Blessed Affliction

“Lord, behold, he whom Thou lovest is sick.”- John 11:3

Affliction of some sort is one of the marks of the true-born child of God, and it frequently happens that the trial takes the form of illness. Shall we therefore wonder that we have to take our turn in the sick chamber? If Job, and David, and Hezekiah must each one smart, who are we that we should be amazed because we are in ill-health?

Nor is it remarkable that we are sick if we reflect upon the great benefit which often flows from it to ourselves. I do not know what peculiar improvement may have been wrought in Lazarus, but many a disciple of Jesus would have been of small use if he had not been afflicted. Strong men are apt to be harsh, imperious, and unsympathetic, and therefore they need to be put into the furnace, and melted down. I have known Christian women who would never have been so gentle, tender, wise, experienced, and holy if they had not been mellowed by physical pain. There are fruits in God’s garden as well as in man’s which never ripen till they are bruised. Young women who are apt to be volatile, conceited, or talkative, are often trained to be full of sweetness and light by sickness after sickness, by which they are taught to sit at Jesus’ feet. Many have been able to say with the psalmist, “It is good for me to have been afflicted, that I might learn thy statutes.” For this reason even such as are highly favoured and blessed among women may feel a sword piercing through their hearts. ~ C.H. Spurgeon


Grace Unto Christ-likeness

For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. – Romans 6:14

My Lord, have I sinned against Thee so many times, and yet hast Thou freely forgiven me all? What stronger motive could I have for keeping me from sinning again? Ah, there are some who are saying this is licentious doctrine. A thousand devils rolled into one, must the man be who can find any licentiousness here. What! go and sin because I am forgiven? Go and live in iniquity because Jesus Christ took my guilt and suffered in my room and stead? Human nature is bad enough, but methinks this is the very worst state of human nature, when it tries to draw an argument for sin from the free grace of God. It is far harder to sin against the blood of Christ, and against a sense of pardon, than it is against the terrors of the law and the fear of hell itself. I know that when my soul is most alarmed by a dread of the wrath of God, I can sin with comfort compared with what I could when I have a sense of His love shed abroad in my heart. What more monstrous! to read your title clear, and sin?

“Now, for the love I bear His name,
What was my gain, I count my loss;
My former pride I call my shame,
And nail my glory to His cross.”

Yes, and I must, and will esteem all things but loss for Jesus’ sake. O may my soul be found in Him, perfect in His righteousness! This will make you live near to Him: this will make you like unto Him. Do not think that this doctrine by dwelling on it will make you think lightly of sin. It will make you think of it as a hard and stern executioner to put Christ to death; as an awful load that could never be lifted from you except by the eternal arm of God; and then you will come to hate it with all your soul, because it is rebellion against a loving and gracious God, and you shall by this means be led to walk in the footsteps of your Lord Jesus, and to follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. ~C.H. Spurgeon

The Rod of Our Chastening God

For the rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous – Psalm 125:3

You are never liable as a believer to punishment for your sins. You will be chastised on account of them, as a father chastises his child; that is a part of the Gospel dispensation; but you will not be smitten for your sins as the lawgiver smites the criminal. Your Father may often punish you as He punisheth the wicked. But, never for the same reason. The ungodly stand on the ground of their own demerits; their sufferings are awarded as their due deserts. But your sorrows do not come to you as a matter of desert; they come to you as a matter of love…I know some people say, “You deserved the trouble.”…But I know that the rod of the covenant is as much the gift of grace as the blood of the covenant. It is not a matter of desert or merit; it is given to us because we need it. But I question whether we were ever so good as to deserve it. We were never able to get up to so high a standard as to deserve so rich, so gracious a providence as this covenant blessing, the rod of our chastening God. Never at any time in your life has a law-stroke fallen upon you. Since you believed in Christ you are out of the law’s jurisdiction…You are not under the law, but you are under grace… You are not the son of Hagar or the son of a handmaid, you are the son of Sarah, and are come to Jerusalem and are free…You are a child of promise, and you shall have God’s own inheritance. Believe this, that never shall a law-stroke fall on you; never shall God’s anger in a judicial sense drop on you. He may give you a chastising stroke, not as the result of sin, but rather as the result of His own rich grace, that would get the sin out of you, that you may be perfected in sanctification, even as you are now perfect and complete before Him in the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ.~ C.H. Spurgeon

Yet Perfect in Christ

For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do….O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. – Romans 7:19, 24-25

You ask, “What if a child of God should fall into sin?” I answer, the child of God does fall into sin; every day he mourns and groans because when he would do good, evil is present with him. But though he falls into sins, he is not condemned for all that-not by one of them, or by all of them put together, because his acceptance does not depend upon himself, but upon the perfect righteousness of Christ; and that perfect righteousness is not invalidated by any sins of his. He is perfect in Christ; and until Christ is imperfect, the imperfections of the creature do not mar the justification of the believer in the sight of God. But oh! if he fall into some glaring sin,-O God, keep us from it!-if he fall into some glaring sin, he shall go with broken bones, but he shall reach heaven for all that. Though, in order to try him and let him see his vileness, he be suffered to go far astray, yet He that bought him will not lose him; He that chose him will not cast him away; He will say unto him, “I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for Mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” David may go never so far away, but David is not lost. He comes back and he cries, “Have mercy upon me, O God!” And so shall it be with every believing soul-Christ shall bring him back.

If I have been speaking to a backslider, I pray he will not make a bad use of what I have said. Let me say to him, “Poor backslider! thy Father’s bowels yearn over thee; He has not erased thy name out of the registry. Come back, come back now to Him and say, ‘Receive me graciously, and love me freely’; and He will say, ‘I will put you among the children.’ He will pass by your backsliding and will heal your iniquities; and you shall yet stand once more in His favour, and know yourself to be still accepted in the Redeemer’s righteousness and saved by His blood.” ~ C.H. Spurgeon

Your Faith Will Be Exercised

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ – 1 Peter 1:7

Your faith will be exercised. An untried faith will be no faith at all. God never gave men faith without intending to try it. Faith is received for the very purpose of endurance. Just as our Rifle Corps friends put up the target with the intention of shooting at it; so does God give faith with the intention of letting trials and troubles, and sin and Satan aim all their darts at it. When thou hast faith in Christ it is a great privilege; but recollect that it involves a great trial. You asked for great faith the other night; did you consider that you asked for great troubles too? You cannot have great faith to lay up and rust. Mr. Greatheart in John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress was a very strong man, but then what strong work he had to do. He had to go with all those women and children many scores of times up to the celestial city and back again; he had to fight all the giants, and drive back all the lions; to slay the giant Slaygood, and knock down the Castle of Despair. If you have a great measure of faith, you will have need to use it all… But when your faith is exercised with trials, do not think you are brought into judgment for your sins. Oh no, believer, there is plenty of exercise, but that is not condemnation; there are many trials, but still we are justified; we may often be buffeted, but we are never accursed; we may ofttimes be cast down, but the sword of the Lord never can and never will smite us to the heart…If you are really resting in Christ, though your faith may be but as a spark, and a thousand devils may try to quench that one spark, yet you are not condemned-you shall stand accepted in Christ. ~ C.H. Spurgeon

Effectual Justification

Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. – Romans 8:34

The non-condemnation is effectual. The royal privilege of justification shall never miscarry. It shall be brought home to every believer. In the reign of King George the Third, the son of a member of this church lay under sentence of death for forgery. My predecessor, Dr. Rippon, after incredible exertions, obtained a promise that his sentence should be remitted. By a singular occurrence the present senior deacon-then a young man-learned from the governor of the gaol that the reprieve had not been received; and the unhappy prisoner would have been executed the next morning, had not Dr. Rippon gone post-haste to Windsor, obtained an interview with the king in his bed-chamber, and received from the monarch’s own hand a copy of that reprieve which had been negligently put aside by a thoughtless officer…Ay, that pardon might have been given, and yet the man might have been executed if it had not been effectually carried out. But blessed be God our non-condemnation is an effectual thing. It is not a matter of letter, it is a matter of fact. Ah, poor souls, you know that condemnation is a matter of fact. When you and I suffered in our souls, and were brought under the heavy hand of the law, we felt that its curses were no mock thunders like the wrath of the Vatican, but they were real; we felt that the anger of God was indeed a thing to tremble at; a real substantial fact. Now, just as real as the condemnation which Justice brings, just so real is the justification which mercy bestows. You are not only nominally guiltless, but you are really so, if you believe in Christ; you are not only nominally put into the place of the innocent, but you are really put there the moment you believe in Jesus. Not only is it said that your sins are gone, but they are gone. Not only does God look on you as though you were accepted; you are accepted. It is a matter of fact to you, as much a matter of fact as that you sinned…For as certain as ever the black spot fell on you when you sinned, so certainly and so surely was it all washed out when you were bathed in that fountain filled with blood, which was drawn from Emmanuel’s veins.~ C.H. Spurgeon

Completely Freed from Condemnation

Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. – Romans 8:33

He that believeth is free from all iniquity, from all guilt, from all blame; and though the devil bring an accusation, yet it is a false one, for we are free even from accusation, since it is boldly challenged, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” It does not say, “Who shall prove it?” but “Who shall lay it to their charge?” They are so completely freed from condemnation, that not the shadow of a spot upon their soul is found; not even the slightest passing by of iniquity to cast its black shadow on them. They stand before God not only as half-innocent, but as perfectly so; not only as half-washed, but as whiter than snow. Their sins are not simply erased, they are blotted out; not simply put out of sight, but cast into the depths of the sea; not merely gone, and gone as far as the east is from the west, but gone for ever, once for all…”It is finished!” hear the dying Saviour cry. Your sins have sustained their death-blow, the robe of your righteousness has received its last thread; it is done, complete, perfect. It needs no addition; it can never suffer any diminution. Oh, Christian, do lay hold of this precious thought; I may not be able to state it except in weak terms, but let not my weakness prevent your apprehending its glory and its preciousness. It is enough to make a man leap, though his legs were loaded with irons, and to make him sing though his mouth were gagged, to think that we are perfectly accepted in Christ, that our justification is not partial, it does not go to a limited extent, but goes the whole way. Our unrighteousness is covered; from condemnation we are entirely and irrevocably free.~ C.H. Spurgeon