But Not Till Then

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And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God. ~Luke 16:15 NKJV 

“On that day of judgment,” says the Lord,“I will punish the leaders and princes of Judah and all those following pagan customs. ~ Zephaniah 1:8

The words of Charles Haddon Spurgeon, delivered in a Lord’s Day sermon on December 24, 1871:

“We have no superstitious regard for times and seasons. Certainly we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement called Christmas: first,  because we do not believe in the mass at all, but abhor it, whether it be said or sung in Latin or in English; and secondly, because we find no Scriptural warrant whatever for observing any day as the birthday of the Saviour; and consequently, its observance is a superstition, because [it’s] not of divine authority. Superstition has fixed most positively the day of our Saviour’s birth, although there is no possibility of discovering when it occurred. …

“It was not till the middle of the third century that any part of the church celebrated the nativity of our Lord; and it was not till very long after the Western church had set the example, that the Eastern adopted it. Because the day is not known, therefore superstition has fixed it; … Where is the method in the madness of the superstitious? Probably  the fact is that the holy days were arranged to fit in with the heathen festivals. … We venture to assert that if there be any day in the year of which we may be pretty sure that it was not the day on which the Saviour was born, it is the twenty-fifth of December. … regarding not the day, let us, nevertheless, give God thanks for the gift of His dear Son.”

Led to Love Our Saviour

But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus… – Ephesians 2:4-6

Salvation by the death of Christ is the strongest conceivable promoter of all the things which are pure, honest, lovely, and of good report. It makes sin so loathsome that the saved one cannot take up even its name without dread. “I will take away the name of Baal out of thy mouth.” He looks upon it as we should regard a knife rusted with gore, wherewith some villain had killed our mother, our wife, or child. Could we play with it? Could we bear it about our persons or endure it in our sight? No, accursed thing! stained with the heart’s blood of my Beloved, I would fain fling thee into the bottomless abyss! Sin is that dagger which stabbed the Saviour’s heart, and henceforth it must be the abomination of every man who has been redeemed by the atoning sacrifice.

Christ’s death for the ungodly is the grandest argument to make the ungodly love Him when they are saved. To love Christ is the mainspring of obedience in men-how shall men be led to love Him? If you would grow love, you must sow love. Go, then; and let men know the love of Christ to sinners, and they will, by grace, be moved to love Him in return. No doubt all of us require to know the threatenings of the wrath of God; but that which soonest touches my heart is Christ’s free love to an unworthy one like myself. When my sins seem blackest to me, and yet I know that through Christ’s death I am forgiven, this blest assurance melts me down. ~ C.H. Spurgeon

https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/1191.cfm

Gifts from the Cross

But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. – Romans 5:15

All the benefits resulting from the Redeemer’s passion, and from all the works that followed upon it, are for those who by nature are ungodly. His gospel is that sinners believing in Him are saved. His sacrifice has put away sin from all who trust Him, and, therefore, it was offered for those who had sin upon them before. “He rose again for our justification,” but certainly not for the justification of those who can be justified by their own works. He ascended on high, and we are told that He “received gifts for men, yea, for the rebellious also.” He lives to intercede, and Isaiah tells us that “He made intercession for the transgressors.” The aim of His death, resurrection, ascension, and eternal life, is towards the sinful sons of men. His death has brought pardon, but it cannot be pardon for those who have no sin for pardon is only for the guilty. He is exalted on high “to give repentance,” but surely not to give repentance to those who have never sinned, and have nothing to repent of. Repentance and remission both imply previous guilt in those who receive them: unless, then, these gifts of the exalted Saviour are mere shams and superfluities, they must be meant for the really guilty. From His side there flowed out water as well as blood-the water is intended to cleanse polluted nature, then certainly not the nature of the sinless, but the nature of the impure; and so both blood and water flowed for sinners who need the double purification. To-day the Holy Spirit regenerates men as the result of the Redeemer’s death; and who can be regenerated but those who need a new heart and a right spirit? To regenerate the already pure and innocent were ridiculous; regeneration is a work which creates life where there was formerly death, gives a heart of flesh to those whose hearts were originally stone, and implants the love of holiness where sin once had sole dominion. Conversion is also another gift, which comes through His death, but does He turn those whose faces are already in the right direction? It cannot be. He converts the sinner from the error of his ways, He turns the disobedient into the right way, He leads back the stray sheep to the fold. Adoption is another gift which comes to us by the cross. Does the Lord adopt those who are already His sons by nature? If children already, what room is there for adoption? No; but the grand act of divine love is that which takes those who are “children of wrath even as others,” and by sovereign grace puts them among the children, and makes them “heirs of God, joint heirs with Jesus Christ.” ~ C.H. Spurgeon

https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/1191.cfm

His Life is Our Example, but Not His Death

No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of My Father. – John 10:18

Some have said that Jesus died as our example; but that is not altogether true. Christ’s death is not absolutely an example for men, it was a march into a region of which He said, “Ye cannot follow Me now.” His life was our example, but not His death in all respects, for we are by no means bound to surrender ourselves voluntarily to our enemies as He did, but when persecuted in one city we are bidden to flee to another. To be willing to die for the truth is a most Christly thing, and in that Jesus is our example; but into the winepress which He trod it is not ours to enter, the voluntary element which was peculiar to His death renders it inimitable. He said, “I lay down My life of Myself; no man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself.” One word of His would have delivered Him from His foes; He had but to say “Begone!” and the Roman guards must have fled like chaff before the wind. He died because He willed to do so; of His own accord He yielded up His spirit to the Father. It must have been as an atonement for the guilty; it could not have been as an example, for no man is bound voluntarily to die. Both the dictates of nature, and the command of the law, require us to preserve our lives. “Thou shalt not kill” means “Thou shalt not voluntarily give up thine own life any more than take the life of another.” Jesus stood in a special position, and therefore He died; but His example would have been complete enough without His death, had it not been for the peculiar office which He had undertaken. We may fairly conclude that Christ died for men who needed such a death; and, as the good did not need it for an example-and in fact it is not an example to them- He must have died for the ungodly. ~ C.H. Spurgeon

https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/1191.cfm

Christ Died for the Impious

“Christ died for the ungodly– Romans 5:6

“Christ died for the ungodly“; not for the righteous, not for the reverent and devout, but for the ungodly…”Christ died for the impious,” for those who have no reverence for God. Christ died for the godless, who, having cast off God, cast off with Him all love for that which is right…Christ did not die because men were good, or would be good, but died for them as ungodly or, in other words, “He came to seek and to save that which was lost.” Observe, then, that when the Son of God determined to die for men, He viewed them as ungodly, and far from God by wicked works…looking on them all, He whose judgment is infallible returned this verdict, “They are all gone out of the way; they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Putting them down at that estimate, and nothing better, Christ died for them…Full well He knew that, left to itself, the world would grow worse and worse, and that by its very wisdom it would darken its own eyes. It was not because a golden age would come by natural progress, but just because such a thing was impossible, unless He died to procure it, that Jesus died for a race which, apart from Him, could only develop into deeper damnation. Jesus viewed us as we really were, not as our pride fancies us to be; He saw us to be without God, enemies of our own Creator, dead in trespasses and sins, corrupt, and set on mischief, and even in our occasional cry for good, searching for it with blinded judgment and prejudiced heart, so that we put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. He saw that in us was no good thing, but every possible evil, so that we were lost,-utterly, helplessly, hopelessly lost apart from Him: yet viewing us as in that graceless and Godless plight and condition, He died for us.

The gospel does not come to us as a premium for virtue, but it presents us with forgiveness for sin. It is not a reward for health, but a medicine for sickness. Therefore, to meet all cases, it puts us down at our worst, and, like the good Samaritan with the wounded traveller, it comes to us where we are. “Christ died for the impious” is a great net which takes in even the leviathan sinner; and of all the creeping sinners innumerable which swarm the sea of sin, there is not one kind which this great net does not encompass. ~ C.H. Spurgeon

https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/1191.cfm

The Most Deadly Death

But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8

The text says Christ died. He did a great deal besides dying, but the crowning act of His career of love for the ungodly, and that which rendered all the rest available to them, was His death for them. He actually gave up the ghost, not in fiction, but in fact. He laid down His life for us, breathing out His soul, even as other men do when they expire. That it might be indisputably clear that He was really dead, His heart was pierced with the soldier’s spear, and forthwith came there out blood and water. The Roman governor would not have allowed the body to be removed from the cross had He not been duly certified that Jesus was indeed dead. His relatives and friends who wrapped Him in linen and laid Him in Joseph’s tomb, were sorrowfully sure that all that lay before them was a corpse. The Christ really died, and in saying that, we mean that He suffered all the pangs incident to death; only He endured much more and worse, for His was a death of peculiar pain and shame, and was not only attended by the forsaking of man, but by the departure of His God. That cry, “My God, my God! why hast Thou forsaken Me?” was the innermost blackness of the thick darkness of death.

Our Lord’s death was penal, inflicted upon Him by divine justice; and rightly so, for on Him lay our iniquities, and therefore on Him must lay the suffering. “It pleased the Father to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief.” He died under circumstances which made His death most terrible. Condemned to a felon’s gibbet, He was crucified amid a mob of jesters, with few sympathising eyes to gaze upon Him; He bore the gaze of malice and the glance of scorn; He was hooted and jeered by a ribald throng, who were cruelly inventive in their taunts and blasphemies. There He hung, bleeding from many wounds, exposed to the sun, burning with fever, and devoured with thirst, under every circumstance of contumely, pain, and utter wretchedness; His death was of all deaths the most deadly death, and emphatically “Christ died.” ~ C.H. Spurgeon

https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/1191.cfm

The Father’s Ordained and Appointed Saviour

Christ died for the ungodly.” – Romans 5:6 (see also v.8)

Christ died for the ungodly.” Never did the human ear listen to a more astounding and yet cheering truth. Angels desire to look into it, and if men were wise they would ponder it night and day. Jesus, the Son of God, Himself God over all, the infinitely glorious One, Creator of heaven and earth, out of love to me stooped to become a man and die. Christ, the thrice holy God, the pure-hearted man, in whom there was no sin and could be none, espoused the cause of the wicked. Jesus, whose doctrine makes deadly war on sin, whose Spirit is the destroyer of evil, whose whole self abhors iniquity, whose second advent will prove His indignation against transgression, yet undertook the cause of the impious, and even unto death pursued their salvation. The Christ of God, though He had no part or lot in the fall and the sin which has arisen out of it, has died to redeem us from its penalty, and, like the psalmist, He can cry, “Then I restored that which I took not away.” Let all holy beings judge whether this is not the miracle of miracles!

Christ, the name given to our Lord, is an expressive word; it means “Anointed One,” and indicates that He was sent upon a divine errand, commissioned by supreme authority. The Lord Jehovah said of old, “I have laid help upon One that is mighty, I have exalted One chosen out of the people”; and again, “I have given Him as a covenant to the people, a leader and commander to the people.” Jesus was both set apart to this work, and qualified for it by the anointing of the Holy Ghost. He is no unauthorised saviour, no amateur deliverer, but an ambassador clothed with unbounded power from the great King, a Redeemer with full credentials from the Father. It is this ordained and appointed Saviour who has “died for the ungodly.” Remember this, ye ungodly! Consider well who it was that came to lay down His life for such as you are. ~ C.H. Spurgeon

https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/1191.cfm