s form which will pass away, but may we all have that righteousness which will ensure to us everlasting life!

   We’ve no abiding city here;

   This may distress the worldling’s mind,

   But should not cost the saint a tear,

   Who hopes a better rest to find.

   We’ve no abiding city here;

   Sad truth, were this to be our home;

   But let this thought our spirits cheer,

   We seek a city yet to come.

   We’ve no abiding city here;

   Then let us live as pilgrims do:

   Let not the world our rest appear,

   But let us haste from all below.

This will suffice concerning the form of this world which passes away.

14. II. Now, just for a few minutes, I am going to try to show you, by way of contrast to what I have been saying, that THERE IS A FORM THAT WILL NOT PASS AWAY.

15. There are some things that will remain, and among them is, first, the life within the believer which God’s Holy Spirit has implanted. Do you know what it is, dear friends, to be “born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which lives and endures for ever?” He who has a mere notional religion, that springs from his own free will, will find that, sooner or later, it will die; but that incorruptible seed of the Holy Spirit, which constitutes us the living children of the last Adam, who was made a quickening Spirit, shall never die. That life did not come from mortal man, neither can the teeth of time gnaw it away, nor the arrows of death strike it. This is one of the things that does not pass away.

16. And, just as the inner life of the believer endures like this, so, thank God, the outward truth also does not pass away. There is not a single truth that is revealed in this blessed Book that shall ever become a lie. There is not one promise there that shall ever be revoked. What God has revealed, in his Word, is not for yesterday nor for today only, but for tomorrow, and until the world’s end, and throughout eternity. I know that there are those who would like to see a new Bible, or a revised version of it, — I mean a revised version of the original Scriptures to suit their depraved taste. They would gladly have what they call “new developments” and “fresh light” worthy of this “advanced” generation! But, beloved friends, there is nothing new in theology {b} but what is false; only the old is true, for truth must be old, as old as God himself. So let us rejoice that, whatever may happen, and although the form of this world shall surely pass away, there is not a single text between the covers of this Book that shall ever lose a bit of its truth and force. Oh, no; the old Book is not worn out, and the revelation it has brought to us will never grow stale. The promises well up with as rich consolation for us today as they did for the first of the martyr band. The solemn oath and covenant of God stand as firm and fixed today as when he first gave them to our forefathers; so let us cling to the Holy Word and to the doctrines of God’s grace, for these are among the things that are to endure for ever.

   Engraved as in eternal brass

      The mighty promise shines:

   Nor can the powers of darkness rase

      Those everlasting lines.

   He that can dash whole worlds to death,

      And make them when he please;

   He speaks, and that almighty breath

      Fulfils his great decrees.

   His very word of grace is strong

      As that which built the skies;

   The voice that rolls the stars along

      Speaks all the promises.

17. Yet again, as the life within, and the truth revealed, so the fruit of the inner life, in which we are led by the Holy Spirit and the Word, shall remain. Those who build a worldwide empire will lose all that they have laboured to gain. Men may pile up a city of marble only to see it become a heap of dust. But if you give a cup of cold water, in the name of Christ, to one who belongs to him, you shall not lose your reward. Every holy thought, every devout purpose, every thankful hymn, every earnest prayer, every true-hearted sermon, every good work that is done for God in the power of the Holy Spirit, lives beyond the possibility of death. The saints depart from earth, in due season; by why? “That they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” Their works are still present before the mind of God, and he accepts them. Not all that even Christians do shall remain, for “the fire shall test every man’s work of what kind it is.” Many a man, and many a good man too, shall lose much of what he did; — much of his preaching, much of his teaching, much of his so-called praying and alms-giving, shall prove to be only wood, hay, and stubble which shall be burned, though he himself, being on the rock, a believer in Christ, shall be “saved; yet so as by fire.” But happy is that man who so completely lives for God, and is so fully guided by the Holy Spirit and by the revealed truth of God, that he spends himself and is totally spent in his Master’s service, and so builds on the one foundation, which is Jesus Christ, not wood, hay, and stubble, but gold, silver, and precious stones, which shall be found to his own joy and to God’s glory in the great testing time that is surely coming.

18. Further, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, it is a very sweet reflection that, among the things that shall never pass away, are such as these: — the love that was fixed on us before the day-star knew its place or planets ran their round; the love that bought us on Calvary’s cross; the love that has prepared a place for us so that, where Jesus is, we may be there also, to be like him, and with him for ever; — that love shall never pass away. So, too, the power of God which brought us up out of Egypt, and is leading us through the wilderness, the power that has fought our battles, and has kept us safely to this day; — that power shall never pass away. Then, too, the fulness of God, on which we have lived, and from which we have been drinking such deep draughts to satisfy our great needs; — that fulness shall never pass away. There will come a time when everything of a spiritual kind, which we have rejoiced in here, instead of passing away, shall be brighter than ever to our sight, nearer to us, and better understood. Our true daylight draws near. It is twilight with us now, but not the twilight of the evening; it is the twilight of the dawn. Our pathway lies upward; we have already ascended somewhat, but we have to go far higher yet. Up the ladder that Jacob saw we pursue our joyful way, and there shall be no descent for us; there shall be no falling from the elevation to which grace lifts us up, “for the path of the just is as the shining light, that shines more and more to the perfect day.” We shall soon see the King in his beauty, and the land that is very far off. We may begin to put off our old weekday garments, for the heavenly Sabbath bells will soon ring out their welcome call. Let us shake ourselves from the dust, for our beautiful array is ready, and we shall soon sit down at the marriage supper of the Lamb. Eagerly anticipate — all of you who love the Lord Jesus Christ, — eagerly anticipate your better portion. You daughters of sickness, all your pains and pangs shall soon be over for ever. You children of poverty, your anxieties and griefs concerning your many needs shall soon be over. You toil-worn workers in the vineyard of Christ, and you who are oppressed with many cares, you shall be Marthas no longer, but you shall sit at Jesus’ feet for ever. As for you who have been mourning, and sighing, and crying, your weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Put off your sackcloth, for God shall gird you with the garment of praise. Forget the drought of the wilderness, for you shall soon be in the paradise of God, and at his right hand where there are pleasures for evermore.

   Oh Paradise eternal!

      What bliss to enter thee,

   And once within thy portals,

      Secure for ever be.

   There all around shall love us,

      And we return their love;

   One band of happy spirits,

      One family above.

   There God shall be our portion,

      And we his jewels be;

   And gracing his bright mansions,

      His smile reflect and see.

   Oh paradise eternal,

      What joys in thee are known!

   Oh God of mercy guide us,

      Till all be felt our own!

19. The gist of all I wanted to say is just this. Brothers and sisters, let us hold very loosely to everything here, but let us get a very firm grip on everything that is to be hereafter. Let the visible begin even now to melt away, and let the invisible take its true substantial form. If God has been prospering some of you, — and he has been very gracious and kind to some of his people in temporal matters, do not set your hearts on any of those things. Your garden your house, your children, your gold, — all the prosperity that God gives you, — accept it, rejoice in it, use it as you ought, but do not abuse it; these things are not your God; you have no permanent city here, but you seek one to come; and, oh, get a grip like steel on the things that are eternal! Never endure a doubt that Christ is really yours; if you have one, may the Holy Spirit cast it out, and give you the full assurance of faith! Never tolerate the question, “Is Christ mine?” If it must be raised, and it must sometimes, never be content until you have settled it. With your face in the dust, and your hands in the prints of your Saviour’s pierced feet, come now to him again; cling to him anew; make him your All in all; and so, when the shadows thicken, and the world grows dim, may the light stream full on your eyes, and your soul stretch her wings, and soar away to her eternal rest!

20. May the Lord bless you all, for Jesus Christ’s sake! Amen.

{a} Ignis Fatuus: A phosphorescent light seen hovering or flitting over marshy ground, and supposed to be due to the spontaneous combustion of an inflammable gas (phosphuretted hydrogen) derived from decaying organic matter; popularly called Will-o’-the-wisp, Jack-a-lantern, etc. OED.
{b} See The Old Gospel and the New Theology, Twelve Sermons, by C. H. Spurgeon. Limp cloth, 1s., post free 1s. 2d. (Passmore and Alabaster.)

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Joh 9:1-38}

1, 2. And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man who was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, “Master, who sinned, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?”

Christ’s disciples were often inquisitive even when their Master was intent on giving proofs of his practical benevolence. Fools may sometimes ask questions which wise men may not think it proper to answer; but, on this occasion, our Saviour gave an answer to the enquiry which his disciples had asked him.

3, 4. Jesus answered, “Neither has this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be revealed in him. I must work the works of him who sent me, while it is day: the night comes, when no man can work.

Think of our Lord being under the necessity of working: “I must work.” Men say that “Must is for the king”; but here is the King of kings declaring that work is, by the most urgent necessity, laid on him; so will you not, beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, come under this divine necessity? Will you not feel that you also must be doing all you can for your divine Lord and Master?

5. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

While Christ was here on earth, he was the great Light Giver, and he is still the great Light Giver; and now that his visible presence has been withdrawn from the world, his people are to be “the light of the world” by reflecting the light they have received from him. In such works as you will be unable to perform after death, you are now to give light to the sons of men.

6-9. So when he had spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam,” (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing. The neighbours therefore, and those who before had seen him that he was blind, said, “Is this not he who sat and begged?” Some said, “This is he:” others said, “He is like him:” but he said, “I am he.”

“There is no mistake about this; I know that I am that man.”

10,11. Therefore they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?” He answered and said, — 

In his own quick, clear, intelligent way, for he was a man who evidently had twice as many eyes in his brain as other people had, even while he had none with which he could see: “He answered and said,” — 

11-14. “A man who is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash’: and I went and washed, and I received sight.” Then they said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.” They brought him who previously was blind to the Pharisees. And it was the Sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes.

You may be sure that the Pharisees would be highly offended because Christ did that; for, according to their stupid superstition, to make clay with spittle was a kind of brick-making which must not be done on the Sabbath day, and they would, for that reason, condemn Christ as a breaker of the Sabbath.

15. Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he received his sight. He said to them, “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and see.”

Now that he has to deal with the Pharisees, he will not waste a word on them. The more often he tells the story, the shorter it becomes. That is not the usual rule with stories; they generally grow, like snowballs, as they roll along, until, at last, you would hardly recognise the original story, so much has been added to it as it has been told again and again. But this honest, straightforward man cuts the story down to the barest details, and yet tells it well.

16, 17. Therefore said some of the Pharisees, “This man is not from God, because he does not keep the Sabbath day.” Others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such miracles?” And there was a division among them. They say to the blind man again, “What do you say about him, because he has opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.”

He felt that he could safely go as far as that, for Jesus could not have performed such a miracle as that if he had not been a prophet sent by God.

18-21. But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him who had received his sight. And they asked them, saying, “Is this your son, whom you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” His parents answered them and said, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: but by what means he now sees, we do not know; or who has opened his eyes, we do not know: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself.”

These parents, though in humble life, were evidently, like their son, sharp and shrewd; so they referred the question to the one who knew how to answer it.

22-24. His parents spoke these words because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.” Then again they called the man who was blind, and said to him, — 

They wanted to see if they could catch him in his talk; so they said to him, in a very pious manner: — 

24. “Give God the praise: we know that his man is a sinner.”

Dear me! What wonderful “knowledge” those Pharisees had!

25. He answered and said, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I do not know: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.”

There was no driving him out of that stronghold. What is a matter of our own personal experience is a thing about which we may well feel positively certain. I wish we had more Christian people firmly established in their faith because it is a matter of deep, heart-felt, personal experience with them. I like to meet a man who can say, “I am willing to yield to opponents on certain points concerning which I am not quite sure; but the fact of the efficacy of the gospel of God’s grace, the power of the precious blood of Jesus to cleanse the heart and conscience, the divine operation of the Holy Spirit within the soul, — all these are truths which I cannot and will not yield. Like this man, I can say, ‘One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.’”

26, 27. Then they said to him again, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” He answered them, “I have told you already, and you did not hear: why would you hear it again? Will you also be his disciples?”

He carried the war into the enemy’s camp, as well he might.

28. Then they reviled him, — 

That is an unprincipled lawyer’s rule, — When you cannot answer the plaintiff’s argument, abuse him. This was the last resort of those who knew that they had a bad case, or no case at all: “Then they reviled him,” — 

28-31. And said, “You are his disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples. We know that God spoke to Moses: as for this fellow, we do not know where he is from.” The man answered and said to them, “Why herein is a marvellous thing, that you do not know where he is from, and yet he has opened my eyes. Now we know that God does not hear sinners:

The man meant, God does not open blind eyes by the hands of sinners. He does not work miracles to bear witness to the agency of ungodly men.

31-33. But if any man is a worshipper of God, and does his will, he hears him. Since the world began it has been unheard of that any man opened the eyes of one who was born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”

Bravo, you who used to be blind! What an irresistible thing truth is, whoever handles it! These Pharisees, keen of intellect, well instructed in the letter of the law, yet crafty, up to their eyes in self-conceit, are like the chaff driven before the wind when a plain-speaking man only handles the truth of the living God. Never be afraid or ashamed to spread the gospel of Christ, my brothers and sisters; no, — 

   Speak his Word, though kings should hear,

      Nor yield to sinful shame.

A beggar with the truth is mightier than priests and princes with a lie.

34. They answered and said to him,

What could they say to him? Nothing but more reviling and abuse.

34. “You were altogether born in sins, and do you teach us?” And they cast him out.

That is the last argument of all. “We cannot answer him, so let us turn him out!”

35. Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, — 

Oh, how he rejoices in finding those who are cast out by the world, or by the self-righteous: “When he had found him,” — 

35, 36. He said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?” He answered and said, — 

Note the humility of the man’s tone, how changed it is from that sharpness, that harshness to which he had been driven by his enemies: “He answered and said,” — 

36. “Who is he, Lord, that I might believe in him?”

He is a lamb before Christ though he was a lion before the Pharisees. That is the true Christian character, — gentle, tender, humble, meek, in the presence of the God of mercy, but with no trembling, no giving way in the presence of the adversaries of Christ and his truth.

37, 38. And Jesus said to him, “You have both seen him, and it is he who talks with you.” And he said, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshipped him.

He was no Unitarian: {c} “he worshipped him.” And you, beloved, cannot help worshipping him who has opened your eyes spiritually. It is those who are still blind who will not worship him; but once let us feel the touch of his light-giving finger, once let us know that he has shed his eternal light into the darkness of our souls, and we shall not be satisfied with the mere verbal affirmation of our faith, we shall add to it our reverent adoration, as this man did when he first said, “Lord, I believe”; and then “worshipped him.”

{c} Unitarian: One who affirms the unipersonality of the Godhead, especially as opposed to an orthodox Trinitarian. 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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