A Sermon Delivered On Sunday Morning, October 4, 1868, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.
With his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)
1. I received, one day this week, a short communication worded like this: “Wanted, a cure for a weak and doubting faith, especially when Satan discourages from prayer.” Anxiously desirous to prescribe cures for such maladies, and for any others which may vex the Lord’s people, I began to think about what the sacred remedies for such a case were, and I could only remember one, “The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” Our Lord Jesus is a tree of life for us, and by the leaves I suppose the Holy Spirit means the acts, words, promises, and lesser griefs of Jesus, all of which are for the healing of his people. Then my mind reverted to this kindred text: “With his stripes we are healed.” Not merely his bleeding wounds, but even those blue bruises of his flesh help to heal us; not alone the work of the nails and the spear, but the cruel handiwork of the rod and the scourge. Out of all this throng of believers, there are none quite free from spiritual diseases: one may be saying, “Mine is a weak faith”; another may confess, “Mine is distracted thoughts”; another may exclaim, “Mine is coldness of love”; and a fourth may have to lament his powerlessness in prayer. One remedy in natural things will not suffice for all diseases; and the moment that the quack begins to boast about his medicine as healing all, you shrewdly surmise that it heals none; but in spiritual things it is not so: there is a catholicon, a universal remedy, provided in the word of God for all spiritual sicknesses to which man can be subject, and that remedy is contained in the few words of my text—“With his stripes we are healed.”
2. I. I shall invite you, then, first of all, this morning, to consider THE MEDICINE ITSELF WHICH IS HERE PRESCRIBED—the stripes of our Saviour; not stripes laid upon our own back, nor tortures inflicted upon our own minds, but the grief which Jesus has endured for those who trust in him.
By the term “stripes,” no doubt the prophet understood here, first,
literally, those actual stripes which fell upon our Lord’s shoulders
when he was beaten by the Jews, and afterwards scourged by the Roman
soldiers. But the words intend far more than this. No doubt with his
prophetic eye Isaiah saw the stripes from that unseen scourge held in
the Father’s hand which did not fall upon the flesh of Jesus, but
upon his nobler inner nature when his soul was scourged for sin, when
eternal justice ploughed deep furrows upon his spirit; when the lash
fell with awful force again, and again, and again, upon the blessed
soul of him who was made a curse for us so that we might be made the
righteousness of God in him. I take the term “stripes” to comprehend
all the physical and spiritual sufferings of our Lord, with special
reference to those chastisements of our peace which preceded rather
than actually caused his sin atoning death: it is by these that our
souls are healed. “But why?” you say. First, then, because our Lord,
as a sufferer, was not a private person, but suffered as a public
individual, and an appointed representative. Your sins, in a certain
sense, end with yourself; but the sins of Adam could not do so, for
Adam stood before God as the representative of the human race, and
everything that he did brought its dire effects upon all his
descendants. Now, our Saviour is the second Adam, the second federal
head and representative of men, and all that he did, and all that he
suffered, goes for the behalf of all those whom he represented. His
holy life is the inheritance of his people, and his suffering death,
with all its pangs and griefs, belongs to those whom he represented,
for they did in effect suffer in him, and offer in him a vindication
to divine justice. Our Lord was appointed by God to stand in the
place of his people. A divine decree had gone out sanctioning his
substitution, so that when he volunteered to be the representative of
guilty men God accepted him, having foreordained him to that very
purpose. So then, beloved, let us never forget that all which Jesus
endured came upon him not at all as a private individual, but fell
upon him as the great public representative of those who believe in
him. Hence the effects of his griefs are applied to us, and we are
healed with his stripes. His blood, his passions, and his death, make
atonement for us, and deliver us from the curse, while his bruises,
smarts, and stripes, make up a matchless medicine to allay our
Behold how every wound of his
A precious balm distils,
Which heals the scars that sin had made,
And cures all mortal ills.
May it never be forgotten, too, that our Lord was not merely man, or else his sufferings could not have availed for the multitude who now are healed by them. He was God as well as man; and it is the most mysterious and marvellous of all facts that God should be revealed in the flesh, and seen by angels, and that in the flesh the Son of God should most really and certainly die, and be buried, and lie for three days in the tomb. The incarnation with its subsequent humiliation is to be believed, and accepted as an ever memorable display of condescension: the Saviour stoops from the highest throne of glory to the cross of deepest woe; neither cherubim nor seraphim can measure the mighty distance, imagination wearies its wing in attempting the tremendous flight. For every stripe that falls upon our Emmanuel you are to consider that it does not fall merely upon a man, but upon one who is co-equal and co-eternal with the Father. Although the Deity did not suffer, yet it was in so intimate a connection with the humanity, that it infused supernatural power into the human body, and no doubt added incredibly wondrous merit to all his bitter human foes. Oh! what a rock we have to rest upon—a substitute covered with stripes—a substitute appointed and accepted by God, and that substitute himself God over all for ever blessed, and therefore able to bear for us what we could never have borne except by lying for ever in the lowest pit of hell.
4. Brethren, we all believe that our Saviour’s sufferings heal us from the curse by being presented before God as a substitute for what we owe to his divine law. But healing is a work that is carried on within, and the text rather leads me to speak of the effect of the stripes of Christ upon our characters and natures than upon the result produced in our position before God. We know that the Lord has pardoned and justified us through the precious blood of Jesus, but the question of this morning rather is how these griefs and pangs help to deliver us from the disease of sin which previously reigned within us. It was necessary however, that I should mention first, the justifying power of Jesus’ blood, because apart from our belief in Jesus as a substitute, and as divine, there is no power in his example to heal us of sin. Men have studied that example and admired it, but have remained as vile as before. They have criticized his beauty, but have not been enamoured by his person. It is only when they have rested in him as divine that they have afterwards come to feel the potency of those wondrous cords of love which his example always wraps around forgiven spirits. They have learned to love Jesus, and then their admiration has become a practical thing, but mere admiration, apart from love for him and faith in him, is a cold barren moonlight which ripens no fruit of holiness. Beloved, the stripes of Jesus operate upon our character, principally because we see in him a perfect man suffering for offences that were not his own; we see in him a glorious Lord, who, although he was rich, yet for our sakes became poor; we behold in him the paragon of perfect disinterested affection; we see in him a fidelity never to be excelled when through the pangs of death he followed on to work out the purpose of his heart, the salvation of his people; and as we look at him and study his character as it is revealed by his griefs, we become moved by it, and the spiritual evils which had rule over us are dethroned, and through the power of the Spirit the image of Jesus Christ is stamped upon our natures. Jesus dying justifies us; Jesus smitten sanctifies us. His cruel flagellations are our refinings; his buffetings are blows at our sins; his bruises mortify our lusts. So much then upon the medicine that heals us, it is the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ, as understood in our intellects and beloved in our hearts, and especially those incidents of ignominy and cruelty which surrounded that death with deeper gloom, and revealed the patience and love of the substitute.
5. II. I shall ask you now for a brief moment to behold THE MATCHLESS CURES ACCOMPLISHED BY THIS REMARKABLE MEDICINE.
6. Look at two pictures. Look at man without the stricken Saviour; and then behold man with the Saviour, healed by his stripes. I say, look at man originally and apart from the Saviour. Naked, he is driven out of Eden’s garden, the heir of the curse. Within him lies concealed the deadly cancer of sin. If you would see that evil which dwells in everyone of us from our very birth developing itself upon the surface, you might soon see it in all its horror near at home, a street or two would conduct you to sin’s carnival; but perhaps it would be better that you should not gaze upon so polluting a scene. In the gambling halls, in the haunts where drunkards congregate, where thieves assemble, amidst oaths and blasphemies, and lewd language and lascivious acts—it is there that sin stalks as a full grown monster. In the moral and educated natural man, sin apparently sleeps like a coiled up viper; a thing in appearance little to be dreaded, quiet and powerless as a poor worm; but when man is allowed to have his own way, before long he feels the viper’s tooth, the poisoned fang envenoms all his blood, and you see the proof of its deadly poison in overt and abundant sin: men become covered with the visible blotches of iniquity, so that the spiritual eye can see in their character the leprosy completely covering them, and all manner of abominations, worse than the rottenness of the deadliest of fleshly diseases, constantly exuding from their souls. If we could see sin as it appears to the all discerning eye of the Eternal, we should be more shocked at the sight of sin than by a vision of hell; for there is in hell something which purity approves, it is the vindication of righteousness, it is justice triumphant; but in sin itself there is abomination, and only abomination; it is something out of joint with the whole system of the universe; it is a miasma dangerous to all spiritual life; a plague, a pest full of dangers to everything that breathes. Sin is a monster, a hideous thing, a thing which God will not look upon, and which pure eyes cannot behold but with the utmost detestation. A flood of tears is the proper medium through which a Christian should look at sin.
7. If you wish to see what sin can do, you have only to look into your own heart with an illuminated eye. Ah, what mischief lurks there! You hate sin, my brother, I know you do, since Christ has visited you with the dayspring from on high; but with all your hatred of sin you must acknowledge that it still lurks within you. You find yourself envious, you who hate envy; you find yourself thinking harsh thoughts of God, you who still love him and would lay down your lives for him; you find yourself provoked suddenly to anger against the very friend to whose call you would cheerfully yield your all. Yes, we do the thing we would not wish to do, through the power of sin; and sin degrades and debases us—we cannot look within without being shocked at the baseness to which our mind in secret descends. If you anxiously desire to see sin in the full come here, and gaze down the fathomless abyss. Listen to those blasphemous execrations. If you have the courage, listen to those mingled cries of misery and passion which come up from Tophet, from the abodes of lost spirits. Sin is ripe there; here it is green. Here we see its darkness as the shades of evening, but there it is tenfold night. Here it scatters firebrands, but there its quenchless conflagrations flame on for ever and ever. Oh! if we only have grace to be rid of sin now, the riddance will save us from the wrath to come. Sin, indeed, is hell, hell in embryo, hell in essence, hell kindling, hell emerging from the shell: hell is only sin when it has revealed and developed itself to the full. Stand at the gates of Tophet and understand how foul the disease for which heaven’s remedy is provided in the stripes of the Only Begotten.
Now, beloved, I said I would show you the cure, and I have only feebly
talked about the disease itself to let you see the greatness of the
change by contrast. Observe, beloved, you who have believed in Jesus,
observe already what a change the stripes of Christ have made in you;
since the dear hour that brought you to his feet, what different men
have you been! Indeed, in your case instead of the thorn has come up
the fir tree, and instead of the brier has come up the myrtle tree.
You who were once the blind slaves of Satan are now the rejoicing
children of God. The things which you once loved, though God abhorred
them, you now also detest very heartily; God’s mind and yours are now
agreed concerning darkness and light; you no longer exchange the one
for the other. How changed you are! You are a new creature; alive
from the dead. And what has done it? what indeed except faith in the
Crucified and contemplation of his wounds? Yet in you, dear friend,
the healing is very far from being perfect; if you want to see
perfect spiritual health, look up there to those white robed hosts
who jubilantly stand without fault before the throne of God: search
them through and through, and they are undefiled; let even the All
Seeing Eye rest upon them, and they are without spot or wrinkle or
any such thing. How is this? Where did they wash these snow white
garments, once so much defiled? They answer with joyful music, “We
have washed our robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
Ask them from where their victory came over indwelling sin—
They with united breath
Ascribe their victories to the Lamb
Their conquests to his death.
They will all tell you that the perfect healing which they have received, and which today they enjoy before the throne of God, is the result of the Saviour’s passion. “With his stripes,” say the ten thousand times ten thousand, with a voice that is loud as thunder and as sweet as harpers harping with their harps—“with his stripes we are healed.”
9. III. Now I want for you to notice, dear brethren, in detail, and yet so briefly as not to weary you, THE MALADIES WHICH THIS WONDROUS MEDICINE REMOVES. I shall not attempt to give you a complete list, for they are more than I can count, but no matter how many there are, there is not one which the stripes of Jesus cannot heal.
10. I would remind you, first, that the great root of all this mischief—the curse which fell on man through Adam’s sin—is already effectively removed. Jesus took it upon himself, and was made a curse for us, and now there can fall no curse upon any of those for whom Jesus died as a substitute. They are the blessed of the Lord, yes, and they shall be blessed, let hell curse them as it may. The curse has spent its fury; like a thunderstorm, which once threatened to sweep all before it, but is now lulled to calm, divine wrath has passed away, and showers of mercy are now following it, making glad the thirsty heart. Brethren, Christ has cured us already, most effectively, of the curse of God upon us. But I am now to speak of diseases which we have felt and bemoaned, and which still trouble the family of God.
11. One of the first which was healed by the stripes of Christ was the mania of despair. Ah, well do I remember when I thought there was no hope for me. How was it possible, my heart asked, that my sins could be forgiven consistently with the justice of God? I propounded that question to my soul again, and again, and again, but no answer could I find from within; and even when I read the word I did not perceive—though it is most clearly there—the answer to that great question. But, beloved, when I first understood that Jesus Christ stood in the place of all those who believe in him, and that, if I trusted him my sins were all forgiven, because they had been already punished in the person of my blessed substitute, then I had no longer a reason for despair; then I listened to the word of the gospel, feeling, “There is hope for me, even for me.” When I understood that there was nothing expected from me in order to secure salvation, but that all must come from Jesus; that I was not to be wounded, nor to be made to smart, but that he had been smitten and had been made to bleed on my behalf; and that my life must be found in his death, and my healing in his wounds, then hope sprung up—bright eyed hope—and my soul turned to her Father and her God with loving expectations. Was it not so with you? Beloved, did you ever have a comforting confidence in God until you had seen the stripes of Jesus? If you are wrapped up in a peace that did not come from Christ’s stripes, I implore you get rid of it, for it is a presumption which will surely destroy you. The only sure, solid, everlasting peace that can ever come to a palpitating human heart, beating painfully under the pressure of sin, is what springs from looking at that blessed Son of God who on the tree poured out his life floods so that we might be saved by him. The stripes of Christ are the true remedy for the mania of despair.
Then if afterwards we suffer from any hardness of heart, and there is
a sickness of the soul well known as the stony heart, there is no
obtaining tenderness except by standing long, yes, always remaining
at the foot of the cross. When I feel myself insensitive to spiritual
things (and I blush to say that it is a common feeling)—when I want
to but cannot pray, when I want to but cannot repent, when,
If aught is felt, ’tis only pain
To find I cannot feel.
I have always found that I cannot flog myself into feeling by the threatenings of God, nor by the terrors of the law; but when I can come to the cross, just as I did years ago, a poor guilty one, and believe that the Redeemer has put all my sins away, black as I am; and that God neither can nor will condemn me, hardened as I feel myself to be, ah! then, the sense of blood bought pardon soon dissolves a heart of stone. I do not believe there is anything that can so effectively make the ice within us melt, and so speedily thaw the great glaciers of our inner nature, as the love of Jesus Christ. Oh! but that will touch you, man. It will create a soul within the ribs of death. There is a secret spring within the heart upon which the finger of the crucified hand is placed, and the soul arises from its deadly slumbers. Christ has the key of the house of David, and he can open the door so that neither man nor devil can shut it; and out of that opened heart shall proceed godly thoughts, heavenly aspirations, sacred passions, and heaven born resolves. The best cure for indifference will be found in the stripes of Jesus. See the bloody sweat drops, oh believer, and will you not melt? See Jesus kissed by the traitor, led away with a rabble guard, slandered by deceitful witnesses, tried by cruel adversaries, buffeted by soldiers, defiled with spittle; see him afterwards hounded along the streets of Jerusalem, and then fastened to the transverse beam; behold him bleeding out his blessed life for love for us who were his enemies, and if this tragedy does not melt you, what will? Oh God of heaven, if we feel no tenderness in the presence of your dying Son, of what hell hardened steel must our souls be made!
13. At times believers are subject to the paralysis of doubt, and as my friend has said just now in his request for a remedy, that paralysis may be attended also with a stiffness of the knee joint of prayer; and when these two complaints go together, we suffer from a complicated disease for which it is not easy to prescribe; and yet it is easy for the Lord to do so, see here the remedy, “With his stripes we are healed.” The blood of Christ is a deadly thing to unbelief. A sight of the Crucified strikes unbelief dumb, so that it cannot mutter a single questioning word; while faith begins to sing and to rejoice as she sees what Jesus did, and how Jesus died. Who would not pray as he sees Jesus’ blood upon the mercy seat? The consideration of the new and living way which Christ has opened by his blood, a view of the veil of the Saviour’s body opened by his death, will, if anything, induce men to pray. I think I could use arguments which might be blessed to drive men to their knees, such as the danger of a prayerless spirit, such as the enriching influence of the mercy seat, such as the delights of communion with God, and many other things, but after all, if the cross does not draw a man to his knees nothing will; and if a contemplation of the sufferings of Jesus do not constrain us to draw very near to God in prayer, surely the chief remedy itself has failed.
There are some saints who have numbness of soul: the stripes of
Christ can best quicken them; deadness dies in the presence of his
death, and rocks break when the Rock of Ages is seen as cleft for us.
Who can think, without admiring?
Who can hear, and nothing feel?
See the Lord of life expiring,
Yet retain a heart of steel?
Many are subject to the fever of pride, but a sight of Jesus in his humiliation, opposed by sinners, will tend to make them humble. Pride drops her plumes when she hears the cry, “Behold the Man!” In the company of one so great, enduring so much scorn, there is no room for vanity. Some are covered with the leprosy of selfishness, but if anything can forbid a man to lead a selfish life it is the life of Jesus, who saved others—himself he could not save. Misers, and gluttons, and self-seekers, do not love the Saviour, for his whole conduct upbraids them. Upon some the fit of anger often comes; but what can give gentleness of spirit like the sight of him who was as a lamb dumb before her shearers, and who did not open his mouth under blasphemy and rebuke? If any of you feel the fretting consumption of worldliness, or the cancer of covetousness—for such rank diseases as these are common in Zion—still the groans and griefs of the Man of sorrows, acquainted with grief, will prove a cure. All evils vanish before the Lord Jesus, even as the shadows vanish before the sun. Lash us, Master, to your cross; we shall fear no fatal shipwreck if fastened there. Bind us with cords to the horns of the altar; no disease can come there: the sacrifice purifies the air. We might go through hell itself, Saviour, all unharmed with its pestilent vapour, if we could only have your cross before our eyes. It would not be possible that all the blasphemy of demons and of the vilest of men could pollute our spirits for so much as a moment, if your blood was always sprinkled on the tablets of our hearts, and your deep humiliation always present in our minds. Forgetfulness of the stripes lands us in disease; but the sweet remembrance of the passion and a blessed absorption in the mystery of the Master’s death, will surely expel all evils from us, and keep us from returning to them again.
15. IV. I must now pass on to yet a fourth point. Observe carefully THE CURATIVE PROPERTIES OF THE MEDICINE OF WHICH WE HAVE BEEN SPEAKING.
16. You have heard of some of the diseases in detail as well as the cure on a large scale; now observe the curative properties of the medicine; for this divine remedy works all manner of good in our spiritual constitution. The stripes of Jesus when well considered arrest spiritual disorder. The man is brought to view his Lord as suffering for him, and a voice says to his rising lusts, “So far shall you come, but no farther. Here at Calvary shall your proud waves be stopped.” My feet had almost gone, my steps had almost slipped, if my Master’s cross had not stood before me, as a most effective barrier to catch me in my fall. Many a man has gone post haste onward unchecked by any power until a vision of the Man, the crucified Man, has appeared before his eyes, and he has been brought to a blessed halt. Read the memorable life of Colonel Gardiner, for what happened to him literally has happened to tens of thousands spiritually—they have been enlisted to sin, and sold to Satan, but a sight of the Saviour slain for sinners has made them stop, and henceforth they have no longer dared to offend. Now, it is a great thing for a physician to find a remedy which will hold the disease within bounds so that it does not reach the direst stage of malignity; and this the cross of Christ does, it binds in chains the fury of unhallowed passion. What a miraculous power the griefs of Jesus have upon the believer! Although his corruption is still within him yet it cannot have dominion over him, because he is not under the law but under grace. It is a happier fact still that sin shall before long be utterly abolished, but to stop it meanwhile until it is eradicated is no small thing.
17. This medicine, in the next place, quickens all the powers of the spiritual man to resist the disease. “By his stripes we are healed,” because a sight of Jesus Christ quickens our newborn nature. It forbids us to live at the poor dying rate so natural to our sluggishness. We cannot have Christ before our eyes and yet go slumbering on to heaven as though spiritual work were only a dream, or a mere child’s play. He who has really gone into the hall where Christ was scourged, and seen the streams of blood as they poured down his furrowed shoulders, and felt that they were all for him, has had his spiritual pulse quickened and his whole spiritual life stirred. This fire has helped to burn sin out of its nest. This power within the soul has set up a counter attack and pushed back the advancing powers of iniquity.
18. The stripes of Jesus Christ also have another curative effect; they restore to the man what he lost in strength by sin. There is a recuperative power in this sacred medicine. He brings my wandering feet back to the ways which I forsook, and the way back is by the cross. He restores my soul, and the food he gives me to feed upon is his own flesh and blood. After sin has brought us into sickness, and sickness into weakness, there is no restorative under heaven that is equal to living in a constant daily sense of the vicarious sufferings of Jesus Christ. His sweet love so clearly shown in his torments at Golgotha encourages us; we feel that with such a Saviour always caring for us, we have no need to be alarmed.
19. This medicine also soothes the agony of conviction. Anguish of heart vanishes when Jesus is seen as bearing the chastisement of our peace. He who gets to Christ’s cross and trusts in him feels that sin is still present in him, and mourns over it, but yet he rejoices because he understands that Christ has overcome his enemies, and led them captive at his chariot wheels. “I shall overcome,” he says; and the sharpness of the present struggle is not felt. “My sin is for ever put away,” he says, for Jesus died, and there is no room for remorse, or terror, or despair. Drink of the spiced wine from atoning love, and remember your misery no more, oh you sin burdened heir of immortality.
20. But best of all, the stripes of Christ have an eradicating power concerning sin. They pull it up by the root; they destroy the beasts in their lair; they put to death the power of sin in our members. I do not know how near to perfection in this life a believer may be brought, but God forbid that I should set up some low degree of grace as being all that a saint can reach this side the grave. I dare not limit my Master’s power concerning how far he may subdue sin even in this life in the believer, but I expect never to be perfect until I shuffle off this mortal coil; yet the grand result is none the less glorious; absolute perfection is our heritage; we shall be freed from the least tendency to evil; there will remain in us no more possibilities of sinning than in the person of our Lord himself. We shall be as pure as the thrice holy God himself, as immaculate as the ever sinless Saviour; and all this will be through our Master’s stripes. Sanctification, after all, is by the blood of Christ. The Holy Spirit works it, but the instrumentality is the blood. He is the Physician, but the sufferings of Christ are the medicine. Sin is never destroyed except by faith in Jesus. All your meditations upon the evil of sin, and all your shiverings at the punishment of it, and all your soul humblings and prostrations will never kill sin. It is at the cross that God has set up a mighty gibbet upon which he hangs sin for ever, and puts it to death; it is there at Golgotha, but only there. The great execution ground, the Tyburn (a) of our iniquity, is there where Jesus died. Wrestling believer, you must go to your Lord’s agonies, and learn to be crucified with him with respect to sin, for otherwise you shall never know the art of mastering your evil passions and being sanctified in the spirit. So I have tried to describe the healing force which resides in the stripes of Jesus.
21. V. Now just a moment or two in the fifth place—I am afraid you will think my divisions are very many and very dry, but still I cannot help that—I want you to review for a minute THE MODES OF THE WORKING OF THIS MEDICINE.
22. How does it work? Briefly, its effect upon the mind is this. The sinner hearing about the death of the incarnate God is led by the force of truth and the power of the Holy Spirit to believe in the incarnate God. The cure is already begun. The moment the sinner believes, the axe is laid at the root of the dominion of Satan. He no sooner learns to trust the appointed Saviour than his cure has certainly commenced and will shortly be carried on to perfection. After faith comes gratitude. The sinner says, “I trust in the incarnate God to save me. I believe he has saved me.” Well, what is the natural result? The soul being grateful, thankful, how can it help exclaiming, “Blessed be God for this unspeakable gift!” and “Blessed be this dear Son who so freely laid down his life for me!” It would not be natural at all; it would be something less even than humanity, if the sense of such favour did not foster gratitude. The next emotion to gratitude is love. Has he done all this for me? Am I under such obligations? Then I will love his name. The very next thought to love is obedience. What shall I do to please my Redeemer? How can I fulfil his commandments and bring honour to his name? Do you not see that the sinner is being healed most rapidly? His disease was that he was altogether out of harmony with God, and resisted the divine law, but now look at him! with tears in his eyes he is lamenting that he ever offended; he is groaning and grieving that he could have pierced so dear a friend, and put him to such sorrows, and he is asking, with love and earnestness, “What can I do to show that I loathe myself for the past, and that I love Jesus for the future.” Now he goes a step farther and he burns with hatred against the sins which killed the Lord. “Did my sins kill Christ? Was it my iniquity that nailed him to the tree? Then I will have vengeance upon my sins: there is not one that I will spare. Although it nestles in my bosom I will tear it out, and if it shall entrench itself so that I cannot drive it out except by losing an eye or an arm, it shall come out; for not one of this accursed crew will I harbour within my spirit.” Now the man’s sacred zeal and burning indignation is issuing a search warrant, and he is going through and through his nature to search for sin, crying meanwhile, “Search me, oh God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.” Now, beloved, do you not see that all the healthy faculties of the newborn nature are by the griefs of Jesus set strongly at work, and even though sin may still remain within, there is a vitality about the newborn nature which will certainly cast out those baser powers, and, by God’s grace, make the man fit to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light?
23. VI. It is scarcely necessary for me to say any more, except to remark, in the sixth place, that this medicine deserves to be commended to all of you this morning, because of ITS REMARKABLY EASY APPLICATION.
24. I have shown you how it works, and what it cures, and whom it cures. Now, there are some materia medica which would be curative, but they are so difficult to administer, and attended with so much risk in their operation, that they are rarely if ever employed; but the medicine prescribed in the text is very simple in itself, and very simply received—so simple is its reception that, if there is a willing mind here to receive it, it may be received by any of you at this very instant, for God’s Holy Spirit is present to help you. How, then, does a man get the stripes of Christ to heal him? Why, like this. First, he hears about them. Now, you have heard often about my Lord’s stripes. Next, faith comes by hearing; that is, the hearer believes that Jesus is the Son of God, and he trusts in him to save his soul. Then, having believed, the next thing is, whenever the power of his faith begins to wane, he goes to hearing again, or else to what is even better, after once having heard to his benefit, he resorts to contemplation; he resorts to the Lord’s table so that he may be helped by the outward signs; he reads the Bible so that the letter of the word may refresh his memory concerning its spirit, and he often seeks a season of quiet, such as David had when he sat before the Lord, closing his eyes and shutting up his heart to all besides the things of heaven; he views Christ groaning in the garden, pictures him upon the bloody tree, sees him suffering, and so acquires for himself all the benefit which can be drawn from the stripes of the Crucified. All you have to do, poor sinner, is simply to trust and you are healed; and all you have to do, oh backsliding saint, is only to contemplate and to believe again. Beloved, we must let the old image be stamped afresh upon our soul, we must have the picture cleansed as it were—it has been turned with its front to the wall, turn it around and sit and study it again. Renew your old acquaintance with the sweet lover of your soul, return to the love of your espousals, return to Calvary, tarry in Gethsemane, live with Jesus wherever he may be; in retirement, considering, meditating, reflecting upon what he has done for you. This is the simple mode of application.
25. VII. All I have to say in conclusion is, since the medicine is so efficacious, since it is already prepared and freely presented, I do beseech you TAKE IT.
26. Take it, brethren, you who have known its power in years gone by. Do not let backslidings continue, but come to his stripes afresh. Take it, you doubters, lest you sink into despair: come to his stripes anew. Take it, you who are beginning to be self-confident and proud. You need this to bring you on your faces again in prostration before your Lord. And, oh you who have never believed in him, on this morning of clear shinings after the rain may the Lord give you also to come and trust in him, and you shall live. “Oh,” writes one to me this week, “I have believed that Jesus died for me, but it does not keep me from sinning in any way whatever. Our minister says that if we believe that Jesus died for us we shall be saved.” No, no, but that is not the gospel, and such a belief is not faith at all. I did not wonder that a poor creature should have tried such a gospel and found it to fail. Do not these men say that Christ died for everyone, and then declare that if you believe he died for you (which he must of necessity have done if he died for everyone) then that will save you, and yet there are scores and hundreds who are proofs to the fact that it does not save them, but that they can believe this universal redemption and live as they did before?
This is faith, namely to trust Jesus Christ. It is the only saving
faith. You cannot rely on him and remain unhealed; you cannot take
Jesus for your confidence and remain just as you were, for there is a
potency about Christ, as applied by faith, which changes the
character, and makes the sinner a new man to the praise and glory of
God. May my Lord bless you for his own sake. Amen.
[Portion of Scripture Read Before Sermon—Matthew 26:57-68 27:27-31]
(a) Tyburn was used for centuries as the primary location of the execution of London criminals; the Old Bailey was the main criminal court of London.
“The New Theology”
One of the most prominent preachers of the so called “New
Theology” has recently given fresh currency to the old Jewish idea
that Isaiah 53 applies to the prophet Jeremiah! The following Sermons
by C. H. Spurgeon, all upon various verses of this chapter, show what
he thought about the matter:—
(See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1075, “A Root out of a Dry Ground” 1066)
(See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1099, “The Man of Sorrows” 1090)
(See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3033, “Why Christ Is Not Esteemed” 3034)
(See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2499, “Christopathy” 2500)
(See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 834, “The Universal Remedy” 825)
(See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1068, “A Simple Remedy” 1059)
(See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2000, “Healing by the Stripes of Jesus” 2001)
(See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2887, “A Dire Disease Strangely Cured” 2888)
(See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 694, “Sin Laid on Jesus” 685)
(See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 925, “Individual Sin Laid on Jesus” 916)
(See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1543, “The Sheep before the Shearers” 1543)
(See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 173, “The Death of Christ” 166)
(See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 561, “Expiation” 552)
(See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2186, “Our Expectation” 2187)
(See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2963, “Unmitigated Prosperity” 2964)
(See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 458, “The Friend of Sinners” 449)
(See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1385, “Jesus Interceding for Transgressors” 1376)
(See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2070, “Christ’s Connection with Sinners the Source of his glory.” 2071)